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Mono Basin Bird List
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Mono Basin Bird List
A partial list of Mono's Many Avian Visitors

This checklist includes over 325 species of birds known to have occurred at Mono Lake and within the Mono Basin watershed, up to 8000 feet in elevation. The Mono Basin watershed has a variety of habitats, and each supports its own collection of bird species--as well as birds commonly seen throughout the Basin. The most prominent habitat is Mono Lake, a salty, alkaline inland sea home to brine shrimp, alkali flies, and the millions of birds that depend on them. Flowing down from the Sierra Nevada escarpment, freshwater streams create a different habitat where aspens, willows, and cottonwoods grow. And in other locations, one finds Mono Basin habitats such as Jeffrey Pine forests, Pinyon Pine woodlands, vast sagebrush steppe, and freshwater lakes.

Over 118 species are known to breed during the summer months in the Mono Basin. Of special interest are California Gulls, which raise their young on Mono Lake's islands. Other species such as Sage Thrashers, Green-tailed Towhees, and Yellow Warblers can also be frequently found in the spring and summer. It is during the fall migration months of August and September, however, that the greatest number of species may be seen. Migratory shorebirds and other waterbirds, including Eared Grebes and Wilson's and Red-necked Phalaropes, use Mono Lake as a feeding and resting stop on their southward journeys. Because of this, Mono Lake was designated as a site of international importance in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).



Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon


Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe

Pelicans and Allies

American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Magnificent Frigatebird

Herons, Egrets, and Allies

American Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron


White-faced Ibis

Swans, Geese, and Ducks

Tundra Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross' Goose
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Northern Pintail
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Black Scoter
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Barrow's Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck

Vultures, Eagles, and Hawks

Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Mississippi Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Northern Goshawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Golden Eagle


American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Prairie Falcon

Quail and Grouse

Blue Grouse
White-tailed Ptarmigan
Sage Grouse
California Quail
Mountain Quail

Rails and Coots

Yellow Rail
Virginia Rail
Common Moorhen
American Coot


Black-bellied Plover
American Golden-Plover
Pacific Golden-Plover
Snowy Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Mountain Plover

Stilts and Avocets

Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet

Sandpipers and Phalaropes

Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Wandering Tattler
Spotted Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Common Snipe
Wilson's Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Red Phalarope


Pomarine Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger

Gulls and Terns

Franklin's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Heerman's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Sabine's Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Tern


Long-billed Murrelet
Ancient Murrelet

Pigeons and Doves

Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove


Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Greater Roadrunner


Barn Owl
Flammulated Owl
Western Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Northern Pygmy-Owl
Burrowing Owl
Long-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl


Common Nighthawk
Common Poorwill


Black Swift
Chimney Swift
Vaux's Swift
White-throated Swift


Black-chinned Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird


Belted Kingfisher


Lewis' Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Williamson's Sapsucker

Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
White-headed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker


Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood-Peewee
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher


Horned Lark


Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow

Jays and Crows

Steller's Jay
Scrub Jay
Pinyon Jay
Clark's Nutcracker
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven

Chickadees, Titmice, and Bushtits

Mountain Chickadee


Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch


Brown Creeper


Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren


American Dipper

Kinglets and Gnatcatcher

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher


Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Townsend's Solitaire
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Varied Thrush

Mockingbirds and Thrashers

Northern Mockingbird
Sage Thrasher
Brown Thrasher


American Pipit


Bohemian Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

Silky Flycatchers



Northern Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike


European Starling


Cassin's Vireo
Plumbeous Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo

Wood Warblers

Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
(Audubon's)Yellow-rumped Warbler
(Myrtle) Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Hermit Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat


Summer Tanager
Western Tanager

Grosbeaks and Buntings

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Indigo Bunting


Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Cassin's Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Black-chinned Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Lark Bunting
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
(Mountain) White-crowned Sparrow
(Gambel's) White-crowned Sparrow
Harris' Sparrow
(Oregon) Dark-eyed Junco
(Slate-colored) Dark-eyed Junco
McCown's Longspur
Lapland Longspur
Chestnut-collared Longspur

Blackbirds and Orioles

Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Bullock's Oriole


Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Black Rosy-Finch
Purple Finch
Cassin's Finch
House Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak

Old World Sparrows

House Sparrow




How to get
the complete list

This list is not complete. Seasonal abundance has been omitted.

You can also order a complete copy from our bookstore for $1 plus tax.


Where to go Birding

A few of the better places to observe birds in the Mono Basin are: Mono Lake County Park, the Lee Vining Creek Trail, Lee Vining Canyon, the Mono Lake South Tufa Area, the Jeffrey Pine forest on Highway 120 east, and Grant Lake Reservoir near June Lake. For information about these areas, maps, and a list of recent bird sightings, visit the Mono Lake Committee Information Center and Bookstore on Highway 395 in Lee Vining. You may also get information by calling (760) 647-6595.


Data Sources

Data for this checklist was obtained from The Birds of Yosemite and the East Slope by David Gaines, and from other ornithologists familiar with the Mono Basin. For a thorough account of the Mono Basin avifauna The Birds of Yosemite is an indispensable and excellent guide worth investing in (currently out of print).


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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.