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Popular Birds of Idaho

December 7, 2023

Discovering the Feathered Gems of Idaho

Welcome to a world where the skies tell a story of natural splendor, where every flap of wings resonates with the heartbeat of Idaho's wilderness. Idaho, a land sculpted by the forces of nature, is not just a haven for adventurers and nature enthusiasts but also a vibrant canvas for some of the most fascinating bird species in North America. In this blog post, we will delve deep into the avian world of Idaho, exploring the unique characteristics, habitats, and conservation statuses of these winged wonders. Our journey will not only introduce you to the popular feathered residents of the Gem State but also kindle a deeper appreciation for their roles in the ecological and cultural tapestry of the region.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

  • Description: The American Robin is easily recognizable with its round body, long legs, and reddish-orange breast. Adult robins have a black to grayish head, yellow bill, and white eye-rings.
  • Habitat: These adaptable birds are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, gardens, and lawns. They have a strong presence in both rural and urban areas.
  • Conservation Status: Currently, the American Robin is not facing any major threats and is listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)

  • Description: The Mountain Bluebird, Idaho's state bird, boasts a stunning sky-blue plumage in males, while females have a more subdued grayish-brown color with blue tinges. They have a slender build and a short, straight bill.
  • Habitat: These birds prefer open habitats like meadows, fields, and areas with scattered trees, especially near mountains.
  • Conservation Status: They are listed as "Least Concern", though habitat loss and competition for nesting sites pose challenges.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

  • Description: The Bald Eagle, a symbol of American wilderness, is an imposing bird with a white head and tail, brown body, and massive yellow bill. Juveniles have mottled brown and white plumage.
  • Habitat: Bald Eagles are often found near large bodies of open water with abundant fish and large, old-growth trees for nesting.
  • Conservation Status: Once endangered, conservation efforts have led to a significant recovery. They are now considered "Least Concern".

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

  • Description: Known for being the fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a distinctive black "mustache" that contrasts with its white face.
  • Habitat: These falcons adapt well to various habitats, including urban areas. They nest on cliff ledges, tall buildings, and other high structures.
  • Conservation Status: The species has recovered from the brink of extinction and is now categorized as "Least Concern", thanks to DDT bans and conservation efforts.

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)

  • Description: Sandhill Cranes are tall, gray birds with long legs, a long neck, and a red forehead patch. Their loud, rattling calls are unmistakable during flight.
  • Habitat: They prefer wetlands, marshes, and grasslands, often in open environments.
  • Conservation Status: They are "Least Concern", though habitat loss and degradation are ongoing concerns.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

  • Description: The Red-tailed Hawk is a robust bird of prey, known for its distinctive red tail. It has a broad, rounded wingspan and a stocky build, with a variation in plumage from light to dark brown.
  • Habitat: These hawks are adaptable and can be found in various environments, including deserts, grasslands, forests, agricultural fields, and urban areas.
  • Conservation Status: Widespread and common, the Red-tailed Hawk is classified as "Least Concern".

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

  • Description: The Western Tanager is a striking bird with a bright yellow body, black back, wings, and tail, and a fiery orange-red head in males. Females are more olive-yellow with grayish wings and back.
  • Habitat: These birds prefer coniferous and mixed woodlands and are often seen during migration in open woodlands and gardens.
  • Conservation Status: Listed as "Least Concern", but their populations could be impacted by habitat loss.

Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa)

  • Description: The Great Gray Owl is one of the largest owls, with a large, rounded head, no ear tufts, and a distinctive facial disk. They have a mottled gray appearance, yellow eyes, and a white "bow tie" just below the beak.
  • Habitat: They inhabit dense coniferous forests, often near meadows or clearings.
  • Conservation Status: This elusive bird is considered "Least Concern", but its exact population is hard to determine due to its secretive nature.


As our avian exploration of Idaho comes to a close, we are left with a profound sense of awe and respect for these winged inhabitants. Each species we've discovered plays a vital role in the ecological symphony of Idaho, contributing its unique notes to the melody of the wild. It's not just about the color of a feather or the shape of a wing; it's about the stories these birds tell us about our environment, the changes it's undergoing, and the interconnectedness of life.

These birds are not just passive residents; they are active storytellers, ecological indicators, and natural treasures. Their continued existence is a testament to the resilience of nature and the importance of conservation efforts. As stewards of the environment, we have a responsibility to ensure that the skies of Idaho continue to resound with the calls and songs of these magnificent birds.

Let's carry forward the message of conservation and appreciation for these avian marvels. May the beauty and diversity of Idaho's birds inspire us to take action, to protect and cherish the natural world we are part of. The story of Idaho's birds is an ongoing one, and we are all part of it. Let's make sure it's a story of hope, conservation, and coexistence.