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| What is a Bird | Species in Quebec | About the data | About the text |

What is a bird?

Birds differ from other animals by a few easily definable characteristics, almost all of which have been dictated by flight. Firstly, birds, and only birds, have feathers. Whether or not a bird species has retained the ability to fly, the body architecture of all bird species is remarkably similar. In order to fly, a bird must overcome two basic limitations: reduction of weight and increase of power; most of the adaptations undergone in this class of animals have been in response to these limitations. The bones of birds are hollow and light, making it easy for them to become airborne, yet strategically reinforced, to withstand the stress of landing, hopping and running. These superlight bones are then powered by massive flight muscles attached to the sternum, or breastbone.


How many species are there in Quebec?

There are approximately 240 species of nesting birds (birds that build nests and breed) in Quebec. Some are year-round occupants in this province and others are migratory birds which only spend part of the year here. Below is listed a selection of breeding birds that are either common to Quebec or of particular interest for bird-lovers.

For a complete list of bird species of Quebec, by family, click here. Also, if you are interested in learning more about the birds of Quebec, consult the beautiful Atlas of Breeding Birds of Quebec published in 1996 by the Province of Quebec Society for the Protection of Birds, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Association Québecoise des groupes d'Ornithologues.

A camera, text or globe icon next to a species' name indicates a link to a photo, description or distribution map of that species.

Common Loon Gavia immer Photo Text Map
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus Photo Text Map
Double-crested cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus   Text
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Photo Text Map
Canada Goose Branta canadensis Photo   Map
Wood Duck Aix sponsa   Text Map
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Photo Text Map
Osprey Pandion haliaetus Photo Text Map
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura   Text Map
Bald Eagle Halianeetus leucocephalus Photo Text Map
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii Photo   Map
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis Photo Text Map
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Photo   Map
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Photo Text Map
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Text Map
Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus Photo Text Map
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus   Text Map
American Woodcock Scolopax minor Photo Text Map
Herring Gull Larus argentatus Photo Text Map
Common Tern Sterna hirundo   Text Map
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica Photo Text Map
Rock Dove Columba livia Photo Text Map
Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca Photo Text  
Barred Owl Strix varia Photo Text Map
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor   Text Map

Ruby- throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris Photo Text Map
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon Photo Text Map
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus Photo Text Map
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Photo   Map
Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis Photo Text
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata Photo  Text Map
Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus Photo Text Map
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis Photo   Map
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina Photo   Map
American Robin Turdus migratorius Photo Text Map
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Photo Text Map
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus   Text Map
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Photo Text Map
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Photo Text Map
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea   Text Map
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Photo   Map
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus Photo   Map
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis Photo   Map
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis Photo   Map
Bobolink Dolichonyx oriyzivorus   Text Map
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Photo Text Map
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus Photo Text Map
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis Photo   Map
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Photo Text Map


About the data:

The data presented in this section has been made available courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Not all of Quebec was surveyed for this data, only the area of Quebec below the 50th parallel. Therefore the range maps indicate the presence of the birds in southern Quebec only. The area was divided into 10 by 10km squares and volunteers were sent into each square to determine which birds were present and breeding. Data collection was carried out over 5 years, between 1984 and 1989, and the information gathered was incorporated into the Breeding Bird Atlas of Quebec. In this section, we present the distribution data for 50 Quebec birds of interest.

About the text:

The texts on individual birds were written by Jake Vander Zanden.

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