Beach Bird Guide

Beach BirdThe Emerald Coast is a beach bird hotspot. Here you’ll find many unique beach bird species rarely seen in other parts of the country. It’s not uncommon to share the beach with a Great Blue Heron or walk along Destin’s Harbor and see the Brown Pelican diving from heights of 40 feet as it feeds.

This beach bird guide is intended to be a quick reference to help you identify the birds that may be seen along our coast. The menu along the top of this page groups the bird in 5 categories.

  • Shore Birds (Sandpipers, Stilts and Plovers)
  • Sea Birds (Pelicans, Gulls, Terns, Loons and Cormorants)
  • Wading Birds (Egrets, Herons and Ibises)
  • Waterfowl (Ducks, Grebes and Mergansers)
  • Birds of Prey (Eagle, Hawks and Owls)

If you want more details about the birds you see, an excellent site that’s a favorite in the bird watching community is AllAboutBirds.org (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology). The also have a free IOS and Android app called Merlin Bird ID. Several other good sites include the National Audubon Society and WhatBird.com.

Note: All bird illustrations on this site are from © David Allen Sibley.


Black-Bellied Plover

Black-Bellied Plover

RARE


Black-Necked Stilt

Black-Necked Stilt

UNCOMMON


Dunlin

Dunlin

RARE


Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

COMMON


Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

COMMON


Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

COMMON


Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

UNCOMMON


Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone

RARE


Sanderling

Sanderling

COMMON


Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

RARE


Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

RARE


Snowy Plover

Snowy Plover

RARE


Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

RARE


Stilt Sandpiper

Stilt Sandpiper

UNCOMMON


Willet

Willet

COMMON


Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

COMMON


Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

COMMON


Common Loon

Common Loon

COMMON


Double-Crested Cormorant

Double-Crested Cormorant

COMMON


Forsters Tern

Forsters Tern

UNCOMMON


Herring Gull

Herring Gull

UNCOMMON


Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

COMMON


Least Tern

Least Tern

UNCOMMON


Ring-Billed Gull

Ring-Billed Gull

COMMON


Royal Tern

Royal Tern

COMMON


Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern

UNCOMMON


Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

COMMON


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

COMMON


Great Egret

Great Egret

COMMON


Green Heron

Green Heron

COMMON


Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

UNCOMMON


Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

UNCOMMON


Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

COMMON


White Ibis

White Ibis

UNCOMMON


American Coot

American Coot

COMMON


Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal

COMMON


Bufflehead

Bufflehead

COMMON


Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

RARE


Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

RARE


Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

UNCOMMON


Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

COMMON


Red-Brested Merganser

Red-Brested Merganser

UNCOMMON


Redhead

Redhead

UNCOMMON


Ring-Necked Duck

Ring-Necked Duck

RARE


Wood Duck

Wood Duck

UNCOMMON


Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

UNCOMMON


Barred Owl

Barred Owl

RARE


Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

UNCOMMON


Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

RARE


Osprey

Osprey

COMMON


Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk

COMMON


Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

UNCOMMON

 

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