Birds of South Carolina

South Carolina is one of the 50 states of the United States of America. It is located on the Southeastern part of North America, bordering with North Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is subtropical with hot summers and mild winters. Thus, there are many birds of South Carolina that populate the area.

With the capital Columbia, South Carolina total area is about 82 thousand kilometres square with most of them are land area and about 5 kilometres square of water area. Its highest area is the Sassafras Mountain which is about 1,085 meters high. The population of the state as of 2019 is five million people.

South Carolina consists of three major area which are the Blue Ridge, the Piedmont, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. It also has several lakes, the biggest lake being Lake Marion which takes up about 450 kilometres square and the smallest lake is Lake Jocassee which take up about 30 kilometres square.

Documented Birds of South Carolina

Birds of South Carolina

There are hundreds of bird species that are documented by the United States state of South Carolina. In the end of 2017, there are about 424 bird species listed that appear to populate the state. Over the years the list grows with more species added that are categorized as either rare or extinct.

There are many family of birds that are documented to populate the states. From family Anatidae, there are waterfowl species such as snow goose, mute swan, and ruddy duck. From family Phasianidae there are ruffed grouse and wild turkey. There are also flamingos, pigeons, and doves.

From the family Trochilidae, also known as hummingbirds, there are ten species documented such as Calliope hummingbird and Cuban emerald. There are also ocean birds such as tropicbirds, gulls, auks, murres, and puffins documented in the state of South Carolina.

The family of Accipitridae which consists of hunters such as eagles and hawks are also listed. A total of sixteen species of this family is documented on the birds of South Carolina list. Moreover, the family of owls like snowy owl, burrowing owl, barred owl, and eastern screech owl can be found as well.

10 Species of Birds of South Carolina

Birds of South Carolina

There are many more birds of South Carolina listed by the official government that can be found aside from the small examples above.

However, there are ten distinct species of birds that are unique and need to be further discussed as the species of birds that populated the area.

1. Wood Stork

Birds of South Carolina

Wood stork, also known as species Mycteria Americana, belongs to genus Mycteria and family Ciconiidae. Wood stork is one of species birds of South Carolina. Because of the subtropical climate of the state, the bird species can live in the area as wood storks live in a more tropical climate.

Wood storks are categorized as large birds with a pair of thin legs that stand tall. The measure of its height when standing can reach about 115 centimetres and weigh approximately from 2 kilograms to 3.3 kilograms. Wood storks are white colored with splash of black on their tails.

Wood storks has a long and sharp bills that they use for hunting fish. The wood storks’ diet consist of big fishes and sometimes insects. The birds usually hunt their food in colonies and for one bird they need about half a kilogram of food every day. They usually look for large fishes in shallow and clear water.

2. Brown-headed Nuthatch

Birds of South Carolina

Brown-headed nuthatch belongs to genus Sitta and family Sittidae. This species of birds of South Carolina is very small in size.

Brown-headed Nuthatch is only about 9 to 11 centimetres in length and the wingspan only reach up to 18 centimetres. The birds weigh approximately 10 to 12 grams.

The physical appearance of this bird species is distinguishable through its colors. True to its name, this species has brown colored head and the rest of the feathers are white colored. This species is a songbird as it can produce sounds both in flight and on land.

3. Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Birds of South Carolina

Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a type of birds of South Carolina. This species is also known as Leuconotopicus borealis. They belong to genus Leuconotopicus and family Picidae. This species of woodpecker is small in size with approximately only 18 to 23 centimetres in length.

The most distinguishable physical feature of this bird species is the black and white pattern of its back. This bird is mostly black in colors with white dots and two red sparks on the male head. However the red streaks are often not visible as it appears during mating season and when it is defending its territory.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker are highly defensive of their territory. Their nesting season begins as early as springtime and lasts until summertime. They are monogamous species as they mate only once for a long time. The female will lay about two to four eggs in one breeding season.

Once the eggs are incubated for about two weeks, the baby birds will hatch and stay on their nests for another month. The parents will feed the baby birds. Red-cockaded Woodpecker usually feed on insects such as ants, beetles, and cockroaches.

4. American Oystercatcher

Birds of South Carolina

The American Oystercatcher, also known as species Haematopus palliates, belongs to genus Haematopus and family Haematopodidae. They are known as birds who feed on raccoon oyster and mollusks. This bird species can be distinguished by its long and striking red bills.

The small-sized species of birds of South Carolina is only about 50 centimetres in length. This species live near the coast and they nest in the coastal area. American Oystercatchers also eat invertebrates aside from shellfishes such as sea urchins, starfishes, and worms.

During mating and nesting season, American Oystercatchers usually migrate to the coastal beaches area. They began mating when they reach 3 to 4 years of age.

The male will do the courting and then the female will lay from 2 to 4 eggs in the nests. Mating seasons start from early spring to mid-Summertime.

5. Bachman’s Sparrow

Birds of South Carolina

Bachman’s Sparrow, also known as Peucaea aestivalis, belongs to genus Peucaea and family Passerellidae. They live in pine forests and nest in the pinewoods. This bird species is medium-sized with about 16 centimetres length and about 18 to 23 grams of weight.

Bachman’s Sparrow has a distinct grey and reddish brown colored feathers. The brown feathers are mostly dominant on its upper parts and the under parts of its body is dominant with gray feathers. They build their nests on pinewoods where the female lay from three to five eggs per mating season.

The mating season of Bachman’s sparrow begin in early spring and it lasts all the way until end of summer time. The nests are primarily made by grasses and leaves. The eggs are incubated for about two weeks and once the baby birds’ hatch they will stay for about 9 days on the nest.

6. Acadian Flycatcher

Birds of South Carolina

Acadian Flycatcher is the next species of the birds of South Carolina. This bird species, also known as Empidonax Virescens, belongs to genus Empidonax and family Tyrannidae. The Acadian Flycatcher lives in damp area including forests in North Carolina from spring through fall. They migrate during cold winter.

Acadian Flycatcher is very small in size. Their length is only about 15 centimetres. This bird species also has a beautiful green colored feathers and blackish colors on their heads. They have small and wide beak. They are vocal bird species and the male produce a lovely song with only two syllables.

7. Swallow-tailed Kite

Birds of South Carolina

Swallow-tailed Kite is one of the species of birds of South Carolina. Their species name is Elanoides forficatus. They belong to the genus Elanoides and family Accipitridae. This raptor species is at first known as a hawk, however later in the 19th century, this species is reintroduced as a kite.

This bird has a beautiful physical appearance. The color is striking black with white on the under parts of the body. The length of the bird is about 50 to 68 centimetres with large wingspan that is approaching almost 1 and half meters wide. The weight of a swallow tailed kite is approximately 300 to 600 grams.

Swallow tailed Kite is a raptor species. They hunt their food which are snakes, lizards, frogs, and similar types of reptiles and amphibians. Swallow-tailed kite is known to hunt their foods in small flocks.

The mating season is from spring time to early summer time. The mates usually build their nests on top of tall trees. One female lays from 2 to 4 eggs and incubate for a month. The baby birds of swallow-tailed kite will have less striking colors than the adults and this will change as they mature.

8. Painted Bunting

Birds of South Carolina

Painted bunting, known also as Passerina ciris, is a type of bird found in South Carolina. This bird belongs to genus Passerina and family Cardinalidae. The most distinguishable feature of this bird is the colorful feathers of the male species.

The male species of this bird is often named the prettiest bird in America. It has a striking and vibrant color of blue in its head, pallets of greens on its back and wings, and bright red on its front. It is also a songbird as it can sing to mark their territories.

The female counterpart, however, only has duller greenish color on its feather. The bird is medium sized measuring 12 to 14 centimetres and weighing about 12 to 20 grams. The birds live in the shrubbery parts of the woods.

Painted bunting feed in many types of grass seeds. During mating and breeding seasons, they all eat small insects aside from seeds. Breeding begin in spring and lasts all the way to near the end of summer time.

9. Wilson’s Plover

Birds of South Carolina

Wilson’s plover is a small bird species that is listed as part of birds of South Carolina. The species, named as Charadrius Wilsonia, belongs to the genus Charadrius and family Charadriidae. They have a small size which is only 17 to 20 centimetres in length.

The colors of Wilson’s plover is mostly brown with white feathers on the under part of the body. They have thin legs and black bills. This species mostly live on coastal area and they migrate from the United States to South America during winter season.

Wilson’s plover is a musical bird and they can produce a high pitched whistle. They look for food on saltwater beaches. Their food consists of worms, insects, and crustaceans. Wilson’s plover population has been decreasing each year due to the destruction of their nests and habitats.

10. Swainson’s Warbler

Birds of South Carolina

The last one of the birds of South Carolina list is the one named Swainson’s Warbler. Warbler birds are known to be a songbird and this one is no exception. Swainson’s Warbler belongs to the genus Limnothlypis and family Parulidae. The species name is Limnothlypis swainsonii.

This bird species has two colored feathers, brown colored upper parts and white colored under parts. They are medium in size with only 13 to 16 centimeters in length and 11 to 21 grams in weight. Their wingspan can reach about 23 centimeters length. This species is mostly found in damp area and swamplands.

During mating season, one Swainson’s Warbler is usually faithful and remain with one mate for the entire mating season. The female will lay about three to five eggs and incubate them for about two weeks. The baby birds that hatch will then stay on the nests for another two weeks before they leave.

Swainson’s Warbler will begin mating once they reach the age of 10 months. This bird species live fairly long to about eight years of age.

All bird species documented by the United States state of South Carolina are either permanently living in the area or only visit or migrate during certain seasons. There are further tags and explanations for some species that are considered rare by the state of South Carolina or by the United States of America.

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