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Birds of Kern County, California - Checklist

The current county tally of birds is 444 native species (NIB) plus 10 accepted introduced species (and 9 additional unaccepted introduced species), (+1 more if you count California Condor as introduced) bringing the official total to 454 accepted species. The list is current with The AOS (American Ornithological Society) Check-list of North American Birds, Seventh Edition, (July 2019 supplement) listing order and nomenclature. The list represents records of resident, migrant, visitant, and vagrant species. Habitats are extremely varied within the county and include: great basin, wetland, desert, montane, riparian, chaparral, and grassland habitats. Very few species have been recorded in every habitat. What is extremely common in one county location may be unheard of or exceptional in another. These birds have been documented over the past 150 years. EBird records 444 species including several non-countable introduced birds.


Click here for a simple checklist to print and use in the field.


The 444th native bird, Glossy Ibis, was observed by John Sterling on the Kern Water Bank on April 23, 2019. The 443rd native addition a Violet-crowned Hummingbird was observed by John Stanek on the Kern River Preserve on July 7, 2018. The 442nd native addition is a specialty resident of post-fire forest, the Cedar Fire in the Greenhorn Mountains created habitat for a small population of Black-backed Woodpecker found on July 18, 2017. Wendy Rannals of the Forest Service mentioned to Alison Sheehey that she had heard a bird and Alison confirmed this new county record species. The 441st county record was heard hooting "who cooks for you?" on June 2, 2017 by Jenna and John Stanek in the Greenhorn Mountains. The Barred Owl has long been feared to enter the territory of the dwindling California Spotted Owl, a week later Elias Elias recorded the bird and disturbingly the video shows a "Sparred Owl" with a Barred Owl hoot. An armchair record for Kern County brought the 440th native species with the AOU split of Western Scrub-jay into California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay.  Cordilleran Flycatcher, Empidonax occidentalis was recorded at Galileo Hill on 1 June 2016 by Curtis Marantz (I had heard this bird a day earlier but was unable to convince anyone to corroborate it,) making this the 439th native species recorded in Kern County. The 438th native species was found by Nick and Mary Freeman on 15 May 2016, a Buff-breasted Flycatcher was photographed and identified post-birding. A Neotropic Cormorant was discovered at Lake Ming on May 11, 2015 by George Griffeth making it the 437th native species. Pine Warbler is Kern's 436th native species discovered by Pine Warbler found by Tom Benson, Matt Grube, David Rankin, and Brad Singer on 8 November 2014 at Desert Memorial Park in Ridgecrest. Ken & Brenda Kyle discovered the 435th native species for Kern a Red-faced Warbler on 7 October 2014 at Galileo Hill. The 434th native species was found by Susan Steele on May 2, 2014, she observed a Gull-billed Tern at the highly restricted southern evaporation ponds just north of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge. The potential 434th species was removed after being revealed it was only seen in Ventura County so a sighting of a Green Violetear photographed by Steven W. Cardiff between July 30 and August 1, 1977 was re-reviewed by the CBRC and accepted in 2005 after a photograph was produced but not in Kern County. The AOU provided Kern with its 433rd native species by splitting the Sage Sparrow into two species. Sage Sparrow becomes Bell's Sparrow - Artemisiospiza belli which breeds in Kern and Sagebrush Sparrow - Artemisiospiza nevadensis which migrates through and possibly winters in Kern County. On May 5, 2013, Bob Barnes found Kern's 432nd species with the sighting of Grace's Warbler at Cerro Coso College in Ridgecrest. On May 7, 2011, Susan Steele discovered the 431st NIB bird with a female Pyrrhuloxia in the Kern desert. In the summer of 2009, Jon Feenstra's pair of Black-tailed Gnatcatchers breeding southeastern Kern made the 430th NIB county record. Susan Steele found a Lesser Black-backed Gull, the 429th species on December 21st, 2008, at Buena Vista Lake. Susan & Bob Steele found the 428th county bird, Common Black Hawk, at Galileo Hill on 27 April 2008. Bill Foster observed the 427th NIB species, Crested Caracara, in March 2008. Susan and Bob Steele's discovery of an Arctic Warbler in September 2007 and a Hudsonian Godwit in June 2007 and Wood Sandpiper in May 2007 added the 426th, 425th, and 424th NIB species respectively to the list. Ryan Terrill's sighting of an Upland Sandpiper* added the 423rd and Tom Wurster's sighting of a Yellow-footed Gull added the 422nd NIB species to the list. The split of Canada Goose and Cackling Goose added the 421st NIB species to the list in July 2004.


CBRC species that are accepted such as Chukar (which is bred and released for hunters regularly) and others that are not accepted as in Rose-ringed Parakeet makes the whole idea of accepting some introduced species and not others which fulfill every criteria a bothersome quandary. Scaly-breasted Munia are on the list as of 2017 as they are being documented across the county. Another new but not accepted on the CBRC checklist is the Northern Red Bishop discoverd by Dan Cooper on 7 Sep 2018 at Galileo Hill. European Goldfinch have been seen sporadically in Kern County for years, Mickey Dyke recorded one in Rosemond on 6 Apr 2017.I include species that are subject to verification as to their origin and introduced species that do not appear on the Western Field Ornithologists' official California list (eg. psittacids) because these records are important in tracking origins of potentially naturalized species. Some rarities found are reviewed by the California Bird Records Committee (CBRC). All birds appearing in bold italics with an asterisk * are California Review Species by the CBRC. Italicized birds with an asterisk * are exceptional rare visitants or vagrants (this was originally done with John Wilson's and Mike Feighner's assistance), any corrections from KC birders or CBRC reviewers are welcome.


Any birds not appearing on this list or that have an asterisk need to be documented and sent to the CBRC and to Kelli Levinson Kern County's compiler for American Birds. Although, I have been lambasted by elitist birders for including "not credible" species, I made an executive decision to add certain species that are most assuredly captive escapes/releases but deserve mention to give readers an understanding of how such a species could occur, eg. Harris's Hawk. The Trumpeter Swan is provisional, Grinnell & Miller list it in the Birds of California, but it is a weak sighting, a possible sighting in Dec. 2003 had me put it on the list. All young swans should be carefully documented as range expansion for this sensitive species is occurring.


Susan Steele, Bob Barnes, and Ken & Brenda Kyle are key to finding and publicizing new and rare species, without their keen observations this list would languish. The original list is a compilation of many birders list's. Information was compiled using David Blue's list from March of 1997, Rick Saval's Kern County Birds, Birds of the Kern River Parkway, Birds of Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Birds of the Kern River Valley, and Birds of Indian Wells Valley. Updates are found by reviewing the AOU supplements, from John Wilson's Field Notes for American Birds, information provided to me by area birders: Bob Barnes, Mike Feighner, Gary File, Barbara Mansfield, Michael McQuerrey RIP, Bob & Susan Steele, John Sterling, Mary Beth Stowe, John Wilson and others, from information gleaned from eBird, CalBird, Kern County Birding, and from my own field notes.


Exceptionally devoted birders can reach 300 birds and up. No county birder has seen all of the listed species within the borders of Kern County (although Susan Steele comes darn close!). Enjoy birding Kern County. 


All thumbnails except those cited otherwise are taken by Alison Sheehey © (available as larger images), if there is not an image it generally means that would be a life bird for me or life photograph, email me if you see something in the field that I need to photograph. These images are taken all over the country, but each bird has been documented in Kern. For fantastic bird and butterfly photos of most of these species check out Bob Steele's website. http://www.bobsteelephoto.com.

bold italics with asterisk * = CBRC review species

ITALICS WITH ASTERISK * = exceptional, rare visitants or vagrants

(E) = endangered species; (T) = threatened species; (FP) = Fully Protected by CDFG; (SSC)(BCC) = species (bird) of special (conservation) concern; sensitive = listed as sensitive with USFS or BLM; (W) = watch list; (I) = introduced

  Name Scientific status Notes
Anseriformes - Screamers, Swans, Geese, and Ducks
Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, and Swans
1   Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis * 19 June 1938 Buena Vista Lake One record only: sexes look similar (monomorphic)
2 Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor *SSC (SSC) California City 1986-05-16 Tom Edell - occasional records from KNWR hunts
3   Snow Goose Anser caerulescens   winters in Kern Desert in large numbers
4 Ross's Goose Anser rossii   wintering Kern desert with occasional found in other areas
5   Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons   winters in the Central Valley - found at KNWR
6   Brant Branta bernicla SSC (SSC) rare with desert and valley records in spring and late fall and one in summer
7   Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii W winter throughout county - occasional lingering bird
8   Canada Goose Branta canadensis   resident populations at lakes - winter at remote areas
9   Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus   rare in Kern County - typically pass through in Dec-Jan
10   Wood Duck

Aix sponsa   resident population in Hart Park
11   Garganey Spatula querquedula * 30 Sep 1990, 28 Sep–01 Oct 1995 Cantil
12   Blue-winged Teal

Spatula discors   winter throughout county - one or two may linger into late spring
13   Cinnamon Teal

Spatula cyanoptera   resident breeder
14  Northern Shoveler - drake Northern Shoveler

Spatula clypeata   resident breeder
15   Gadwall

Mareca strepera   resident breeder
16   Eurasian Wigeon

Mareca penelope   rare visitor in winter generally only one or two
17   American Wigeon Mareca americana   common in winter at lakes and golf courses
18 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos   resident breeder - many domestic
19   Northern Pintail

Anas acuta   fairly common in winter through spring
20   Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca   fairly common fall through spring some summer records
21   Canvasback

Aythya valisineria W uncommon fall through spring
22   Redhead

Aythya americana SSC (SSC) uncommon resident breeder
23   Ring-necked Duck

Aythya collaris   common fall through spring
24   Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula   15 Jan 1980 Cuddy Valley, 17–19 Jan 1992 Isabella Reservoir
25   Greater Scaup

Aythya marila   rare inland in winter
26   Lesser Scaup

Aythya affinis   common in all except summer
27   Surf Scoter

Melanitta perspicillata   Kern River County Park - Dec 8 2007; Rancho de Nada - May 4 1989; California City Central Park - Oct 25 2016, Oct 19 2007, Oct 17 2007; Tehachapi-Brite Dam Rd - Nov 1 2017; Galileo Hill - Oct 10 2012; China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - Oct 25 2012, Oct 29 through Nov-12, 2011, Nov 6 2009, Oct 29 2009, Nov 5 2007, Nov 2 2006, May 26 2000, Nov 3 1999, OCt 5 1991, Oct 28 1989
28   White-winged Scoter

Melanitta deglandi   Edwards AFB--south evaporation ponds - 1988-11-26; Lake Isabella--South Fork Rec Area - 2011-11-03; China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - 2010-12-12, 2010-12-11, 2009-11-06
29   Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis   Dec 1990, 1-28 Nov 1991 China Lake, 27 Dec 1994 Isabella, 25 Mar 2003 Cantil, 14-25 March 2015 KNWR
30   Bufflehead

Bucephala albeola   common except in summer
31   Common Goldeneye

Bucephala clangula   fairly common along waterways except in summer
32   Barrow's Goldeneye

Bucephala islandica SSC (SSC) 1 Jan-1Feb 2012 Isabella Reservoir Alison Sheehey, 16 Dec 2015 Kern River Bakersfield Bob Barnes, 19-20 Dec 2016 Hart Park
33   Hooded Merganser

Lophodytes cucullatus   occasional along the Kern River and Hart Park fall-spring
34   Common Merganser

Mergus merganser   very common in winter but extremely rare in summer
35   Red-breasted Merganser

Mergus serrator   rare but expected at lakes around the county fall-spring
36   Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis   breeds on quiet water throughout county
Galliformes - Gallinaceous Birds
Odontophoridae - New World Quail
37 Mountain Quail Oreortyx pictus   (W) breeds in conifer forests in county mountains, relatively common heard often but seldom seen.
38 California Quail

Callipepla californica   California's state bird is common in its habitat. Listen for its "Chi- CA-go" call. common in valleys but population is crashing because of feral cats.
39 Gambel's Quail


Callipepla gambelii   native on restricted China Lake NAWS  (I) the rest of county
Phasianidae - Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, and Old World Quail
40 Chukar Alectoris chukar I (I) uncommon in desert mountains. Introduced from Calcutta, India in 1932. Continuous restocking make this species a tough one to count, as a wild bird.
41 Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus I (I) found in grasslands near water. introductions of these Chinese birds began in 1889 by fish & game. there are some good size flocks around the county where hunting is restricted
42 Sooty Grouse

Sooty Grouse

Dendragapus fuliginosus SSC (SSC) (W) Greenhorn Mountains - Sunday to Shirley Peak
43 Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

Meleagris gallopavo I (I) in Greenhorn Mtns and South Fork Kern
Podicipediformes - Grebes
Podicipedidae - Grebes
44 Pied-billed Grebe

Podilymbus podiceps   common in lakes and marshes breeds in county

winter and summer plumage differ

45 Horned Grebe

Podiceps auritus   rare fall thru spring

winter and summer plumage differ

46 Red-necked Grebe

Podiceps grisegena   very rare Oct-Jan in lakes around county


13-19 Nov 1993, Lake Isabella

26 Nov 1994, Lake Isabella, Jan 2007

Buena Vista Lake

47 Eared Grebe Eared Grebe

Podiceps nigricollis   most common in winter with less found during migration

winter and summer plumage differ

48 Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis   breeds on Isabella Reservoir
49 Clark's Grebe Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii   (W) Breeds on Isabella Reservoir
Columbiformes - Pigeons and Doves
Columbidae - Pigeons and Doves
50 Rock Pigeon Columba livia I (I) feral populations found near humans around countyIntroduced with European colonization of county.
51 Band-tailed Pigeon Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata   oak woodlands to mixed conifer

breeds in mountains near oaks

52 Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto I (I) First recorded in Ridgecrest on 13 May 2001
53 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis I (I) very rare and dwindling in Bakersfield(I) Species first reported in Los Angeles prior to 1917. Unknown when establish in Kern, suspect early 60's. Uncommon and declining in Bakersfield
54 Inca Dove Columbina inca   one individual Ridgecrest Apr 2001-Dec 2002
55 Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina   Very secretive in orange orchards and occasionally near wetlands. resident breeder

sexes look slightly different (dimorphic)

56   Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti * 30 Sep 1990, 21 Sep 1991, 17–18 Oct 1991 Cantil 3 Feb–4 Apr 1992 Ridgecrest 6–15 Nov 1996 Ridgecrest 20–22 Oct 2001Galileo Hill
57 White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica   Small population in Ridgecrest breeds - vagrant in rest of county
58 Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura   Breeding but numbers dwindling since Eurasian Collared-Dove arrived
Cuculiformes - Cuckoos and Allies
Cuculidae - Cuckoos, Roadrunners, and Anis
59 Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris * 14–15 Oct 1988 Galileo Hill
60 Greater Roadrunner Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus   In deserts and grasslands around county
61 Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus FT, SE (SE) Breeds along South Fork Kern River - numbers keep dropping due to habitat flooding by Corps of Engineers
Caprimulgiformes - Nightjars
Caprimulgidae - Nightjars
62 Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis   summer resident in valleys, canyons, and desert. Uncommon mid April through mid October.
63 Common Nighthawk Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor   rare migrant, may nest in mountains

Late May through August vagrant

64 Common Poorwill Phalaenoptilus nuttallii   uncommon resident

rocky areas, conifer forests, canyons, and woodlands

non-migratory. Experiences torpor during colder days. resident in foothills and mountains
Apodiformes - Swifts and Hummingbirds
Apodidae - Swifts
65   Black Swift Cypseloides niger SSC (SSC) rare migrant, nests under waterfalls
66   Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica  

11 May 1990, Cantil

5 Jun 1993, Cantil

25 May 1997, California City

California City Central Park - 2011-05-29; China Lake NAWS sewage ponds - 2007-05-23

67 Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi SSC (SSC) common migrant in spring and fall
68 White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis   nesting resident found in rocky cliffs and along rivers
Trochilidae - Hummingbirds
69 Black-chinned Hummingbird Black-chinned Hummingbird

Archilochus alexandri   nesting summer resident
70 Anna's Hummingbird

Calypte anna   resident
71 Costa's Hummingbird

Calypte costae W (BCC) resident in desert
72 Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Selasphorus platycercus   Ridgecrest - May 7 2006; Cerro Coso Community College - Aug 24 2012, Aug 21 2012, May 27 2007, Sep 7 2002, May 15 2002; Inyokern - Apr 26 2007-04-26, Apr 16-May 15 2006, May 2-5 2002; California City Central Park - Sep 8 1991; Mill Potrero Park - Aug 23 1998
73 Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus W (BCC) common migrant
74 Allen's Hummingbird

Selasphorus sasin   Rare spring and fall migrant
75 Calliope Hummingbird Selasphorus calliope   summer nests in mountains
76 Broad-billed Hummingbird Broad-billed Hummingbird Cynanthus latirostris * 18 Apr 1982 Short Canyon, 1–4 Oct 1997 Weldon, 26-31 Oct 2005 Inyokern
77 Violet-crowned Hummingbird Amazilia violiceps * KRP 7 July - 2 Aug 2018
Gruiformes - Rails, Cranes, and Allies
Rallidae - Rails, Gallinules, and Coots
78 Virginia Rail Rallus limicola   marshland desert, kern valley, central valley
79 Sora Porzana carolina   marshland desert, kern valley, central valley
80 Common Moorhen Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata   resident breeder

marshland desert, central valley

81 American Coot Fulica americana   resident breeder

marsh and lake desert, kern valley, central valley

Gruidae - Cranes
82 Sandhill Crane Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis


Lesser Sandhill Crane - state species of concern

A. c. canadensis


Greater Sandhill Crane - state threatened species

A. (Grus) c. tabida


ST (ST-Greater) (FP)(SSC) rare and local in winter. Just to the north in Tulare County at Pixley Refuge, thousands can easily be seen from November through February.
Charadriiformes - Shorebirds, Gulls, Auks, and Allies
Recurvirostridae - Stilts and Avocets
83 Black-necked Stilt Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus   resident breeder
84 American Avocet

Recurvirostra americana   resident breeder
Charadriidae - Lapwings and Plovers
85 Black-bellied Plover

Pluvialis squatarola   migrant winter
86 American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica   China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - Oct 27 2012, Apr 28-30 2007, May 20-21 2006, Oct 12 1991, Sep 21 1991; TLDD Evaporation Ponds - Oct 5 1985; Edwards AFB--south evaporation ponds - Oct 19 2005,  Nov 4 2003, Nov 4 2003, Oct 6 1984
87 Pacific Golden-Plover

Pluvialis fulva   rare migrant
88 Snowy Plover

Charadrius nivosus FT (FT) (SSC)(W)rare in wetlands. Breed at China Lake and Central Valley
89 Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus   spring and fall migrant
90 Killdeer Charadrius vociferus   resident breeder

marshes, wetlands, grasslands, lawns

common throughout county
91 Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus SSC (SSC)(BCC)(W)

marshes, wetlands, short grasslands

Scolopacidae - Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies
92 Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda * 4-8 Jun 2006 Galileo Hill, 9 June 2016, Cerro Coso, Andrew Howe, Sept 2019 Galileo
93 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus   uncommon spring through fall
94 Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus W (BCC)(W) uncommon
95   Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica * (W) 7-8 Jun 2007 China Lake, Susan Steele
96 Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa   uncommon migrant

(W) winter

97 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres  

28 Apr-12 May (9 records)

14 July to 8 Sept (16 fall records)


98 Black Turnstone Black Turnstone Arenaria melanocephala   (W) exceptional

29 May 1988, China Lake

1-2 Sept 1996, Edwards AFB. TLDD Sept 2017

99 Red Knot Red Knot Calidris canutus   very rare
100 Ruff Calidris pugnax   Edwards AFB--south evaporation ponds - Sep 25 2002; TLDD South Evaporation Ponds - Jul 30 1994, Aug 21 1988, Jan 17 1987, Sep 10 2017, Aug 21-27 2017, Aug 5 2017, Feb 22 1987; Riverside Park area Bike Path - Jan 1-27 1990; Tumblen Lake/Goose Lake - Mar 23 1986; Goose Lake Evap Ponds/Carmel Ranch Ponds - Sep 3 1989, Aug 6, 26 1989, Jul 28 1989, Aug 12-13 1987, Apr 5 1986, Jan 26-28 1986; Rancho de Nada - May 5 2009; China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - Sep 30 2014, Sep 24-27 2012, Sep 17 2007, May 16-22 2006, Sep 25 2004, May 11-12 1991, Nov 22 1990
101   Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata   exceptional
102   Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus   exceptional
103   Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea * 24 Jul 2001 Edwards Air Force Base; 22 Jul 2018 TLDD
104   Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis * 13 Jun 2005 China Lake, Susan Steele
105 Sanderling Calidris alba   rare winter
106 Dunlin Dunlin Calidris alpina   winter
107 Baird's Sandpiper Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii   fall migrant
108 Least Sandpiper

Calidris minutilla   common peep
109   White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis * 25–29 May 2000, 15 Aug 2006, 21-22. 23 May 2007,  24-25 May 2009 China Lake, Susan Steele
110   Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis   5 Sep 1988, 16 Sep 1989, 3–9 Jun 1990, 16 Sep 1990 Edwards Air Force Base
111 Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos   uncommon migrant
112 Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla   13 May 1979 Kern NWR very rare spring migrant


Western Sandpiper

Calidris mauri   migrant and winter resident
114 Short-billed Dowitcher Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus   migrant
115 Long-billed Dowitcher

Limnodromus scolopaceus   winter
116 Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata   winter
117 Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius   migrant-winter
118 Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria   uncommon migrant
119 Wandering Tattler Tringa incana   China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - 2010-08-27; Edwards AFB--south evaporation ponds - 1998-05-07, 1998-05-06; Kern NWR - 1977-09-14, 4 Jun 1993, China Lake
120 Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes   common in low numbers migration
121 Willet Tringa semipalmata   uncommon migrant
122 Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca   common winter
123   Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola * 22-23 May 2007 China Lake, Susan Steele
124 Wilson's Phalarope Wilson's Phalarope

Phalaropus tricolor   migrant
125 Red-necked Phalarope

Phalaropus lobatus   migrant
126 Red Phalarope

Red Phalarope

Phalaropus fulicarius   rare migrant

spring and fall migration

exceptionally rare inland - records from the desert only

Stercorariidae - Skuas
127 Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus   rare

2 Sept 1989, China Lake

128 Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus   rare

19-22 Sept 1989, China Lake

129 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus   rare

23-Aug-94 China Lake

Laridae - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers
130 Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla   exceptional

11 Dec 1987, Inyokern

131 Sabine's Gull

Xema sabini   rare migrant
132 Bonaparte's Gull

Chroicocephalus philadelphia   uncommon winter

uncommon but the most expected black hooded gull in Kern County.

133   Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus  

4-6 May 1996, China Lake NWR

29 Aug 1997,  China Lake NWR, 19 Apr 1999, China Lake NWR

29 Aug 2011, China Lake NWR, Susan Steele

134 Laughing Gull

Leucophaeus atricilla W (W) exceptional 19 July 1997, Edwards AFB
135 Franklin's Gull

Leucophaeus pipixcan   spring migrant
136 Heermann's Gull Larus heermanni   Edward's Air Force Base 16 June 1990, 10-11 May 1997, 29 October 1994, 7 October 1995 Matt Heindel, China Lake - 5-20, Apr 2004, 14-30, Oct 2003, 6-29, May 2003, Susan Steele, Kissack Cove, Mtn Mesa 13-14 May 2012 Alison Sheehey
137 Mew Gull Mew Gull Larus canus   very rare winter

rare at inland lakes - records from Cantil, Edwards AFB, Isabella Reservoir, and Buena Vista Lake

138 Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis   Winter resident most common in desert and San Joaquin Valley a few individuals interspersed with California Gulls at Isabella Reservoir
139 Western Gull Larus occidentalis  

Exceptional visitor to Kern. This common coastal gull is truly a sea gull as it rarely ventures inland.

17 Apr 1988, Edwards, also recorded at Buena Vista Lake.

140 Yellow-footed Gull Larus livens   exceptional 

April 2006 Tom Wurster, China Lake

141 California Gull Larus californicus W (W) common
142 Herring Gull Larus argentatus   uncommon winter
143 Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   Thayer's Gull subspecies of Iceland
144 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus   21 Dec 2008 Buena Vista Rec Area, Susan Steele 5 Jan 2014, Isabella Reservoir, Alison Sheehey
145 Glaucous-winged Gull

Larus glaucescens   rare winter

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   very rare winter

19 Dec 1998, Arvin
2011, Arvin

147 Least Tern Least Tern Sternula antillarum FE (SE) (FE) (FP) 12 May - 23 Jun, 8 records in Kern desert
148 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica SSC (SSC)  Susan Steele 2 May 2014 S. Evaporation Ponds (restricted access)
149 Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia W (BCC) most common tern in county spring through fall
150 Black Tern Chlidonias niger SSC (SSC) uncommon migrant
151 Common Tern Sterna hirundo   very rare
152   Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea   7 May 1999, 5 records 3-18 June, 5 records 16-30 September China Lake or Edwards AFB
153 Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri   uncommon but expected summer
154 Black Skimmer Rynchops niger SSC China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - Jul 28 1990; TLDD Evaporation Ponds - Jul 19, 27 Aug 9, 23 1986
Gaviiformes - Loons
Gaviidae - Loons
155 Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata  

22 Oct 1995, Edwards AFB, 28 Dec 1992

Lake Isabella--Engineer Pt.
156 Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica   rare fall through spring
157 Common Loon

Gavia immer SSC (SSC)

 uncommon Sept. thru May

Ciconiiformes - Storks
Ciconiidae - Storks
158 Wood Stork Wood Stork Mycteria americana SSC (SSC) exceptional

11 May 1922, Buena Vista

Suliformes - Frigatebirds, Boobies, Cormorants, Darters, and Allies
Fregatidae - Frigatebirds
159 Magnificent Frigatebird Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens   exceptional

5 Aug 1980, Mt Pinos

fall 1977, Lake Isabella

Phalacrocoracidae - Cormorants
160 Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus * May 11-23, 2015 - George Griffeth - Lake Ming; Jun 2019 John Schmitt - Isabella Reservoir; 12-13 May 2019 - John Sterling - Kern Water Bank
161 Double-crested Cormorant

Phalacrocorax auritus W (SSC) resident breeder
Pelecaniformes - Pelicans, Herons, Ibises, and Allies
Pelecanidae - Pelicans
162 American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos SSC (SSC) resident on Lake Isabella
163 Brown Pelican Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis * (FP) very rare
Ardeidae - Herons, Bitterns, and Allies
164 American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus W

An uncommon resident in the San Joaquin Valley, Kern Valley and Mojave Desert.

Prefers cattail / tule marshes. Breeding at Kern National Wildlife Refuge and unconfirmed in the Kern Valley.

165 Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis SSC (SSC) rare nesting

Formerly bred in the Kern Valley but no recent records.

Extremely shy and very rarely seen.  Prefers cattail / tule marshes in the valleys, few records for the Kern desert but there are breeding records to the north in Inyo County.

166 Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias S

A breeding resident throughout the county.

Great Blue Herons nest in trees in communal rookeries. Relatively common in appropriate habitat year round.

167 Great Egret Ardea alba S Common along the Kern River especially in winter and spring. Found in varying numbers throughout the county.
168 Snowy Egret Egretta thula W

A rare breeder in the San Joaquin Valley.

Frequents open cottonwood/willow forests, and cattail / tule marshes. Fairly common in the Tulare and Kern River Basins. Uncommon to rare in the Kern Valley and the desert.

169 Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea   Edwards AFB--south evaporation ponds - 2003-05-24; California City Central Park - 1992-12-21, 1992-12-20; China Lake NAWS--Sewage Ponds - 2010-06-27

Only observed 3X in county

170 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis   A breeding resident in the San Joaquin Valley. Prefers rather stinky places like sewer ponds and feedlots. Very common at landfills and sewer ponds in the Bakersfield area. Less common to rare in rest of the county.
171 Green Heron

Butorides virescens   A breeding resident in the San Joaquin Valley, Kern Valley and Mojave Desert. Prefers the edges and underbrush along streams and in marshes. A shy and inconspicuous bird that is uncommon in appropriate habitat in the valleys, and rare in the desert.
172 Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax W

A breeding resident in the San Joaquin Valley, Kern Valley and Mojave Desert.

Prefers cattail / tule marshes. Relatively abundant to common in appropriate habitat in the valleys, less common to rare in the desert.

Threskiornithidae - Ibises and Spoonbills
173   Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus   Kern Water Bank - John Sterling - 23 April 2019 
174 White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi W (W) resident breeder
175 Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja *


24 Sep - 2 Oct 1966, near Buttonwillow

Cathartiformes - New World Vultures
Cathartidae - New World Vultures
176 Turkey Vulture Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura   resident breeder
177 California Condor California Condor Gymnogyps californianus FE (E) (FP) (W) resident breeder
Accipitriformes - Hawks, Kites, Eagles, and Allies
Pandionidae - Ospreys
178 Osprey Pandion haliaetus S (SSC) resident breeder
Accipitridae - Hawks, Kites, Eagles, and Allies
179 White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus * (FP) resident breeder
180 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos * (FP) sensitive resident breeder
181 Northern Harrier Circus hudsonius SSC (SSC) resident breeder
182 Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus W (W) winter resident
183 Cooper's Hawk Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii W (W) resident breeder
184 Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis SSC (FS) resident breeder
185 Bald Eagle Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus SE (SE) (FP) uncommon resident
186 Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis * 5 Jun 1992 Kern River Preserve
187 Common Black Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus * 27 Apr 2008 Galileo Hill
188 Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus W (W) 5 Mar 2001 California City
189 Red-shouldered Hawk Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus   resident breeder
190 Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus   2 October 1983, Cantil - Matt Heindel; 8 May 1988, Cantil - Paul Lehman; 24 Sept 1994, Galileo Hill - Matt Heindel
191 Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni ST (ST-CA)(W)  resident breeder
192 Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus   26 May 1994 California City - Curtis Johnson, 3 Oct 1994 Weldon - Sean Rowe, 27-28 May 2017 California City - 
193 Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis   resident breeder
194 Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus   rare winter resident Transverse Range
195 Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis W (BCC) uncommon winter
Strigiformes - Owls
Tytonidae - Barn Owls
196 Barn Owl Tyto alba   resident breeder
Strigidae - Typical Owls
197 Flammulated Owl Psiloscops flammeolus   (BCC) summer breeder mountains
198 Western Screech Owl Western Screech-Owl Megascops kennicottii   resident breeder
199 Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus   resident breeder
200 Northern Pygmy-Owl Northern Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium gnoma   resident breeder
201 Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia SSC (SSC) resident breeder
202 Spotted Owl Strix occidentalis SSC (SSC) resident breeder
203 Barred Owl Strix varia   2 Jun 2017 Greenhorn Mountain John & Jenna Stanek, 6 Jun 2017 Elias Elias 
204 Long-eared Owl Asio otus SSC (SSC) resident breeder
205 Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus SSC (SSC)
206   Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus   resident breeder
Coraciiformes - Rollers, Motmots, Kingfishers, and Allies
Alcedinidae - Kingfishers
207 Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon   resident breeder
Piciformes - Puffbirds, Jacamars, Toucans, Woodpeckers, and Allies
Picidae - Woodpeckers and Allies
208 Lewis's Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis W (BCC) irruptive nesting
209 Acorn Woodpecker

Melanerpes formicivorus   resident breeder
210 Williamson's Sapsucker Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson's Sapsucker

Sphyrapicus thyroideus   uncommon resident
211 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius   rare winter
212 Red-naped Sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis   uncommon winter
213 Red-breasted Sapsucker Red-breasted Sapsucker Sphyrapicus ruber W (W) resident breeder
214 Black-backed Woodpecker Picoides arcticus W (FSS) imperiled in California Greenhorn Mtn. 18 Jul 2017
215 Downy Woodpecker - male Downy Woodpecker

Dryobates pubescens   resident breeder
216 Nuttall's Woodpecker

Dryobates nuttallii   resident breeder
217 Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Dryobates scalaris   resident breeder
218 Hairy Woodpecker Dryobates villosus   resident breeder
219 White-headed Woodpecker White-headed Woodpecker Dryobates albolarvatus   resident breeder
220 Northern Flicker Northern Flicker

Colaptes auratus   resident breeder
221 Pileated Woodpecker Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus   rare nesting resident
Falconiformes - Caracaras and Falcons
Falconidae - Caracaras and Falcons
222 Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway * FT 25-27 Mar 2008 Kern River Preserve, Bill Foster
223 American Kestrel Falco sparverius   resident breeder
224 Merlin Falco columbarius W (W) winter resident
225 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus * (BCC) resident breeder
226 Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus W (BCC) resident breeder
Psittaciformes - Parrots
Psittacidae - African and New World Parrots
227 Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri   (I) not on official list  resident breeder
Passeriformes - Passerine Birds
Tyrannidae - Tyrant Flycatchers
228 Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens   summer nesting
229 Great-crested Flycatcher Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus * 23–27 Sep 1989 Galileo Hill, 4 Oct 1996 California City
230 Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus W (W) rare breeding
231 Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus   exceptional
232 Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans   rare resident
233 Western Kingbird Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis   summer nesting
234 Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus   exceptional
235 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus   7 Aug 1992 China Lake, 6 Sep 1992 Cerro Noroeste
236 Olive-sided Flycatcher Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi SSC (BCC) summer breeders
237 Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus   summer nesting
238 Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens * 10 Jun 1998 Galileo Hill 27 Jun–09 Jul 1998 Kern River Preserve
239   Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris * Galileo Hill 24 Sep 1997 Cantil, 7 Sep 1998, 5 Oct 2002 California City, 27 Sep–01 Oct 1989, 11 Sep 1996, 21 Sep 1997, 3 Oct 2004 Galileo Hill
240 Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum * 11 Jul 1991 Kern River Preserve, 30 May 1992 Butterbredt
241 Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii FE (SE full species) (FE - extimus)
242 Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus   exceptional
243 Hammond's Flycatcher Empidonax hammondii   common migrant
244 Gray Flycatcher Empidonax wrightii   uncommon migrant
245 Dusky Flycatcher Empidonax oberholseri   summer nesting
246 Pacific-slope Flycatcher Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis   summer nesting
247 Cordilleran Flycatcher Empidonax occidentalis   31 May 2016, Alison Sheehey, Galileo
248 Buff-breasted Flycatcher Empidonax fulvifrons * 15 May 2016, Mary & Nick Freeman, Galileo
249 Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans   resident breeder
250 Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe    rare vagrant
251 Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya   resident breeder
252 Vermilion Flycatcher

Pyrocephalus rubinus SSC (SSC) rare
Laniidae - Shrikes
253 Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus SSC (SSC) resident breeder
254 Northern Shrike


Lanius borealis   exceptional
Vireonidae - Vireos
255 White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus * 14–17 May 1992, Butterbredt, 24–27 May 1992 Kern River Preserve, 18 May 2008, 25-28 May 2009, 31 May-1 Jun 2012, Galileo Hill
256 Bell's Vireo Vireo bellii FE (FE) (SE) resident
257   Gray Vireo Vireo vicinior SSC (SSC) exceptional
258 Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni   rare nesting
259   Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons   7–30 Jul 1994 Weldon, 26 May 1999 Jawbone Canyon, 9 Oct 1999 Galileo Hill, 19–20 May 2001 Jawbone Canyon, 3 Jun 2001Butterbredt Spring, 13 Apr 2002 Galileo Hill, 29-31 May 2004, 14 May 2006 Butterbredt Spring
260 Cassin's Vireo Vireo cassinii   summer nesting
261 Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius * 22 Oct 2001 Galileo Hill; 20 Apr 2004, 14 May 2006 Butterbredt Spring
262 Plumbeous Vireo Vireo plumbeus   uncommon migrant
263   Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus   22 Oct 1983 California City, 19 Oct 1988, 10 Oct 1992, 6–12 Oct 1996 Galileo Hill
264 Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus   summer nesting
265 Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus   exceptional
266   Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis   21–27 Sep 1995, 6 Oct 1998, 28–30 Oct 2003 Galileo Hill
Corvidae - Crows and Jays
267 Pinyon Jay Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus   resident breeder
268 Steller's Jay Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri   resident breeder
269 California Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica   resident breeder
270 Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma woodhouseii   rare
271 Clark's Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana   rare SW county
272 Black-billed Magpie Pica hudsonia   exceptional only 3 desert records
273 Yellow-billed Magpie Pica nuttalli W (BCC) rare NW corner county
274 American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos   resident breeder
275 Common Raven Corvus corax   resident breeder
Alaudidae - Larks
276 Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris W (W) resident breeder
Hirundinidae - Swallows
277 Bank Swallow Riparia riparia ST (SSC) uncommon migrant
278 Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor   resident breeder
279 Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina   summer nesting
280 Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis   summer nesting
281 Purple Martin Purple Martin


Progne subis SSC (ST)  uncommon summer
282 Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica   summer nesting
283 Cliff Swallow

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota   summer nesting
Paridae - Chickadees and Titmice
284 Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli   resident breeder
285 Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus W (BCC) resident breeder
286 Juniper Titmouse Baeolophus ridgwayi    
Remizidae - Penduline Tits and Verdins
287 Verdin Auriparus flaviceps   resident breeder
Aegithalidae - Long-tailed Tits and Bushtits
288 Bushtit

Psaltriparus minimus   resident breeder
Sittidae - Nuthatches
289 Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis   resident breeder
290 White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis   resident breeder
291 Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea   resident breeder
Certhiidae - Creepers
292 Brown Creeper Certhia americana   resident breeder
Troglodytidae - Wrens  
293 Rock Wren Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus   resident breeder
294 Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus   resident breeder
295 House Wren Troglodytes aedon   resident breeder
296 Pacific Wren Troglodytes pacificus   resident breeder
297 Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris   resident breeder
298 Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii   resident breeder
299 Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus   resident breeder
Polioptilidae - Gnatcatchers and Gnatwrens
300 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea   resident breeder
301 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura W  (W) Summer 2009 - Jon Feenstra
Cinclidae - Dippers
302 American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus   resident breeder
Regulidae - Kinglets
303 Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa   resident breeder
304 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Regulus calendula   resident breeder
Phylloscopidae - Leaf Warblers
305   Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus * 4–5 Oct 1997 Cantil
306 Arctic/Kamchatka Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealis/examinandus * 6-10 Sept 2007 - B. & S. Steele - Galileo Hill
Sylviidae - Sylviid Warblers
307 Wrentit Chamaea fasciata   resident breeder
Turdidae - Thrushes 
308 Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana   resident breeder
309 Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides   common winter
310 Townsend's Solitaire Myadestes townsendi   resident breeder
311 Veery Catharus fuscescens * 19–24 Sep 1991 Galileo Hill
312   Gray-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus * 9 Oct 1998 Galileo Hill 29 Sept-1 Oct 2015, Galileo Hill, Susan Steele
313 Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus   common migrant
314 Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus   resident breeder
315   Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina * 9 Oct 2008, 1 Oct 2011 Galileo Hill, 22 June-2 Jul 2010, Tejon Ranch, Dan Kopp, Ed Pandolfino
316   Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus * 28 May 2001 Galileo Hill
317 American Robin Turdus migratorius   resident breeder
318 Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius   irruptive winter
Mimidae - Mockingbirds and Thrashers
319 Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis   5 Jun 1987 Mojave, 1 Jun 1991 Butterbredt Spring, many other sightings Kern Desert, 14 Oct 2004 Kern River Preserve,
320 Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum   exceptional
321 Bendire's Thrasher Toxostoma bendirei SSC (SSC) exceptional summer
322 California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum   resident breeder
323 LeConte's Thrasher Toxostoma lecontei SSC (SSC) resident breeder
324 Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes montanus   migrant
325 Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos   resident breeder
Sturnidae - Starlings
326 European Starling Sturnus vulgaris I (I) resident breeder
Bombycillidae - Waxwings
327   Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus   exceptional
328 Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum   uncommon 
Ptiliogonatidae - Silky-flycatchers
329 Phainopepla

Phainopepla nitens   resident breeder
Estrildidae - Waxbills and Allies
330 Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata I (I) One juvenile seen by Susan Steele and Tom Wurster. 29 October 2016 California City. Kern River Bakersfield, Jake Abel 
Passeridae - Old World Sparrows
331 House Sparrow Passer domesticus I (I) resident breeder
Motacillidae - Wagtails and Pipits
332 Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus   20 Sep 1991 China Lake, 22 Sep 1991 California City
333 American Pipit Anthus rubescens   winter resident
334 Sprague's Pipit Anthus spragueii   20–22 Oct 1996 China Lake, 8-9 Oct 2008 Galileo Hill
Fringillidae - Fringilline and Cardueline Finches and Allies
335 Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus   rare breeding
336 Pine Grosbeak

Pinicola enucleator   exceptional
337 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Leucosticte tephrocotis   exceptional
338 House Finch

Haemorhous mexicanus   resident breeder
339 Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus   resident breeder
340 Cassin's Finch

Haemorhous cassinii   summer in mountains - winter movement to lowlands  resident breeder
341 Red Crossbill

Loxia curvirostra   irruptive -  resident breeder
342 Pine Siskin Spinus pinus   irruptive - may be found year-round but mostly winter
343 Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria   breeds in county grasslands, riparian areas