Priority Birds

A priority species is one that is particularly threatened in terms of the species' long-term survival.

Photo: Don Mullaney

What is a priority species? 

A priority species is one that is particularly threatened in terms of the species' long-term survival. All priority species have been selected through rigorous scientific analysis, and most represent a broad array of other birds and wildlife that use the same habitat type. Conservation focused on priority species is almost always focused on priority habitats as well. Audubon has identified 32 priority-bird species within the Atlantic Flyway. 

For a complete list of Audubon's priority-bird species click here.

Snail Kite

Rostrhamus sociabilis

   

Bird species that are included in the Audubon North Carolina Conservation Plan

Bird species that are included in the Audubon North Carolina Conservation Plan

  • American Oystercatcher
  • Black Skimmer
  • Brown-headed Nuthatch
  • Brown Pelican
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Common Tern
  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Least Tern
  • Piping Plover
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Red Knot
  • Saltmarsh Sparrow
  • Sanderling
  • Seaside Sparrow
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Western Sandpiper
  • Wilson's Plover
  • Wood Thrush

Get to Know North Carolina's Iconic Birds

American Oystercatcher
Priority Birds

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatchers are the most recognizable of all North Carolina shorebirds. They can be found along the North Carolina coast year-round, nesting on sandy beaches and islands. 

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Black Skimmer
Priority Birds

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmers are named for their unique foraging behavior: Using their brightly colored bill, they skim the surface of the water, and when they come into contact with prey—usually small fish—they snap that bill closed. 

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Bobolink
Priority Birds

Bobolink

With reforestation of abandoned farmland and further development of the region, the Bobolink population has seen a dramatic decline. 

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Brown-headed Nuthatch
Priority Birds

Brown-headed Nuthatch

The Brown-headed Nuthatch is fondly known to Audubon North Carolina (ANC) as our quintessential southern bird. 

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Brown Pelican
Priority Birds

Brown Pelican

In North Carolina, Brown Pelicans are found in coastal marine and estuarine waters. .

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Cerulean Warbler
Priority Birds

Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler is one of the species of highest conservation concern and is been considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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Chimney Swift
Priority Birds

Chimney Swift

The small, agile, fast-flying Chimney Swift is readily identified by its characteristic "flying cigar" profile. 

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Golden-winged Warbler
Priority Birds

Golden-winged Warbler

The rapid decline of the Golden-winged Warbler since the 1980s cannot be explained solely by habitat loss, and that mystery has attracted many scientists to study this beautiful warbler.

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Green-winged Teal
Priority Birds

Green-winged Teal

The first to arrive and last to leave, the Green-winged Teal spends a very short period wintering in southern states including North Carolina, so spotting one may require some planning. 

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Piping Plover
Priority Birds

Piping Plover

Piping Plovers are federally threatened and endangered shorebirds, which inhabit wide, open beaches, shorelines and dry lakebeds in North America.

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Saltmarsh Sparrow
Priority Birds

Saltmarsh Sparrow

Saltmarsh Sparrows are tiny, social birds weighing less than 1 ounce. It can be difficult to spot this bird as they spend most of their time on the ground within the tall grasses of a salt marsh where they make a home.

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Tundra Swan
Priority Birds

Tundra Swan

The Tundra Swan is known for its exquisite features and courting rituals, which have made it revered throughout history.

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White Ibis
Priority Birds

White Ibis

White Ibis may be seen foraging on lawns or neighborhood ponds, especially in August after nesting season concludes, but marshes, swamps and other wetlands are their native habitat.

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Wood Thrush
Priority Birds

Wood Thrush

As its population has declined nearly 40 percent, the Wood Thrush has been designated a priority for conservation within our global and state IBAs. 

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