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The Beauty and Diversity of Prince Edward Island’s Birds: 9 Species to Look Out for

Prince Edward Island is an idyllic island located in the eastern part of Canada. The island is known for its stunning scenery, friendly locals, and thriving arts and cultural scene.

However, it’s also home to a wide range of bird species that call the island their permanent or temporary home. These birds are an essential part of the island’s ecosystem and add to the island’s charm and natural beauty.

In this article, we’ll explore the different bird species that call Prince Edward Island their home, from the common seagull to the rare and endangered piping plover. So let’s grab our binoculars and discover the fascinating world of PEI island birds.

1. Northern Storm Petrels

Northern Storm Petrels

Northern storm petrels are one of the smallest seabirds, inhabiting oceans all over the world.

They have a unique ability to hover over water and pick planktonic crustaceans and small fish from the surface.

Northern storm petrels belong to the genus Hydrobates in the family Hydrobatidae, part of the Procellariiformes order.

This species was once lumped with austral storm petrel but recent studies show that they weren’t related closely which led to them being split into two distinct species now.

These birds can be identified by their dark grey upperparts and wings along with white underparts when seen from afar while feeding on the ocean’s surface.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Procellariiformes
Family Hydrobatidae Mathews, 1912
Genus Hydrobates F. Boie, 1822

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2. Cuckoos


Cuckoos are fascinating birds belonging to the Cuculidae family, which is the only taxon in the order Cuculiformes.

There are many different species within this family such as common or European cuckoo, roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, and anis.

Some of these species may even be identified as separate families – Centropodidae and Crotophagidae respectively.

These birds have been known for their unique features such as loud calls heard consistently during certain times of day and night.

They also exhibit behavior like brood parasitism where they lay eggs in other nests so that their chicks can get more food from host parents than their own.

All these traits make them one-of-a-kind creatures worth admiring.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Clade Otidimorphae
Order Cuculiformes Wagler, 1830
Family Cuculidae Leach, 1820

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3. Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

The turkey vulture is a large bird of prey that can be found in many parts of the world. It has a wingspan of up to 6 feet and its feathers are mostly black with brownish-red patches on the underside which give it an overall dark red appearance.

Its head is bald, which helps protect it from getting overheated when flying long distances looking for food.

The Turkey Vulture usually feeds off carrion but will also feed on fruit and insects.

Its keen eyesight allows them to spot potential meals from miles away while they soar through the sky using their broad wings and thermal air currents to stay aloft without expending much energy.

They are very important scavengers as they keep ecosystems healthy by consuming dead animals before the disease can spread amongst living creatures or contaminate local water sources like rivers or lakesScientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Cathartidae
Genus Cathartes
Species C. aura

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4. Tyrant Flycatchers

Tyrant flycatchers

Tyrant flycatchers are a family of birds found in North and South America, containing over 400 species. These birds come in an array of shapes and sizes, with vibrant plumage to match.

They are the most diverse avian family across all countries they inhabit except for the United States and Canada.

Their diet consists mainly of insects but also includes small reptiles or amphibians where available.

The behavior varies between each bird; some prefer open areas while others like dense forests as their habitat � many even migrate regularly.

Tyrant Flycatchers have adapted well to human presence thanks to the abundance of food sources that often accompany them such as backyards, parks, etc.

All things considered, these incredible creatures are truly amazing.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Parvorder Tyrannida
Family Tyrannidae Vigors, 1825

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5. Canada Warbler

Canada warbler

The Canada warbler is a small songbird of the Parulidae family, native to North America. It has olive-green upperparts with yellow underparts and white wing bars, making it easily identifiable.

During summer months they are found in Canada and northeastern United States while during winter their range extends to northern South America.

Mathurin Jacques Brisson was the first to describe this species in 1760 after he collected a specimen from Canada; which resulted in its French name Le gobe-mouche du Canada (Canada’s flycatcher).

Its diet consists mainly of insects such as beetles and mosquitoes, but also includes berries occasionally.

With an estimated population of 5 million individuals, they remain common across much of their range although numbers have been declining due to habitat loss caused by human development activities like logging or agricultural expansion.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Parulidae
Genus Cardellina
Species C. canadensis

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6. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned kinglet

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a small passerine bird native to North America. It has olive-green plumage, white wing bars, and an eye-ring as well as a distinctive red crown patch on the males.

Juveniles look similar to adults with no distinguishing features other than size.

They are usually found in coniferous forests or woodlands where they spend much of their time searching for insects among foliage and branches while constantly flitting from place to place.

These birds have incredible energy levels that allow them to travel long distances during migration season without getting exhausted too quickly, making them one of nature’s most resilient species.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Regulidae
Genus Corthylio Cabanis, 1853
Species C. calendula

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7. Olive-Sided Flycatcher

Olive-Sided Flycatcher

The Olive-sided Flycatcher is a small to medium-sized passerine bird in the family Tyrannidae.

It migrates from South America to North America for breeding every summer and preys on flying insects while agilely gliding through the air.

This species has been considered near threatened globally by the IUCN since 2016 due to population declines caused by habitat loss, deforestation, and fragmentation of their nesting grounds.

Conservation efforts are underway with research being done on this species’ behavior and habits so that suitable habitats can be created or maintained for them to survive long term.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae
Genus Contopus
Species C. cooperi

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8. Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood Pewee

The Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) is an iconic bird of North America, easily identified by its distinctive call.

It was formerly considered a single species with the Western Wood-Pewee until Mathurin Jacques Brisson included it in his 1760 description as two distinct birds.

The Eastern and Western varieties share almost identical appearances but can be differentiated most clearly through their calls – the former’s being more musical with higher pitched notes than that of its counterpart.

Its diet consists mainly of insects caught mid-flight or from foliage perches; however, it will also consume some fruits during the breeding season to supplement this nutrition.

Overall, they make a beautiful addition to any backyard habitat.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae
Genus Contopus
Species C. virens

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9. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied sapsucker

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a medium-sized woodpecker that can be found in Canada and the northeastern United States.

It was first described by English naturalist Mark Catesby who illustrated it with hand coloured plates for his book The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands during 1729 -1732.

This beautiful bird has white stripes on its black head which contrast against its yellow throat, breast, and belly making it stand out from other birds. Its wings are barred with red patches adding to its beauty.

They also have white streaks on their sides along with bold spots at their back giving them a unique look among others.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae
Genus Sphyrapicus
Species S. varius

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Prince Edward Island is home to a diverse range of bird species, showcasing the rich biodiversity of this beautiful province.

From the iconic Atlantic Puffin to the elegant Great Blue Heron, these nine birds represent just a fraction of the avian life that graces the island’s landscapes.

Whether you’re a dedicated birdwatcher or a casual observer, PEI offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the wonders of nature through its feathered inhabitants.

As we continue to cherish and protect these birds and their habitats, we ensure that future generations can also marvel at the avian beauty that thrives in Prince Edward Island.

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