A CHECKLIST OF THE BIRDS OF CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
The following list contains all 355 species, 350 of them native, that have been recorded in Contra Costa County, California, through 8/1/1998. Primary sources for the list are the following: "Checklist of the Birds of the East Bay Region" (1989, Richard A. Erickson), "The Distribution of the Birds of California" (1944, Grinnell and Miller), "Directory to the Bird-Life of the San Francisco Bay Region" (1927, Grinnell and Wythe), Western Birds, Field Notes (under all of itís titles), "The Quail" (newsletter of Mt. Diablo Audubon Soc.), "The Gull" (newsletter of Golden Gate Audubon Soc.), and "The Kite Call" (newsletter of Ohlone Audubon Soc.).
Abundance Codes Status Codes Suffixes to Status Codes a=many 1,000ís or more P=perennial a=autumn status for trans. c=many 100ís or low 1,000ís R=permanent resident when different from spring f=dozens or low 100ís S=summer visitor s=spring status for trans. u=up to 12 or 24 T=transient when different from aut. r=a few found regularly W=winter visitor *=confirmed breeder or near regularly 1=reintroduction of all or part of the population x=extremely rare, casual
Species Abundance Status Comments
Red-throated Loon fW All 3 loons are most common in Richmond Pacific Loon uW area, uncommon to rare elsewhere Common Loon xS,fW Yellow-billed Loon xW 1 record, Richmond Pied-billed Grebe c*S,cW,aT Horned Grebe cW Red-necked Grebe rW most from Rich., rare on inland reservoirs Eared Grebe fW Western Grebe uS,aW significant numbers of Western and Clark's Clark's Grebe uS,aW summer in non-breeding habitat Laysan Albatross xW 1 record Northern Fulmar xTs 1 record Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel xTa 1 record from 1937 Leach's Storm-Petrel xTa 1 rec. from fall '60, picked up in Orinda American White Pelican rS,uW,fT most on inland reservoirs Brown Pelican cS,cTa,uW,uTs Richmond, rare to Pittsburg, 2 inland recs. Double-crested Cormorant c*S,aW only inland Cormorant, nests Richmond Br Brandt's Cormorant rS,uW Richmond only Pelagic Cormorant u*R Richmond only, nests on W. Brothers Is. Magnificent Frigatebird xTa 1 record, fall of '91 Pt. Pinole American Bittern r*R n. marshes, e. county. Declining rapidly Least Bittern xTs 1 record: Waterfront Rd. 4/94 Great Blue Heron f*R Great Egret f*R Snowy Egret f*R Cattle Egret uW very rare away from Central Valley Green Heron u*S,rW hard to find in winter Black-crowned Night-Heron u*R White-faced Ibis uW increasing in recent years, east co. only Tundra Swan cW east county, accidental elsewhere Greater White-fronted Goose cW east co., regular at duck ponds Snow Goose cW east co., regular at duck ponds blue rW less than 5 recs., all east co. Ross' Goose uW east county Brant rWT Richmond only Canada Goose c*R introduced population established and moffitti c*R still increasing minima rW leucopareia rW Wood Duck r*S,uW known breeder only at Discovery Bay Green-winged Teal cW crecca xW 1 rec. Mallard f*S,cW Northern Pintail r*S,cW Blue-winged Teal rW reliable only at McNabney Marsh Cinnamon Teal u*S,fTa,fW,cTs Northern Shoveler r*S,aW known to breed only at McNabney Marsh Gadwall r*S,cW Eurasian Wigeon rW regular at McNabney Marsh, Rich. American Wigeon xS,aW Canvasback cW Redhead rW mostly Richmond Ring-necked Duck xS,fW Inland reservoirs, espec. Marsh Creek Tufted Duck xW most records from Mallard Res. Greater Scaup uS,aW Richmond birds are almost exclusively Lesser Scaup cW Greaters, most inland are Lesser King Eider xS 1 rec., Brooks Is. summer of '84 Harlequin Duck xSWT Brooks Is., pair currently resident Oldsquaw xS,rW Brooks Is., 2 inland recs. Black Scoter rW Richmond only Surf Scoter uS,aW east to Martinez, only a few inland recs. White-winged Scoter rS,uW Richmond only, 1 inland rec. Common Goldeneye cW Barrow's Goldeneye uW rare and local, reliable at Clifton Court Bufflehead xS,cW Hooded Merganser rW local at watershed reservoirs, golf courses Common Merganser rS,uW mostly watershed reservoirs Red-breasted Merganser rS,fW Richmond, annual at Clifton Court Ruddy Duck u*S,aW Turkey Vulture f*R Osprey r*SWT breeds Pt. Pinole, Briones Res. White-tailed Kite f*R Bald Eagle rW winters small numbers on reservoirs Northern Harrier f*S,cW Sharp-shinned Hawk r*SW,uT very local nester Cooper's Hawk u*SWT Northern Goshawk xWTa Red-shouldered Hawk f*R com. and increasing, especially in eucs. Broad-winged Hawk xW 2 winter recs. Swainson's Hawk u*ST,rW rare nester, now found in winter Red-tailed Hawk c*R Ferruginous Hawk uW mostly east county Rough-legged Hawk uW mostly east county, irruptive Golden Eagle u*R American Kestrel f*S,cW Merlin rW Prairie Falcon r*R local breeder, more widespread in win. Peregrine Falcon r*S,rW very local breeder Ring-necked Pheasant (I) f*R apparently decreasing Wild Turkey (I) u*R increasing in central county California Quail f*R decreasing in suburban areas Yellow Rail W not recorded since 1868! Black Rail u*R can be common in northern marshes Clapper Rail r*R local in Richmond and northern marshes Virginia Rail u*S,cW Sora u*S,fW Common Moorhen u*R decreasing, mostly n. marshes, e. county American Coot f*S,aW Sandhill Crane uW east county only, mostly Holland Tract Black-bellied Plover uS,cW American Golden-Plover xTa Richmond Pacific Golden-Plover xTa Richmond, east county Snowy Plover rW,xT local at Pt. Pinole, 1 inland rec. Semipalmated Plover rS,fW,cT Killdeer r*S,cW Mountain Plover xW east county, not since 1989 Black Oystercatcher r*R Richmond only, east to Pt. Pinole Black-necked Stilt f*s,cW American Avocet u*s,cWT Greater Yellowlegs rS,cW Lesser Yellowlegs xS,uW,fT Solitary Sandpiper xT mostly Shell Marsh Willet uS,aW Wandering Tattler xWTs,rTa Regular at Richmond Spotted Sandpiper x*S,uWTs,fTa extremely local breeder Whimbrel rS,uW,cTs,fTa Long-billed Curlew rS,fW Marbled Godwit uS,aW Ruddy Turnstone rW rare in Richmond, mostly Albany Cres. Black Turnstone fW Richmond only, east to Pt. Pinole Surfbird xW,rT Richmond only Red Knot fWT Richmond only, very rare inland Sanderling cW Richmond only, very rare inland Semipalmated Sandpiper xTa most from Richmond Sewer Western Sandpiper xS,aW Least Sandpiper xS,aW Baird's Sandpiper xTa Richmond Sewer, McNabney Marsh Pectoral Sandpiper xTa Richmond Sewer, McNabney Marsh Dunlin aW Ruff xW 2 records Short-billed Dowitcher cW,aT Long-billed Dowitcher cW Common Snipe fW especially east co. flooded fields Wilson's Phalarope uT especially McNabney Marsh Red-necked Phalarope uT McNabney Marsh, Iron House Sewer Red Phalarope xW,rT rare in Richmond Pomarine Jaeger xTa 1 record from Richmond Parasitic Jaeger rTa Richmond Long-tailed Jaeger xTa 1 record from Pt. Pinole Laughing Gull xTa Franklin's Gull xW 2 records Common Black-headed Gull xW 1 record Bonaparte's Gull xS,fW Heerman's Gull uSTa,xWTs Richmond only, acc. at Mart. and inland Mew Gull xS,cW Ring-billed Gull fS,aW California Gull fS,aW Herring Gull cW Thayer's Gull fW declining due to dump closures Western Gull f*S,aW regular east to Martinez Glaucous-winged Gull rS,cW Glaucous Gull rW rare and local, Richmond and CCF Black-legged Kittiwake xW only 2-3 recs., 1 inland Sabine's Gull xTa very rare Martinez and CCF Caspian Tern c*S huge colony at Brooks Is. Elegant Tern cSTa Common Tern rTa hard to find, mostly Rich. Arctic Tern xTa just 1 rec. Forster's Tern fP perennial but does not breed Least Tern r*S a few pairs nest at Pittsburg Black Tern rT east county, especially CCF Black Skimmer rT Richmond, especially Brooks Is. Common Murre xW,rTa Richmond, most common alcid Pigeon Guillemot xS,rTa Richmond Marbled Murrelet xWTa Richmond Ancient Murrelet xTa 2 recs., both inland! Rock Dove (I) c*R Band-tailed Pigeon u*S,cW White-winged Dove xW 1 rec. Mourning Dove c*R Yellow-billed Cuckoo xS 1 rec., July '98 Richmond Greater Roadrunner r*R extremely elusive, most Mt. Diablo area Barn Owl f*R Flammulated Owl xTs 1 rec. Western Screech-Owl f*R Great Horned Owl c*R Northern Pygmy-Owl r*R surprisingly local Burrowing Owl f*R population plummeting catastrophically Long-eared Owl xS(*?),rW nests at Pine Canyon, MDSP? Short-eared Owl r*R declining, mostly east co., n. marshes Northern Saw-whet Owl u*R watershed areas west of I-680 Lesser Nighthawk rS(*?),rW presumably nests at CCF Common Nighthawk xTs Common Poorwill f*S,xW Black Swift rTs,xTa check freeway overpasses, only 1 fall rec. Vaux's Swift uT White-throated Swift f*R common nester in freeway overpasses Black-chinned Hummingbird u*S Delta Anna's Hummingbird c*R Costa's Hummingbird xW,rT rare migrant, 2 winter recs. Calliope Hummingbird uTs no fall records Rufous Hummingbird xW,fT all winter selasphorus recs. assumed to Allen's Hummingbird c*S be Rufous Belted Kingfisher u*S,fW more widespread in win., local breeder Lewis' Woodpecker rWT now very rare, never proven nesting Acorn Woodpecker f*R Yellow-bellied Sapsucker xW 2 county recs. Red-naped Sapsucker rW now annual Red-breasted Sapsucker uW Williamson's Sapsucker xW 1-2 records Nuttall's Woodpecker f*R Downy Woodpecker f*R Hairy Woodpecker u*R absent from east county Northern Flicker c*R yellow-shafted rW Pileated Woodpecker rR(*?) Possibly resident at Pinehurst Rd. Olive-sided Flycatcher u*S Western Wood-Pewee f*S Willow Flycatcher rTs,fTa fairly easy in east co. in late Aug-mid Sept Least Flycatcher xTa one record Hammond's Flycatcher uTs can be com. in canyons of Diablo Range Dusky Flycatcher rTs,xTa Dusky and Gray recorded annually in Spr. Gray Flycatcher rTs but carefully eliminate Hammond's Pacific-slope Flycatcher c*S,xW Black Phoebe f*R Eastern Phoebe xTa 1 record Say's Phoebe r*S,fW very rare and local nester in Diablo Range Ash-throated Flycatcher f*S Tropical Kingbird xTa just one record Cassin's Kingbird xT just 2 records Western Kingbird f*S most common in east co. Horned Lark c*R Purple Martin rTs rare spring transient, no fall records Tree Swallow u*SW,fTs,aTa local breeder at reservoirs and in east co. Violet-green Swallow f*S N. Rough-winged Swallow f*S nests in freeway overpasses Bank Swallow rST no breeding habitat Cliff Swallow a*S Barn Swallow c*S,xW Steller's Jay c*R Western Scrub-Jay c*R Clark's Nutcracker xWTa Black-billed Magpie xWTa 1 record Yellow-billed Magpie r*R now breeding in east co. but very locally American Crow a*R Common Raven u*R steadily increasing Chestnut-backed Chickadee c*R absent from east co. Oak Titmouse c*R absent from east co. Bushtit c*R Red-breasted Nuthatch u*R just one east co. record White-breasted Nuthatch f*R just one east co. record Pygmy Nuthatch r*R local breeder in Berk. Hills in Mont. Pines Brown Creeper u*R Rock Wren u*R Canyon Wren r*R local in Diablo Range, mostly Mt. Diablo Bewick's Wren c*R House Wren f*S,uW Winter Wren r*S,fW local breeder in Berkeley Hills Marsh Wren c*R American Dipper xW no nesting habitat, not found since '88 Golden-crowned Kinglet fW,cTa irruptive, most com. late Oct-mid Nov Ruby-crowned Kinglet aW Blue-gray Gnatcatcher f*S,xW Western Bluebird c*R Mountain Bluebird rW irruptive, most found in Deer Valley area Townsend's Solitaire rWT irruptive, most in Toyon on Mt. Diablo Swainson's Thrush c*S Hermit Thrush r*S,cW very local breeder in Berkeley Hills American Robin c*S,aW Varied Thrush fW Wrentit c*R extirpated from east co.? Northern Mockingbird c*R Sage Thrasher xWT California Thrasher f*R 1 east co. rec., very rare in Richmond area American Pipit cW Bohemian Waxwing xW 1 record Cedar Waxwing xS,cW may nest occasionally in Berk. Hills Phainopepla r*SW extremely rare nester around Mt. Diablo Northern Shrike xW 1 record Loggerhead Shrike f*R European Starling (I) a*R Plumbeous Vireo xTs 2 records Cassin's Vireo u*S,xW Hutton's Vireo c*R Warbling Vireo c*S,xW Red-eyed Vireo xT most records from Tilden Park Tennessee Warbler xWT Orange-crowned Warbler c*S,rW Nashville Warbler xW,fTs,rTa most com. in canyons of Diablo Range Virginia's Warbler xTa 1 record Northern Parula xTa Yellow Warbler r*S,cT extirpated as a breeder? Chestnut-sided Warbler xTa several Tilden records Magnolia Warbler xTs 1 record Black-throated Blue Warbler xTa 3 records Yellow-rumped Warbler cW Audubon's cW breeds? Myrtle fW Black-throated Gray Warbler r*S,xW,fT 2 nest records from Mt. Diablo Townsend's Warbler fWT Hermit Warbler rW,fTs,uTa most common in spr. on Mt. Diablo Blackburnian Warbler xTa apparently 1 fall record Palm Warbler xTa just one record from 1965! Blackpoll Warbler xTa Black-and-white Warbler xSWT most recs. from Tilden American Redstart xST most recs. from Tilden Worm-eating Warbler xS 1 record from summer! Ovenbird xT 3 records Northern Waterthrush xWT about 5 records MacGillivray's Warbler r*S local nester in Berleley Hills Common Yellowthroat c*R Hooded Warbler xSTs 5 recs. from Tilden Park! Wilson's Warbler f*S Canada Warbler xTa 2 records Yellow-breasted Chat r*S only known to breed at Piper Slough Summer Tanager xT Western Tanager r*S,xW Rose-breasted Grosbeak xSWT most records from Berk Hills feeders Black-headed Grosbeak c*S Blue Grosbeak u*S only 2 recs. away from east co. Lazuli Bunting f*S Indigo Bunting xST may now breed Green-tailed Towhee xWTs 4 records from Mt. Diablo in May Spotted Towhee c*R California Towhee c*R absent from east county Rufous-crowned Sparrow f*R American Tree Sparrow xT 2 recs. Chipping Sparrow u*S,xW,rT Clay-colored Sparrow xTa now annual in Richmond area Brewer's Sparrow xTa now annual Field Sparrow xW 1 record Black-chinned Sparrow u*S most years found only on Mt. Diablo Vesper Sparrow rWTa now rare in winter Lark Sparrow f*R Sage Sparrow f*R Lark Bunting xTa 1 record Savannah Sparrow f*S,cW Grasshopper Sparrow u*S,rW a few winter recs. LeConte's Sparrow xTa 1 record Fox Sparrow cW iliaca rW unalaschcensis cW schistacea uWT Song Sparrow santaecrucis/gouldii c*R this is the race in the coast ranges samuellis f*R salt marshes around Rich/Pt Pinole pusillila u*R(?) now gone from El Cerrito area? maxillaris c*R Suisun Bay mailliardii f*R Delta Lincoln's Sparrow cW most com. in weedy areas of east co. Swamp Sparrow xWTa White-throated Sparrow rW most from feeders in central county Golden-crowned Sparrow xS,cW White-crowned Sparrow u*S,aW nuttalli u*R local breeder around Rich/El Cerrito pugetensis cW gambelii cW Harris' Sparrow xWT virtually all records from feeders Dark-eyed Junco c*R slate-colored rW gray-headed xTa 1 record Lapland Longspur xW 2 records Chestnut-collared Longspur xTa only 1 record? Bobolink xS 1 record Red-winged Blackbird a*R Tricolored Blackbird f*R local breeder in east county Western Meadowlark C*R Yellow-headed Blackbird r*S,uW local in east co. in win., bred formerly Brewer's Blackbird c*R Great-tailed Grackle xW 2 records Common Grackle xTs 1 record Brown-headed Cowbird c*R Orchard Oriole xT Hooded Oriole u*S,xW Baltimore Oriole xW 1 record Bullock's Oriole f*S,xW Purple Finch f*S,cW Cassin's Finch xWT rare and irruptive, usually at feeders House Finch c*R Red Crossbill xS,rWT irruptive Pine Siskin r*S,cW nests? Lesser Goldfinch c*R Lawrence's Goldfinch u*S,rW local nester in Diablo Range American Goldfinch c*R,aTa Evening Grosbeak rWT House Sparrow (I) c*R