Birding in Nebraska

photo by Janis Paseka © Janis Paseka
photo by Kathy DeLara © Kathy DeLara

There are so many wonderful birds and bird habitats in Nebraska that a single lifetime isn't nearly long enough to enjoy them all. Nebraska’s Platte Valley annually hosts the world's largest crane concentration, and also is the most frequent stopover-point for migrating Whooping Cranes. Our Sandhills region of grassy dunes and wetlands hosts many endemic prairie birds, including both Greater Prairie-Chickens and Sharp-tailed Grouse. Our western Pine Ridge country is a miniature Rocky Mountain ecosystem, with many western songbirds and raptors. The Missouri Valley forests ring each spring and summer with the voices of eastern warblers, tanagers, and flycatchers. Like two clear blue ribbons, the Niobrara and Platte rivers connect both ends of the state and provide the meeting grounds for several species of eastern and western birds. What more could a bird-lover want in a state?

Dr. Paul A. Johnsgard, Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Not a member of Nebraska Ornithologists' Union?

Birds of Nebraska

There is a reason the Peterson guides used the 100th meridian, which dissects Nebraska, as the change from eastern to western species.

Birding Activities

Nebraska has an active birding community involved in regular activities like seasonal surveys as well as regional festivals.

NEBirds Discussion Group

Join our mail group to discuss recent sightings, identification questions, and other topics of general interest to Nebraska birders.

Why Bird Nebraska?

   Don't miss the outstanding slideshow of breeding birds!
Sprague’s Pipit © Phil Swanson

Sprague’s Pipit This elusive species migrates annually through the Nebraska grasslands to its breeding prairies to the north.

Greater Prairie-Chicken © Joel Jorgensen

Greater Prairie-Chicken A species that has disappeared from many historical breeding areas is still secure in Nebraska.

Whooping Crane © Joel Jorgensen

Whooping Crane A federally endangered species, a few are seen each year as they move from the Texas Coast to their breeding area in Canada.

Sharp-tailed Grouse © Phil Swanson

Sharp-tailed Grouse The iconic dancer of the prairies, this species is sought by birders around the country.

Snow Goose © Janis Paseka

Snow Goose Hundreds of thousands of Snow Geese migrate annually through the Central Flyway.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak © Phil Swanson

Rose-breasted Grosbeak A harbinger of spring in the east, it overlaps in the west with its cousin, Black-headed Grosbeak.