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

Why Bird Nebraska?

   Don't miss the outstanding slideshow of breeding birds!
Chestnut-collared Longspur © Michael Willison

Chestnut-collared Longspur

Primarily known from the more northern prairies, this species is a prize for many in western Nebraska.

Prothonotary Warbler © Phil Swanson

Prothonotary Warbler

Known more from southern swamps, this bird sneaks into the state at old Missouri River ox-bows.

Sprague’s Pipit © Phil Swanson

Sprague’s Pipit

This elusive species migrates annually through the Nebraska grasslands to its breeding prairies to the north.

Yellow-headed Blackbird © Deb Miller

Yellow-headed Blackbird

The icon of prairie potholes will greet with its bright color and raspy voice.

Harris’s Sparrow © John Carlini

Harris’s Sparrow

This spectacularly handsome sparrow, a northern tundra breeder, migrates in numbers through the Central Plains.

Cassin’s Kingbird © Michael Willison

Cassin’s Kingbird

This southwestern kingbird reaches the easternmost part of its breeding range in extreme Western Nebraska.

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

Not a member of Nebraska Ornithologists' Union?

Join Today