Birds to See

Birds of all shapes and sizes call Denali home. Below learn more about how and where some of the park's most notable avians live.

Featured Birds Navigation

Gray and red bird with bug in beak stands on log

NPS Photo / J. Gaposchkin

American Robin

American robins are one of the most commonly seen birds in North America. Denali National Park scientists are tracking their migration through the Critical Connections project.

American robins live in Denali during the late spring, summer, and early fall. Look for them in forested areas.

Brown and white bird sings as it sits on a branch

NPS Photo / K. Zimmer

Arctic Warbler

Arctic warblers almost exclusively spend their summers in Alaska. They use grass, leaves, and moss to create domed-shaped nests on the ground. Arctic warblers spend the winter in eastern Eurasia. Their migration journey is studied through the park's Critical Connections project.

Arctic warblers breed in Denali during the late spring, summer, and early fall. They prefer thickets of willow, birch, and alder, near streams.

Black and white bird sits on stick

NPS Photo

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed magpies range across western North America. They build distinct large, globular nests out of sticks and twigs.

Black-billed magpies stay in Denali year-round. They are most commonly found in streamside groves and developed areas.

A black and white bird sits on a tree branch

NPS Photo / Nick Saunders

Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll warblers take an incredible migratory journey each fall. They travel from Denali National Park to South America, often flying nonstop for over 72 hours. Blackpoll warbler migration is being monitored through the park's Critical Connections program.

Blackpoll warblers call the park home in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Find them nesting in the boreal forest or alder thickets.

Large black bird sits on branch

NPS Photo

Common Raven

Common ravens are incredibly adaptable. They live in habitats from tundra to desert across North America. Visitors often hear their croaking call.

Common ravens stay in Denali year-round. They can be found in the boreal forest or open tundra.

Large bird flaps wings above ground

NPS Photo

Golden Eagle

Golden eagles are an apex predator, hunting everything from ptarmigan to snowshoe hare. A golden eagle in Denali may travel over 250,000 miles in its lifetime. Park researchers study the habitat, migration, and behavior of these magnificent birds.

Golden eagles nest in Denali during mid-spring to late fall. Look for them on the open tundra or steep cliffs.

Gray bird stands on snow

NPS Photo

Gray Jay

Gray jays are some of the hardiest residents of Denali National Park. They store extra food in scattered caches to feed off during the winter. Park research on gray jays has revealed more about these birds and how they may be influenced by climate change.

Gray jays can be seen year-round in Denali. Find them in the boreal forests.

Young bird sits on edge of nest

NPS Photo


Gyrfalcons are powerful arctic predators. They may start laying eggs as soon as late winter. Park scientists are studying gyrfalcons to better understand their life cycle.

Gyrfalcons live in Denali year-round. They prefer open tundra for hunting and steep cliffs for nesting sites.

Black and white bird flies across sky

NPS Photo

Long-tailed Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaegers spend most of their lives over the open ocean. They gather to the tundra of Denali however, to find mates and nest. Denali park scientists collaborate with The Migratory Connectivity Project to GPS tag and map long-tailed jaeger migration.

Long-tailed jaegers arrive in the park in late spring and remain until fall. They are usually spotted hunting or nesting in the open tundra.

Large brown bird sits on tree top

NPS Photo

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern hawk owls live in remote northern regions of North America. Unlike many owls, they mainly hunt by day. They use their sharp eyesight and hearing to catch rodents and small birds.

Northern hawk owls are permanent residents of Denali. Look for them in open forested areas and around the edges of clearings.

Spotted brown and white bird stands in grass

NPS Photo / Dan Gusset


Surfbirds spend the winter on rocky coastlines stretching from southeast Alaska to southern Chile. They migrate to localized areas in Alaska each summer however to breed and raise their young.

Surfbirds can be seen in Denali during the summer. They build their nests in rocky tundra, often above the tree line.

Brown and white bird sits on tree branch

NPS Photo

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson's thrush travel to Denali from rainforests in Central and South America. Their migration pathway is studied through the park's Critical Connections project.

Swainson's thrush reside in Denali late spring to mid-fall. They can usually be found in forested areas with dense undergrowth.

Mottled brown and white bird stands on ground

NPS Photo

Willow Ptarmigan

Willow ptarmigans are one of the mostly commonly noticed birds on the Denali Park Road. These camouflaged birds molt their feathers twice a year - going from white in winter to brown in the summer. Park research has shown that willow ptarmigan population varies in cycles.

Willow ptarmigans live in Denali year-round. They are usually spotted in wet tundra, near willow scrub.


Last updated: August 1, 2018

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PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


(907) 683-9532
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