Perching Birds

Perching birds have strong feet and gripping toes that they use to perch. They have four toes, with three directed forward and one backward.

Perching birds are also referred to as songbirds because most of the birds in this group sing to attract mates or to establish territory.

Perching birds or Passerines are also considered as the most adaptive and intelligent of the birds.
Backside view of an American Goldfinch in a tree in Lower Town Harpers Ferry.

Finches are medium sized songbirds in the family Fringillidae and have beaks adapted for eating seeds.

Baltimore Oriole sitting in a tree

Icterids or blackbirds are a family of small- to medium-sized, often colorful birds.

Bright red male Cardinal sitting in a bunch of branches. Some of the branches have berries on them.
Cardinals and Allies

Cardinals are passerine birds found in North and South America.

Photo of a Warbling Vireo in a tree on Virginius Island.

These birds typically have dull colored feathers and are greenish in color. What sets them apart from other warblers is their bigger beak.

A Black-capped Chickadee perched in a tree along Shoreline Drive
Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice

Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice make up a large family of perching birds that occur mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and Africa.

A White-breasted Nuthatch on Virginius Island with its head in a tree looking for food.

Nuthatches are known for their large heads, short tails, and powerful beaks and feet.

Song Sparrow sitting on a branch in the bushes on Virginius Island.
New World Sparrows

New World Sparrows are seed eating birds that have stubby, cone shaped beaks.

Cedar Waxwing sitting on the side of a snowy tree at Schoolhouse Ridge North.

Waxwings are brown/pale gray bird with silky feathers, a square cut tail and pointed wings.

A Yellow-rumped Warbler sitting on a tree branch at Murphy Farm.
New World Warblers

New World Warblers are a small group of colorful birds that live exclusively in the New World.

Gray colored Northern Mockingbird sitting on a branch at Schoolhouse Ridge North.
Mockingbirds and Thrashers

Mockingbirds and Thrashers are medium sized birds that have short wings, long legs, and long tail. They are generally a dull brown or gray.

European Starling sitting on a rope. This bird is brown with a black belly and white spots.

Starlings are small to medium sized birds that have strong feet, strong and direct flight, and they are very social birds.

A female House Sparrow looking in the dirt for something in Lower Town Harpers Ferry.
Old World Sparrows

Old World Sparrows are known as true sparrows.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher sitting in its nest in a tree on Schoolhouse Ridge North.

Most species of Gnatcatchers are tropical or subtropical and stay in the same place all year long but some species migrate.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet sitting on a tree branch.They are known for the ruby colored spot on their head

Kinglets are small birds that share characteristics with warblers and titmice.

Photograph of an Eastern Bluebird

Thrushes are a family of small or medium sized songbirds.

A black and white illustration of a Brown Creeper.

Treecreepers are small woodland birds that really like to find the biggest tree they can to live in.

A Carolina Wren perched on a branch on Virginius Island.

Wrens are a family of small, brown, perching birds. This family of birds includes 88 bird species.

A black and white drawing of an American Crow
Crows and Jays

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers.

Great-crested Flycatcher singing at Murphy Farm
Tyrant Flycatchers

Tyrant Flycatchers are considered as the largest family of birds consisting of more than 400 species.

A black and white illustration of a Tree Swallow

Swallows are a group of perching birds that are found all around the world on all continents that are adapted to aerial feeding.

Last updated: August 27, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

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