Birding Anchorage


Download the Birds of Anchorage checklist in PDF format.

As of October 1993, 229 species, representing 40 families, have been recorded in the Municipality of Anchorage, excluding unsubstantiated reports or species of suspect origin. This checklist summarizes the general seasonal status for each of these species. Of the total recorded in Anchorage, 150 species occur annually as either regular migrants or breeders (112).

Phylogenetic sequence and English names follow the A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds (Sixth ed., 1983, and supplements); and the Checklist of Alaska Birds (D.D. Gibson, University of Alaska Museum, January 1993).

Download the Birds of Alaska checklist from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game “Wings over Alaska” program that encourages people to enjoy and learn more about Alaska’s birds.

The area covered by this checklist extends from the Knik River in the north, south to Portage, and the Chugach Mountains on the east, west to Turnagain Arm-Knik Arm (Eastern Upper Cook Inlet). This area covers about 800 square miles. The avian habitats represented in this area can be divided into three general groups; coastal zone, birch/spruce forest, and alpine. The coastal zone includes the saline waters of the Eastern Upper Cook Inlet, tidal mudflats, and brackish-water wetlands. This zone is used by staging or passage migrant, principally waterfowl, shorebirds, and gulls. The birch/spruce forest zone occupies the upland between the coast and the Chugach Mountains, present mostly around the north of the metropolitan area. This zone is mainly used by breeding water birds and passerines, including most of the resident species. The majority of the subject land area comprises subalpine and alpine of the Chugach Mountains. Except for the ptarmigan and ravens, few species are resident of this zone. Rather, this area is utilized during migration (raptors) or for breeding by such species as Golden Eagle, Surfbird, American Pipit, Northern Wheatear, American Tree Sparrow, and Rosy Finch.


C – common : occurs in nearly all proper habits, but some suitable areas only sparsely or not at all, and /or the region regularly hosts large numbers of the species.

U – uncommon : occurs fairly regularly uses little of the suitable habitat, and /or the region regularly hosts relatively small numbers of the species.

R – rare : species within or near its normal range, but may not occur annually; usually in very small numbers.

CA – casual : species beyond its normal range; few records, typically less than about 10, but irregular sightings are likely; usually in very small numbers.

AC – accidental : species well beyond its normal range and further sightings unlikely; only one or two records.

Status in parentheses (ca) or (ac) indicates records are for species known to have lingered from the previous season

* breeder
+ variable numbers
† Anchorage and Eagle River Christmas Bird Count records(s)