Birds Commonly Seen in San Francisco

 

last update: 25 APR 07

image above: juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, Botanical Gardens (taken by Andrea Jesse, CalPhotos)

 

click on bird name for natural history info on the species from eNature.com including pictures & sounds

 

Months Likely to be Seen
Breeds in SF?
Where Likely to be Seen
Loons
Red-throated Loon 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Ft Funston, Ft Point, Ft Mason, Ocean Beach, Land's End
Common Loon 09, 10, 11 no Fort Funston, Candlestick State Park
Pacific Loon 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Fort Funston, Ocean Beach, Cliff House
Grebes
Pied-billed Grebe 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 yes Lake Merced, North Lake (GG Park)
Horned Grebe 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Candlestick State Park, Ocean Beach, India Basin
Eared Grebe 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Candlestick State Park
Western Grebe 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Ft Point, Ft Mason, Crissy Field, Cliff House, Lake Merced
Clark's Grebe 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Lake Merced, Crissy Field, Fort Funston
Shearwaters & Petrels
Northern Fulmar 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no offshore (Ocean Beach)
Sooty Shearwater 06, 07, 08, 09 no offshore (Ocean Beach)
Black-vented Shearwater 09, 10, 11, 12 no offshore (Ocean Beach)
Pink-footed Shearwater 09, 10, 11 no offshore (Ocean Beach)
Storm-Petrels
Leach's Storm-Petrel 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 yes Farallon Islands
Ashy Storm-Petrel 08, 09, 10, 11 yes Farallon Islands
Pelicans
Brown Pelican 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 no Ocean Beach, Aquatic Park, Fort Funston
Cormorants
Double-crested Cormorant all year yes Farallon Islands, GG Park lakes, Candlestick State Park
Brandt's Cormorant all year yes Farallon Islands, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, Alcatraz Island
Pelagic Cormorant all year yes Farallon Islands, Alcatraz Island, Cliff House, Fort Point
Herons & Egrets
Great Blue Heron all year yes Marina, Golden Gate Park
Green Heron all year yes Lloyd & Mallard Lake (GGP), Lake Merced
Black-crowned Night-Heron all year yes Alcatraz Island, Lloyd & Stow Lake (GGP), Lake Merced
Great Egret all year yes Mallard Lake (GG Park), Crissy Field
Snowy Egret all year yes Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field , Alcatraz Island
Ducks
Mallard all year yes Golden Gate Park
Northern Shoveler 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Mallard Lake & other GG Park locations
American Wigeon 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Golden Gate Park lakes
Canvasback 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Golden Gate Park lakes
Ring-necked Duck 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Strybing Arbretum lake & other GG Park lakes
Lesser Scaup 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no GG Park, Candlestick State Park, India Basin
Surf Scoter 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Ft Mason, Ft Point, Ft Funston, Candlestick State Park
Black Scoter 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Fort Funston
White-winged Scoter 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Fort Funston, Candlestick State Park, Lake Merced
Common Goldeneye 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Candlestick State Park
Bufflehead 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Candlestick State Park, GG Park lakes
Red-breasted Merganser 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Crissy Field, Aquatic Park, Candlestick State Park
Ruddy Duck 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 yes Lake Merced
Hawks
Cooper's Hawk all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Lake Merced
Sharp-shinned Hawk all year yes Strybing Arboretum & other GG Park locations, Presidio
Red-shouldered Hawk all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Mount Davidson
Red-tailed Hawk all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Stern Grove, Glen Canyon Park
Osprey all year unknown Lake Merced, Candlestick State Park
Falcons
Merlin 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Candlestick State Park, Richmond & Sunset Districts
American Kestrel all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Ocean Beach, Lake Merced
Peregrine Falcon all year yes Downtown
Quail
California Quail all year yes Presidio, Strybing Arboretum (GG Park)
Rails
American Coot 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 yes Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced
Virginia Rail all year yes Lake Merced
Sora all year yes Lake Merced
Shorebirds
Killdeer 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 yes Sunset Reservoir, Ocean Beach
Black-bellied Plover 08, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Ocean Beach, Sunset Reservoir, Candlestick State Park
Snowy Plover 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02 no Ocean Beach (at Pacheco Ave), Crissy Field
American Black Oystercatcher all year yes Farallon Islands, Land's End, China Beach , Alcatraz Island
Black Turnstone 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Sutro Baths
Wandering Tattler 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Cliff House, Land's End
Surfbird 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Cliff House, Land's End
Greater Yellowlegs 08, 09, 10, 03, 04, 05 no Crissy Field , India Basin
Spotted Sandpiper 08, 09, 10, 04, 05 no Crissy Field, Candlestick State Park
Western Sandpiper 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Crissy Field, India Basin
Sanderling 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Crissy Field, Ocean Beach, Fort Funston Beach
Dunlin 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Crissy Field, Candlestick State Park, India Basin
Long-billed Curlew all year no Crissy Field, India Basin
Marbled Godwit 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Crissy Field, Fort Funston Beach
Willet 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Crissy Field, Fort Funston Beach
Short-billed Dowitcher 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Crissy Field
American Avocet all year yes Crissy Field, Lake Merced, India Basin
Gulls
Western Gull all year yes ubiquitous incl. Farallon Isles, Alcatraz Isle, Sunset Reservoir
Ring-billed Gull 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Ocean Beach, Wharf, Sunset Reservoir
Glaucous-winged Gull 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no GG Park lakes, Lake Merced, Sunset Reservoir, Ocean Beach
Heermann's Gull 07, 08 no Ocean Beach, Marina Green, Crissy Field
Mew Gull 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no GG Park lakes, Lake Merced, Sunset Reservoir
California Gull 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Lake Merced, Ocean Beach, Sunset Reservoir, Alcatraz Isle
Thayer's Gull 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no Stow Lake (GG Park), Sunset Reservoir
Terns
Elegant Tern 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12 no Ocean Beach, Coast Guard Pier (Crissy Field), India Basin
Caspian Tern 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Farallon Islands, Aquatic Park, Ocean Beach, Lake Merced
Forster's Tern 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Aquatic Park, Ocean Beach
Alcids
Common Murre all year yes Farallon Islands
Pigeon Guillemot 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 yes Farallon Islands , Alcatraz Island
Tufted Puffin 04, 05, 06, 07 yes Farallon Islands
Cassin's Auklet all year yes Farallon Islands
Rhinoceros Auklet all year yes Farallon Islands
Pigeons & Doves
Rock Dove all year yes Downtown & other
Band-tailed Pigeon 11, 12, 01, 02 no Mountain Lake (Presidio), Mount Davidson
Mourning Dove all year yes ubiquitous
Parakeets
Red-masked Parakeet all year yes Telegraph Hill & surrounds
White-winged Parakeet all year yes Mission District (Dolores St.)
Owls
Barn Owl all year yes Candlestick State Park, Lake Merced
Western Screech-Owl all year yes Presidio, GG Park: oak woodlands at east end
Great Horned Owl all year yes Presidio, Glen Canyon Park, Stern Grove, Lake Merced
Burrowing Owl all year unknown Candlestick State Park
Swifts
Black Swift 03, 04, 05, 06 no Mount Davidson
Vaux's Swift 03, 04, 05, 06 no Mount Davidson
White-throated Swift all year yes Candlestick State Park
Hummingbirds
Anna's Hummingbird all year yes GG Park, Mount Davidson, Lake Merced
Rufous Hummingbird 03, 04, 05, 06 no Mountain Lake Park (Presidio)
Allen's Hummingbird 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 yes Golden Gate Park, Mount Davidson, Lake Merced
Kingfishers
Belted Kingfisher all year yes GG Park lakes, Lake Merced, India Basin
Woodpeckers
Acorn Woodpecker 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Mount Davidson
Red-breasted Sapsucker 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Strybing Arboretum & other GG Park locations
Nuttall's Woodpecker all year yes Golden Gate Park, Presidio & other
Downy Woodpecker all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Glen Canyon Park , Lake Merced
Hairy Woodpecker all year yes Mount Davidson
Northern Flicker all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Stern Grove
Flycatchers
Olive-sided Flycatcher 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 yes Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced
Western Wood-Pewee 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11 yes Mount Davidson
Willow Flycatcher 03, 04, 05, 06  &  08, 09, 10, 11 no Lincoln Park
Hammond's Flycatcher 03, 04, 05, 06  &  08, 09, 10, 11 no Mount Davidson
Dusky Flycatcher 03, 04, 05, 06  &  08, 09, 10, 11 no Stern Grove
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 yes Middle & Lloyd & Stow Lake (GG Park), Lincoln Park
Black Phoebe all year yes Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field, Lake Merced
Say's Phoebe all year no Fort Funston, Crissy Field, Candlestick State Park
Ash-throated Flycatcher 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 no Lincoln Park
Tropical Kingbird 08, 09, 10, 11 no Buffalo Paddocks (GG Park), Lake Merced
Western Kingbird 03, 04, 05, 06 no Candlestick State Park
Vireos
Cassin's Vireo all year no GG Park, Battery Davis (Fort Funston), Mount Davidson
Hutton's Vireo all year yes GG Park, Presidio, McLaren Park, Lincoln Park
Warbling Vireo 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Golden Gate Park, Presidio, Glen Canyon Park
Corvids
Steller's Jay all year yes Golden Gate Park
Western Scrub-Jay all year yes parks & yards
American Crow all year yes ubiquitous
Common Raven all year yes ubiquitous
Larks
Horned Lark all year yes Presidio, Candlestick State Park
Swallows
Tree Swallow 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Glen Canyon Park, Spreckels Lake (GG Park), Lake Merced
Violet-green Swallow 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Spreckels Lake (GG Park), Lake Merced
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Spreckels Lake (GG Park), Lake Merced
Bank Swallow 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Fort Funston, Lake Merced
Barn Swallow 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Spreckels Lake (GG Park), Lake Merced
Cliff Swallow 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Spreckels Lake (GG Park), Lake Merced
Chickadees
Chestnut-backed Chickadee all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Lake Merced, McLaren Park
Tits
Bushtit all year yes Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced, McLaren Park
Nuthatches
Red-breasted Nuthatch all year yes Lincoln Park, North Lake (GG Park), Presidio
Pygmy Nuthatch all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Land's End, Glen Canyon Park
Creepers
Brown Creeper all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Glen Canyon Park
Wrens
Bewick's Wren all year yes Fort Funston, Lake Merced
House Wren all year no Presidio, Land's End
Winter Wren all year yes Stern Grove, Strybing Arboretum (GG Park)
Marsh Wren all year yes Lake Merced
Rock Wren all year yes Farallon Islands
Gnatcatchers
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 03, 04, 05 no GG Park, Presidio, Lincoln Park, Mount Davidson
Kinglets
Golden-crowned Kinglet 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 yes Strybing Arboretum (GG Park)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Golden Gate Park, Aquatic Park
Thrushes
Western Bluebird 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 yes Lobos Creek Valley (Presidio), Mount Davidson
Swainson's Thrush 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11 yes Mountain Lake (Presidio)
Hermit Thrush all year yes GG Park, Presidio, McLaren Park, Mount Davidson
American Robin all year yes Golden Gate Park, Presidio, Stern Grove
Varied Thrush 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no GG Park, Presidio, Mount Davidson, McLaren Park
Babblers
Wrentit all year yes Coyote Gulch (Presidio), Bayview Hill (Candlestick State Park)
Mockingbirds
Northern Mockingbird all year yes parks & yards
Starlings
European Starling all year yes ubiquitous
Pipits
American Pipit 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02 no Fort Funston
Waxwings
Cedar Waxwing all year no Strybing Arboretum & other GG Park locations, Lake Merced
Wood Warblers
Orange-crowned Warbler 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11 yes GG Park, Presidio, Glen Canyon Park, Mount Davidson
Nashville Warbler all year no Battery Davis (Ft Funston), Land's End, North & Middle Lake
Northern Parula 09, 10, 11 no Lincoln Park, North Lake (GG Park)
Yellow Warbler all year yes Mountain Lake Park, Battery Davis (Ft Funston), Middle Lake
Chestnut-sided Warbler 09, 10, 11 no Battery Davis (Fort Funston), Middle Lake (GG Park)
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Strybing Arboretum & North & Middle Lake, Presidio
Black-throated Gray Warbler 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11 no Glen Canyon Park, Battery Davis (Fort Funston)
Townsend's Warbler 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Strybing Arboretum & Middle Lake (GG Park), Presidio
Hermit Warbler all year no Chain of Lakes (GG Park), Mt Davidson, Lincoln Park
Palm Warbler 01 - 05   &   08 - 12 no Glen Canyon Park
Blackpoll Warbler 08, 09, 10, 11 no Glen Canyon Park, Battery Davis, Middle Lake, Lobos Creek
Black-and-white Warbler 03, 04, 05  &   08, 09, 10, 11 no Stern Grove, Glen Canyon Park, Lake Merced
American Redstart 03, 04, 05  &   08, 09, 10, 11 no Glen Canyon Park, Battery Davis (Ft Funston), Middle Lake
MacGillivray's Warbler 03, 04, 05  &   08, 09, 10, 11 no GG Park, Lake Merced, Sutro Heights Park
Common Yellowthroat all year yes Lake Merced
Wilson's Warbler 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 yes North & Middle Lake (GG Park), Presidio, Glen Canyon Park
Tennessee Warbler 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Battery Davis (Fort Funston), Stow Lake (GG Park)
Tanagers
Summer Tanager 09, 10, 11 no Stern Grove
Western Tanager 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03 no North & Middle Lake (GG Park), Presidio, Glen Canyon Park
New World Sparrows
Spotted Towhee all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Angel Island, Mount Davidson
California Towhee all year yes GG Park, Presidio, McLaren Park, Lake Merced & other
Chipping Sparrow 08, 09, 10, 11 no Middle Lake (GG Park)
Clay-colored Sparrow 08, 09, 10, 11 no Skyline Grove (Fort Funston), Middle Lake (GG Park)
Lark Sparrow 08, 09, 10, 11 no Crissy Field
Savannah Sparrow all year yes Lobos Creek Valley (Presidio), India Basin
Fox Sparrow 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04 no Strybing Arboretum (GG Park), Mount Davidson
Song Sparrow all year yes GG Park, Presidio, Glen Canyon Park
Lincoln Sparrow 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Stern Grove, Candlestick State Park
Swamp Sparrow 11, 12, 01, 02 no Middle Lake (GG Park), SF Zoo grounds, Lake Merced
White-throated Sparrow 11, 12, 01, 02 no Golden Gate Park, Stern Grove
White-crowned Sparrow all year yes ubiquitous incl. Angel, Alcatraz & Yerba Buena Islands
Golden-crowned Sparrow 09, 10, 11, 12, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 no Golden Gate Park, Presidio, other parks & yards
Dark-eyed Junco all year yes Golden Gate Park, Presidio & other
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 06, 07, 08, 09 no Middle Lake (GG Park)
Black-headed Grosbeak 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 yes GG Park, Presidio, Glen Canyon Park
Lazuli Bunting 03, 04, 05, 06 yes Glen Canyon Park, Golden Gate Park
Blackbirds
Red-winged Blackbird all year yes Lake Merced, North Lake (GG Park)
Tricolored Blackbird 11, 12, 01, 02 yes Lake Merced, Chain of Lakes (GG Park)
Western Meadowlark 11, 12, 01, 02 yes Crissy Field, Candlestick State Park, McLaren Park
Brewer's Blackbird all year yes ubiquitous
Brown-headed Cowbird 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Golden Gate Park, Presidio & other
Hooded Oriole 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 yes Dolores Park, Sutro Heights Park, Presidio, GG Park
Bullock's Oriole all year yes Glen Canyon Park
Finches
Purple Finch all year yes Strybing Arboretum & other GG Park locations, Lake Merced
House Finch all year yes ubiquitous
Red Crossbill all year yes Golden Gate Park, Sutro Heights Park
Pine Siskin all year yes Strybing Arboretum & other GG Park locations, Mt Davidson
Lesser Goldfinch all year yes Glen Canyon Park, McLaren Park, Lake Merced
American Goldfinch all year yes Golden Gate Park, Presidio, Lake Merced
Old World Sparrows
House Sparrow all year yes ubiquitous incl. Farallon Islands

 

Information above adapted from: The Birds of San Francisco & the Bay Area by Fisher & Morlan.  Also:  SF Field Ornithologists Website   &  towhee.net  &  BIRDWEST archives (N. Calif. Bird Box).
Info subject to change due to the dynamics of bird populations and updates.

 

F u r t h e r   I n f o r m a t i o n

Dan Murphy's 'Birding in Golden Gate Park'

Birds of the Presidio
Information on San Francisco bird lectures, birding trips, etc. found at: Golden Gate Audubon
Checklist of the birds of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuuge
More info on the feral parrots of San Francisco from the website of Joe Morlan

 

Meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). Panama Pacific Exposition, San Francisco. May 19, 1915.
Photograph provided by Archives, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. No duplication without consent.