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Birds of Florida         

Birds you may encounter around the Ranch and riding the Forest horse trails

You will see a wide variety of birds on your horseback trail ride and your trail guide will attempt to point out as many as possible, including the unique Florida Scrub Jay.

Florida is a birder's paradise, thanks to its diversity of habitats, its location on migration routes, the extent of its remaining wild lands, and its geographic span of both temperate and subtropical climates. More than 500 species have been documented in the state, including such sought-after birds as the rare Florida burrowing owl, the Florida scrub-jay, the snail kite and Florida's wealth of wading birds.

Below is a list of the more common birds known to live in, or visit, the area around the Ranch in Cocoa.

Ducks

Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae
Wood Duck
Wood Duck

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. There are 131 species world wide, 61 North American species, and 42 Florida species.

 

Turkeys

Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae

Wild turkey
Wild Turkey

The Phasianidae is a family of birds which consists of the pheasants and their allies. These are terrestrial species, variable in size but generally plump, with broad relatively short wings. Many species are gamebirds, or have been domesticated as a food source for humans. There are 180 species world wide, 16 North American species, and one Florida species.

 

New World quail

Order: Galliformes Family: Odontophoridae
Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. There are 32 species, world-wide, all found only in the Americas, six North American species, and one Florida species.

 

 

 

 

Loons

Order: Gaviiformes Family: Gaviidae
Common Loon
Common Loon

Loons are aquatic birds size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely grey or black, they have spear-shaped bills. Loons swim well, and fly adequately, but, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are almost hopeless on land. There are five species world-wide, five North American species, and three Florida species. We have only seen the Common Loon here.
 

 

Herons and Egrets

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Unlike other long necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species world wide, 17 North American species, and 12 Florida species. Only 5 of these visit the Ranch.
 

Ibises and Spoonbills

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Threskiornithidae
Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

The family Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings. Their bodies tends to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. There are 36 species world wide, five North American species, and five Florida species.

 

Storks

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ciconiidae
Wood Stork
Wood Stork

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They lack the powder down that other wading birds such as herons, spoonbills and ibises use to clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute. There are 19 species world wide, two North American species, and one Florida species.

 

 

New World vultures

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Cathartidae
Black Vulture
Black Vulture

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they located carcasses. There are seven species world wide, all found only in the Americas, three North American species and two Florida species.

 

 

 

 

Hawks, Kites and Eagles

Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae
Osprey
Osprey

The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species world wide, 28 North American species, and 19 Florida species.
 

 

Caracaras and Falcons

Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae
American Kestrel
American Kestrel

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species world wide, ten North American species, and five Florida species.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallinules

Order: Gruiformes Family: Rallidae
Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species world wide, 13 North American species, and nine Florida species.

Cranes

Order: Gruiformes Family: Gruidae
Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide, three North American species, and two Florida species.

 

 

 

Doves

Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species world wide, 18 North American species, and 14 Florida species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barn owls

Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae
Barn Owl
Barn Owl

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species world wide, one North American species, and one Florida species.

 

 

Typical owls

Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species world wide, 21 North American species, and nine Florida species.

 

 

 

 

 

Nightjars

Order: Caprimulgiformes Family: Caprimulgidae
Chuck-wills-widow
Chuck-wills-widow

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is crypically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species world wide, nine North American species, and five Florida species.

 

 

Swifts

Order: Apodiformes Family: Apodidae
Chimney Swift
Chimney Swift

The swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have very lobg swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species world wide, nine North American species, and four Florida species.
 

 

Hummingbirds

Order: Apodiformes Family: Trochilidae
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. There are 337 species world wide, 23 North American species, and ten Florida species.

 

 

 

Kingfishers

Order: Coraciiformes Family: Alcedinidae
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Kingfishers are medium sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 94 species world wide, three North American species, and one Florida species.
 

 

 

Woodpeckers and Sapsuckers

Order: Piciformes Family: Picidae
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Woodpeckers are small to medium sized birds with chisel like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species world wide, 26 North Amwerican species, and ten Florida species.

 

 

Shrikes

Order: Passeriformes Family: Laniidae
Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 31 species world wide, three North American species, and one Florida species.

 

 

 

Jays and Crows

Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae
Florida Scrub-Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show levels of learned behavior of a high degree. There are 120 species world wide, 21 North American speicies, and four Florida species.

 

 

Swallows and Martins

Order: Passeriformes Family: Hirundinidae
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species world wide, 14 North American species, and ten Florida species.

 

Treecreepers

Order: Passeriformes Family: Certhiidae
Brown Creeper
Brown Creeper

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. There are six species world wide, one North American species , and one Florida species.


 

 

 

 

Wrens

Order: Passeriformes Family: Troglodytidae
Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 79 species world wide, nine North American species, and seven Florida species.

 

 

Thrushes

Order: Passeriformes Family: Turdidae
American Robin
American Robin

The Thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species world wide, 28 North American species, and ten Florida species.

 

 

 

 

 

Mimids

Order: Passeriformes Family: Mimidae
Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher

The Mimids are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. There are 35 species world wide, 13 North American species, and six Florida species.

 

 

 

 

 

Waxwings

Order: Passeriformes Family: Bombycillidae
Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterised by soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are three species world wide, two North American species, and one Florida species.
 

 

 

Cardinals and Saltators

Order: Passeriformes Family: Cardinalidae
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

The Cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. There are 43 species world wide, 13 North American species and eight Florida species.
 

 

 

 


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Contact Information      Horseback Trail Rides - 1020 Camp Road, Cocoa FL 32927
Telephone                          321-632-7085
E-mail                            shirley@floridahorsebacktrailrides.com

 
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