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Browsing is a valuable way to learn about birds, however it is a brute force approach and not designed for identification. A more sophisticated approach to finding a bird with specific field marks is to use the Step by Step Search. You can also try the Wizard to find a bird, which uses a question and answer approach, but again it does not give you the flexibility of the Step by Step Search.

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Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl: Medium owl, light and dark brown mottled upperparts and dark-streaked, pale buff underparts. Head has large, round, pale buff facial disk with fine, brown tinges, black around eyes, and small ear tufts. Eyes are yellow and bill is black. Flight is erratic with flopping wing beats.
Spotted Owl
Spotted Owl: Medium owl, white-spotted, brown upperparts, finely barred white underparts. Head lacks ear tufts. Eyes are brown. The wings are brown with white spots. A secretive bird, it inhabits dense old growth forests. An individual needs 3000 acres to survive due to scarcity of its food source.
Swainson's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk: Large hawk, dark brown upperparts, white throat, rufous upper breast, pale buff underparts. Tail is gray with faint bars, dark terminal band, and white trailing edge. Yellow legs, feet. Alternates series of powerful deep wing beats with long glides. Soars on thermals and updrafts.
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow: Medium sparrow, heavily streaked gray-brown upperparts. Dull white underparts have dark central breast spot, thick streaks. Head has brown crown, paler median stripe, pale gray eyebrow, white chin, dark brown moustache stripe. Rust-brown wings. Tail is long, usually tinged rust-brown.
Sanderling
Sanderling: This medium-sized sandpiper has dark-spotted, rufous upperparts and breast, white underparts and black bill, legs and feet. Wings have conspicuous white stripes visible in flight. Feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, isopods, worms, plants and insects. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats. Sexes are similar.
Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper: This medium-sized sandpiper has olive-brown upperparts, white underparts with bold black spots, white eyebrow, barred tail and dull yellow legs. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Low direct flight; wings flap in shallow arcs, producing clipped, stiff wing beats on drooping wings. Feeds mainly on small invertebrates such as midges and mayflies. Sexes are similar.
Short-billed Dowitcher
Short-billed Dowitcher: This large sandpiper has mottled gray, black, brown and red-brown upperparts, white rump, red-brown underparts with spots and bars, a long, straight dark bill and long, dark yellow-green legs. East and west coast birds are heavier barred and spotted, paler underparts and often show white bellies. Diet includes insects and crustaceans. Strong direct flight. Sexes similar.
Spotted Dove
Spotted Dove: This medium-sized dove has gray-brown upperparts and pink-brown underparts, a pale gray cap, dark eye-line, white-spotted black nape patch and black bill. It has a long and gray tail with black edges and white corners and pink legs and feet. It feeds on grains, seeds and scraps. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats. Sexes are similar.
Sprague's Pipit
Sprague's Pipit: Medium pipit with streaked, brown upperparts, buff breast with dark streaks, and white throat and belly. Tail is brown with white edges. Thin, pale bill. Legs are yellow to pale brown. Its plumage blends well among prairie grasses, making it difficult to spot.
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher: Large flycatcher with boldly streaked olive-brown upperparts and pale yellow underparts with dark brown streaks. Eyestripes are thick and black with white borders. The wings are dark and edged with white. Tail is rust-brown. Slow fluttering flight with shallow wing beats.
Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated Plover: This small plover has gray-brown upperparts, white underparts, a black face, collar and forehead and a faint stripe sometimes seen over the eye. It has a black-tipped orange bill, orange legs and feet and a brown tail with white edges. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Feeds on insects, larvae and other invertebrates. Strong direct flight. Sexes are similar.
Snowy Plover
Snowy Plover: Small plover, pale brown upperparts, white underparts. Dark patches on either side of upper breast (partial breast band), behind eye, and on white forehead. Bill, legs, and feet are black. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Dark tail has white edges. Dark gray legs and feet.
Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper: This medium-sized sandpiper has gray-brown upperparts, white rump, heavily barred white underparts, dark cap, white eyebrows and brown ear patches. It has a long, black bill that curves down at the tip and long gray-green legs. It has a powerful, direct flight on long, rapidly beating wings. Sexes are similar.
Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper: This medium-sized sandpiper has pale-spotted, dark brown back and rump, white underparts with streaks on neck and sides, dark head and a bold white eyering. It has a black tail with conspicuous black-and-white barred edges; olive-green bill, legs and feet. Feeds on insects and insect larvae, spiders, worms and tadpoles. Direct flight is light and buoyant. Sexes are similar.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper: This medium-sized sandpiper has dark brown upperparts and white underparts with faint olive-brown streaks on breast and sides. It has a rufous crown, white eye ring and dark brown wings. The tail is dark brown and pointed in flight. Feeds primarily on mosquito larvae but also takes mollusks and crustaceans. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats. Sexes are similar.
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper: This small sandpiper has scaled gray-brown upperparts, white underparts and fine streaks on the breast and sides. It has a short, stout, straight black bill and black legs and feet. It feeds on insects, worms, small mollusks and crustaceans. Swift flight on rapidly beating wings. Sexes are similar.
Sora
Sora: This small rail has dark gray-brown upperparts with black-and-white streaks, gray breast and dark gray flanks and belly with white bars. Gray head has a darker crown and nape and black face, chin and throat. It has a dark-tipped yellow bill. Low, weak and floppy flight over short distances with legs dangling. Feeds on seeds, grasses, insects and snails. Sexes are similar.
South Polar Skua
South Polar Skua Dark: This small, gull-like skua occurs in two color phases. Dark phase adult has a dark brown body with a large white patch at base of primaries visible in flight. Dark bill, thick and heavy; short, broad tail. Light phase adult has pale gray-brown head and underparts. Feeds on fish, krill and squid. Strong direct flight with shallow wing beats. Sexes are similar.
Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow: Small sparrow, dark-streaked, gray-brown upperparts, white underparts, heavy streaks on breast and sides. Head has a brown crown with pale central stripe and pale yellow or white eyebrows. Brown wings have two pale bars. Tail is short and notched. Pink legs and feet.
Swamp Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow: Small sparrow with dark-streaked brown upperparts, gray upper breast, and pale gray, faintly streaked underparts. Head has rust-brown cap with paler median stripe and gray face. The wings are rust-brown with black-and-white streaks. Eats seeds, insects. Pink legs, feet.
Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow: Medium sparrow, dark-streaked brown back, white underparts with central breast spot, streaks on sides. Gray head has white patch in front of eye. White throat has dark moustache stripe. Brown wings, two faint bars. Long tail is dark, white edged. Coastal form is darker. Sage Sparrow was split into two distinct species in 2014 by the American Ornithologist Union. Bell’s Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow.
Smith's Longspur
Smith's Longspur: Medium sparrow, yellow-brown streaked upperparts, black head with white eyebrow and ear patch, and yellow-brown nape, throat, and underparts. Wings have large white bars. Tail is black with white edges. Yellow-brown legs and feet. Feeds on seeds, spiders, and insects.
Short-tailed Shearwater
Short-tailed Shearwater: This medium-sized shearwater has a dark brown body and traces of white in the center of the upperwings. It has a short dark bill and dark gray feet that trail slightly behind the rounded tail in flight. Feeds primarily on crustaceans. Alternates strong flaps with long glides; often soars for long periods. Sexes are similar.
Streaked Shearwater
Streaked Shearwater: This large shearwater has scaled, dark gray-brown upperparts, white underparts, pale bill and white forehead. White head has variable light to heavy pale brown streaks. Upper tail coverts can be white, forming a pale horseshoe. Legs and feet are pink. Feeds on small fish and squid. Flies with loose angled wings. Light, graceful flapping and gliding. Sexes are similar.
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Sharp-tailed Grouse: Medium grouse with lightly barred brown upperparts and white underparts dotted with chevrons. Head has short crest, yellow-orange eye comb, and pink or violet neck patch exposed when displaying. Tail is pointed and white-edged. Often seen on prairies in the summer.
Sedge Wren
Sedge Wren: Small wren with white-streaked, brown upperparts and pale buff underparts. Eyebrows are pale brown. Tail is short and barred. Bill is short and the legs and feet are pink. One of the most nomadic territorial birds. In any area it may be abundant one year, absent the next.
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Small sparrow, pale-streaked gray back, white throat, heavily streaked buff breast and sides, white belly. Head has dark cap, thick, orange-brown eyebrows and gray ear patches. Gray wings with orange-brown shoulders. Brown tail is pointed.
Seaside Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow: Medium sparrow (maritimus), streaked olive-gray upperparts, pale buff underparts, streaks on breast, sides. Head has yellow streak between eye, bill. Long bill, thick base. Short, pointed tail. Short flights, alternates rapidly beating wings with wings pulled to sides.
Scaly-breasted Munia
Scaly-breasted Munia: This small finch has chestnut-brown upperparts and dark-scaled white underparts. The head is richer brown and the bill is heavy and dark. It forages on the ground or hangs from stems to eat seeds; also feeds on greens and insects. Rapid fluctuating flight, gliding into cover. Native to Southeast Asia, where they have been popular as cage birds. Sexes are similar. AKA Spice Finch. Name changed from Nutmeg Mannikin to Scaly-breasted Munia in 2014 by the American Ornithologist Union.
Siberian Rubythroat
Siberian Rubythroat: Medium-sized thrush with olive-brown upperparts, bright red throat, gray breast and sides, and white belly. Head has white stripes above and below eyes. Wings and tail are olive-brown. Often cocks tail upward. Forages on ground for various insects and berries.
Swainson's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush: Medium-sized thrush (swainsoni), with dull olive-brown or olive-gray upperparts, pale buff eye-ring, dark moustache stripe, and brown-spotted buff throat and breast, and white belly. Legs and feet are pink-gray. Flies in a swift, direct flight with rapid wing beats.
Short-tailed Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk: Small hawk of grass and woodland habitat in Florida. Occurs in two color morphs: Dark morph adult is uniformly dark brown with thin dark bands on a dull white tail. In flight shows white flight feathers with thin dark bands and dark wingtips. The light morph has white underparts.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper
Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Small sandpiper, scaled brown and black upperparts, red-brown wash on face, neck, spotted upper breast, white underparts. Most distinguishing characteristic is the extraordinarily flared tip on its black bill. Black legs, feet. Flight is swift and direct on rapid wing beats.
Scaled Quail
Scaled Quail: Large quail AKA "cottontop," due to its white-tipped gray crest; nape, neck underparts have dark-edged gray and buff feathers creating a distinctly scaled look. Upperparts are plain gray with white stripe at base of wings; sides are gray with short white stripes. Pale brown legs, feet.
Spruce Grouse
Spruce Grouse: Medium grouse with barred, dark gray-brown upperparts, black underparts show white bars on breast, white chevrons on sides, belly. Throat is white-bordered black; red eye combs. Tail is either black with fine white spots near base (Franklin's) or black with rufous-brown tip (Tiaga).
Siberian Accentor
Siberian Accentor: Small, shy sparrow-like bird with brown-streaked upperparts, gray nape and crown with dark gray center stripe, yellow-brown eyebrows and underparts; breast shows brown streaking. Wings have a white wingbar. The tail is notched, the bill is short and black. Legs and feet are pink.
Swinhoe's Snipe
Swinhoe's Snipe: Small to medium shorebird with brown and black mottled back and wings, white stripes on back. White stripe on black-brown crown, black-brown line through eye and mark below eye. Mottling on breast, white belly. Black-brown bars on flanks. Long, straight, black-brown bill with green-yellow base. Sexes and juvenile similar.
Slaty-legged Crake
Slaty-legged Crake: Small to medium rail, red-brown head and breast, narrow yellow eyering, and olive-brown back and wings. Black and white barring on belly and vent. Short to medium, gray-black bill with blue-gray or olive base. Fairly long, black-gray legs and feet. Sexes similar. Juvenile dark brown with white throat, some barring on belly.
Scaly-breasted Munia (Palau)
Scaly-breasted Munia: Small finch, brown head, throat, back, and wings. Rest of underparts white with brown scaling on breast and flanks. Narrow, blue-gray eyering, Thick, deep, black bill. Sexes similar. Juvenile is plain brown with paler gray-brown on belly and vent.
Scaly Thrush
Scaly Thrush: Large thrush with brown and black scaled pattern on white underparts and face, fine buff and black scaling on crown, and black scaling on brown back and rump. White eyering, lores, and throat. Black mark on ear and malar. Two buff wing bars and narrow black stripe on long wings. Sexes and juvenile similar.
Spectacled Owl
Spectacled Owl: Large owl, black-brown upperparts and breast, white throat, rest of underparts buff. Small black-brown facial disk with white outline near bill and eyes. No ear tufts. Eyes yellow. Broad, rounded wings, barred tail.
Striped Owl
Striped Owl: Medium sized, slender owl, mottled brown and buff upperparts, white and buff underparts with black streaks. White facial disk with black outline. Long ear tufts. Eyes yellow-brown. Long wings. Bare, yellow feet.
Stygian Owl
Stygian Owl: Large, slender owl, black-gray mottled upperparts, underparts mostly white with black streaks and bars. Black-gray facial disk, white below bill and on front. Long ear tufts. Eyes yellow, bill black-gray. Long wings, bare, gray feet.
Sinaloa Wren
Sinaloa Wren: A small wren, gray-brown above, white-gray underparts and distinct black and white barring on side of the neck, red-brown tail, barring on vent, red-brown legs, brown eyes, sexes similar.
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