Waterbirds can be found in waterfowl impoundments, ditches, borrow-pits, bayous, mudflats, sloughs and along the banks of the Red River throughout the year on Red River NWR.
Colonial waterbirds are a conspicuous component of the wildlife assemblage at Red River NWR. Species commonly encountered using refuge wetlands include great blue herons, great egrets, little blue herons, anhingas, green herons, snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons and yellow-crowned night herons.
Less commonly seen species include tricolored herons, roseate spoonbills, white ibis and glossy ibis. Wood storks can be seen occasionally feeding in the shallow pools and mud flats during their post breeding migration.
So far, no rookeries have been discovered on the refuge.
Marsh birds, due to their secretive habits, are infrequently encountered but do occur in good numbers during migration. Smaller numbers occur during winter and summer, with a few probably nesting in refuge moist soil units and marsh areas.
Marsh birds that can be seen on or near the refuge include; American bittern, least bittern, Virginia rail, sora rail, yellow rail, common moorhen and American coot. American coots and moorhens are abundant and can be found on the refuge year-round.
Shorebirds migrate through the Red River Valley from South America to the northernmost part of North America. They use their bills to probe in soft mud and shallow water for invertebrates. These birds generally move through during spring and fall, foraging as they migrate.
Shorebirds that can be seen on or adjacent to the refuge during migration and over winter include: black-necked stilts, killdeer, greater yellowlegs, lesser yellowlegs, semipalmated sandpipers, spotted sandpipers, least sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, long-billed dowitchers, dunlins, American woodcock and common snipe. Killdeer and black-necked stilts are known to breed on the refuge.
Large numbers of snipe can be observed during the winter on the refuge’s moist soil units.