Alaska supports a
great diversity of landbird species, or birds that rely principally on terrestrial
habitats. The Alaska landbird avifauna is composed
of 260 species, 135 breeding species, and a wide variety of bird groups such as
raptors, ptarmigan, woodpeckers, swallows, chickadees, thrushes, warblers, and
sparrows. Landbirds are found in all terrestrial habitats that occur in
Alaska. Because of the unique geographic position of Alaska, many of the
state's landbirds are found nowhere else in the United States or North America.
The entire world's population of McKay's
Buntings resides in Alaska.
North American breeding
populations of Gray-headed Chickadee, Arctic Warbler, Bluethroat, Yellow and White
wagtail, and Red-throated Pipit nest entirely or almost entirely within Alaska.
supports the the entire U.S. breeding population of Gyrfalcon, Willow and Rock
ptarmigan, Snowy and Northern Hawk owl, Northern Shrike, Northern Wheatear, Gray-cheeked
Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing, American Tree and Golden-crowned sparrows, Smith's and
Lapland longspur, Snow Bunting, and Common and Horry redpoll.
the U.S, more than 75% of the breeding populations of Bald Eagle
, Alder Flycatcher,
Northwestern Crow, Boreal Chickadee, Blackpoll Warbler, and Rusty Blackbird occur
Approximately 50% of the landbirds
breeding in Alaska migrate outside of Alaska to spend
the winter. Many of these migrant landbirds travel great distances to and
from their wintering grounds in either the Old World (e.g., southeast Asia, Africa)
or New World (Mexico and Central and South America) tropics. For example,
the tiny Blackpoll Warbler (which weighs as much as a pair of 25 ¢ coins)
travels up to 5,000 miles from Alaska to the Amazonian basin of Brazil to send
the winter! Because Alaska's assemblage of landbird species collectively
occupy a vast portion of the globe over the annual cycle, their conservation requires
considerable cooperation and planning among biologists both within Alaska and
among states, countries, and continents.
Last Updated: September 15, 2008