Wildlife & Habitat


At Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, the fish and wildlife species and the habitats are closely connected to each other and the soils, shallow water tables, and flooding frequency on the refuge. The different wetland habitats on the refuge support different suites of wildlife species. Some species, such as black bear, white-tailed deer, and red wolves, range over the entire refuge. Other species, such as the secretive marsh birds, are very particular about residing exclusively in brackish marshes. Most waterfowl species only reside in the refuge’s marshes during migration. Wood ducks are permanent residents of the refuge’s flooded forests. Neotropical migratory songbirds breed in the refuge forests in the spring and migrate to the West Indies and Central and South America for the winter. Raptors such as hawks and owls hunt the roadsides and marshes searching for their prey. Ospreys and bald eagles nest in the tops of trees that have been killed by lightning and are located near open water so they can catch fish close to their nests.

  • General Wildlife


    Hyde County, in which Swanquarter NWR lies, is a stronghold for the black bear in North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic coast. The refuge also has the potential for habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, currently hosts bald eagles, and is located within the red wolf reintroduction area.

    Learn More
  • Birds


    The most prevalent wintering species residing in refuge marshes include pintail, green-winged teal, gadwall, widgeon, mallard, and black duck. Large “rafts” of black scoter and lesser scaup are commonly observed on the open waters adjacent to the refuge.

    Learn More
  • Habitat Types


    There are eight habitat types/land uses found on the refuge: brackish marsh, mixed pine hardwood forest, high pocosin, estuarine fringe loblolly pine, nonriverine swamp forest, pond pine pocosin, open water, and administrative areas.

    Learn More