About the
Bird Checklist for Utah
Utah Bird Records Committee
(2019, 2009 & 2004)

Print Center  |   Utah Checklists  |   Rare Bird Sightings  |    Sight Records Under Review  |  First State Records  |  Auxiliary Lists  | 


The Utah Bird Records Committee keeps track of new birds seen in Utah, changes in bird names and taxonomic relationships made by the American Ornithological Society and its checklist committee and produces a bird checklist for Utah.  Periodically a major updates is made to the checklist to reflect changes in the bird life in the state.  Here are report on the last major updates:

2019 Checklist


The Utah Bird Checklist for Utah has been revised  and updated with a modified format of the code system, changed bird names, combined species, and updated abundance and status codes. The names and order of the birds are according to the 7th edition of AOU checklist, 59th supplement.

Since the 2009 checklist, 23 new species have been added, making a total of 465 species on this checklist.  

American Avocet photo  by Kendall Brown  ©Kendall W. Brown    


Species added to the 2019 Checklist since the 2009 Checklist
        Species Name   Date Added  Sight Record #

  Great Black-backed Gull 16 Mar 2019 2019-01
  Blue-footed Boody 21 Nov 2018 2017-46
  Dusky-capped Flycatcher 18 Feb 2018 2017-46
     Pacific-slope Flycatcher 6 Jan 2018 2015-24R
  Arctic Tern 20 Oct 2017 2017-46
  Bell's Sparrow 19 Jun 2017 2017-06
  Black-throated Green Warbler 31 May 2017 2017-19
  Common Crane 15 May 2017 2017-18
  California Condor 18 Jun 2016 Sightings
  Laughing Gull 20 Feb 2015 2015-03
  Nelson's Sparrow 8 Nov 2014 2014-027
  Mississippi Kite 9 Aug 2014 2014-013
  Allen's Hummingbird 25 Feb 2014 2013-83
  Streak-backed Oriole 21 Feb 2014 2014-001
  Bar-tailed Godwit 5 Jan 2014 2013-64
  Winter Wren 24 Apr 2013 2012-22
  Tropical Kingbird 16 Dec 2012 2012-35
  Gilded Flicker 15 Sep 2012 2012-27
     Purple Sandpiper 4 Feb 2011 2010-48
  Pyrrhuloxia 30 Oct 2010 2010-33
  Thick-billed Kingbird 20 Feb 2010 2009-29
  Brown-capped Rosy-Finch 22 Jan 2010 2008-36
  Iceland Gull 21 Nov 2009 2008-31

*Thayer's Gull and Iceland Gull have been combined under the species name, "Iceland Gull."    (See First State Records page)

Name Changes since 2009
     Old Name      New Name     Reason

     Thayer's Gull Iceland Gull Merge
  Whip-poor-will Mesican Whip-poor-will Split
  Magnificent Hummingbird Rivoli's Hummingbird Split
  Winter Wren Pacific Wren Split
  Western Scrub-Jay Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay Split
  Sage Sparrow Sagebrush Sparrow Split
  Common Moorhen Common Gallinule Split

Code and Washington Co. changes  

    Tables and lists of changes

                   | Web version | Rich Text download | Spreadsheet download | Print |       

2009 Checklist


The Utah Bird Checklist for Utah has revised and updated abundance and status codes and has a new indicator (+) for "provisional species," which are species accepted on sight records alone (no physical evidence). The names and order of the birds are according to the 7th edition of AOU checklist, 49th supplement.

Since the 2004 checklist, 17 new species have been added,  making a total of 443 species on this checklist..


Wilson's Snipe  photo  by Jack Binch  ©Jack Binch

2009 Revision of the Checklist:

According to the new abundance and status codes some species are becoming more common in the state while others are becoming less common.  Below is a table of the code changes showing a increase or decrease of abundance:
  Becoming more common Old Codes New Codes
     Horned Grebe RT UT,RW
  Great Egret RT,RS US,RW
  Broad-winged Hawk OT RT
  Ferruginous Hawk US,RW UP
  Baird's Sandpiper UT FT
  Bonaparte's Gull UT FT
  Eurasian Collared-Dove RP CP
  Common Poorwill FS CS
  Calliope Hummingbird RS UT,RS
  Vermilion Flycatcher RS R
  Cassin's Vireo RT UT
  Juniper Titmouse FP CP
  Verdin FP CP
  Winter Wren RW RP
  Glossy Ibis A O
  Becoming less common    
     Greater White-fronted Goose RT,RW RT
  Tundra Swan CT,CW UT,UW
  Surf Scoter RW RT
  White-winged Scoter RW RT
  Black Scoter OW OT
  Gyrfalcon OT,OW A
  Mountain Plover RS OS
  Western Sandpiper CT,RW CT
  Long-tailed Jaeger O A
  Glaucous Gull R RW
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo RS OS
  Northern Saw-whet Owl UP RP
  Least Flycatcher OS OT
  Blue-headed Vireo O A
  Northern Mockingbird CS,UW UP
  Brown Thrasher OW OT
  Le Conte's Thrasher O A
  Blue Grosbeak FS US
  Bobolink US RS

  Other Changes
   Species added to the Washington County list:

      Zone-tailed Hawk
      Common Moorhen
   Species added to the Northern Utah list: 
      Lark Bunting
      Snow Bunting

Provisional Species:

Eighteen species listed on the checklist have been accepted on sight records alone.  The individual sight records of group of sight records are deemed to be of sufficient weight to include that species on the official state list.  These species are listed on the Auxiliary Lists along with species that have been reported but have not been accepted by the committee and also a list introduced species some that are on the checklist and others that are not..

Species added to the 2009 checklist:  (with links to the initial sight record)
        Whip-poor-will Painted Bunting Ruby-throated Hummingbird     
  Baird's Sparrow Neotropic Cormorant      Cackling Goose
  Purple Finch Western Gull White Ibis
  Pine Warbler Gray Hawk Blue-headed Vireo
  Sharp-tailed Sandpiper      Pacific Golden-Plover Rufous-backed Robin
  Cape May Warbler Glossy Ibis  


2004 Checklist

Black-necked Stilt photo  by Kent Keller  ©Kent Keller

The Utah Bird Checklist for Utah has been thoroughly revised and updated. 
The abundance and status codes are current and
the names and order of the birds is according to the latest AOU checklist.
In March of 2004, 22 new species were added, two were taken off and the names of five species were changed.
In April of 2005, four new species were added making a total of 430 species on the checklist..

2004 Revision of the Checklist:

The Checklist committee was made up of four members of the Utah Bird Records Committee.  Terry Sadler and Merrill Webb were co-chairmen of the committee, Ron Ryel was a consultant for the northern part of the state and Rick Fridell was a consultant for the southern part of the state.  Two new abundance codes were added to round out the set.  A "fairly common" category was added to bridge the gap between "common" and "uncommon," and a new category "accidental" was added to indicate that the species would be out of its normal range, as opposed to an "occasional' species which would not be seen every year, but would be expected to show up now and then.  A "^" code was added to indicate that the species was found primarily in the northern part of the state as a complement to the already existing "*" code which indicates that the species is found primarily in Washington County in the southwest corner of Utah.

All members of the committee submitted their abundance and status codes for all of the species independently and then the differences were discussed and the  final decisions were made.  It is significant to note that there were very few differences among the codes of all four committee members and the differences that did come up were quite minor.   This would possibly indicate that although the codes are not scientific, they do describe very well how often you would expect to see a certain species during the course of normal observation.

Names and list order:

The name and list order correspond with the recently updated 7th American Ornithologist's Union Check-list of North American Birds and the 44th supplement of that Check-list.  There were some name changes and new species split from old ones:

  • American Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis, was separated from the Three-toed Woodpecker of Europe, Picoides tridactylus.

  • Greater Sage-Grouse was renamed when the old "Sage Grouse," species was split.

  • Gunnison Sage-Grouse became a new species, Centrocercus minimus, as a split-off of  the above mentioned "Sage Grouse."

  • Long-tailed Duck was rename, for reasons of political correctness most likely, from "Oldsquaw."

  • Rock Pigeon is the new name for the old "Rock Dove," better placing it with a more similar group of birds.

  • Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata, was split from the Common Snipe, Gallinago gallinago, of Europe and Asia.

  • Black-billed Magpie became a new species Pica hudsonia being split from the Magpie of Europe and elsewhere, Pica pica.

The main changes in order are that the "duck, swans and geese" group (Answeriiformes) has been moved to the beginning of the list and is followed by the the "grouse and quail" group (Galliformes).  Other than that, the order is about the same.

Species added to the 2004 checklist:

There were 22 new species added to the 1998 checklist in March of 2004. All but one of them were new sightings for Utah.  The Gunnison Sage-Grouse was added because of a species split: (Click the name to see the record submitted to the Records Committee). 

Species removed from the previous checklist:

Because there were two species whose records were not able to be completely validated by the  Records Committee, they were removed from the list so that the committee can fully stand behind the contents of this checklist. These species are:

  • Bar-tailed Godwit

  • Laughing Gull