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Myrtle Beach Birds
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Myrtle Beach Bird Identification Descriptions for birds commonly found in Myrtle Beach

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Myrtle Beach Bird Identification Descriptions for birds commonly found in Myrtle Beach

These are birds we find most commonly on the beach. This will help you find a reference point to help you identify about 90% of the birds you will find in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


  • American herring gull
  • Black-headed gull
  • Bonaparte's Gull
  • Brewers Blackbird
  • Brown Pelican
  • Canada Goose
  • Common Loon
  • Fish Crow
  • Great black-backed gull
  • Great Egret
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  • Horned Grebe
  • Laughing Gull
  • Least Tern
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Malard Duck
  • Mute swan
  • Royal Tern
  • Sanderling
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Western Sandpiper
  • Willet
  • Myrtle Beach Bird Identification Descriptions and Images

    American herring gull
    American herring gull (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)common called the Smithsonian gull is a large gull that breeds in North America. Adults are white with gray back and wings, black wing tips with white spots, and pink legs. Young birds are gray-brown. Males are 24 to 26 inches long and weigh 2.31 to 3.64 pounds. Females are 21 to 24 long and weigh 1.3 to 2.0 pounds.The wingspan is 47 to 61 inches.
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    Black-headed gull
    Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) is a small gull that breeds coastal eastern Canada. Most of the population is migratory and winters further south. Some black-headed gulls also spend the winter in northeastern North America, where it was formerly known as the common black-headed gull. Black-headed gull is 15 to 17 inches long with a 37 to 41 inch wingspan.
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    Bonaparte's Gull
    Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus) named for Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French ornithologist, who was nephew to French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte's Gull is one of the smallest gulls with adults measured at 11 to 15 inches in length, with a wingspan of 30 to 33 inches and weigh 6.3 to 7.9 ounces. The male and female look nearly identical.
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    Brewers Blackbird
    Brewers Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) is named after the ornithologist Thomas Mayo Brewer. Adult males have black plumage with an iridescent purple head and neck and glossy bluish-green highlights on the rest of the body. Brewers Blackbird are 8 to 10.3 inches in length, with a weight of 2.2 ounces and a wingspan of 15.5 inches.
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    Brown Pelican
    Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is one of only three pelican species found in the Western Hemisphere, less commonly found north of the Carolinas. The smallest of the eight species of pelican. Brown Pelicans are 42 to 54 inches in length, weigh 6.1 to 12.1 pounds and have a wingspan of 6.0 to 8.2 feet. It has a very large bill measuring 11.0 to 13.7 inches long. Their preferred diet is pigfish, pinfish, herring, sheepshead, silversides, mullet, minnows and prawns. They are seen in flocks typically flying north and feeding off shore in Myrtle Beach in the early evening.
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    Canada Goose
    Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species, primarily herbivorous and normally migratory, typically found on or close to fresh water. Canada geese have a black head and neck with a white "chinstrap" and the Canada Goose typically measures 30 to 43 inches in length, with a wingspan of 50 to 73 inches. The geese fly in a distinctive V-shaped flight formation. Large flocks of Canada geese are found in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill), and nearby Hillsborough. They arrive in Myrtle Beach from beginning in September and leave in May to June.
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    Common Loon
    Common Loon (Gavia immer) is a large member of the loon, or diver, family of birds. Common Loons are typically 24 to 39 inches long with a wingspan of 48 to 60 inches. Breeding adults have a black head, white underparts, and a checkered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is brownish, with the chin and foreneck white. They migrate for the winter from Canada as far south as Florida and can be seen in Myrtle Beach in the fall, winter and spring. Their preferred ocean diet is rock fish, flounder, sea trout, and herring.
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    Fish Crow
    Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) is a species of crow associated with wetland habitats in the eastern and southeastern United States from Rhode Island south to Key West. The fish crow is omnivorous. It feeds on small crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimps, other invertebrates, stranded fish, and live fish if the situation favors their capture, eggs and nestlings of birds, small reptiles, the fruits of many trees, peanuts, and grains, as well as human scraps where available.
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    Great black-backed gull
    Great black-backed gull (Larus marinus), also known as the greater black-backed gull or black-back, is the largest member of the gull family. They have a white head, neck and underparts, dark grey wings and back, pink legs and yellow bill.
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    Great Egret
    Great Egret (Ardea alba), also known as the common egret, large egret or great white heron is a large, widely found in the Sun Belt of the United States and is commonly seen in Myrtle Beach. The great egret is a large heron with all-white plumage, a yellow bill and black legs. Standing up to three feet tall with a wingspan of 52 to 67 inches, the great egret commonly weighs 1.5 to 3.3 pounds.
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    Horned Grebe
    Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) is a member of the grebe family of water birds. It is also known as the Slavonian grebe. It is an excellent swimmer and diver, and pursues its fish prey under water. Commonly, the horned grebe is 12–15 inches long with a 18–22 inch wingspan. Both male and female horned grebe have a black head with brown puffy earlike tufts, deep red neck, scarlet eyes, and a small, straight black bill tipped with white.
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    Laughing Gull
    Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) is a medium-sized gull commonly seen on the Atlantic coast of North America, and are commonly seen in Myrtle Beach. The Laughing Gull is 14 to 16 inches long with a 39– to 43 inch wingspan. The summer adult's body is white apart from the dark grey back and wings and black head.
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    Least Tern
    Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) breeds in North America and is commonly seen near the tide line in Myrtle Beach. Least Terns are small in size, 8.7 to 9.4 inches long, with a wingspan of 20 inches and weigh 1.4 to 1.8 ounces. The tiny sea bird has a white head, body top is uniform pale gray with white underparts and gray legs. The head is white with a black cap and a small white forehead patch above the yellow bill.
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    Lesser Black-backed Gull
    Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) is a large gull that breeds on the Atlantic coast and can commonly seen in Myrtle Beach. The lesser black-backed gull is 20 to 25 inches tall, with a wingspan of 49 to 59 inches, weighing 1.5 to 1.8 pounds. They have pink legs, a yellow bill with a red spot. They are omnivores and will eat fish, insects, crustaceans, worms, starfish, mollusks, seeds, berries, small mammals, eggs, small birds, chicks, scraps, offal, and carrion.
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    Malard Duck
    Malard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) or wild duck is a dabbling duck male birds (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on wings and belly, while the females (hens or ducks) have mainly brown-speckled plumage. Both sexes have an area of white-bordered black speculum feathers which also include iridescent blue feathers especially among males.
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    Mute swan
    Mute swan (Cygnus olor) is a species of swan so named due to being less vocal than other swan species. It is an introduced species in North America, Australasia and southern Africa. Typically, the mute swan is 49 to 67 inches in length and are all white with an orange bill bordered with black. Males have a larger knob atop the bill.
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    Royal Tern
    Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) is a seabird in the tern family. The royal tern lives on the coast and is only found near salt water. They tend to feed close to the beach. The royal tern has an orange-red bill, pale grey upper parts and white under parts. Its legs are black. The royal tern's length is 18 to 20 inches, with a wingspan of 49 to 53 inches and weigh 12 to 16 ounces.
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    Sanderling
    Sanderling (Calidris alba) is a small wading bird in the Canadian Arctic which winter in Myryle Beach and further south. The winter bird is very pale, almost white apart from a dark shoulder patch. Later in the summer, the face and throat become brick-red. The sanderling is a small plump sandpiper 7.1 to 7.9 inches long weighing 1.4 to 3.5 ounces. They arrive in Myrtle Beach between August and October and migrate north for breeding in May to June.
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    Sandwich Tern
    Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) is a seabird of the tern family, Sternidae. The Sandwich tern has grey body upperparts, white underparts, a yellow-tipped black bill and a shaggy black crest which becomes less extensive in winter with a white crown. Sandwich Terns are 15 to 17 inches long with a 33 to 38 inch wingspan. They feed by plunge diving for fish.
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    Western Sandpiper
    Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) is a small shorebird. This is one of the most abundant shorebird species in North America with a population in the millions. Adults have dark legs and a short, thin, dark bill, thinner at the tip. The body is brown on top and white underneath. They are reddish-brown on the crown. They mainly eat insects, small crustaceans, and mollusks.
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    Willet
    Willet (Tringa semipalmata) is a large shorebird in the sandpiper family. Adults have gray legs and a long, straight, dark and stout bill. The body is dark gray above and light underneath. The tail is white with a dark band at the end. Willet's have black and white pattern of the wings is a common sight along the Myrtle Beach shore.
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