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Waterfowl Checklist
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

This page is an exceprt of a brochure published
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The topography of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge consists of wide sandy beach backed by a series of low dunes which fall away to extensive salt marshes bordering Chincoteague Bay. Some parts of the refuge, particularly the southern end, also contain extensive areas of pine and oak interspersed with ponds and potholes. Several shallow freshwater impoundments were developed to make the refuge more attractive to waterfowl.

Thousands of brant, geese, and ducks winter on the refuge. Shorebirds are an outstanding feature of the migration periods. Large numbers of herons and egrets can usually be found on the impoundments from mid-spring to late fall.

Most of the Maryland portion of Assateague Island is managed by the National Park Service whose policies emphasize maintaining natural habitats. Birds found on the Virginia portion of the island may also be observed in Maryland. Because of the freshwater impoundments, however, the Virginia portion tends to attract larger numbers of birds.

The original folder listed 316 birds that have been identified on the refuge. This page focuses on waterfowl and other water birds and only lists 43 of the orignal 316 birds.

Most birds are migratory, therefore, their seasonal occurance is coded as follows:
s - SpringMarch - May
S - SummerJune - August
F - FallSeptember - November
W - WinterDecember - February
* - nesting species

Relative Abundance
a - abundanta species which is very numerous
c - commoncertain to be seen or heard in suitable habitat
u - uncommonpresent, but not certain to be seen
o - occasionalseen only a few times during the season
r - rareseen at intervals of 2 to 5 years

s S F W
__ Red-throated Loon u - u u
__ Common Loon c r c c
__ Pied-billed Grebe c u c c
__ Horned Grebe c - c c
__ Red-necked Grebe r - r r
__ Eared Grebe - - r -
__ Northern Gannet u - u u
__ American White Pelican o - o o
__ Brown Pelican u c u -
__ Great Cormorant r - r r
__ Double-crested Cormorant c u a c
__ Tundra Swan c - c c
__ Mute Swan* c c c c
__ Greater White-fronted Goose - - - r
__ Snow Goose c r a c
__ Brant c r c c
__ Canada Goose* c c c c
__ Wood Duck* u u u r
__ Green-winged Teal c r c c
__ American Black Duck* c c c c
__ Mallard* c c c c
__ Northern Pintail c r c c
__ Blue-winged Teal* c u c r
__ Northern Shoveler c o c c
__ Gadwall* c c c c
__ Eurasian Wigeon - - r r
__ American Wigeon c r c c
__ Canvasback r - r r
__ Redhead r - r r
__ Ring-necked Duck o - u u
__ Greater Scaup u - u u
__ Lesser Scaup u - u u
__ Common Eider - - r r
__ Oldsquaw c - u c
__ Black Scoter c - c c
__ Surf Scoter c - c c
__ White-winged Scoter c - c c
__ Common Goldeneye u - u u
__ Bufflehead c r c c
__ Hooded Merganser u - u u
__ Common Merganser - - u u
__ Red-breasted Merganser c r c c
__ Ruddy Duck c o c c

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Chincoteague is one of more than 470 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and water managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat and represents the most comprehensive wildlife resource management program in the world. Units of the system stretch across the United States from Northern Alaska to the Florida Keys, and include small islands in the Caribean and South Pacific. The character of the refuges is as diverse as the nation itself.

For further information of to report unusual sightings please contact:

Refuge Manager
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 62
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336
(757) 336-6122

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Last Updated: Saturday, December 14, 2002 12:00pm EST