Biology 4433/5433 - Ornithology at West Texas A&M University

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UNDER REVISION -- Spring semester 2017

Class Information

Class syllabus (in PDF)                                               

Observation form




Class Resources:



All About Bird Anatomy (Cornell product covering feather groups through the nervous system)


Feathers Folks:

Manakins sing with their wings, literally!

Feathers in birds-of-paradise, what?!

More feather love, iridescence and the riflebird

*The amazing part of a male common nighthawk's display...

Iridescence on display




*occurs in the panhandle


Anatomy of interest

Why woodpeckers don't get headaches (watch all 7 segments)


Flight and aerodynamics

How a bird wing works (video)

Hummingbird aerodynamics: use of high speed camera




Choosing a field guide



Cornell's Inside Birding (great tips for beginners at field identification of birds; 4 short films)

Size and shape

Color pattern

Bird behavior

Habitat (Also check the range map in your guide to see if the species is likely to be found where you are!)


Coastal birds and birders (TPWD) - a hint at some birds we will see on the Aransas trip

Audubon's Birds of North America - online field guide



Photo quiz study guides:

    Photo quiz 1 (Anseriformes)

    Photo quiz 2 (Galliformes, Podicipediformes, Pelecaniformes, and Ciconiiformes)

    Photo quiz 3 (Falconiformes and Gruiformes)

    Photo quiz 4 (Charadriiformes)

    Photo quiz 5  (Columbiformes, Cuculiformes, Strigiformes, Caprimulgiformes, Apodiformes, and Coraciiformes)

    Photo quiz 6 (Piciformes and Passeriformes through the loggerhead shrike)

    Photo quiz 7 (Passeriformes; blue jay through the wrens)

    Photo quiz 8 (Passeriformes; Kinglets through warblers)

Checklist of Panhandle birds (PDF)

Pigeon dissection images


Links of interest:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Bird calls, images and lots of useful information.  Merlin bird ID app.

Macaulay Library 
An online archive of bird and animal behavior - lots of bird calls!
Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
This site contains photographs, songs, videos, identification tips, 
maps, and life history information for North American birds. 

Species, Age and Sex Identification of Ducks Using Wing Plumage
This is a great site that provides all of the information necessary to identify species, age, and sex of ducks by using only their wings.

Waterfowl Identification in the Central Flyway
This site contains paintings of ducks in various stages of plumage, photos of wings, and descriptions of distinguishing characteristics and is designed to serve as an aid to identification of birds in hand and in flight.

Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Guide
This site is designed to aid in recognition of birds on the wing.  It emphasizes fall and winter plumage patterns and size, shape, and flight characteristics.