What Types of Birds Can Be Seen at Beaches in the US Virgin Islands?

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the birds that can be spotted at beaches in the US Virgin Islands. It is based on the taxonomic sequence of the CheckList of North and Middle American Birds, from the seventh edition to the 63rd Supplement, published by the American Ornithological Society (AOS). Common and scientific names are also included, except for common family names which come from Clements' taxonomy. The Anatidae family includes ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans.

These birds are adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, with webbed feet, flattened beaks and feathers that are excellent at repelling water due to their oily layer. Guinea fowls are a group of African birds that eat seeds and nest on the ground, resembling partridges but with featherless heads and gray plumage with sequins. New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds that are only distantly related to Old World quails, but are named for their similar appearance and habits. The Phasianidae family is composed of quails, partridges, crackers, francolins, spurs, swallows, monales, pheasants, peacocks, rainforests, turkeys and grouse.

In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have wide, relatively short wings. Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, typically 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the western and eastern hemispheres. Flamingos feed by filtering shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and can even be used the other way around.

Grebes are small to medium-sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, their feet are placed far back on the body which makes them quite clumsy on land. Pigeons and turtledoves are strong-bodied birds with short necks and short, thin beaks with a fleshy crest.

The Cuculidae family includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anise. These birds vary in size with thin bodies, long tails and strong legs. Nightgoats are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short beaks.

Most have small feet which are of little use for walking and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to look like bark or leaves. Swifts are small birds that spend most of their lives flying; they have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground but only perch on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long backward-slanting wings that resemble a half moon or a boomerang.

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of floating in the air due to the rapid flapping of their wings; they are the only birds that can fly backwards. Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds that includes railings, hatchlings, coots and reeds. They generally inhabit dense vegetation in humid environments near lakes, swamps or rivers; they tend to be shy and reserved which makes them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes that adapt well to soft uneven surfaces; they tend to have short rounded wings and are weak fliers. Recurvirostridae is a family of large mosquito birds that includes avocets and stilts. Avocados have long legs and long beaks that curve upwards while stilts have extremely long legs and long thin straight beaks; oystercatchers are large loud birds similar to plovers with strong beaks used to crush or open mollusks. The Charadriidae family includes plovers spots and breakdowns; they are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies short thick necks and long generally pointed wings; they can be found in open fields all over the world mainly in habitats close to water. Scolopacidae is a large and diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds which includes washermen curlews stingers charlatans woodcocks crouches warlocks and phalarops; most of these species feed on small invertebrates extracted from mud or soil; their variation in length of legs and beaks allows several species to feed in the same habitat particularly on the coast without direct competition for food. The Stercorariidae family is composed of medium to large birds generally with gray or brown plumage often with white markings on the wings; they nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. Laridae is a medium to large family of seabirds which includes seagulls gulls terns and frothers; they usually have gray or white plumage often with black markings on their heads; they have sturdy long beaks and webbed legs. Terns are a group of seabirds generally medium to large in size which usually have gray or white plumage often with black markings on their heads; most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick up insects from the surface of freshwater; terns tend to be long-lived birds with several species known to live more than 30 years. Skimmers are a small family of birds similar to tropical terns; they have an elongated lower jaw used for feeding by flying low above the surface of the water skimming for small fish. Tropical birds are white slender birds from tropical oceans with exceptionally long central tail feathers; their long heads and wings have black markings while members of this family resemble southern storm petrels including their general appearance and habits; there are enough genetic differences between them to justify their location in a separate family. Procelarids are the main group of medium-sized true petrels characterized by having nostrils connected with a medium septum and a long external functional primary. Frigates are large seabirds that can generally be found in tropical oceans; they're large black-and-white or completely black with long wings deeply bifurcated tails; males have colored inflatable throat bags; they can't swim or walk nor take off from a flat surface because they have highest wingspan-to-body weight ratio among all birds but can soar for hours without flapping their wings.