Can You Find Every Bird in Brookfield Zoo?

Are you up for a challenge this winter? Are you an experienced birder, passive birder, or just looking for something to do on a cold day?

The Brookfield Zoo has developed a birding checklist for you to try to identify as many of the species that live in our indoor habitats as possible during your next visit.

It could be difficult because we have close to 100 species, and some of them live in thickly planted habitats that mimic the bird’s natural environment. Also, some birds are well-skilled at not being seen.

The Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana) pictured below is a small species native to Central and South America. It is brightly colored but very secretive, flying quickly tree to tree looking for food so you will have to be fast to see them.


Another challenging species to spot is the Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides), which is native to Northern Australia and is highly camouflaged. They are only active at dawn and dusk choosing to spend most of the day roosting in the trees, so you will need to be very patient and observant to spot them.

Other birds might not be as tricky such as the Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) which is native to Africa. They roam the park grounds in groups of 4-10 individuals and can regularly be heard calling to find each other when the groups become separated. Another name for a group of guineafowl is called a “confusion,” which makes sense because they tend to become separated from each other regularly.


Just to give you a taste of what you might be getting yourself into, below is a picture of the Rainforest habitat located in Feathers and Scales where over 10 species of birds live. It is not an easy task, but it is a fun way to spend a day at the Brookfield Zoo while also sharpening your birding skills during the winter. It is also a great way to introduce kids to an enjoyable hobby that is popular with many people around the world.


Feel free to share your experience and the number of birds identified on Brookfield Zoo’s social media pages as well. And if you fill your entire sheet, be sure to brag about it!

If you are having difficulties finding a species, please feel free to ask any of our bird care specialists that you may see around the bird exhibits. One of our daily tasks is to check on every bird in the collection daily, making sure they are healthy and active, so we are more than happy to help.

Download the checklist here. Good luck birding!

- Brookfield Zoo’s Bird Department

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Posted: 2/3/2020 1:40:58 PM by Sean Keeley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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