A bird’s habitat is often a signature of its identity. For example, you’ll usually find herons near water and you can expect to find meadowlarks in open fields. There are four broad categories of habitat: (1) woodland habitats—coniferous or deciduous trees; (2) aquatic habitats—lakes, ponds, swamps, marshes, oceans, and shorelines; (3) scrub-shrub habitats—short woody plants and bushes; and (4) open habitats—grasslands, agricultural fields, and tundra. Once you learn what kinds of birds depend on each habitat you have a quick tool to help you identify birds in the field. Join Chris Wood and Jessie Barry as they explain how being aware of habitat cues can make you a better birder.

This video is part of our 4-part Inside Birding series. Each roughly 10-minute video guides you through the 4 basic keys to bird identification with clear instruction and examples. The four videos in the series are:

Inside Birding: Size & Shape
Inside Birding: Color Pattern
Inside Birding: Understanding Behavior
Inside Birding: Habitat

For more on the 4 keys of bird ID, see our Bird ID Skills pages on All About Birds.

Would you like to learn more about how understanding habitat can help you identify more birds in your area? Bird Academy’s online courses let enthusiasts of all levels learn at their own pace. You can browse our course catalog to find the perfect online learning resource for yourself. Be a better birder today: View course catalog

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