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.