Bird identification
Common raven

West Nile virus bird identification

Below are common species affected by West Nile virus. The Division of Wildlife Resources is no longer collecting these birds for West Nile virus testing. However, if you live within Salt Lake County, the Salt Lake County Health Department is conducting a special study and might collect your bird for testing. You may contact them at 801-534-4600.

Birds of the corvid family

Common raven
Common Raven

Corvus corax

Identification tips:

  • Length: 24"
  • Wingspan: 53"
  • Weight: 2.6 lb
  • Entirely black plumage
  • Long narrow wings, wedged shaped tail, heavy bill
  • Larger than the American Crow and not as gregarious
American crow
American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos

Identification tips:

  • Length: 16–18"
  • Wingspan: 39"
  • Weight: 1lb
  • Entirely black plumage
  • Squared-off tail
  • Short tail, broad wings
Black-billed magpie
Black-billed Magpie

Pica pica

Identification tips:

  • Length: 19"
  • Wingspan: 25"
  • Weight: 6 oz.
  • Color: White and black
  • Plumage often appears iridescent
  • White patches on wings in flight
Western scrub jay
Western scrub jay

Aphelocoma californica

Identification tips:

  • Length: 11–13"
  • Crestless jay usually associated with oaks
  • Color: Head, wings and tail are blue. Back is pale brownish; white throat.
Stellar's jay
Stellar's Jay

Cyanocitta stelleri

Identification tips:

  • Length: 12–13"
  • A large, dark, black and blue bird
  • Long crest
  • Foreparts blackish, rest of body blue

Raptors (Hawks, Eagles and Falcons)

Raptors typically have a strong hooked beak and long curved talons. All raptors are wanted for WNV testing. Some examples are listed below.

Red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Identification tips:

  • Length: 19–25"
  • Distinctive red coloration on topside of tail
  • Light colored breast with streaked belly
Northern goshawk
Northern Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

Identification tips:

  • Length: 20–26"
  • Large robust hawk with longish tail
  • Adult: Crown and cheek blackish with broad white stripe over the eye. Immature (shown): Pale stripe over the eye; irregular tail-banding
Golden eagle
Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Identification tips:

  • Length: 30–40"
  • Wingspan: 7 ft.
  • Glides and soars flat winged
  • A gold band of feathers on the back of neck