Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wildlife disease in Utah

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.

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

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