Wooded lands cover about one third of the area of Missouri, and are one of the state’s most valuable resources. These 15.5 million acres of forest and woodland provide jobs, recreational opportunities, help to clean the air and water, and provide crucial habitats for birds and other wildlife. The wooded lands of Missouri can be divided into two main types: forest and woodland.

Forests have a closed canopy and multiple overlapping layers, shade-tolerant trees in the midstory, and a layer of herbaceous vegetation in the understory. The four types of forest in Missouri include: glaciated, Ozark oak-pine, Ozark hardwood, and bottomland.

Characteristic Birds

The particular type of forest you are exploring will ultimately determine which birds you might find. Woodpeckers, wood warblers, vireos, cuckoos, thrushes, and creepers are all common forest species. Characteristic species include: Chuck-will’s-widow, Whip-poor-will, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Swainson’s Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, Summer Tanager, and Bewick’s Wren.

  • Glaciated forests are typically a mix of hardwoods, including white oak, northern red oak, sugar maple, white ash, and hickories. The midstory is filled with shade-tolerant trees and shrubs over an understory of herbaceous vegetation.