25 Backyard Birds In North Dakota (With Pictures)

Wild birds may be seen in various locations around North Dakota. We’ll take a peek at some of North Dakota’s most well-known and well-known birds, particularly those that may be found close to home, in this article. Several of these species are full-time residents in North Dakota, while others are part-time. So, let’s learn about 25 backyard birds in North Dakota, one at a time.

I’ll demonstrate you how to attract birds to your yard, give you a crash course in the 10 distinct types of bird feeders that may be used to do so, and even recommend a few birdwatching spots and clubs in North Dakota after that.

How many different species of wild birds are in North Dakota?

It’s tough to say precisely how many bird species live in North America, the United States, or even in North Dakota. Nonetheless, the official state list includes roughly 400 species, according to Wikipedia.

According to one study, there are 2,059 species in North America, while according to another study, there are just 914. So I’m hesitant to trust these statistics, but they do provide a rough estimate of the number of species. Between a bird that accidentally strays into a place versus one that frequents a place on purpose, there may be quite a variance.

We’re going to restrict our discussion to some of our favorite, frequent backyard species found in North Dakota for the purpose of this article.


In North Dakota, there are 25 different species of backyard birds, some of which are permanent residents and others that aren’t. They aren’t all of the state’s species, and they aren’t even close to it, but they are some of the most well-known and identifiable backyard birds in North Dakota, many of which may be seen at your feeders. Let’s get started right away.


Scientific nameSpizella passerina

Length: 4.7-5.9 in

Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz

Wingspan: 8.3 in

With a buffy gray breast, brown and tan streaked wings, rusty red head with white above, and a black line through the eye with white above, chipping sparrows have their most crisp feathers in the summer. Their markings might fade out in the winter, and their color might become more pale brown. They’re a kind of common sparrow that feeds on the ground.

During the spring-summer season, Chipping Sparrows can be found throughout North Dakota.

Backyard feeders are home to Chipping Sparrows, who prefer to remain on the ground and pick up what has fallen. Sunflower and mixed seed, especially scattered on the ground, are beneficial for attracting them.


Scientific namePoecile atricapillus

Length: 4.7-5.9 in

Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz

Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in

Because of their “black cap” and black bib, black-capped chickadees are small birds with rounded bodies that are easy to identify. Their underbodies are fluffy and light, with solid white cheeks and blackish gray wings and backs.

They’re quite frequent on bird feeders, where they dart back and forth from one to the other to cover and uncover more. Chickadees, for their size, are usually one of the first birds I notice at a new feeder in my yard. They’re incredibly bold!

Year-round, black-capped chickadees may be found across North Dakota.

Most seed feeders will be visited by chickadees, who will provide them with a combination of seed.


Scientific nameCyanocitta cristata

Length: 9.8-11.8 in

Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz

Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in

In North America and the United States, another very well-known bird species is the mockingbird. The Blue Jay is what it’s called. They have a back and belly covered in white feathers, as well as a massive blue crest atop their heads with mostly blue feathers. They have black stripes on their wings and tail. In addition, they wear a necklace-like black ring around their necks. They’re among the first to notify all the birds in an area of a predator like a hawk, and they make several loud, metallic sounding calls.

The entire state of North Dakota is home to the Blue Jays throughout the year.

Platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with large perches are all popular with Blue Jays. Black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts are good options.


Scientific nameMelospiza melodia

Length: 4.7-6.7 in

Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in

The plumage of song Sparrows varies greatly from place to place and may be seen all throughout North America. These sparrows have a brown back and wings with extensive brown streaks on their chest and white belly in the east. Their chest streaks may occasionally merge in a conspicuous brown patch that aids with identification. The male of this species sings both to attract females and to defend his area.

Throughout the spring and summer months, Song Sparrows may be found throughout North Dakota.

Bird feeders are occasionally visited by Song Sparrows, who devour mixed seeds and sunflower seeds.


Scientific nameHaemorhous mexicanus

Length: 5.1-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in

In both the eastern and western halves of the nation, the House finch is a common backyard bird, although populations in the center, such as North Dakota, may be patchy. They generally congregate around your feeders if you attract them, which is rather simple to do. Females are all brown, while males are generally streaked brown with red on the head and chest.

In certain regions of the state, house finches are year-round residents, and their population is projected to expand and migrate more widely in the future.

House finches eat thistle seed like other finches do. They’re more common than goldfinches at seed feeders, so offer some black sunflower seeds to entice them.


Scientific nameTurdus migratorius

Length: 7.9-11.0 in

Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Robins are most often seen hopping around the grass, hunting for worms and other invertebrates, and they are very common in backyards. They don’t normally eat seeds, but they’ll sometimes go to bird feeders. They are easily recognized because of their bright red, spherical bellies and yellow beaks.

In North Dakota, robins can be found all year in the state’s southern regions, however they are only spring and summer residents elsewhere.

Attract them with meal worms, native fruit-bearing trees, or a bird bath to discourage American robins from visiting bird feeders.


Scientific nameZenaida macroura

Length: 9.1-13.4 in

Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz

Wingspan: 17.7 in

Doves are quite prevalent in backyards and will frequently sit perched on telephone wires or in groups in trees, measuring about the size of a robin. They’re often seen walking around on the ground, but I’ve occasionally seen them on my tray feeder. Gray doves with black specks on top, a delicate peachy hue below, and pink legs are the most common varieties of mourning doves.

During the breeding season, only mourning doves can be found across the state.

Seed feeders are often visited by doves, although they prefer to scour the earth for dropped seeds. Spread some seeds on the ground or try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend.


Scientific nameSturnus vulgaris

Length: 7.9-9.1 in

Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

In the 1890s, 100 starlings were released in New York, and they have since spread across America. They will pass by feeders, destroying the nests of other birds, killing their chicks, and overtaking on the food that you provide. They have yellow beaks and feet and are predominantly black with white specks on their backs and wings. In certain lights, starlings may also be a purple and green iridescent color that is quite stunning.

Unfortunately, this invasive species can be found year-round in every state in the lower 48.

Nearly anything is acceptable to European Starlings. We recommend that you do not attempt to attract them, as they are an invasive species and will appear regardless.


Scientific nameSpinus tristis

Length: 4.3-5.1 in

Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in

In the spring and summer, seeing goldfinches at feeders is one of my favorite activities, particularly when they have their bright yellow feathers. Males have a black headdress on top of their heads during this time, and they are predominantly yellow or “gold” with black-tipped wings. Their bright yellow color fades in to a drab brownish or olive color during the winter. Their black wings and beak, which are similar to that of a finch, may always identify them.

Only spring and summer visitors to North Dakota are goldfinches.

Thistle feeders are preferred by goldfinches, although sunflower chips may be eaten as well.


Scientific nameSitta carolinensis

Length: 5.1-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in

In most backyards within their range, white-breasted nuthatches are a common feeder bird. Nuthatches are named after the way they cram nuts and seeds beneath tree bark, then use their sharp beaks to crack the seed from the shell. In addition to many other species of birds, these birds can walk vertically on trees better. White-breasted nuthatches have a wide black stripe above their heads, with white on either side and beneath their bellies. Gray and black are the most common colors in their wings.

Throughout North Dakota, white-breasted nuthatches may be found year-round.

Most seed feeders will attract nuthatches, who will offer black sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet to the birds. They typically like to steal a seed and flee, either eating or caching it in a nearby tree right away.


Scientific namePasser domesticus

Length: 5.9-6.7 in

Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in

Houses Sparrows are the only other wild bird species in the United States, and they are often seen as pests. In addition to starlings, which may be caught and killed humanely. They, too, were imported in the 1800s and have since expanded across the United States like wildfire, just like starlings. Their wings and buffy chest are streaked with dark and brown, with a few exceptions. Other birds, particularly around nests and bird houses, are frequently attacked by them.

Throughout North Dakota, House Sparrows may be found all year.

House Sparrows are invasive and endanger native species, much like the European Starling. They’ll devour practically anything they come across.


Scientific nameAgelaius phoeniceus

Length: 6.7-9.1 in

Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Male red-winged blackbirds are well recognized for their crimson and yellow “shoulders,” which stand out against their black bodies. They are one of the most common birds in all of North America. Females, on the other hand, are brown with lighter streaks and appear quite different from males. Males of this species may mate with up to 15 different females, making them polygynous. Unfortunately, they may flock together at feeders and devour seed quickly.

Only in the breeding season in the eastern and western regions of the state, but may stay throughout the year in central regions of the state, red-winged blackbirds are found.

Most types of feeders are visited by red-winged blackbirds, who will eat both seed and suet.


Scientific nameMolothrus ater

Length: 7.5 – 8.7 in

Weight: 1.5 – 1.8 oz

Wingspan: 12.6 – 15.0 in

Brown-headed cowbirds are often classified as blackbirds due to their comradeship and ability to mob your feeders. However, they are also characterized because they travel in huge flocks (sometimes mixed with genuine blackbirds). The body of a male is iridescent black, and his head is dark brown. Females have a lighter brown that covers them entirely.

Cowbird eggs, on the other hand, are “nest parasites,” and by nesting in the nests of other birds, they reduce the number of species. They may occasionally enter the nest and lay one egg among the others, or they may violently push other eggs out of the nest. Several birds will raise the chick as their own when they do not recognize the imposter egg.

Throughout North Dakota, Cowbirds may be found from April to August.

Brown-headed cowbirds, in huge numbers, are very frequent visitors to feeders. They’ll devour any sort of combination seed that you give them.


Scientific nameJunco hyemalis

Length: 5.5-6.3 in

Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in

Because they spend their summers up in Canada, people in the United States frequently think of Juncos as winter birds. Throughout the United States, there are various sub-species. Those that have slight color variations. The pale pink beak and roundish body shape of dark-eyed junco’s are two important traits to notice when identifying them on all types. The head and back are often darker, while the belly is often lighter. They can frequently be seen hopping around on the ground in forests and wooded regions.

Only in North Dakota during the fall and winter do dark-eyed Juncos exist.

Juncos will often sit on feeders, but prefer to eat the seed that other birds are dropping from the ground beneath your feeders. Mixed seed appeals to them.


Scientific namePicoides pubescens

Length: 5.5-6.7 in

Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

These birds are common residents of backyards that enjoy visiting bird feeders. They’re one of the first birds I see at a new bird feeder, and they’re the tiniest woodpeckers in North America. Their totally white underbodies, black wings with white markings, black and white striped heads, and red spot on the rear of their skulls (boys have no red) make them instantly distinguishable. Despite their similarities to the hairy woodpecker, who is likewise mentioned here, Downy’s are smaller.

All year long, North Dakotans may see Downy Woodpeckers.

Most types of bird feeders attract Downy Woodpeckers. Mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet should be offered.


Scientific nameQuiscalus quiscula

Length: 11.0-13.4 in

Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz

Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in

Grackles are also quite attractive in the right light with their iridescent feathers, even if they belong to the bully bird family like the starling does. They’re frequently black in appearance, although their hues range from blue to green to brown and purple under bright light. Grackles may roost in huge numbers with other sorts of blackbirds, and they may be seen in huge flocks numbering in the millions. Their solid coloring, long thin body, and yellow ringed eye make them easy to spot.

Only during the breeding season in North Dakota do grackles appear.

Grackles are often classified as pests because they feed on almost anything.


Scientific nameHirundo rustica

Length: 5.9-7.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz

Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in

Birds in the open field, such as barn swallows. The back of these bright birds is dark blue, while the eyes and neck are orange. Their breasts and bellies range in color from a light tawny to a vivid orange. Their long, deeply forked tail is one of their distinguishing characteristics. They’re quick fliers that swoop and fly above water, fields, farms, and meadows, catching in the air any insects they may see. Cup-shaped nests, which are commonly seen in the eaves of barns, gazebos, covered pavilions, and beneath bridges, are made out of a mix of mud and grass.

The Barn Swallow migrates to the United States. Throughout the spring and summer, they may be found breeding all around North Dakota.

Barn swallows don’t visit bird feeders because they eat flying insects. If you have a barn, outbuilding, or gazebo, you can attempt to attract them by putting up a nestbox.


Scientific nameTroglodytes aeon

Length: 4.3-5.1 in

Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz

Wingspan: 5.9 in

A tiny brown bird with a powerful voice, the house wren is a small bird. They’re found all around the United States and are famous for nesting in any little space they choose, even boots and old cans. Birdhouses will almost certainly be checked out, if not selected to use, if you install them. The birds that nest the most frequently in my bird houses are these. Although their drab coloration and tiny size make them difficult to detect, house wrens are most likely zipping around through the shrubs in your yard catching insects. Their wings and tail feature black barring, and they have a dark upper body and a light lower body.

During the breeding season, house wrens may be found in North Dakota.

House Wrens don’t even go to bird feeders since they primarily consume insects and spiders. Insect-supportive plants or a bird house, on the other hand, are likely to draw them in.


Scientific nameColaptes auratus

Length: 11.0-12.2 in

Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz

Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

In backyards across the United States, these medium to big sized woodpeckers are fairly frequent, but not as frequent as feeders. They’re also some of the most gorgeous birds in North America, in my opinion. Unlike other woodpeckers, Flickers prefer to seek insects on the ground rather than in the trees, and they are mostly insect eaters. The black markings on their bellies, solid black bib, red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings can be used to identify them. A black beard is seen on males. The yellow-shafted sort of North Dakota is quite similar to the variety found in Iowa, with brilliant yellow feathers on their underbelly and tail.

North Dakota is home to the Northern Flickers all year round.

A suet feeder is visited by Northern Flickers on occasion, but they are more likely to find their own food. If you have a bird bath outside, they will most likely visit it.


Scientific nameLeuconotopicus villosus

Length: 7.1-10.2 in

Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

Hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers have little in common. Some little differences distinguish hairy from non-hairy birds, such as a larger beak and a longer beak. They have practically identical patterns and are typically discovered in the same regions of the nation as one other. The hairy woodpecker, on the other hand, does not feed as much as Downy’s do at bird feeders.

Throughout the year, North Dakota’s hairy woodpeckers may be found.

Hairy Woodpeckers may be seen at suet and seed feeders, in addition to Downy Woodpeckers.


Scientific nameSturnella neglecta

Length: 6.3-10.2 in

Weight: 3.1-4.1 oz

Wingspan: 16.1 in

The back and wings of a breeding adult western meadowlark are heavily streaked, the breast is bright yellow, the neck and face are black, and the bib is black. The yellow of immature and non-breeding birds is much lighter, and the black chest patch is usually missing. Their famous “flutelike” song, which is often performed from fence posts, is known for its beauty. These birds feed on insects and seeds in grasslands, meadows, and pastures, and are often found in flocks.

During the spring and summer months, Western meadowlarks may be found in North Dakota.

They may come to your yard for seed if you live in an open habitat. Platform feeders or ground-source feeds are more likely to be used. Sunflower hulls and cracked corn are good substitutes.


Scientific nameCorvus brachyrhynchos

Length: 15.8-20.9 in

Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz

Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in

The Crows are a large black bird that is found in the United States. Like their cousin the raven, they are also well-known for their intelligence as problem solvers. In huge congregations, crows will roost higher up in the tree tops, allowing them to see everything below from a birds-eye perspective. The roost will alert everyone nearby if an owl or hawk visits, by calling out.

Throughout North Dakota all year, crows may be seen, but in the northwest corner, they disappear during the winter.

In general, American Crows are too large to feed on bird seed, so they eat anything.


Scientific nameSetophaga petechia

Length: 4.7-5.1 in

Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz

Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in

The yellow warbler, whose name is appropriate, is completely yellow. Their breasts and cranium are more vivid, while their rear is darker, olive yellow. On the chest of males, there’s a little reddish-brown streaking. Thickets and small trees in wetlands or streams are their preferred habitat.

Throughout the spring and summer, Yellow Warblers may be seen across North Dakota.

Because they eat insects, yellow warblers don’t visit bird feeders. You may try to entice them with little trees that caterpillars can feed on.


Scientific nameBombycilla cedrorum

Length: 5.5-6.7 in

Weight: 1.1 oz

Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in

The distinctive color of cedar waxwings makes them easy to spot. The tawny brown head and breast, yellow belly, dark gray wings, and yellow tipped short tail of these medium-sized birds. Their crown is enormous, and their eyes are covered in a dramatic black eye mask. Little, crimson, waxy nubs at the tips of their wings give the term “waxwing” its name.

These may be difficult to detect and no one knows what they do. They may help you find love. Cedar waxwings are one of the few North American birds that can subsist on fruit alone for many months. They adore fruit. Insects and other foods are supplemented to their diet, but they may eat up to twice as much fruit as other birds.

Throughout the year, Cedar Waxwings may be seen in North Dakota.

Seed feeders are not suitable for Cedar Waxwings to eat from. Native trees and shrubs that produce tiny fruits and berries may entice them to visit your yard.


Scientific namePhasianus colchicus

Length: 19.7-27.6 in

Weight: 17.6-105.8 oz

Wingspan: 22.1-33.9 in

These pheasants are difficult to detect amid the dense grass of open fields, despite their enormous size. Look for them near the weedy borders of dirt roads, as they dash from field to field. They can jump up or run nearly 40 miles per hour thanks to their strong muscles, which allows them to escape predators in a hurry. Males have bright splashes of color on their iridescent and red head, while all brown females blend in perfectly with their surroundings.

Throughout most of North Dakota, the ring-necked pheasant may be seen year-round, but in the far northeastern corner, they may be scarce.

Backyards are visited by ring-necked pheasants, especially if you live near a farm. They may utilize a huge platform feeder or prefer to eat seed from the ground beneath one. Cracked corn and sunflower seeds are available.


Do you want to attract some of these birds to your property? The most obvious of the five simple tips is the first.


Banging out a bird feeder or two is the finest and simplest strategy to draw birds to your property. A basic tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or window feeder are good places to start. For more information on each, see the section below.


You may utilize a simple terra cotta flower pot saucer, such as the one shown on Amazon, or you may utilize a pedestal birdbath like this one. Birds need water not only to bath in, but also to drink, and adding a water feature to your yard will merely enhance your chance of attracting birds. Also, since moving water attracts the birds even more, you may want to install a solar fountain.


If placed in the correct location at the correct season, several species of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses. Among the most common birds sought after by bird enthusiasts are Eastern Bluebirds. A mating pair of bluebirds was inspecting this birdhouse in my yard the same day I put it up.


Make sure that your yard contains trees, shrubs, and flowers that the birds can use as cover when they sense danger. Predators are kept at bay by this. If your property is in a brand new development with no mature trees, try to install some landscaping elements that will make birds feel comfortable about entering your property.


Having native plants that produce nuts, berries, and seeds will help your efforts to attract more birds for many birds that eat nuts, berries, and seeds. Moreover, since most songbirds feed insects to their hatchlings, native plants help caterpillars and other insects that support many birds and help nesting birds. Some non-native plants can out-compete the native flora, resulting in a less healthy ecosystem. Try to avoid these.


In the yards of 10 households, here are the most popular bird feeders.

  1. Hopper feeders are known as hopper feeders because they have a hopper in the center, which holds the bird seed. Birds may land on and eat from the perches on either side. To keep the seed dry, several hopper feeders are shaped like a house and have a cover over them. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a mix of birdseed. This is one of my favorite hopper feeders, and it’s squirrel-proof.
  2. Platform feeders are open on top and may be hung from a tree or hook, pole-mounted, or placed on the ground. They’re also known as tray feeders. They’re simple to put up and are ideal for feeding a variety of birds. Every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them, despite the fact that they are completely open. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed. At the moment, I’m using a platform feeder in my yard.
  3. Tube feeders are simply clear plastic tube-shaped bird feeders. They may hold a few cups of seed or 5 pounds or more, and they come in a variety of sizes. These are fantastic since they allow you to refill your seed with ease while keeping it fresh and dry. Tube feeders are used by many types of birds. With tube feeders, you may include black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds. This squirrel-proof tube feeder is made by Squirrel Buster, and it’s one of their best.
  4. Suet feeders are used to feed suet cakes to one type of bird. They are a very basic design, usually consisting of just a metal wire cage with a tail-prop for bigger birds. Suet feeders are commonly used throughout the winter when birds are seeking high-fat foods, and woodpeckers come frequently. To attract larger woodpeckers, like the Pileated and Northern Flicker, I recommend getting a suet feeder with a long tail prop.
  5. Window feeders are small bird feeders that use suction cups to mount onto a glass window. They’re open on top and you just dump seed into the tray area to refill them, similar to tray feeders. These feeders are ideal for people with small yards and are popular among a variety of species of birds. They’re incredibly simple to get started with. This kind of feeder can be filled with black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed. This is, without a doubt, the most popular bird feeder on Amazon, and maybe the entire internet.
  6. Thistle feeders, also known as Nyjer feeders, are specialized bird feeders specifically designed for thistle seed. Birds in the finch family, which includes the American Goldfinch and House Finch, are the main types of birds that thistle feeders attract. Thistle feeders have small holes along the sides of the tube, which allow birds to pick out the thistle. They are commonly in a tube shape. Droll Yankees has a great thistle feeder.
  7. Tray feeders that sit on the ground level are referred to as ground feeders. Birds like Mourning Doves and Juncos, as well as squirrels, raccoons, and other sorts of ground creature will be quite fond of them. This kind of feeder may be made using black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed. This recycled plastic ground feeder is a great idea.
  8. Another kind of specialized feeder for one sort of bird, the oriole, is the oriole feeder. Little plastic or glass dishes made for holding jelly, which orioles adore, are commonly used as feeders. They are often orange in color and have a perch at the top. Another treat that orioles adore is orange halves, which you may place on the feeder. Here’s an orange halves feeder that can hold four jelly trays.
  9. Hummingbird feeders are created expressly for hummers to obtain sugar water from nectar feeders, also known as hummingbird feeders. I frequently see Downy Woodpeckers at my feeder, even though they’re meant for hummingbirds. They too enjoy that sweet nectar. If you’d like to learn how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water, read this article. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a hummingbird feeder since they’re so simple and inexpensive.
  10. Peanut feeders are tube-shaped and typically made of metal wire mesh material, similar to thistle feeders. To enable for whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to pass through the holes, the holes in the wire mesh are spaced much farther apart. These should be filled with peanuts and attract birds such as Blue Jays. Squirrel Buster’s feeder is the best option if you want to keep squirrels out of your peanuts. This basic one will suffice.


If you want to go beyond your own neighborhood, North Dakota has a lot of options. If you’d like to get a little more engaged, Audubon Dakota has numerous local chapters with meetups, seminars, field excursions, and birding trips.

Take a look at this list I’ve compiled of popular birding sites in North Dakota if you’re a resident and want to add some new species to your life list.


  • J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Garrison Dam
  • Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge
  • Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge

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