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Silver Perch

Bairdiella chrysoura

(Brandi Noble/NOAA NMFS SEFSC Pascagoula Laboratory)
(Brandi Noble/NOAA NMFS SEFSC Pascagoula Laboratory)

The silver perch is a small drum with a silvery body and yellowish fins. It lives in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, most commonly found in shallow waters from spring to autumn.


The silver perch has a greenish or bluish-gray body with a faint, dusky stripe that runs along the length of the body to the tail. It has a silvery belly and high, rounded back. There is a deep notch in its dorsal fin, and the fins on the lower part of its body are yellowish. Silver perch grow to 9 inches in length.


Shallow waters, particularly in the lower part of the Bay; they move to deeper, warmer waters in winter.


Lives year-round in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay; rare north of Baltimore. Usually caught between spring and autumn, with a peak in September-October.


Silver perch eat small crustaceans and bristle worms.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

Spawning occurs in spring along the shallows of the Bay’s eastern shore. Larvae and small juveniles migrate upstream into fresher waters. As they grow, they move back down to the Bay, gathering in higher-salinity shallows near bay grass beds.

Other Facts:

  • Silver perch are also known as sand perch.
  • The silver perch is a member of the drum family, which includes spot, weakfish, red drum, black drum and spotted seatrout. All drums are able to make a loud drumming or croaking sound by vibrating their swim bladder using special muscles. Atlantic croakers are the loudest of the drums.
  • They can be confused with white perch. You can distinguish a silver perch by its yellowish fins and slightly pointed, rather than forked, tail.

Sources and Additional Information:

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