Did you see a black and white bird? Which one was it? Here you’ll get the answer!
Black and white birds surround us everywhere we go. We’ve gathered a list of such birds. Enjoy the nature masterpiece of these birds.
These birds might lack eye-catching, colorful feathers but they make up for it with beautifully patterned plumage. Several such species with striking black and white feathers are familiar birds that catch the eye and pose for the camera.
These are birds like chickadees, the Black-crowned Night-Heron, Downy Woodpecker, Black-and-White Warbler, and other species that have black and white coloration to help them blend in with their surroundings. See and learn more about these common, eye-catching bird species below.
On this page
- Black-billed Magpie
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Wood Stork
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Black-throated Gray Warbler
- Lark Bunting (Male)
- Black-Crowned Night-Heron
- Black Skimmer
- Downy Woodpecker
- Black Phoebe
- Eastern Kingbird
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Carolina Chickadee
- Loggerhead Shrike
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Red-cockaded Woodpecker
- Black-and-white Warbler
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak
These magpies are common in North America, ranging from the United States to northern parts of Canada. They are found in a variety of habitats, including towns, woodlands, fields, and meadows.
- Black-billed Magpies have impressive tails that are often even longer than their own bodies. Additionally, their tails are slightly forked.
- The diet of these magpies is rather opportunistic and largely depends on what is available. They eat insects, fruits and berries, small rodents, and even carrion.
Dark-eyed Juncos are small black and white birds, part of the New World sparrows. However, it’s important to note that not all Dark-eyed Juncos are black and white. In total, there are at least 14 different subspecies, who all share their dark eyes, but are different in terms of looks and ranges.
These birds are common over most of North America, ranging from Canada to Mexico.
- Dark-eyed Juncos are more commonly seen on the ground. They tend to hop around and look for seeds.
- These birds can have up to three broods per year, each brood can have anywhere from 3 to 6 eggs.
Wood Storks are intimidating black and white birds, known for their powerful stance and simple plumage.
These large birds have a limited range in the United States, but are more common in South America. In the U.S. they are common in coastal areas, especially at the East Coast and Florida, but they do have a limited range in California.
- The heads and necks of Wood Storks are bare of feathers, which gives them a somewhat scary look.
- Wood Storks nest in colonies. They can be found near wetlands and there can be up to 35 nests on one tree.
Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with black and white plumage. Their bellies are white in color, but their backs are primarily black, with some white spots and stripes. Additionally, males have a small red crown on their heads.
Hairy Woodpeckers are common woodpeckers across most of North America. They can be confused with Downy Woodpeckers, who look similar and have similar habits.
- Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers share most of their range. However, there are ways to tell the two apart.
- Hairy Woodpeckers can be found in a variety of habitats. They can live anywhere, as long as there are trees.
Bobolinks are small black and white birds with a yellow patch on their heads. Although they do not look like typical blackbirds, they are part of the blackbird family.
Female birds look completely different from males. They have yellowish-brown plumage.
- Bobolinks are powerful migrants; they fly to South America (and back to North America) every year.
- These birds are not monogamous, they have a reputation of mating with several females during the breeding season.
Black-throated Gray Warbler
As their name hints, Black-throated Gray Warblers have black, white, and gray tones in their plumage. They have a white belly and darker upperparts, with some white barring on their wings. They have small yellow spots near their eyes.
Black-throated Gray Warblers are common in the western side of the United States, and have a limited range in Canada. They winter in Mexico.
- Their white undersides and black throat are some of their most noticeable characteristics.
- Black-throated Gray Warblers are calculating birds. They often move much slower than other warbler species.
Lark Bunting (Male)
The Lark Bunting is a small but chunky black and white bird. The male Lark Bunting is slightly larger than the female but the difference is so small, it would be hard to notice when watching birds in the field.
Both sexes have a strong, finch-like, blue-gray bill, fairly long and rounded wings, and a medium-length tail that is black below, has a narrow white tip, and white spots near the end of the undertail. In the spring and summer, the male Lark Bunting is a black bird with a grayish bill, a big white patch in the wing, and some small white marks on the undertail.
- In the winter, large flocks can search for food over a wide area, stopping wherever they find suitable seeding vegetation to feed on.
- When flocking, they often feed with other sparrow species, quail, and doves.
- These small songbirds have a beautiful melodic song to attract possible mates.
The Black-Crowned Night-Heron is a stocky heron with a thick neck and a strong, black bill. The adult has a black cap and back that contrast with bright white on the face, in front of the eyes, and on the underparts.
Both sexes have two to four, long, elegant white feathers on the head. The adult of this nocturnal heron is easily recognized by its solid black cap and pale underparts, and is commonly found roosting in trees in wooded swamps, next to rivers, and other wetlands.
- The Black-Crowned Night-Heron feeds at night on everything from crabs and crustaceans to fish and even nestlings of other waterbird species.
- Black-Crowned Night-Herons live on every continent except for Australia and Antarctica.
- Its scientific name of “Nycticorax” means “night raven”.
- Black-Crowned Night Herons are not just limited to the Americas, they are common in several parts of Europe and are present year-round in Africa and Asia.
The Black Skimmer is a large, unique bird in the gull and tern family with a hefty, dark-tipped, orange beak. The lower part of the beak is longer than the upper part and is used to skim through the surface of water to catch small fish.
This species has coal black upperparts and is bright white below, in front of and below the eye, on the tail, and on the trailing part of the wings. Flocks live in coastal waters of the eastern and southern USA.
- The Black Skimmer has vertical pupils to reduce glare while foraging over water and resting in white sand.
- Flocks of the Black Skimmer often forage together and make turns over the water at the same time.
The Downy Woodpecker is a small, common woodpecker of gardens, woodlands, and backyards in much of North America. This small black and white bird has white underparts, white at the edge of the tail, white spotting in the wings, white on the back, and white cheeks.
Males also have a small red spot on the back part of the crown, and this species can be separated from the nearly identical Hairy Woodpecker by its smaller size and much shorter bill.
- Downy Woodpeckers have feathers around their nostrils to prevent them from breathing in sawdust.
- As with other woodpecker species, the skull of the Downy Woodpecker is cushioned to protect its brain from the force of hitting wood with its bill.
The Black Phoebe is a small to medium-sized black and white bird. It also has some white in the tail and as edging to some feathers in the wings.
This flycatcher has a short crest, and is commonly seen at the edges of rivers, lakes, and other open habitats near water from California to the southern half of Arizona and New Mexico, and western Texas.
- The Black Phoebe builds a cup-shaped nest made of mud under bridges and on walls and other structures.
- Black Phoebes mostly eat insects (such as caterpillars, beetles, and other insects), but on occasion, they also dive into the water to catch tiny fish.
The Eastern Kingbird is a small to medium-sized, flycatcher of open habitats with black and dark gray upperparts, white underparts with pale gray on the breast, white at the edge and tip of the tail, and white edging in the wings.
No other bird in its range is dark above and white below with a white tip to the tail. It lives in meadows and other open habitats in much of Canada and the USA.
- The Eastern Kingbird and other kingbird species are named after the hidden red or yellow crown patch revelaed when they fearlessly chase hawks and other large birds from their territory.
- Flocks of Eastern Kingbirds migrate to the Amazon rainforest where they feed on fruit.
The Black-capped Chickadee is a very small, familiar and friendly black and white bird. It has a grayish back, wings, and tail, and has white edging on the feathers of the wings, and white underparts with buff highlights.
This chickadee species cheers up gardens, parks, and other woodlands in the northern half of North America.
- The Black-capped Chickadee hides seeds and other bits of food to help it survive the winter months.
- Black-capped Chickadees nest and roost in small holes in trees and will also use wooden nest boxes.
Similarly to the Black-capped Chickadee, the Carolina Chickadee is a very small, friendly, and familiar bird with black on the cap and the throat, and a white cheek and side of the neck.
This bird has gray on the back, tail, and wings, and some white edging on the wings’ feathers but less white on the upper part of the wing than the Black-capped Chickadee. The underparts are also white with some buff.
- The Carolina Chickadee can be separated from the Black-capped Chickadee by range and physical differences.
- In very cold weather, the Carolina Chickadee can lower its body temperature and essentially hibernate for up to 15 hours.
The Loggerhead Shrike is a small to medium-sized, pale gray songbird with bulky head, a black mask, stout black bill with a hooked tip, and black wings with a small white patch.
It also has white on the underparts and the underside and edges of a black tail. This interesting bird perches on wires and bushes in grasslands and other open habitats in parts of southern Canada, and in much of the southern, central, and western USA, and Mexico.
- As with other shrike species, the Loggerhead Shrike catches large insects and small animals including small snakes, small birds, and mice, and kills them with its strong, hooked beak.
- The Loggerhead Shrike is sometimes referred to as a “butcherbird” because it eats small animals after impaling them on barbed wire and thorns.
The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small bird with a slightly upturned bill that creeps down tree trunks with its head pointed toward the ground. It has a black cap and nape, white face and side of the neck, and white underparts with a bit of chestnut.
The rest of the upperparts are gray with black and white in the wings and tail. The White-breasted Nuthatch lives in woodlands in southern Canada and in much of the USA south to Oaxaca, Mexico.
- When a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches forage together, the female watches for predators more than the male does.
- Sometimes, the White-breasted Nuthatch puts mashed insects around the opening of its nest hole to try and scare off squirrels that would eat the eggs or nestlings.
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are well-known black and white birds. Although they are called Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, there isn’t much red in their plumages. Males have a small patch of red on their heads.
Unfortunately, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are in a vulernable situation due to habitat loss, and due to this, their range is scattered. They can be found in south-eastern side of the United States.
- These birds nest in live pine trees and in clusters. They excavate cavities in living pine trees.
- Red-cockaded Woodpeckers live in clusters, so there are some helpers around, that help take care of the young.
The Black-and-White Warbler is a small bird with a sharp bill, and black and white stripes and markings. As its name says – it is really black and white bird. The male has more black than the female, especially on the throat and face.
It forages for insects by creeping along trunks and branches in forests in Canada from the Northwest Territories east to Nova Scotia, and in parts of the northern and eastern USA.
- Black-and-White Warblers have strong legs and a long claw on their back toe. These adaptations help this warbler better grasp tree bark.
- Although the Black-and-White Warbler can forage quite high in trees, it builds its nest on the ground.
The Yellow-rumped Warbler is a small bird with yellow on the crown, on each side, and on the rump.
It two white wing bars, and white markings on a blackish tail. Birds in western North America have a yellow throat, less black on the face, and more white in the wings.
This common warbler breeds in forests in Alaska, Canada, and the northern and western USA. They winter in parks and open woodlands in much of the southern USA to Central America and the Caribbean.
- On account of its bright yellow rump, the Yellow-rumped Warbler is often referred to as the “butterbutt“.
- The Yellow-rumped Warbler eats myrtle berries and is the only warbler species able to digest this waxy fruit.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a medium-sized songbird with a big, finch-like beak. The female is mostly brown and white, but the male has a white beak, black head and back. Whings are black with a few white patches and spots.
It has a white lower back and rump, white underparts with a red patch on the breast. Also a black and white tail. This handsome bird lives in wooded habitats in much of southern Canada. But also in the northern USA from eastern North Dakota south to Oklahoma and Ohio, and the Appalachian Mountains.
- In spring and early summer, the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak often sings its warbling song on moonlit nights.
- In winter, male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have plumage that looks much more like that of the female.
Which ones you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments.