2021 | AMAZING BLACK AND WHITE BIRDS

You may have seen penguins and thought that those are the only black and white birds that nature has to offer. You may be surprised to know that there are a wide species of birds that are black and white in color. These birds come from different regions of the world as well. Below we have a list of some of the most beautiful birds that nature has to offer.

1. Black and white warbler

Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Black and white warbler have a medium size and a fairly long, slightly down-curved bill. Their heads are seen flat and streamlined, with a short tail with a short neck and long wings. It measured 11-13cm long, the weight of 8-15 g, and its wingspan measures 18-22cm. Black and white warbler’s wings are marked using two wide white wing bars. Their bodies are striped in black and white as the adults have black color streaking specifically on the underparts and the cheek. On the other hand, the immature females are paler with less streaking and a wash of buff on the flanks. The under-tail coverts got an identical large black spot.

They live in deciduous forests and mixed forests during summer, with various sizes offering different foraging substrates.  Black and white warblers feed in most cases on insects. During the breeding season, moths and butterfly larvae are their main source of food. They eat insects that are attracted to yellow-bellied sapsucker sap wells. They eat ants, spiders, leaf beetles, wood-borers, and weevils. They usually crawl along tree trunks and thick limbs while probing methodically between bark fibers for grubs and insects.

2. Downy woodpecker

They are the small versions of the classic woodpecker body plan. They possess a straight, chisel-like bill with a blocky head, wide shoulder, and straight-backed posture when they bend away from tree limbs and towards their tail feather. Downy woodpecker has a length of 14-17cm, a weight of 21-28g, and a wingspan of about 25-30cm. These birds offer a checkered black and white impression and are usually found in open woodlands, especially in the deciduous woods and streams. Its upper area is checked with white on the wings and boldly striped with a back having a broad white stripe down the center.

They can also be located in created habitats such as orchards, parks, and suburbs. Downy woodpecker lives in an open area where they can nest along fencerows and eat amid tall weeds. They mainly feed on insects like beetle larvae that stay inside woods or tree bark; they also eat ants and caterpillars. Downy woodpeckers feed on pest insects such as corn earworm, tent caterpillars, bark beetles, and even apple borers. Avery little percentage of their diet includes plant material like berries, grains, and acorns. Their nests are usually placed in dead trees or dead sections of a live tree. Downy woodpeckers have stiffened tail feathers that offer them support to actively move faster over tree trunks, branches, and stems of grasses. Compared to other woodpeckers, downy woodpecker moves horizontally and downwards on trees much more readily, unlike the rest. If the downy woodpecker is having a dispute with another bird, they will always fan their tails, raise their head feathers and jerk their beaks from one direction to another.

3. Black-capped chickadee

They have a short neck and a large head, offering it a unique and spherical body shape. The black-capped chickadee has a grey color on its upper side, and the tail, black cap, and throat bib, the cheeks, chest, and belly are white in color.

The cap extends down beyond the black eyes, making it difficult for the eyes to struggle to see. Its tail is long and narrow with a short bill. Below its wings, it has a light brown flank. Its wingspan measures around 16-21cm with a length of 12-15cm and weighs 9-14g. They live in mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, and during winter, they can be seen in residential places having trees. They move from one branch to another, feeding on insects, larvae, caterpillars, and spiders found on the trees. During summer, they mostly depend on insects, spiders, and other animal foods for survival. At feeders, in most cases, they eat sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and mealworms.

4. Hairy woodpecker

Hairy woodpeckers are small but mighty birds that feed along trunks and major branches of big trees. Its head is square in shape with a long, straight, chisel-like bill and stiff long tail feathers to bend against tree trunks. Its bill is almost the same length as its head. It has a measurement of 18-26cm length, a weight of 40-95g, and a wingspan of 33-41cm. Hairy woodpecker has a wing that is checkered with white and two stripes on its head.

This kind of bird can be mostly be found in mature woodlands with medium to large trees. They can equally be found in woodlots, suburbs, parks, cemeteries, and coniferous forests. A greater percentage of the hairy woodpecker diet comprises insects, specifically the larvae of woodboring beetles and bark beetles, ants, and moth pupae inside their cocoons. They also sometimes eat the bees, wasps, caterpillars, millipedes, spiders, and in fewer cases, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and crickets. They always hitch up tree trunks and main branches and sometimes feed on tree bases along with fallen logs and the ground. They are essential when it comes to the control of pest outbreaks like coding moths in orchards. A hairy woodpecker usually builds its nest in the dead stub of a living tree.

5. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpeckers are commonly found in many forests, woodlands, and wooded suburbs such as oak-hickory forest, pine-hardwood forest, and even the pine Flatwoods. It is also famous in river bottoms and wetlands in the South rang. They have a sleek, round-headed woodpecker with almost the same size as a hairy woodpecker with no blocky outlines. It has 24cm, a weight of 56-91g, and a wingspan of 33-42 cm.  Red-bellied usually appears pale in general with black and white striped back having flashing red cap and nape.

They mainly eat insects, spiders, and other arthropods. Red-bellied woodpecker consumes a lot of plant material such as acorns, nuts, and pine cones. They eat fruits like grapes, hackberries, oranges, mangoes and sometimes feeds on lizards, nestling birds, and minnows. They build their nests in dead trees, dead limbs of live trees, and fence posts. They lay eggs on the bed of wood chips remaining after making their nest cavity. The nest holes measure around 22-32 centimeters deep with a cylindrical living space of about 9 by 13 centimeters.

6. Red-headed woodpecker

They have a medium size with fairly large, rounded heads, short, stiff tails, and powerful spike-like bills. Red-headed woodpeckers have a length of 19-23 cm and weigh 56- 91 grams with 42cm for the wingspan. They have bright red heads, white underpants, and black backs with large white patches in the wings for adult red-headed woodpeckers. This makes its lower back look white when perched.  On the other hand, the immature ones have gray-brown heads with white wing patches that show rows of black spots around the trailing edge. Red-headed woodpeckers feed on insects and a reasonable number of fruits and seeds.

They generally feed largely on animal material and partly on plant material. They live in the Pine savannah and some open forests having clear understories. They are always attracted to open pine plantations, tree rows in agricultural areas, and standing timber in beaver swamps. Red-headed woodpeckers feed on seeds, nuts, acorns, berries, and various fruits. During winter, they usually catch insects on warm days, but they feed on nuts like acorns, beechnuts, and trees in many cases. They store live grasshoppers, cherries, beech nuts and mostly shifting every item from one place to another before removing and eating it in the colder months.

7. Pied butcherbird

Quartl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They are medium in size with black and white color with added grey plumage depending on the species. Pied butcherbird has a full black hood, dark brown eyes with long, hooked grey and black bill. They have short legs with a big head and has a length of 28-32cm, weight of around 21g, and 51cm wingspan. Pied butcherbirds have a large, straight bill with a recognizable hook at the end that is used to skewer prey.

They are carnivorous, but in most cases, they feed on insects like beetles, bugs, ants, caterpillars, and cockroaches.  They eat small lizards and different vertebrates like frogs, mice, skinks, and small birds. They dwell in different habitats, including tropical rainforests to arid shrubland, and be found in leafy suburbs. Pied butcherbird’s nests are designed from twigs located high up in a fork of a tree.

8. Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker has a long neck and a triangular crest that sweeps off the back of the head. It has a long and chisel-like the length of head, its wings are broad, and the bird can seem crow-like. It has a length of 40-49cm, a weight of 250-350g, and a wingspan of 66-75cm. Pileated woodpeckers always have black with stripes on the face and neck with a flaming- red crest. The male pileated woodpecker has a red stripe on the cheek. During the flight, the bird reveals extensive white underwings and small white crescents on the upper side of the primaries’ lower sides.

These birds usually drill recognizable rectangular-shaped holes in rotten wood to get carpenter ants and different insects. They are forest birds that need large, standing dead trees and downed wood.  Pileated woodpeckers mainly feed on carpenter ants, supplemented by other ants, woodboring beetle larvae, termites, and other insects like flies, spruce budworms, caterpillars, cockroaches, and grasshoppers. They also feed on wild fruits and nuts such as greenbriers, hackberries, sassafras, blackberries, sumac berries, poison ivy, holly, dogwood, elderberries persimmon. They always go to the backyard bird feeders for seeds or suet.

9. Northern Flicker

Northern flickers have a slim, rounded head and a slightly downcurved bill with a long, flared tail that tapers to a point. It has a length of 28-31 cm, weighing 110-160 g, and a 42-51cm wingspan. Northern flickers are generally brown with a white rump patch which is conspicuous in flight and always seen when perched. Its wings and tail feathers undersides are bright yellows in color. When you look closely, you will be in a position to see the brown plumage with richly patterned black spots, bars, and crescent.

Most of their time they spend on the ground, and when they are on the trees, they are mostly perched upright on horizontal branches instead of leaning against their tails on a trunk. They have habitats near trees such as woodlands, edges, yards, and parks. They always create their nest holes in dead or diseased tree trunks or large branches—they most of the time reuse cavities excavated by a different species in the previous year. The nests are situated 6-15 feet from the ground.

10. Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak | Pixabay

Rose-breasted is stocky and has a medium-sized songbird with huge triangular bills. They have broad chests with a short neck with a tail that is medium-sized and squared. They have a length of 18-21 cm, a weight of 39-49cm, and a wingspan of 29-33cm. Male matured rose-breasted grosbeak have black and white color with brilliant red chevron leading from the black throat down the middle of the breast. On the other hand, the females and immature rose-breasted grosbeak have a brown color with heavily streaked and bold whitish stripe over the eye. The males have a flash pink-red below the wings while the females flash yellowish under their wings. Both the male and female rose-breasted grosbeak have white patches in their wings and tails. They feed on seeds, fruits, and insects using their stout bills. They frequently go to the backyard bird feeders, where they feed on sunflower seeds in plenty.

Male rose-breasted grosbeak produces some sweet rambling song similar to that of eastern Africa forests, and they have very distinctive sharp and chink calls. This kind of bird mostly breeds in the eastern forest in deciduous trees and conifers. They are well known to generate woodlands and, most of the time, dwell along forest edges and parks.

11. Eastern towhee

Eastern towhee is a large sparrow with a thick, triangular, seed-cracking bill, chunky body, and a long rounded tail. They have 17.3-20.8 cm long, the weight of 32-52g and their wingspan weighs 20-28cm. Male eastern towhee has striking, bold sooty black above and on the breast with warm rufous sides and whits on the belly. On the other hand, their female version posses the same pattern, but they are rich brown above and on the breast. They are mostly seen on the ground scratching leaves with their two feet.

A good part of their time, they are found concealed beneath thick underbrush. Eastern towhee lives in brush, tangles, thickets, and along the edges of forests where there are many leaf litter for them to forage in. They eat so many things, including seeds, fruits, insects, spiders, millipedes, centipede, snails, soft leaf, and flower buds in spring. Some of the seeds and fruits they feed on include ragweeds, smartweeds, grasses, acorns, blackberries, blueberries, wheat, corn, and oats.

12. Pied currawong

Lip Kee Yap, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They are black in color with white patches on their wings, under tail covet, and the tail’s base and tips. Pied currawong has yellow eyes with long and broad wings. They have a measurement of 44-50 cm long and a wingspan of 56- 77cm.

Their adult female weighs around 320grames while the female one weighs 280grames. Pied currawong has long and broad wings with a heavy bill that are almost one and a half times long as the head and is hooked at the end. They are commonly found in woodland in rural and semi-urban surrounding in eastern Australia. These birds are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders; they feed on fruits and berries. Usually, they hunt in trees, in the air also on the ground.

13. Australian magpie

Toby Hudson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Australian magpie is black and white in color, but the plumage pattern differs across its range. In male Australian magpies, their nape, upper tail, and shoulders are white while grey. They have a length of 37-43 cm, 25.5- 33.5 cm as the wingspan, and a weight of 220-350g with golden brown eyes and a solid wedge-shaped bluish-white and black bill.

Both the male and female Australian magpie are the same; the only difference is seen in their back markings. Its male version has totally white feathers on the back of the head, while the female version has white and grey blending feathers on the back of the head. They have long legs used for walking instead of waddling and hoping, therefore, it spends much time on the ground. They have located any place where there is a combination of trees and adjacent open place. They are omnivorous, feeding on different things situated on or near the ground level like invertebrates, including earthworms, millipedes, snails, spiders and scorpions, and different types of insects cockroaches, ants, earwigs, beetles, cicadas, and caterpillars.

14. Magpie-lark

Toby Hudson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They are marked in black and white with whitish and pale iris making them different from other iris species. Male adult magpie-lark has a white eyebrow and blackface, whereas the female ones have an all-white face with no white eyebrow.

The younger versions have a black forehead, white eyebrow, and white throat. They can be found anywhere apart from the rainforests and extreme dry desserts. They mostly spend on the ground looking for various insects and their larvae, earthworms, and vertebrates from freshwater. When they are fully grown, they measure a length of 25-30 cm long and weigh around 63.9- 118g for males and 70-94.5g for females.

15. Black currawong

Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This bird with a medium-size, heavy and black bill body with white tips to the flight- feathers and tail. They have bright yellow eyes, and the immature ones have the same but a little bit dull in appearance. It has a length of around 50cm with an 80cm wingspan.

Their male version is a bit larger and heavier compared to the female ones. Male black currawong weighs 405g while the female ones weigh 340g. The black currawong lives in Tasmania habitats like mountains and lowland forest, coastal heath, grazing lands, and suburban places. They are omnivorous and feed on the young birds, carrion, insects, and berries. Black currawong forages in the trees and the ground. These birds construct a large, deep nest of sticks lined with roots and grass. Their nests are always located in the forks of trees 3 to 20 meters high, and all the parents feed the nestlings.