A list of birds that begin with the letter A. This article is to showcase interesting facts about specific birds that have the initial “A” in their name. From zany bird facts to unbelievable bird stories, there are so many interesting things to learn about these birds…
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
Endemic to the eastern parts of North America, the American Black Duck are a large dabbling duck species that are partially migratory. These birds are the heaviest members of their genus (Anas), with the males being heavier than their female counterparts.
The adults can also be distinguished by their bill; males have a yellow bill, while females possess dull green ones with dark markings.
Because these ducks forage both on land and by dabbling in shallow waters, their diet is quite diverse, accommodating wetland sedges, grasses, aquatic plants, mussels, snails, mollusks, and small fish.
Antillean Nighthawk (Chordeiles gundlachii)
The Antillean Nighthawks are medium-sized nesting birds belonging to the nightjar family. These birds are endemic to the Caribbean islands and are only found in Florida within the United States.
Antillean Nighthawks have a close resemblance with the Common Nighthawks and were earlier considered their subspecies. However, their voices can be used as a differentiating factor between the two. The Antillean Nighthawks have a short and consistent “pikadik” call.
The diet of Antillean Nighthawks consists mainly of flying insects that they catch and eat during the flight. Although they’re primarily nocturnal, like all nightjars, they’re seen foraging most actively during twilight.
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Anna’s Hummingbirds are a widespread hummingbird species endemic to the western coast of North America, where they’re most common of all hummingbirds.
The name of these hummingbirds commemorates the Duchess of Rivoli, Anna Massena. Their upper parts are covered with shades of green, while their underparts display a dull, greyish color.
The sex of the adult Anna’s Hummingbirds is distinguishable by the color of their face. The males have an iridescent pink touch on their heads and throats, which cannot be seen in their female counterparts.
American Coot (Fulica americana)
American Coots are a plump bird species that belong to the rail family but have some resemblance to the ducks, to which they’re only distantly related. These migratory coots are abundantly found throughout North America.
They have a dark body, a thick, white bill, with a reddish-brown spot between their eyes. Both sexes of the adults appear identical, displaying sexual dimorphism only in size; the males are larger than their female counterparts.
Other names that the American Coots are referred to as are “Pouldeau” and “Mud Hen.”
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
American Avocets are large wading birds that breed in the marshes and wetlands of the mid-western regions of the United States. They’re migratory birds traveling to the coastal areas in winters.
American Avocets have a distinctive bill: thin and black, curving slightly upwards toward the tip. This long bill makes their head appear smaller in contrast.
Like most waders, they, too, possess long, slender legs with slightly webbed feet. Due to the pastel-blue color of their legs, the American Avocets are also popular as “Blue Shanks.”
American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Being the only flamingo species that find their natural habitat in North America, the American Flamingoes are a large waterbird species. Coincidentally, these birds also happen to be the largest flamingo species found here.
These colonial birds are easily identifiable by their extra-ordinary, pinkish-red plumage. Both sexes of the adults are identical in plumage, with only the males being slightly larger in size.
American Flamingoes are also referred to as “Caribbean Flamingoes” in some areas. They’re also the longest-living birds, with their average lifespan ranging between 30-40 years.
Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
Just as their name suggests, the Arctic Terns are a seabird species that breed in the arctic and sub-arctic areas of North America, Asia, and Europe.
They’re a small tern species that are overall grey-and-white in color, except for the black cap on their head. Their bill, legs, and webbed feet are all colored in the same shade of red.
Arctic Terns possess angular wings that support their long flights during migration.
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
Named after the American naturalist Charles Andrew Allen, Allen’s Hummingbirds are a small hummingbird species that breed in the western regions of the United States.
Because of the similarities between the appearances of the females and juveniles, Allen’s Hummingbirds are often confused with Rufous Hummingbirds. However, their varying breeding patterns and habitat range are factors used to tell them apart.
The male Allen’s Hummingbirds are highly territorial and are often seen behaving aggressively towards other males, other hummingbird species, and at times even with birds much larger than them.
Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)
Belonging to the family of the Tyrant Flycatchers, the Ash-throated Flycatchers are a fairly large flycatcher species that inhabit the riparian forests and desert scrubs of the United States.
Although they’re called “Ash-throated,” these birds have a pale white throat, with an ashy shade spreading on their heads and faces. Their sleek body has a relatively long tail and large head, with a slight, crest-like growth atop it.
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Anhingas are a large yet slender-bodied waterbird species that primarily inhabit the warmer regions of the Americas.
These birds display a significant sexual dimorphism, with the males having an overall dark plumage and white bars on their wings. On the other hand, the females possess a tanned head and underparts, with yellow feet and legs.
Anhingas have a widespread population throughout America and have many popular names, such as “Water Turkey,” “Darter,” and “Snakebird.”
Wetland fish, both small and large, make up a majority of these birds’ diets. Although, they’re also known to feed on crustaceans and other invertebrates occasionally.
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
American White Pelicans are a large waterbird species that are known to breed on the shallow wetlands of America’s interiors.
As their name suggests, these birds are mostly white, with black flight feathers and yellow bill and legs. Unlike other pelicans that prefer diving, they hunt for their food while swimming and eat roughly 4 pounds of food in a single day.
Like most waterbirds, the American White Pelicans also have a significant lifespan, with an average of 16 years in the wild.
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
Commonly found within the northern and central parts of the United States, the American Bitterns are camouflaged wading birds belonging to the heron family.
These birds are overall brown in color and closely resemble the Eurasian Bitterns; only their plumage is speckled and not barred, unlike the latter.
American Bitterns have a carnivorous diet that mainly consists of fish, with insects, crustaceans, and other small vertebrates constituting their secondary diet.
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)
The Amazon Kingfishers are fairly large members of the American Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle) genus. These birds are non-migratory and inhabit the tropical regions of the Americas.
These birds have a striking resemblance to the Green Kingfishers, which are much smaller than them. Apart from their size, both species can be distinguished by their wings and tails.
While the wings and tails of Amazon Kingfishers are mostly green, you can find touches of white in that of the latter.
Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica)
The Arctic Loons are a large, migratory waterbird species that are seen in the northern parts of the United States during summers.
They’re often compared to the Pacific Loons due to their striking resemblance and shared habitat. However, they are larger in size than the latter.
Arctic Loons have a mainly grey body with white undersides and a grey bill. In the breeding season, the back of their neck turns brownish. Both sexes appear similar.
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)
Being the largest members of their genus, the Altamira Orioles are a New World Oriole (Icterid) species that inhabit the lightly-wooded areas of the Americas.
These birds are also an exception when it comes to sexual dimorphism; the adults are sexually monomorphic, unlike any other oriole you will find in the United States.
Both sexes have an orange head and underparts, with their wings and tails being black in color. They also have a black patch on their throat, extending up to their mandible.
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
Named after their dependence on acorn as a prime food source, the Acorn Woodpeckers are medium-sized woodpecker species common in the southwestern parts of the United States.
The head, back, wings, and tails of these woodpeckers are all covered in a brownish-black color. The underparts are white, with heavy black mottling around the throat.
Although both sexes appear similar, their red cap can be used to distinguish between them. The males have a more prominent cap than their female counterparts.
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Also referred to as “Sparrow Hawk,” the American Kestrels are the smallest members of the falcon family found throughout North America.
The size of these birds is closer to a mourning dove than a falcon. Despite their size, the American Kestrels are quite popular in the world of falconry, particularly for beginners.
They have a mostly brown body, with grey on their wings and face; the females are significantly larger than their male counterparts. A large part of their diet consists of insects like dragonflies and grasshoppers.
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
The American Crows are a medium-sized corvid species with a widespread population throughout North America. These crows resemble the Hooded Crows both in size as well as traits, with their calls being the only differentiating factor.
American Crows are not much different from the other all-black corvids and have iridescent feathers. Being omnivores, they have a flexible diet consisting of grains, human food, and carrion.
American Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
Known as the “Buff-bellied Pipit” in Eurasia, the American Pipits are a tiny songbird species that prefer to inhabit alpine meadows, tundra, and mudflats.
American Pipits are primarily ground foragers that have a strange chicken-gait while strutting through the fields in search of food.
These birds have about four subspecies and can be found in both darker (brownish) and lighter (greyish) color morphs. Both sexes of the adults appear identical and are hard to distinguish.
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
The American Goldfinches are a tiny, migratory finch species commonly found in weed-rich terrestrial habitats, such as flood plains and meadows.
These little birdies are the only ones in the Carduelinae sub-family that undergo molting completely and are strongly sexually dimorphic.
The breeding males possess their characteristic golden plumage, while their female counterparts are colored in dull brown, with paler underparts.
According to many studies conducted on their diet, the American Goldfinches are believed to be among the strictest vegetarians in the avian world. Their diet is primarily granivorous, and insects are only fed to their fledglings to fulfill their protein requirement.
Audubon’s Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)
Commonly found in the coastal regions of Mexico and southern Texas, the Audubon’s Orioles are a shy oriole species known for their pleasing whistle calls.
Until very recently, these orioles were referred to as “Black-headed Orioles” due to the prominent black hood atop the males’ heads.
They display significant sexual dichromatism, with the males having a black-and-yellow body, while their female counterparts possessing an olive back and underparts, with dull-brown wings.
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)
Belonging to the Wood-warbler family, the American Redstarts are a medium-sized, migratory warbler species that breed in North America and winter in Central America.
American Redstarts display strong sexual dimorphism, with the breeding males having a jet-black head, throat, back, wings, and tail, with orangish wing and tail bars. Their underparts are mostly white, except for orangish flanks on their sides.
In contrast, their female counterparts have pale greyish heads with darker wings and tails. Their white underparts have touches of pale yellow.
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)
The American Tree Sparrows are small, round-headed birds belonging to the New World Sparrow family that mostly inhabit the boreal forests in the northern United States.
They’re a migratory species that can be found in the southern US and Canada during the winter months.
Closely resembling the Chipping Sparrows, these birds have a rusty cap on their head, with brown wings, tails, and pale brown flanks. Their underparts are a greyish shade of white; you can also spot white bars on their wings.
Ashy-faced Owl (Tyto glaucops)
The Ashy-faced Owls are members of the barn-owl family that are endemic to the Caribbean Islands. They mostly inhabit the open woodlands and forests and are resident species.
As their name suggests, the facial disk of these owls is ashy-grey in color. The rest of their body is yellowish-brown, with dark speckles on their upperparts. Like most owls, they’re sexually monomorphic, with both sexes being identical.
Arizona Woodpecker (Dryobates arizonae)
Endemic to the southern parts of Arizona, the Arizona Woodpeckers are small woodpecker species found in North America. These birds have a long, chisel-shaped bill that is relatively larger than their face.
These birds have a brown head, wings, and tail, with their white underparts covered with brownish spots, which isn’t found in any other woodpecker of the United States.
Both sexes are identical in size and can be differentiated by the red patch on their head; the females don’t have one.
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Belonging to the thrush family, the American Robins have been named after the European Robins due to their similar red breast, which is the only feature the two birds share.
These birds have adapted quite well to living among humans and are a popular city or town bird species. They’re sexually dimorphic to some extent, with the plumage of females slightly duller than that of their male counterparts.
Aztec Thrush (Ridgwayia pinicola)
Primarily inhabiting the ravines of pine and oak forests, the Aztec Thrushes are more commonly seen in the Central and South Americas than in North America.
Although these birds are omnivores, they take great interest in ground foraging, strutting through the undergrowth for insects. During winters, fruits, particularly berries, replace the insects in their diet.
Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis)
Belonging to the family of the leaf warblers, the Arctic Warblers are an insectivorous species occurring both in Eurasia as well as North America. In their breeding season, you can easily find them in Alaska.
The body color of these birds is a blend of green and grey, with their upper parts darker than the underparts (almost off-white). They have a heavy, dagger-like bill and produce a fast trill that is characteristic of their species.
African Silverbill (Euodice cantans)
As their name suggests, the African Silverbills are dry country birds endemic to Africa that exist as an introduced species in the United States. These birds are a member of the estrildid finch family and have a primarily grass-based diet.
These little birdies have a characteristic bluish-silver bill, buff underbody, pale-brown upperparts, black wingtips, and tail.
The sex of an adult can be determined by their call; males produce a single “tseep” call, while their female counterparts vocalize in a double-noted “tsiptsip.”
Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)
Alder Flycatchers are a large, insectivorous passerine species belonging to the tyrant flycatcher family. They have a dull, olive-greenish body with lighter underparts, except for a dark breast band.
These flycatchers prefer to hunt for food mid-flight, which is the typical behavior in their family. Their most preferred prey are wasps, sawflies, beetles, moths, crickets, and locusts.
Conclusion: Birds That Start With A
And so it goes! Wow, this is a really long post. That means you have spent a significant amount of time on this article, which means you really want to learn about birds, don’t you?
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With all of this in mind, I think you’ll agree that the letter “A” is indeed awesome. So awesome, in fact, it deserves to be repeated. Heh-heh… A… A… A…