24 Birds that Start with W


birds that start with W

One of the fun parts of my job is having interesting conversations. They are usually random but seem to flow organically. This particular conversation inspired me to write an article about it! The answer to the question “What birds start with W?” is the subject of this article.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering the answer to that question, then this list is for you. We’ll take a look at some of the strangely beautiful birds whose names begin with the letter W.

Whether you’re getting ready to write a list of birds that start with the letter W or just hope to use this article to impress someone you know with your seemingly vast knowledge of birds, I’m sure you’ll find this post intriguing.

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

Western Tanager

Western Tanagers are medium-sized American songbirds, breeding across the coniferous or mixed forests of North America. These migratory birds spend their winters further north in Central America.

Western Tanagers have a stout, steadily-pointed bill, yellow underparts, and faded wing bars. The adults display a strong sexual dimorphism in their plumage.

The males have a vibrant red face and yellow nape, rump, and shoulders, with their upper back being black in the non-breeding plumage. Their head has a red textured cast, with an olive body.

On the other hand, the females characterize a yellow head, olive back, dark wings, and tail. These birds feed on a variety of fruits and insects.

 

Western Screech-owl (Megascops kennicottii)

Western Screech-owl

Western Screech-owls are small owl species that are permanent residents throughout Central and North America. These birds of prey inhabit open or mixed woods across the forest borders and will even choose tree cavities created by woodpeckers.

Western Screech-Owls have a dark grey plumage with streaked underparts. They feature a rounded head that consists of ear tufts, with yellow eyes and bill.

Though similar in appearance, the females are larger than their male counterparts. These birds feed on insects catching them during flight. They are nocturnal, actively hunting food during the night hours.

 

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

White Stork

Ranked among the largest members of the stork family, the White Storks are migratory birds that breed across open grasslands in Europe and fly to Africa to spend the winters. In their wintering ground, these birds assemble in huge flocks that might cross a thousand individuals.

White Storks are large birds with long red legs, a long neck, and a straight-pointed red bill. Their plumage is fully white, except for black flight feathers and wing coverts.

Their irises are mainly pale brown or grey, and the periorbital skin is black. Both the sexes have similar looks, but the males are larger than their female counterparts.

White Storks are exclusively carnivores, primarily feeding on insects, small birds, and mammals, reptiles, and fish.

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Duck

Also referred to as “Carolina Duck,” the Wood Ducks are medium-sized perching ducks of North America. They inhabit wooded swamps, marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes. Though the southern population of these ducks is permanent residents, the northern population migrates to the southern United States in winter.

Wood Ducks are quite colorful ducks with medium-sized bodies. They’re sexually dimorphic, with the males having distinguished, multi-colored shiny plumage and red eyes. They also have a white flair down the neck.

Their female counterparts are less colorful, having a white throat and eye-rings. Both the sexes characterize a crested head. Wood Ducks are omnivores and feed on berries, seeds, insects, and acorns.

 

Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kites are Australian birds of prey species that inhabit open or lightly wooded areas. These birds are mainly permanent residents, but their south Australian population sometimes migrates to the south in autumn.

Whistling Kites are medium-sized kites with brown wings, black flight feathers, and a pale buff on their head, breast, and tail. Their short, featherless legs and feet are bone-colored.

These birds have a distinctive pattern on the underwings. Usually, the southern population is larger than the tropical range. The female Whistling Kites are larger and heavier than their male counterparts but have the same plumage.

 

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Western Osprey

Western Ospreys, also known as “Sea-Hawk,” “Fish Hawk,” and simply “Osprey,” are large raptors with a cosmopolitan range. Except for Antarctica, they are common across the temperate and tropical regions of all continents.

Within North America, their breeding range extends from Alaska and Newfoundland south to Gulf Coast and Florida. During winters, they migrate further south to Argentina.

Western Ospreys have a white head with a dark mask across the eyes. Their upperparts are shiny brown, with a white breast that is occasionally streaked with brown. Their underparts are white in contrast.

These raptors have golden irises, a black bill, and white feet with black talons. Though similar in appearance, the males have thinner bodies and narrower wings than their female counterparts.

 

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Whooper Swan

Declared as the national bird of Finland, the Whooper Swans are the large Eurasian counterparts of the North American Trumpeter Swans. These swans breed across subarctic Eurosiberia and spend their winters in eastern Asia and southern Europe.

Whooper Swans need large water areas to live peacefully as their legs cannot carry their body weight for a longer period.

Whooper Swans are noted to be the heaviest flying birds. These birds have a milky white plumage and an angular-shaped head with a pointed yellow-black bill. They are vocal, with their calling sound being similar to that of the Trumpeter Swans.

 

Weka (Gallirallus australis)

Weka

Also referred to as “Woodhen” and “Maori Hen,” the Wekas are large birds of the rail family that are endemic to New Zealand. They inhabit sub-alpine grasslands, sand dunes, forests, and rocky shores.

The IUCN has declared the population of Wekas to be Vulnerable, with increased predation by the introduced species being their main threat.

Wekas are large rails having a deep brown-colored body tossed with black. Their large, stout bill has a reddish-brown shade. These birds have quite sturdy legs, a pointed tail, and reduced wings. Both sexes are similar looking, but males are larger than their female counterparts.

Wekas are omnivores, consuming 30% animal matter and 70% plant matter. Their animal diet includes beetles, larvae, ants, grass shrubs, insect eggs, frogs, spiders, rats, mice, while leaves, seeds, and grass come under their plant-based diet.

 

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)

Willow Ptarmigan

Also referred to as “Willow Grouse,” the Willow Ptarmigans are a large, ground-dwelling species belonging to the same family as chickens, turkeys, and peafowl.

These birds are endemic to native to North America, much of east Asia, central and northern Europe. They inhabit sparse pine and birch forests, tundra, and mountain slopes.

Willow Ptarmigans have a medium-to-large sized body, with both sexes being similar in size. These birds have a long, deep-chestnut neck, a broad bill, short-feathered legs, and a short and rounded
tail.

The adult Willow Ptarmigans show dimorphism in their plumage. The males have brown summer plumage with a red hue on their neck and breast. Their wings and underparts are white.

Their female counterparts, although similar in appearance, are tinier and have brown feathers amidst white ones on their belly. In winter, the body of both sexes is completely white except for the black outer rectrices.

 

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)

Wallcreeper

Wallcreepers are tiny passerine birds endemic to the high mountains of the Palearctic from southern Europe to central China. These partially migratory birds move to lower elevations in winters, such as England and the Netherlands.

Wallcreepers have a blue-grey plumage, with dark flight and tail feathers. They have a striking crimson-colored
wings, covering most of their covert feathers.

Wallcreepers are generally silent but sing depending on the situation. Their call is a high-pitched, drawn-out whistle. These birds are insectivores feeding on terrestrial invertebrates like insects and spiders.

 

White-Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

white-tailed eagle

Also referred to as “Erne” and “Grey Sea Eagle,” the White-Tailed Eagles are a large sea eagle species endemic to the temperate parts of Eurasia. These birds breed in northern Europe and northern Asia.

Considering the extreme fluctuation and reduction of their northern range, the migratory pattern of these birds isn’t understood clearly. Some of their populations are partially nomadic, migrating to the western part of its range.

White-tailed Eagles are among the largest extant birds of prey. Their plumage is unvarying over most of their
body parts and wings. However, their upper wing coverts are a bit paler.

The head, neck, and upper breast of these raptors have a shiny bluish look, with a fluffy whitetail. They mainly feed on waterbirds, fish, and other mammals.

 

White-capped Albatross (Thalassarche cauta steadi)

White-capped Albatross

White-capped Albatrosses belong to the mollymawk subfamily and are endemic to New Zealand. They are annual breeders, breeding across rocks and small islands. Their species has been listed in the Near-threatened list by the IUCN.

White-capped Albatrosses have a medium-sized body with a distinguishing bold white cap. Their pale face is
colored in silver-grey, with their bill being pale, bluish-grey, and a yellow tip. Except for a deep grey mantle and black tail, most of their body is white. Some adults even possess a white back with brown tipped feathers.

White-capped Albatrosses feed on marine invertebrate animals like fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods.

 

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkeys are large poultry birds that are endemic to North America. They inhabit hardwood and mixed-conifer hardwood forests with dispersed openings like fields, orchards, and pastures.

Wild Turkeys have long legs that are reddish-yellow or greyish-green. These birds display strong sexual dimorphism.

The males are called “gobblers” and have a large, featherless red head, a reddish throat, and red wattles on their neck and throat. Their long, fan-shaped tail is dark, and their wings have a shiny bronze look. Males also characterize a thick beard growing from the center of their breast.

The female Wild Turkeys are called “hens” and have low-key feathers marked with brown and grey. Their beard is thinner than their male counterparts. Males are larger than their female counterparts.

 

White-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)

White-tailed Hawk

White-tailed Hawks are large birds of prey endemic to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas. They prefer inhabiting arid regions and are rarely spotted in rainy areas.

Despite being non-migratory, White-tailed Hawks occasionally undergo regional movements due to food scarcity.

White-tailed Hawks have a large body with grey upperparts, white underparts, and faded grey or rufous barring. Their short white tail consists of a narrow black band at the edge.

The upper wings of these hawks are dark tossed with grey, while their underwings are whitish. They feature hazel irises, a black bill having a horn-colored base, and yellow feet with black talons.

 

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentails)

Western Grebe

Western Grebes are large, North American waterbirds that are also popular by their folk names, including “Swan Grebe” and “Dabchick.” The southwest population of these grebes is permanent residents, but the northern birds migrate to the west coastal ocean in winter.

Western Grebes are the largest grebe species found in North America. These waterbirds have a black-white body
with a long, swan-like neck and red eyes. They also have a greenish-yellow bill and a black mark around the eyes.
The primary diet of Western Grebes consists of mollusks, herring, carps, and amphibians.

 

Willet (Tringa semipalmata)

Willet

Willets are heavily-built migratory shorebirds breeding in North America and West Indies. These birds spend their winters across central and south America.

The eastern population of Willets breed in coastal salt marshes, while the western Willets breed in freshwater prairie marshes. Willets have a large, sturdily-built body with black primary and underwing coverts, a broad white band on their rump, and a grey tail band. They have short, grey legs and a straight bill.

Their plumage is mainly grey from above and white from below. These birds have white eye-rings that somewhat lend them a spectacled look. In their breeding plumage, their underparts are marked with brown barring.

 

White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris)

White-collared Swift

White-collared Swifts are a non-migratory swift species that are endemic to South America and the Caribbean. These primarily aerial birds inhabit mountains, coniferous forests, and grasslands.

White-collared Swifts are the largest of their species, having an overall black plumage with a white collar and glossy blue back. They also have a square-like forked tail and buffed-up breast. The adults are sexually monomorphic, with both sexes appearing identical.

 

Wine-throated Hummingbird (Selasphorus ellioti)

Wine-throated Hummingbird

The Wine-throated Hummingbirds are endemic to North and Central America. These little birdies inhabit tropical or subtropical montane forests. They prefer living in a moist climate and breed in shrubs and evergreen forests.

Wine-throated Hummingbirds are extremely small birds with short tails. They display very little sexual dimorphism,
with only minute differences between the adults of both sexes. The males have an extensive magenta-colored throat, while the females have darker spots on their throat.

 

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)

Wattled Jacana

The Wattled Jacanas are a resident wader species found in Central America and the Caribbean. These birds prefer the tropical climate and inhabit shallow wetlands with floating vegetation.

Wattled Jacanas are mainly black with a chestnut-colored back. They have greenish-yellow flight feathers, a red head-shield, and huge bluish-grey toes. Their claw-like feet help them to walk on floating vegetation.

The adults display slight sexual dimorphism in size, with the males being smaller than their female counterparts. They’re almost exclusively insectivores, feeding on insects and other invertebrates they can find in floating vegetation or water’s surface.

 

Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)

Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpipers are shorebirds with the most abundant population throughout North America. These little birdies are migratory and primarily inhabit mudflats, lakeshores, and lagoons.

Western Sandpipers have brown and golden upperparts with black arrow-like streaks. They also have dark legs, a rufous crown, a thin bill, a short tail, and pointed wings. The adults are sexually dimorphic to some extent. Females have a longer bill than their male counterparts. All non-breeding adults have a pale grey plumage.

 

White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala)

White-crowned Pigeon

The White-crowned Pigeons are found mainly in Central America and the Caribbean. These birds live and breed in coastal and remote mangrove forests. Due to deforestation, their species has a Vulnerable status.

White-crowned Pigeons are large pigeons and have a mainly grey plumage with a shining white crown and green pattern on their collars. Their legs and the bill are pink in color. Adult White-crowned Pigeons are slightly sexually dimorphic. While the males have a bright, white crown, the females’ crowns have a greyish touch and are duller.

 

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis

Also referred to as “American White Ibis,” the White Ibises are large seabirds found in Coastal New World tropics. These birds are widespread within North America, with their primary habitats including brackish marshes, mangroves, rice fields, and mudflats.

White Ibises display an overall white plumage with black-tipped wings. Their faces and long legs are
reddish-pink, with blue eyes and a curved, red bill. Their wadded legs help them walk on muddy surfaces.

The adults display sexual dimorphism in size and not in plumage. The females are smaller and have a smaller bill compared to their male counterparts.

 

Western Gull (Larus occidentails)

Western Gulls are a North American gull species that inhabit offshore islands and rocks along the shores. These are large gulls with a white head and body, a dark grey mantle, and upper parts. Their large bulbous bill is yellow in color, with a red subterminal spot.

The southern population of Western Gulls has yellow eyes, which gets darker in the northern range. Their head mostly remains white all year round, developing slight streaking in the northern populations.

 

White Tern (Gygis alba)

White Tern

White Terns are tiny seabirds with a widely distributed population across the tropical oceans of the world. They’re quite secretive in nature and usually inhabit densely wooded areas.

White Terns have a milky white plumage and a long, black bill with a bluish base. They have a slightly forked
tail, while their eyes appear to be two vibrant inky pools. These birds catch their prey by plunge-diving and are primarily piscivorous.

 

Conclusion: Birds that Start with W

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on birds beginning with W! Stay tuned for more interesting and informative bird-related articles in the future. We’re always working hard to bring you the best content out there.

Enjoy your day, and good luck!

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