10 Species of Black Birds in Florida

Black Birds in Florida

Florida is one of the most sought-after destinations for birds due to its rich geographical location and ideal tropical climate. The state houses some of the most captivating black-colored birds ever discovered. In fact, its birds too, are as unique as it is! This is why every year, a plethora of birders fly to Florida to watch these dazzling creatures.

Whether perched around the nearby lake or outside your backyard, you’ve probably spotted an all-black bird. If you weren’t able to identify which one it was the last time, this article tells you all the kinds of black birds you can expect to witness in Florida!

So, without any further ado, let’s head straight into the most commonly found species of black-colored birds that you can await this year!



Scientific Name: Anhinga anhinga
Average weight: 2.7 lb
Wingspan: 45 – 48 inches
Lifespan: 11 years
Appearance: Slender, S-shaped neck, daggerlike bill, black body.
Diet: Mainly fish and aquatic insects
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: December – January

The Anhinga is a long-necked waterbird with an elongated fanlike tail that is identical to that of a turkey. It carries an S-shaped neck along with a dagger-alike bill. When flying, this bird looks like a cross in the sky since its wings are laid out flat while its tail and neck stick out in a linear position. Basically, its slim body helps it offer an impression of a flattened body.

The male Anhinga bears a black-colored body with white patches on its wings. Females, on the other hand, look fairly similar, but with a brownish head and neck. This creature is mostly found perching on snags above marshes, ponds, and wooden swamps as it often likes to dive underwater, slither through water, and scoop out fish with its bill.

Furthermore, owing to the Anhinga’s ever-varying buoyancy, it also has a tendency of only sticking its forefront out. Therefore, this earns it the nickname, “Snakebird.”

You can mostly expect to find the Anhinga solitary while feeding. Additionally, occasional sightings include spotting it roosting in groups as it nests in colonies. Rarely does this bird ever click and croak, but around its colonies, it’s known to make ear-awakening sounds.

This bird resembles the cormorant while perched because it spreads its wings and tails far apart. Another noteworthy point to remember that the distinctive turkey-like tail of the Anhinga offers it the title “Water Turkey.” Some of these birds inhabit the southern region of the state, peninsular Florida, especially during winters.


Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed Kite

Scientific Name: Elanoides forficatus
Average weight: 0.68 – 1.31 lb
Wingspan: 44 – 53 inches
Lifespan: 6 years
Appearance: Large, black body, tapered wings, white-colored head.
Diet: Insects, lizards, frogs, birds
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: Early March

With its bold blackish-white plumage and intensely forked tail, the Swallow-tailed Kite has been acclaimed as the “coolest bird on the planet.” This large, buoyant, and slender raptor is distinguished by its pointy wings and a small, spiky bill that is sharply hooked.

Extremely striking in form, pattern, and flight, this exquisite bird of prey features a defined contract of a black and white head and underbody. Its wings, back, and tail are all deeply colored in jet black.

When observed from below, the wings bear white linings. This bird often hangs motionless in the sky as it glides, swoops, rolls in an upright position, and somersaults by zooming in the air by barely moving its wings. Simply put, the Swallow-tailed Kite is a sheer joy to the eyes!

This creature was quite a common sight in summers throughout the southeast. However, in the present day, it’s mostly located in Florida along with a few other territories down south. Sometimes, it soars over fairly low trees while foraging for tiny animals hiding in the branches.

Ofttimes, it also circles quite high in the sky, almost beyond the frontiers of human vision. Truly, the Swallow-tailed Kite is a creature of the air! When migrating, you will observe this bird flying in populated flocks.

Look for these creatures over marshes, swamps, and large rivers in Florida. The pied coloration, tapered wings, and forky tail are traits that help you easily recognize this bird.


Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

Scientific Name: Leucophaeus atricilla
Average weight: 0.45 – 0.81 lb
Wingspan: 39 – 43 inches
Lifespan: Nearly 22 years
Appearance: Medium-sized, long wings, elongated legs, greyish-black hood
Diet: Insects, crustaceans, fish
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: November – December

The vociferous laughing calls of the Laughing Gull are among the most iconic sounds that echo throughout 663 miles of Florida’s beaches. This bird appears to be a warm-weather creature since the majority departs from the Atlantic seacoasts.

It is a medium-sized bird with elongated wings and lengthy legs that grant a graceful appearance when birders see them strolling or soaring. Also, it has a fairly long, stout bill.

You can run across this handsome bird in large numbers at docks, parking lots, and beaches where it expects handouts and amazes watchers with its raucous voice. It bears a medium blackish-grey upper body and a white below.

While summer adults feature a clear-cut black hood, vividly-red bill, and white arcs surrounding the eye, the winter Gull develops a blurry grey veil over the whitish head. The legs of this bird vary from deep red to black.

The Laughing Gull engulfs almost everything, ranging from the food it snatches and handouts, from garbage discards, and dumps from fishing yachts.

Groups of these birds usually congregate in mud bars, sandy lands, shorelines, and parking lots, making these species highly accessible to the Floridians. Although they mostly nest in a group, they remain safely isolated from dangerous predators.


Snail Kite

Scientific Name: Rostrhamus sociabilis
Average weight: 0.68 – 1.25 lb
Wingspan: 39 – 47 inches
Lifespan: 9 years
Appearance: Medium-sized, paddle-like wings, broad tail, blackish-grey body
Diet: Large snails (especially Apple snails)
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: February – August

Florida is the only state in the United States where you can spot the Snail Kite. This is a unique raptor with deep plumage and an extremely hooked bill, which is remarkable for scooping into large-sized snails that predominantly make up for this creature’s diet. These species are well-adapted to devouring the Apple Snail found in the state’s wetlands.

This medium-sized bird features a set of broad, paddle-like wings attached to a wide tail, elongated legs, and a slender bill. The adults offer a blackish-grey body with much darker wings and a black tail that extends into a white base. Males bear pinkish-red skin near the bill. While the females look similar, they are slightly browner with white-colored feathers surrounding their faces.

You can look for the Snail Kite in Florida’s open marshes and tropical wetlands, and watch it slowly gliding over the sawgrass. Since this bird absolutely loves feasting on snails, it doesn’t need to catch up to a fast flight, unlike other species. It excellently uses its strongly curved bill to extract the juicy prey within the shell.

Snail Kites mostly inhabit colonies and roost in unison with other waterbirds, such as Anhingas and herons.


White-crowned Pigeon

Scientific Name: Patagioenas leucocephala
Average weight: 0.33 – 0.66 lb
Wingspan: 19 – 23 inches
Lifespan: 14 years
Appearance: Large-sized, dark body with contrasting head, iridescent greenish scalloping
Diet: Berries and fruits
Conservation status: Near threatened
Best time to see them in Florida: June – August

Don’t let the name of the White-crowned Pigeon fool you—this is a large-sized, entirely blackish-grey pigeon with a contrasting whitish cap. It bears a striated neck, and a pink-colored neck and bill.

The adults exhibit iridescent green scallops positioned on their nape, which are quite difficult to observe unless they’re close. This large dove can be found in the extreme south of Florida, predominantly in the Everglades and Keys.

Majorly a Caribbean species, the White-crowned Pigeon has a restricted population across the US. It is mostly found in thickly forested localities where fruits like berry bushes are abundant. However, they mostly prefer staying high in foliage, making it an irksome task to see them.

This bird is known to have a shy disposition. Hence, it’s often either seen in small flocks or pairs when flying. Undoubtedly, it is a fast flier, owing to its ability to soar as long as 30 miles.

In fact, another interesting thing to know about the White-crowned Pigeon is that although the bird hasn’t been officially documented in flight yet, it’s known to conveniently outpace a powerboat. Furthermore, it frequently undertakes prolonged flying sessions over the water.


Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Leuconotopicus borealis
Average weight: 0.08 – 0.12 lb
Wingspan: 13 – 16 inches
Lifespan: 12 years
Appearance: Straight and short bill, black-white bars, tiny red streak
Diet: Insects, ants, beetles
Conservation status: Near threatened
Best time to see them in Florida: April – July

Once equitably common to the southeastern region of the US, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker is now a rare and endangered species. It is a habitat specialist of the once-gigantic longleaf pine stands.

This bird is spread throughout breeding colonies in northern and central Florida. This offers Floridian birders an excellent opportunity to add this distinguished species to their list.

Despite its name, this bird is mostly black and white, bearing a huge, vibrantly colored white cheek patch and a jet black malar stripe that marks the lower boundary of its cheek.

The males carry a minuscule, almost invisible reddish streak towards the upper part of their cheek. It is also characterized by its robust, horizontally aligned black-and-white bands. This unique bird rarely visits any bird feeders.

Mostly occurring in loblolly and slash stands, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker hollows out the pines that are tempered by heartwood rot. It is known to live in groups that collectively dig cavities and raise their younglings. It employs this technique as a defense mechanism to keep the snakes from climbing up the tree.

The bird prefers to forage in societies and can be extremely vocal. You can identify this woodpecker by listening to its squeaky, high “peek” calls, and a moderate “churr.”


Boat-tailed Grackle

Scientific Name: Quiscalus major
Average weight: 0.36 – 0.55 lb
Wingspan: 15 – 20 inches
Lifespan: 12 years
Appearance: Lengthy tail, glossy black body, dark-colored eyes, pointy bill.
Diet: Aquatic insects, snails, grains, crayfish
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: February – September

The Boat-tailed Grackle is a lanky songbird that bears elongated legs, a rounded crown, and pointy bills. Males possess unusually long tails and a glossy body that constitutes almost half of their entire body length and appear in a v-shape, similar to the keel of a boat.

Females, on the other hand, are browner with subtle facial patterns. This bold, black-colored bird is a southeastern coastal species and is quite common throughout Florida. It mostly occurs in noisy and populated flocks.

These birds are distinguished by others in southern and central Florida by their dark eyes, which is in contrast to their northern counterparts with much lighter ones. It is highly likely that this species may be divided in the coming years, offering Florida its very own unique species.

The Boat-tailed Grackle is a supreme omnivore. This scrappy blackbird feasts on everything ranging from seeds, food scraps, and aquatic insects to crustaceans that it scavenges from the coastal line.

Although these birds are a strict shoreline species, you can find them across most parts of the Floridan peninsula, which lies considerably away from the immediate shore. Also, these are friendly backyard birds, so you may want to keep foodstuffs such as sorghum, sunflower seeds, millets, and corn ready!


Smooth-billed Ani

Scientific Name: Crotophaga ani
Average weight: 0.15 lb
Wingspan: 16 – 18 inches
Lifespan: Not known
Appearance: Shiny black body, thick neck, long tail.
Diet: Large insects, parasites, spiders, small fruits and berries
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: March – April

Often mistaken for grackles, the Smooth-billed ani carries a thick neck, an elongated tail, and a large-sized bill with a highly elevated peak towards the upper mandible.

This bird is a southern native and inhabits the Caribbean, and regularly visits central and southern Florida too. It mostly prefers occupying brushy lands and is often spotted perching on snags, fences, and different kinds of vantage points.

This bird possesses a stunning glossy black profile. Always grouped together with birds of its own kind, the Smooth-billed Ani traipses through shrubby areas. It mostly feeds on lizards, insects, and fruits, especially during the summer months. The groups perform all kinds of tasks together. In fact, the females even lay all their eggs in a shared nest attended by all birds. These birds have a hawklike whistled call.

You can find the Smooth-billed Ani in areas such as dense bushes beside semiopen fields, marshes, or pastures. When one bird member flies to forage, another member rests on a high perch while looking out for potential danger and predators. The flight of this bird is somewhat weak, but it walks well and mostly feeds on the land.


Common Myna

Scientific Name: Acridotheres tristis
Average weight: 0.24 lb
Wingspan: 4 – 5 inches
Lifespan: 4 years
Appearance: Blackish-brown body, yellow bill, white patches on wings
Diet: Insects, food grains, grubs
Conservation status: Least concern
Best time to see them in Florida: Not known

The Common Myna, which is now thriving in the suburbs and cities of Florida, is not considered a native bird. However, it can be a worthwhile experience for birders to spot these unusual creatures, especially if they may never visit the Myna’s native habitat in Asia. this bird is quite a common sight in all urban areas of the state, including the Florida Keys and Miami.

The large-sized, blackish-brown colored Myna bears a pair of wings with whitish patches and wing linings that become visible during flight. It carries a bright yellow bill, legs, and eyes. This bird is extremely gregarious in nature. You will often find it among noisy flocks. It has uncanny territorial instincts as it often drives away other birds aggressively.

Although the Common Myna is accustomed to inhibit all kinds of lands, it mostly prefers the densest forests. This is an omnivorous bird that feeds on mostly everything, including seeds, insects, grubs, grains, and more.


American Coot

The American Coot is a chicken-like, plump bird with a sloping bill and a curved head. Its short tail, wings, and large feet can be seen on rare instants whenever they fly. These birds bear a dark grey to deep black profile with a vibrant, white bill and extended forehead. If you happen to come closer to these creatures, you may also be able to notice a tiny patch of red towards the front of their face.

American Coots are often found feasting on aquatic plants on all types of water bodies. While swimming, they resemble small ducks and even dive like them. But, on land, they appear like chickens as they walk, instead of waddling.

An often clumsy and awkward flier, this bird cannot get airborne without its long-running takeoffs. It is a pretty common sight across Florida, especially during winter months when populated rafts of these waterfowl occur on lakes.

Also, these are noisy birds, often shrieking back and forth with distinctive creaks, clucks, harsh quacks, and cackles. You can look for the American Coot at ponds in parks, reservoirs, marshes, roadside furrows, along the lakes, and saltwater inlets.



Florida is a magical state that brims with a spectacular variety of birds to see. Whether you are an avid birder or a newly proclaimed bird lover, visiting this sunshine state has to be on your birding itinerary!

This was all about the most commonly found species of black-colored birds in Florida. We hope you are now geared and well-equipped to explore some of the most fascinating black-birds in Florida.


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