Birds are some of the most diverse animals on earth and come in a plethora of colors and patterns all across their bodies. With so many bird species, even a specific set of traits can be shared by numerous species.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 14 bird species that come specifically with black plumage and yellow eyes, typically a result of either natural or sexual selection.
1. Great-Tailed Grackle
|Scientific Name||Quiscalus mexicanus|
|Range||Midwestern and Western United States, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador|
The great-tailed grackle is a large slender blackbird with a flat crown, long tail, and yellow or white eyes. Males are glossy black and have particularly long tails, which are almost as long as their bodies that are typically held in a V shape. Females are brown in color with paler eyebrows and throat.
Great-tailed grackles are usually found in open habitats with a nearby water source, such as farmland and city parks. They are usually found in mixed flocks foraging on pastures or lawns.
Great-tailed grackles are omnivores that consume many insects, spiders, millipedes, snails, marine life such as fish and tadpoles, and other birds, among others. They also consume various seeds, waste grains, berries, fruit, and nuts.
2. American Oystercatcher
|Scientific Name||Haematopus palliatus|
|Range||Eastern and Southern United States coast, the Western coast of Central America, the coasts around South America|
The American oystercatcher is a large and heavy shorebird with black and white plumage, yellow eyes, and a thick red bill. They can often produce hybrids with the black oystercatcher in southern California and Baja, in which you can spot them via the spotting where the black hood meets the white belly.
The American oystercatcher is exclusively coastal, and it especially prefers beaches where it can often find its prey, though it also visits rocky areas albeit less frequently.
American oystercatchers feed almost solely on marine bivalve mollusks, which include many species of clams, oysters, and mussels. It also feeds less frequently on limpets, jellyfish, starfish, crustaceans, and other marine animals.
3. Brewer’s Blackbird
|Scientific Name||Euphagus cyanocephalus|
|Range||North America, Mexico|
The brewer’s blackbird is a medium-sized blackbird that, for breeding males, consists of iridescent black plumage with a purple head and greenish shine on the body. Nonbreeding males have pale eyebrows and yellow eyes, and females are dark brown with dark eyes.
The brewer’s blackbird usually inhabits many open and semi-open country areas, such as shrubby areas near water, streamside woods, and shores. They also visit fields, prairies, farms, parks, golf courses, and roadsides. They can sometimes be found with other blackbirds at feedlots.
The brewer’s blackbird’s diet consists mainly of insects, seeds, and some berries. Insects can include anything from grasshoppers to termites. They may also eat spiders, snails, and small crustaceans on occasion. They mainly eat seeds from grasses and weeds, along with an abundance of waste grain.
4. Common Grackle
|Scientific Name||Quiscalus quiscula|
|Range||North America, rarely in Mexico|
The common grackle is a slender blackbird with an intimidating look and iridescent black-green plumage. Its body is slightly larger than a jay and has a longer tail and shorter wings than a crow. It has pale yellow eyes and a long thick bill.
The common grackle’s typical habitats include fields, scrubby areas, open woods, marshes, and wet, open woodlands. They can also be found in more urban areas such as suburbs, parks, and agricultural fields. They are known visitors to bird feeders.
As omnivores, the common grackle feeds mainly on seeds and insects. Insects typically include beetle grubs, grasshoppers, and caterpillars, among others, and seeds usually consist of sunflower seeds, acorns, and sweetgum. They may also feed on the occasional spider, millipede, or earthworm.
5. Pale-Eyed Blackbird
|Scientific Name||Agelasticus xanthophthalmus|
|Range||Ecuador and Peru|
The pale-eyed blackbird is a medium-sized blackbird consisting of iridescent black plumage, white or pale-yellow eyes, and a sharp black bill. It’s smaller than the giant cowbird and can be differentiated from the velvet-fronted grackle by its pale eyes, longer sharper bill, and shorter tail.
The pale-eyed blackbird is restricted to a small area within eastern Peru and Ecuador, typically in habitats containing wet grass. This can include wet grasslands and the grassy margins surrounding oxbow lakes.
The pale-eyed blackbird mainly feeds on insects, such as beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, other arthropods, and the occasional seeds. More details on its diet are hard to find due to its extremely limited habitat, making the bird difficult to locate.
6. Pale-Eyed Thrush
|Scientific Name||Turdus leucops|
|Range||Northwestern South America|
The pale-eyed thrush is a rarely seen bird that, for males, consists of dark black plumage, pale yellow eyes, an orange bill, and orange legs. Females have dark brown plumage with a dark bill, absent eye rings, and pale mottling on the underside. The lack of eye rings on both sexes separates this bird from other similar thrushes.
The natural habitat of the pale-eyed thrush includes subtropical and tropical moist montane forests, usually at high elevations from 1000 to 2000 meters. Males tend to perch on treetops when singing. Otherwise, they can be seen near fruiting trees within the forest.
Based on other similar thrush species, the pale-eyed thrush most likely feeds on a variety of insects, spiders, worms, fruits, berries, and seeds. Similar to the pale-eyed blackbird, details on this bird’s diet are limited as the bird is very rarely observed.
7. Spectacled Owl
|Scientific Name||Pulsatrix perspicillata|
|Range||Guatemala, Nicaragua, North and Central South America|
The spectacled owl is a large owl that is unmistakable with its blackish-brown upperparts, including the head and breast, white facial markings, and white to yellowish underparts. Its eyes are yellow, and it has a pale beak. Juveniles stand out more than adults in that they’re completely white except for the chocolate brown facial disc.
Typical habitats of the spectacled owl include the humid evergreen forests of the tropical lowlands and foothills. They are often found at the low to mid-levels of the canopy during the day and prefer open forest canopy and forest edges at night.
The spectacled owl feeds mainly on small mammals, such as mice and bats, but will also prey on larger mammals, like skunks and possums, and insects, when given a chance.
8. Boat-Tailed Grackle
|Scientific Name||Quiscalus major|
|Range||Eastern and Southeastern coast of the United States|
The boat-tailed grackle is a large and slim blackbird with a rounded crown, a long tail, and eyes that can vary from brown to yellow, depending on the location. Males are glossy black throughout with extremely long tails that are nearly as long as their bodies and are usually held in a V-shape like a boat’s keel, hence the name. Females are brown-plumaged with a much subtler face pattern.
The boat-tailed grackle is a coastal bird except when in Florida, where they can be found inland near human development. They usually nest in the cattails and other grasses in freshwater or brackish marshes.
The boat-tailed grackle feeds on sunflower seeds, sorghum, millet, corn, and other types of bird seeds, especially from bird feeders. In the wild, much of their diet, such as snails, crayfish, crustaceans, and shrimp, comes from the water.
9. Black-and-Yellow Broadbill
|Scientific Name||Eurylaimus ochromalus|
|Range||Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia|
The black-and-yellow broadbill is a broadbill that stands out immensely thanks to its black, white, yellow, and pink plumage. It has a wide, heavy blue bill and bright yellow eyes.
Typical habitats for the black-and-yellow broadbill include subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. They can be found foraging at the middle to high levels of lowland and hill forests, moving with other species in flocks.
The black-and-yellow broadbill feeds primarily on insects, such as orthopterans (grasshoppers, crickets, locusts), beetles, and caterpillars. They prefer orthopterans more than anything else but will also consume mollusks and fruit on occasion.
|Scientific Name||Pandion haliaetus|
|Range||Every continent besides Antarctica|
The osprey is a large raptor that mainly consists of bright yellow eyes, white plumage on its head and underparts, and a back covered in dark brown to black feathers. During the flight, its wings are typically held with a kink in the wrist resembling an “M”.
The osprey can be found in a large variety of habitats, with some examples being oceans, rivers, lakes, mangrove forests, lagoons, and estuaries. Any somewhat large body of water might be the home of an osprey.
The osprey feeds almost entirely on fish, especially those that are between 4 and 12 inches long. The exact type of fish varies with location, with some common examples being flounder, smelt, mullet, bullhead, and sucker. They may also occasionally eat small mammals, birds, or reptiles, usually when fish are scarce.
11. Black Currawong
|Scientific Name||Strepera fuliginosa|
The black currawong is a large crow-sized bird with black plumage throughout, a long and heavy black bill, and bright yellow eyes. Its white tail tip and primary tips can be difficult to see, even in flight. It’s similar to the gray currawong but the former is differentiable by its white undertail.
The black currawong inhabits most of the wooded and open habitats in Tasmania. They can also be found in mountain and lowland forests, coastal heath, grazing lands, and suburban areas.
The black currawong is omnivorous and feeds mainly on young birds, carrion, other small vertebrates, invertebrates, insects, and berries.
12. Black Eagle
|Scientific Name||Ictinaetus malaiensis|
|Range||Southern China, India, Southeast Asia|
The black eagle is a large and distinctive eagle that, for adults, consists of almost entirely black plumage, with pale barring being present on the primaries, secondaries, and the undertail. Other characteristics include a bright yellow bill, dark yellow eyes, and feet. Its broad wings with the emarginated primaries in the tip and its long fan-shaped/wedge-shaped tail separate it from other birds of prey.
Typical habitats of the black eagle include forested mountains and hills, such as lowland, evergreen, and montane forests. They prefer slopes and mountainous areas, such as on cliffs and mountainsides.
As a bird of prey, the black eagle feeds exclusively on animals, such as mammals (i.e., bats, squirrels, and other small mammals), birds, and their eggs. They are known to hunt birds at their nests, thus being a well-known nest predator.
13. Black Harrier
|Scientific Name||Circus maurus|
|Range||Namibia, South Africa|
The black harrier is a distinctively dark harrier with yellow eyes, white panels on the underwings, a white rump, and white bands on an otherwise black tail. Juveniles are brown-plumaged with white flashes on the underwings and have white-streaked chests.
The black harrier’s usual habitats include the fynbos and Karoo of the western and eastern cape. It can also be found in the grasslands of Free State, Lesotho, and KwaZulu-Natal.
The black harrier is considered a small mammal specialist and feeds mainly on small rodents, birds, and the occasional reptile.
14. Black Hawk-Eagle
|Scientific Name||Spizaetus tyrannus|
|Range||Central America, Northern, and Central South America|
The black hawk-eagle is a crested eagle that, for adults, consists of yellow eyes, black plumage throughout with black and white checkering under the wings, and white bands on an otherwise black tail.
Juveniles are of brown plumage, along with a white throat and crown. The bushy crest is most apparent on perched birds and can be difficult to see in flight. The black hawk-eagle prefers woodland habitats, as well as humid and moist forests that are near rivers.
The black hawk-eagle feeds on a wide range of animals, ranging from mammals, such as marmosets, squirrels, and opossums, to large birds, like chachalacas, toucans, and guans. It’ll also feed on large lizards and snakes if it happens to come across them.
Despite something as specific as black plumage with yellow eyes, you can see there’s still a wide array of bird species that fit the description. And luckily for you, most of these birds stand out in their respective habitats, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to spot them as long as you know where to look.