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16 Unique Birds Named After Countries (Photos)

In this article we’ve compiled a list of birds with one main thing in common, they’re all named after countries. They belong to various groups such as ducks, hummingbirds, falcons, and more. Some notable examples include the American Wigeon and Canada Goose, both native to Arctic and temperate regions. We’ll delve into their unique characteristics, habitats, and interesting facts.

1. American black duck

American black duck
American black ducks | photo by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region via Flickr

Scientific Name: Anas rubripes

The American black duck is a large, dabbling duck with a distinctive dark brown body, lighter head, and yellow bill, often mistaken for a female Mallard but with darker plumage. This species is native to eastern North America, from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, inhabiting a wide range of wetland habitats, including marshes, rivers, and coastal bays.

Despite its name, the American black duck is not completely black but named for its darker plumage compared to other duck species. It feeds on a variety of plant and animal matter, foraging in shallow waters.

2. American wigeon

american wigeon
American wigeon (male) | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Mareca americana

The American wigeon is a medium-sized duck with a distinctive white forehead and crown in males, and a more subdued, speckled brown appearance in females. This bird is widely distributed across North America, breeding in the northwestern regions and wintering in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. Its habitats include marshes, ponds, and lakes where it grazes on aquatic plants and occasionally feeds on insects and mollusks.

The “American” in its name signifies its prevalence on the American continent, distinguishing it from its Eurasian counterparts. The American wigeon is known for its unique feeding behavior, often stealing food from other ducks, earning it the nickname “baldpate” due to its white stripe.

3. Canada goose

Two Canada geese
Two Canada geese | image by:

Scientific Name: Branta canadensis

The Canada goose is a large, recognizable bird known for its black head and neck, white chinstrap, light tan to cream breast, and brown back. It is native to the Arctic and temperate regions of North America, migrating in V-shaped formations to winter in the southern United States and Mexico. The name “Canada goose” is directly linked to its widespread presence across Canada, where it breeds in a variety of habitats including lakes, rivers, and ponds.

These geese are adaptable, and increasingly found in urban parks and golf courses. Known for their loud honking, Canada geese are highly social and form strong family bonds. They are primarily herbivores, grazing on grasses and aquatic plants.

4. Egyptian goose

Egyptian goose
Egyptian goose | image by shirokazan via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Alopochen aegyptiaca

The Egyptian goose is recognizable by its brown body, distinctive dark brown eye patches, and pink legs. Native to Africa, particularly along the Nile River, its name reflects this ancient association with Egyptian culture, where it was considered sacred. The Egyptian goose has adapted to a variety of habitats including lakes, rivers, marshes, and agricultural lands.

This species is known for its loud, honking calls and aggressive behavior, especially during breeding season when it fiercely defends its territory. Interestingly, it has been introduced to other parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, where it lives in similar wetland habitats.

5. Indian peafowl

Indian peafowl
Indian peafowl | image by Shino jacob koottanad via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Pavo cristatus

The Indian peafowl, also known as the peacock, is renowned for the male’s extravagant eye-spotted tail feathers, or “train,” which it fans out in a spectacular display during courtship. The female, or peahen, is more subdued in coloration, with a mixture of muted greens and browns. Native to the Indian subcontinent, this species has adapted to a range of habitats from dense forest to cultivated lands and even urban areas, reflecting its versatility. Indian peafowls are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plant parts, insects, and small vertebrates.

Known for their loud calls at dawn and dusk, they are social birds that live in small groups. The “Indian” in its name denotes its origins and cultural significance in India, where it is not only the national bird but also an integral part of mythology and folklore. 

6. American flamingo

American flamingo foraging
American flamingo foraging

Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus ruber

The American flamingo is a bird, famous for its vibrant pink feathers, long, curving neck, and stilt-like legs. This flamboyant color comes from carotenoid pigments in their diet of shrimp and algae. Native to the Caribbean islands, the northern coast of South America, and the Galápagos Islands, it frequents saline lakes and lagoons where it feeds by filtering water through its specialized beak.

The “American” in its name refers to its distribution in the Americas, distinguishing it from its African and Eurasian relatives. American flamingos are social birds, living in large colonies that help protect against predators and enhance their foraging efficiency.

7. African collared-dove

African collared dove
African collared dove | image by Ron Knigh via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Streptopelia roseogrisea

The African collared-dove is a small, elegant bird known for its pale gray plumage and a distinctive black collar around the neck. Originating from sub-Saharan Africa, this dove inhabits open woodlands, farmlands, and urban areas, showcasing its adaptability to various environments.

These doves are known for their gentle cooing calls, contributing to the serene atmosphere of their surroundings. They feed on seeds and grains, often foraging on the ground in pairs or small flocks.

Known for its gentle cooing, similar to that of the Mourning Dove but more melodious, the Zenaida dove is a symbol of peace and tranquility in its native regions. It feeds on seeds, grains, and occasionally insects, often foraging on the ground in pairs or small groups.

8. Puerto Rican woodpecker

Puerto Rican Woodpecker clinging to the side of a palm tree trunk
Puerto Rican Woodpecker | image by Aaron Michael via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Melanerpes portoricensis

The Puerto Rican woodpecker is a distinctive bird endemic to Puerto Rico, notable for its black and white barred back, white rump, and a striking red throat patch in males, with females sporting a white underpart. This medium-sized woodpecker is versatile in habitat preference, inhabiting coffee plantations, forests, mangroves, and even urban areas across the island.

It plays a vital role in its ecosystem, drilling into trees not only to feed on insects but also to create nesting sites, which are then used by various other species.

9. American kestrel

american kestrel
American Kestrel | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific Name: Falco sparverius

The American kestrel is the smallest and most colorful falcon in North America, recognizable by its slate-blue wings (males) or brown wings (females), and striking facial markings. These birds are found across the American continent, from Alaska and Canada down through to Central and South America, adapting to a wide range of habitats including open fields, deserts, and urban areas.

Known for their hunting prowess, these kestrels hover in the air before diving to catch prey like insects and small rodents. Unique among raptors, they can see ultraviolet light, helping them to spot urine trails left by prey.

10. Puerto Rican emerald

Puerto Rican emerald hummingbird perched at nectar feeder
Puerto Rican emerald | image by Ryan Mandelbaum via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Riccordia maugaeus

The Puerto Rican emerald is a small, bright green hummingbird found only in Puerto Rico, known for its quick flight and love of nectar. This bird thrives in forests and on coffee plantations, easily recognized by its sparkling green feathers. Named after its home, the Puerto Rican emerald is vital for pollinating flowers across the island, making it an important part of the local ecosystem.

11. American coot

american coot
American coot | image by fletchershauna via Pixabay

Scientific Name: Fulica americana

The American coot is a plump, gray bird with a distinctive white bill and forehead shield, setting it apart from similar waterfowl. Unlike ducks, it has lobed, not webbed, feet, aiding its agility in water and on land. Widespread across North America, it inhabits ponds, lakes, and marshes, thriving in both freshwater and saltwater environments.

The “American” designation in its name indicates its broad distribution across the continent, from Canada to Mexico. Known for its adaptability, the American coot is a common sight, often seen dabbling for plant material and small invertebrates. Its loud, distinctive calls and aggressive behavior when defending territory add to its unique character.

12. American avocet

An American avocet wading in wetland
An American avocet wading in wetland | image by Alex Galt/USFWS via Flickr

Scientific Name: Recurvirostra americana

The American avocet is known for its elegant appearance, with long, slender legs, a distinctive upwardly curved bill, and black and white plumage that shifts to a warm, rusty color during breeding season. This wading bird is native to North America, found in wetlands, mudflats, and shallow lakes across the western and midwestern United States, extending into Canada. 

It feeds by sweeping its bill side to side in shallow water to catch small aquatic invertebrates. The American avocet is celebrated for its graceful mating dances and strong social bonds within flocks.

13. American golden-plover

American golden plover
American golden plover | image by Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service via Flickr

Scientific Name: Pluvialis dominica

The American golden-plover is a medium-sized shorebird with black and white breeding plumage and a golden-speckled back. This migratory bird breeds in the Arctic tundra of North America and winters in South America, showcasing one of the longest migratory journeys of any shorebird.

It is known for its impressive endurance, flying thousands of miles across continents without stopping. The American golden-plover prefers open landscapes such as fields, beaches, and tundra, where it feeds on insects and invertebrates.

14. American woodcock

american woodcock
American woodcock | image by Rodney Campbell via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Scolopax minor

The American woodcock is a small, ground-dwelling bird, celebrated for its camouflaged plumage that mirrors the forest floor, and its long, straight bill used for probing the soil for earthworms. Found throughout eastern North America, from Canada down to the southern United States, it inhabits young forests and thickets.

Known for its unique “peent” call and mesmerizing sky dance during mating displays, the woodcock is a fascinating species for birdwatchers.

15. American white pelican

American white pelican
American White Pelican | image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

The American white pelican is notable for its large size, bright white plumage, and expansive wingspan, making it one of North America’s most recognizable waterbirds. Unlike its coastal cousin, this species thrives in freshwater lakes and marshes across the interior of the United States and Canada, migrating to the Gulf Coast and Mexico for winter.

The “American” in its name signifies its distribution across the American continent. These pelicans are known for their cooperative fishing technique, herding fish into shallow waters before scooping them up in their large bill pouches.

16. Chinese sparrowhawk

Chinese sparrowhawk
Chinese sparrowhawk | image by Ron Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Accipiter soloensis

The Chinese sparrowhawk is a small raptor known for its sleek body, red eyes, and sharp talons. Predominantly found in China, its breeding range extends through eastern Russia and Korea, wintering in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

This bird prefers wooded areas and is often seen migrating in large groups. Notable for its agility, the Chinese sparrowhawk feeds on insects and small birds, capturing them with remarkable precision.

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