Who would have thought there were so many birds that end with the letter A? From the Americas’ stealthy Anhinga to the vibrant Azure-breasted pitta of the Philippines, below we will show each species’ unique adaptations and ecological roles.
Whether it’s the Black caracara’s solitary hunting or the Beautiful sibia’s melodious calls, these birds reflect the diversity and complexity of global bird life. Beyond their general similarities as birds, the distinctive commonality they share beyond that is that their names end in the letter A.
Scientific Name: Anhinga anhinga
The Anhinga, also known as the “snakebird,” is a distinctive bird found in the Americas. It has a long, slender neck and a pointed bill, which it uses for catching fish underwater. Anhingas have dark feathers with white markings, and their wingspan can reach up to four feet.
One unique feature is their ability to swim underwater with only their slender neck and head above the surface, resembling a snake. They often perch with their wings spread open to dry them out, as their feathers are not fully waterproof. Anhingas are solitary hunters and are known for their stealthy underwater hunting skills. They often inhabit marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes.
2. African pitta
Scientific Name: Pitta angolensis
The African Pitta is a small, brightly colored bird native to the forests and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. It has a vibrant plumage with striking colors like green, blue, and red, along with distinct black markings. Its stout body and short tail make it well-adapted for foraging on the forest floor.
African Pittas are known for their secretive behavior, often remaining hidden in dense vegetation. They feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates found on the forest floor, using their strong beaks to probe leaf litter and soil.
3. Archbold’s newtonia
Scientific Name: Newtonia archboldi
Archbold’s Newtonia is a small bird endemic to Madagascar, known for its olive-green plumage and distinctive white eye-rings. It inhabits the dense undergrowth of Madagascar’s humid forests, where it forages for insects and small invertebrates. This species is characterized by its secretive behavior, often staying hidden within foliage and rarely venturing into open areas. One unique feature of Archbold’s Newtonia is its sharp, high-pitched call, used for communication within its dense habitat.
4. Apo myna
Scientific Name: Goodfellowia miranda
The Apo Myna is a bird species endemic to the Philippines, particularly on Mount Apo in Mindanao. It has glossy black plumage with bright yellow patches on its head and wings, making it easily recognizable. Apo Mynas are social birds, often found in small flocks, and they inhabit forested areas and open grasslands.
One unique feature of the Apo Myna is its ability to mimic the calls of other bird species. It feeds primarily on fruits, seeds, and insects found in its habitat. Unfortunately, habitat loss and trapping for the cage bird trade have led to a decline in its population, making conservation efforts critical for its survival.
5. Ashy cisticola
Scientific Name: Cisticola cinereolus
The Ashy cisticola is a small bird species commonly found in grasslands and marshes across Africa. It features muted gray-brown plumage with subtle streaks on its body. One of its unique characteristics is its intricate nest-building behavior, often constructing dome-shaped nests with grass and other plant materials hidden within dense vegetation.
Ashy cisticolas are highly territorial during the breeding season, engaging in energetic displays to defend their territory and attract mates. They primarily feed on insects and small invertebrates, foraging among grasses and low vegetation.
6. Azure-breasted pitta
Scientific Name: Pitta steerii
The Azure-breasted pitta is a remarkable avian species native to the Philippine islands of Mindanao, Bohol, Leyte, and Samar, where it inhabits tropical moist lowland forests. It boasts vibrant plumage, characterized by azure-blue coloring on its breast and belly, contrasted with its black head and wings. This bird species is known for its elusive behavior, often concealed within dense undergrowth as it searches for insects, small vertebrates, and fruits.
7. Bali myna
Scientific Name: Leucopsar rothschildi
The Bali myna is a striking bird species native to the island of Bali, Indonesia. It features pristine white plumage with bold black markings around its eyes and wingtips, along with bright blue skin around its eyes. Known for its distinctive call, the Bali myna is highly vocal and communicates with others in its flock.
It primarily feeds on insects, fruits, and seeds found in its natural habitat, including forests and wooded areas. Sadly, the Bali myna is critically endangered due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade.
8. Banded cotinga
Scientific Name: Cotinga maculata
The Banded cotinga, native to southeastern Brazil, showcases vivid blue plumage with black spots on males and a dull brown appearance with white mottling on females. Males display a bright purple throat and belly, adorned with a blue band across the chest.
This species exhibits sexual dimorphism. During displays, their primaries produce a slight whir. Banded cotingas primarily feed on fruits and insects and forage in small groups.
9. Beautiful sibia
Scientific Name: Heterophasia pulchella
The Beautiful sibia is a bird species found in the forests of the Himalayas and parts of Southeast Asia. It features vibrant plumage with shades of blue, gray, and white, often adorned with distinctive black markings on its face and wings.
The Beautiful sibia is known for its melodious and varied songs, which it uses for communication within its flock. It primarily feeds on insects and fruits found in the forest canopy. These birds are social creatures, often seen in small groups, and engage in cooperative behaviors such as foraging and nest defense.
10. Bicolored antpitta
Scientific Name: Grallaria rufocinerea
The Bicolored antpitta, almost endemic to the Colombian Andes but also found in parts of Ecuador, is a medium-sized bird known for its chestnut upperparts and hood, along with a gray breast and belly. Both males and females share similar appearances. It inhabits the understory of cloud forests at middle to upper elevations.
This antpitta typically remains on the ground within the dense cover, making it shy and challenging to spot, although it may occasionally perch low to sing its long, mostly flat whistle.
11. Black caracara
Scientific Name: Daptrius ate
The Black caracara is a bird of prey found in Central and South America. It displays glossy black plumage, with a distinct white band at the base of its tail and yellow to orange-red feet and face in adults. Notably, adults have long and narrow wings and tail, as well as a black beak.
These caracaras are opportunistic feeders, scavenging for carrion and hunting small animals like rodents and insects. They are often seen perched on tree branches or utility poles, surveying their surroundings for prey.
12. Black inca
Scientific Name: Coeligena prunellei
The Black inca is a species of hummingbird native to the Andes Mountains of South America. It features glossy black plumage with a distinctive white patch on its wings and a slightly forked tail. This hummingbird is known for its agile flight and ability to hover while feeding on nectar from flowers. The Black inca primarily inhabits montane forests and cloud forests, where it seeks out nectar-rich blooms.
13. Blue-winged minla
Scientific Name: Actinodura cyanouroptera
The Blue-winged minla is a bird species native to the forests of the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. It displays striking blue wings and a yellowish-orange belly, with black markings on its face and wings. This minla species is known for its social behavior, often forming small flocks and engaging in cooperative activities such as foraging and nest defense. It primarily feeds on insects, fruits, and seeds found in the forest canopy.
14. Cinnamon attila
Scientific Name: Attila cinnamomeus
The Cinnamon attila is a bird species found in Central and South America. It features cinnamon-brown plumage with a darker back and wings, and a slightly curved bill. One of its unique features is its loud and melodious song, which it uses to communicate with others in its territory.
Cinnamon attilas primarily inhabit forest edges, where they forage for insects, fruits, and small vertebrates. They are often seen perched on exposed branches or wires, scanning their surroundings for prey.
15. Caribbean elaenia
Scientific Name: Elaenia martinica
The Caribbean elaenia is a small bird species found across the Caribbean region. It displays olive-gray plumage with a yellowish belly and a slight crest on its head. Caribbean elaenias are primarily insectivorous, foraging for insects in the foliage of trees and shrubs. They are known for their agile flight and quick movements as they capture prey.
16. Comb-crested jacana
Scientific Name: Irediparra gallinacea
The Comb-crested jacana is a bird species found in wetlands and shallow freshwater habitats across Australia, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. It is distinguished by its long legs and toes, which enable it to walk on floating vegetation such as water lilies. The Comb-crested jacana features a unique crest on its head, which resembles a comb, hence its name. These birds are primarily insectivorous, feeding on insects, small invertebrates, and seeds found in their watery habitats.
They are known for their distinctive high-pitched calls and are often seen gliding gracefully across the water’s surface. Comb-crested jacanas are also notable for their polyandrous breeding system, where females mate with multiple males and leave the responsibility of incubating and caring for the eggs to them
17. Desert cisticola
Scientific Name: Cisticola aridulus
The Desert cisticola is a small bird species native to arid and semi-arid regions of Africa. It features brownish plumage with streaks on its back and wings, blending well with its desert habitat. One of its unique features is its melodious song, often heard echoing across open grasslands and scrublands.
Desert cisticolas are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, savannas, and agricultural fields. They primarily feed on insects and small invertebrates, foraging among the vegetation.
18. Darwin’s rhea
Scientific Name: Rhea pennata
Darwin’s rhea is a flightless bird species native to South America, particularly Argentina and Chile. It is the smallest of the three extant species of rheas and stands about 3 to 4 feet tall. Darwin’s rhea features grayish-brown plumage with long legs and a small head.
One of its unique features is its ability to run at high speeds, reaching up to 37 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest birds on land. These rheas are herbivores, feeding on grasses, fruits, and seeds found in their grassland habitats. They are known for their social behavior, often forming small groups called flocks.
19. Fujian niltava
Scientific Name: Niltava davidi
The Fujian niltava is a notable presence in tropical and subtropical forests. Males sport striking bright blue upperparts alongside a black face, with an orange breast and belly that softens towards the vent. Conversely, females boast a predominantly brown hue, accentuated by a small, distinctive bright white collar.
Their vocal repertoire includes a high metallic “tsiiing” call, coupled with “chik” and “chek” notes. Often challenging to distinguish from similar species, these birds are adept insect hunters, darting through the foliage in agile flights.
20. Foxy cisticola
Scientific Name: Cisticola troglodytes
The Foxy cisticola stands out as a small bird species distinguished by its vibrant rufous upperparts and buff-toned underparts. Typically found in savannas and dry woodlands throughout Africa, this bird boasts an unadorned face often bearing a gentle expression. While its appearance may seem unremarkable, it sets itself apart from similar species like the Rufous and Siffling Cisticolas through its richer rufous hues.
Foxy cisticolas prefer to keep a low profile, blending into their surroundings with inconspicuousness and a touch of secrecy. Their vocal repertoire consists of a rising squeaky note complemented by lower spitting sounds.
21. Fairy pitta
Scientific Name: Pitta nympha
The Fairy pitta is a lovely bird found in the shaded forests of East Asia. It has green feathers on top and creamy tan below, with a colorful head featuring a black mask, tan eyebrow, white throat, and rufous-and-black crown. You’ll notice a bright red patch on its undertail and belly.
While it may look like the Blue-winged Pitta, it doesn’t have the same blue wings. Instead, it has bright green wings with an electric blue shoulder and a white patch when it flies. Its song is a clear “pee-yu, pee-yu” whistle. This bird prefers staying hidden among thick foliage on the ground.
22. Green oropendola
Scientific Name: Psarocolius viridis
The Green oropendola stands out from other green-plumaged oropendolas due to its distinct pale green-and-red bill. Native to Central and South America, this bird species exhibits predominantly green plumage with a bluish gloss. Notably, it constructs hanging nests woven from fibers, often found in colonies dangling from tree branches.
Social by nature, Green oropendolas congregate in large groups, engaging in communal activities like nest-building and foraging. Their diet primarily consists of fruits, insects, and small vertebrates found in the tropical forest canopy.
23. Gray-cheeked fulvetta
Scientific Name: Alcippe morrisonia
The Gray-cheeked fulvetta is a small bird species native to East Asia, primarily found in forests and wooded areas. It is distinguished by its gray head adorned with a white eye ring and a long black eye stripe extending from the bill down the sides of the neck. The upperparts are olive, while the underparts are yellow.
Gray-cheeked fulvettas are social birds often seen in small flocks, hopping among branches in search of insects and small invertebrates. They communicate through various chirps and calls
24. Gray-headed chachalaca
Scientific Name: Ortalis cinereiceps
The Gray-headed Chachalaca is a bird native to Central America and parts of Mexico. It is characterized by its gray head, brown body, and long tail. One unique feature of the Gray-headed Chachalaca is its loud and distinctive call, which it uses for communication within its group. These birds are often found in flocks, foraging for fruits, seeds, and insects in forested areas.
25. Green iora
Scientific Name: Aegithina viridissim
The Green iora is a small bird native to Asia. It has bright green plumage, a black eye stripe, and a yellowish underbelly. Males are more colorful than females. These birds feed on insects found in forests and build cup-shaped nests for breeding. They sometimes join mixed-species flocks for safety and foraging. The Green iora is known for its agile movements and melodious calls during courtship and territorial defense.
26. Hawaiʻi ʻakepa
Scientific Name: Loxops coccineus
The Hawaiʻi ʻakepāʻa is a small bird native to the Hawaiian Islands. It has a distinctive black plumage with white markings on its wings and tail. This bird is known for its strong and sharp bill, which it uses to feed on insects found in the bark of trees.
The Hawaiʻi ʻakepāʻa is often found in the canopy of native forests, where it forages for food and builds its nests. It is a solitary species and is rarely seen in pairs. Unfortunately, habitat loss and invasive species threaten the population of the Hawaiʻi ʻakepāʻa, making conservation efforts crucial for its survival.
27. Hooded pitta
Scientific Name: Pitta sordida
The Hooded Pitta is a colorful bird found in parts of Southeast Asia and Australia. It boasts vibrant green and blue plumage with a black head and chestnut-colored wings. This bird is known for its distinctive call, which resembles a series of loud whistles.
It prefers dense forest habitats where it hunts for insects, spiders, and small reptiles on the forest floor. During the breeding season, Hooded Pittas build dome-shaped nests on the ground. They are known to be secretive birds, often hiding in dense vegetation.
28. Jungle prinia
Scientific Name: Prinia sylvatica
The Jungle Prinia is a small bird found in Asia. It has a brownish upper body and a white belly, with streaks on its sides. Its distinctive feature is its long tail, which it often flicks while foraging for insects in dense vegetation.
This bird is known for its melodious song, which it uses to communicate with others in its habitat. Jungle Prinias are highly active and agile, often seen darting between bushes and grasses. They build their nests low to the ground using grass and twigs.
29. Jamaican elaenia
Scientific Name: Myiopagis cotta
The Jamaican Elaenia is a small bird native to Jamaica. It has a dull olive-green plumage with a pale yellowish belly and a white throat. One of its unique features is its distinct call, a sharp “tsip” sound often heard in its forest habitat. This bird is typically found in dense vegetation, where it hunts insects by perching and making short flights to catch prey. Jamaican Elaenias are known for their active foraging behavior, often seen flicking their wings and tails while searching for food.
30. Kauaʻi ʻakialoa (Extinct)
Scientific Name: Akialoa stejneger
The Kauaʻi ʻakialoa was a small bird native to the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaii. It had a long, decurved bill that it used to extract nectar from flowers. Its plumage was brownish-gray, with distinctive streaks on its underparts. The Kauaʻi ʻakialoa was known for its unique foraging behavior, probing flowers for nectar with its specialized bill.
Sadly, this bird went extinct in the late 20th century due to habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species to its habitat.
31. Karoo eremomela
Scientific Name: Eremomela gregalis
The Karoo Eremomela is a small bird native to southern Africa, particularly the arid regions of Namibia and South Africa. It’s known for its yellow plumage, which blends perfectly with the dry shrublands where it lives. With its slender body and pointed beak, it’s adapted for feeding on insects and nectar.
One of its unique features is its melodious call, often heard in the early mornings. These birds are social creatures, often seen in small flocks, flitting about bushes in search of food. Interestingly, Karoo Eremomelas are known to form monogamous pairs during the breeding season, constructing small cup-shaped nests in thorny bushes.
32. Long-tailed sibia
Scientific Name: Heterophasia picaoides
The Long-tailed Sibia, a resident of Southeast Asia’s forests, is recognized by its elongated tail and gray overall, darker on the wings and tail feathers. Their melodious calls echo through the dense foliage as they move in small groups, scavenging for fruits, insects, and berries. Renowned for their agility, Long-tailed Sibias adeptly maneuver through branches in search of sustenance.
During breeding seasons, they fashion cup-shaped nests nestled within the leafy canopy. Their social disposition and vibrant presence play crucial roles in the ecological balance of their forest habitats.
33. Laughing kookaburra
Scientific Name: Dacelo novaeguineae
The Laughing Kookaburra is a native bird of Australia, recognized for its stout build, large head, and distinct brown and white plumage. Its most remarkable trait is its loud, laughing call, often heard echoing across the Australian bush. These birds primarily feed on insects, small mammals, and reptiles, often perching on branches or power lines while hunting.
Laughing Kookaburras are social creatures, forming family groups with a dominant breeding pair. They fiercely defend their nesting territories from other birds and predators.
34. Levaillant’s cisticola
Scientific Name: Cisticola tinniens
The Levaillant’s Cisticola, a small bird native to Africa, is a dull-colored bird with a longish tail and a reddish cap. Despite its unassuming appearance, this bird possesses remarkable vocal abilities, often heard singing melodious, intricate songs from its perch in grasslands and marshes. Its distinctive calls serve as territorial markers and communication signals within its habitat.
Levaillant’s Cisticolas are adept at concealing themselves within tall grasses, using their cryptic coloration to evade predators and capture insects, which form a significant part of their diet. During the breeding season, males perform elaborate flight displays to attract mates, showcasing their agility and vitality. These birds construct intricately woven nests hidden within dense vegetation, providing shelter for their eggs and chicks.
35. Manipur fulvetta
Scientific Name: Fulvetta manipurensis
The Manipur Fulvetta, a small bird native to the northeastern region of India also known as “streak-throated Fulvetta”displays subtle yet distinctive physical traits. It’s a small brown bird with a grayish-brown head, dark brown brow, and orange sides and wings, often blending seamlessly with the dense foliage of its forest habitat. What sets the Manipur Fulvetta apart is its social behavior, often observed in small groups as they forage for insects and small fruits among the undergrowth.
These birds are known for their melodious calls, which serve both as communication within the group and territorial signaling to other bird species. They are well-adapted to the challenging terrain of their habitat, utilizing their agility and camouflage to evade predators and navigate through dense vegetation.
36. Marshall’s iora
Scientific Name: Aegithina nigrolutea
Marshall’s Iora is a small bird found in parts of Southeast Asia. It has a vibrant yellow body with black wings and tail. One of its unique features is the white patch on its forehead, which distinguishes it from other similar species.
This bird is known for its agile and acrobatic flying abilities, often seen darting between branches and foliage in search of insects. Marshall’s Iora typically forages in the canopy of forests, where it feeds on small insects and caterpillars.
Scientific Name: Malia grata
Malia, native to Sulawesi, has an olive-green body with bright yellow underneath. In central and southeast Sulawesi, it has rufous wings and tails. Malias like to hang out in pairs or small groups and lead mixed-species flocks through forest canopies. They’re known for their bulbul-like appearance and skillful foraging, finding food on mossy tree trunks. M
38. Nepal fulvetta
Scientific Name: Alcippe nipalensis
The Nepal Fulvetta is a small bird found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. It has a brownish-gray plumage with a distinctive white eye-ring and a small yellow patch on its throat. This bird is often seen in small groups, foraging for insects and seeds in shrubs and bushes. The Nepal Fulvetta is known for its melodious calls, which it uses to communicate with other members of its flock.
It is a highly social bird, often engaging in cooperative behaviors such as allopreening and nest-building. One interesting fact about the Nepal Fulvetta is its ability to survive in harsh mountain environments, where it can withstand cold temperatures and high altitudes.
39. Nuthatch vanga
Scientific Name: Hypositta corallirostris
The Nuthatch Vanga is a bird native to Madagascar. It has striking blue and white plumage, with the male being entirely blue and the female showing greenish-blue on the back. Both genders have coral-colored bills.
One of its unique features is its ability to climb and move upside down along tree branches, akin to nuthatches found elsewhere. The Nuthatch Vanga primarily feeds on insects and small invertebrates found in tree bark crevices. It is known for its melodious calls and vocalizations used for communication.
40. Olivaceous elaenia
Scientific Name: Elaenia mesoleuca
The Olivaceous Elaenia, a petite flycatcher, is a frequent sight in the woodlands of Central and South America. With its olive-brown upper feathers and a grayish breast contrasted by a pale belly, it’s easily recognizable. Notably, it lacks a crest but sports two distinct wing bars. Often spotted in pairs, it ventures through forest interiors and edges in pursuit of insects.
Its song, a rough and squeaky “weel-weekru,” echoes through the canopy. Though resembling the Small-billed Elaenia, the Olivaceous Elaenia’s darker breast and precise wing bar count set it apart.
41. Ochre-fronted antpitta
Scientific Name: Grallaricula ochraceifrons
The Ochre-fronted Antpitta, a small bird with streaky markings, lives in a small part of the eastern Andes in northern Peru and is considered vulnerable by the IUCN. It has distinct white markings on its face and underparts. Males have a chestnut-colored face, while females have thicker eyebrows and lack this coloring. They dwell mainly in the undergrowth of cloud forests, often perching low instead of staying on the ground.
42. Pacific baza
Scientific Name: Aviceda subcristata
The Pacific Baza, also known as the Crested Hawk, is a bird of prey found in Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. It has distinctive black and white plumage with a crest on its head, which sets it apart. Pacific Bazas are known for their agile flight and sharp eyesight, which they use to hunt small birds, insects, and reptiles.
They often soar gracefully in the sky, searching for prey below. Interestingly, Pacific Bazas are known to breed cooperatively, with multiple individuals helping to raise the young. They are a common sight in wooded areas and forests throughout their range.
43. Pompadour cotinga
Scientific Name: Xipholena punicea
The Pompadour Cotinga graces the forests of South America with its vibrant presence. This bird showcases sexual dimorphism, with males donning stunning wine-red plumage while females exhibit paler, grayer tones. Distinguished by yellow eyes, stark white primary coverts with black wing tips, and a glossy wine-red head and body, male Pompadour Cotingas captivate observers.
They frequent the upper reaches of tropical forest canopies, where they feast on fruits and insects. Renowned for their melodious calls, they use vocalizations for communication and territorial assertions.
44. Papuan pitta
Scientific Name: Erythropitta macklotii
The Papuan Pitta, found in the Aru Islands, New Guinea, and the northern Cape York Peninsula, is a striking bird known for its vibrant colors. It features bright green, blue, and yellow plumage with a bold red belly, a rusty nape, and a black throat. One of its unique features is a broad blue chest band bordered below with a thick black line.
This bird inhabits dense tropical forests and forages on the forest floor for insects and small invertebrates. The Papuan Pitta is recognized for its melodious and flute-like call, used for communication and territory marking
45. Raffles’s malkoha
Scientific Name: Rhinortha chlorophaea
The male Raffles’s Malkoha stands out with its vibrant rufous-brown coloration, contrasting with its darker tail. In contrast, the female exhibits a gray head and chest. Both genders boast bright blue skin encircling the eye and a blue bill, distinguishing them from other species.
This bird, prevalent in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia, displays secretive behavior, often concealed within dense forest vegetation. Raffles’s Malkoha primarily feeds on insects, fruits, and small reptiles and emits deep, resonant calls for communication and territorial marking.
46. Rufous-crowned elaenia
Scientific Name: Elaenia ruficep
The Rufous-crowned Elaenia is a small bird found in Central and South America. It’s known for its olive-green color with yellowish underparts and a distinct rufous crown on its head. This bird is active in foraging, hopping between branches to find insects and fruits.
It builds its nest in dense vegetation and cares for its young. The Rufous-crowned Elaenia has a melodious song and can be quite vocal, especially during breeding season. Despite its small size, it plays a crucial role in controlling insect populations in its habitat.
47. Zitting cisticola
Scientific Name: Cisticola juncidis
The Zitting Cisticola, a small bird commonly found in grasslands and marshes across Europe, Asia, and Africa, is recognized by its streaked brown plumage and long tail. Also known as the Fan-tailed Warbler, it is adept at blending into its surroundings. The Zitting Cisticola is known for its distinctive display flight, which involves ascending high into the air before spiraling back down while emitting a series of trills and chattering calls.
These birds are highly territorial, with males vigorously defending their nesting territories during the breeding season. They construct dome-shaped nests low in the vegetation, where females lay their eggs. Zitting Cisticolas are primarily insectivorous, foraging on the ground and in low vegetation for insects and small invertebrates.
Scientific Name: Porzana carolina
The Sora is a small waterbird commonly found in wetlands throughout North and Central America. It measures around 8-10 inches long and features dark-marked brown upperparts, a blue-gray face and underparts, and black and white barring on the flanks. Its short, thick yellow bill is marked with black at the base and on the throat.
Soras are known for their secretive nature, often hiding among dense vegetation in marshes and swamps. Despite being elusive, they emit distinct whinnying calls, especially during the breeding season. Soras primarily feed on insects, seeds, and aquatic vegetation, using their long bills to probe in mud and shallow water.
49. South polar skua
Scientific Name: Stercorarius maccormicki
The South Polar Skua is a seabird native to the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. It has a dark plumage with white patches on its wings and a hooked bill. Known for its aggressive behavior, the South Polar Skua often steals food from other seabirds and scavenges for carrion. During the breeding season, it nests on rocky cliffs and barren islands, laying its eggs in shallow depressions lined with grass or moss.
Interestingly, South Polar Skuas are highly territorial and will defend their nesting sites fiercely against intruders. They migrate to northern waters during the austral winter and return to their breeding grounds in the Antarctic summer.
50. Striated caracara
Scientific Name: Phalcoboenus australis
The Striated Caracara, also known as the Johnny Rook, is a bird of prey found in the Falkland Islands. It has a striking appearance with black and white plumage, a hooked bill, and red-orange facial skin. Known for its curious and intelligent nature, the Striated Caracara is often seen scavenging for food along coastlines and open grasslands, as well as hunting for small birds, eggs, and carrion.
It is a social bird, often seen in small groups or pairs. The Striated Caracara is also known for its bold behavior, sometimes approaching humans without fear.
51. São Tomé prinia
Scientific Name: Prinia molleri
The São Tomé prinia is a small, slender bird native to São Tomé Island. It has a plain gray upper body and a lighter underside, with males having a slightly richer rufous face. These birds are commonly found in various habitats across the island, such as scrublands, plantations, and gardens.
São Tomé prinias are easily distinguished as the sole warbler species on the island. They are active and agile, often seen flitting among vegetation in search of insects. Their song consists of a distinctive series of high-pitched “siip” notes, sometimes doubled.
52. Tawny-capped euphonia
Scientific Name: Euphonia anneae
The Tawny-capped Euphonia, a small bird native to Central and South America, is distinguished by its yellow underparts and dark, olive-green upperparts and a striking tawny-colored cap on its head. Males boast vibrant blue plumage on their wings and a black mask across their eyes, while females are more subdued with olive-yellow tones and lack bold markings.
These birds often inhabit forest edges and gardens, where they forage for fruits and insects. Their unique feature lies in their melodious songs, which they use to communicate and defend territories. Tawny-capped euphonias are known for their social behaviors, often seen in small flocks.
53. Tropical parula
Scientific Name: Setophaga pitiayumi
The Tropical Parula, a small bird native to the Americas, displays distinctive physical traits and behaviors. Both males and females feature blue-gray upperparts and white underparts with a yellow throat and breast, although males typically showcase brighter colors. These birds inhabit tropical and subtropical forests, where they forage for insects and larvae among foliage.
Their unique feature includes a white eye crescent and two white wing bars. Tropical Parulas are known for their high-pitched, buzzy songs that they use to mark territories and attract mates. They often build their nests in hanging epiphytes or dense foliage.
54. Thick-billed euphonia
Scientific Name: Euphonia laniirostris
The Thick-billed Euphonia, a small bird native to Central and South America, possesses distinct physical characteristics and behaviors. Males feature glossy blue-black plumage with a bright yellow forehead and throat, while females exhibit olive-green upperparts and yellow underparts. Both genders display a thick, conical bill, which gives them their name.
These birds inhabit forest edges and gardens, where they feed on fruits and insects. Their unique feature includes a metallic, tinkling song that they use for communication and territorial defense.
55. Violet-backed hyliota
Scientific Name: Hyliota violacea
In the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, the Violet-backed Hyliota emerges with distinctive traits and behaviors. Males boast a striking violet-blue back, contrasting with a white belly, while females have a duller olive-green plumage and orange below. These birds inhabit dense woodlands and forests, where they forage for insects and spiders among foliage.
One unique feature includes their slender, pointed bills, ideal for probing crevices for prey. Violet-backed Hyliotas are known for their melodious, flute-like songs, used for territorial marking and courtship. They build cup-shaped nests using grass and twigs, often situated in the canopy.
56. Verreaux’s coua
Scientific Name: Coua verreauxi
Verreaux’s Coua, native to Madagascar, is a tree-dwelling bird with gray upperparts and white underparts with a long, slender tail. Their unique feature includes bright blue skin around the eyes.
These birds are often found foraging on the forest floor, where they search for insects, small reptiles, and fruits. Verreaux’s Couas are known for their loud and repetitive calls, often heard in the early morning hours. They construct cup-shaped nests using twigs and leaves, typically situated in low vegetation
57. White-eared sibia
Scientific Name: Heterophasia auricularis
The White-eared Sibia, a bird native to the forests of Southeast Asia, boasts distinct physical characteristics including a striking white patch behind its eye, contrasting with its otherwise dark plumage. Male White-eared Sibias typically have more prominent white markings than females, with females displaying slightly duller colors. These birds are known for their melodious calls, often heard echoing through the dense canopy as they move in small groups in search of insects, fruits, and berries.
White-eared Sibias are highly social creatures, forming tight-knit family groups and engaging in cooperative behaviors during foraging and breeding seasons. One unique feature of White-eared Sibias is their ability to perform coordinated displays, which may involve synchronized hopping and fluttering among branches. These displays are thought to strengthen social bonds within the group and establish dominance hierarchies.
58. White-crested elaenia
Scientific Name: Elaenia albiceps
The White-crested Elaenia, a bird native to South America, is characterized by its olive-green plumage and a distinctive white crest atop its head, which is more prominent in males compared to females. Males also tend to have slightly brighter colors than females. These small songbirds are often found in open woodlands, forest edges, and gardens throughout their range.
White-crested Elaenias primarily feed on insects, foraging among foliage and branches, and occasionally catching prey mid-air. One notable behavior of the White-crested Elaenia is its lively and varied song, consisting of a mixture of whistles and trills. They are also known to be quite vocal, often calling out to establish territories or communicate with other members of their species.
59. Yellow-throated fulvetta
Scientific Name: Schoeniparus cinereus
The Yellow-throated Fulvetta, native to the Himalayan regions of South Asia, exhibits subtle differences in coloration between males and females. Both genders feature olive-brown backs and wings, but males typically sport a brighter yellow throat and breast compared to females. These small birds thrive in dense undergrowth and forested areas where they forage for insects, small fruits, and seeds, often moving in large flocks.
One unique feature of the Yellow-throated Fulvetta is its intricate vocalizations, which include a variety of calls and songs used for communication within the flock. They are also known to engage in cooperative breeding behaviors, with multiple individuals helping to care for and feed the young.
60. Yellow-headed caracara
Scientific Name: Milvago chimachima
The Yellow-headed Caracara, a bird of prey native to Central and South America, is easily identified by its striking yellow-orange head and neck contrasting with its black and white body. With a wingspan of up to 37 inches, these birds are formidable hunters, preying on small mammals, birds, insects, and carrion. They exhibit scavenging behaviors, often seen feeding on roadkill or congregating around human settlements in search of food scraps.
Yellow-headed Caracaras are highly adaptable birds, inhabiting a variety of habitats ranging from tropical forests to grasslands and agricultural areas. They are known for their intelligence and resourcefulness, sometimes even stealing food from other birds or predators.
Mary is an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, and amateur birdwatcher that enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.