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14 Random Birds That End With the Letter K (Photos)

Learn about birds that start with all 26 letters of the alphabet!

Let’s take a look at birds whose names end with a K, ranging from the petite American woodcock to the red-eyed canvasback and on to North America’s largest hawk species.

We’ll learn about their distinctive traits and habitats in the bird world, with added photos for easy identification and appreciation of their physical features. Despite their diverse groups and habitats, they all fit perfectly into our list of birds that end in the letter K.

Let’s begin!

1. 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, elusive shorebird with a unique appearance, known for its plump body, short legs, and long, straight bill. Its camouflage plumage blends perfectly with the forest floor, making it a master of disguise.

This bird is famous for its distinctive “peent” call and mesmerizing sky dance during mating displays, performed by males in the spring. Woodcocks feed on earthworms, using their sensitive bills to probe the soil. They are most commonly found in the eastern United States, thriving in young forests and thickets near wetlands.

2. Blue grosbeak

blue grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak (male) | image by Dan Pancamo via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Passerina caerulea

The blue grosbeak is a striking bird known for its vibrant blue plumage and prominent silver/gray beak, which is especially robust and adapted for cracking seeds. Males are a deep blue with chestnut wing bars, while females sport a more subdued brownish color.

These birds are often found in open woodlands and brushy fields across the southern United States, particularly from California to the Carolinas, during the breeding season. They migrate to Central and South America in the winter.

Blue grosbeaks are known for their melodious song, a rich warble that males use to attract mates and defend their territory. They feed on insects, seeds, and grains, often foraging on the ground.

3. Canvasback


Scientific Name: Aythya valisineria

The Canvasback is a unique duck with a noticeable sloped forehead and a white back that looks like canvas, leading to its name. Males stand out with red eyes and a reddish head, while females have brown tones. Known for their excellent diving skills, they mainly eat aquatic plants, especially wild celery.

In winter, they’re often found in the United States along coastal bays and lakes, especially around Chesapeake Bay. They breed in the northern U.S. and Canada. Canvasbacks are fast flyers, among the quickest ducks in the air.

4. Common black hawk

common black hawk
Common Black Hawk | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Buteogallus anthracinus

The common black hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey, known for its almost entirely black plumage, with a distinctive broad white tail band. This raptor has a powerful build, with broad wings suited for soaring. It primarily feeds on fish, small mammals, and crustaceans, often seen patrolling slowly over rivers and wetlands or perched in nearby trees waiting to strike at its prey.

Common black hawks are most frequently found in the southwestern United States, particularly in Arizona and New Mexico, where they are near water sources in arid environments. They are known for their loud, piercing calls, which are often heard during the breeding season. An interesting aspect of their behavior is their territorial nature, especially when nesting, showing aggression towards intruders.

Despite their name, common black hawks are not as widespread as some other hawk species in the U.S., making sightings a notable event for birdwatchers.

5. Cooper’s hawk

coopers hawk juvenile pole
Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile) | image by Robert Nunnally via Flickr

Scientific Name: Accipiter cooperii

The Cooper’s hawk is a medium-sized hawk notable for its slender body, long tail, and rounded wings, making it adept at maneuvering through dense forests. Adults have a blue-gray back and a barred red-orange chest, while juveniles display a brown back and a streaked chest. These hawks are skilled hunters, preying mainly on birds and small mammals, often catching them in mid-air with surprising agility.

Cooper’s hawks are common across the United States, thriving in both wooded areas and suburban neighborhoods where bird feeders attract their prey. They are year-round residents in the southern and western U.S., while populations in the northern regions may migrate to warmer climates during winter.

An interesting fact about the Cooper’s hawk is their dramatic chase scenes, as they pursue prey through trees and bushes, showcasing their incredible flying skills.

6. Evening grosbeak

Evening grosbeak male and female eating seeds
Evening Grosbeak

Scientific Name: Hesperiphona vespertina

The evening grosbeak is a large, stocky finch with a bold yellow and black coloration and a large, conical bill designed for cracking seeds. Males are particularly striking with their bright yellow bodies and black wings, while females are more subdued, with grayish tones and less yellow. These birds are known for their sociable nature, often found in noisy flocks, especially at feeders during the winter.

They primarily feed on seeds, but their diet also includes insects during the breeding season. Evening grosbeaks are commonly found in the forests of the northern United States and Canada, especially in states such as Minnesota and across the Pacific Northwest. They are irruptive migrants, meaning their winter movements can vary widely from year to year, sometimes moving far south into the U.S.

7. Ferruginous hawk

ferruginous hawk
Ferruginous Hawk | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific Name: Buteo regalis

The ferruginous hawk the largest hawk in North America, stands out for its large wingspan and the rusty color on its back and shoulders, hence its name (“ferruginous” means “rust-colored”). This raptor features two color variations: a lighter phase with a white underbody and rust-colored legs and belly, and a darker phase that’s uniformly dark brown.

Preferring open terrains like prairies and deserts for hunting rodents, rabbits, and other small mammals, these hawks are notably common in western U.S. regions, especially Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas.

They are known for their majestic soaring and the tendency to perch on high points to spot prey. Ferruginous hawks also stand out for their large stick nests, which are often reused and enlarged each year.

8. Harlequin duck

Harlequin duck
Image by iTop Loveliness from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Histrionicus histrionicus

The Harlequin duck is a small, strikingly patterned duck known for its bold markings and vibrant colors. Males display a unique plumage with blue-gray bodies and distinct white, black, and chestnut markings, while females are more subdued, with brownish-gray tones and less pronounced patterns. These ducks prefer fast-flowing streams and coastal waters, where they expertly navigate rough waters to feed on aquatic invertebrates.

Harlequin ducks are most commonly found in the coastal areas of the northeastern and northwestern United States, particularly in states like Alaska and Maine. They are known for their strong pair bonds and loyalty to breeding sites, often returning to the same locations year after year.

9. Lesser nighthawk

Lesser nighthawk
Lesser nighthawk | image by Neil Orlando Diaz Martinez via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Chordeiles acutipennis

The lesser nighthawk is commonly found in the southwestern United States, especially in states like Arizona, Texas, and California. This bird is known for its mottled gray and brown plumage, which camouflages well with its desert and scrubland habitats. There is minimal color difference between males and females, although males can be identified by the white bands on their wings and tail.

A nocturnal species, the lesser nighthawk feeds on insects, catching them in flight during the evening or early morning. Unique among its behaviors is its ground-nesting habit, where it lays eggs directly on the ground in open areas. They are known for their silent flight but can be heard making a soft, chuckling call at dusk.

10. Red-shouldered hawk

red shouldered hawk
red shouldered hawk | credit: ALAN SCHMIERER

Scientific Name: Buteo lineatus

The red-shouldered hawk is a medium-sized raptor known for its distinctive reddish-brown chest and checkered black-and-white wing pattern. Unlike many birds, there’s minimal color difference between males and females, though females are larger.

These hawks have adapted well to both forests and suburban areas, favoring wooded habitats near water sources. Their diet mainly consists of small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, reflecting their role as skilled predators. Notably vocal, their calls are often used to mark territory.

11. Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk perched branch
Red-tailed hawk | source: USFWS – Pacific Region

Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis

The red-tailed hawk is prevalent across the United States, with a notable presence in open regions such as fields and suburban areas. Eastern adult hawks have bright red-orange tails and light bellies with dark belly bands, while western varieties of this species are darker overall. Young red-tailed hawks don’t get their red tails until they are mature.

They adapt to a variety of habitats, from woodlands to deserts, and their diet mainly consists of small mammals, making them skilled hunters. Known for their powerful flight and keen vision, Red-tailed Hawks play a crucial role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent populations.

12. Ruddy shelduck

Ruddy shelduck
Ruddy shelduck | image by xulescu_g via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Tadorna ferruginea

The ruddy shelduck is a distinctive waterfowl known for its bright orange-brown body with contrasting pale creamy head and neck. Males and females are similar in color, but males have a black ring at the bottom of their necks during the breeding season, which females lack.

This species prefers habitats such as wetlands, lakes, and rivers, often found at higher altitudes during breeding season. They are known for their strong, monogamous pair bonds and migrate in large flocks to warmer areas in winter. Their diet consists mainly of plant material, small aquatic animals, and grains.

13. Tufted duck

tufted duck
Tufted Duck | image by James Petts via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Aythya fuligula

The tufted duck, a species more commonly found across Eurasia, occasionally visits the northern United States, particularly during migration. Males are distinguished by their striking black bodies, white flanks, and a unique long tuft of feathers at the back of the head, while females are brown with a smaller tuft. Both sexes have bright yellow eyes, adding to their distinct appearance.

These ducks favor freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers, often diving to feed on aquatic invertebrates and plants. Their behavior includes forming large flocks in winter, showcasing a strong social structure.

14. White-tailed hawk

White-tailed hawk
White-tailed hawk|

Scientific Name: Geranoaetus albicaudatus

The white-tailed hawk is primarily found in the coastal regions of Texas in the United States, extending through Central and South America. This bird of prey features a distinctive white tail, contrasting with its grayish body and reddish-brown shoulders. There is little to no color difference between males and females, making them similar in appearance.

White-tailed hawks inhabit open grasslands and marshes, where they can be seen soaring high in the sky or perched on tall trees and poles. Their diet mainly consists of small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

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