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List of 15 Birds That All End with the Letter L

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

This article features birds whose names end with the letter L, everything from owls to falcons to ducks. Despite their diverse lifestyles and habitats, they share at least this one thing in common, being included in this list of birds that end in L. Let’s explore these species, their unique characteristics, and learn how they fit into the bird world.

1. Barn owl

American barn owl
American barn owl | image by LubosHouska via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Tyto furcata

The American barn owl, easily recognized by its heart-shaped face and white feathers, is a nocturnal found all over the United States. Unlike other owls, it makes a screeching sound instead of hooting.

These owls are incredible at hunting in the dark, using their sharp hearing to catch mice and other small animals. They live in various places like farmlands and open fields, especially in the warmer southern states where they’re seen all year.

2. American herring gull

American herring gull
American herring gull | image by James St. John via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Larus argentatus smithsonianus

The American herring gull is a large, widespread gull known for its white and gray plumage, with distinctive black wingtips marked by white spots. These gulls have a powerful yellow beak and pink legs. They are versatile eaters, feeding on everything from fish and insects to food waste in urban areas.

American herring gulls are often seen along the coasts and near large lakes and rivers across the United States, particularly common in coastal states from the Northeast to the Great Lakes region. They are known for their intelligent behavior, including using tools to break open shells.

3. American kestrel

american kestrel perched in field
American kestrel

Scientific Name: Falco sparverius

The American kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America, known for its vibrant plumage with a mix of blue-gray wings and a rusty back and tail. Males have a slate-blue head and wings, while females feature more uniform, earthy tones.

They can be spotted by their distinctive hunting behavior of hovering in mid-air before diving to catch prey like insects, rodents, and small birds.

American kestrels are found across the United States, thriving in a variety of habitats from open fields and deserts to urban areas. They are particularly common in the Midwest and along the East Coast.

4. Arctic redpoll

Arctic redpoll
Arctic redpoll | image by Ron Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Acanthis hornemanni

The Arctic redpoll, also known as the Hoary redpoll, is a small finch known for its distinctive frosty plumage, with a white body and subtle red cap. It thrives in cold environments, primarily found in the Arctic tundra. This bird is a resilient survivor, able to withstand extremely cold temperatures thanks to its dense feathering.

Arctic redpolls feed on seeds and can be seen foraging in flocks. In the United States, they are most commonly observed in Alaska, particularly during the winter months when they occasionally venture into northern parts of the mainland. An interesting behavior of the Arctic redpoll is its ability to create snow tunnels for shelter against the harsh winter climate.

5. Baikal teal

Baikal teal
Baikal teal | image by Tony Hisgett via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Sibirionetta formosa

The Baikal teal is a small, strikingly patterned duck known for its distinctive facial markings, including a bold crescent-shaped patch around the eye. The males display vibrant colors during the breeding season, with a mix of green, brown, and cream, while females are more muted in comparison.

This species is primarily found in eastern Asia, but it is a rare visitor to the western United States, particularly in Alaska. Baikal teals are known for their spectacular mass migrations and are highly social, often found in large flocks. They feed on plants and small invertebrates.

6. Band-rumped storm petrel

Band-rumped storm petrel
Band-rumped storm petrel | image by Virgílio Gomes via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Hydrobates castro

The band-rumped storm petrel is a small, elusive seabird with a distinctive white band across its otherwise dark rump. This bird is known for its strong, direct flight over the ocean, where it skims the surface to pick up small fish and squid.

Band-rumped storm petrels are nocturnal at their breeding colonies, which are located on remote islands in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. In the United States, they are most commonly observed offshore in Hawaii, where they are known to breed.

7. Burrowing owl

Burrowing owl
Burrowing owl

Scientific Name: Athene cunicularia

The burrowing owl is a small, ground-dwelling owl with long legs and a distinctive round head with no ear tufts. Unlike most owls, it is active during the day, especially at dawn and dusk.

These owls are notable for their unique nesting behavior, as they live in burrows dug by other animals such as prairie dogs or ground squirrels. Their plumage is brown with white spots, helping them blend into their surroundings.

Burrowing owls are found across open landscapes in North and South America. In the U.S., they are commonly seen in the western states, including California, Arizona, and Florida. An interesting fact about burrowing owls is their use of dung to line the entrance to their burrows, which attracts insects that serve as food.

8. California gull

california gull
California Gull | image by Frank Schulenburg via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Larus californicus

The California gull is a medium-sized gull with a distinctive black ring around its bill and yellow legs. Adults have a white head and body, with light gray wings and a black tail band. These gulls are adaptable feeders, eating a wide range of food from insects and fish to garbage and food scraps.

They breed in colonies near lakes and rivers across the western United States, notably around the Great Salt Lake in Utah, which is a significant breeding site. California Gulls are known for their migration patterns, moving to the Pacific coast during winter.

9. Cockatiel

Perching cockatiel
Perching cockatiel

Scientific Name: Nymphicus hollandicus

The Cockatiel is a small, popular pet parrot native to Australia, known for its distinctive crest and orange cheek patches on males. These birds have a variety of color mutations, but the most common is the gray body with a yellow face and crest. Cockatiels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, making them excellent companions. They can mimic sounds and, to some extent, speech, although not as clearly as larger parrots.

Cockatiels are adaptable and can thrive in a variety of environments, but they need social interaction and mental stimulation. In the United States, they are not wild birds but are common as pets in homes across the country.

10. Common redpoll

male common redpoll
Common Redpoll (male) | image by Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Flickr

Scientific Name: Acanthis flammea

The Common Redpoll is a small finch known for its distinctive red cap and black chin, set against a body of soft brown and white plumage. These birds are adapted to cold climates, with a layer of downy feathers for insulation. Common Redpolls are voracious seed eaters, often visiting bird feeders in flocks during winter. They are known for their resilience, ability to survive Arctic temperatures.

In the United States, they are commonly found in the northern states, particularly during the winter months when they migrate from their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra. An interesting behavior of the Common Redpoll is their tendency to store seeds in their throat pouch, allowing them to feed throughout the day and minimize exposure to the cold.

11. Eastern screech owl

eastern screech owl
Eastern Screech Owl | image by Susan Young via Flickr

Scientific Name: Megascops asio

The Eastern Screech Owl is a small owl known for its wide array of plumage colors, ranging from red to gray, allowing it to blend seamlessly into its environment. This owl is distinguished by its ear tufts and a haunting trill that differs significantly from the hoots of other owl species. Primarily nocturnal, it hunts for insects, small mammals, and other birds.

Eastern Screech Owls are found throughout the eastern United States, from Texas to Michigan to Maine, thriving in wooded areas, parks, and suburban neighborhoods. They are cavity nesters, often taking over old woodpecker holes or birdhouses.

12. Gadwall

Gadwall in pond
Gadwall in pond

Scientific Name: Mareca strepera

The Gadwall is a medium-sized duck with a rather understated appearance compared to more colorful waterfowl. Males have a subtle elegance with their gray-brown bodies and black rear ends, while females are mottled brown, blending well with their surroundings. Gadwalls are known for their feeding technique of dabbling in shallow waters for aquatic plants and invertebrates.

They are widespread across the United States, particularly common in the central flyway states like North Dakota and Texas, especially during migration and wintering periods. A unique behavior of Gadwalls is their tendency to steal food from other ducks.

13. Great horned owl

great horned owl
Image: HMaria |

Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus

The Great Horned Owl is a large, powerful owl known for its distinctive “horns” or ear tufts, and its deep, resonating hoot. With a body covered in mottled gray, brown, and white feathers, it has a formidable appearance, highlighted by its piercing yellow eyes. This owl is a versatile predator, capable of hunting a range of prey from rodents to other birds, and even skunks, thanks to its strong talons and silent flight.

Great Horned Owls are found in a variety of habitats across the United States, making them one of the most widespread owl species in the country. They are as common in dense forests as they are in suburban areas and desert landscapes.

14. Northern hawk-owl

northern hawk owl
Northern Hawk Owl | image by Lisa Hupp/USFWS via Flickr

Scientific Name: Surnia ulula

The Northern Hawk-Owl stands out for its hawk-like hunting behavior and appearance, featuring a long tail and pointed wings. This medium-sized owl has a distinctive brown and white striped plumage, with a round, flat face and bright yellow eyes. Unlike most owls, the Northern Hawk-Owl hunts during the day, using its keen vision to spot prey from high perches before swooping down.

It primarily feeds on rodents and small birds. This owl is a rare visitor to the United States, commonly spotted in Alaska and occasionally seen in northern border states during winter migrations. An interesting fact about the Northern Hawk-Owl is its exceptional hearing, which allows it to detect prey moving under the snow.

15. Red crossbill

Red crossbill male
Red-crossbill (male) | image by Charles Gates via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Loxia curvirostra

The Red Crossbill is a distinctive finch known for its unusual beak, where the tips of the mandibles cross over each other. This unique adaptation allows it to expertly extract seeds from conifer cones, its primary food source. Males are typically bright red with darker wings and tail, while females are more of a yellowish-green color.

Red Crossbills are found in coniferous forests across the United States, but they are particularly common in the mountainous regions of the West. They are nomadic, moving in flocks in search of food, which makes their population density highly variable from year to year.

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