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16 Birds That End with the Letter N (Photos)

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

In this article, we explore a unique collection of birds, from the American robin to the purple martin. At first glance, their connection might not be obvious, but there’s a subtle thread tying them together: each of their names ends with the letter N. Now it’s time to learn some interesting facts about these birds, and look at a few pictures.

1. American robin

American Robin
Image: tdfugere |

Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius

The American robin is a familiar bird across North America, known for its orange-red breast and melodious song. Commonly found in gardens, parks, and forests, this bird adapts well to both wild and urban environments. American Robins are ground feeders, often seen pulling worms from the soil after rain.

They have a varied diet that also includes fruits and berries. These birds are among the first to sing at dawn, a behavior that has made them symbols of spring. Robins are migratory, traveling south for the winter and returning north to breed in the spring and summer.

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 distinctive markings, including a white forehead, green stripe behind the eye, and a speckled gray body. The males are particularly colorful during the breeding season, while females and juveniles display more subdued hues. Found across North America, these ducks prefer freshwater ponds, marshes, and lakes for breeding and wintering.

They are known for their unique feeding behavior, often grazing on land like geese and “stealing” vegetation from other ducks. American wigeons migrate in large flocks between their breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canada to their wintering areas as far south as Central America. An interesting fact about these ducks is their whistle-like call, distinct from the quacks of many other duck species.

3. Atlantic puffin

atlantic puffin
Atlantic Puffin | image by NOAA Photo Library via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Fratercula arctica

The Atlantic puffin s a small, colorful seabird known for its black and white plumage and large, brightly colored beak during the breeding season. These birds are excellent swimmers, using their wings to ‘fly’ underwater while hunting for fish. They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands in the North Atlantic, from the coasts of northern Europe to Canada and the northeastern United States.

Puffins spend most of their life at sea, returning to land only to breed and raise their chicks in burrows. An interesting fact about puffins is their ability to carry multiple fish in their beaks at once.

4. Black heron

Black heron
Black heron | image by Derek Keats via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Egretta ardesiaca

The Black heron is a striking bird with entirely black plumage, notable for its unique hunting technique known as “canopy feeding.” This involves spreading its wings forward over its head to create shade, attracting fish into the cooler water beneath. Found across sub-Saharan Africa, it frequents freshwater habitats like lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

The Black heron is a medium-sized heron, characterized by its slender body, long legs, and short neck. This bird is solitary or found in small groups, especially when feeding. It nests in colonies with other heron species, building its nest in trees or reeds close to water.

5. Brown pelican

brown pelican
Brown Pelicans | image by Pamela Gunn via Flickr

Scientific Name: Pelecanus occidentalis

The Brown pelican is a large coastal bird known for its distinctive pouch under its beak, used for catching fish. Its plumage is primarily a mix of brown and gray, with adults displaying a yellowish head and white neck during breeding season. Unique among pelicans for its diving feeding behavior, the Brown pelican plunges from the air into the water to scoop up fish into its throat pouch.

Found along the shores of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts of North and South America, it prefers shallow coastal waters, estuaries, and lagoons. The Brown pelican is a social bird, often seen flying in formation. An interesting fact is that it was once endangered due to pesticide pollution but has made a remarkable recovery following environmental protections.

6. Cactus wren

Cactus wren
Cactus Wren | image via Pixabay

Scientific Name: Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

The Cactus wren is the largest wren found in the United States, easily recognized by its distinctive brown and white spotted plumage and loud, distinctive call. With a robust body, a long tail, and a slightly curved beak, it is well-adapted to its desert habitat, making it one of the quintessential cactus-loving birds.

Cactus wrens are primarily found in the arid deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico, making their homes in cactus plants, particularly within the protective spines of saguaro and cholla cacti. They feed on insects, spiders, and occasionally seeds and fruits.

One of their unique behaviors is the construction of large, dome-shaped nests in cactus plants or shrubs, which they use for breeding and as shelter from the desert heat.

7. Carolina wren

Carolina wren perching on wood
Carolina wren perching on wood | image by Shenandoah National Park via Flickr

Scientific Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus

The Carolina wren is a small, but robust and energetic bird, known for its loud, cheerful song that belies its size. It has a rich brown plumage, a distinctive white eyebrow stripe, and a slightly downcurved beak. This bird is a resident of the southeastern United States, extending into parts of the Midwest and Northeast, where it frequents suburban gardens, forests, and brushy areas.

Carolina wrens are curious and less shy around humans, often exploring human-made structures for food or nesting sites. They primarily feed on insects, spiders, and occasionally seeds and fruit. A unique feature of this wren is its adaptability; despite preferring warmer climates, it has gradually expanded its range northward.

8. Common house martin

Common house martin
Common house martin | image by Estormiz via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Delichon urbicum

The Common house martin, also known as the Northern house martin, is a small, agile bird, recognized by its glossy blue-black upperparts and contrasting white underparts, including a distinctive white rump and a short, forked tail. This species is renowned for its mud nests, typically constructed under the eaves of buildings, making it a common sight in both urban and rural settings.

Found across Europe, Asia, and parts of North Africa, the Common house martin migrates to sub-Saharan Africa to spend the winter. Feeding on insects caught mid-flight, it displays exceptional aerial agility.

9. Common raven

Common Raven
Common Raven

Scientific Name: Corvus corax

The Common raven is a large, all-black bird, known for its powerful bill and shaggy feathers around the throat. Ravens are highly intelligent and adaptable, capable of using tools and solving complex problems. They have a varied diet that includes insects, small animals, and carrion, and they’re known for their acrobatic flying and vocal abilities, mimicking sounds and creating a wide range of calls.

The Common raven’s distribution is vast, spanning across the Northern Hemisphere in diverse habitats—from Arctic tundra to desert landscapes. They often mate for life, building large nests on cliff ledges or high in trees. An interesting fact about ravens is their presence in mythology and culture as symbols of mystery and intelligence.

10. Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcon (white morph)

Scientific Name: Falco rusticolus

The Gyrfalcon is the largest of the falcon species, boasting a majestic presence with its powerful build and broad wingspan. Its plumage varies from a dark brown to a striking white, adapted to its Arctic and subarctic habitats. This bird of prey is renowned for its incredible speed and agility in flight, hunting large birds and mammals across tundra and coastal areas.

The Gyrfalcon breeds in Arctic regions, from Greenland and Iceland across northern Canada and Siberia, making its home on rocky cliff ledges. A unique feature of the Gyrfalcon is its adaptability in harsh cold environments, where it remains throughout the winter, unlike many birds that migrate to warmer areas.

11. Inca tern

inca tern
Inca tern | image by Wildlife Terry via Flickr

Scientific Name: Larosterna inca

The Inca tern is a seabird known for its striking plumage and white feathered mustache. Adults are distinguished by their dark plumage with a slim white wing edge, a red bill and legs, and a yellow gape patch accented by a ‘Salvador Dali’ mustache style. Juveniles, initially browner and with dark bills and legs, soon develop the iconic white mustache, marking their progression towards adulthood.

Inca terns are known for their agile flight and fish-catching prowess, diving into the ocean to snatch seafood with remarkable precision. Their diet mainly consists of fish and small marine invertebrates. These birds nest in colonies on rocky cliffs and islands, utilizing crevices and holes for protection.

12. Least tern

Least Tern
Least tern (breeding adult) | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Sternula antillarum

The Least tern, the smallest member of the tern family, is commonly found along coastlines and inland waterways across the United States, particularly in coastal states during the breeding season. Breeding adults feature a yellow bill and feet, white forehead, and black cap, while nonbreeding and young birds have a black bill, dark nape, and shoulder bar, yet they remain easily recognizable by their small size and rapid wingbeats.

They are known for their agile flight and diving skills, catching fish with precision near the water’s surface. Least terns nest in colonies on sandy beaches or riverbanks, creating shallow depressions to lay their eggs.

13. Merlin

Merlin perch
Merlin | image by Bill Thompson, USFWS via Flickr

Scientific Name: Falco columbarius

The Merlin is a small yet fierce falcon found across various regions of the United States, especially favoring open woodlands and coastal areas. Their upper parts are dark while the underparts are lighter, featuring streaks; the darkness of their plumage changes depending on their geographic location. Males typically exhibit a slaty-blue back and wings contrasting with a lighter underside, while females and juveniles are more uniformly brown.

Known for their incredible agility in flight, Merlins hunt small birds and insects in midair with swift, powerful wingbeats. Unlike many raptors, Merlins do not build their nests; instead, they often take over the old nests of other birds. They are notable for their remarkable speed and hunting prowess, making them a thrilling sight for birdwatchers.

14. Pine siskin

Pine Siskin
Pine Siskin | image by Shenandoah National Park via Flickr

Scientific Name: Spinus pinus

The Pine siskin, part of the finch family, is widely spread across North America, including numerous states in the USA, from forested areas to backyard feeders. These small birds display brown streaked plumage with subtle yellow accents in their wings and tails, with males and females looking remarkably similar, making them difficult to distinguish by color alone.

Pine siskins are known for their social behavior, often flocking in large numbers, especially at feeders where they exhibit a fondness for thistle seeds. Unique among their kind, they have a remarkable ability to survive cold temperatures, thanks in part to their ability to store food in their crop. Their adaptability extends to their habitat preference, as they can thrive in both dense forests and suburban areas.

15. Purple martin

Purple martin male
Purple Martin | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Progne subis

The Purple martin, North America’s largest swallow, is commonly found across the United States during its breeding season, particularly favoring the eastern states. Males are striking with their glossy, deep purple-blue plumage, while females are lighter gray with some shine on top and spots below. Young birds or immatures lack the purple tint and have a whiter belly.

Known for their aerial acrobatics while hunting insects, these birds are highly social, nesting in colonies in man-made birdhouses. Purple martins have a unique relationship with humans, as they almost exclusively rely on artificial nesting sites provided by Martin enthusiasts. Their preferred habitats are open areas near water, where they can easily catch their prey.

16. Red-crowned amazon

red-crowned parrot
image: Susan Young

Scientific Name: Amazona viridigenalis

The Red-crowned Amazon, also known as the Red-crowned parrot, is a vibrant bird species originally from northeastern Mexico but now commonly spotted in urban and suburban areas of California and Texas due to pet trade escapes and releases. These parrots have no distinguishable color difference between males and females; both exhibit a striking green plumage, accented with a red forehead and crown and splashes of blue behind their eyes.

They are known for their loud calls, social nature, and ability to mimic human speech. Red-crowned amazons typically feed on a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, and fruits. They prefer to nest in tree cavities and have adapted well to living in city environments, where they can be seen in large, noisy flocks.

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