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9 Birds That End With the Letter S (Photos)

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

Here we explore birds that all end with the letter S, such as wading birds like ibises and sea birds like albatrosses known for their long lifespans. We’ll also learn about a variety of other birds and discover various behaviors and characteristics aiding their survival.

Let’s begin!

1. American white ibis

American white ibis in wetland
American white ibis in wetland | image by Watts via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Eudocimus albus

The American white ibis is a wading bird with an all-white body, contrasting black wingtips, and a long, curved, orange bill. It is commonly found in wetlands, marshes, and coastal areas across the southeastern United States, particularly in Florida, extending into parts of Central and South America.

This bird is known for its sociable nature, often seen in large flocks foraging in shallow waters for crustaceans and small fish. A unique behavior of the American white ibis is its method of foraging by probing its bill into the mud and water, sensing for prey rather than relying solely on sight.

2. Black-footed albatross

Black-footed albatross
Black-footed albatross | image by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Phoebastria nigripes

The Black-footed albatross is a large seabird known for its impressive wingspan, which can reach up to 7 feet, and its distinctive dark plumage, contrasting with its white face and black feet. These birds spend the majority of their lives at sea, showcasing adaptations for long-distance flight over the Pacific Ocean. They breed on remote islands in the North Pacific, including parts of Hawaii, where they perform elaborate courtship dances that involve synchronized movements and calls.

The Black-footed albatross feeds on fish and squid, often following fishing boats to scavenge leftovers. An interesting fact about this species is their long-lived nature, with some individuals reaching over 40 years of age.

3. Greater yellowlegs

Greater yellowlegs foraging
Greater yellowlegs foraging | image by _Veit_ via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Tringa melanoleuca

The Greater yellowlegs is a slender, medium-sized shorebird known for its long, bright yellow legs and distinctive, piercing call. It has a gray-brown body with fine, white speckling and a long, slightly upturned bill, ideal for probing mudflats for small invertebrates. This bird is a migratory species, breeding in the coniferous forests of Canada and the northern United States and wintering along the coasts of South and North America, from the southern United States to the tip of South America.

The Greater yellowlegs is often seen alone or in small groups, frequenting marshes, mudflats, and shores, where it is known for its nervous energy and tendency to alert other birds to dangers.

4. Green ibis

Green ibis
Green ibis | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Mesembrinibis cayennensis

The Green ibis is notable for its overall dark, glossy green plumage that shimmers in the right lighting. This medium-sized ibis features a long, curved bill perfect for probing the mud for food, such as insects, small fish, and amphibians. Found primarily in the tropical forests and wetlands of Central and South America, from Honduras to northern Argentina, the Green ibis prefers dense, swampy areas or the banks of rivers and streams.

Unlike its more commonly known relatives, the Green ibis is often solitary or found in small groups, leading a more secretive life within its lush, forested habitat. It is known for its distinctive, deep vocalizations that can be heard echoing through the forests it calls home

5. Laysan albatross

Laysan albatross
69 year old banded Laysan albatross | image: USFWS – Pacific Region

Scientific Name: Phoebastria immutabilis

The Laysan albatross is a large seabird with a wingspan of nearly 7 feet, known for its white body, dark upper wing, and distinctive pinkish beak. This species spends much of its life soaring over the open ocean, relying on wind currents to glide effortlessly. The Laysan albatross breeds primarily in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, with Midway Atoll being a significant nesting site, although it has also established nesting sites on islands in the Bonin Islands and off the coast of Mexico.

These birds are monogamous, often reuniting with the same partner each breeding season to raise a single chick. They embark on extensive flights across the Pacific for feeding, covering thousands of miles in search of squid and fish. An interesting behavior is their elaborate courtship dance, which includes synchronized movements and vocalizations.

6. Puerto Rican spindalis

Puerto Rican spindalis
Puerto Rican spindalis | image by Mike’s Birds via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Spindalis portoricensis

The Puerto Rican spindalis, also known as the Puerto Rican tanager, is endemic to Puerto Rico. This species displays sexual dimorphism in its plumage with the male having bright yellow and orange colors with a unique black-and-white striped head, while the female is plainer with a noticeable whitish mustache.

These birds are found primarily in forested areas, including rainforests, coffee plantations, and secondary forests, where they are often observed foraging for fruit and insects in the canopy. Puerto Rican spindalis are known for their unique call, a mix of whistles and trills, contributing to the rich soundscape of their habitats.

7. Scarlet ibis

Scarlet Ibis perched on a branch
Scarlet Ibis

Scientific Name: Eudocimus ruber

The Scarlet ibis is a vividly red bird, with both males and females sporting the same bright coloration, which comes from their diet of crustaceans rich in carotenoids. This species is native to South America and the Caribbean. Occasionally, it’s seen in Florida, likely as escapees from captivity or accidental visitors.

This species prefers wetland habitats such as mangroves and mudflats where it forages for food, using its long, curved bill to probe for shrimp and small fish. Unique among ibises for its intense red color, the bird also has a social behavior, often nesting and feeding in large groups.

8. Short-tailed albatross

Short-tailed albatross
Short-tailed albatross | image by USFWS – Pacific Region via Flickr

Scientific Name: Phoebastria albatrus

The Short-tailed albatross, or Steller’s albatross, is a large seabird with a predominantly white body, contrasting with dark, slate-gray wings and a pink bill. Both males and females display similar coloration, making sex differentiation by color alone challenging. This species primarily breeds on islands off Japan, with occasional sightings in coastal areas of the United States, particularly in Alaska.

Short-tailed albatross is known for its wingspan, which facilitates long-distance flights over the ocean, where it feeds on fish and squid. Historically, this bird faced near-extinction due to overhunting for feathers, but conservation efforts have gradually increased its numbers. Unique to this species is its nesting preference for volcanic islands, where it builds ground nests.

9. White-faced ibis

White-faced ibis
White-faced Ibis | image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Plegadis chihi

The White-faced ibis is a sleek wading bird, distinguished by its iridescent bronze and green plumage and the white border around its face during the breeding season. This bird has a long, curved bill suited for probing into mud and water for insects, crustaceans, and small fish.

Found across the western United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America, the White-faced ibis frequents marshes, wetlands, and fields, often forming large flocks that move together in search of food.

It nests in dense vegetation near water, laying 3 to 4 eggs. An interesting aspect of its behavior is its migratory pattern, with northern populations traveling to the southern U.S. and Mexico for winter.

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