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9 Birds That All End With the Letter U (Photos)

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

There are thousands of birds in the world, and even more ways to categorize them. For this article, we’ve come up with a list of birds whose names end with the letter U. From the southern boubou of Africa, to the emu of Australia, let’s learn a bit about these birds and see some pictures to help ID them.

1. ʻAkiapolaʻau

ʻAkiapolaʻau| image by HarmonyonPlanetEarth via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Hemignathus wilsoni

The ʻAkiapolaʻau is a bird species endemic to the island of Hawaii, known for its highly specialized feeding technique and distinctive bill shape. Its bill is an adaptation, with the upper part long and curved for probing, and the lower part stout for chiseling wood, making it perfectly suited for extracting insects and larvae from tree bark. This bird displays a vibrant yellow body, contrasting with a black mask and olive-green wings.

The ʻAkiapolaʻau inhabits higher elevation native forests, particularly those dominated by koa and ʻōhiʻa trees. Its diet primarily consists of nectar and insects, which it skillfully gathers using its unique bill, serving as both a nectar feeder and a woodpecker-like insect hunter. Due to its specific habitat requirements, the ʻAkiapolaʻau faces threats from deforestation, invasive species, and mosquito-borne diseases.

2. Black tinamou

Black tinamou
Black tinamou | image by Blair Dudeck via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0

Scientific Name: Tinamus osgoodi

The Black tinamou is a secretive and elusive bird found in the dense, humid rainforests of the Amazon Basin in South America, particularly in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. Characterized by its dark plumage, which helps it blend into the forest floor, this bird is one of the larger tinamou species, with a heavy body and short tail.

Despite its name, the Black tinamou’s coloration can vary from dark brown to blackish, aiding in its camouflage among the forest underbrush. Tinamous are ground dwellers, rarely flying unless startled, and feed on a diet of fruits, seeds, and occasionally insects. Their calls, deep and mournful whistles, are often the only indication of their presence in their dense habitat.

3. Brubru

Brubru | image by Derek Keats via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Nilaus afer

The Brubru is a small but distinctive bird found across sub-Saharan Africa, known for its appearance and lively behavior. It sports a black and white plumage with a notable white stripe across its wing and a compact, sturdy body. This bird is often seen flitting energetically through savannas and open woodlands, where it hunts for insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.

The Brubru is a member of the shrike family, though it lacks the strong hook-tipped beak characteristic of many shrikes. Instead, it utilizes its sharp bill to adeptly capture prey.

One of the unique aspects of the Brubru’s behavior is its social nature; it is commonly found in pairs or small family groups and is known for its loud, melodious call that carries through its habitat.

4. Emu

Emu | Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Dromaius novaehollandiae

The Emu is the second-largest living bird by height, native to Australia. This flightless bird is easily recognized by its towering stature, long neck, and legs, covered in shaggy, feathered plumage that ranges from brown to gray. Adapted to a variety of environments, emus are found across most of the Australian mainland, avoiding only dense forests and arid deserts.

They are nomadic, often traveling long distances to find food, which consists mainly of plants, insects, and small vertebrates. Emus are notable for their strong legs, capable of running at speeds of up to 31 mph, and their ability to swim. A unique aspect of emu behavior is their breeding pattern; the male incubates the eggs and cares for the young, showing remarkable parental dedication.

5. Gray tinamou

Gray tinamou
Gray tinamou | image by Livaldo~commonswiki via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Tinamus tao

The Gray tinamou lives in the rainforests of South America, from Colombia down to northern Argentina. Its gray plumage helps it blend into the forest floor, where it spends most of its time.

Although it can run quickly on its strong legs, it prefers staying hidden to avoid predators. The Gray tinamou’s diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, insects, and small invertebrates.

Unique among birds, the male takes sole responsibility for incubating eggs and caring for the young. This bird’s soft, whistling calls can be heard throughout the forest, used for communicating with others.

6. Southern boubou

Southern boubou
Southern boubou | image by Neil Strickland via Flickr

Scientific Name: Laniarius ferrugineus

The Southern boubou is a bird found in the southern regions of Africa. It displays a dramatic contrast in coloration, with the males showcasing a sleek black and white plumage, while females and juveniles have a more subdued, brownish appearance. This bird is known for its melodious duets, a unique form of communication between pairs that reinforces their bond and territory.

Inhabiting dense thickets, gardens, and coastal scrubs, the Southern Boubou is a skilled forager, using its sharp bill to hunt insects, small reptiles, and other invertebrates, as well as consuming berries.

7. Tropical boubou

Tropical boubou
Tropical boubou | image by Nigel Voaden via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Laniarius aethiopicus

The Tropical boubou is a vibrant bird native to sub-Saharan Africa, known for its black and white plumage and melodious call, which is often a duet between mates, enhancing their pair bond and territorial claims. This bird prefers dense habitats such as thickets, forests, and riverine bush, where it can be found from sea level to mountainous regions.

The Tropical boubou has a varied diet, feeding on insects, small mammals, and occasionally fruits, showcasing its adaptability in foraging. One of its unique behaviors includes mimicking the calls of other bird species.

8. White-throated tinamou

White-throated tinamou
White-throated tinamou | image by Marcos Massarioli via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.5

Scientific Name: Tinamus guttatus

The White-throated tinamou is a ground-dwelling bird native to the tropical forests of South America, particularly found from Colombia to Bolivia and Brazil. It is characterized by its understated yet elegant plumage, predominantly brown with a distinctive white throat that stands out against its darker feathers.

This bird prefers the dense undergrowth of the rainforest, where it is well-adapted to a life spent mostly on the forest floor, feeding on fruits, seeds, and insects. The White-throated tinamou is known for its haunting, melodious calls that resonate through the forest, serving as communication among individuals.

9. Yellow-legged tinamou

Yellow-legged tinamou
Yellow-legged tinamou | image by Hector Bottai via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Crypturellus noctivagus

The Yellow-legged tinamou is a bird endemic to Brazil, identifiable by its unique colors: a mix of barred patterns on the back, a reddish-brown belly, and notably yellow legs. This bird, which prefers Brazil’s forests, scrubs, and savannas, also has a dark gray breast and a clear, pale stripe above its eye.

Its presence is often revealed by its distinctive call, a deep series of hoots. Despite its elusive nature, the Yellow-legged tinamou’s appearance and sounds add to the biodiversity of its Brazilian habitats.

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