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16 Birds That Start and End With the Same Letter

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

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of birds who’s name start and end with the same letter. These interesting birds span many different types, and are fun to learn about whether you’re a crossword enthusiast, enjoy name trivia, or just love cool bird facts. Examples include the Eared grebe as well as the colorful Scarlet ibis. 

1. Red-breasted merganser

Red breasted merganser

Scientific Name: Mergus serrator

The Red-breasted merganser is a distinctive sea duck known for its slender, serrated bill and striking plumage. Males have a bold pattern of dark and light areas, including a dark green head, a white neck, and a reddish-brown breast, while females feature a gray body with a reddish head and a distinctive crest. This species is found across North America, particularly along both coasts and the Great Lakes.

In the United States, significant populations can be observed in states like Alaska, the Great Lakes region, and along the Northeastern coast. Red-breasted Mergansers prefer coastal waters, large lakes, and rivers, where they dive for fish, their primary diet. Known for their fast flying and expert diving abilities, they often form large flocks during migration.

2. Eared grebe

eared grebe breeding
Eared Grebe (breeding plumage) | image by Ingrid V Taylar via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Podiceps nigricollis

The Eared grebe is a small waterbird, notable for its breeding plumage with a black neck and body, red eyes, and golden feathers that fan out from behind each eye. These golden feathers spread across each side of the head where ears would be, lending these grebes their “eared” name. In winter, they transition to a more subdued gray and white. This species is widely distributed across North America, especially in the western states such as California, Utah, and Nevada, particularly favoring saline or freshwater lakes.

The Eared grebe has an extraordinary migratory pattern, spending winters along the Pacific and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico. They are expert divers, feeding mainly on aquatic invertebrates. A unique aspect of the Eared Grebe is its almost complete reliance on the buoyancy from its aquatic habitat, making it less adept at walking on land.

3. Eared dove

Eared dove
Eared dove | image: Rodrigo Nahum via Flickr

Scientific Name: Zenaida auriculata

The Eared dove is characterized by its soft gray plumage, black spots on the wings, and a distinctive black line on the side of their head that gives them their “eared” name. They are a common sight across much of South America. This dove prefers open and semi-open habitats such as farmlands, parks, and gardens where it can easily find seeds, its primary food source.

The Eared dove is known for its remarkable breeding ability, often having multiple broods in a year, which contributes to its abundant population. It plays a significant role in seed dispersal, benefiting the ecosystems where it resides.

4. Little gull

Little gull
Little gull | image by Ekaterina Chernetsova (Papchinskaya) via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Hydrocoloeus minutus

The Little gull is the smallest gull species, recognizable by its delicate black head in the breeding season, pale gray body, and distinctive underwing pattern. Non-breeding adults and juveniles show a white head with a dark ear spot and a dark bill.

During the summer, Little Gulls breed in northern Europe and Asia, particularly around coastal and large inland lake areas. In the winter, they migrate to milder coastal regions, including the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and parts of the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts.

Habitats include coastal waters, lakes, and rivers where it feeds on insects, small fish, and crustaceans, often displaying acrobatic flight maneuvers to catch its prey. They are occasionally seen in North America, especially around the Great Lakes, making them a species of interest among American birdwatchers. 

5. Laughing gull

Laughing gull
Image: paulbr75 |

Scientific Name: Leucophaeus atricilla

The Laughing gull, known for its distinctive “ha-ha-ha” laughter-like call, is a medium-sized gull with a black head, white underparts, and gray wings. During the breeding season, it sports a black hood, which becomes a smudged gray in non-breeding adults. This gull is widely distributed along the Atlantic coast of North America.

It prefers coastal environments such as beaches, estuaries, and bays where it can scavenge and hunt for fish, insects, and almost any edible matter it comes across. The Laughing gull is notable for its adaptability, often observed following fishing boats or foraging in urban areas.

6. Scarlet ibis

Scarlet Ibis perched on a branch
Scarlet ibis

Scientific Name: Eudocimus ruber

The Scarlet ibis known for its vibrant red plumage, a long, curved bill, and slender legs. This vivid coloration comes from its diet, rich in red crustaceans. Found in South American wetlands and parts of the Caribbean, the Scarlet Ibis frequents mangroves, marshes, and mudflats, where it forages for shrimp and small fish.

It nests in large colonies in trees above water, demonstrating strong social behavior. An interesting aspect of the Scarlet ibis is its communal roosting and breeding practices, which help protect against predators. The bird’s ability to adapt to varying water levels in its habitat showcases its resilience.

7. Red-bellied woodpecker

red bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker

Scientific Name: Melanerpes carolinus

The Red-bellied woodpecker is easily identified by its zebra-striped back and strikingly red cap, extending from the bill to the nape for males, and only on the nape for females. Despite its name, its red belly is quite subtle. This bird is common across the eastern United States, stretching from Florida to Michigan and west to Texas.

It inhabits forests, woodlands, and suburban areas, where it can be seen foraging on tree trunks and branches for insects, fruits, and nuts. The Red-bellied woodpecker is known for its distinctive rolling call and for storing food in tree crevices. It often uses human-made structures to nest, showcasing its adaptability.

8. Red-naped sapsucker

Red-naped sapsucker
Red-naped sapsucker | Image:

Scientific Name: Sphyrapicus nuchalis

The Red-naped sapsucker is known for its black and white plumage, with distinctive red patches on its head and nape. Found primarily in the western United States, its range includes states like Colorado, Utah, and parts of the Pacific Northwest. This bird favors deciduous forests and woodlands, especially areas with abundant aspen and birch trees.

It drills neat rows of holes in tree bark to feed on the sap and attracts insects, a behavior that distinguishes it from other woodpecker species. The Red-naped sapsucker plays a vital role in its ecosystem by creating sap wells that provide food sources for other species, including bats, porcupines, and hummingbirds.

9. Red-headed woodpecker

red headed woodpecker perched
Red-headed woodpecker

Scientific Name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus

The Red-headed woodpecker is notable for its bold, striking colors: a bright red head, contrasting sharply with its white body and black wings that display large white patches when in flight. This distinctive bird is found across the eastern United States, particularly prevalent in states like Ohio, Indiana, and parts of the Southeast.

It inhabits open woodlands, particularly those with dead trees, where it hunts for insects, seeds, and nuts. Unlike many woodpeckers, the Red-headed woodpecker is known for its ability to catch insects in the air and store food in tree crevices for later use. This species is also unique for its aggressive defense of its territory, even against larger birds.

10. Rock sandpiper

Rock sandpiper
Rock sandpiper | image by Andrew Johnson via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Calidris ptilocnemis

The Rock sandpiper is a medium-sized shorebird characterized by its sturdy build and relatively short legs. It exhibits a mottled gray and brown plumage that blends well with its preferred rocky coastal habitats. This species is unique among sandpipers for its preference for colder climates, predominantly found in Alaska and along the Aleutian Islands in the United States.

During winter, it can also be spotted along the Pacific coast, down to California. The Rock sandpiper feeds on a variety of invertebrates, foraging in tide pools and along rocky shorelines rather than the more typical sandy beaches associated with other sandpipers. Known for its hardiness, the Rock Sandpiper braves the harsh northern winters, seldom migrating far south.

11. Yucatan jay

Yucatan jay
Yucatan jay | image by Kyla via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Cyanocorax yucatanicus

The Yucatan jay is a vibrant bird native to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, extending slightly into northern Belize and Guatemala. Notable for its yellow legs and blue and black plumage, young birds display a bright yellow beak and eye-ring which gradually darken to black as they mature.

This species is primarily found in tropical deciduous forests where it is highly social and often observed in noisy groups. The Yucatan jay is omnivorous, feeding on a variety of fruits, seeds, and insects. 

12. Thick-billed parrot

thick billed parrot
Thick-billed parrot | image by stannate via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha

The Thick-billed parrot is a brightly colored bird, primarily green with a red forehead, shoulders, and underwing coverts, and notable for its large, powerful beak designed to crack open nuts and seeds. Historically found in the southwestern United States, particularly in Arizona and New Mexico, this species is now primarily located in the mountainous forests of northwestern Mexico.

Its habitat includes coniferous and mixed forests, where it nests in tree cavities. The Thick-billed parrot is social and noisy, known for its loud calls and flocking behavior. It faces threats from habitat loss and illegal pet trade, leading to its status as endangered.

13. Ringed kingfisher

ringed kingfisher
Image: Bernard DUPONT | wikicommons

Scientific Name: Megaceryle torquata

The Ringed kingfisher is a large, robust bird distinguished by its blue-gray plumage, shaggy crest, and broad white collar that encircles its neck, contrasting with a chestnut belly. This species is the largest kingfisher found in the Americas, with a powerful bill ideal for fishing. While its primary range is in Central and South America, it extends into North America, particularly in Texas along the Rio Grande, and in other parts of the southern United States near water bodies.

The Ringed kingfisher inhabits a variety of freshwater and coastal environments, including rivers, lakes, and estuaries, where it can be seen diving headfirst into the water to catch fish.

14. Emperor Goose

Emperor goose | image by Tony Hisgett via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Anser canagicus

The Emperor Goose is primarily found in the coastal areas of Alaska and Siberia, particularly favoring the Bering Sea region. These geese are notable for their striking appearance, characterized by scaled blue-gray plumage, orange legs and feed, and a white head with a black neck.

Their lifestyle is closely tied to coastal habitats, where they feed on a variety of plant matter and small invertebrates found in the intertidal zones and estuaries. Breeding occurs in remote and isolated areas, ensuring minimal disturbance, which is crucial for their nesting success.

They do not migrate far, with birds moving southward along the Pacific coast to winter in the Aleutian Islands and occasionally further south into the Pacific Northwest. During the winter, their diet shifts more towards marine vegetation and mollusks. 

15. Anhinga

Anhinga drying its feathers image by:

Scientific name: Anhinga anhinga

The Anhinga, often referred to as the “snakebird” due to its long neck, is a common sight in the freshwater ponds and swamps of the southeastern United States, extending into Central and South America. They are well adapted to a semi-aquatic life, fully submerging their bodies while swimming. Often only their long neck protrudes above the water, resembling a snake. This adaptation aids in their hunting strategy, primarily spearing fish with their sharp, pointed beak rather than catching them.

Breeding Anhingas are notable for their elaborate courtship displays, which include spreading their wings and vocalizing to attract mates. They build their nests in trees or shrubs near water bodies, laying 2 to 4 eggs. The conservation status of Anhingas is generally stable, though they are susceptible to water pollution and habitat destruction. Their presence is a good indicator of wetland health and biodiversity.

16. Leach’s Storm Petrel

leachs storm petrel
Leach’s Storm Petrel | image by Alan Schmierer via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific name: Oceanodroma leucorhoa

Leach’s Storm Petrel is a small seabird known for its extraordinary flying ability, spending most of its life over open ocean, far from land. These birds are mostly nocturnal and are more often heard than seen, making a distinctive chuckling call at their breeding colonies. They breed on remote islands across the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, choosing sites with soft soil or dense vegetation to construct their burrow nests.

The diet of Leach’s Storm Petrel is primarily composed of surface plankton, small fish, and squid, which they pick off the water’s surface while hovering or flying. Migration takes them across vast oceanic distances, showcasing their incredible endurance and navigation skills. Despite their wide range and large numbers, these petrels face threats from climate change and introduced predators on breeding islands, which have led to localized declines in some populations.

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