28 Birds That Start With B (Pictures & Facts)

Learn about birds that start with other letters of the alphabet!

There are thousands of species of birds throughout the world, but have you ever picked a letter of the alphabet and tried to find birds to match? Below you will find a list of birds that start with b found in the Americas, selected with variety in mind.

Birds That Start With B

There are so many birds that start with B, and this is only a tiny cross-section of the birds out there. Below is a list of 28 beautiful and beguiling bird species whose name starts with B.

Let’s dive in! 

 

1. Bald Eagle

image: Pixabay.com

Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Lives in: Mexico border area, United States of America, and Canada.

The majestic Bald Eagle is easily recognizable by its plumage. With a black-brown body, a white head and tail, and a sharp yellow beak and talons, this predator of the skies is found throughout North America. Their preferred habitat is areas with large lakes or reservoirs. They build huge, heavy nests that are 5-6 feet wide and 2-4 feet tall mainly made of sticks, grass and moss. These nests can take three months to build, but will be re-used for many years.

Fun fact: The Bald Eagle has held the title of the United State’s national bird since 1782.


2. Baltimore Oriole

Scientific name: Icterus galbula
Lives in: Eastern United States as far as Montana. They are found in Southeastern America and South America in late summer.

The Baltimore Oriole is instantly recognizable by its bright orange plumage on the breast, shoulders, and undersides with a black head and beak rounded out with black wings and a white bar stripe. At the same time, females and juveniles have drabber, more yellow coloring. These migratory birds eat insects and ripe fruit, and they prefer woodland areas and parks to forests.

Fun fact: The Baltimore Oriole prefers certain colored fruit (orange or darker) and will ignore green or yellow fruits even if they are ripe. Attract them to your yard with oranges.


3. Blue Jay

Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Lives in: United States (mainly eastern), parts of Canada

The Blue Jay is a mimic with complex social bonds. One of their cries is similar to that of the Red-shouldered Hawk, which they may use to scare away other birds from a food source. The Blue Jay has distinctive blue, white and black plumage topped off with a crest. This bird is very fond of acorns, and you can attract them to your backyard by putting out flat trays of food like sunflower seeds and peanuts. Blue Jays like forest habitats.

Fun fact: This bird is often furtive, but they are not afraid to squawk loudly when their nests are attacked.


4. Barn Owl

Scientific name: Tyto alba
Lives in: Found worldwide, but the largest of this species is found in North America.

The Barn Owl is a nocturnal bird that consumes its dinner whole. It has a ghostly white appearance at night and an eerie and raspy call, unlike other owls. During the day, the Barn Owl is a combination of dark eyes, white plumage, and buff-colored wings. The Barn Owl population is declining in parts of the world due to habitat loss. Their preferred habitat is grassland areas, allowing them to easily hunt small mammals and roost in barns and abandoned buildings.

Fun fact: They cough up pellets twice a day with food they don’t digest, usually animal bones and fur. These pellets are helpful for researchers to figure out their diet.


5. Band-tailed Pigeon

Band-tailed Pigeon | pixabay

Scientific name: Patagioenas fasciata
Lives in: Forests of the Western United States and Canada, down into Western South America.

The Band-tailed Pigeon is larger than most pigeons and can be identified by its blue-gray and gray-purple plumage with a white crescent-shaped band across the back of the neck and a black-tipped yellow beak. The female is drabber in appearance with the same coloring. This pigeon is sometimes confused with the more common Rock Pigeon. They live in forested areas and have a plant-based diet dependent on the season.

Fun fact: This bird is social, and they migrate and forage in flocks, traveling up to three miles to find food.


6. Berylline Hummingbird

Berylline Hummingbird| image by Dominic Sherony via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Saucerottia beryllina
Lives in: Mexico and parts of southeastern Arizona.

The Berylline Hummingbird was first identified in the United States in 1964. A population of them travels from Mexico into southeastern Arizona during the summer. This hummingbird is identifiable by its iridescent green body and rust-colored wings and tail. When it comes to the breeding habits of this beautiful bird, not much is known except that the female builds its nest using a variety of materials.

Fun fact: Because they are only found in a small part of one American state, it is considered a vagrant bird and highly sought after by U.S. birders.


7. Black Vulture

black vulture | Land Between the Lakes KY/TN

Scientific name: Coragyps atratus
Lives in: South and Central America as well as the Southeastern United States

The Black Vulture is large with a compact body and is identifiable by its dusky black feathers, bare charcoal head, and white stars on the underside of the wingtips. These birds are carrion eaters and prefer open country habitats with quiet woods to roost in. They lack their brethren’s strong sense of smell and make up for this by following the turkey vulture to the kill site. They have a limited vocal range, relying on grunts and raspy hisses to communicate.

Fun fact: The Black Vulture will share food with relatives and young, even after they have fledged.


8. Bronzed Cowbird

Bronzed Cowbird | image by Andrew Cannizzaro via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Molothrus aeneus
Lives in: southern United States, Mexico and Central America

The Bronzed Cowbird male is black with a bronze sheen, while females and juveniles vary from black to gray-brown depending on whether they are found in the west or east of their range. Their most distinctive characteristic is their red eyes. This songbird’s habitat is towns and pastures.

Fun fact: The Bronzed Cowbird is a brood parasite, meaning they leave their eggs in other birds’ nests, leaving them to be raised by the hosts.


9. Brown Booby

Brown Booby | image by Duncan via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Sula leucogaster
Lives in: The Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and off the California and Florida coast.

The Brown Booby is a water bird rarely seen in the United States. Named for its chocolate brown body, it has a white underside and a pale beak but bright yellow webbed feet. Like most seabirds, they have a preen claw to spread the waterproofing oil secreted by a gland in the tail. They forage for fish by flying over the water and diving to catch their prey.

Fun fact: These birds perform highly stylized courtship dances around the nest.


10. Boat-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle | image by Don Faulkner via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Quiscalus major
Lives in: Gulf coast of the U.S.

This omnivorous bird is a ground forager with two distinctive looks between the sexes. The male is a striking blue-black color with a long, showy tail. By contrast, the female is half a male’s size and is a buff and brown color. A Boat-tailed Grackle is found in marshy areas, and in urban areas, they like to scavenge near fast-food restaurants.

Fun fact: If a fledgling falls into the water, it can swim for a short distance using its wings.


11. Black-backed Woodpecker

Photo Credit: Mike Laycock, National Park Service | CC 2.0

Scientific name: Picoides arcticus
Lives in: Western North America

This woodpecker is predominantly black and white, with a yellow patch present on the crown of adult males. The Black-backed Woodpecker is a forager, and they eat wood-boring beetle larvae and other beetles, spiders, and seeds. They are forest dwellers, and their preferred habitat is a recently (approx. a year or more) burned forest and their sooty plumage hides them well.

Fun fact: Curiously, you won’t find them in the central and southern Rocky Mountains even though they are present in nearby areas.


12. Bushtit

Image: Alan Schmierer

Scientific name: Psaltriparus minimus
Lives in: Western North America, northern Central America

The Bushtit is a small, downy songbird with grey and buff-colored plumage with a primary diet of insects. You will spot them in low-hanging branches of woodlands and scrub areas. They are commonly found birds and weave unusual hanging nests.

Fun fact: There are seven other members of the Bushtit family, and they all live in Eurasia.


13. Bell’s Vireo

Bell’s Vireo | image by Ron Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Vireo bellii
Lives in: large parts of Midwest to Southwest America and Mexico

This plain bird is small with drab colors varying from yellow and olive green to gray, depending on the area you find it in. They make up for their plainness with energetic singing, and you will find them hopping amongst the thorn trees and scrub of the habitat. They like to live near water and messy spots with overgrown brambles and brush piles.

Fun fact: No Bells’ Vireo has been recorded drinking water; it is theorized that they receive all their water from their food, which is a predominantly insect diet.


14. Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler (male) | image by Félix Uribe via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Setophaga castanea
Lives in: Eastern half of North America, from Canada to Mexico.

The Bay-breasted Warbler is a small, gray songbird. During the breeding season, males will show red, brown and cream accents, metamorphosing into a primarily green and white warbler in fall with a touch of buff on the flanks. Females remain plain all year. They eat insects, and their favorite is spruce budworms. This bird is found in coniferous forests, and you are most likely to see them when they migrate, particularly near the Great Lakes.

Fun fact:  The population of this warbler goes up and down frequently, closely tied with their primary diet the spruce budworm.


15. Barn Swallow

Image: popo.uw23 (flickr)

Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
Lives in: widely distributed in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia  

Barn swallows are birds of the open field. These beautifully colored birds have a dark blue back, orange between the eyes and on the throat. Their breast and belly can be anything from a light tawny color to a bright orange. One of their trademarks is their long, deeply forked tail. They are very agile fliers that cruise and swoop over water, fields, farms and meadow catching insects in the air. 

Fun Fact: They use a combination of mud and grass to create cup-shaped nests, which are often found in the eaves of barns, gazebos, covered pavilions and under bridges. 


16. Bewick’s Wren

Image: Nigel / flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Thryomanes bewickii
Lives in: Mexico, United States (mainly western), southern British Columbia

Bewick’s Wren has a rounded body with a brown back and light chest. Like most wren’s, its bill is long with a slightly downward curve. There is black barring on the wings and tail, and a distinctive white “eyebrow”. In humid regions they may appear a warm brown, and in drier areas a more gray-brown. They are always on the move hopping from branch to branch, and can often be seen flicking their tail up and down. 

Fun fact: While small, the males are quite loud singers and may remember up to 22 distinct songs. 


17. Black-capped Chickadee

Image: birdfeederhub.com

Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
Lives in: northern United States, Canada

Chickadees are tiny little birds with rounded bodies that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black bib. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are blackish gray, and their underbodies are fluffy and light. They are very common at bird feeders and are often seen darting back and forth from a feeder to cover and back again for more. 

Fun fact: Black-capped chickadees hide seeds to eat later, and can remember thousands of hiding places. 


18. Black-crested Titmouse

Scientific name: Baeolophus atricristatus
Lives in: Texas, parts of Oklahoma, eastern coast of Mexico

These little birds are very common at feeders and in backyards within their range. Like cardinals, they have a small mohawk that helps you tell them apart from other birds. Titmice are silver-gray on top and lighter on bottom, with a buffy orange under the wings and a black stripe on their crest. 

Fun fact: The black-crested titmouse diverged from the more populous tufted titmouse about 250,000 years ago. The two species still sometimes hybridize today.


19. Black-headed Grosbeak

Images: Alan Schmierer

Scientific name: Pheucticus melanocephalus
Lives in: United States (mainly western), Mexico, some areas of Canada

Black-headed Grosbeaks spend their winters in Mexico, so their annual return to the U.S. is exciting for may backyard bird lovers. While females are a streaky brown on the back with a light breast and brown and white striped face, males have more striking colors. They have a black head and back with white wing spots, and a bright orange breast with some yellow on the belly. Their fat beaks can help them break open tough seeds. 

Fun fact: Males share equal duty with females when it comes to incubating eggs and feeding the babies.   


20. Black Phoebe

 
Black Phoebe |USFWS Pacific SW Flickr

Scientific name: Sayornis nigricans
Lives in: western U.S., Mexico, Central America, northwestern coast of South America

Black Phoebe’s are sooty and dark all over except for their white belly. They have a thin black beak, and the top of their head often appears to be peaked. Black Phoebe’s are a member of the flycatcher family, and as the name suggests their diet is almost exclusively insects such as flies, beetles, spiders, bees and grasshoppers. You can often see them perching low to the ground, and pumping their tail up and down. 

Fun fact: Occasionally, black phoebe’s will grab and eat minnows from the surface of ponds.


21. Black-billed Magpie

Image: Tom Koerner/ USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
Lives in: western U.S. and Canada

The beautiful black-billed magpie has the shape of a jay but the size of a crow. Black head, chest and back, bright white shoulder and sides, metallic blue along their wings and their long tail. They have a varied diet of fruit, grain, insects, small mammals, carrion and eggs. They are even seen hanging out on the backs of large mammals like moose or deer, picking through their hair looking for ticks. These flashy birds aren’t shy and are often seen perched in trees or on fenceposts. They can be quite loud, especially in groups. 

Fun fact: Through historical records we know these birds used to follow the Plains Indians, feeding on the scraps of leftover bison hunts. 


22. Brewer’s Blackbird

Brewers Blackbirds, 3 males and 1 female. Image: Alan Schmierer

Scientific name: Euphagus cyanocephalus
Lives in: Canada, United States, Mexico

These common birds are often found either walking around the ground looking for food or perched up in trees or on utility lines. Males are a very dark and often appear black, but in bright sunlight you can see iridescent blue, purple and green. They have a black bill and yellow eye-ring. Females are a muddled brown all over with a black eye. These blackbirds are very social and will often be seen in small groups, and will nest in colonies of 100 or more. 

Fun fact: Brewer’s blackbirds are sometimes called “the farmer’s friend” because they are so adept at spotting insects they can alert farmers to the start of an outbreak of crop pests like weevils, grasshoppers and caterpillars.


23. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird | image by BMC Ecology via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Selasphorus platycercus
Lives in: western United States, Mexico, Guatemala

Mainly green and white bodies with buffy sides, the males sport a magenta throat. During spring and summer, males produce a loud metallic “trilling” sound with special feathers on their wingtips. These feathers wear down by winter, and are re-grown again for the next spring breeding season. They can breed at high elevations where nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. They enter a state of torpor, a semi-hibernation, to conserve energy in cold temperatures until the sun comes back up. 

Fun fact: Although most leave the U.S. in the winter, some have been known to stick around and spend the winter at feeders


24. Brown-headed Cowbird

 
Image: Patricia Pierce / flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Molothrus ater
Lives in: Canada, United States, Mexico

Brown-headed cowbirds are often lumped into the “blackbirds” category not only due to the color of the males, but also because they travel in large flocks (sometimes mixed with actual blackbirds) and can mob your feeders. Males have an iridescent black body with dark brown head. Females are an all-over lighter brown.

Cowbirds are “nest parasites” and lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Sometimes they sneak in and lay one egg among the others, sometimes they kick other eggs out of the nest to make room for their own. Many birds do not recognize the imposter egg and will raise the chick as their own. 

Fun fact: Because they are nest parasites, brown headed cowbirds do not build their own nests. Their eggs have been found in the nests of over 220 other bird species. 


25. Brown-headed Nuthatch 

Brown Headed Nuthatch | pixabay

Scientific name: Sitta pusilla
Lives in: southeastern United States

These small nuthatches have a black, chisel shaped beak, blue-gray back, light chest and a brown cap that goes from beak to nape. They have a relatively small range, only being found in the pine forests of the U.S. southeast. They spend most of the time hopping up and down tree trunks looking for insects and pine seeds. 

Fun fact: These nuthatches make a squeaking noise that many people think sounds like a rubber ducky. 


26. Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher | pixabay

Scientific name: Toxostoma rufum
Lives in: United States, southern Canada

The brown thrasher is a warm brown with a heavily streaked breast and belly. They have a sturdy black beak and a yellow eye. I assume they are called thrashers because of the way they will thrash through fallen leaves looking for bugs, don’t quote me on that though. 

Fun fact: Brown Thrashers are accomplished songbirds and are believed to have over 1100 different songs, including those of other bird species. 


27. Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Image: Alan Schmierer | flickr

Scientific name: Amazilia yucatanensis
Lives in: Gulf coast of U.S. and Mexico

Buff-bellied hummingbirds are one of the largest hummingbirds present in the U.S. Mainly found along the Gulf Coast in Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, there is a population that calls southern Texas home. They seem to have a rare quirk amongst hummingbirds of traveling north after the breeding season. Not too far north as far as the U.S. is concerned, but into the northern Gulf coast regions of Texas as well as Louisiana and Florida. They have a red bill with a black tip, green head and back, buffy belly and rusty tail.

Fun fact: when visiting feeders, especially in the U.S., it can use it larger size to chase other smaller hummingbirds away.


28. Blue-throated Mountain Gem

 
Blue-throated Mountain Gem | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Lampornis clemenciae
Lives in: Mexico, southern U.S. 

The blue-throated mountain gem is the largest hummingbird species to nest in the United States. They are only commonly spotted in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Both sexes have two white stripes on the face, a green back and a gray breast. Males have a bright blue throat. In the wild, look for them along flower-lined streams. They mainly only come to the U.S. during the breeding season however may stay into the winter if they find a particularly good feeding station. 

Fun fact: This hummingbird beats its wings half as fast as most smaller species due to its larger size, however it is still a quick 23 times per second.

About Mary Richardson

Mary is an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, and amateur birdwatcher that enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.