16 Birds That Start With G (Pictures & Info)

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

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There are millions of birds found throughout the world. Drab to colorful, big to small, birds are found on every continent. We chose 16 birds for our list of birds that start with G, some are common enough to be found in your backyard while others may live in more remote or exotic locations.

Let’s have a look!

Birds That Start With G

Below is a list of 16 bird species from ducks to owls, whose name starts with G. Let’s take a look at this beautiful and interesting birds!


1. Gadwall

Scientific name: Mareca strepera

Lives in: North America, Europe and Asia

Gadwalls are a species of duck that eat aquatic vegetation. The males are defined by their black rump patch and black, white and brown patches seen on their wings during flight. The female’s color pattern is a mottled brown throughout with an orange beak where male’s beaks are mostly black.

Interesting fact about Gadwalls: Gadwalls sometimes steal food from other ducks, and the oldest known Gadwall was 19 years old. 


2. Goldeneye (Common)

Scientific name: Bucephala clangula

Lives in: Canada, the United States (especially northern), northern and middle Europe and parts of Asia

Named for their yellow iris, male goldeneyes have blackish-green heads with a white circular patch between the eye and the base of the bill. Female goldeneyes have brown heads, a whitish neckband, and gray back and sides. They are most known for their seemingly large heads and yellow eyes. The common goldeneye breeds on ponds, marshes and lakes.

Interesting fact about the Common Goldeneye: Hunters dubbed the goldeneye the “whistler” for the distinctive whistling sound of its wings in flight. Cold weather accentuates the sound.

Other Goldeneyes: another very similar species is the Barrow’s goldeneye, found almost exclusively in northern regions of the U.S. and Canada.


3. Garganey

Male Garganey | image by [insert author] via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
Scientific name: Spatula querquedula

Lives in: Europe, across the Palearctic, southern Africa, India (Santragachi), Bangladesh (in the natural reservoirs of Sylhet district), and Australia.

A small duck found in or near wetlands. Males are most known for the large, white eye stripe on their heads. While they are not a colorful duck, their plumage is still a collection of beautiful patterns. Females who are mainly brown, are known to be difficult to distinguish from female blue-winged teal’s.   

Interesting fact about Garganey: They are a monogamous bird species that breed in pairs. Females lay around 7 to 9 eggs per hatch.


4. Great Gray Owl

Image: Kevinsphotos | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Strix nebulosa

Lives in: far northern U.S., Canada, northern Europe and small clusters in northern Asia

The beautiful great gray owl is large, mottled brown and gray with an obvious circular pattern on the face. Their yellow eyes stand out against their pale gray face. This owl mainly sticks to boreal forest habitat where they fly silently through evergreens. They are masters at hunting small mammals, and will eat up to 7 mouse-sized mammals each day during the winter.

Interesting fact about the Great Gray Owl: they can break through very hard packed snow to reach small mammals underneath.


5. Grouse (Ruffed Grouse)

Ruffed Grouse

Scientific name: Bonasa umbellus

Lives in: Canada, southern Alaska and some northern U.S. states

Even though males are larger than females, the sexes are hard to tell apart. Plumage is a mixture of whites, browns and grays in a variety of different patterns. They have feathered nostrils and their legs are covered in feathers down to the toes. This mixed plumage makes the ruffed grouse perfect and blending into its surroundings, the forest floor. They typically only fly in short bursts and mainly stick to walking along the ground. 

Interesting fact about Ruffed Grouse: ruffed grouse are the most widely distributed resident game bird in North America.

Other Grouse: there are over ten other species of grouse world wide. 


6. Glaucous-winged gull

Glaucous-winged Gull | image by Ingrid Taylar via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Larus glaucescens

Lives in: along the Pacific coast of North America and far western Asia

A large and stocky, gull with grey wings, white body, and heavy yellow bill. The tips of the feathers along their wing are white, which helps in identification as most gulls have black-tipped wings. They become heavily molted and turn brown in the winter. They look for food along rocky shorelines, tidepools and even local parks and landfills. 

Interesting fact about the Glaucous-winged gull: It sometimes attacks rabbits and pigeons and may even prey on unattended Glaucous-winged Gull chicks.


7. Greater White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose | image by Jac. Janssen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Anser albifrons

Lives in: Europe, Asia, and North America.

The greater white-fronted goose has a stocky body with short orange legs and a reddish-orange beak. Their body is an overall grayish-brown with a white rump and white ring around the bill. They are often seen hanging out in larger groups of Canada Geese. 

Interesting fact about the greater white-fronted goose: females will gain 30% more weight before migrating north to maintain enough reserves for egg laying.


8. Greenshank (Common Greenshank)

Common Greenshank | image by Smudge 9000 via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Tringa nebularia

Lives in: Northern Europe, southern Asia, Africa, and Australia.

The common greenshank is a small to medium-water dwelling bird with long slender legs and a long slender bill. Their long legs allow them to wade through shallow water looking for food, while their long bill probes under rocks and shells. Their bills are slightly upturned, and their legs have a light greenish hue.

Interesting fact about Greenshank: After establishing territory, they have been known to engage in fighting and singing.


9. Galah

Scientific name: Eolophus roseicapilla

Lives in: Australia

Galahs are also known as the pink and grey cockatoo or rose-breasted cockatoo. They are large parrot with grey wings, a pink body, and a light pink “cap” of feathers on their head. The sexes can be distinguished by eye color; the males are dark brown and the females pinkish red.  They are found throughout the majority of Australia and have seemed to thrive with the changes brought by European settlement, whereas most species have suffered due to habitat loss. 

Interesting fact about Galah: They are known to travel in flocks reaching the thousands.


10. Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Quiscalus mexicanus

Lives in: United States, Mexico, Central America and far northern South America.

Great-tailed grackles often appear black in color, but in the right light you can see hues of blue, green, and purple. They sometimes will roost with other types of blackbirds. Males are easy to identify by their solid coloring, long narrow body with extra long tail, and yellow ringed eye. Females are about half the size of the males, and while they share the yellow eye they are a dark brown above and paler brown below. 

Interesting fact about Great-tailed Grackles: One of their largest winter roost groups occurs in the sugarcane fields of Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where they can number in the millions. 


11. Goshawk (Northern Goshawk)

Northern Goshawk (Image: Jevgenijs Slihto | CC BY 2.0 | flickr)

Scientific name: Accipiter gentilis

Lives in: North America, Europe and spotted throughout Asia.

There are many species in the Goshawk family, the one that can be found in the U.S. is the northern goshawk. All goshawks are birds of prey that hunt small birds and mammals for food. The northern goshawk has a dark gray back and white and gray stripped chest and belly. They have a distinctive red eye, and a large white eye stripe. Northern Goshawks are secretive and live in large tracks of forest, not a bird you would likely see in your backyard. 

Interesting fact about the Northern Goshawk: Attila the Hun had image of a Northern Goshawk on his helmet.


12. Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcon (white-morph)

Scientific name: Falco rusticolus

Lives in: northern United States, Canada, Greenland and northern Europe

The gyrfalcon is the largest falcon in the world with a 48 inch wingspan. They live in the high arctic and nest on cliffs. As a hunter their most common food source is ptarmigan, a ground bird in the grouse family. While they don’t nest anywhere in the U.S. they do sometimes visit the states along the northern border during winter. Gyrfalcons come in two color morphs, a dark gray back banded with white, or a white back flecked with black.   

Interesting fact about the Gyrfalcon: during the breeding season a Gyrfalcon family needs 2-3 pounds of food per day. 


13. Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker | image by Mike’s Birds via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Melanerpes uropygialis

Lives in: southern California, Arizona, southern New Mexico, Baja California, Mexico

The gila woodpecker is an expert of living in treeless deserts, as long as there are Saguaro cactus. The gila digs out its nest at the top of the cactus, then waits for the pulp to dry out before moving in. Gilas have a tan head and belly with bold black and white barring along the wings and tail. Males have a red patch on their forehead while females do not. 

Interesting fact about the Gila Woodpecker: After digging out their nesting cavity in the cactus, the woodpecker will wait several months before moving in. This is so the inner pulp of the cactus can dry and harden.  


14. Gray Catbird

Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis

Lives in: United States, Mexico and Canada

Catbirds are robin-sized birds with dark slate gray coloring all over, a black cap on top of their head and a long tail. They have a rusty red patch just beneath their tails. Catbirds love to sing and similar to mockingbirds have the ability to copy and repeat what they hear. They will often string together several songs copied from other birds to create their own song.   Catbirds love to eat fruit and are attracted to native fruit-bearing trees and bushes. 

Interesting fact about Gray Catbirds: they get their name from a call they frequently make that sounds like a mewing cat.


15. Great-crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher | image by Kelly Colgan Azar via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Myiarchus crinitus

Lives in: eastern half of North America, Central America, northern South America

This large member of the flycatcher family migrates to the eastern U.S. each spring to breed. They are about the size of a robin, with a warm brown back, gray face and yellow belly. The crest on their head isn’t very tall, but it does give their head a bit of a squared-off appearance. Great crested flycatchers spend a lot of their time high up near the tops of trees, so they can be hard to spot. 

Interesting fact about the Great Crested Flycatcher: they often use snakeskin as part of their nests. In places where shed snakeskin is easy for them to find, such as Florida, nearly every great crested flycatcher nest will have it. 


16. Goldfinch (American Goldfinch)

Scientific name: Spinus tristis

Lives in: United States, Canada, parts of Mexico

The American goldfinch has bright yellow feathers in the spring and summer. During this period they are mostly yellow, or “gold”, with black-tipped wings and males have a black cap on top of their heads. During winter they will molt and their bright yellow fades out to a more dull brownish or olive tone. You can always recognize them any time of year by the black on their wings, and their finch-like beaks. 

Interesting fact about the American Goldfinch: unlike many other songbirds who begin egg laying in early spring, the American Goldfinch waits until June or July when milkweed and thistle produce their downy seeds that they use in their nests and to feed their young.

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About Mary Richardson

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