18 Birds That Start With M (Pictures & Facts)

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

In this article I will be covering birds that start with M. The birds that have been selected for this list are based on their mesmerizing colors, unique habits, or beautiful singing. From songbirds to penguins, there are a wide variety of birds with an M name we can learn about.

Birds That Start With M

Below is a list of 18 magnificent and marvelous bird species whose name starts with M. Let’s take a look! 

 

1. Macaroni penguin

Macaroni Penguin | image by laikolosse via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
Lives in:  Subantarctic, Antarctic Peninsula

Macaroni penguins are distinctly recognizable by their black and white bodies and yellow crest. It is closely related to the royal penguin and its diet consists mainly of squid, fish and crustaceans. Females start to breed when they are five years old, while males start to breed from six years of age. 

Fun fact about macaroni penguins: Though there has been a large decline in their numbers in recent years, the population is still estimated to be around 18 million. 


2. Mountain Bluebird

mountain bluebird
Male Mountain Bluebird | Image: 272447 | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Sialia currucoides
Lives in:  western Canada and the United States, parts of Mexico

The mountain bluebird is one of the brightest and most colorful bluebirds. Males have a bright almost neon blue head and back with a lighter powder blue chest. Females are much duller and may appear gray with small touches of blue. As their name suggests, you can find them at higher elevation (up to 12,500 ft) in open woodlands, prairie and meadows. In areas where they live, they are fairly easy to spot and don’t seem to mind being around human activity, and may visit feeders

Fun fact about mountain bluebirds: often the female will choose her mate based solely on how much she likes the nesting location he has chosen, not how blue he appears.


3. Madagascar fish eagle

Madagascar Fish Eagle | image by Frank Vassen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Haliaeetus vociferoides
Lives in:  Madagascar

The Madagascar fish eagle is a large bird of prey. These are medium-sized sea eagles that measure 26 inches long with a 71 inch wing span. Males weigh up to six pounds, while females can weigh up to eight pounds. Sea eagles have very keen eyesight which helps them spot their prey of fish, crabs and turtles. This may possibly be considered to be one of the rarest birds on earth with roughly 98 breeding pairs alive. It is listed as a critically endangered species. 

Fun fact about Madagascar fish eagles: They are the national bird of Madagascar.


4. Madeira firecrest

Madeira Firecrest | image by Alastair Rae via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Regulus madeirensis
Lives on: island of Madeira

The mating behavior of these birds is quite unique. The male Madeira firecrest will put on a display by pointing its bill at another bird, raising its crest and demonstrating a strong face while singing. These birds are monogamous. The female builds the nest alone. However, she may be accompanied by the male while she is busy building the nest. 

Fun fact about Madeira firecrests: The female will incubate the eggs but both parents take on the role of feeding the chicks and fledgelings. 


5. Magellanic penguin

Magellanic Penguin | image by jmarti20 via Pixabay

Scientific name: Spheniscus magellanicus
Lives in: Patagonia, Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands, Brazil, Uruguay, Espirito Santo

The Magellanic has very rigid wings which allows them great speed and maneuverability underwater where they catch their prey. This penguin’s diet consists mainly of crustaceans, squid, krill and cuttlefish. The Magellanic penguin has also been known to eat jelly fish.  They hunt for food in large flocks.

Fun fact about Magellanic penguins: They are named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who found the birds on his travels in 1520.


6. Malabar trogon

Malabar Trogon (male) | image by Mike Prince via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Harpactes fasciatus
Lives in: Sri Lanka, India

The Malabar trogon is mesmerizingly beautiful with distinctive colors. Both sexes have blue along the beak and around the eye. Males have a black head, white “necklace”, brown back and red underparts. Females lack the black and red and are mostly shades of brown and orange. Rather than building a nest from sticks, they carve a cavity out of rotting trees with their bills.

Fun fact about Malabar trogons: When these birds give out an alarm call, the sound can be described as a churrrr. They will make a similar sound during roosting. 


7. Mourning Dove

Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Lives in: southern Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America, pockets of northern Europe

About the size of a robin, doves are very common in backyards and will often sit perched on telephone wires or in groups in trees. Mourning Doves are mostly gray with black spots on top, a pale peachy color below, and pink legs. They readily visit backyard bird feeders although tend to stay on the ground and pick through the seed that has fallen.

Fun fact about mourning doves: Their name comes from the “coo-oo” call perched males often make, that many people think sounds sad or lamenting.


8. Masked crimson tanager

Masked Crimson Tanager | image by Geschenkpanda via pixabay

Scientific name: Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Lives in: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

These birds are known for cooperative breeding. Which means that all the birds in the flock take care of and protect each other’s offspring. Their diet consists mainly of fruit and small insects. Their name is derived from the stunning shade of crimson which covers most of their bodies. 

Fun fact about masked crimson tanagers: This species was first identified in 1825 by a German naturalist named Johan Baptist von Spix.


9. Masked flowerpiercer

Masked Flowerpiercer | image by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Diglossa cyanea
Lives in: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia

The Masked flowerpiercer is marked by a beautiful deep ultramarine blue with a black mask and crimson red eyes. Their name is derived from the sharp hook on the tip of their upper beak which is used to cut open the base of flowers in order to get to the nectar inside. 

Fun fact about masked flowerpiercers: Birds in the northern and southern parts of South America sing different notes which may suggest different species or subspecies. 


10. Masked trogon

Masked Trogon | image by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Trogon personatus
Lives in: South America

The Masked trogon feeds on insects and fruits and you will find their nests in vertical tree trunks where the wood is rotting. They carve out holes and build their nests. The Masked trogon has eight recognized sub-species. This bird is very common in humid highland forests. They often grow to 11 inches in length and 2 ounces in weight. 

Fun fact about masked trogons: Males have a distinct red ring around the eyes while females have partial white eye rings. 


11. Merlin

Image: lapping | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Falco columbarius
Lives in: North America, Eurasia

Merlins are birds of prey in the falcon family, smaller than most hawks. The Merlin was previously known in North America as the Pigeon Hawk. They can typically grow to 13 inches long with a 27 inch wingspan. Males are typically smaller than females, at 6 inches in size and 11 inches, respectively. Merlin’s don’t build their own nests, but rather take over old nests previously used by other raptors or large birds like crows and magpies.

Fun fact about merlins: Merlins are skilled hunters that use surprise attacks to catch smaller birds.


12. Mallard

Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos
Lives in: North America, Europe, Asia, and parts of Greenland, Australia and New Zealand

Mallards are very common with a huge distribution across many countries. Males are easy to pick out with their emerald green head and yellow bill. Females are mottled brown throughout. They often mate and create hybrids with other local duck species, which can cause confusing mixes not easy to identify. Frequently seen in city parks and ponds. 

Fun fact about mallards: Mallards are the ancestor of almost all domestic duck breeds. 


13. Meyer’s parrot

Meyer’s Parrot | image by Papooga via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Poicephalus meyeri
Lives in: sub-Saharan Africa

Meyer’s parrots are black on the head and wings with yellow “shoulders”, blue on their rump, and greenish-turquoise bellies. They typically feed on cultivated crops, seeds, fruit, nuts, and berries. Often found in pairs or small flocks, they do sometimes gather together in large groups at sources of plentiful food. Destruction of their woodland habitat has caused their numbers to decrease in recent years. 

Fun fact about Meyer’s parrots: The females typically lay up to three white eggs and incubate the chicks for a total of 28 days. Approximately 60 days after hatching, the fledglings leave the nest. 


14. Monk parakeet

Scientific name: Myiopsitta monachus
Lives in: South America

Monk parakeets are the only parrots that build their nests using sticks as opposed to using holes in trees. These parrots breed colonially (in large colonies). They will build a single large nest that has several entrances for each pair. Nests can often grow to reach the size of a small car. 

Fun fact about monk parakeets: Although they are from South America, local feral populations have been established in many other locations including Europe, Asia and the United States (Florida).


15. Mountain wagtail

Mountain Wagtail | image by Derek Keats via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Motacilla clara
Lives in: sub-Saharan Africa

You will typically find mountain wagtails near small rivers and streams. They are especially fond of waterfalls with flat rocks. Additionally, you may find them along forest paths. Its diet consists mainly of flies that it forages in sand, shallow water, and on rocks.

Fun fact about mountain wagtails: other names they are known by are the long-tailed wagtail and grey-backed wagtail. 


16. Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee | image by Yellowstone National Park via Flickr

Scientific name: Poecile gambeli
Lives in: western United States, southwestern Alberta, British Columbia

Chickadees are tiny little birds with rounded bodies that are very easy to recognize because of their “black cap” and black throat. Their cheeks are solid white, their wings and backs are gray, and their underbodies are fluffy and light. You tell the mountain chickadee apart from other, similar looking chickadee species because only the mountain chickadee has the eye stripe above the eye. Their preferred habitat is evergreen forests in mountainous areas.  

Fun fact about mountain chickadees: If chickadees find a plentiful food source, they will cache food and store it for later.


17. Mute Swan

Scientific name: Cygnus olor
Lives in: United States, Europe, parts of Asia and Canada

The beautiful and elegant mute swan is all white with a long neck, black face mask and orange beak. Despite the face that they can often be found in parks and ponds in North America, they are native to Europe. All of the mute swans found in North America today have descended from swans brought into the country from Europe in the 1800’s and early 1900’s for zoos and to “decorate” large estates. 

Fun fact about mute swans: They are often looked at as symbols of love because of their reputation for nearly always mating for life. 


18. Magnolia Warbler

image: Rodney Campbell | Flickr CC 2.0

Scientific name: Setophaga magnolia
Lives in: Canada, United States, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America

These beautiful warbler breed in boreal forests among dense evergreen trees. The migrate down from Canada through the U.S. to spend their winters in Mexico and Central America. Their diet consists mainly of insects that they forage from trees. Males are black and yellow with a white stripe on the wing and above the eye. Females are gray above and yellow below. 

Fun fact about magnolia warblers: males have two songs, one for courtship and nesting, the other to defend territory against other males. 

About Mary Richardson

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