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20 Types of Birds That Start With N (Pictures)

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

Most people are familiar with the northern cardinal and perhaps the nightingale, but have you heard of the Neddicky, or the Nihoa Finch? In this post, you will read about these and other birds that all have one thing in common. Let’s learn about 20 different bird that start with the letter N.

20 Birds That Start With N

The following birds that start with N are from all over the world, have you heard of all of them?

1. Nightingale

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay

Scientific name: Luscinia megarhynchos

A nightingale is a plain bird found in Western Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, Southern, and East Africa, with its brown and pale grey body. What the nightingale is renowned for is its beautiful voice.

This has made it part of stories and even legend and fairytales. The nightingale migrates from Europe and Asia to Africa in the winter. The nightingale can produce about 1000 different sounds because part of its brain is larger than that of other birds.

2. Nene

Image by Carolyn M. Scott from Pixabay

Scientific name: Branta sandvicensis

The Nene became the state bird of Hawaii in 1957 when there were only about 30 birds left in the wild. Since then, the population has developed slowly and there are now about 2500 birds.

The Nene has a gray body and white neck, with black stripes. Its face is black. The Nene is the rarest of all geese and is endangered.

3. Nankeen Kestrel

Image by pen_ash from Pixabay

Scientific name: Falco cenchroides

The Nankeen Kestrel is a medium-sized bird of prey that lives in Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. It is basically white, with reddish-brown wings and the nape of the neck. The tips of its wings are dark.

These birds are often seen perched on posts or dead trees. They are graceful in the air and are able to hover in one spot for a long time. ‘Nankeen’ is a color that was popular for trading in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

4. Neddicky

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

Scientific name: Cisticola fulvicapilla

The Neddicky is a small mid to southern African bird with a brownish back and wings, white underparts, and a reddish-brown cap. It is a very vocal bird.

Neddickies eat termites, moths and grasshoppers and a variety of seeds and small grasses. The Neddicky can occasionally lay one egg a day or so after the first few eggs of the batch.

5. Northern Saw-whet Owl

Image: CTolman |

Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus

The Saw-whet Owl is a small North American, mottled brown-and-white owl. It has a white ‘v’ between its eyes. The young owl’s breast is cinnamon.. It is a migratory bird, moving from higher to lower altitudes in winter.

When the owl is threatened, it keeps still, which means people often mistake them for being tame. Even though it’s so small, the call of the Northern Saw-whet Owl can be heard from a half-mile away.

6. Northern Royal Albatross

image credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ

Scientific name: Diomedea sanfordi

The Northern Royal Albatross is one of the biggest birds in the world and lives in Taiaroa Head, New Zealand. It is white, with black on the tops of its massive wings. These birds live in colonies, where monogamous pairs take care of the chicks as a community.

The Northern Royal Albatross is essentially a solitary bird. Thanks to the webcam placed at Taiaroa Head, the Northern Royal Albatross is becoming more well-known.

7. Northern Screamer

Northern screamer | image by James St. JOhn via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Chauna chavaria

The Northern Screamer is a very large bird found in Colombia and Venezuela, with a black body and wings, red legs, a white face, and a red stripe around the eyes. When it flies, the white underwing is clearly seen.

It lives in wetlands and spends most of its time on the ground. The Northern Screamer’s cry is usually a high-pitched yelp, from which it gets its name.

8. Northern Scrub Robin

Scrub robin | image by sunphlo via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name:  Drymodes superciliarisu

For a little Australian bird, the Northern Scrub Robin has relatively long legs. It is quite distinctive with its white front and belly, brown back, and black and white striped wings.

Its population is stable and is considered to be of the least concern in terms of conservation. The Northern Scrub Robin’s most distinctive feature is the black diagonal line that runs straight across its eye.

9. Nightjar

Ladder-tailed nightjar | image by Toby Sackton via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Caprimulgus europaeus

Nightjars are common in Wales, Northern England, Southwest Scotland, North America, Southern Africa, and South America. The nightjar is a medium-sized bird. It is grey-brown in color and has a pointed tail and a flat head. It’s a nocturnal bird, using its big eyes to hunt.

It lives in open grasslands and lay their eggs directly on the ground. Nightjars can disappear into a tree during the day because their coloring is so similar to the bark.

10. Nuttall’s Woodpecker


Scientific name: Dryobates nuttallii

The male Nuttall’s Woodpecker has the characteristic red cap of many of its cousins, which contrasts vividly with its black and white speckled body. This small bird looks for food under the bark, pecking away until it is exposed.

Putting out a suet ball can attract Nuttall’s Woodpecker to an urban garden, as long as you live within the Nuttall’s limited range in the state of California where it is endemic. 

11. Nile Valley Sunbird

credit: Dennis Sylvester Hurd

Scientific name: Hedydipna metallica

The Nile Valley Sunbird is a tiny bird that lives in Northern and Eastern Africa and Saudi Arabia, it has a shorter bill than most of its cousins. The male has a glossy green head, a black head, a yellow front, and a long tail.

The female is less striking and has a shorter tail. In the breeding season, the male Nile Valley Sunbird’s tail grows at least 2 inches (5 cm) longer.

12. Narina Trogon

Narina trogon | image by Derek Keats via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Apaloderma narina

The Narina Trogon is a medium-sized bird that is easily noticed with its green head and red breast.  The tail feathers are metallic blue-green. Despite this striking coloration, the bird is quite difficult to spot.

It lives over a wide area and is considered to be of Least Concern in Sub-saharan Africa where it lives. The Narina Trogon’s name comes from a mixture of two languages, KhoiKhoi and French, which makes it a cosmopolitan species.

13. Nihoa Finch

Nihoa finch | credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Scientific name:  Telespiza ultima

The Nihoa Finch has a v small population and lives in a very limited area on the island of Nihoa. It’s vulnerable to any changes in the climate, so its conservation status is Endangered.

These finches are small birds, with distinctive yellow heads and breasts. The Nihoa Finch is one of the only two native bird species on Nihoa Island, near Hawaii.

14. Northern goshawk

photo by: Iosto Doneddu | CC 2.0 | wikicommons

Scientific name: Accipiter gentilis

Northern Goshawks are large birds of prey, similar in size to Red-tailed Hawks. They live in large forests and may be difficult to find, but your best chance is to quietly walk and listen in mature forests with large trees.  They are also known for fiercely protecting their nests and young, even attacking people who come too close.

Adults are dark slate gray on top with barred light gray underparts, and have a light stripe over their eyes. Northern Goshawks live and nest in forests high up in the trees. They are mostly opportunistic eaters with a wide range of prey including other birds, mammals, carrion, and insects.

15. Northern flicker

northern flicker
Image: Naturelady |

Scientific name: Colaptes auratus

These medium to large sized woodpeckers are quite common in backyards throughout the United States. In my opinion they are also among some of the most colorful birds in North America. Flickers feed mainly on insects and unlike other woodpeckers, often like to find them on the ground rather than trees.

Identify them by the black spots on their bellies, solid black bib, buffy brown on the face, and barred black and gray wings. Males have a red “mustache”, females do not. In Oregon you get the “red-shafted” variety, and they have bright red feathers on the underside of their wings and tail.

Northern Flickers may not visit feeders as often as other woodpecker species, but they will still come to suet feeders. If you have some leaf piles in the yard, you may see them digging around for bugs.

16. Northern cardinal

Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis

Northern Cardinals are among the most recognizable and common backyard birds in North America. Males have bright red feathers and a black mask, females have duller colors and are more pale brown with some reddish coloring.

Both males and females are easily recognized by their “mohawks” and reddish orange beaks. Cardinals will visit most seed feeders, offer them mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.

17. Nashville warbler

Nashville warbler
photo credit: William H. Majoros | CC 4.0 | wikicommons

Scientific name: Leiothlypis ruficapilla

Most of the plumage of a Nashville Warbler is a vibrant yellow. They have white circles around their eyes that also gives them the expression of having big, round eyes.

The Nashville Warbler was originally spotted by Alexander Wilson, a Scottish-American poet, ornithologist, naturalist, and illustrator referred to by many as the father of American Ornithology. He first spotted the bird in 1811 in… you guessed it, Nashville, Tennessee. 

Here are some other species of warblers you can spot in Tennessee.  

18. Northern hawk owl

Image: Sorbyphoto |

Scientific name: Surnia ulula

The northern hawk owl is a permanent resident to much of Canada and Alaska, though some occasionally stray into far northern U.S. states. Out of all owls, they have the most hawk-like appearance. 

Like hawks and unlike most owls, northern hawk owls are primarily diurnal birds that hunt in the day time. They will sometimes hunt at night but more times than not night is when they roost in trees. Though they do have excellent hearing, hawk owls detect their prey primarily by sight unlike the barn owl

19. Northern harrier

Northern Harrier |

Scientific name: Circus hudsonius

The Northern Harrier is easy to spot with their owlish faces, a white patch on their tail, and their signature gliding style, with their wings in the shape of a V. Majestic is an excellent word to describe these birds. You’re likely to see them over marshes, fields, and other wide-open areas. 

The Northern Harrier eats small mammals. Unlike other species of hawks, Harriers rely a great deal on their sense of hearing to capture their prey.

20. Northern mockingbird

Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos

Mockingbirds get their name from their ability to mimic the songs of other species of birds. It’s estimated that a male mockingbird can learn up to 200 different songs in its lifetime.

These medium sized backyard birds are mostly gray and white in color and can also be recognized by their rather long tail feathers. They are often seen living in tall bushes and can often be quite aggressive of intruding birds. 

Northern Mockingbirds are very common in backyards, but most times don’t visit bird feeders very often. Entice them to your yard with some of the other tips below such as fruit bearing bushes or a bird bath.