Bird Feeder Hub is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

21 Birds That Start With Vowels

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

In this article, we turn our focus to birds that have names starting with a vowel. They come from various groups of birds such as ducks like the American wigeon, dove families including the Inca and eared dove, as well as some of the cute hummingbird species like the Anna’s. Let’s learn about their unique characteristics, such as physical traits, behavior, and survival strategies.

1. American wigeon

american wigeon
American wigeon (male) | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Mareca americana

The American wigeon is a medium-sized duck known for its distinctive whistling call and colorful plumage. Males have a striking appearance with a green eye patch and a white crown, while females are more muted in color. This species is highly sociable, often seen in large flocks on lakes, ponds, and marshes across North America.

They breed in the northern parts of the continent, particularly in Canada and Alaska, and migrate south to the United States and Mexico for the winter. American wigeons are dabbling ducks, feeding on aquatic plants by tipping forward in the water, and they also graze on grasses and crops on land. An interesting behavior is their tendency to “steal” food from other ducks.

2. Emperor goose

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

Scientific Name: Anser canagicus

The Emperor goose is a bird with a unique ‘scaled’ blue-gray plumage and a distinctive white head and nape, which contrasts with its dark neck. Native to the coastal areas of Alaska and Siberia, these geese breed primarily in western Alaska and winter along the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea coast.

They prefer tundra habitats near coastal waters, where they feed on plant material, small invertebrates, and seaweed. Emperor geese are known for their strong family bonds, with pairs and their offspring often staying together throughout the winter.

3. Eurasian wigeon

Eurasian wigeon
Eurasian wigeon | image by Ekaterina Chernetsova (Papchinskaya) via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Mareca penelope

The Eurasian wigeon is a colorful duck, with males displaying a russet head with a cream forehead and females dressed in subtler shades of brown. Originally from Europe and Asia, this species visits North America, particularly the west coast, as a winter migrant. They frequent wetlands, lakes, and estuaries, showing a preference for open waters with abundant aquatic vegetation.

Unlike other ducks, the Eurasian wigeon often grazes on grass, making it common in fields and marshy meadows. Known for their distinctive whistling calls, these ducks form large flocks outside the breeding season, blending with local species.

4. Ocellated turkey

Ocellated turkey
Ocellated turkey | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Meleagris ocellata

The Ocellated Turkey, found in parts of Mexico and Central America, is a species distinct from its North American cousin, the wild turkey. It boasts stunning iridescent feathers with bold eye-like spots, called ocelli, on its tail. These birds inhabit dense tropical forests and rely on fruits, seeds, and insects for sustenance.

They’re known for their elaborate courtship displays, where males fan out their tail feathers and strut to attract females. Ocellated turkeys roost in trees at night to evade predators.

5. Eared dove

Eared dove
Eared dove | image: Rodrigo Nahum via Flickr

Scientific Name: Zenaida auriculata

The Eared dove, also known as the Zenaida dove, is a common bird species found throughout South America. It is recognized by its soft gray plumage and distinctive black markings on the sides of its neck, resembling “ear” patches hence its name. Eared doves inhabit various habitats including forests, scrublands, and urban areas.

They feed mainly on seeds and grains found on the ground and are often seen in large flocks. These doves are known for their soothing cooing calls, especially during the early morning and evening hours. 

6. Inca dove

Inca Dove
Inca dove | pixabay

Scientific Name: Columbina inca

The Inca dove, a small bird species native to North and Central America, is distinguished by the intricate scale-like pattern on its sandy-colored plumage. They have a longer tail with white outer tail feathers. These doves inhabit arid regions, including deserts, scrublands, and open woodlands, where they forage for seeds and grains on the ground.

Inca doves are known for their synchronized movements and communal roosting behavior, often gathering in large groups during the night. They are commonly found in southwestern regions of the United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America.

7. Oilbird

Oilbird | image by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Steatornis caripensis

The oilbird, a bird species found primarily in northern South America, is renowned for its nocturnal habits and unique feeding behavior. It boasts dark plumage and a distinctive hooked beak adapted for consuming fruit. Oilbirds inhabit deep, dark caves within humid tropical forests, where they roost during the day.

Unlike most birds, Oilbirds navigate and locate food using echolocation, similar to bats, due to their nocturnal lifestyle. They primarily feed on the fruits of palms and other trees, using their keen senses of smell and echolocation to locate ripe fruit in the darkness. Despite their name, Oilbirds do not produce oil but instead store excess fat from their fruit-rich diet.

8. Anna’s hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird | Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Calypte anna

Anna’s hummingbird, with its vibrant green plumage and male’s pink face, is a year-round resident of the western coastal regions of North America, extending from British Columbia to Baja California. This bird is adaptable to various habitats, including urban areas, gardens, and open woodlands.

Known for its remarkable aerial displays, especially the male’s breathtaking courtship dive to impress females, Anna’s hummingbird can also hover in mid-air and fly backwards, allowing it to feed on nectar from flowers and catch insects. 

9. Allen’s hummingbird

Allen's hummingbird
Allen’s hummingbird | image by Becky Matsubara via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin

Allen’s hummingbird is a small, vibrant bird known for its orange and green plumage. Primarily found along the coastal regions of California and Oregon, this bird prefers shrubby areas, open woodlands, and gardens. Allen’s hummingbird is particularly noted for its remarkable flight abilities, including hovering and backward flight, which it utilizes to feed on nectar from flowers and catch insects mid-air.

The male’s display during mating season is a spectacular aerial show, designed to impress females. This species migrates between its breeding grounds in the United States and wintering areas in Mexico, showcasing an incredible endurance for such a small bird.

10. American coot

american coot
American coot | image by fletchershauna via Pixabay

Scientific Name: Fulica americana

The American coot, commonly found across North America, is recognized by its blackish plumage, red eyes, white bill, and distinctive frontal shield. These birds inhabit a range of aquatic environments, including lakes, ponds, and marshes. Thanks to the coot’s unique lobed toes, they are good at both swimming and walking on land.

American coots are herbivores, feeding on aquatic plants and occasionally small invertebrates. They are often observed dabbling on the water’s surface or walking on floating vegetation. Despite looking like a duck, and often being found in the same area as groups of ducks, it’s actually more closely related to the sandhill crane!

11. Atlantic puffin

atlantic puffin
Atlantic puffin | image by NOAA Photo Library via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Fratercula arctica

The Atlantic puffin, a charming seabird, is distinguished by its colorful bill, which becomes more vibrant during the breeding season. These puffins inhabit coastal regions of the North Atlantic, including parts of North America such as Canada and the northeastern United States.

They nest in burrows or rock crevices on coastal cliffs, where they form large colonies during the breeding season. Atlantic puffins are excellent swimmers and divers, using their wings to propel themselves underwater in search of fish, their primary food source.

12. 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, a small waterbird found in North America, is recognized by its sleek black plumage during breeding season and its distinctive red eyes. These grebes inhabit freshwater lakes, marshes, and ponds across their range. They are skilled divers, using their lobed toes to propel themselves underwater in search of small fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Eared grebes are known for their elaborate courtship displays, which involve synchronized swimming and head-shaking movements.

13. Arctic loon

Arctic loon
Arctic loon | image by Kjetil Rimolsrønning via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Gavia arctica

The Arctic loon, also known as the black-throated loon, is an elegant waterbird found in the Arctic regions of North America. It is characterized by its black-and-white plumage, red eyes, and dagger-like bill. Arctic loons inhabit freshwater lakes and ponds during the breeding season, where they build floating nests among vegetation.

They are skilled divers, using their strong legs and webbed feet to propel themselves underwater in search of fish and aquatic prey. During migration, they can be found in coastal areas and large bodies of water across North America.

14. Island scrub-jay

Island scrub-jay
Island scrub-jay | image by Vahe Martirosyan via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Aphelocoma insularis

The Island scrub-jay, a bird species endemic to Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California, meaning it is found nowhere else. They are a descendant from the more common California Scrub Jay, and have similar blue plumage and a bold, curious demeanor. These scrub-jays inhabit the oak woodlands and chaparral habitats of the island, where they forage for acorns, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates.

Island scrub-jays are known for their intelligent behavior, including complex social interactions and caching food for later consumption. They form tight-knit family groups and defend territories year-round.

15. Elf owl

Elf owl
Image: Dominic Sherony | CC BY-SA 2.0 | flickr

Scientific Name: Micrathene whitneyi

The Elf Owl, the smallest owl in the world, is primarily found in the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and Texas. Featuring a plumage that intricately blends rufous, gray, and white, these owls are easily identified by their white eyebrows and striking yellow eyes. Elf owls are known for their small size, about 5 to 6 inches tall, making them the tiniest member of the owl family, about the size of a soda can!

They inhabit desert and wooded areas, often nesting in abandoned woodpecker holes in saguaro cacti or trees. Their diet mainly consists of insects, which they catch in flight. Elf owls are nocturnal, utilizing their excellent night vision and silent flight to hunt.

16. Arizona woodpecker

Arizona woodpecker
Arizona woodpecker | Photo by: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Picoides arizonae

The Arizona woodpecker, native to southern Arizona, is distinguished by its unique brown plumage, setting it apart from the typical black & white coloration of most North American woodpeckers. This small to medium-sized species, with body lengths ranging from 7.1 to 7.9 inches and a wingspan of about 14.2 inches, is primarily found in pine and oak woodlands within its limited range in the U.S., including southern Arizona and parts of New Mexico, though it is more commonly seen in Mexico.

Males are identifiable by a small red patch on the back of their head, a feature absent in females. Both sexes have a brown back devoid of white and are marked with brown spots and bars on their underparts. Known for their diet of insects and acorns, these woodpeckers exhibit social behavior outside the breeding season, often forming flocks with other small bird species.

17. American kestrel

american kestrel perched in field
American kestrel

Scientific Name: Falco sparverius

The American Kestrel, also known as the Sparrow Hawk, is the smallest and most widespread falcon in North America, commonly found across the United States. The male showcases slate-blue wings contrasted by a rusty-orange back and tail, whereas the female displays a uniform rust hue with barred wings and tail, sans the blue, yet both genders feature distinctive black banding.

When hunting, Kestrels may catch the wind and hover in mid-air before diving to catch prey, primarily insects, small mammals, and birds. American Kestrels prefer open habitats with sparse vegetation, such as grasslands, deserts, and parks, where they can easily spot their prey.

18. Orange-winged parrot

Orange-winged parrot
image: Félix Uribe | Flickr | CC 2.0

Scientific Name: Amazona amazonica

The Orange-winged Parrot is commonly found in South America’s tropical and subtropical regions. Both males and females exhibit predominantly green plumage, distinguished by their orange wing patches, which become visible in flight. There is little to no sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females look very similar.

These parrots are known for their ability to mimic sounds and human speech, a trait that makes them popular pets. They inhabit a variety of environments, from rainforests to savannas, showing a preference for fruit, seeds, and nuts in their diet.

19. American robin

American Robin
Image: tdfugere |

Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius

The American robin, known for its status as a harbinger of spring, is widespread across the United States, thriving from urban gardens to wild forests. Both males and females feature gray backs with warm orange underparts and a darker head, though males tend to have slightly brighter coloration.

American robins are versatile eaters, feasting on a mix of insects, earthworms, and fruit, adapting their diet as the seasons change. They are ground feeders, often seen hopping across lawns, and are known for their melodious songs which can begin as early as dawn. Robins typically nest in trees and shrubs, using twigs and mud to construct their homes.

20. Indian peafowl

Indian peafowl
Indian peafowl | image by Shino jacob koottanad via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Pavo cristatus

The Indian peafowl, commonly known as the Peacock, is native to South Asia but has been introduced in various parts of the world, including parts of the United States, where it often thrives in semi-wild conditions in parks and estates. Males, known for their spectacular display, boast a vibrant blue chest and neck with a majestic, iridescent tail (train) used in mating displays, while females, or peahens, have a more subdued brownish-grey plumage, allowing them to blend into their surroundings.

These birds feed on insects, plants, and small creatures, showcasing a varied diet. Indian peafowls prefer open forests and areas near water. They are known for their loud calls and the male’s extravagant tail display, which is not just for attracting mates but also used in territorial defenses.

21. Unicolored jay

Unicolored jay
Unicolored jay | image by sam may via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Aphelocoma unicolor

The Unicolored jay is predominantly found in Central America, with its range extending into southern Mexico. This bird is notable for its uniform deep blue plumage, lacking the sexual dimorphism seen in many bird species, meaning males and females look alike.

These jays inhabit humid evergreen forests, thriving at elevations typically between 600 and 2500 meters. Their diet consists mainly of fruits, nuts, and insects. They exhibit complex vocalizations, which include a variety of calls used for communication within these groups.

Leave a Comment