This list caters to both avid birders looking to discover new birds or those merely playing a word game looking to solve a puzzle. This article presents a variety of species known for their distinct characteristics and behaviors, all united by having names with 13 letters. The below list offers informative insights into the fascinating aspects of their lives, from common backyard visitors to larger predators.
1. Adjutant stork
Scientific name: Leptoptilos dubius
The Adjutant stork, a member of the genus Leptoptilos, is a large bird found in Asia. They have long necks and legs, with a bald head and a large, hooked bill. Their unique trait is their ability to consume carrion, helping clean up environments. They primarily feed on carrion, fish, frogs, and small mammals.
Adjutant storks inhabit wetlands, marshes, and open areas near water bodies. One popular species is the Greater Adjutant Stork, known for its massive size and dwindling population due to habitat loss and hunting.
2. Barnacle goose
Scientific name: Branta leucopsis
The Barnacle Goose is a medium-sized goose species recognized by its black and white plumage with a black neck and head. It has a short, stubby bill and black legs. Barnacle Geese are known for their long migratory journeys from their Arctic breeding grounds to wintering areas in northern Europe.
They primarily feed on grasses, herbs, and crops. During breeding season, they inhabit Arctic tundra regions, while in winter, they migrate to coastal areas.
3. Crocodile bird
Scientific name: Pluvianus aegyptius
The Egyptian Plover, also known as the Crocodile Bird, is a small bird with white plumage and distinct black markings. It has a slender bill and legs, both black.
A popular myth about the Egyptian Plover is that it has a symbiotic relationship with crocodiles, where it feeds on parasites and food scraps from the crocodile’s mouth. However this symbiotic relationship is not scientifically supported.
Their diet mainly consists of insects and small invertebrates. Egyptian Plovers inhabit sandy riverbanks and shores across sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Fairy bluebird
Scientific name: Irena
The Fairy Bluebird, belonging to the genus Irena, showcases vibrant blue plumage with contrasting black markings. It boasts a relatively large body and a slightly curved bill. Notably, the Fairy Bluebird’s melodious song often resonates through the forest canopy. Their diet primarily includes fruits, insects, and occasionally small lizards.
There are two main species within this genus: the Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella) and the Philippine Fairy-bluebird (Irena cyanogastra), both inhabiting tropical and subtropical forests across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
5. Gentoo penguin
Scientific name: Pygoscelis papua
The Gentoo Penguin is characterized by its sleek, black back, white belly, and distinctive orange-red bill. It stands out for its prominent white patch above the eye and a wide, orange-red bill. Gentoo Penguins are known for their speed and agility in water, using their streamlined bodies to dive and catch fish, krill, and squid.
They inhabit the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula regions, nesting on rocky coastlines and ice-free areas.
6. Grey phalarope
Scientific name: Phalaropus fulicarius
The Grey Phalarope, also known as the Red Phalarope, is a small bird with a slender build, long wings, and a relatively short bill. It exhibits reverse sexual dimorphism, with females displaying brighter plumage than males. Unique traits include its ability to swim and forage at sea, where it spins in circles to stir up prey with its feet.
The diet of Grey Phalaropes consists mainly of aquatic invertebrates and small fish. They breed in Arctic regions and migrate to open oceans during winter.
7. Harlequin duck
Scientific name: Histrionicus histrionicus
The Harlequin Duck is a small, colorful duck with striking plumage characterized by blue, white, and chestnut patterns. Unique traits include its ability to navigate fast-flowing rivers and rocky streams with ease, thanks to its strong, webbed feet.
The diet of Harlequin Ducks mainly consists of aquatic insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. They prefer fast-flowing, rocky streams and rivers in forested areas for breeding, while they migrate to coastal waters during winter.
8. Hawaiian goose
Scientific name: Branta sandvicensis
The Hawaiian Goose, or Nene, is a medium-sized goose species with a distinctive brown body, black face, and cream-colored cheeks. Unique to Hawaii, it is the state bird and one of the world’s rarest geese. The Nene is known for its adaptability to harsh volcanic terrain and its ability to feed on both grasses and shrubs. Its habitat includes lava plains, grasslands, and coastal areas of Hawaii’s islands.
9. Hermit warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga occidentalis
The Hermit Warbler is a small songbird with a bright yellow face, olive-green back, and white underparts marked with black streaks. Unique traits include its preference for high-elevation coniferous forests during the breeding season and its ability to forage actively in tree canopies for insects and spiders. Their diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae.
Hermit Warblers breed in western North America, primarily in mountainous regions with dense coniferous forests.
Scientific name: Haematopus
Oystercatchers are a family of shorebirds known for their distinctive long, orange bills and black and white plumage. They possess robust bodies and strong, sturdy legs for foraging along shorelines and rocky coasts. Oystercatchers are named for their diet, which primarily consists of mollusks such as oysters, clams, and mussels, which they pry open with their bills.
They inhabit coastal areas worldwide, including beaches, mudflats, and rocky shores. One popular species is the Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), found across Europe and Asia.
Scientific name: Sagittarius serpentarius
The Secretarybird is a large bird of prey found in sub-Saharan Africa, known for its long legs, crest of feathers on its head, and black and white plumage. It stands out for its unique hunting behavior of stomping on the ground to flush out prey like insects, small mammals, and reptiles.
Secretarybirds primarily inhabit open grasslands and savannas where they can easily spot prey. An interesting fact is that they are adept at killing venomous snakes by stomping on them with their powerful legs, earning them their name.
Scientific name: Dicaeum hirundinaceum
The Mistletoebird is a small, colorful bird found in Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. It has a vibrant plumage with shades of blue, green, and red. A unique trait of the Mistletoebird is its role as a seed disperser for mistletoe plants, as it eats the berries and excretes the seeds, aiding in the plant’s propagation.
Its diet mainly consists of mistletoe berries, nectar, and insects. Mistletoebirds inhabit woodlands, forests, and suburban areas where mistletoe plants are prevalent.
13. Little bittern
Scientific name: Ixobrychus minutus
The Little Bittern is a small heron found in wetland habitats across Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is characterized by its compact size, cryptic plumage, and yellow bill. Unique traits include its ability to camouflage itself among reeds and vegetation, making it difficult to spot.
Little Bitterns primarily feed on small fish, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans. They inhabit dense marshes, reedbeds, and wetlands with thick vegetation for nesting and foraging.
14. Little bustard
Scientific name: Tetrax tetrax
The Little Bustard is a medium-sized bird known for its cryptic plumage, featuring brown and buff tones with intricate patterns. Unique traits include the male’s elaborate courtship display, which involves inflating throat sacs and producing deep booming calls to attract females.
Little Bustards primarily feed on insects, seeds, and small invertebrates found in grasslands and open habitats. They inhabit steppes, grasslands, and agricultural fields across Europe and parts of Asia and Africa.
15. Long-tailed tit
Scientific name: Aegithalos caudatus
The Long-tailed Tit is a small bird distinguished by its long tail, white cheeks, and pinkish-brown plumage. Notably, these birds exhibit communal nesting habits, with several pairs constructing a shared nest composed of moss and feathers in a spherical shape. Long-tailed Tits primarily feed on insects, spiders, and small seeds found in woodlands, gardens, and shrubby habitats.
They inhabit diverse regions across Europe and Asia. Interestingly, despite their diminutive size, Long-tailed Tits often form large, noisy flocks during winter for foraging and protection against predators.
16. Rock partridge
Scientific name: Alectoris graeca
The Rock Partridge is a small bird recognized by its mottled brown plumage and distinctive red bill and legs. It exhibits remarkable camouflage abilities, blending seamlessly into rocky terrain. Rock Partridges primarily feed on seeds, insects, and small plants found in their mountainous habitats. They inhabit rocky slopes, cliffs, and scrublands across Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia.
17. Rock ptarmigan
Scientific name: Lagopus muta
The Rock Ptarmigan is a bird with mottled brown plumage that camouflages it against rocky habitats, particularly in mountainous regions. During winter, it turns entirely white to blend in with snow-covered landscapes. Rock Ptarmigans primarily feed on buds, leaves, berries, and insects found in alpine and tundra environments. They inhabit high-altitude areas in North America, Europe, and Asia.
18. Short-eared owl
Scientific name: Asio flammeus
The Short-eared owl is a medium-sized owl with mottled brown feathers, yellow eyes, and short ear tufts. Unique traits include its habit of hunting during the day and its distinctive facial disk. Short-eared owls primarily feed on small mammals like voles and mice, supplemented with birds and insects.
They inhabit open areas such as grasslands, marshes, and meadows worldwide. Interestingly, they are known for their communal roosting habits during the winter months. Short-eared owls are also famous for their distinctive hovering flight pattern while hunting.
19. Whistling duck
Scientific name: Dendrocygninae
Whistling ducks are medium-sized waterfowl known for their distinctive whistling calls. They have long legs, necks, and unique, rounded bills. One popular species is the Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), which has a black belly and chestnut-colored face.
Whistling ducks primarily feed on aquatic plants, seeds, and insects found in wetland habitats such as marshes, ponds, and rice fields. They are often seen in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
20. Whooping crane
Scientific name: Grus americana
The Whooping Crane is a large bird with white plumage, black wingtips, and a distinctive red crown. Unique traits include their loud, trumpeting calls and elaborate courtship dances. Whooping cranes primarily feed on aquatic insects, small fish, and plants found in wetland habitats such as marshes and shallow lakes. They inhabit North America, with breeding grounds in Canada and wintering areas along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Florida.
21. Yellow wagtail
Scientific name: Motacilla flava
The Yellow Wagtail is a small bird characterized by its bright yellow plumage, olive-green back, and long tail with a wagging motion. It is known for its distinctive habit of wagging its tail up and down while foraging or in flight.
Yellow Wagtails primarily feed on insects such as flies, beetles, and caterpillars, found in grasslands, meadows, and agricultural fields. They breed across Europe and Asia and migrate to Africa during winter.
Mary is an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, and amateur birdwatcher that enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.