How many birds can you name? With over 10,000 species of birds, each with their unique characteristics and traits, it can be challenging to keep track of them all. In this article, we will focus on birds with six-letter names, a group of birds that includes some of the most recognizable and beloved species in the world. From the colorful trogon to the majestic osprey, let’s take a closer look at some of the most fascinating birds with six letters.
20 Birds with Six Letters
Intelligent and clever, magpies have been a subject of fable and storytelling for generations. There are about 20 species world-wide, living in North America, Europe and Asia. They can sing complicated songs and were once kept as pets.
Magpies are known for their high level of intelligence and problem-solving abilities. They have been observed using tools, recognizing themselves in mirrors, and even grieving over the loss of their companions.
They are also skilled nest builders, creating large, sturdy nests using twigs, grass, and other materials. They often decorate their nests with shiny objects like coins or pieces of glass.
In the wild, magpies eat almost anything. Their diets contain fruit, seeds, edible plants, small lizards and mammals, and even other birds. They are not above stealing chicks or eggs from other birds’ nests.
The wide wingspan of the condor keeps it aloft as it soars in the air on warm thermal updrafts. Condors are some of the largest birds on earth. They live in open landscapes with tall mountains and jagged cliffs.
One species, the Andean condor, lives in South America, and the other, the California condor, lives in California. These birds can live to be over 50 years old.
Unfortunately, that makes them vulnerable to hunting and predation since they lay so few eggs. A single condor’s territory can be 160 square miles. They rely on carrion from large herbivores like cows.
These fancy ground-dwelling birds have vibrant colonies and even more colorful personalities. Turkeys, prairie grouse, and ptarmigans are all in this family. They scratch among the forest floor or grasses for insects and seeds.
Mating season is a time for extravagant feather displays among most grouse. Males puff out a ruff of neck feathers, have a crest, and spiky tail feathers. Grouse are often quite intricately patterned to blend in with the forest floor.
Chukar partridges are unique relatives of the pheasant. While they’re native to the Middle East and Central Asia, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts introduced them to the United States and New Zealand. You can even spot them on Hawaii today.
They are brown with a black eye mask, red beak and eye-ring, and black striations on their wing feathers. Although chukar are primarily ground-dwelling birds, they are capable of flying short distances to escape predators or to reach higher ground. They birds are known for their distinctive calls, which are often described as a loud, repetitive “chuk-chuk-chuk.”
During the breeding season, male chukar birds perform an elaborate courtship display that involves puffing up their feathers, calling loudly, and chasing after females.
Gannets live and die by the ocean. These coastal seabirds are aerodynamic and perfect for diving straight into the water at high speed. They do so to spear fish in their pointed bills.
Because they dive from heights over 100 feet in the air, they have adaptations to prevent them from drowning. Those include nostrils inside their mouths and air sacs in their body that cushion them when they enter the water.
The three types of gannets live in the Northern Hemisphere. Populations reside in coastal western Europe, Iceland, and Canada.
The term osprey refers to just one species of raptor. Ospreys live on six of the seven continents, near any body of water that is plentiful in small to medium sized fish.
They have a reversible toe – it can face forward or back – to grab fish with ease. Once it spots a fish with its acute vision, it swoops down and grabs a fish feet first using its sharp talons. It carries its catch off to a branch to eat it, or back to its nest.
Plovers are a family of small to medium-sized birds that are found throughout the world, with the exception of Antarctica. They are known for their distinctive appearance, which includes short, stout bills, rounded bodies atop skinny legs. Plovers are typically ground-dwelling birds that are found in a variety of habitats, including beaches, grasslands, deserts, and wetlands. Plovers feed primarily on insects and other small invertebrates, which they catch by running or walking along the ground.
Plovers’ quick-moving legs and delicate faces have charmed many a birdwatcher. These shorebirds spend their lives scurrying in and out of the tide in search of tiny crustaceans and aquatic invertebrates.
The gregarious godwit describes four species of wading bird. They are long legged, brown and tan, and have long slightly upturned bills.
They use these bills to probe into mud and muck in search of prey. Worms and small mollusks are their favored foods. Godwits have deceptively high endurance. The birds alternate their feeding grounds between high latitudes and southern latitudes. Scientists have recorded them making nonstop flights of over 7,000 miles!
The avocet is one of the easiest-to-recognize water birds. This is because of their unique, upturned bills. Instead of probing into the sand in an up-and-down motion, avocets work side-to-side, scanning their bills across the muck like a metal detector.
They prefer to work in shallow water. Avocets live on nearly every continent, and have made a major recovery in places like coastal England, where they were nearly hunted to extinction. Once conservationists restored tidal marshes after World War II, their populations increased dramatically.
Jacanas are a family of tropical wading birds that are known for their distinctive, long toes and claws, which enable them to walk on floating vegetation without sinking. They are found in various parts of the world, including Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia.
Jacanas are typically found in wetland habitats, such as swamps, marshes, and shallow lakes or ponds, where they feed on insects, small fish, and other aquatic invertebrates.
One of the most interesting things about jacanas is their unique breeding behavior. Unlike most birds, male jacanas take on the primary responsibility for incubating the eggs and caring for the young. Females typically mate with multiple males, laying a clutch of eggs in each male’s nest. The males then take over the incubation duties and care for the chicks once they hatch, while the females move on to mate with other males. This unusual breeding strategy has earned jacanas the nickname “lily-trotters,” as they are often seen walking on the floating leaves of water lilies in search of food and nesting sites.
The kakapo is one of the most rare and unusual birds on earth. It lives solely in New Zealand and is a relative of the tropical parrot. Kakapos don’t fly. Instead, they live on the ground where they search for fruits, berries, and pollen.
They are only active at night, which led to them being named “night parrot.” Kakapos are extremely endangered – there are only 248 left in the wild.
Threats to their survival include human development and exotic domestic animals like pigs and cats. Their genetics are very inbred so repopulation efforts suffer from infertility problems.
The pigeon is a highly adaptable bird species that lives worldwide except for the polar regions and the hottest deserts. They are terrible nesters with little sense of self-preservation, but thousands have survived and thrived in cities and industrial areas.
They have a longstanding relationship with humans, who have used them for thousands of years as a source of meat, insulation, to transport messages, and decoration. Most pigeons are gray or brown with white markings, but other colors like pastels and iridescence exist. They all share a similar body plan: a stocky trunk, fan-shaped tail, slender neck, and light eye.
Cuckoos get their name from their similar-sounding call: “cuck-koo!” When referring to a cuckoo, most people mean the tree-dwelling songbird native to Asia, Africa, and Europe. It’s an insectivorous bird that has a nasty reputation for its penchant of laying eggs in other birds’ nests.
Cuckoos don’t build their own nests. Instead, females fly around to the nests of other birds and lay eggs there when the owner isn’t looking. Unsuspecting birds of different species end up raising another bird’s chick!
There are a few species of cuckoo in the United States, however these don’t make the iconic “cuckoo-clock” sound like their cousins.
Seeing a technicolor-hued trogon is truly a treat! Trogons are a family of colorful, tropical birds that are found primarily in Central and South America, as well as parts of Africa and Asia. They are known for their bright plumage, which includes shades of green, blue, red, and gold, and their distinctive, hooked bills.
Trogons are typically found in forested habitats, where they feed on a variety of insects, fruits, and small vertebrates. They are also known for their unique vocalizations, which include a variety of calls and songs that are used for communication and territorial defense.
Trogons are an ancient lineage of birds that have been around for over 49 million years. They are closely related to other bird families like kingfishers and bee-eaters.
Falcons are a group of birds of prey that are known for their speed, agility, and hunting abilities. They are found throughout the world, with some species being migratory and others being resident in a particular region.
Falcons are typically characterized by their long, pointed wings, sharp talons, and hooked beaks, which are adapted for catching and killing prey. They are also known for their distinctive hunting style, which involves high-speed dives or “stoops” to capture their prey in mid-air.
One interesting fact about falcons is that they are some of the fastest birds in the world, with some species capable of reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour during a dive.
Parrots are a group of colorful, intelligent birds that are found primarily in tropical regions around the world. They are known for their distinctive, curved beaks and their ability to mimic human speech and other sounds. Parrots are typically characterized by their brightly colored plumage, which includes shades of green, blue, red, and yellow, among others.
They are also known for their zygodactyl feet, which have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward, enabling them to climb and perch on branches and other surfaces with ease.
Parrots are highly social birds that form strong bonds with their mates and other members of their flock. Parrots are also popular pets, but their high intelligence and social nature mean that they require a lot of attention and care to thrive in captivity.
Phoebes are delicate and soft songbirds native to the western hemisphere. Two of the three extant species are gray all over, but the Eastern Phoebe has a creamy or yellow chest. All three species eat insects caught while they fly. This isn’t surprising considering they are members of the flycatcher family of birds.
They are typically found in open habitats, such as fields, meadows, and forest edges, where they can easily spot their prey. Phoebes like to perch and stay motionless until an insect flies by.
Shrikes may be small, but they pack a serious punch! They are songbirds that behave more like raptors. After catching an insect or a small lizard, the shrike finds a sharp stick, thorn, or wire and impales its prey on it.
They do this for safekeeping or to assert their dominance over a certain territory. Shrikes are native to plains and prairies.
They prefer to live where there is an unobstructed view of their surroundings. Species live in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Thrushes are a diverse group of birds that are found throughout the world, with the majority of species being found in the Americas. They are typically medium-sized birds with plump bodies, rounded wings, and relatively long tails. Thrushes are known for their melodious songs, which are often heard in forests and other wooded habitats. They are also characterized by their varied diets, which include insects, fruits, seeds, and other small invertebrates.
Thrushes are popular among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts for their beautiful songs and striking plumage, which includes shades of brown, gray, and blue, among others. Some species like the Hermit thrush or Wood thrush are brown and white, while others like the American Robin and Varied thrush can be quite colorful!
Thrushes prefer to live in open woodlands or mature forests, where they alternate between perching in trees or searching for food on the ground. Thrushes’ diets consist of insects and berries.
In many places in North America, people consider the presence of thrushes one indicator of the beginning of spring as they migrate back into the area. They promote the growth of new plants by metabolizing seeds and dispersing them elsewhere in their territory.
Towhees are a group of small to medium-sized birds that are found in North, Central, and South America. They are known for their distinctive, scratchy calls and their habit of foraging on the ground for insects, seeds, and other small invertebrates. Towhees are typically brown or gray in color, with white markings on their wings and tails. They are also known for their striking red eyes, which contrast with their plumage.
Towhees are relatively common birds that are often heard but not seen, as they tend to forage on the ground and stay hidden in dense vegetation. You’ll often see them doing a two-footed, forward-backward hop that pushes leaves and other ground cover aside so they can search beneath for seeds and bugs.