22 Popular Birds With Black Heads

Birds With Black Heads
Photo by manfredrichter

Birds with blackheads are particularly well suited to cold climates due to their heavy plumage and therefore make up a large portion of the birds that live in the northern parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Here is a list of 22 birds with black heads that you can add to your collection. The list includes the bird’s common name, scientific name, and location where it can be found during the summer months in North America.

1. Common Murre

The Common Murre is a bird with a black head and neck, white chest and belly, and dark back and wings. These birds with black heads are found in the northern hemisphere near North America, Europe, and Asia coastlines. 

Murres are good swimmers and can dive up to 60 feet (18 meters) underwater to catch fish. They often live in large colonies on rocky cliffs.

2. Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe is a small black bird with a white belly, and it has a black head, bill, and legs. The Black Phoebe is found near water, where it hunts for insects. 

It makes a nest of mud and sticks that attaches to a tree or other structure. These Birds with black heads are found in western North America. The Black Phoebe ranges from southern Canada south to the Rocky Mountains and coast to coast in the United States. 

In winter, it migrates southward into the southwestern United States, Central America, and northern South America. There are about 6-8 million pairs of these birds in North America.

3. Phainopepla

The Phainopepla is a small bird with a black head, tail, and wings. They are found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The Phainopepla is a monogamous bird, meaning that they mate for life. 

Both the male and female take part in incubating the eggs and raising the young. These Birds with black heads are known for their beautiful singing voices. 

The songs they sing are very diverse because they learn them from other members of their species. When the male sings, he sings from different perches to attract females.

4. Parkinson’s Petrel

The Parkinson’s Petrel is a small seabird with a black head and white body. It is found in the southern hemisphere, breeds on small islands off the coast of Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands.

The Parkinson’s Petrel is named after British physician and amateur ornithologist James Parkinson, who first described the bird in 1811. 

The bird was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1955. Today, these birds with black heads are considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals.

5. Black Rail

The Black Rail is one of the smallest birds in North America, measuring just six inches in length. Its small size and secretive nature make it notoriously difficult to spot; the bird was considered extinct until a single individual was discovered in California in 1987. 

Today, the black rail is still considered one of the rarest birds in the world, with an estimated population of just 500 individuals. Despite its rarity, the black fence is found in various habitats, including marshes, swamps, and wet meadows.

6. Fish Crow

The Fish Crow is a small crow that is found near the coastlines of the southeastern United States. They get their name from their diet, which consists mainly of fish. These birds are all black with a glossy sheen and have a small bill and legs. 

Male and female Fish Crows look alike. Juvenile birds have brown heads, and adults can live up to 20 years in the wild. 

These Birds with black heads eat insects, earthworms, spiders, crabs, frogs, and even dead animals such as snakes or mice. They sometimes catch small fish in shallow water by dipping their beaks into the water like a duck. The cawing sound these birds make sounds similar to Kook or Crow-Kook.

7. Brewer’s Blackbird

The Brewer’s blackbird is a species of the actual blackbird. The adult male has black feathers and yellow eyes, named after the 19th-century ornithologist Thomas Mayo Brewer. 

The female Brewer’s blackbird is dark gray with a black tail and wings. Immature birds are also dark gray but have brownish feathers on their heads and necks. Female and adolescent males look very similar. 

Female Brewer’s blackbirds often sing for long periods, usually at dawn or dusk. They can be found in open countries such as pasture land or grassland.

8. Scott’s Oriole

The Scott’s Oriole is a beautiful bird native to North America. The male Scott’s Oriole has a black head, back, and tail, with an orange-yellow breast and belly.

Females are similar but have a greenback. These Birds with black heads are found in open woodlands and near streams and eat insects and fruits. 

Male orioles will often build the nest and feed the female while she incubates the eggs. These Birds with blackheads can be found throughout eastern Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

9. Black-Headed Ibis

The black-headed ibis is a species of Old World ibis. The adult has dark grey plumage with a long downcurved bill. The head, neck, and legs are black, and a bare skin patch is behind the eye. 

The sexes are similar, but juveniles have browner plumage. These birds with black heads in wetland habitats in Africa and Asia nest in trees or bushes, often near water, and lays 2-3 eggs. Its diet consists mainly of insects, earthworms, and fish, and its call is a loud croak.

10. Crimson-Collared Grosbeak

The Crimson-Collared Grosbeak is a large songbird with a black head, neck, and breast. The male has a red collar and wing bars, while the female is primarily gray with some yellow on her wings. Both sexes use long, powerful beaks to crack open seeds. 

These Birds with black heads are found in Mexico and Central America. They live in woodlands, bushy areas, plantations, parks, gardens, and orchards. 

Crimson-collared grosbeaks eat a variety of fruits as well as insects and spiders. Their nests are made of twigs lined with plant fibers; they usually lay two eggs which both parents incubate for 12 days before hatching.

11. Shiny Cowbird

The Shiny Cowbird is a small bird with a black head and neck, dark brown back and wings, and a light brown belly.

It is found in open habitats such as grasslands, savannas, and agricultural areas in South America. The Shiny Cowbird is an opportunistic breeder who will take advantage of any available nesting site. 

This often means using the nests of other birds, which can lead to conflict. The diet of the Shiny Cowbird consists mainly of insects, but it will also eat some seeds and fruits.

12. Lark Bunting

The Lark Bunting is a medium-sized bird that is primarily black with some white on its wings. The male has a black head, neck, chest, white collar, and belly. The female is similar but has a brown head and neck. 

These Birds with black heads are found in open areas in the western United States. They eat seeds and insects, often perched upright on an elevated perch. They are territorial animals during the breeding season but otherwise socialize well with other species of buntings.

13. Groove-Billed Ani

The Groove-Billed Ani is a tropical bird found in Mexico, Central America, and the CaribbeItsIt’s most notable feature is its long, curved bill which it uses to eat insects. The male Groove-Billed Ani is black with a white belly, while the female is dark brown with white streaks on her wings. 

These birds with black heads are social creatures and often travel in groups of 10-20. They feed primarily on grasshoppers, beetles, and other giant insects. Their bills can also be used for picking up food from surfaces such as water or ground.

14. Black Guillemot

The Black Guillemot is a small black and white bird with a black head, neck, and legs. They are found in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, breeding on cliffs and rocky shores. These birds feed on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, which they catch by diving into the water. 

The Black Guillemot is an integral part of the ocean ecosystem and is not considered threatened or endangered. It breeds on cliffs and rocky shores across the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. It feeds primarily on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks that it catches underwater diving.

15. Black-Headed Grosbeak

The Black-Headed Grosbeak is a medium-sized true finch with a robust build. The adult male has black upperparts, wings, and tail, with conspicuous white wing bars. Its head is black, with a large triangular yellow patch extending from behind the eye to the base of the bill.

 Females and immature males are brownish overall with duller yellow facial markings. These birds with black heads are found in woodlands and gardens throughout western North America.

16. Dovekie

The Dovekie is a small, short-tailed seabird that looks like a cross between a penguin and a puffin. They are found in the North Atlantic Ocean and are known to migrate south in winter. The Dovekie has a black head, neck, and back, with white underparts. 

Their wings are black with white stripes. The Dovekie is a member of the auk family and is closely related to the razorbill and the guillemot. It nests on ledges and cliffs on islands with steep slopes below them or near their colonies. 

The name Dovekie comes from an old Scottish word for a bit of bird (doucet). When the sun sets behind their nesting area, they fly out towards the sea to feed in open water.

Their diet consists mainly of fish such as herring, mackerel, smelt, capelin, squid, and crustaceans such as shrimp or lobster.

17. Jabiru

The Jabiru is a sizeable stork-like bird found in the wetlands of Central and South America. The Jabiru has a black head, neck, and bill, with a white ring around its neck. The rest of its body is white with black wingtips. 

The Jabiru is the tallest flying bird in the Americas and can reach heights of up to 12 feet! Despite their colossal size, they can only fly for about 30 minutes at a time before landing for an hour or so.

They are also great swimmers and can often be seen swimming on one leg with their vast wings sticking out sideways.

18. American Redstart

The American redstart is a small songbird with black wings and a striking red breast. These Birds with black heads are found in woodlands and gardens across the eastern United States, where they feed on insects.

The male American redstart is especially easy to identify, with his black head, back, and tail offset by vivid yellow patches. 

Females and juveniles are more subdued in color but share the same black-and-yellow patterning. As winter approaches, both males and females will migrate southward.

The male American redstart defends its territory aggressively during this time of year, which makes them a challenging bird to observe closely.

19. Black Scoter

The Black Scoter is a large sea duck with a black body and white belly. Males have a black head and neck, while females have a dark brown head. Both sexes have yellow eyes. These birds breed in the northern hemisphere near freshwater lakes and marshes. 

In the winter, they migrate to coastal waters. They feed on fish, crustaceans, worms, insects, and mollusks. They nest on the ground in thick vegetation near water. Females lay 6-10 eggs that are incubated for 28 days.

20. Magnificent Frigatebird

The magnificent frigatebird is a seabird of the frigatebird family Fregatidae. The males have black feathers on their heads, backs, and wings. The females have brownish-red feathers on their heads and necks, with black wings and tails. 

Both sexes have long, hooked bills and webbed feet. These Birds with black heads are found near tropical coasts and islands.

21. Tufted Duck

The tufted duck is a medium-sized waterfowl with a long, black neck and head. The body is black and white, and the wings are gray. Adult males have a large, white tuft on their heads. 

Females and juveniles do not have the tuft, but they have a white line running from their eyes to the back of their necks. Tufted ducks are found in freshwater lakes and marshes across North America. They eat aquatic plants and animals, including fish, crustaceans, and insects.

22. Black Tern

The black tern is a small, dark-bodied tern with a long, forked tail. The head and underparts are black, and the wings are pale gray. These birds are found near freshwater marshes and ponds in North America. 

In the breeding season, they primarily eat insects. In winter, their diet shifts to include more fish. They will also steal food from other animals, like ducks. 

Birds with black heads do not migrate any significant distance outside their nesting range. Breeding pairs build nests made of grasses or seaweed on the ground near water. Their eggs are light blue and speckled with brown spots. 

Females lay two eggs per clutch, but one egg is often infertile. Male black terns defend the nest while females incubate it. Chicks leave the nest after only two weeks old and can fly after six weeks old.


Many birds have blackheads, but some of the most common include crows, ravens, and blackbirds. While the leaders of these birds may be black, their plumage can vary greatly. For example, crows are primarily black, while ravens have a mix of black and brown feathers. 

Blackbirds can be either all black or have black and brown feathers. Try out the laughing kookaburra if you’re looking for birds with black heads and bodies.

This bird is so called because it laughs like an older adult. If you want to know more about different types of black-headed birds, then check out Owl Facts.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like