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10 Birds With Long Necks (With Pictures)

Written by Garrett Hayes

Last updated on Apr 26th, 2024
birds with long neck - featured image

Generally, our avian pals come in different sizes and shapes, with the less common body part being a long neck. Birds with long necks go hand in hand with longer legs and huge bodies. Long necks can come in handy, especially when keeping an eye on potential predators.

After all, some predators love sneaking up on birds through low vegetation. It can also help these birds access sediments when wading in shallow rivers.

10 Stunning Birds With Long Necks

1. Little Blue Heron

Despite its name, the Little Blue Heron is one of the many creatures with long necks. They have a slender build, long legs, and a long, pointed bill. The plumage of immature Little Blue Herons is entirely white, while adults have a slate-blue body with a purplish-maroon head and neck.

Adult Little Blue Herons are medium-sized herons, measuring about 22 to 29 inches in length with a wingspan of around 38 to 41 inches.

Little Blue Herons can be found in various wetland habitats, including swamps, marshes, estuaries, and shallow coastal lagoons. Unlike the Cattle Egret, they are primarily found in the southeastern United States, the Caribbean, and parts of Central and South America.

They are solitary birds, often seen foraging alone or in loose groups. 

They feed mainly on small fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and insects, which they catch by standing still or slowly wading through shallow water and striking at their prey with their sharp bill. They may also occasionally forage on land.

During the Mating season, Little Blue Herons gather in colonies, often alongside other heron species. They build their nests in trees or shrubs, usually near water.

The female typically lays 3-5 pale blue-green eggs, which both parents take turns incubating for about 21-24 days. The chicks are covered in white down when they hatch and fledge after about 30-35 days.

2. Great Blue Heron

Another incredible creature on our list is the great blue heron. It is a large wading bird that is native to North and Central America. 

In fact, it’s the largest heron species in North America. It stands about 45 to 54 inches tall with a wingspan of 65.8 to 79.1 inches.

Unlike the Cattle Egret which has a shorter neck, the Great blue heron has a distinctive appearance with long legs, a long neck, and a long, pointed bill. Its body is predominantly blue-gray, and it has a white face with a black stripe extending from the eye to the back of the head. During the mating season, the heron develops long, delicate plumes on its chest and back.

The great blue herons can be found in a variety of habitats near water, including wetlands, marshes, lake shores, rivers, and the Gulf Coast. They are adaptable birds that occupy both saltwater and freshwater habitats. They can also be seen in urban and suburban environments near ponds and other bodies of water.

These herons are known for their slow, deliberate movements and their ability to stand motionless for extended periods while waiting to catch prey. 

Great blue herons are skilled hunters who eat fish, but they also eat amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and occasionally birds.

3. Stork

Storks are large, long-legged, wading birds belonging to the family Ciconiidae. They are known for their distinctive appearance and behavior and can be found in various parts of the world. There are several stork species, including the White Stork, Black Stork, Marabou Stork, and Wood Stork.

Storks have long necks and legs, enabling them to wade in shallow water and forage for food. They have large wingspans, which make them skilled gliders during migration. Most storks have predominantly white plumage, with some species displaying black feathers on their wings or backs. Their bills are long and pointed, which helps them catch their prey.

Storks are carnivorous birds and are skilled predators. They use their sharp bills to catch their prey, which they then swallow whole. They are known for their elegant and graceful movements while hunting in shallow waters.

Storks are monogamous birds that form long-term pair bonds. They often build large stick nests, usually in high places such as on cliffs, trees, or man-made structures like poles and rooftops. Some species are known for their seasonal migration to breeding grounds.

Storks have cultural significance in many societies. In some cultures, they are associated with fertility, birth, and good luck. 

They are famously linked to the story of delivering babies to families, a tradition that dates back to ancient times.

4. White-faced Ibis

The White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) is a species of bird belonging to the Ibis family, Threskiornithidae. It is a medium-sized wading bird found in the Americas. Its breeding range includes western portions of North America, including the western United States, Mexico, and parts of southern Canada.

The White-faced Ibis is primarily distinguished by its distinctive coloration. It has dark, iridescent plumage with a glossy greenish-bronze sheen.

The face and throat are covered with white feathers, giving the bird its name.

In breeding plumage, the face becomes more red, and bare skin around the eye turns blue. This species prefers wetland habitats such as marshes, swamps, lakes, and flooded areas. They are often found near shallow water bodies, where they feed on aquatic insects, small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.

White-faced Ibises are known for their sociable behavior and can often be found in groups, especially during the breeding season. They are typically active during the day and use their long, curved bills to probe the mud and water for food.

During the breeding season, which typically occurs from spring to summer, White-faced Ibises form colonies in suitable wetland areas. They construct nests out of vegetation near water and lay a clutch of 2 to 4 eggs. Both parents take part in incubating the eggs and raising the chicks.

5. Sandhill Cranes

North America is home to some huge birds with long necks and the sandhill crane is no exception. The Sandhill cranes are tall birds, standing about 3 to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of about 78.7 inches. They weigh about 172.8 oz with an average length of approximately 47.2 inches.

They have a grayish plumage overall, with a reddish forehead and a distinctive patch of bare, red skin on the crown. Their long legs are black, and they have a long, pointed bill. Adults have a red patch on their cheeks, and during the breeding season, they display elaborate courtship dances.

They can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, marshes, prairies, and grasslands. During the breeding season, they prefer nesting in freshwater marshes and wetlands. In winter, these birds with long necks may be found in agricultural fields, grasslands, and even urban areas.

Unlike the whooping crane, these cranes are known for their distinctive trumpeting calls, which are loud and carry over long distances. 

They are highly social birds and often gather in large flocks, sometimes numbering in the thousands, during migration and winter. These long-necked birds are omnivorous and feed on a diet that includes plant material, seeds, insects, small vertebrates, small fish, and even small mammals.

They form long-term pair bonds and typically mate for life. During the breeding season, they engage in elaborate courtship displays that involve dancing, jumping, and calling. They build large nests made of vegetation in wetland areas, and females lay usually two eggs.

Both parents take turns incubating the eggs for about 30 days, and once hatched, the chicks are precocial and can leave the nest shortly after. The parents care for and protect the chicks until they become independent.

6. American Flamingo

Also known as the Caribbean Flamingo, the American Flamingo is a species of flamingo found in the Americas. 

The American Flamingo is one of the largest birds with long necks with a unique and distinctive appearance. It has a long, thin neck, long, slender legs, and a long neck.

The plumage is primarily pink, ranging from pale pink to vivid reddish pink. The feathers on the wings are black-edged, which becomes visible during flight. The bill is long and slightly curved downward, and it is pink with a black tip.

An adult American Flamingo measures about 5 feet in height and has a wingspan of around 4 to 5 feet. It weighs between 4 to 8 pounds.

The American Flamingo is native to the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, and the Yucatan Peninsula. It is also found in the northern part of South America, including Venezuela and Colombia. These birds inhabit shallow coastal lagoons, estuaries, salt pans, and mudflats in South America.

They are well adapted to saline or alkaline water and are often found in mangrove swamps and saltwater lagoons.

American Flamingos are highly social long-necked birds and often gather in large flocks. Their diet is responsible for their pink coloration, as the pigments in the food they consume are deposited in their feathers.

During the breeding season, American Flamingos form large nesting colonies. They build cone-shaped mud nests on the ground, usually in areas with minimal vegetation or on small islands. Both males and females contribute to nest construction.

The American Flamingo is listed as "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, some local populations face threats due to habitat loss, disturbance, and pollution. Conservation efforts focus on protecting their breeding sites and managing the quality of their habitats.

7. Ostrich

Our list of birds with long necks would be incomplete without mentioning the world’s largest bird. Native to Africa, the Ostrich is the largest living species of bird. It is a flightless bird known for its unique physical characteristics and fascinating behaviors.

The Ostrich is a large bird with a long neck and long, sturdy legs. 

It stands as the tallest and heaviest bird species, with adult males reaching heights of up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) and weighing around 250 to 350 pounds (113 to 159 kilograms).

Ostriches are native to Africa and are found in various countries across the continent, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, and Tanzania where they eat insects.

8. Purple Gallinule

Even though it’s a small bird, the Purple Gallinule has a long neck that it uses to hunt. The Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) is indeed a striking and colorful bird belonging to the rail family, Rallidae. It is native to the Americas and is known for its vibrant plumage and unique appearance.

The Purple Gallinule is a medium-sized bird with a mix of bright colors. It has a purple-blue head and neck, a bright yellow-tipped red bill, a blue body, and greenish-yellow legs and feet. The undertail coverts are white, and the flanks are barred with white. This colorful plumage makes them stand out in their wetland habitats.

This species is highly associated with freshwater wetlands and prefers habitats with dense vegetation. They are particularly skilled at walking on floating vegetation, which allows them to forage in areas other birds might not access easily.

Purple Gallinules are generally secretive birds, but they are more conspicuous during their breeding season.

They are strong swimmers and can also fly, but they prefer to walk on floating vegetation.

9. Canada Goose

Our list would be incomplete without mentioning North America's most recognizable bird. The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a well-known and widespread waterfowl species native to North America.

Canada Geese are large birds with a distinctive appearance. They have a long black neck and head, with a white chinstrap and cheeks. The body is mostly brownish-gray, and the breast and belly are typically lighter in color.

The wings have a striking pattern of black and white, visible during flight. When in flight, Canada Geese display a characteristic V-formation.

Canada Geese are migratory birds, and their annual migration patterns can be impressive. They often travel long distances between their breeding grounds in northern regions and their wintering grounds in more temperate areas.

During migration, they fly in a V-formation, which helps reduce air resistance and conserve energy.

They are primarily herbivorous, feeding on grasses, aquatic plants, and agricultural crops.

10. Scarlet Ibis

The Scarlet Ibis is a striking bird known for its vibrant red plumage. The Scarlet Ibis is native to the tropical regions of South America, including parts of Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil.

The Scarlet Ibis is a medium-sized bird, measuring around 22-26 inches (55-65 cm) in length and weighing approximately 1.8-2.4 pounds (0.8-1.1 kg). Adult birds are primarily bright scarlet, with long, and curved bills. They have black wingtips, which are only visible when the wings are spread.

The Scarlet Ibis holds cultural significance in several countries where it is found.

In Trinidad and Tobago, it is the national bird and is featured on the country's coat of arms. This bird is associated with various myths, folklore, and rituals in the region.


We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful birds with some unique body features. And one of the key features that stand out is their long necks. The above bird species have long necks with the ostrich being flightless. The Sandhill cranes have the longest neck and legs while the Great egret are the whitest birds with long necks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the rarest bird with a long neck?

The Whooping crane is one of the rarest creatures with long necks; currently, there are about 800 birds. Named for its unique whooping noises, the whooping crane is the tallest North American bird.

Which bird has a long neck, but can’t fly?

The Ostrich is the largest bird with a long neck that can’t fly, but it can attain a maximum speed of 43 mph. It lays the biggest eggs of all birds.

Which avian species is blue and has a long neck?

The Great blue egret has the longest neck of all blue birds, its S-shaped neck helps it when looking for food in the wetlands and marshes.

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