Last Updated: March 3, 2023
From woodpeckers to chickadees, you will find plenty of black and white birds. Whether in the forest or backyard, they are adorable even if they are not as vibrant as other species.
Identifying the specific type can be confusing. If you need help, keep on reading as we list down some of the most common birds with black and white patterns.
15 Common Black And White Birds
1. Black And White Warbler
These birds are easily recognizable with bold black and white patterns throughout their bodies. They also have two white wing bars on their black wings. Females are duller than males, with fewer streaks.
While they are warblers, these birds act more like nuthatches. They forage by creeping up and down in tree barks while looking for insects to eat.
For their habitats, you will often find them in mixed and deciduous forests. The black and white warbler loves places with mixed-age trees. In the winter, they forage on the edges of forests.
During the breeding season, black and white warblers are in North America. In the winter, they move to South America.
2. Black-Capped Chickadee
Unsure if it is a black-capped chickadee that you are seeing? One of the first things to look for is the distinctive black cap. It also has white cheeks, a soft gray back, and white wing feathers with gray edges.
You will seldom find a black-capped chickadee spending its time in a bird feeder. It will visit quickly to grab seeds and fly quickly to eat somewhere else. When flying, they are acrobatic and often stay in flocks.
If there are woody shrubs and trees, there is a high chance that you will find these small birds. They are also a common sight in neighborhood parks and private backyards.
3. Black-Throated Gray Warbler
The bold black and white stripes of this warbler are easily distinguishable. It also has a tiny yellow spot above its eyes.
Black-throated warblers eat insects, such as green caterpillars. They will pluck trees like oaks in search of insects to eat. It can also search amongst leaves in low-growing foliage.
Looking for black-throated gray warblers? Some of the best places to check out are dry oak slopes and open mixed woods. They are common in forests with pine, pinyon, oak, and juniper.
4. Downy Woodpecker
An easy way to differentiate a downy woodpecker from a larger hairy woodpecker is through the bill size. The bill of downy woodpeckers is about a third of the length of their heads. On the other hand, the bill of hairy woodpeckers is almost the same length as their heads.
The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in North America. On average, it has a length of 5.5 to 6.7 inches and a wingspan of 9.8 to 11.8 inches.
Insects constitute a majority of the diet of downy woodpeckers. They like ants, beetles, caterpillars, and gall wasps. They also eat berries and fruits.
They are likely to visit backyard feeders. They prefer suet, but you can also lure them with black oil sunflower seeds, chunky peanut butter, and millet.
5. Hairy Woodpecker
A medium-sized bird, the hairy woodpecker has a noticeable black and white pattern. The bird also has a large white patch at the back. Meanwhile, male birds from this family have a red patch at the back of the head.
While they are small, these woodpeckers are loud, making it easy to detect their presence. You can often hear their whinnying calls in the backyard.
Aside from bird feeders, other places where you will often see a hairy woodpecker are the cavities of dead trees, where it will lay up to six white eggs. They are also frequent in cemeteries, parks, and woodlots.
6. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Native to North America, rose-breasted grosbeaks are also found in Canada. Meanwhile, when they migrate, they head to South and Central America, including Cuba, Panama, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
A stocky and medium-sized songbird, it has a broad chest, triangular bill, square tail, and short neck. To add, males have a vibrant red chevron extending from their black throat to the center of their breast.
The stout bill of the rose-breasted grosbeak is used for eating seeds and fruits. It also feeds on insects, and is a frequent visitor of backyard feeders.
It is common to see the rose-breasted grosbeak in forests, especially those with deciduous trees and conifers.
7. White-Breasted Nuthatch
The largest amongst nuthatches, these black and white birds have large heads, narrow bills, and gray markings throughout their bodies. It also has a gray or black cap, which makes it look like it is wearing a hood.
An agile bird, you will often find the white-breasted nuthatch creeping along large branches and trunks. They use their straight and pointed bills to probe into bark furrows.
Woodland edges and mature woods are some of the most common habitats of white-breasted nuthatches. They are frequent in deciduous oak, basswood, hickory, and maple stands.
8. Red-Headed Woodpecker
Also known as flying checkerboards, these birds have a noticeable crimson head, black back, and white patches on the wings. Another way to identify this bird is to look at its white underside.
In the winter, they are occasional visitors to bird feeders with suet. These birds will also eat fruits, pecans, acorns, seeds, and beechnuts.
The red-headed woodpecker is known for its habit of storing food. It can also cover its food with bark or wood to hide it from others.
9. Carolina Chickadee
At a length of four to five inches, the Carolina chickadee is small but has a large head. It has a short neck, narrow tail, and spherical body. Plus, it has a black bib and cap, which are separated by its white cheeks. The tail, back, and wings are soft gray.
This tiny black and white bird is acrobatic and inquisitive, which makes it a joy to observe even at a distance. They are also flocking species, so you will often find them in groups when flying.
Berries, seeds, and insects form most of the diet of Carolina chickadees. In the winter, they consume more vegetable matter than in the summer. During the warmer months, they eat primarily caterpillars.
10. Pileated Woodpecker
The biggest woodpecker that you will find in the United States, this bird is known for its flaming red triangular crest. Most of its body is black with a white stripe that is most visible when flying. Males have a red stripe on their cheeks.
Carpenter ants are the favorites of these black and white birds, which they retrieve from fallen logs and dead trees. They also feed on termites, beetle larvae, blackberries, and nuts.
To see pileated woodpeckers, you should head to drowned and mature forests. Alternatively, they are common sights in backyard feeders, especially when there is suet.
11. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Given its name, most people will look for its red belly for easy identification. Nonetheless, while the belly is red, it is often pale, and hence, unnoticeable. The red cap is more visible than its belly, although it is found only in males. They also have black and white markings on their back.
You will most likely find these black and white birds if you have backyard feeders at home. They like fruits and nuts, as well as insects and spiders.
Aside from their body coloration, another easy way to identify these birds is through their sounds. They have loud rolling calls, which you will hear before you see them.
12. Eastern Kingbird
A medium-sized flycatcher with a big head, the eastern kingbird has a grayish black back while the underbody is white. The head is dark black while the tip of the tail feathers is white.
The king in the name of these birds is a reference to its aggression. It behaves like a king when defending its nests from attackers.
You will find eastern kingbirds in most parts of the United States, but they are most common in the southwestern parts of the country. In the winter, they head to Central and South America.
Some of the most common habitats of eastern kingbirds include forest edges, orchards, fields, lakes, and rivers.
13. Dark-Eyed Junco
As it is named, one of the most noticeable characteristics of this black and white bird is its dark eyes. It has a large head, conspicuous tail, and stout bill. Additionally, it has white feathers in the outer tail, which are most visible when the bird is in flight.
The colors can vary depending on the state. In the east, they are black and white, while in the west, they are mostly brown.
If you want them to come to your backyard, install platform or ground feeders with cracked corn, Nyjer seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, and millet.
14. Black Phoebe
With a mostly black body, the black phoebe is a small and stout bird. It has a black head, chest, and back with dark gray upperparts.
Black phoebes are regular residents in the western United States. They are also in Central America and Mexico. Specifically, you will see them near coastal areas, ponds, and lakes.
As for its diet, it will eat mostly flying insects. Some of its favorites are flies, bugs, grasshoppers, beetles, and wasps.
15. Black-Billed Magpie
As its name implies, one of the first things that you will notice in this bird is its black bill. Meanwhile, other physical features include the long tail and the blue-green flashes on the tail and wings.
Black-billed magpies are known for being intelligent birds. They have abstract-concept learning capabilities.
If you want to see these birds, the best places to visit are grasslands, meadows, and other open areas. They can also come to backyards, especially when suet and platform feeders have black oil sunflower seeds, milo, and millet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of bird is white and black?
You will find different types of white and black birds, including downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, dark-eyed juncos, yellow-rumped warblers, white-breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees, black and white warblers, Carolina chickadees, red-bellied woodpeckers, and red-headed woodpeckers.
What does a black and white bird symbolize?
The symbolism of the black and white colors in birds can vary from one culture to another. In some, the colors represent balance. Others may associate it with bad luck, unhappy events, or even death. Meanwhile, it is also associated with the resurrection of Jesus.
Black and white birds may seem simple but are a visual treat. They are as stunning as their more colorful counterparts. You will find these birds living in their natural habitats, while others can visit your backyards with the right bird feeders.
Are there other birds that we forgot to include on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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