If you’re a bird enthusiast or just curious about our feathered friends, “Birds That Start With A” is the perfect product for you. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover a wide range of avian species whose names begin with the letter A.
From the majestic American Black Duck to the colorful Anna’s Hummingbird, this collection showcases the diversity and beauty of these winged creatures.
Dive into the world of birds as you explore the fascinating details and characteristics of each species, making this an essential resource for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike.
List of US Birds That Start With the Letter A
American Black Duck
The American Black Duck is a freshwater bird, often mistaken for a female Mallard, but is distinctly darker.
- Appearance: This bird showcases a dark brown body, with paler gray-brown underparts. Their wings have a distinct blue-violet speculum bordered in white.
- Diet: They predominantly feed on plant material but will also eat small fish and aquatic insects. Foraging is typically done in shallow water where they will dabble and up-end to reach their food.
- Reproduction: The female selects the nesting site, generally in tall grass or in reeds. After laying 6-12 eggs, she will incubate them for about a month.
The Antillean Nighthawk, native to the Caribbean and parts of Florida, is a nocturnal bird that excels in catching insects during flight.
- Appearance: It’s similar to the Common Nighthawk but is generally smaller with longer wings and a different call. Its body is predominantly gray with white patterns and a white throat.
- Diet: Their diet consists mainly of flying insects which they catch in mid-air during their nighttime and twilight hunting forays.
- Reproduction: Not much is known about their breeding habits, but they are believed to lay their eggs directly on the ground, relying on their camouflage to protect them.
Anna’s Hummingbird is a native to the west coast of North America and is known for its striking iridescent tones and swift flight.
- Appearance: The males have an iridescent bronze-green back, a pale gray chest, and belly with a remarkable rose-pink forehead and throat.
- Diet: Their diet mainly comprises nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue, but they’ll also snack on insects and spiders.
- Reproduction: They build a nest on a horizontal tree branch or sheltered shrub. The female lays usually two white eggs, which she alone incubates.
The American Coot, while it might look like a duck, is closer in relation to the Sandhill Crane. It’s recognized for its white bill and ‘splatter-shield’.
- Appearance: They have a dark body with a distinguishing white bill and frontal shield. Their legs are yellow-green with remarkable lobed toes.
- Diet: They feed mainly on aquatic plants, algae, and small aquatic creatures.
- Reproduction: The nest, built by both male and female, is either floating or built in shallow water. They lay about 8-12 eggs per clutch.
A wader of the North American plains, the American Avocet is most notable for its unique bill, which curves upward.
- Appearance: Sporting a black and white body pattern with a rusty neck and head during breeding, they are not easily mistaken. Their thin, upwardly curved bill sets them apart from most birds.
- Diet: They feed on aquatic insects and crustaceans. Their unique bill allows them to sweep the water side-to-side, capturing food.
- Reproduction: Nests are scrapes in the ground, often lined with grass. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs.
The American Flamingo is a vibrant, tall wader best known for its brilliant pink coloring and long, sinuous neck.
- Appearance: These birds showcase a deep pink hue, with long, stick-like legs, and a downward curving beak. The pink coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in their diet.
- Diet: Their primary food source is algae and crustaceans. The rich diet of carotenoids results in the deep pink coloring of their feathers.
- Reproduction: Flamingos create mud nests on the ground, laying a single chalky-white egg. Both parents share the duty of incubating the egg.
Recognized for its incredible migratory patterns, the Arctic Tern travels from its Arctic breeding grounds to Antarctica every year.
- Appearance: A slender bird, it’s predominantly gray and white with a black cap on its head and a sharp, pointed bill.
- Diet: They mainly consume fish and small marine invertebrates, often diving to catch their prey.
- Reproduction: Arctic Terns nest in colonies on the ground, laying 1-3 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and help feed the chicks.
Allen’s Hummingbird, primarily found on the Pacific Coast, is known for its vibrant colors and rapid wing beats.
- Appearance: The male is bright orange and iridescent green, with a flashy orange-red throat. Females are green and white with spotted throats.
- Diet: They hover above flowers to feed on nectar and occasionally snack on insects.
- Reproduction: Their nests, made from plant material and spider webs, are typically located in shrubs or trees. Females lay two eggs and take on the responsibility of feeding the chicks.
The Ash-throated Flycatcher is a common bird of the arid west, often seen perching on fences and trees.
- Appearance: They possess a soft gray throat and breast, pale lemon belly, and a rufous tail. The inside of their mouth is strikingly yellow.
- Diet: Insects are the main staple, but they’ll also consume fruits and berries.
- Reproduction: They nest in cavities, often utilizing abandoned woodpecker holes, and will lay 4-5 eggs on average.
Sometimes referred to as the “Snakebird”, the Anhinga is recognized for its swimming habits, with just its neck and head above water.
- Appearance: They have a long slender neck, pointed bill, and webbed feet. Males are darker, while females have a tan head, neck, and chest.
- Diet: Their diet predominantly consists of fish, which they spear with their sharp beak.
- Reproduction: Nests are built in trees or shrubs near water. Both parents share duties in incubating the 3-5 eggs.
American White Pelican
One of the largest birds in North America, the American White Pelican is known for its cooperative fishing groups.
- Appearance: They sport a predominant white body with a large orange bill and black flight feathers.
- Diet: Primarily fish-eaters, they work together to herd fish into shallow waters, making for an easier catch.
- Reproduction: These pelicans breed in colonies on isolated islands, with both parents taking turns incubating their eggs.
This secretive heron is best known for its camouflage that helps it blend into reeds and marsh vegetation.
- Appearance: Streaked brown and buff, the American Bittern looks like the tall grasses in which it hides.
- Diet: They feed on fish, amphibians, and insects, stalking their prey in shallow waters.
- Reproduction: Their nests are built directly on the ground in dense wetland vegetation. The female incubates 3-5 eggs and is primarily responsible for feeding the chicks.
The American Kestrel, North America’s smallest falcon, is often seen hovering over fields or perched on telephone wires.
- Appearance: These birds are colorful with two black vertical markings on the sides of their face. Males have a blue-gray head, while females sport a brown head.
- Diet: Their diet is diverse, ranging from insects to small rodents and birds.
- Reproduction: They nest in cavities, often using abandoned woodpecker holes or nest boxes. Typically, they lay 4-5 eggs, which are incubated primarily by the female.
Often associated with spooky tales, the American Crow is one of the most intelligent and adaptable birds.
- Appearance: Glossy black all over, their hefty beak and size distinguish them from other black birds.
- Diet: They have a varied diet including grains, berries, insects, small animals, and occasionally scavenging carrion.
- Reproduction: They build nests in trees, often very high up, and lay 3-6 eggs. Both parents help in feeding the chicks.
This sprightly songbird, with its constant tail bobbing, frequents open spaces, showcasing its aerial acrobatics.
- Appearance: This small bird features brown streaked upper parts, a white belly, and a distinctive eyebrow stripe. In flight, it reveals white outer tail feathers.
- Diet: They primarily feed on insects, especially beetles and ants, which they forage from the ground.
- Reproduction: Nests are typically placed on the ground, concealed by vegetation. The female incubates the 4-6 eggs and both parents feed the chicks.
Renowned for its vibrant yellow plumage during breeding season, the American Goldfinch is a frequent visitor to backyard feeders.
- Appearance: Males are bright yellow with a black forehead and wings during the summer, while females are more subdued in color. Winter plumage turns them drab, olive-brown.
- Diet: Seeds, especially those from dandelions, sunflowers, and thistles, make up their main diet.
- Reproduction: The nest, built by the female, is so tight that it can hold water. She lays 4-6 eggs, which she incubates. The male takes on the role of feeding her during this period.
This elusive bird of southern Texas is notable for its melodious song and striking color contrast.
- Appearance: The combination of black and yellow on its body is unmistakable. It boasts a black head, neck, and upper back, with the rest being a bright lemon-yellow.
- Diet: They predominantly eat insects, but will also consume fruits and nectar.
- Reproduction: Their nests, cup-shaped and woven with grass, are typically situated in trees or shrubs. The female lays 3-5 eggs and takes the lead in incubation.
This energetic warbler, constantly on the move, displays its colorful patches to startle insects.
- Appearance: Males are black with bright orange patches on their sides, wings, and tail. Females and young males are gray with yellow patches.
- Diet: Insects form the crux of their diet, though they’ll consume berries in colder seasons.
- Reproduction: The nest, cup-shaped, is built on horizontal tree branches. The female incubates the 2-5 eggs, and both parents share feeding duties.
American Tree Sparrow
Despite its name, this sparrow spends very little time in trees, favoring ground habitats.
- Appearance: They are brown and streaked, with a distinguishing rusty cap and a dark spot on their pale chest.
- Diet: Seeds are the primary food source, though they’ll consume insects during the breeding season.
- Reproduction: Nests are constructed on the ground, hidden by vegetation. The female incubates the 4-6 eggs, and both parents help feed the chicks.
Although not well-studied, this owl is unique to the island of Hispaniola.
- Appearance: As the name suggests, they have a pale, ashy face with a contrasting dark border. Their overall body color is a mix of gray and brown.
- Diet: They are known to prey on insects and small vertebrates, using their keen sense of hearing and sight.
- Reproduction: Details of their nesting habits are sparse, but like other owls, they’re likely cavity nesters and lay a clutch of eggs.
This woodpecker, the only one with a solid brown back, is native to the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico.
- Appearance: They possess a brown back, white underparts, and black wings marked with white. Males have a small red patch on their heads.
- Diet: Their diet consists of insects, which they glean from tree barks. They’re also known to consume fruits occasionally.
- Reproduction: They nest in cavities, often excavating their own in dead trees or branches. Typically, 3-4 eggs are laid and incubated by both parents.
A familiar sight in gardens, the American Robin is often associated with the arrival of spring.
- Appearance: Boasting a reddish-orange belly, a dark gray back, and a dark head, their striking contrast is instantly recognizable.
- Diet: Earthworms, berries, and insects make up the bulk of their diet.
- Reproduction: Their nests, built predominantly by females, are often located in trees or shrubs. The bright blue eggs, usually numbering 3-4, are incubated by the female.
The Aztec Thrush, a rare visitor to the southern borders of the U.S., is an intriguing sight for birdwatchers.
- Appearance: It possesses a dark blue-black upper body, a white belly, and distinctive orange-brown wings. A bright yellow eye stands out against its darker head.
- Diet: This bird primarily feasts on fruits and berries. During breeding season, it may also consume insects.
- Reproduction: Little is known about its breeding habits in the U.S., but it’s likely similar to other thrushes, nesting in trees and laying several eggs.
A long-distance migrant, the Arctic Warbler breeds in the chilly reaches of Alaska and winters in Southeast Asia.
- Appearance: They’re olive-green above and yellowish below, with a distinct pale supercilium (eyebrow stripe). Their wings display faint wing-bars.
- Diet: Insects form the bulk of their diet, which they often catch mid-air or pluck from foliage.
- Reproduction: They build cup-shaped nests on the ground, well-hidden in vegetation. Typically, they lay 4-6 eggs, which are incubated by the female.
An introduced species, the African Silverbill has established populations in the southern parts of the U.S.
- Appearance: This small finch is brown overall with a distinctive silvery bill. The underparts are slightly paler than the upper body.
- Diet: Seeds, especially grass seeds, are their primary source of nutrition.
- Reproduction: They’re known to nest in shrubs or trees, creating a dome-shaped structure with a side entrance. Inside, 4-6 white eggs are laid, which both parents incubate.
A member of the “Empidonax” group of flycatchers, the Alder Flycatcher can be tricky to identify by appearance alone.
- Appearance: Olive-green on the upper parts and whitish below, they have two white wing-bars and an eye-ring that is often more pronounced at the back.
- Diet: Their diet is dominated by insects, which they adeptly snatch from the air or pick off vegetation.
- Reproduction: Nests are built close to the ground in shrubs or small trees. The female takes on the task of incubating the 3-4 eggs.