Venturing across the vastness of our skies, there’s a select group of birds that vivaciously vibrate with the verve of the letter ‘V’. These vibrant voyagers, veiled in varied hues, evoke visions of verdant valleys and vast volcanic vistas.
Venture with us as we vivify the voices, virtues, and variations of these ‘V’-vested avian virtuosos.
Lits of Birds Starting with V
Here’s a list of birds found in the U.S. that start with the letter V:
- Veery: This bird is a species of thrush known for its warm, rusty appearance and ethereal song.
- Violet-crowned Hummingbird: Found mostly in the southwestern U.S., this hummingbird has a brilliant violet crown and a white underbelly.
- Violet-green Swallow: With dazzling green and violet colors on its upper parts, this swallow is found primarily in the western U.S.
- Varied Thrush: This bird is identified by its striking black breast band; it’s found mainly in the Pacific Northwest.
- Virginia’s Warbler: A small songbird, this warbler has a gray head and yellow chest and is found in the southwestern U.S.
- Vesper Sparrow: Known for singing at dusk (hence the name “Vesper”), this sparrow has a streaked appearance and a white eye-ring.
- Verdin: This tiny bird has a gray body and a bright yellow head. It’s found in the deserts of the southwestern U.S.
- Violet-backed Starling: Though it’s an African species, there have been rare reports of sightings in the U.S.
The Velvet Scoter, also known as the Melanitta fusca, is a species of sea duck that can be found in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
These unique birds mainly inhabit coastal regions and prefer calm waters such as lakes and lagoons. They can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America, with breeding grounds in the boreal forests of northern Eurasia.
The Velvet Scoter is a medium-sized diving duck with a unique plumage. The males display a striking appearance, featuring a black body with contrasting white wing patches and a bright yellow knob at the base of their bill. Females, on the other hand, have a more subdued coloring with a dark brown body and less prominent yellow knob. Both genders have a distinct velvety plumage, hence the name “Velvet Scoter.”
As diving ducks, Velvet Scoters feed primarily on aquatic invertebrates and small fish that they catch by diving underwater. Their diet consists of mollusks, crustaceans, and various species of fish. They are capable divers, often diving up to depths of 20 meters (65 feet) in search of food.
Despite their elegant appearance and widespread distribution, Velvet Scoters are known to be relatively shy and elusive birds. They tend to remain in flocks and are rarely found in close proximity to human settlements. During the mating season, males engage in dramatic displays, raising their bills and tilting their heads backward while emitting distinct calls to attract females. These courtship rituals are fascinating to observe and add to the unique allure of the Velvet Scoter.
The Vermilion Flycatcher, scientifically known as Pyrocephalus obscurus, is a small passerine bird renowned for its vibrant plumage and distinctive hunting behavior.
Native to the Americas, the Vermilion Flycatcher can be found in a range of habitats, including open woodlands, shrublands, and grasslands. They are particularly fond of areas with scattered trees and low vegetation, where they can effortlessly spot and catch their prey.
The male Vermilion Flycatcher showcases a breathtaking appearance, featuring a bright red plumage that stands out amidst its surroundings. Its head, back, and throat are adorned with this captivating shade of red, while its breast and belly are light in color. Females, on the other hand, have a more subdued plumage with grayish-brown feathers that blend in with their surroundings.
True to their name, Vermilion Flycatchers primarily feed on flying insects, which they catch on the wing. They perch on outstretched branches, waiting patiently for their prey to swoop by, and then gracefully dart into the air to capture their target. Their diet includes beetles, butterflies, moths, and other small insects.
One intriguing fact about the Vermilion Flycatcher is its unusual nesting behavior. Unlike many other birds, the female Vermilion Flycatcher constructs its nest using spiderwebs. This unique method allows the nest to stretch and accommodate as the nestlings grow. Additionally, males are known for their elaborate courtship displays, which involve aerial acrobatics and frequent singing to attract a mate. These displays are a sight to behold and add to the charm of these captivating birds.
The Varied Thrush, scientifically known as Ixoreus naevius, is a species of songbird that can be found in the lush forests of North America.
Varied Thrushes have a preference for coniferous forests, particularly those with dense undergrowth and moist environments. They can be found in the western regions of North America, from Alaska down to California and into the Canadian Rockies.
These birds boast a striking appearance, with sophisticated plumage that combines shades of black, orange, and white. Males have a black hood and back, with vibrant orange underparts and white streaks on their wings. Females, however, exhibit a less contrasting appearance, with darker brown feathers and muted orange underparts.
Primarily insectivorous, Varied Thrushes feed on a wide range of invertebrates found in their woodland habitats. They have a particular affinity for snails, earthworms, beetles, and spiders. During the breeding season, they also incorporate fruits and berries into their diet.
One fascinating behavior of the Varied Thrush is its distinct migratory pattern. During the breeding season, these birds reside in their forest habitats. However, when winter arrives, they undertake extensive migrations, sometimes traveling long distances to search for food. Varied Thrushes are also known for their beautiful and melodic songs, which consist of variable, flute-like notes that echo through the forest. These enchanting songs add to the overall charm of this unique species.
The Variable Goshawk, scientifically known as Accipiter hiogaster, is a medium-sized raptor known for its agility and remarkable hunting abilities.
Variable Goshawks can be found in various types of forests, ranging from tropical rainforests to temperate woodlands. They inhabit regions across Asia, from the eastern Himalayas to Southeast Asia.
Physical Description of the Variable Goshawk
These raptors exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males and females differing in size and plumage. Females are larger and have striking beady yellow eyes. The adults’ plumage varies between individuals, showcasing a range of gray or brown shades. Juveniles, on the other hand, have a distinctive reddish-brown coloration with streaks and spots.
As predatory birds, Variable Goshawks primarily feed on small to medium-sized birds. Their diet includes pigeons, doves, sparrows, and other passerines. These goshawks possess impressive agility and speed, allowing them to swiftly maneuver through dense forests in pursuit of their prey.
One fascinating aspect of the Variable Goshawk is its unique behavior during courtship. Male goshawks perform a striking display known as the “sky dance.” This aerial dance involves steep dives and sharp turns, accompanied by high-pitched calls. This display not only showcases the agility and strength of these magnificent birds but also serves as a means to attract potential mates. Variable Goshawks are powerful and adaptable predators, seamlessly blending into their forest habitats and captivating observers with their hunting prowess.
The Violet-Capped Hummingbird, scientifically known as Goldmania violiceps, is a small and vibrant bird that belongs to the hummingbird family.
These hummingbirds are endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. They thrive in montane cloud forests, where the air is cooler and the vegetation is dense.
Violet-Capped Hummingbird Appearance
The Violet-Capped Hummingbird showcases a stunning color palette, with the males boasting a vibrant mix of purple and green plumage. Their crowns and throats exhibit a jewel-like violet hue that contrasts beautifully with their green bodies. Females, on the other hand, have similar green plumage but lack the vibrant violet cap.
As typical hummingbirds, the Violet-Capped Hummingbird primarily feeds on nectar obtained from various flowering plants. Their long and slender bills are perfectly adapted for reaching deep into flowers to extract nectar. They are particularly fond of tubular flowers with abundant nectar resources. In addition to nectar, these hummingbirds occasionally supplement their diet with small insects and spiders.
One captivating fact about the Violet-Capped Hummingbird is its unique breeding behavior. The female Violet-Capped Hummingbird constructs a compact cup-shaped nest using plant fibers, moss, and spider silk. The nests are often well-hidden among vegetation, providing protection for the eggs and nestlings. Additionally, these hummingbirds are known for their incredible flight capabilities. They can hover effortlessly in mid-air, fly backward, and make sharp turns, showcasing their agility and dexterity. The Violet-Capped Hummingbird’s enchanting appearance and captivating behaviors make it a true gem of the cloud forests.
The Variable Hawk, scientifically known as Geranoaetus polyosoma, is a large bird of prey found in the mountainous regions of South America.
Variable Hawks can be found in various habitat types across their range in South America, including open grasslands, shrublands, and montane forests. They are particularly common in the Andes Mountains, where they soar through the skies and scan the landscape for prey.
Variable Hawk Physical Features
These raptors exhibit substantial morphological variation among individuals, hence their name “Variable Hawk.” Generally, they have a brownish-black upper body and a white underside, with distinct patches of rufous on their wings and tail. The coloration and patterns of their plumage can differ significantly between geographical locations and individuals.
Variable Hawks are opportunistic predators, preying on a variety of small to medium-sized vertebrates. Their diet includes rodents, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and even large insects. These hawks possess sharp talons and a powerful beak, allowing them to capture and consume their prey with ease.
One interesting fact about the Variable Hawk is its adaptability to different habitats and elevations. They can be found from coastal areas all the way up to high-altitude regions above 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). Additionally, Variable Hawks often engage in aerial displays, soaring high in the sky and performing acrobatic maneuvers, such as looping and diving. These breathtaking displays not only serve as territorial displays but also demonstrate the agility and strength of these magnificent birds.
The Vermilion Tanager, scientifically known as Calochaetes coccineus, is a small and brilliantly colored bird found in the tropical regions of South America.
Vermilion Tanagers thrive in a variety of habitats, including lowland rainforests, cloud forests, and forest edges. They can be found in countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, where their vibrant plumage adds a splash of color to the lush green surroundings.
Characteristics of the Vermilion Tanager
The Vermilion Tanager is easily distinguished by its striking bright red plumage, which covers its entire body, including its head, back, wings, and tail. Its eyes are a contrasting shade of blue, creating a visually captivating combination. Both males and females share this vibrant coloring, making them equally stunning.
These tanagers primarily feed on fruit and nectar. They have a particular affinity for fruits with red or purple hues, such as berries and figs. Their curved beak is well-adapted for extracting nectar from flowers, which adds variety to their diet.
One fascinating aspect of the Vermilion Tanager is its behavior during the breeding season. Males display elaborate courtship rituals, which involve fluffing their feathers, fluttering their wings, and emitting melodious songs. These displays serve to attract females and establish mating territories. Additionally, Vermilion Tanagers have been known to gather in mixed-species flocks, often joining forces with other bird species to search for food and provide protection against potential predators. These social behaviors contribute to the overall charm of these eye-catching birds.
The Vervain Hummingbird, scientifically known as Mellisuga minima, is a small and charismatic hummingbird species that inhabits the Caribbean islands and parts of Central and South America.
Vervain Hummingbirds can be found in various habitats, including coastal scrublands, dry forests, and gardens. They are mainly found in countries such as Jamaica, Hispaniola, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands.
Vervain Hummingbird Attributes
Although small in size, the Vervain Hummingbird possesses a vibrant plumage that adds a burst of color to its tropical surroundings. Males exhibit an iridescent green color on their upperparts and a contrasting white underside. Females, on the other hand, have a white breast and belly with a less pronounced green hue.
As with other hummingbirds, the Vervain Hummingbird primarily feeds on nectar obtained from a variety of flowering plants. Their long, slender bills are perfectly adapted for reaching deep into tubular flowers and extracting the nectar stored within. In addition to nectar, these hummingbirds supplement their diet with insects and spiders, providing them with essential proteins.
One fascinating fact about the Vervain Hummingbird is its unique nesting behavior. Unlike many other hummingbirds, which construct nests using plant materials like twigs and leaves, the Vervain Hummingbird builds a cozy little hammock-like nest using soft fibers, spider silk, and moss. These nests are often hidden amidst vegetation and provide a secure and comfortable environment for the eggs and nestlings. Additionally, the Vervain Hummingbird is known for its agility and ability to hover effortlessly in mid-air, further emphasizing its charm and grace.
The Verdin, scientifically known as Auriparus flaviceps, is a small songbird that can be found in the arid regions of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.
Verdins primarily inhabit areas with arid climates such as desert scrublands, thorny bushes, and mesquite trees. They are commonly found in states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States, as well as in Baja California and northern Mexico.
Verdins are small, sparrow-sized birds with a distinctive appearance. They have a compact body covered in grayish feathers, with a yellow head and a black mask around their eyes. Their beaks are slender and slightly curved, serving them well in reaching deep into the crevices of tree bark in search of insects and spiders.
Verdins have a primarily insectivorous diet. They feed on a wide array of insects, including beetles, caterpillars, ants, and spiders. They are also known to consume plant matter, particularly during the winter when insects may be scarce. Additionally, Verdins have a unique feeding behavior where they extract nectar from desert flowers, making them one of the few songbirds with this ability.
One interesting aspect of the Verdin is its unique nesting behavior. They construct intricate nests made of twigs, spider webs, and feathers. These nests are often bottle-shaped with a small side entrance, providing protection for the eggs and the nestlings. Verdins are also highly social birds, often seen in small family groups or mixed-species flocks, interacting and foraging together. Their distinctive appearance and charming behaviors make the Verdin a delightful sight in their arid habitats.
The Vega Gull, scientifically known as Larus vegae, is a large and majestic seabird that can be found in the coastal regions of the North Pacific and the Arctic.
Vega Gulls primarily inhabit coastal areas, including a range of habitats such as rocky shores, sandy beaches, and estuaries. They breed in the Arctic regions of North America and Russia, then migrate to the coastal regions of East Asia during the winter.
These gulls have a distinctive appearance, with a predominantly white body, a light gray back, and prominent white wingtips. They have a medium-length bill that is yellow with a red spot near the tip. During the breeding season, Vega Gulls develop a black ring around their eyes, adding to their striking appearance.
Vega Gulls are opportunistic feeders, consuming a wide range of food sources. They feed on various marine organisms, including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and even carrion. They are skilled scavengers and can often be seen taking advantage of fishing boats and coastal areas where food is abundant.
One intriguing fact about the Vega Gull is its predator avoidance strategy. When faced with a potential predator or threat, they sometimes engage in “mobbing” behavior. This involves a group of gulls coming together and loudly vocalizing while swooping down toward the threat to intimidate and deter it. This behavior not only protects the group but also reinforces social bonds within the population. The Vega Gull’s beauty, adaptability, and interesting behaviors make it a remarkable seabird of the North Pacific and the Arctic.