Types of Black Birds – 28 with pictures and sounds

Black birds can often be overlooked, especially when compared to the more colorful birds. Lots of people don’t find black birds as interesting, but they are anything but boring and are actually some of the most intelligent and interesting kinds of birds in the whole world.

In this post we are looking for black birds. That is a big task with a huge proportion of birds having some black features in their plumage. So, we started by narrowing the field and only including birds with the word black in their name. Then we excluded all birds that do not have predominately black coloring. Also excluded are feral and exotic birds. Altogether we found 19 birds and these are included on our list. We have 9 additional birds that we added that are based on the color of their plumage, not the name of the bird, so in total a massive 28 Black Birds!

If you’re interested in learning more about different types of black birds, then you’ve come to the right place! In this post we are going to take a look at some fun and interesting black birds.  

From ravens and crows all the way to the bobolink, there are so many different types of black birds out there that deserve to be talked about more. Have a little look at some of the black birds below and see which one interests you the most! 

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Photo by Imogen Warren

Family – Icteridae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Widespread across contintental United States and into Alaska.


Audio by Ed Pandolfino

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Photo by Pranav Tadepalli

Family – Tyrannidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – South western continental United States


Audio by Lauren Harter

Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

Photo by Alan D. Wilson

Family – Icteridae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Widespread across continental United States


Audio by Paul Marvin

American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Photo by Cayambe

Family – Cathartidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Eastern, south and south western continental United States


Audio by Marco Melo

Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)

Photo by Mdf

Family – Icteridae

Status – Vulnerable

Distribution – Predominately eastern and northern continental United States and throughout Canada


Audio by Paul Driver

Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)

Photo by DickDaniels

Family – Haematopodidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Pacific west coast from California to Washington and west around to Alaska


Audio by Karen Wosilait

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

Photo by Blalonde

Family – Icteridae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Throughout continental United States, less so in the south east


Audio by Thomas Magarian

Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor)

Photo by Tsuru8

Family – Icteridae

Status – Endangered

Distribution – Pacific west coast from California to Washington


Audio by Steve Hampton

Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)

Photo by Len Blumin

Family – Scolopacidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Pacific west coast from California to northern Alaska


Audio by Thomas Magarian

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)

Photo by Peter Massas

Family – Anatidae

Status – Near Threatened

Distribution – Concentrated in east but spread across to the west and in coastal areas of Alaska


Audio by Jens Kirkeby

Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle)

Photo by Boaworm

Family – Alcidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Northern and western areas of Alaska, far north eastern states of U.S.


Audio by Manuel Tacke

Black Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte atrata)

Photo by TonyCastro

Family – Fringillidae

Status – Endangered

Distribution – Population centered around Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah with overspill into surrounding states


Audio by Andrew Spencer

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)

Photo by By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Family – Picidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – From northern California noth through Idaho and Washington and in north eastern states


Audio by Ron Overholtz

Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus)

Photo by Hans Hillewaert,

Family – Accipitridae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – South from Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico


Audio by Bobby Wilcox

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)

Photo by Sven Začek

Family – Laridae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Throughout continental United States


Audio by Michel Veldt

Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica)

Photo by Francesco Veronesi

Family – Gaviidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Isolated populations in California north west Washington


Audio by Thomas Bergman

Black Storm-Petrel (Hydrobates melania)

Photo by Cato Neimoidia

Family – Hydrobatidae

Status – Least Concern

Distribtion – South western coast of California

Call – none available

American Black Swift (Cypseloides niger )

Photo by Terry Gray

Family – Apodidae

Status – Vulnerable

Distribution – Western United States from New Mexico to Washington


Audio Richard E. Webster

Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga)

Family – Accipitridae

Status – Least Concern

Distribution – Vagrant records in southern California and south west Texas


Audio by Luiz C. Silva

Our black birds cover a wide range of bird families and birds that are very common and very rare. My favorite would be the Black Rosy-finch. That is a stunning bird!

Types of Black Birds (based on plumage)

All of these Black Birds below are based on the color of their plumage as opposed to the list of 19 above which are based on name.

Common Raven (Corvus corax)

Photo by Alan Vernon

The Common Raven is one of the most well-known types of black birds in the world. They are very similar to crows, but they are much larger. These haunting and mysterious birds are incredibly intelligent and cunning, and in some cases, they can even imitate human speech eerily well! 

Ravens can actually be semi-domesticated, but this is only advised if you have a lot of time, outdoor space, and attention you can give them.

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

Photo by Andrew Weitzel

The bobolink is a type of black bird that is actually black, white, and brown. You can find them all over the US in areas like fields, prairies, and well-irrigated meadows.  

Both males and females look the same for most of the year, but between the months of March and August, the males underbelly and face are completely black.

Black-Billed Magpies (Pica hudsonia)

Photo by Connormah

Black-billed Magpies will appear to be all black from far away, but as you get closer, you will notice that they are an iridescent blue and black! Their coloring is one of the main features that really make them stand out from other birds. 

Like ravens, Black-billed Magpies are incredibly curious and intelligent creatures. They are also very loud and tend to be very talkative.

These magpies can be found in the Northern Rockies all the way up to the plains in Canada. They tend to hang out in urban areas, so they are one of the more common black birds you will see on this list. 

Black Swifts (Cypseloides niger)

Photo by Terry Gray

Black Swifts are the largest type of swift in the world. They can usually be found on the west coast of the US, as well as in Canada and even in some parts of Mexico. 

An interesting fact about Black Swifts is that they only eat when they are flying, catching their food as they fly. They perform complicated maneuvers when they are flying and they tend to stick to damp areas such as cliffs or the coast. 

Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

Photo by Lip Kee Yap

The Phainopepla is a unique-looking type of black bird that can be found in the Southwestern US. They have very tall crests, which is what makes them stand out from other black birds.

The males’ crest is a lot taller than the females though, and the females are a dark gray color rather than full black. They tend to stick to forested areas and lowlands, living on a diet that mainly consists of berries. 

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Like ravens, the American Crow is one of the most well-known black birds in the whole world. They are incredibly common and found all over the place, so it’s more than likely that you have seen dozens of them in your life already. 

This crow is very intelligent and although, it isn’t quite as large as ravens, it still has a very prominent presence. They are well-known for how well they have adapted to human areas, and some are even known to befriend humans too!

American Crows will eat practically anything, from seeds and fish, all the way to human trash.

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)

Photo by Setophaga

The American Redstart is a colorful type of black bird. Along with the black, there are also beautiful patches of red and white found all over its head, chest, and back. It typically lives on a diet of insects and can be found throughout the Eastern U.S.

They are known to migrate as far as eastern Utah, so if you haven’t seen one before, there is a high chance you will be able to if you find yourself in the western United States. 

Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus)

Photo by Andy Reago

Located in Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana, but it very rarely migrates futher north up to the U.S. The Bronzed Cowbird is more commonly found in Mexico and Central America. 

Its name comes from the slight bronze sheen that is located on its feathers when it is in sunlight. Both males and females have incredibly distinctive red eyes that really add to how eyecatching this type of black bird is.

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Black Vulture
Photo by Cayambe

The Black Vulture is a type of black bird that is most commonly found in southern and eastern parts of the U.S. but it can also be found in South America. 

These birds are very distinctive in appearance and are usually found close by Turkey Vultures but they are also one of the more aggressive types of Vultures, so it’s advised to keep your distance! 


There are so many different kinds of black birds, and this list is just a small taster! Just because they aren’t the most colorful of birds, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t one of the most interesting! 

Keep your eyes peeled for some black birds, and see if you can find any of these types for yourself! 


Does America have blackbirds?

This is where confusion starts. There are black birds and Blackbirds. The Blackbird is from Eurasia where it is extremely common. It was brought over by Europeans to the U.S. along with other birds and mammals to replicate where the environment where they came from. There are also New World Blackbirds like the Red-winged Blackbirds. These are in a different family from the European Blackbird. Finally, black birds are … well, see above.

What is the big, noisy black bird in the U.S.?

Crows and ravens are the most common large black birds in continental America and they certainly are noisy.

Are black birds lucky?

There is a lot of superstition, mythology and folklore about black birds. Way too much for us to get into. Our opinion is seeing any birds on any day is good luck!

How are black birds different from blackbirds?

Black birds are just birds that are black. Black is an adjective. Blackbirds are a family of birds that may or may not be black. The scientific name for this family is Icteridae (Troupials and Allies) and it includes: blackbirds, meadowlarks and orioles.

What species of blackbird are there in the U.S.?

There are 5 species of Blackbird in the U.S. They are the Red-winged Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Tricolored Blackbird. All 5 are on our list.

What is the big black bird in North America?

Depending on where you are you could be looking at a raven or vulture. If you are very lucky and the bird is absolutely huge, it could be a Condor.

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