22 black-and-white birds in North America

North America is home to 22 black-and-white birds that showcase a stunning mix of contrast and elegance. From the lively melodies of the Bobolink and the regal presence of the Eastern Kingbird to the graceful flight of the American Coot and the sleek beauty of the Black Phoebe, these avian creatures captivate with their striking appearance and unique characteristics. Found in a range of habitats including grasslands, meadows, freshwater habitats, coastal areas, and forests, these birds display a diverse array of dietary preferences, feasting on seeds, insects, fruits, and mollusks. As many of these birds are migratory, North America serves as their breeding ground during the summer months before they embark on epic journeys to different regions for the winter.



Black-and-white birds can be found in grassland habitats throughout North America. Grasslands provide open spaces and ample opportunities for these birds to forage and hunt for food. They are attracted to the vast expanse of grasses and the abundance of insects and seeds found in these habitats. The Bobolink, Lark Bunting, and Eastern Kingbird are commonly seen in grassland areas.


Meadows are another preferred habitat for black-and-white birds. With their tall grasses, wildflowers, and diverse plant life, meadows offer a rich source of food and shelter. These birds often nest in the grasses and use them as camouflage. The American Coot and Black Phoebe can be spotted in meadows across North America.

Freshwater Habitats

Black-and-white birds also inhabit freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, and marshes. These habitats provide a diverse range of food options, including fish, insects, and plants. The American Coot is frequently found in these areas, as it is adapted to swim and dive in search of food.

Coastal Areas

Coastal areas are home to a variety of black-and-white birds, thanks to the abundance of food resources and nesting opportunities. Birds such as the Black Skimmer and Black Phoebe thrive in coastal environments, where they can find fish, insects, and mollusks to feed on.


Forests are yet another habitat where black-and-white birds can be found. These birds take advantage of the ample tree cover and the diverse range of insects and fruits that forests provide. The Hairy Woodpecker and Eastern Kingbird are among the species that you may encounter in forested areas.



Many black-and-white birds have a diet that includes seeds. They forage on the ground or in trees, searching for seeds from grasses, plants, and trees. Seeds provide a good source of energy and nutrients for these birds. The Bobolink and Lark Bunting often rely on seeds as a significant part of their diet.


Insects form a crucial part of the diet of many black-and-white birds. They are skilled at catching insects in mid-air or by searching for them in various habitats. Black-and-white birds, such as the Eastern Kingbird and Black Phoebe, are adept insect hunters and play an important role in controlling insect populations.


Certain black-and-white birds, like the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, have a preference for fruits. They will feed on a wide variety of berries, fruits, and even nectar from flowers. Fruits offer these birds a valuable source of hydration and nutrients, especially during the breeding season.


Coastal-dwelling black-and-white birds, such as the Black Skimmer and American Oystercatcher, feed on mollusks. They have specialized beaks and feeding techniques that allow them to extract and consume these small shellfish. Mollusks are an essential food source for these birds and help to maintain their populations.

22 black-and-white birds in North America

Migratory Behavior

Breeding in North America

Many black-and-white birds in North America exhibit migratory behavior during the breeding season. They breed in various regions across North America, including grasslands, meadows, and forests. These birds undergo long and arduous journeys during migration, traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to reach their breeding grounds.

Winter Migration

During the winter months, black-and-white birds undertake migration to warmer regions. They move to areas with more favorable conditions and plentiful food resources. This migration not only ensures their survival but also allows them to take advantage of different habitats for breeding and raising their young.


The Bobolink is a black-and-white bird found in North America. It is known for its distinctive breeding plumage, with a black head and back contrasting with a white underbelly. During the breeding season, male Bobolinks have a melodic song and perform aerial displays to attract mates. They can be found in grasslands and meadows, where they nest on the ground and forage for insects and seeds.

22 black-and-white birds in North America

Eastern Kingbird

The Eastern Kingbird is another black-and-white bird native to North America. It has a bold black cap on its head and a white underside. The Eastern Kingbird is known for its aggressive behavior, often seen defending its nesting territory against larger birds and predators. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands and forests, where they feed on insects.

American Coot

The American Coot is a water bird with a black body, white bill, and distinctive lobed toes. It is frequently found in freshwater habitats such as lakes, ponds, and marshes. The American Coot is an excellent swimmer and diver, using its lobed toes to propel itself through the water in search of aquatic plants, insects, and small fish.

22 black-and-white birds in North America

Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe is a small black-and-white bird found in North America. It has a black head, back, and tail, with a contrasting white underbelly. Black Phoebes are commonly seen in coastal areas, where they perch on rocks or vegetation near water. They feed on insects, frequently catching them in mid-air, and also consume small fish and mollusks.

Black Skimmer

The Black Skimmer is a unique black-and-white bird known for its striking appearance and feeding behavior. It has a black back and tail, with a white underside and distinctive red bill. Black Skimmers are found in coastal areas, where they glide just above the water’s surface, using their elongated lower bill to skim fish and small marine creatures from the water.

22 black-and-white birds in North America

Lark Bunting

The Lark Bunting is a black-and-white bird primarily found in grassland habitats. It has a black head, back, and tail, with white on its wings and underbelly. Male Lark Buntings are known for their elaborate courtship displays, including flight displays and song. They feed mainly on seeds, including those from grasses and other plants found in their habitats.

Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is a black-and-white bird that can be found in forests across North America. It has a black head, back, and wings, with a white underside. Hairy Woodpeckers have a distinctive drumming sound, which they use to communicate with other woodpeckers and establish their territory. They forage for insects in the bark of trees and also feed on seeds and fruits.

In conclusion, black-and-white birds can be found in various habitats, including grasslands, meadows, freshwater habitats, coastal areas, and forests, throughout North America. Their diets consist of seeds, insects, fruits, and mollusks, depending on the species and habitat they inhabit. Many of these birds exhibit migratory behavior, breeding in North America before embarking on winter migration to different regions. Each species, such as the Bobolink, Eastern Kingbird, American Coot, Black Phoebe, Black Skimmer, Lark Bunting, and Hairy Woodpecker, has unique characteristics and adaptations that allow them to thrive in their respective habitats and contribute to the rich biodiversity of North America’s avian fauna.

22 black-and-white birds in North America

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