Small Birds With Black And White Heads (Explained)

Black and white birds are very common in the wild. Some of them have been seen on a farm, or near the lake, but most commonly you will see them in your backyard.

One thing that can make it hard to identify these small birds is their black and white head feathers. In this article, we compiled a list of the most common ones with pictures, so you can compare what you saw with one of these!

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a small songbird measuring 15 cm(5.9″ inches) in length with a black cap and bib, white cheeks, white belly, gray back, and wings with some white stripes on the wings. A resident of North America that inhabits the boreal forests from Alaska to Newfoundland south to Oregon in coniferous or mixed woods.

Its natural habitats are mainly deciduous forests, but it will also use nearby brushy areas and parks with trees. During the winter months, they move further south into warmer climates.

The Black-capped Chickadee ranges from the eastern coast of Canada to Maine in the east, south to northern Florida westward into Wisconsin and Minnesota then along the Rocky Mountains from Arizona north to British Columbia, then south again through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming Colorado, and Utah.

Related Posts: Unique Black-capped Chickadee Facts

White-crowned Sparrow

A White-crowned Sparrow is a small bird, measuring just 18 cm(7″ inches) in length, that has been known to inhabit the west coast of North America. This sparrow is found year-round in North America east of the Rocky Mountains from southern Canada to Central America, excluding parts of Florida and Texas. It winters primarily in Mexico south to Costa Rica.

They are often seen in forests, parks, and urban areas. These species are commonly mistaken for being sparrows or towhees because they share similar plumage. They are most easily identified by their distinct white crown with black stripes and yellowish nape. 

​​​​​​They are mainly active during the day, which helps them find food like insects and seeds. The male will sing a variety of songs, with its call being different from females.

Related Posts: How to Attract Sparrows to your yard?

White-throated Sparrow

white-throated sparrow
Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

The White-throated Sparrow is a small songbird that measures 17 cm (7″ inches) long and can be found throughout North America. The males are brown with black and white stripes on their heads. Females are also brown but have less white in the stripe than the male does.

The females also have a light tan line above their eye and an orange spot on top of their beak (most visible during breeding season). This particular species can live anywhere from 2 to 10 years depending on its habitat. 

White-throated Sparrows prefer to live near open woodland areas such as scrubland or grasslands. Their nests are built on branches low to the ground, usually less than four feet off the ground. These birds eat mostly seeds but also insects or berries when they can find them.

Mountain Chickadee

The Mountain Chickadee is a small, solitary bird with a black cap and white cheeks, measuring 14 cm (5.5″ long). It spends the winter in large groups before splitting up into pairs for the breeding season. They are active during both day and night hours as they feed on seeds, insects, spiders, berries, and tree sap.

This beautiful bird is usually found in forested areas but will sometimes visit suburban yards when looking for food or nesting sites. The Mountain Chickadee breeds across North America, though during winter they head south.

This species has an extensive range throughout the continent and occupies many habitats, including coniferous forests, These little birds start arriving in the eastern United States around February, where they stay until November when they head south for wintering grounds. 

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee
Image by Larry Doucet from Pixabay

The Carolina Chickadee is a small songbird with an average body length of 5.5 inches and weight between 3.5 to 4 ounces. They have a short black bill and black face with white patches on the side of their head. These birds are omnivores and feed mostly on insects but also consume seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, and eggs from other birds.  ​​​​​​​

The Carolina Chickadee is a very common and recognizable bird that lives in the Eastern United States. They live in habitats such as woodlands, gardens, parks, residential areas, forests, and suburbs.

They can be found from Maine to Florida. Carolina Chickadees have also been known to migrate north for winter months and will travel as far as northern Canada before returning south to their breeding grounds in the springtime.

Related Post: Carolina Chickadees – 9 Best Ways To Attract Them Fast!

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker that lives in North America, measuring just 14 cm(5.5″ long). These birds are common to find near wooded areas, forest edges, and yards with trees. 

They have black and white plumage throughout their body, and males typically have a red spot on the back of their head. They have been known to inhabit gardens, as well as feed on seeds from backyard bird feeders.

The Downy Woodpeckers will often peck on tree trunks and branches looking for insects such as ants or termites, but will consume fruits, nuts, berries, and seeds when they’re available. Downy Woodpeckers have a range of habitats across Canada and the United States but can be found anywhere between Mexico and Alaska.​​​​​​​

Related Post: How to Attract Downy Woodpeckers to your yard?

​Black and White Warbler

Black and White Warbler is a small warbler measuring just 10-14 cm(4-5.5″ inches) in length. It’s mostly black with white streaks on the head, wings, and tail. It has a long slender bill that it uses to take insects from leaves or bark as well as spiders, worms and other invertebrates which it can find among tree roots or under stones. ​​​​​​​

Watch out for this bird as it can be found in most of North America from eastern Canada to Texas, as well as the southernmost part of Central America down to northern South America (eastern Peru). It is one of the earliest migrants that start arriving at breeding grounds in April or May before other birds have left wintering grounds​​​​​​​.

In its breeding range from Alaska to Maine, it is most often found in moist coniferous or mixed forests at low to middle elevations. In winter, they are usually found in coastal scrublands near water bodies or open woodland habitats with dense understory vegetation. ​​​​​​​

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch
Image by RusticPix .com from Pixabay

White-breasted nuthatches are small birds, measuring about 5.9 inches in length. They have a black cap and a black stripe across the eye, grayish-blue back, white face, and underparts. Their wingspan is about 8 inches.

White-breasted nuthatches forage for food on the ground or in trees by moving along branches with short hops or fluttering flight and eating insects such as beetles, caterpillars, ants, spiders, and earthworms that they find there.

They also feed on ants, beetles, caterpillars, and spiders; however, they also eat seeds from pine cones and wild fruits such as berries or acorns.​​​​​​​ The breeding season for these birds is from March through July with clutches of 3 or 4 eggs that hatch after 12 days of incubation by both parents.​​​​​​​

Related Post: How to Attract Nuthatches to your yard?