black-capped chickadee

9 Small Black And White Birds – Ultimate Field Guide

Identifying small Black-and-White Birds in the backyard can be tough if you have no idea which species you are searching for. Our experts have compiled a list of the most common ones for easy identification. While there are many types of birds, only some may appear to be black and white or gray with black speckles on their feathers.

This is not always an easy task as many colors and shapes may look similar at first glance. But fear not! Here is a quick guide to help you out.

Black and White Warbler

The Black and White Warbler is a small songbird, measuring 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm) long with an average weight of 0.3-0.5 oz (8-15 g). This bird is an easy to identify because of its black, and white streaking throughout. Their black wings, and white wing bars make them one of the most beloved birds in North America.

These warblers breed in North America, wintering in North and South America. They live in deciduous forests but will sometimes venture into mixed forest habitat as well. In springtime, they feed on insects such as spiders to fatten up for their long migration southward; however, during breeding season they eat more seeds from berries or nuts.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Image by edbo23 from Pixabay

Yellow-rumped Warblers are small North American birds, that breed all over Canada and the USA. This warbler has a bluish-gray almost black color on it’s back, and white underparts with two black bars on their wings. Their most distinguishing feature is their bright yellow rump, and crown patch which they can be seen flashing in flight as they take off from one tree to another.

The warbler’s habitat consists of conifers, wet, coniferous forests, or any place where there are large numbers of conifers. It has a variety of vocalizations including whistles, chips, grunts, and trills that are often heard in the morning when they sing to one another.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Image by Irene K-s from Pixabay

Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest, and one of the most common birds in North America. They live throughout forested and deciduous areas throughout the eastern United States and Canada, from northern Maine to Texas and Mexico. Downy Woodpeckers measure just 14 to 17 cm (5.5 to 7.0 in) in length. These birds are known for their black and white markings on their upper parts, with a bright red spot on the back of its head. 

They prefer forested areas and suburban gardens to more open country.  Downy Woodpeckers live in and nest in trees, or cavities found high up off the ground. They forage on trees eating insects, berries and seeds as well as climbing up dead trees looking for prey such as larvae or pupae.

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

Acorn Woodpecker

The acorn woodpecker is a small, non-migratory bird that has been seen across America. These birds are a black and white bird with a red cap, white face, and a long black bill. They measure 7.5-9 inches in length (19-23 cm) and weigh 2.3-3.2 ounces (65-90 g). This species of woodpecker can be found in large numbers from southern Canada to the Gulf Coast and Florida Keys.

They live year round in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma; also seen in southern Colorado to northern Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. This unique bird lives mainly on the ground searching for food such as ants, beetle larvae, berries, and various types of nuts. They are able to drill holes into trees with their chisel-like bill and then use it like a pry bar to extract insects.

Black-capped Chickadee

The black-capped chickadee is quite simply a beautiful small, non-migratory, North American bird measuring just  12–15 cm (4.7–5.9 in) in length, which generally lives in mixed and deciduous forests in the southern states of the eastern U.S. It’s seen across the States of Massachusetts and Maine, and the province of New Brunswick in Canada. They have a black cap, black bib, white cheeks, and light gray color wings with white feathered edges. 

These birds absolutely love eating berries, suet, seeds, acorns, fruits, nectar, and various types of bugs. These are the foods that make up a real feeding frenzy for these birds, so if you’re trying to attract any of these birds to your yard, be sure to put out some of these foods in your feeders.

Related Post: Unique Black-capped Chickadee Facts!

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee
Image by tailypo from Pixabay

The Carolina Chickadee is an interesting bird that lives primarily in thick-wooded woods, particularly in backyards and parks, across the eastern half of North America. They have a large head, black cap and bib with white sides to the face. The common color of the Carolina Chickadee is grayish buff with black dots scattered randomly within the coloring. The flanks or creases of the wings may also appear blackish-edged.

The tail has a black tip and the body of the bird is thick with long and tapered black bars along its neck and crest. Their breeding season is from late April through July when they make nests by drilling into rotting trees. During winter migrations, they concentrate around coastal areas and southern backcountry habitats, where they feed on the shores, marshes, small creeks and rivers.

Related Post: Carolina Chickadees – 9 Best Ways to Attract them fast!

Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe is a small to medium-sized passerine birds from the tyrant-flycatcher family. Black Phoebes have dark gray upper parts, pale underparts, black wings with white spots on the flight feathers, and an all-black tail. The bill is long and slender with a curved shape. The Black Phoebe can be found all over North America, breeding throughout most of the continent, and migrating to Central America, Southern Europe, northern Africa, India to China.

Black Phoebes are often seen catching insects in flight, such as dragonflies, bees, butterflies, moths or other flying insects that they then eat on the ground or feed to their young. The phoebe will perch on a rock or fence post until it sees an insect passing by. They prefer open areas with ponds or marshes nearby, but also nest near creeks and streams if they are available.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch
Image by GeorgiaLens from Pixabay

The nuthatches are not migratory but migrate during the wintertime to Canada and Mexico. They are commoners in arctic shrub and coniferous forests, but less so in grasslands and deserts. The White-breasted Nuthatch is about 11 inches tall and weighs about 4.8 ounces. The White-breasted Nuthatch is about 2.5 to 3 ounces in weight and measures about 10 to 11 inches from bill tip to tail tip. The head and upper neck are green while the flanks are white.

The under tail coverts are black and the base of the tail is a black band. The feet are dark brown and the iris is yellow. The adult male has a yellow-orange chin and throat, which darken in winter. The wings have bright blue edges and are tipped in white. Their diet is of seeds, and relying on sifting with their bills and may also strip bark and feed on insects.

Related Post: How to Attract Nuthatches to your yard?

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Image by simardfrancois from Pixabay

Rose-breasted Grosbeak are native to North America and can be found in most parts of Canada, United States, and migrate to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Cuba. Many bird enthusiasts enjoy seeing a Rose-breasted Grosbeak visit their feeder. These birds are identified by their black heads, wings, backs, and tails with a rose-pink colored patch on the breast. This rare species is best observed in May through September when they are actively breeding.

They have been reported to feed primarily on seeds from various types of weeds such as thistle or wild plum and also sunflower seed cake, fruit, insects. its diet consists mainly of seeds, insects, and berries. This species has an interesting adaptation for catching insects while flying; it can stretch out one wing to create a net-like shape, which then causes the insect to fly into it or get caught on it if it doesn’t have time to react.

Related Article: How to Attract the Rose-breasted Grosbeak?