Tufted Titmouse

10 Small Gray Birds with White Bellies: What Are They?

Bird-watching is one of the most favorite hobbies in the world. This pastime has been on the rise for decades, with no signs of slowing down. People love birding because it can be a solitary activity and also a social experience at once time.

You can go out by yourself to see what birds you find or bring your friends along for company. There are many types of birds that people enjoy watching including sparrows, robins, eagles, and hummingbirds just to name a few! 

One particular type of bird that is often spotted are small gray birds with white bellies (or breast). These birds are easily identifiable by their lack of any other distinguishing features. They do not have colorful feathers or bright colors and generally just blend into their surroundings. 

We compiled a list of 11 different common species for you to identify which one is in your backyard! We know that It’s not always easy to tell what kind of bird you’re looking at. But if it has a small gray body with a white belly, then chances are good that it is one of these 11.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco
Image by RusticPix .com from Pixabay

The dark-eyed junco is a small, grayish-brown bird found across North America. They are often mistaken for sparrows but can be distinguished by their white bellies and the pink bill. The juncos have been known to come in shades of gray or brown with a yellow spot on their forehead that may vary depending on the age of the bird. 

Dark-eyed juncos are 12 to 18 cm (5.0 to 7.0 in) long and have a weight of 20 to 30 g (0.65 to 1.06 oz). These birds can be found across much of North America.​​​​​​​ The dark-eyed junco likes to eat seeds from the ground or plants in trees such as coniferous forests with pine, Douglas-fir, spruce, and fir but also deciduous forests like hickory, oak, cottonwood, aspen, maple.  

The winter months are the best time to spot these birds in Canada and the United States. Many people enjoy watching birds during their migrations or nesting seasons​​​​​​​.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

Tufted Titmice are small songbirds from North America. They have a length of 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm) and weight of 0.6-0.9 oz (18-26 g). The Tufted Titmouse is found in deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks, and shrublands across the United States to southern Canada and south through Mexico into Central America to northern South America;​​​​​​.

Tufted Titmice can be identified by their white breast and belly and gray upper body outlined with orange-brown colored flanks. The black mark just above the beak, which they share with many other birds of this genus, is actually called a “crest” on their head. 

They prefer oak, beech, elm and pine trees for nesting. The Tufted Titmouse is an extremely vocal bird that uses sounds to communicate messages about food sources and other things going on in the forest. 

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee
Image by Diana Roberts from Pixabay

The Carolina Chickadee is a small passerine bird in the tit family, it has a white chest and belly, white with orange brown on the flanks; gray back., has a short black bill, short wings and long tail. This species inhabits deciduous forests in the USA and Canada, preferring areas that are moister or have thicker understory than dry oak-hickory woods or pine barrens. 

It migrates south for winter to southern states like Florida, Georgia, and Alabama as well as Mexico. In spring, it returns northward through Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky before settling back.

It has a diet consisting mainly of insects, seeds and berries; it will also eat other things like mice, eggs, worms and spiders to help it survive winter time​​​​​​​. The Carolina Chickadee is one of America’s most common backyard birds!​​​​​​​ 

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe
Image by wileydoc from Pixabay

Eastern Phoebes are a small passerine bird with a big job. This bird has a small crest on their head, and are usually either gray-brown above, is whitish gray on the throat, chest and underside. The Eastern Phoebe is a migratory bird that nests in North America from April to September then flies south for the winter.

They eat insects and berries but mainly feed on the larvae of flies, beetles, spiders, caterpillars and other bugs. They  typically nest in abandoned woodpecker holes near water sources like ponds or streams.

Their nests are made from twigs and leaves lined with moss, hair or feathers to keep them warm. The female lays two eggs which hatch after 14 days into white-feathered chicks that will leave the nest​​​​​​​.

Blue Gray Gnat Catcher

The Blue Gray Gnat Catcher is an insect eating predator. The average length of this animal is 4-5″ inches, and it has bluish gray upper parts with white underparts. It prefers open deciduous woods and shrublands in southern Ontario, the eastern and southwestern United States, and Mexico.

They forage in trees eating insects, insect eggs and spiders.​​​​​​​ It has long antennae that are used to detect prey by sensing movement, and its compound eyes have at least 30,000 lenses each which help the gnat catcher see in low light conditions. 

Its eyes are very large, and they have excellent vision to spot prey from far away distances. The Blue Gray Gnat Catcher prefers to hunt for its food on the ground or in low vegetation by flying close to the ground with quick flights, typically around 2 meters above the ground. 

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee
Image by mshorts from Pixabay

The mountain chickadee is a common bird in the northern regions of North America. They can be found in the Rocky Mountains, Canada, and parts of Alaska. The bird’s name derives from its call which sounds like “chick-a-dee”.

The mountain chickadee has a length of 5-6 inches (13-15 cm) and a wingspan of 7.5 inches (19 cm). This particular species prefers to live at high altitudes near streams or small rivers. ​​​​​​​The mountain chickadee is mainly gray in color with black cap that surrounds both eyes and white eyebrows, and a black bib.

Underparts of the bird are whitish gray. The flight and tail feathers are darker gray. ​​​​​​​These birds prefer insects during the summer, but will switch to conifer seeds and other plant seeds for food as they continue into the fall months.​​​​​​​

European Crested Tit

European Crested Tit
Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay

The European Crested Tit is a bird in the tit family. They are usually seen singly or in pairs, often foraging on the ground and searching among leaves and bark of trees for food items such as insects, spiders, seeds and berries. They are agile birds with an acrobatic ability to move along tree branches; they will often hang upside down while feeding. The female builds a neat nest of mosses and lichens that can be found hanging from small twigs.

 This species of bird that has been observed in deciduous woodland and coniferous forests throughout central and northern Europe. It measures 10.5-12 cm long, with a weight of 10-14 g. This particular type of tit has dark gray upperparts and white belly.

It has a black-and-white crest that is typically raised during territorial disputes or when it senses danger.  It nests on the ground or in low shrubs close to trees or bushes; its nest is made from moss, leaves, lichen and other vegetation found on the forest floor.

Sagebrush Sparrow

Sagebrush Sparrows are the cutest bird in North America. It is about 4.7-5.9 inches long and weighs 0.5-0.8 ounces, making it one of the smallest birds in North America (excluding hummingbirds). Sagebrush Sparrows are very light brown on top with a gray head, and white underparts. It also has a dark crest in the middle of the breast.

The Sagebrush Sparrow is found throughout North America and breeds from Alaska to Arizona. This bird lives on dry land in areas such as grasslands, prairies, sagebrush fields or shrublands or deserts from Oregon to Mexico and from Utah to Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California where they can be found nesting on the ground or on low bushes.

Their diet consists of insects, spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, seeds, some fruits, and plant parts.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee
Image by daledbet from Pixabay

The black-capped chickadee is a small North American bird that is , nonmigratory, and lives in coniferous forests. It has a gray body with white underparts with rusty brown on the flanks. The black cap overlaps the eyes like a mask and also has a black bib; this feature distinguishes it from other birds of similar size. The Black-capped Chickadee’s size ranges from length of 12–16 cm (4.7–6.0 in), and a weight of 9–15 g (0.32–0.50 oz). 

A sighting of this bird should not be taken lightly, as they are quite rare to see during winter months.  Black-capped Chickadees are social birds who live in flocks year round but gather together into larger winter roosts.  They eat insects such as caterpillars during the summer months and seeds and berries throughout the winter. In some regions of their range they can be quite common, but elsewhere they may only be seen near forest edges or clearings where food is more plentiful.

Black-capped Chickadees live year round in most of Canada south to Virginia; east to Michigan and north central Minnesota; west through Washington Although most people will never see one in their lifetime, they are not rare – they live in backyards all over the country! 

Willow Flycatcher

The Willow Flycatcher is one of the most beautiful birds in North America. It has olive-gray upper parts, wings and tail, white underparts, a white eye ring, white wing bars and a small bill. It breeds in deciduous thickets or willows near water all over the United States and Southern regions of Canada.​​​​​​​ 

Tiny Willow Flycatchers are tough to spot in a tree. They are just 130–150 mm (5.2–6 in) in length, and a weight of 13.5 g (0.48 oz). Their diet consists of insects, and common hover flies like aphids and mosquitoes, crane flies or horseflies, can be found at the top of their diet list! ​​​​​​​

Although these creatures may not seem like much when seen next to other birds, they are fierce competitors for resources because they will chase off larger birds from their territory​​​​​​​.