11 Black Birds With White Stripes On Wings (Pictures & Facts)

Last updated on February 25th, 2024 at 09:44 am

Black birds with white stripes on their wings are a captivating subset of avian species that possess a distinct and visually striking feature. These birds exhibit dark plumage – often black or deep gray – and include conspicuous white stripes on their wings, ranging from subtle lines to bold patterns. This intriguing contrast between the darkness of their plumage and the brightness of their wing strips has intrigued bird enthusiasts, scientists, and researchers alike.

So, which beautiful black birds possess these striking white wing stripes? The extensive roster features species like the Northern Mockingbird, Eurasian Magpie, Hairy Woodpecker, European Starling, and Bobolink.

To assist you in identifying the bird you spotted, we’ll discuss the most common types of black birds with white wing stripes. We’ll guide how to recognize these birds and highlight key facts about each species.

List of 11 Black Birds With White Stripes

1. Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica)

Eurasian Magpie is walking on the ground
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 44 to 46 cm (17 to 18 in)
  • Weight: 196-232 g (6.9-8.2 oz)
  • Wingspan: 52-62 cm (20-24 inches)
  • Lifespan: 5-6 years in the wild, up to 21 years in captivity
  • Locality: Tropical southern Asia between Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Malaysia, and Singapore
  • Do you know the Facts: Eurasian Magpies are typically homebodies, as studies show they tend to build their first nests relatively close to where they were raised. In the UK, young birds nest within 800 meters, while in Scandinavia, they generally stay within 50 km of their birthplace.

The Eurasian Magpie is easily identifiable by its long tail and black-and-white plumage, including black wings with a large white shoulder patch. Common across Europe and Asia, it breeds in both urban and remote woodland areas.

Magpies often forage in groups of up to 15 birds outside the breeding season. While shy in secluded areas, they lose their fear of humans in urban habitats.

Due to its limited flying abilities, the Magpie prefers areas with trees and shrubs for cover against aerial predators like hawks.

Highly intelligent, Magpies thrive in diverse habitats, including treeless islands.

2. Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Black Birds With White Stripes
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 20-28 cm (8-11 inches)
  • Weight: 40-58 g (1.4-2.0 oz)
  • Wingspan: 31-38 cm (12-15 inches)
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years in the wild, up to 20 years in captivity
  • Locality: North America
  • Do you know the Facts: Northern Mockingbirds continually expand their repertoire of sounds throughout their lives. A male can acquire approximately 200 songs over its lifespan.

The Northern Mockingbird’s appearance is predominantly dark gray with blackish wings adorned with bright white stripes, particularly noticeable during flight.

Both males and females of this common songbird share similar features, including black wings with white margins on the tail, a dark eyestripe contrasting with a yellow eye, and buff white underparts. Juveniles resemble adults but with spotted and streaked plumage.

Found throughout most of the USA year-round, with summer visits to northern states and Canada, the Northern Mockingbird is a familiar sight in backyards and various urban habitats with ample tree cover. It’s the sole mockingbird species native to North America, favoring wooded areas and urban landscapes like parks and golf courses.

3. Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Black Birds With White Stripes
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 14-18 cm (5.5-7 inches)
  • Weight: 20-33 g (0.7-1.2 oz)
  • Wingspan: 25-31 cm (9.8-12.2 inches)
  • Lifespan: 4-5 years in the wild, up to 11 years in captivity
  • Locality: Pine forest mountains of western North America
  • Do you know the Facts: Downy Woodpeckers have been found nesting inside the walls of buildings.

The Downy Woodpecker, North America’s smallest woodpecker species, features males with black and white colored plumage, adorned with a small red patch on the nape, while females lack the red patch.

Their wings sport black with white stripes, appearing as spots when folded. These non-migratory birds inhabit North America year-round, except for arid regions in southern states.

Distinguishable from the similar Hairy Woodpecker by its smaller size and short beak, Downy Woodpeckers exhibit seasonal movements in search of abundant food, although they don’t undertake migratory journeys.

Found in deciduous or mixed forests, they forage for insects and larvae beneath tree bark, supplemented with berries and seeds during winter.

Read Also: Birds With Crests In North America 

4. Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

Black Birds With White Stripes
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 18-24 cm (7-9 inches)
  • Weight: 55-85 g (1.9-3.0 oz)
  • Wingspan: 33-39 cm (13-15 inches)
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years in the wild
  • Locality: Found in wetlands and grasslands across western North America
  • Do you know the Facts: In 1825, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, provided the first detailed description of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, which had been collected in 1820 by Thomas Say and Sir John Richardson.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds, more commonly found in the western United States, also inhabit areas along the eastern edge of their range, including Illinois.

Adult males are easily identifiable by their bright yellow heads and chests contrasting with jet-black bodies, while females and juveniles display drab yellow heads and dark brown bodies.

During the breeding season, males often mate with multiple females, forming small nesting colonies. Outside of breeding, they gather in large flocks, mingling with other blackbird species, and feed on grains in farmland.

In winter, these birds forage in fields and inhabit open cultivated areas. During summer, they primarily consume insects and small invertebrates.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds prefer lowland areas with wetlands and dense cattail growth for breeding. In many parts of the United States, they’re only seen during fall and spring migrations.

READ ALSO: Small Birds With Long Beaks

5. Hairy Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus)

Black Birds With White Stripes
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 23-25 cm (9-10 inches)
  • Weight: 40-95 g (1.4-3.4 oz)
  • Wingspan: 38-46 cm (15-18 inches)
  • Lifespan: 4-12 years in the wild, up to 15 years in captivity
  • Locality: Common throughout North America
  • Do you know the Facts: The oldest recorded Hairy Woodpecker was a male, at least 15 years and 11 months old when recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in New York in 2010.

The Hairy Woodpecker closely resembles the Downy Woodpecker but is larger with a longer, thicker bill.

Both males and females sport black upperparts with white stripes on the wings, appearing as spots when folded. Males have a small red patch on the back of the head, smaller than in other woodpecker species.

Common throughout North America, the Hairy Woodpecker is a year-round resident, breeding in both coniferous and deciduous forests, as well as urban areas with trees.

6. Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)

Black-and-white Warbler is sitting on a branch
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 11-13 cm (4.3-5.1 inches)
  • Weight: 7-12 g (0.25-0.42 oz)
  • Wingspan: 18-22 cm (7.1-8.7 inches)
  • Lifespan: Up to 8 years in the wild
  • Locality: Northern and eastern North America
  • Do you know the Facts: Black-and-white Warblers possess an extra-long hind claw and heavier legs than other wood warblers, aiding them in gripping and maneuvering on bark.

The Black-and-white Warbler features black upperparts with white stripes, including black wings with two white wing stripes. When folded, the white stripes resemble streaks or speckles.

Unlike many other warblers, females closely resemble males but lack the dark patch behind and below the eye, resulting in a larger white area on their heads.

Breeding in eastern North America from May to August, this bird migrates to Central America for winter, with some individuals wintering in Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Found in various forest habitats, the Black-and-white Warbler feeds on small insects and other invertebrates.

 Bobolink is sitting on top of the branch
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 16-18 cm (6.3-7.1 inches)
  • Weight: 32-49 g (1.1-1.7 oz)
  • Wingspan: 25-29 cm (9.8-11.4 inches)
  • Lifespan: Up to 7 years in the wild
  • Locality: North America and South America
  • Do you know the Facts: The Bobolink gained literary fame through a nineteenth-century poem titled “Robert of Lincoln” by American poet William Cullen Bryant. The poem narrates the nesting season of the “Bob-o-‘Link,” portraying the male’s vibrant

The Bobolink, a migratory songbird, breeds in North America and winters in South America. It boasts striking black and white colored plumage with a buff-colored patch on its nape and sings a beautiful, melodic song often referred to as the “Rhapsody in Bobolinks.”

Unfortunately, the Bobolink has faced decline in recent decades due to habitat loss, as grasslands, its preferred habitat, are converted to farmland and development. Conservation efforts aim to protect and restore grassland habitats for the Bobolink and other grassland bird species.

Despite its decline, the Bobolink remains beloved and iconic among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts for its distinctive appearance and enchanting song.

Read Also: Small Birds with Long Legs

8. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Black Birds With White Stripes
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 19-23 cm (7.5-9 inches)
  • Weight: 60-100 g (2.1-3.5 oz)
  • Wingspan: 31-44 cm (12-17 inches)
  • Lifespan: Up to 15 years in the wild
  • Locality: Alaska to Mexico
  • Do you know the Facts: Starlings are adept fliers, capable of reaching speeds of up to 48 mph.

The European Starling, a common bird species, was introduced to North America in the late 1800s. It typically displays black plumage with an iridescent green and purple sheen, along with white spots during winter months.

Highly adaptable, the European Starling thrives in various habitats, from urban areas to rural farmlands. Renowned for its vocal abilities, it can mimic a wide range of sounds and songs, including car alarms and human speech.

However, the European Starling is considered a pest species in some regions due to its aggressive behavior and tendency to outcompete native bird species for food and nesting sites.

9. White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus)

Black Birds With White Stripes
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 22-26 cm (8.7-10.2 inches)
  • Weight: 70-100 g (2.5-3.5 oz)
  • Wingspan: 38-43 cm (15-17 inches)
  • Lifespan: Up to 8 years in the wild
  • Locality: Pine forest mountains of western North America
  • Do you know the Facts: Both male and female White-headed Woodpeckers share egg incubation duties, with the male taking over nighttime shifts. They exhibit high attentiveness to each other during this period, often communicating through soft drumming sounds inside and outside the nest cavity.

The White-headed Woodpecker, native to the western United States, inhabits mountainous regions.

This medium-sized woodpecker is mostly black, distinguished by a white head and wing stripe. Males boast a bright red patch on the rear of their head.

Found in pine forests, they primarily forage for seeds by extracting them from pine cones. They also consume insects and larvae under tree bark, along with tree sap, particularly during the breeding season.

Non-migratory and monogamous, these woodpeckers remain in the same territory throughout their lives.

10. Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Baltimore Oriole is eating the fruit
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 17-22 cm (6.7-8.7 inches)
  • Weight: 23-42 g (0.81-1.48 oz)
  • Wingspan: 23-32 cm (9.1-12.6 inches)
  • Lifespan: Up to 8 years in the wild
  • Locality: Eastern North America
  • Do you know the Facts: Baltimore Orioles derive their name from their striking orange-and-black plumage, resembling the heraldic crest of England’s Baltimore family, which also lent its name to Maryland’s largest city.

Baltimore Orioles breed in North America and winter in Central and South America. They flaunt vibrant orange plumage with black markings and a distinct black bib.

The male Baltimore Oriole serenades with a beautiful, melodious song in deciduous woodlands and forest edges. Females are less conspicuous, sporting subdued orange coloration and a smaller black bib.

Feeding mainly on insects, nectar, and fruit, Baltimore Orioles frequent backyard feeders during migration. Despite their bright colors, they tend to stay high in the tree canopy, making them challenging to spot.

Beloved for their beauty, song, and migratory behavior, Baltimore Orioles hold an iconic status in North America.

11. Common Loon (Gavia immer)

Common Loon is flapping its wings in the water
Image Source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan
  • Size: 66-91 cm (26-36 inches)
  • Weight: 2.2-6.4 kg (4.9-14.1 pounds)
  • Wingspan: 122-147 cm (48-58 inches)
  • Locality: Boreal lakes of North America
  • Do you know the Facts: A hungry loon family can consume a substantial amount of fish. Biologists estimate that loon parents and their two chicks can devour about half a ton of fish over 15 weeks.

One of the most remarkable features of the Common Loon is its striking black-and-white pattern. Its black head and neck contrast dramatically with its crisp white underbelly. During the breeding season, a distinguishing feature emerges—the iridescent checkerboard pattern on its back.

While its appearance is mesmerizing, the haunting calls of the Common Loon genuinely captivate. The eerie, haunting cries resonate across the stillness of northern lakes, contributing to the mystical aura of the wilderness.

Breeding in boreal lakes of North America, the Common Loon is a proficient swimmer and diver. Its legs are positioned toward the back of its body, making it an expert underwater predator. It dives beneath the surface to catch fish, its primary diet.

Despite its aquatic prowess, the Common Loon’s terrestrial mobility is limited. Its legs are far back on its body, making it somewhat awkward on land.

Conclusion

In conclusion, each of these bird species – the Eurasian Magpie, Northern Mockingbird, Anhinga, Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-and-white Warbler, Bobolink, European Starling, Orchard Oriole, White-headed Woodpecker, and Baltimore Oriole – possesses unique characteristics, behaviors, and habitats, making them fascinating and integral components of avifauna.

While some species confront challenges like habitat loss and competition with invasive species, conservation efforts and habitat protection are essential for ensuring their survival. By studying and admiring these birds, we can develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diversity and splendor of the natural world.

FAQs

1. What types of habitats do black birds with white stripes on their wings prefer?

These birds can be found in a range of habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, forests, and even urban areas. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in diverse environments.

2. Are black birds with white stripes on wings known for their vocalizations?

Yes, many of these birds are known for their distinctive calls and songs. From the melodious tunes of the Northern Mockingbird to the eerie cries of the Common Loon, their vocalizations are part of their unique identities.

3. How can I identify these birds based on their wing patterns?

The black birds with white stripes on their wings are easily recognizable due to their contrastingly beautiful plumage. These white stripes stand out against their dark feathers, making them stand apart from other bird species.

4. What role do these birds play in their ecosystems?

These birds contribute to their ecosystems in various ways. Some help control insect populations, others aid in pollination, and their presence often signifies the health of their habitats.

5. Are there conservation efforts in place to protect these birds?

Yes, many of these bird species face challenges such as habitat loss and climate change. Conservation organizations work to protect their habitats and raise awareness about the importance of preserving these unique creatures.

6. What is the significance of black birds with white stripes on their wings in different cultures?

In various cultures, these birds hold symbolic meanings. They may represent luck, or omens, or have cultural associations that vary across different societies.

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