21 birds with white heads [Pictures + IDs]

birds with white heads
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Black and white combination is considered to be the most iconic color combination and is used by many artists in their creations. This combination also looks great in birds and is so striking that people can see them from a great distance. Additionally, there is something really pure and graceful about black and white birds.
We’ve made a list of the most stunning birds with white heads to express our gratitude for these species. While some are widespread and present practically everywhere in the US, others are unique to certain regions of the world.
Feast your eyes on these amazing white-headed birds, which range in size and the color of their plunge

List of birds with white heads.

1. Black and white marsh tyrant

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Arundinicola leucocephala
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Native to: South America from Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad south to Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay

The black and white marsh tyrant is a tiny, white and black bird with a long tail that exhibits sexual dimorphism. The males are sturdy and mostly black in color with a white head, yellowish beak, and a long tail. Marsh tyrant females have pale underparts and a brownish upper body. Tyrants in their infancy are mostly white.

Marsh tyrant adults have a length of 4 inches and a weight of 0.5 oz. The marsh tyrant lives in wetlands including marshes, mangroves, and estuaries. It eats insects like froghoppers and dragonflies as food. The monogamous species make a substantial stick nest in the form of a cup. These birds are common in South America.

2. White-headed Woodpecker

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Picoides albolarvatus
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: about 9 inches
  • Native to: mountainous pine forests of the western states and British Columbia

The white-headed woodpecker is an easily recognized bird because of its long wings and pointed beak. It is a woodpecker of medium size that lives in eastern North America. It is a member of the family of birds called woodpeckers, who are referred to as “nature’s carpenters.”

The bird’s tail is also black, and it has a little red patch on its head. Male and female of this species look the same

This common bird inhabits open fields and deciduous woodlands. It drills into tree trunks and branches in search of insects, larvae, and other invertebrates to eat. The bird uses holes abandoned by other woodpecker species to build its nests in trees.

Although the white-headed woodpecker’s population has somewhat decreased recently, it is neither vulnerable or endangered. California is a good place to see them.

3. White-headed black bulbul

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Hypsipetes thompsoni
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Size: 8-inch
  • Native to: Myanmar and north-western Thailand

The Hypsipetes leucocephalus, often known as the white-headed black bulbul, is a songbird that lives and breeds in Africa. They belong to the Pycnonotidae family of bulbuls, which also contain laughingthrushes and babblers. The broad fields, arid savannah, and scrubland are where this black bird with a white head loves to live.

The black bulbul with a white head is about 7 inches long. Its body is mostly black, with a white head. It has orange legs and a bill. The vocal white-headed black bulbul may be heard singing all day long. It makes several different sounds, like grating and cheeping calls.

The females of these little black birds with white heads like to make their nests on bushes, where they may lay up to three eggs.

4. Black-banded fruit dove

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Ptilinopus alligator
  • Lifespan: about 4-12 years.
  • Size: 15-inch
  • Native to: Australia

The black-banded fruit dove, a large and solitary bird found in Australia’s woods, is a stunning creature. These birds are around 17 inches in length and have a 13-inch wingspan. They are mostly black in appearance, with white spots on their head, throat, and breast. They have a light bottom, red feet, and a yellow beak.

Black-banded fruit doves are fruit eaters and live in couples or small groups. They lay two eggs while constructing their nests from sticks. These birds are quite calm and seldom flee from danger.

Although they are not in danger of extinction, black-banded fruit doves are threatened by habitat loss and deforestation. Be sure to enjoy it if you ever get the opportunity to witness one of these beautiful birds!

5. Black and white hawk-eagle

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Spizaetus melanoleucus
  • Lifespan: Up to 42 years
  • Size: 20–24 in
  • Native to: southern Mexico to eastern Peru, through Brazil and northern Argentina.

The black and white hawk eagle is distinguished by its yellow eyes, black and white body color, yellow feet, and a yellow beak with a black tip.

The black and white hawk-eagle has a wingspan of approximately 46 inches, is about 24 inches tall, and weighs around 30 oz. They are outstanding hunters, like other huge black birds with white heads. Smaller birds, notably wood quails and toucans, are the preferred prey of this hawk eagle.

These huge white and black raptors make nests throughout the mating season, and their nests contain two creamy white eggs.

They may be found in Brazil, Argentina, and Southern Mexico. They prefer woodlands in mid-elevation areas.

6. White-headed vulture

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Trigonoceps occipitalis
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Size: 31 inches long
  • Native to: Sub-Saharan Africa

Large birds found in Africa include the White-headed vultures, which are medium-sized, strong, and at grave risk of extinction. These birds are generally black or dark brown in color, and their wingspan may reach seven feet. They may be up to 10 pounds.

The white head of the white-headed vulture distinguishes it from other vultures. This bird prefers to eat carrion, although it may sometimes consume small animals. White-headed vultures have lifelong monogamous relationships. The female lay 2 to 3 eggs high up the trees.

7. White-headed barbet

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Lybius leucocephalus
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: 7.1-7.7 inches
  • Native to: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The woods of Central Africa are home to the black and white white-headed barbet. They have a big, white head and a powerful beak, and they are around 7 inches long. Their feet are gray-black, while the majority of their underparts are white.

These white-headed barbets like to eat Insects and seeds. They use mud to make their nests, which are lined with leaves. Because they are monogamous, both parents assist in raising the young. These little white-headed birds are sociable and often seen in groups. Therefore, be sure to capture this species in a high-quality photograph on your next trip to Africa while birding.

8. Western Osprey

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Pandion haliaetus
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: 20-inch
  • Native to: throughout the planet, except in Antarctica, Africa, and South America,

Western Ospreys are big, black birds with white heads that live in western North America. These massive raptors have a white head and a brownish-black body. They may weigh up to 4 pounds and have a wingspan of around 6 feet.

Western Ospreys are often found near saltmarshes, reservoirs, cliff reeves, and ponds since their main food source is fish. When hunting, they hover above the water’s surface until they detect a fish, at which point they dive in to grab it. They also construct their nests close to water sources, usually using sticks and grasses.

The Western Osprey is not regarded as an endangered species. They may still be seen in the wild since they are still widespread.

Western ospreys take a little longer than most of the other species on this list to incubate their white eggs. they usually take up to 43 days.

9. White-headed pigeon

  • Scientific name: Columba leucomela
  • Lifespan: about 14 years
  • Size: 15–17 in
  • Native to: the east coast of Australia.

A member of the Columbidae family of birds is the white-headed pigeon. It is a petite, chubby dove that weighs around 13 oz and is about 16 inches long. The male has a red beak with a yellow tip, black wings, and a tail in addition to the mostly white head, neck, and underbelly plumage. Similar in size to the male, the female has a dark blue back and a grey underbelly.

Australia’s wide countryside and woods are home to the white-headed pigeon. It lays one egg and builds its nest on the highest trees. They mostly eat fruits and seeds.

10. Downy Woodpecker (bird with black and white striped head)

black bird with white stripes on wings and tail

  • Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
  • Lifespan: about 3 to 5 years
  • Wingspan: between 10 and 12 inches
  • Native to: North America

Females are fully black and white, as opposed to males who have a little red patch on their neck.

When the wings are folded, the black and white stripes resemble spots on these birds’ wings.

Except for dry areas in southern states, Downy Woodpeckers are not migratory and may be found all year round in North America.

Its tiny size and short beak set it distinct from the related Hairy Woodpecker.

Despite not migrating, Downy Woodpeckers like moving about in search of regions with an abundance of food outside of the breeding season.

They thrive in deciduous or mixed forests, where they eat insects and insect larvae that live under the tree bark. They also consume berries and seeds in the winter.

What is the difference between a downy and a hairy woodpecker? Downey woodpeckers are smaller than Hairy woodpeckers. They also have a smaller bill as compared to Woodpeckers.

11. Bald eagles

  • Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Lifespan: 20 – 30 years
  • Size: 28 to 38 inches in height
  • Native to: North America

Another big entry in our list of birds with white heads is the iconic Bald Eagle. This amazing bird is the same size as golden eagles, with a wingspan that may reach seven feet and a weight that can reach 14 pounds.

The two sexes look identical to one another. Their body is rather dark, while their head and tail are white. The foot and beak are both yellow.

Although bald eagles may be found in a variety of settings, including forests and open fields, they prefer big bodies of water because they have an abundance of fish to eat. They often make their nests in large trees close to the water.

Bald eagles are quite possessive during mating season. Since they have a history of attacking people, it is advised that you keep your distance and observe them.

Despite what its name would imply, this bird has a huge white head. They can also live up to 30 years and fly up to 10,000 feet. Some of the other birds which are the same sized as Bald eagles include golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures.

12. Black-faced hawk

  • Scientific name: Leucopternis melanops.
  • Lifespan: about 15 years
  • Size: 21-inch
  • Native to: lowland Peru north of the Amazon and northeastern Ecuador to Venezuela, southern Colombia, Brazil north of the Amazon, and the Guyanas.

Black-faced hawks are distinctive black and white members of the Accipitridae family, which also contains other huge raptors. They are mostly found near the open spaces of the Amazon basin.

It is a medium-sized raptor that is about the same size as a common buzzard. Its head, breast, and belly are white, while its upper portions are black. The legs are yellow, and the beak is red with a black tip.

The black mask between its eyes that gives this bird its name is the first thing you’ll notice when you see it. This black bird with a white head eats insects, small animals, birds, lizards, and snakes. They are renowned for their “keeuu”.

13. Swallow-tailed kite (blackbird with a white belly)

  • Scientific name: Elanoides forficatus
  • Lifespan: about 6 years
  • Size: 24-inch
  • Native to: southeastern United States to eastern Peru and northern Argentina

The swallow-tailed kite is a medium-sized raptor found in America and is renowned for its spectacular flight. It belongs to the same family as vultures and hawks, the Accipitridae. The large, sharply forked tail of this kite makes it easy to identify.

The bird has a long tail and a plumage that is white below and blackish above. Swallow-tailed hawks migrate, breeding in North America and spending the winter in South America. They make enormous stick nests in trees.  Furthermore, their main food consists of tiny mammals, reptiles, such as lizards and snakes, as well as small amphibians.

14. White-crowned pigeon

  • Scientific name: Patagioenas leucocephala
  • Lifespan: about 14 years
  • Size: 14 inches
  • Native to: the Caribbean

Large and dull-colored, the white-crowned pigeon may be found in Caribbean rainforests and woods. White on the head and black below with tipped tail feathers are the same for both sexes.

These cautious yet inquisitive black birds with white on their heads often approach humans to eat from their hands. Their diet consists of a variety of fruits, seeds, and insects.

15. Blue-throated piping guan

  • Scientific name: Pipile cumanensis
  • Lifespan: about 10 to 15 years
  • Size: 27 in
  • Native to: northern and western Amazonia, south into Paraguay

The blue-throated piping guan is another bird with a white head. It’s a huge, black bird with a white crown and belongs to the Cracidae family. They are often mistaken for a turkey. They are native to tropical South America’s woods and woodlands.

The white-throated piping guan is this species’ near relative, but the blue-throated piping guan may be distinguished from it by being bigger, having a dark blue neck, and having a white crested crown.

While immature birds seem duller, the adult blue-throated piping guan has a blackish head with a green sheen. Both sexes have a long tail, red feet, and white wing patches.

The breeding season begins in February and lasts until May. Fruits are the main fruit of these birds.

16. Pacific Gull

  • Scientific name: Larus pacificus
  • Lifespan: about 30 years
  • Size: 23 to 26 in
  • Native to: Australia

Large seabirds known as Pacific gulls may be seen along North America’s coastline. These birds are readily recognized by their loud screams and are distinguished by their white heads, black wings, and tails.

They create large flocks when grazing or migrating, and they nest in colonies on protected beaches. These birds are scavengers, and you may spot them devouring fish, seaweed, or other aquatic life. Pacific gulls have a reputation for robbing other birds of their food.

17. Albino blackbird

  • Scientific name: Turdus albocinctus
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Size: 8-inch
  • Native to: North America

An uncommon hereditary condition called albinism causes a lack of coloration. Because of this, albino birds are often quite pale.

Albino blackbirds are uncommon, however certain regions of North America may harbor them. They are readily recognized by their lower black body, white feathers on their heads, and brilliant red eyes. Blackbirds with albinism are often reserved, private, and don’t want to be seen.

18. White-crested Hornbill

  • Scientific name: Horizocerus albocristatus
  • Lifespan: about 5 to 7 years
  • Size: 33–40 in
  • Native to: West Africa

Any bird enthusiast, in my opinion, must see the white-crested hornbill. The white-crested hornbill is a medium-sized African bird with magnificent white head feathers. The adult’s body is mostly black with a white neck and head.

You can see the birds’ large, thick, slightly curved beaks; it is quite useful for picking insects out of tree bark. These monogamous, lifelong birds have long black and white and white birds. The female constructs the stick-based nest in a tree hollow. The chicks spend roughly six months in the nest after being born.

20. Palm-nut vulture

birds with white heads

  • Scientific name: Gypohierax angolensis
  • Lifespan: about 20 years
  • Size: 20 inches
  • Native to: Central Africa

This vulture gets its name because it mostly eats palm tree fruit. One of the biggest vultures in Africa, the palm-nut vulture may be identified by its black plumage, white shoulders, and white head.

With a wingspan of up to 60 inches, this huge, black bird has a white head and measures around 24 inches. Moreover, This vulture is also among the friendliest vultures, often gathering in large groups to eat.

There are around 80,000 pairs of them in the wild and you may easily locate them.

21. African Fish Eagle (brown bird with white head)

Image Source

  • Scientific name:Haliaeetus vocifer
  • Lifespan: about 12 to 24 years
  • Size: 25-inch
  • Native to: sub-Saharan Africa

These large raptors may be found all throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Adults have a striking look with a white head, black wings, and tail, as well as a chestnut belly.

Furthermore, As opportunistic feeders, these eagles graze on a range of water animals, such as fish, frogs, and small mammals. They have a history of robbing other birds of their food. African fish eagles normally lay two eggs and build their nests in lofty trees close to water. The chicks normally fly at around 10 weeks after hatching.

Final words on birds with white heads

There are many birds with white heads and they are a spectacle to look at. Some of these species make lovely pets, and their overall look. We hope that after reading this blog, you will be able to identify any of these birds the next time you get the opportunity to encounter them in the wild.
If you liked our post, you might also be interested in reading this one about birds: black birds with yellow eyes

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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