17 Types of BLACK And WHITE BIRDS In Florida (ID Guide)
Did you recently come across a black and white bird in Florida, and want to know what species it was?
Identifying Florida birds with black and white plumage is not as easy as it might seem, since there are surprisingly many birds in Florida that fit this description.
To help you identify the bird you saw, we’ll cover the common black and white birds of Florida in this guide.
What types of Florida birds are black and white?
There are 17 types of black and white birds found in Florida, which are covered in full detail below.
Black and White Warbler
Scientific name: Mniotilta varia
The Black and White Warbler is a small songbird that has black upperparts with white streaks, as well as distinctive black wings with two white wing stripes.
When its wings are folded, the white stripes look more like white spots on a black background.
Unlike many other warblers, female Black-and-white Warblers look very similar to the males, except for lacking the dark patch behind and below their eye, which increases the white area on their head.
This black and white songbird is a migratory bird that winters in Florida from September through April. During the summer breeding season it is found in Canada and the northeastern United States.
It can be found in a range of diverse forest habitats, and feeds on small insects and other invertebrates.
Scientific name: Poecile carolinensis
The Carolina Chickadee is easily identifiable by its black cap and bib. Both sexes look similar and have a grayish back and buff white underparts.
Similar to the previous chickadee species, Carolina Chickadees have black and white heads. They are non-migratory birds that nest in deciduous forests of northern Florida.
This black and white chickadee readily visits backyard feeders, and has a preference for sunflower seeds. It also accepts nest boxes as a substitute for treeholes.
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
This is the largest Nuthatch species in North America, and is a common year-round resident in north Florida.
Adults have a grayish blue back and wings, as well as a white face, throat, and breast.
These small black and white birds favor deciduous or mixed forests, and are common visitors at tube feeders offering sunflower seeds.
Outside of the breeding season White-breasted Nuthatches form small flocks with other species of songbirds, which rove around and forage together.
Scientific name: Setophaga striata
The Blackpoll Warbler is a visually striking little warbler that inhabits the forests of northern North America during its breeding season, which typically lasts from June to August.
Similar to all warbler species, this little black and white bird migrates south in fall, to spend the winter in northern South America, and occurs in Florida during fall and spring migration.
The sexes of the Blackpoll Warbler are dissimilar, with adult summer males exhibiting a dark, streaked back and nape, a black cap, a white face, and a black malar stripe.
Their black wings boast two white wingbars, and their underparts are white with bold black streaks on the flanks.
Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest species of woodpecker found in Florida.
While males are black and white with a small red patch on their nape, females lack the red spot on their head.
The wings of these Florida birds are black with white stripes, which resemble spots when the wings are folded.
These black and white birds are common visitors at backyard feeders in Florida
Downy Woodpeckers are non-migratory, and can be seen all year round throughout Florida. Outside of the breeding season they like to move around in search of areas with plentiful food, and often show up at bird feeders.
You can tell this Florida bird apart from the similar Hairy Woodpecker by its smaller size and short beak.
Their preferred habitat is deciduous or mixed forest, where they feed on insects and insect larvae found under the bark of trees. During winter they also eat berries and seeds.
Scientific name: Picoides villosus
The Hairy Woodpecker looks similar to the Downy Woodpecker, but has a longer, thicker bill, and is a much larger bird overall.
Both the male and the female have black upperparts with white stripes consisting of white feathers on the wings (though they look more like spots when the wings are folded).
The male has a very small red patch on the back of its head, which is considerably smaller than the red patches on other woodpecker species.
The Hairy Woodpecker is a common breeding bird found throughout Florida, and is a year-round resident in the state.
This woodpecker breeds in both coniferous and deciduous forests, and is even found in parks and other urban areas with trees.
Scientific name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Towhees got their name from the characteristic “Tow-hee” cry that both genders use.
Male Eastern Towhees are black mixed with white, combined with rusty-brown sides and a white underside.
When the Eastern Towhee takes to the air, white comma-shaped wing patches become visible on the upper side of its wings.
Although the female incubates the eggs until they hatch, the male does the heavy lifting when it comes to feeding the young.
The Eastern Towhee, similar to all other species of towhee, forages by making a comical backwards hopping motion with both feet at the same time.
It does this in order to displace leaves and expose the seeds and insects that are concealed under them.
You can readily attract these little birds to your feeder with black oil sunflower seeds.
Scientific name: Pheucticus ludovicianus
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is easily identifiable due to its distinct markings and its large beak.
During the summer, adult males have a scarlet red chest, which contrasts with their jet black hood and back, and their black wings have white wing bars.
Adult females and immatures, on the other hand, have streaked brown plumage that is lighter on the underside than on the back. They also have a white eyebrow stripe and white wingbar.
This bird can be seen in Florida during the spring and fall migration only, as it passes through the Sunshine State to and from its wintering grounds in Central America.
Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a breeding bird of Canada and the northernmost United States, but can be encountered wintering in Florida during the cold months.
The male has checkered black and white markings on its back, which contrast with a red crown, forehead, and chin. It also has a yellowish tinge on its belly and chest. The female looks similar to the male, but has a white chin.
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is found in small forests, as well as rural and suburban areas. It drills holes into trees in order to drink the sap that oozes out, which it.
The bleeding sap also attracts insects, which the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker feeds on.
Scientific name: Elanoides forficatus
With a wingspan of up to 5 feet, this elegant raptor is the largest kite species in Florida.
It is easy to identify a Swallow-tailed Kite due to its combination of its bright white underparts with black wing tips and tail, as well as a deeply forked tail.
This raptor is a skilled hunter and capable of catching insects in flight, as well as snatching lizards from branches.
Scientific name: Caracara plancus
While caracaras belong in the falcon family, they have a very distinctive appearance, due to their large bill and long legs, and their unusual habit of regularly walking on the ground.
Crested Caracaras are rare breeding birds in southern Texas and parts of Florida, but their numbers have been increasing recently.
Similar to vultures, these black and white raptors often feed on carcasses. They are most often observed perched on a tall tree, or flying low over the ground.
Scientific name: Anhinga anhinga
The Anhinga looks similar to a cormorant, but has a snake-like neck, which it uses to catch fish underwater.
When this Florida diving bird is in the water, it’s common to see only the head and neck protruding above the water surface.
Adult male Anhingas are largely black with white areas on their wings, while females have a dark gray body with a brown head and neck.
Both sexes have white stripes on their wings that look like white speckles when the wings are folded.
Scientific name: Gavia immer
If you’ve spotted a black waterbird with white dots, this is most likely the Common Loon (also known as the Great Northern Diver).
These large black and white birds breed in northern areas of North America and can be seen along the coastline of Florida during the winter.
The common loon is a fantastic diver and is super stealthy when it hunts underwater, allowing it to sneak up on fish without even a splash. It can dive to depths of up to two-hundred fifty feet.
Scientific name: Rynchops niger
The Black Skimmer is a striking sea bird that is easy to identify both by its appearance and its behavior.
Its black upperside contrasts with a bright white underside, and with a long red bill. The lower part of its bill is significantly longer than the upper part.
It catches fish by flying along the water surface, while pulling its lower bill through the water. When the lower bill encounters a fish, the bill slams shut to catch its prey.
Scientific name: Himantopus mexicanus
This Florida wading bird is easy to identify by its striking black-and-white plumage coupled with long reddish pink legs, and a long thin beak.
With long legs that are more than 9 inches long, this wading bird has the longest legs of any bird in proportion to its body size.
The preferred breeding habitats of these shorebirds are shallow marshes, but during the winter they are also found along the coast.
Scientific name: Recurvirostra americana
The American Avocet is a large wading bird that breeds in the plains of northern North America, and winters along the coastlines of Florida.
These black and white shorebirds have a long bill that is unusual in that it is curved upwards, which makes it unique among all the birds on this list.
American Avocets are often encountered together with Black-necked Stilts at coastal lagoons and mudflats in Florida.
Scientific name: Haematopus palliatus
American Oystercatchers are beautiful beach birds with striking black-and-white coloration.
They have a jet black head and neck, which contrasts with a bright white belly and a long, heavy red bill.
The Oystercatcher is a bird of the tidal flats, where it feeds on shellfish during low tide.
The heavy bill of the Oystercatcher helps it to pry open the shells of mollusks, and it also serves for hammering their shell until it shatters.
In summary, these are the17 types of black-and-white birds in Florida:
- Black-and-white Warbler
- Carolina Chickadee
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Blackpoll Warbler
- Downy Woodpecker
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Eastern Towhee
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- Swallow-tailed Kite
- Crested Caracara
- Common Loon
- Black Skimmer
- Black-necked Stilt
- American Avocet
- American Oystercatcher
If you’ve spotted one of these birds while bird watching in Florida, hopefully this ID guide will help you identify it quickly and easily.
And if you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the water birds found in Florida.