Black Birds In California

Black Birds In California

Birdwatching is a great way to get out and see the world around you, but it’s also a great way to connect with nature and the environment.

Black Birds In California

Birding is not just for birdwatchers. It can be done by anyone who wants to learn more about their local area and its wildlife. 

However, before you start bird watching it is a good idea to get familiar with the type of birds you may see. Although it is not usual to look at birds based on their color, it can be a fun challenge to see how many different types of birds you can see that are one color. 

Birds that are black might not seem that interesting at first. However, black birds are beautiful animals that should get the recognition they deserve. If you happen to be in California, then you might be able to spot a few black birds. 

To help you with your birdwatching journey, we have created a list of beautiful black birds that you can find in California. 

Black Birds In California 

Black Pheobe 

Black Pheobe 

Black Pheobes are very common throughout California. They are easily identified by their black body and white belly. Black Pheobes belong to the Tyrannidae family.

Black Pheobes are small birds that have an average length of 16 centimeters. They can be identified by their big heads and medium tails. 

Black Pheobes are often found sitting on low and open perches. This is so they can look for insects to eat. Insects are their primary food source. Although, don’t be surprised if you see one of these birds catch a minnow from a pond. 

Black Pheobes make their nests against walls using mud to help make a cup for the nest. In terms of where to find these birds, they are usually spotted near water such as streams.

However, you may see them in your garden. Black Pheobes do engage with humans, though they are not likely to eat from the bird feeders you have out. 

Black Vultures 

Black Vultures 

Black Vultures are rare to see in California but not impossible. Black Vultures belong to the Cathartidae family. They are easily identifiable from their black bodies but white patches on the underside of their wings.

This can be spotted when they are flying. Their wingspan is an average of 137 centimeters to 150 centimeters. 

Black Vultures live in large flocks. These flocks are made up of multiple individuals. Black Vultures are often spotted with Turkey Vultures. This isn’t because the two types of birds have a great bond. 

Instead, Black Vultures have learned to use Turkey Vultures for their sense of smell. Black Vultures do not have as good of a sense of smell as Turkey Vultures, so they use Turkey Vultures to find prey. 

If you are searching for Black Vultures then you are more likely to find them in forests that have open spaces. 

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are one of the most common blackbirds that you can find in California. The great thing about these birds is that you can easily distinguish males from females.

Males are completely black except for the bright red wings. Whereas females are a black-brown color with white streaks.

Red-winged Blackbirds belong to the Icteridae family. Red-winged Blackbirds have long tails which makes them easy to identify. They also have a long bill that helps them pick bugs off plants. 

Red-winged Blacks prefer to sit on trees or bushes. They will often stay in groups of four or five. When it comes time to mate, Red-winged Blackbird pairs will fly around until they find a suitable tree branch.

Once they find a branch that suits them, they will build a nest. A fun fact about these birds is that the males have many mates and will not just stick to one female. 

If you want to see these birds then you should spread seeds and grains on the floor. This is where Red-winged Blackbirds prefer to eat. 

Great-Tailed Grackle 

Great-Tailed Grackle 

The Great-tailed Grackles are another type of blackbird that you might find in California. Great-tailed Grackles belong to the Icteridae family. Great-tailed Grackles are easily recognized by their long tail feathers.

Great-tailed Grackles like to sit in trees. However, they can be found in quiet urban areas. They have been spotted in parks, cemeteries, backyards, and golf courses. Great-tailed Grackles tend to live in small flocks. They will often join together if there’s food available.

Great-tailed Grackles are very vocal. They don’t sing songs but instead make noises. In the winter Great-tailed Grackles are known to come together in big flocks and go to roost trees.

They are known to eat insects and you can often see them foraging on the ground for insects to eat. However, they like to make their nests in trees. Interestingly, in the nest, females are more likely to survive. Females are more likely to have a longer life span.

Common Starling (European Starling)

Common Starling (European Starling)

Common Starlings have been present in California since the 1940s. They are completely black and have short tails with triangular-shaped wings. European Starlings are members of the Sturnidae family. Common Starlings are usually seen in large flocks. It is rare to see them alone. 

Common Starlings are omnivores. They eat fruits, berries, seeds, worms, grasshoppers, beetles, and crickets. They are opportunistic feeders. If they spot something edible, they’ll gobble it down.

European Starlings are very glossy except in the winter when they lose their shine. They can sometimes appear to have blue or purple hues on them. 

They have quickly become one of the most common birds to see in America. A fun fact is they were supposedly brought over to the States by those who liked Shakespeare. 

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of black birds that can be found in California. The list above has just a few of the many wonderful birds you spot when birdwatching. 

Hopefully, you found this guide useful and feel confident about being able to spot certain birds that are black in California. Please share this guide with others who may also enjoy seeing black birds in the state. Thank you for reading!