15 Types of GREY And WHITE BIRDS (ID Guide With Photos)

Did you recently come across a grey and white colored bird, and want to know what species it was?

Identifying birds that have both grey and white plumage is not as easy as it might seem, since there are surprisingly many birds in North America that fit this description. 

To help you identify the bird you saw, we’ll cover all the grey and white birds of North America.

Types of grey and white birds

What types of birds are grey and white?

There are 15 types of birds that are grey and white in North America, which are covered in full detail below.

Gray Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax wrightii

Photo of Gray Flycatcher adult

The Gray Flycatcher lives up to its name and is almost entirely light grey, except for its white belly and brown wings and tail.

This small grey bird with a white belly is a breeding bird of the western United States, where it occurs as a summer visitor from April through September. 

It frequents shrublands with junipers and sagebrush, and winters in Mexico. During fall migration, Gray Flycatcher regularly turn up in US states that are far from its breeding grounds.

Northern Mockingbird

Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos

Photo of Northern Mockingbird adult

The Northern Mockingbird is a familiar songbird in North America, and its melodious whistling song can be heard in many parts of the United States.

Its overall appearance is grey, except for its dark wings with white stripes, which are especially conspicuous in flight, flashing like bright signals.

Northern Mockingbirds are common backyard birds in North America, with both sexes resembling each other. Its black tail has white margins.

It has a dark eyestripe that contrasts with the yellow eye, while the underparts are buff white. Juvenile birds look similar to adults, but are covered with spots and streaks.

This grey bird with a white belly and a long tail is the only mockingbird species found in North America.

It prefers wooded areas as well as urban habitats with sufficient tree growth, such as parks and golf courses.

Willow Flycatcher

Scientific name: Empidonax traillii

Photo of Willow Flycatcher adult

This is another flycatcher belonging to the genus Empidonax, and has a brownish grey upperside, as well was a buff white underside. Its wings are dark brown with two white bars.

Empidonax flycatchers are notoriously difficult to identify, due to their inconspicuous grey and white plumage.

Willow Flycatchers are widespread breeding birds across the United States, but are locally uncommon, and endangered in the southwestern part of their range.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis

Photo of White-breasted Nuthatch adult

This is the largest Nuthatch species in North America, and is a common year-round resident in large parts of North America.

Adults have a greyish blue back and wings, as well as a white face, throat, and breast.

These small white and grey songbirds 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.

Gray Kingbird

Scientific name: Tyrannus dominicensis

Photo of Gray Kingbird adult

The Gray Kingbird is a large flycatcher that is often encountered perched on telephone wires and tree tops. 

It has an ash grey upperside, as well as a white underside and dark brown wings. It also has a dark grey mask.

Gray Kingbirds are breeding birds of southern Florida, as well as the Caribbean. They spend the winter in northern South America.

Black-capped Chickadee

Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus

Photo of Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a common bird species in North America. Both sexes look similar, and have grey backs with buff underparts. 

Their most distinguishing feature is the black cap and bib, which contrasts with the bright white cheeks.

This white, grey and black chickadee is present year-round in North America, where it favors a variety of woodland habitats as well as backyards.

These birds are regular visitors at bird feeders, and also readily accept nestboxes.

Carolina Chickadee

Scientific name: Poecile carolinensis

Photo of Carolina Chickadee

The Carolina Chickadee is easily identifiable by its black cap and bib. Both sexes look similar and have a greyish back and buff white underparts.

Similar to other chickadee species, Carolina Chickadees have a black and white colored head. They are non-migratory birds that nest in deciduous forests of North America.

This grey and white chickadee readily visits backyard feeders, and has a preference for sunflower seeds. It also accepts nest boxes as a substitute for treeholes.

Mountain Chickadee

Scientific name: Poecile gambeli

Photo of Mountain Chickadee

This small chickadee is a bird of the mountainous regions of the western United States, and often form part of mixed flocks of birds that roam around the forest.

The Mountain Chickadee is largely dark grey, except for its white cheeks, black hood and bib. It can also be recognized by its prominent white eyebrow stripe. 

They are year-round residents in the western USA, and readily visit bird feeders that offer black oil sunflower seeds. 

Tufted Titmouse

Scientific name: Baeolophus bicolor

Photo of Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a common and easily recognizable small songbird thanks to the distinctive crest on its head.

The sexes resemble each other, and have greyish-blue upperparts with a black forehead and a crest on the back of their head. The underparts are white, but the flanks are tinged with buff orange.

It is a year-round resident in large parts of North America, and is readily observed, since it isn’t very shy. It is a regular visitor at backyard feeders, and also breeds in nestboxes.

It prefers deciduous forests, as well as parks and backyards, where it feeds on small 

Bushtit

Scientific name: Psaltriparus minimus

Photo of Bushtit

The Bushtit is another small songbird that is often encountered foraging in mixed flocks. It is almost entirely dark grey, except for its white belly and black beak.

While these birds are quite common within their range, they are easy to miss due to their small size, and because they forage mostly in the dense foliage of mature forests. 

Bushtits are year-round residents of the southwestern United States, and also occur in Mexico and Central America.

Eastern Phoebe

Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe

Photo of Eastern Phoebe

The Eastern Phoebe is a plump small flycatcher with mostly grey colored plumage. The wings are slightly darker with blackish primarie and two light grey wing bars.

Both sexes, as well as juveniles, look very similar and have buff white underparts. It hunts flying insects from a perch, and catches them in flight.

It is a bird of the eastern United States that can be encountered breeding in parks, backyards and woodlands.

Sagebrush Sparrow

Scientific name: Artemisiospiza nevadensis

Photo of Sagebrush Sparrow adult

This inconspicuous sparrow is a breeding bird of the foothills of mountain ranges  in the western United States, where it frequents scrub land with sagebrush.

Both sexes are similar, and have a grey head, brown back with dark speckles, as well as a white belly. They are hard to observe, since they usually forage on the ground among the vegetation.

These sparrows winter in the southwestern United States as well as Mexico. 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Scientific name: Polioptila caerulea

Photo of Blue-gray Gnatcather adult male

Except for its long tail, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher looks a lot like a warbler.

The upperparts of adult males are blue-grey, while their underparts are a buff white. The black tail has white stripes at its margins. 

Adult females and immatures are bluish grey on top, with dirty white underparts, and both sexes have a white eyering.

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher may be encountered as a breeding bird in the temperate regions of North America, predominantly from early May through August.

It is a partial migrant, with southeastern populations being year-round residents. Northern populations, however, spend the winter in the southern USA and Central America.

A great way to identify this small bird is by its long tail that is often pointed upwards.

Gray Vireo

Scientific name: Vireo vicinior

Photo of Gray Vireo

Gray Vireos are found in desert habitats of the southwestern United States, where they are often encountered foraging in brushland. They winter in Mexico

Males and females look similar, and are uniformly grey on top, and buff white on the bottom. 

The best way to identify these birds is by the song of the male, which it utters from a high perch in a tree.

Dark-eyed Junco

Scientific name: Junco hyemalis

Photo of Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Juncos are small grey-colored sparrows that are common breeding birds in large parts of the United States.

Male juncos are dark grey on top with a white belly, while females and immature birds are duller and browner.

These small grey birds with white bellies breed in coniferous as well as mixed forests across North America.

During winter they can be found in a variety of habitats, including backyards, forests, and meadows.

These birds feed on seeds which they pick up from the ground, and can be easily recognized by the high pitched sounds they make while foraging.

Final remarks

In summary, here are the 15 types of birds in North America that have a combination of grey and white colors:

  • Gray Flycatcher
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Gray Kingbird
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Bushtit
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Sagebrush Sparrow
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Gray Vireo
  • Dark-eyed Junco

If you’ve spotted one of these birds while bird watching in your backyard, hopefully this ID guide will help you identify it quickly and easily.

And if you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the different types of black birds.

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