Types of Birds in Texas

Types of Texas Birds

Check out the list of types of birds in Texas.

Because of the geographic location, the mild climate, and diverse regions of the State of Texas, the State is blessed with abundant bird wildlife. As a matter of fact, the state is even considered as the state with the most diversity of bird wildlife in the United States of America.

As more and more people become interested in the birds and come to appreciate their beauty, so has the birding industry in the state been growing. We must mention that this phenomenon is true throughout most of North America. No doubt you too are curious about the types of birds that you can find in the state of Texas. This post is designed to tell you exactly that, as well as give you all the interesting facts about them that you need to know. Lets us get started!

Types of Birds in Texas

Tricolored Heron

The Tricolored Heron, which some people still call the Louisiana Heron, is a Texas bird that (like all herons) thrives in shallow waters. This bird is easily recognized by having a stunningly long beak and neck and also because it has a pale blue-green color.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron – Photo by Geryl Mortensen

Despite being mostly a solitary bird, the Tricolored Heron becomes sociable during nesting seasons.

For various reasons (mostly the depletion of its preferred habitat by human activity ) the population of the tricolored heron has significantly decreased over the years; although new reports indicate that the birds are making a comeback, and are still common in the southeastern part of United States, particularly Texas.

The bird is big, roughly the height of a chicken and likes to wade around shallow waters where it hunts for small fish, frogs and other such creatures that it can find.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Number two on our list is even more interesting. This is the Northern Mockingbird which has the honor of being the official state bird of Texas! This bird is not just pretty but also very talented. This white and gray-colored bird is a gifted singer. Not just can it sing its own song, it can also sing the tunes of dozens of other birds. It doesn’t stop there, the bird can mimic human sounds, the sounds of machines and engines, as well as the tunes of ringing mobile phones. This unique talent has earned the bird the binomial name ‘Mimus Polyglottos’ which comes from old Latin and means ‘many-tongued mimic’.

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker

The Red-Headed Woodpecker, unlike most woodpeckers, is so good at hunting and catching insect prey. But aside from that, it also tends to eat huge amounts of nuts such as acorns. You can easily recognize them by their black plumage as well as red reds and crests. This bird is always busy noisily pecking at tree trunks and chipping away tree barks.

This bird is fondly called the “Flying Checkerboard” by bird watchers and enthusiasts, and this comes from the notable bold patterns printed in its plumage.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The next bird of Texas in our list is a more quiet bird. This is a graceful, beautiful and ruthless bird- the Red-Tailed Hawk. This bird gets its name from its red-tail and does not bother with humans. If prefers to sit quietly in shaded areas going about its lawful business.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk -Photo by Sewan Behera

The wings are composed of white blotches mixed with chocolate brown feathers that resemble some types of chicken, particularly one kept for its eggs. This is probably why the bird is sometimes known as ‘Chicken Hawk’. These large raptors can sometimes be spotted in high hills or on treetops quietly waiting for its meal to show up.it loves small rodents.

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

The Purple Gallinule is unique because it is characterized by a variety of colors: its head, neck, and under-feather are purple (hence its name), its back is colored green, its forehead is tinted blue, its bill is colored red, and yet tipped with bright yellow, and its legs match its bill-tip: also colored yellow.

The purple Gallinule is well built for its habitat: swamps and marshy land: its long toes enable it to walk on top of lily pads like a tripod stand with long projecting legs. Hence it does not get stuck.
But despite its long projecting toes, the Purple Gallinule is much more like a duck, than a chicken. This is because it is an excellent swimmer, and is not afraid to get into the deeper end of the pool.

Le Conte Sparrow

Le Conte Sparrow

The Le Conte’s Sparrow, which is sometimes also called the Le Conte’s Bunting is a small but agile sparrow. This bird thrives in the relatively wet grasslands and shallow marshes.

This Texas bird can be identified by its orange head and chest, with black strips of feathers found on its orange-brown wings.

The Le Conte Sparrow is one of North America’s least understood birds because very little literature has been produced about it. This is because of its quiet and secretive behavior: it is very rare to spot a Le Conte’s Sparrow in the wild. They often are aware of your presence before you are aware of theirs, and will just quietly slip away.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The next bird on our important list of Texas birds is the cute Barn Swallow (also known as “Mud Swallow”). These tiny birds build their nests on house eaves, bridges, porches, and patios. The bird is quite used to human presence and is not afraid to come close while showing off its acrobatic flying abilities. The belly is covered with gradient orange while the head, back, and tail are covered with dark blue plumages. There are some distant relatives to these birds in Texas namely the Cliff Swallows and Cave Swallows. You may not be able to tell the difference because they are anatomically the same, the difference being their nest-building habits.

Hooded Mersanger

The Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser, is one of the smallest mergansers that is native to North America. This bird which is popular in Texas is characterized by a fan-like crest that can be opened or closed.

One of the most interesting things to note about this bird is that the female of this species tends to lay their eggs in the nests of other females (of that species). Such practice is known as “brood parasitism” and is often exhibited by the Brown-headed Cowbirds. The bird just gives out its eggs for adoption.

These birds are often seen in Texas diving in small ponds and rivers but sometimes choose to nest on the cavities between branches of trees.

Violet Green Swallow

The next bird in this list of must-know Texas birds is the Violet-green Swallow which you can often see roaming the up in the skies over mountain pine forests.

Violet-green Swallow
Violet-green Swallow ; Photo by Mark Lockwood

The Violet-green Swallow is actually just like the Tree Swallow in appearance and behavior. However, they can be differentiated from other types of Swallow because of the presence of white patches on their underparts as well as their cheeks.

The Cowbird

This is another very interesting bird on our list. Technically this bird has no permanent home because it migrates with the moving bison herds. But it spends enough time in Texas to be important and plays a vital role in our ecology.

Shiny Cowbird
Shiny Cowbird – Photo by Greg Lasley

Because the herds of Bison are always moving, this bird has no time to settle down in one place. But a bird has to breed and raise chick so how does the cowbird solve this problem? It lays its eggs on unattended nests belonging to other birds, and then fly away. The bird then hatches and raises its chicks without ever knowing that it has been tricked. So all cowbird chicks are always raised by foster parents of other bird species.

You can identify this bird because of the male a brown colored head, glossy black body while the female cowbird is just grayish-brown throughout its body.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a common bird in Texas. You can often find one perched on fences and electricity wires throughout the State, especially during the spring and summer.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ; Photo by Peter Assman

This beautiful bird feeds on insects (such as beetles and grasshoppers, and dragonflies) flying in the air and catching its prey cleanly with its beak. The bird is highly adapted to living in open areas like grasslands, and agricultural and urban environments where it thrives.

You can easily recognize this bird by its long tail feathers shaped like scissors, hence its name.

The Montezuma Quail

Last on our list of birds in Texas is the Montezuma Quail, which is a bird that is common to various places in the United States but especially Texas. This bird typically inhabits the oak-pine woodlands and savannas of these areas. It generally prefers the forests and thick bushes where it finds shade and protection. Because of its limited population, the Montezuma quail is considered to be the least known quail in Texas. The bird also has a shy nature.

Montezuma Quail
Montezuma Quail – Photo by Cameron Carver

You can recognize these birds because: Male and female Montezuma quails hardly look alike as males have overall black plumage but still wear a white face mask, while females have brown plumage all over their bodies.

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