25 Types of Water Birds Found in Texas

Are you looking to discover the diverse world of water birds found in the beautiful state of Texas? Look no further!

In this article, we will delve into the realm of 25 Types of Water Birds Found in Texas

From the majestic Great Blue Heron to the vibrant Wood Duck, Texas offers a haven for these captivating creatures.

Join us as we explore their unique characteristics, habitats, and behaviors, providing you with an insightful journey into the remarkable variety of water birds found in the Lone Star State.

Get ready to be amazed by the rich avian life that graces the waters of Texas!

25 Types of Water Birds Found in Texas

1. Green-winged Teal

The Green-winged Teal is a small dabbling duck with a mottled brown body, a green patch on its wing, and a distinctive white crescent on its face.

Habitat:

These ducks can be found in marshes, wetlands, and shallow freshwater habitats across Texas.

Diet:

Green-winged Teals primarily feed on seeds, aquatic plants, and invertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the green speculum on their wings and the white patch on their face to identify these beautiful ducks.

2. Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teals are small dabbling ducks with a brownish body, a blue patch on their wing, and a white crescent on their face.

blue winged teal

Habitat:

They can be found in wetlands, marshes, and shallow lakes throughout Texas.

Diet:

Blue-winged Teals feed on seeds, insects, and aquatic vegetation.

Identification:

Look for the blue speculum on their wings and the white crescent on their face to identify these lovely ducks.

3. Northern Shoveler

The Northern Shoveler is a medium-sized duck with a distinctive large spatula-like bill, a cinnamon-brown body, and a green head.

Habitat:

These ducks can be found in freshwater marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes in Texas.

Diet:

Northern Shovelers have a unique feeding behavior, sweeping their bill from side to side in the water to filter out small invertebrates and plant matter.

Identification:

The large bill and the male’s green head make the Northern Shoveler easy to identify.

4. Northern Pintail

Northern Pintails are elegant ducks with long, slender necks, long pointed tails, and a gray body. The male has a chocolate-brown head and a white breast.

Habitat:

They can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, ponds, and prairie potholes in Texas.

Diet:

Northern Pintails feed on seeds, aquatic plants, and small invertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the long, slender neck and the male’s distinct chocolate-brown head to identify Northern Pintails.

5. American Wigeon

The American Wigeon is a medium-sized duck with a round head, a light gray body, and a green patch on its wing. The male has a white cap and a distinctive iridescent green stripe behind its eye.

Habitat:

These ducks can be found in freshwater wetlands, marshes, and ponds across Texas.

Diet:

American Wigeons feed on aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates.

Identification:

The male’s white cap and the green patch on the wing help identify the American Wigeon.

6. Mallard

Mallards are medium-sized ducks with a mottled brown body, a green head, and a distinctive yellow bill. The male has a curly black feather on its tail.

mallard

Habitat:

They can be found in a wide range of wetland habitats, including marshes, lakes, and rivers throughout Texas.

Diet:

Mallards are omnivorous, feeding on aquatic plants, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the green head, yellow bill, and the male’s curly black tail feather to identify Mallards.

7. Wood Duck

Wood Ducks are medium-sized ducks with a unique combination of colors. The male has a metallic purple-green head, a red eye, and a white throat. The female has a gray-brown head and a white eye-ring.

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Habitat:

They can be found in wooded swamps, forested wetlands, and shallow lakes in Texas.

Diet:

Wood Ducks feed on seeds, fruits, insects, and aquatic vegetation.

Identification:

The male’s vibrant colors and the female’s distinctive head pattern make Wood Ducks easily identifiable.

8. Bufflehead

The Bufflehead is a small diving duck with a striking black and white plumage. The male has a large white patch on the back of its head, while the female has a smaller white patch.

Habitat:

These ducks can be found in ponds, lakes, and rivers across Texas, preferring wooded areas near water.

Diet:

Buffleheads feed on small invertebrates, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.

Identification:

Look for the black and white plumage and the male’s large white patch on the head to identify Buffleheads.

9. Hooded Merganser

Hooded Mergansers are small diving ducks with a black crest on their head and a distinctive fan-shaped white patch on their face. The male has a black and white body, while the female has a grayish-brown body.

Habitat:

They can be found in wooded swamps, marshes, and shallow lakes throughout Texas.

Diet:

Hooded Mergansers feed on small fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and aquatic insects.

Identification:

The black crest, white facial patch, and the male’s striking black and white plumage help identify Hooded Mergansers.

10. Common Merganser

Common Mergansers are large diving ducks with a long slender body, a greenish-black head, and a white body with black markings. The female has a rusty-red head.

common merganser

Habitat:

These ducks can be found in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs across Texas, preferring clear, open water.

Diet:

Common Mergansers primarily feed on fish, but they also consume crustaceans, amphibians, and small invertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the long, slender body, the greenish-black head, and the white body with black markings to identify Common Mergansers.

11. Canada Goose

Canada Geese are large water birds with a long black neck, a brownish-gray body, and a distinctive white chinstrap.

canada goose

Habitat:

They can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including lakes, rivers, and wetlands throughout Texas.

Diet:

Canada Geese primarily feed on grass, leaves, and aquatic plants.

Identification:

Look for the long black neck and the white chinstrap to identify Canada Geese.

12. Snow Goose

Snow Geese come in two color phases. The “white morph” has a completely white plumage, while the “blue morph” has a mix of white and dark gray feathers.

snow goose

Habitat:

These geese can be found in coastal areas, marshes, and agricultural fields in Texas.

Diet:

Snow Geese feed on grass, leaves, stems, and agricultural crops.

Identification:

Look for the white plumage, or the mix of white and dark gray feathers, to identify Snow Geese.

13. Tundra Swan

Tundra Swans are large, graceful water birds with a long neck, a white plumage, and a black bill.

tundra swan

Habitat:

They can be found in wetlands, marshes, and shallow lakes during migration and winter in Texas.

Diet:

Tundra Swans feed on aquatic plants, grasses, and grains.

Identification:

The combination of a long neck, white plumage, and a black bill distinguishes Tundra Swans.

14. Mute Swan

Mute Swans are large water birds with a long curved neck, a white plumage, and an orange bill with a black knob at the base.

Habitat:

They can be found in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers in Texas.

Diet:

Mute Swans primarily feed on aquatic plants, grasses, and small invertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the long curved neck, white plumage, and the orange bill with a black knob to identify Mute Swans.

15. Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic, large water bird with a long S-shaped neck, a grayish-blue body, and long legs.

great blue heron

Habitat:

They can be found in various aquatic habitats, including marshes, swamps, and shorelines throughout Texas.

Diet:

Great Blue Herons feed on fish, frogs, insects, and small mammals.

Identification:

Look for the large size, long S-shaped neck, and grayish-blue plumage to identify Great Blue Herons.

16. American Bittern

The American Bittern is a medium-sized water bird with a stocky body, a mottled brown plumage, and a long neck.

Habitat:

They can be found in marshes, wetlands, and grassy areas near water in Texas.

Diet:

American Bitterns primarily feed on fish, amphibians, and insects.

Identification:

Look for the stocky body, mottled brown plumage, and the long neck that is often held in a stretched-up position to identify American Bitterns.

17. Green Heron

Green Herons are small water birds with a dark greenish-blue back, a chestnut neck, and a dagger-like bill.

green heron

Habitat:

They can be found in freshwater and brackish wetlands, ponds, and streams throughout Texas.

Diet:

Green Herons feed on fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects.

Identification:

Look for the dark greenish-blue back, chestnut neck, and the dagger-like bill to identify Green Herons.

18. American White Pelican

American White Pelicans are large water birds with a white plumage, a long neck, and a distinctive large orange bill.

Habitat:

They can be found in lakes, reservoirs, and coastal areas in Texas.

Diet:

American White Pelicans primarily feed on fish, scooping them up from the water’s surface.

Identification:

The combination of a white plumage, a long neck, and the large orange bill helps identify American White Pelicans.

19. Brown Pelican

Brown Pelicans are large water birds with a dark brown plumage, a long bill with a pouch, and a wingspan that can reach up to 7 feet.

Habitat:

They can be found along the Texas coast, in bays, estuaries, and coastal wetlands.

Diet:

Brown Pelicans primarily feed on fish, using their pouch to catch them while diving.

Identification:

Look for the dark brown plumage, the long bill with a pouch, and the large wingspan to identify Brown Pelicans.

20. Eared Grebe

Eared Grebes are small diving water birds with a black head, a reddish neck, and a black and white body.

Habitat:

They can be found in freshwater lakes, reservoirs, and marshes in Texas.

Diet:

Eared Grebes feed on small fish, insects, and crustaceans.

Identification:

Look for the black head, reddish neck, and the black and white body to identify Eared Grebes.

21. Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebes are small diving water birds with a brownish-gray body, a black band around their bill, and a distinctive whitish bill with a black tip.

Habitat:

They can be found in marshes, ponds, and slow-moving water bodies throughout Texas.

Diet:

Pied-billed Grebes feed on small fish, insects, and aquatic invertebrates.

Identification:

The combination of a brownish-gray body, a black band around the bill, and the distinct whitish bill with a black tip distinguishes Pied-billed Grebes.

22. Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorants are medium to large water birds with a dark brown to black plumage, a long neck, and a hooked bill.

Habitat:

They can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including lakes, rivers, and coastal areas in Texas.

Diet:

Double-crested Cormorants primarily feed on fish, diving underwater to catch their prey.

Identification:

Look for the dark brown to black plumage, the long neck, and the hooked bill to identify Double-crested Cormorants.

23. American Coot

American Coots are medium-sized water birds with a dark gray to black body, a white bill, and distinctive lobed feet.

Habitat:

They can be found in freshwater lakes, ponds, and marshes throughout Texas.

Diet:

American Coots feed on aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the dark gray to black body, the white bill, and the lobed feet to identify American Coots.

24. Common Loon

Common Loons are large water birds with a black head, a white neck, a checkered black and white back, and a dagger-like bill.

common loon

Habitat:

They can be found in freshwater lakes and reservoirs during migration and winter in Texas.

Diet:

Common Loons primarily feed on fish, diving underwater to catch their prey.

Identification:

Look for the black head, white neck, checkered black and white back, and the dagger-like bill to identify Common Loons.

25. Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes are large water birds with a grayish-brown body, a long neck, and a distinctive red forehead.

sandhill crane

Habitat:

They can be found in wetlands, prairies, and agricultural fields in Texas.

Diet:

Sandhill Cranes feed on plant material, grains, insects, and small vertebrates.

Identification:

Look for the grayish-brown body, the long neck, and the red forehead to identify Sandhill Cranes.

Conclusion

Texas boasts a remarkable array of water bird species, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. From the majestic Canada Goose and Snow Goose to the elegant Tundra Swans and Mute Swans, these water birds grace the diverse landscapes of Texas with their presence.

Each water bird species has its own physical appearance, habitat preferences, diet, and identification markers, making them a fascinating subject of study and observation.

As you explore the natural wonders of Texas, keep in mind the importance of conservation and respecting the habitats of these remarkable water birds. Many of them are protected under state and federal regulations, emphasizing the need for responsible birdwatching practices. Take the time to learn about local birding sites, consult field guides, and engage with birding communities to enhance your understanding and appreciation of these avian wonders.

Also Read: Top 6 Long Billed Water Birds

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Are these water birds native to Texas?

Yes, all the water birds mentioned in this article can be found in Texas, either as resident species or during migration.

Can these birds be spotted throughout the year?

While some birds are year-round residents, others may only be present during specific seasons.

Are these birds protected in Texas?

Many of these water birds are protected under state and federal regulations. It’s important to respect their habitats and observe them from a safe distance.

Where are the best places to see these water birds in Texas?

Texas offers numerous excellent birdwatching sites, including national wildlife refuges, state parks, and coastal areas. Consult birding guides and local birding communities for specific recommendations.

Can I attract these birds to my backyard?

Some water birds may occasionally visit backyard ponds or bird feeders, but their presence is more commonly associated with natural water bodies. Creating suitable habitats can increase the chances of attracting local bird species.

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