11 Types of Black and White Birds Found in Alberta

Bird admirers will find Alberta, Canada, to be a paradise due to its variety and abundant avian population. 11 intriguing black and white species stand out among the numerous fascinating birds that make Alberta home with their striking plumage and distinctive behavior.

We will delve into the world of these stunning 11 Types of Black and White Birds Found in Alberta

This article is certain to capture your imagination and pique your curiosity in the fascinating world of avifauna, whether you are an enthusiastic birder or merely inquisitive about the wonderful feathered residents of Alberta.

So let’s expand our wings and take off on an exciting tour to learn more about Alberta’s captivating 11 species of black and white birds.

Black and White Birds Found in Alberta

The Northern Flicker

With its gorgeous black and golden-yellow plumage, the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), a remarkable woodpecker species, adorns Alberta’s woodlands and open spaces.

Their characteristic “flicker” call, which reverberates across the trees throughout the breeding season, has made these medium-sized birds famous. The main component of the Northern Flicker’s food is ants, which it efficiently forages from the ground with the help of its long, barbed tongue.

They become even more alluring when they fly, showing off their yellow underwing feathers and white rump patches. These adaptive birds are equally at ease searching tree trunks for insects as they are foraging on the ground for berries and seeds.

The Black-billed Magpie

A well-known and smart bird, the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) can be found in Alberta’s urban and rural environments. It is easily recognized thanks to its stunning black and white plumage, long tail, and iridescent shine.

The magpie, which is renowned for its ingenuity, is a clever scavenger and opportunistic feeder who frequently raids trash cans or looks for food scraps. Their striking vocalizations include both melodic cries and imitations of other bird species.

Magpies are renowned for having intricate social structures, dwelling in close-knit family units, and being playful. Even though they are quite flexible, they occasionally run into problems because of confrontations with people.

The Black-capped Chickadee

Small and vivacious, the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) cheers up Alberta’s backyards and woodlands. These sociable and inquisitive birds are a treat to watch and are instantly recognizable by their black cap and bib which contrast with their white face.

The province is home to chickadees all year round, who are renowned for their acrobatic foraging techniques. With their tiny, sharp beaks, they frequently hang upside down from tree limbs, snatching seeds and insects from cracks.

They may express a variety of messages, such as the location of predators or possible food sources, using their characteristic “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call.

The White-breasted Nuthatch

Alberta’s woodlands are home to the White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), a nimble and acrobatic bird. The nuthatch has an endearing and distinctive appearance with its black cap and nape and contrast white face and underparts.

It uses its robust toes and strong beak to help it climb headfirst down tree trunks during its peculiar feeding activity. These birds are adept at removing seeds and insects from cracks in bark. In order to keep predators away during the breeding season, they coat their nest chambers with sticky resin.

As they announce their existence while looking for food, their nasal “yank-yank” sounds reverberate across the woods.

Types of Black and White Birds Found in alberta

The Black-and-white Warbler

A fascinating migrating bird that travels through Alberta in the spring and fall is the Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia).

Its black and white striped plumage mimics the stripes of a little zebra, as suggested by its name. This warbler is distinct from other warbler species due to its distinctive foraging habits.

It moves slowly over tree trunks and branches in search of insects concealed in the bark rather than flitting among leaves like most warblers do. During the breeding season, its high-pitched “weesa weesa weesa” song reverberates through the trees, adding to Alberta’s appeal for birdwatchers.

The Black-throated Gray Warbler

In the summer, the beautiful Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens) breeds in the woodlands of Alberta. Its white underparts with strong black streaks and black neck patch contrast sharply. Foraging for insects and spiders, these warblers favor coniferous and mixed woodlands.

They travel great distances during migration to reach their wintering sites in Mexico and Central America. Their lovely trills to buzzy notes and other high-pitched, melodic melodies are a delightful addition to the woodland chorus.

The Blackpoll Warbler

The unusual migratory bird known as the Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata) is renowned for making amazing lengthy migrations. This bird is easily recognized during the breeding season thanks to its black head and streaks that contrast with its white underparts.

These warblers can frequently be spotted feeding for insects and caterpillars at the top of the canopy. In the fall, they take off on a breathtaking nonstop flight over the Atlantic Ocean to get to their South American wintering grounds.

The Blackpoll Warbler is one of the kings of long-distance avian migration due to its amazing journey.

The Pied-billed Grebe

Alberta’s marshes and tiny bodies of water are home to the Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). Its bill is surrounded by a wide black ring that sets it apart from other grebe species.

Due to its stealthiness and propensity for prolonged diving, the grebe is difficult to observe in the wild. It eats fish, crabs, and aquatic insects and is largely a carnivorous species.

During the breeding season, they engage in complex head-bobbling and diving routines as part of their wooing displays.

The American Avocet

The magnificent shorebird known as the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) stands out for its eye-catching black and white plumage and upturned bill.

In order to catch small aquatic organisms, these beautiful birds carefully sweep their bill from side to side as they walk through the shallow waters of Alberta’s wetlands. Their heads and necks acquire a lovely rusty tint throughout the breeding season, providing an additional pop of color to their appearance.

The synchronized feeding and courtship displays of avocets, who are extremely gregarious birds and frequently observed in big flocks, are a captivating sight.

Black and White Birds Found in alberta

The Black Tern

The Black Tern, Chlidonias niger, is a migratory bird with a white body and a jet-black head. This attractive bird can frequently be seen hovering over Alberta’s lakes and rivers. It dives into the water to grab insects with amazing accuracy.

As they dart across the water’s surface, their buoyant and buoyant flying increases their attractiveness. During mating displays, Black Terns are renowned for their amazing aerial gymnastics, gracefully twisting and rotating in mid-air to captivate possible mates.

The American Coot

The American Coot (Fulica americana) is a waterbird that has a striking contrast between its black body and white bill. These birds are widespread in Alberta and prefer brackish and freshwater areas.

The lobed toes of American Coots, as opposed to their webbed counterparts, allow for effective swimming and diving. They go across marshes and lakes using their quick swimming skills to feed mostly on water vegetation and small aquatic organisms.

Although they resemble ducks, their closer relatives are cranes and rails. Their characteristic nasal “kowk” calls add to the vibrant acoustics of Alberta’s wetland environments.

Unique Characteristics

Some unique features of black and white birds are discussed below:


One of the most striking features of these birds is their distinctive black and white plumage.

Whether it’s the bold black cap of the Black-capped Chickadee, the elegant black-and-white stripes of the Black-and-white Warbler, or the contrasting patterns of the Black-throated Gray Warbler, each species exhibits its unique design.

This plumage serves multiple functions, from providing camouflage in their natural habitats to playing a vital role in courtship displays and attracting potential mates.


The behavior of these black and white birds is equally fascinating. The Black-capped Chickadee’s acrobatic foraging skills and the Northern Flicker’s ground-hunting techniques showcase their resourcefulness in obtaining food.

The intelligence of the Black-billed Magpie is evident in its scavenging abilities and complex social structures. Additionally, the Black-and-white Warbler’s distinctive foraging behavior of climbing tree trunks sets it apart from other warbler species.


Their diets vary according to their habitats and behaviors. Some, like the Northern Flicker and Black-and-white Warbler, are primarily insectivorous, feeding on ants and insects found in trees and on the ground.

Others, such as the Black-billed Magpie and American Coot, have omnivorous preferences, consuming a mix of insects, small vertebrates, and plant matter. The American Avocet’s diet consists of aquatic insects and small fish, while the Pied-billed Grebe feeds on fish and crustaceans found in the water.

Migration Patterns

Several of these black and white birds are migratory, embarking on remarkable journeys during seasonal changes. The Blackpoll Warbler, for instance, undergoes an incredible non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean during its fall migration to reach its wintering grounds in South America.

The Black-and-white Warbler and the Black-throated Gray Warbler also undertake migratory journeys to breed and raise their young in Alberta’s forests during the warmer months. This migratory behavior adds an element of wonder to the region’s birdwatching opportunities.

Also Read: 15 Types of Black and White Birds Found in California


Each bird brings its own special appeal to the province’s many environments, from the colorful Northern Flicker with its golden-yellow plumage to the clever and resourceful Black-billed Magpie.

Birdwatching in Alberta is a unique experience because to the Black-capped Chickadee’s acrobatic foraging and the Black-and-white Warbler’s peculiar tree-climbing activity. The Blackpoll Warbler and Black-throated Gray Warbler’s migratory routes demonstrate their extraordinary fortitude.

As we explore the woodlands, wetlands, and urban environments, we become witnesses to the remarkable adaptation and survival strategies of these magnificent creatures. Their enchanting calls, striking plumage, and engaging behaviors inspire a deeper appreciation for the wonders of nature that surround us.

Are all black and white birds in Alberta migratory?

No, while some are migratory, others are year-round residents in the region.

Can I attract these birds to my backyard?

Yes, providing bird-friendly feeders and suitable habitat can attract various black and white bird species.

What is the best time for birdwatching in Alberta?

Spring and fall are ideal for birdwatching, as many migratory species pass through during these seasons.

Are black and white birds known for their vocalizations?

Yes, several species, like the Black-capped Chickadee, are known for their distinct calls and songs.

How can I contribute to bird conservation in Alberta?

You can support local conservation efforts, participate in citizen science programs, and be mindful of preserving natural habitats.

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