21 Types of Black and White Birds Found in Montana

For birdwatchers and other nature lovers, Montana is a haven because of its breathtaking landscapes and varied animals.

We will delve into the fascinating world of 21 Types of Black and White Birds Found in Montana in this article.

These feathered marvels can be found throughout the world, from broad fields and grasslands to forests, swamps, and hilly places.

As we explore these black and white birds’ distinctive traits, habitats, and the entrancing melodies that fill the skies of Montana, we will learn about their beauty and diversity.

2. Birds Found in Open Fields and Prairies

American Avocet

The graceful shorebird known as the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) is distinguished by its long, upturned beak and slender body.

This bird stands out against the background of broad fields and shallow wetlands thanks to its black and white plumage. It is a striking sight due to its beautiful motions and peculiar eating technique, which involves sweeping its bill from side to side.

Black and White Birds Found in Montana
Scientific NameRecurvirostra americana
Average length16-20 inches (40-51 cm)
Wingspan16-20 inches (40-51 cm)
HabitatWetlands, marshes, shallow lakes
DietInvertebrates, insects, small fish
Conservation statusLeast Concern

White-faced Ibis

The White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) is another eye-catching bird that inhabits Montana’s vast fields. This bird is quite stunning with its iridescent black feathers and stark white face.

The White-faced Ibis gives life to the grasses and damp meadows it calls home. It is frequently spotted probing the moist soil for insects and tiny crustaceans.

white face ibis
Scientific NamePlegadis chihi
SizeApproximately 21-27 inches (53-69 cm) in length
WingspanAround 36-41 inches (91-104 cm)
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Special FeaturesGlossy plumage and distinctive white face

Western Meadowlark

The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), the bird that represents Montana, is a melodious vocalist with a voice that resembles a flute.

This bird brightens the vast grasslands with its black “V” insignia on a vivid yellow chest. It is a representative species of Montana’s broad areas because of the way its beautiful song reverberates over the grassy stretches.

Scientific NameSturnella neglecta
HabitatOpen fields, prairies, grasslands
PlumageBrown and black streaked back, bright yellow underparts
DietSeeds, insects, small fruits
BehaviorGround-dwelling, forages for food in open areas

3. Birds Found in Forested Areas

Black-backed Woodpecker

The Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) thrives in the thick forests of Montana. This unusual bird has a black back and wings, which contrast beautifully with its white undersides.

The Black-backed Woodpecker, which is well-known for its excavation abilities, is important to the health of forest ecosystems because it makes cavities that serve as homes for various animals and birds.

Scientific NamePicoides arcticus
Average length8-9 inches (20-23 cm)
Wingspan14-17 inches (36-43 cm)
HabitatBurned forests, dead trees
DietInsects, larvae, tree sap
Conservation statusLeast Concern

American Dipper

The unusual bird known as the American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), also called the Water Ouzel, is found close to swift-moving streams and rivers. This unusual species, which has a sleek black body and a white throat, is frequently seen plunging into the water in search of aquatic invertebrates.

It is a genuine symbol of Montana’s riparian environments due to its affection for both land and water.

Scientific NameCinclus mexicanus
HabitatFast-flowing streams, rivers
PlumageDark grayish-brown overall, white throat and chest
AdaptationsNictitating membrane protects eyes underwater
Feeding BehaviorDives underwater for aquatic insects and small fish
Conservation statusLeast Concern

Black-capped Chickadee

Poecile atricapillus, a small bird with a huge personality, is a Black-capped Chickadee. This colorful species can be seen frequently in the woodlands of Montana, where it can be identified by its black hat and bib, stark white cheeks, and gray wings.

It is a cherished resident of the state’s forested areas due to its jovial and acrobatic behavior as well as its distinctive chick-a-dee-dee call.

Scientific NamePoecile atricapillus
SizeApproximately 4.7-5.9 inches
HabitatWoodlands, forests
DietInsects, seeds, berries
Conservation StatusLeast Concern

4. Birds Found Near Water Bodies

Black Tern

The Black Tern (Chlidonias niger), a graceful bird, is commonly seen close to lakes and wetlands in Montana. It is a striking species with black plumage, striking silver wings, and buoyant flying. The Black Tern displays its agility and mastery of flight as it catches flying insects above the water’s surface with its elegant aerial maneuvers.

Scientific NameChlidonias niger
SizeApproximately 9-10 inches (23-26 cm) in length
WingspanAround 24 inches (61 cm)
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Special FeaturesForked tail and graceful flight

Clark’s Grebe

Aechmophorus clarkii, a magnificent bird with distinctive black and white plumage and a long neck, is known as the Clark’s Grebe.

This species, which inhabits lakes and reservoirs, performs elaborate head-bobbing rituals and synchronized swimming as part of its elaborate courtship displays. The Clark’s Grebe is a symbol of the grace and beauty of Montana’s aquatic environments.

Scientific NameAechmophorus clarkii
HabitatLakes, reservoirs, large ponds
PlumageBlack and white with a long, slender neck
Courtship DisplaySynchronized swimming, elaborate head-bobbing rituals
DietFish, aquatic invertebrates

American Coot

The American Coot (Fulica americana) is an amazing waterbird that frequents the ponds and marshes of Montana. Although mostly black, its white forehead and bill make a striking contrast.

The American Coot is perfectly suited to navigating through the aquatic vegetation that covers Montana’s water bodies thanks to its characteristic lobed toes and great swimming ability.

Bird NameAmerican Coot
HabitatLakes, ponds, marshes
CharacteristicsWhite bill, red eyes, gray-black body, lobed toes
DietAquatic plants, algae, small invertebrates
BehaviorForms large flocks, vigorous swimmers, distinctive calls

5. Birds Found in Mountainous Regions

White-tailed Ptarmigan

The White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) is a remarkable bird that thrives in Montana’s high-altitude mountainous regions. In winter, its plumage transforms to a snow-white color, allowing it to blend seamlessly with the snowy landscapes. As spring arrives, the White-tailed Ptarmigan’s feathers transition to a mottled brown, providing camouflage amidst the rocky terrain.

Scientific NameLagopus leucura
HabitatAlpine meadows, rocky slopes
PlumageSnow-white in winter, mottled brown in summer
Courtship DisplaySynchronized swimming, elaborate head-bobbing rituals
DietPlant material, buds, insects

Clark’s Nutcracker

The clever and resourceful Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) is a bird that lives in the forested mountains of Montana.

The body of this eye-catching species is black, with a white face and white wing patches. The Clark’s Nutcracker, which is well known for its caching behavior, is essential for the spread and germination of pine seeds, which benefits the ecosystem as a whole.

Scientific NameNucifraga columbiana
HabitatMountainous forests, coniferous woodlands
PlumageBlack overall with white face and white wing patches
Courtship DisplaySynchronized swimming, elaborate head-bobbing rituals
DietSeeds, nuts, insects, eggs

Mountain Bluebird

The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), with its vivid blue plumage standing out against Montana’s mountains’ snow-capped peaks, is a sight to behold.

Each spring, this migratory bird makes its way back to the state, bursting the alpine meadows with color. Its beautiful appearance and enchanting singing add to the mystique of Montana’s high country.

Scientific NameSialia currucoides
Average length6.5-7.5 inches (17-19 cm)
Wingspan12-16 inches (30-41 cm)
HabitatMountain meadows, grasslands
DietInsects, berries
Conservation statusLeast Concern

6. Birds Found in Urban Environments

European Starling

In Montana’s major cities, the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), an imported species, has thrived. The black feathers of this non-native bird, which is decorated with iridescent speckles, have a captivating effect.

The European Starling, which is well known for its mimicking abilities and can mimic a broad variety of noises, is a charming addition to the bird chorus of city life.

Scientific NameSturnus vulgaris
HabitatUrban areas, fields, woodlands
PlumageBlack with iridescent speckles
DietInsects, fruits, seeds, garbage
NestCavity nest in trees, buildings, or birdhouses
Conservation statusLeast Concern

Pied-billed Grebe

Urban ponds and lakes in Montana are home to the little waterbird known as the Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). This species stands out in contrast to the surrounding water thanks to its stocky physique, black throat band, and striking white bill with a black ring.

Its extraordinary hunting abilities are demonstrated by its capacity to dive underwater in search of fish and aquatic invertebrates.

pied billed grebe
Scientific NamePodilymbus podiceps
Average length12-15 inches (30-38 cm)
Wingspan18-22 inches (46-56 cm)
HabitatLakes, ponds, marshes
DietFish, invertebrates, aquatic insects
Conservation statusLeast Concern

American Crow

In Montana’s cities and villages, one can frequently see American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). This adaptive and intelligent bird has sleek black plumage and a unique caw.

The American Crow is a common sight in cities, but it may also be found in natural settings. By scavenging carrion and managing tiny rodent populations, it contributes significantly to the ecology.

Scientific NameCorvus brachyrhynchos
Average length16-21 inches (40-53 cm)
Wingspan33-39 inches (84-99 cm)
HabitatWoodlands, parks, urban areas
Conservation statusLeast Concern

7. Birds Found in Wetlands and Marshes

American White Pelican

In the wetlands and marshes of Montana, one can frequently see the spectacular American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos).

It is a striking sight due to its great size, white plumage, and large wingspan. The American White Pelican uses a novel feeding technique, gliding across the water’s surface to scoop up fish with its characteristic pouch and bill.

Scientific NamePelecanus erythrorhynchos
Average length50-70 inches (127-178 cm)
Wing span9-10 feet (2.7-3 meters)
HabitatLakes, reservoirs, rivers
Conservation statusLeast Concern

Black-necked Stilt

The Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is an elegant wading bird known for its long, slender legs and black-and-white plumage.

It frequents the shallow waters of Montana’s wetlands and marshes, skillfully navigating through the mud in search of small aquatic invertebrates. The striking contrast of its black back and white underbelly adds to its allure.

Scientific NameHimantopus mexicanus
Average length14-16 inches (36-41 cm)
Wing span24-27 inches (61-69 cm)
HabitatWetlands, marshes, salt flats
DietInsects, small crustaceans, seeds
Conservation statusLeast Concern

Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) is a small bird renowned for its unique breeding behavior. In Montana’s wetlands, this species engages in role-reversal, with the females displaying vivid plumage while the males incubate the eggs and care for the young.

Its black cap and distinctive white eyebrow stripe make it easily recognizable amidst the marshy landscapes.

Exotic Birds Pictures With Names
Scientific NamePhalaropus tricolor
HabitatWetlands, marshes, shallow ponds
PlumageGrayish-brown overall, white underparts
Breeding BehaviorRole-reversal: Males incubate eggs and care for young
DietAquatic invertebrates
Conservation statusLeast Concern

8. Birds Found Along Riverbanks

Black-crowned Night-Heron

A nocturnal bird, the Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is common in Montana’s riverbanks and lakeshores. This species has a stunning appearance with its black wings, back, and crown.

It is particularly skilled at catching fish, amphibians, and small animals thanks to its stealthy hunting techniques. Its yellow eyes and dagger-like beak contribute to its attractiveness.

Scientific NameNycticorax nycticorax
Average length23-28 inches (58-71 cm)
Wingspan44-46 inches (112-117 cm)
HabitatWetlands, riparian areas
DietFish, insects, small mammals
Conservation statusLeast Concern

Belted Kingfisher

The interesting Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) frequents Montana’s rivers and streams. It is a genuine symbol of riparian ecosystems, with distinctive black-and-white plumage and a shaggy crest.

The Belted Kingfisher, which is renowned for its outstanding hunting abilities, dives headfirst into the water to grab fish with amazing accuracy.

Scientific NameMegaceryle alcyon
HabitatRivers, streams, lakeshores
PlumageBlue-gray upperparts, white underparts, blue band on chest
Feeding BehaviorDives headfirst into water to catch fish
DietFish, insects, small mammals
Conservation statusLeast Concern


The Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is a charismatic shorebird that can be found along the sandy shores and riverbanks of Montana. With its black and white plumage, this species blends perfectly with its surroundings.

The Killdeer is known for its distinctive “kill-deer” call and its habit of feigning injury to distract potential predators away from its nest.

Scientific NameCharadrius vociferus
Average length9-11 inches (23-28 cm)
Wingspan23-25 inches (58-64 cm)
HabitatFields, pastures, water edges
DietInsects, worms, small invertebrates
Conservation statusLeast Concern


The striking variety of avian life in Montana is best represented by the black and white birds that live there. These fascinating species enhance Montana’s already breathtaking natural surroundings, from the wide grasslands to the lofty alpine summits.

Exploring the black and white birds of Montana is a breathtaking experience, regardless of whether you are an expert birder or just like the beauty of nature.

Also Read: 5 Types of Cardinals Found in North America

25 Types of Water Birds Found in North Carolina

Are black and white birds common in Montana?

Black and white birds are indeed common in Montana. The state’s diverse habitats provide a suitable environment for a variety of avian species, including those with black and white plumage.

Do these birds migrate or stay in Montana year-round?

The migration patterns of black and white birds in Montana vary depending on the species. While some birds are year-round residents, others may migrate to different regions during specific seasons.

Can I attract black and white birds to my backyard?

Yes, you can attract black and white birds to your backyard by creating a bird-friendly environment. Consider providing feeders, birdhouses, and natural vegetation that offer food, shelter, and nesting opportunities.

What is the largest black and white bird in Montana?

The American White Pelican holds the title of the largest black and white bird found in Montana. Its impressive size and graceful flight make it a remarkable sight.

How can I identify black and white birds in the field?

When identifying black and white birds in the field, observe their overall size, shape, plumage patterns, and distinctive features such as bill shape, leg color, and habitat preferences. Field guides and online resources can provide valuable information and illustrations to aid in identification.

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