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23 Most Common Birds Of Belle Isle

Belle Isle, situated in the middle of the Detroit River, is a vibrant and bustling island that attracts visitors from all over the world. Home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, Belle Isle is a natural haven for several species of birds that make it a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers.

With its lush greenery, sprawling meadows, and tranquil waterfront, the island provides an ideal nesting, feeding, and roosting ground for birds of all types.

From migratory birds to waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds, the avian community of Belle Isle is a sight to behold and a testament to the island’s ecological diversity.

This article focuses on the birds of Belle Isle, their characteristics, behaviors, and the best time to see them in their natural habitat.

1. Common Loon

Common loon

The Common Loon is a beautiful bird found in North America. It has a large black head and neck, with a greenish to purple sheen that stands out against its dark grey upperparts.

The underparts are pure white except for some black on the undertail coverts and vent.

During non-breeding season adults have brown plumage instead of the bright shades they show during breeding season.

They also exhibit unique behaviors such as diving underwater to catch fish or swimming along lakeshores while calling loudly, which is how they got their name “great northern diver”.

With their stunning colors and interesting behavior, it’s no wonder why these birds make up an iconic part of many landscapes across North America.Scientific classification:

SpeciesG. immer

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2. Bald Eagle

Bald eagle

The majestic Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America and recognized as the national symbol of the United States.

With its distinctive white head, brown body and striking yellow beak, this sea eagle has two known subspecies that form a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle.

It inhabits much of Canada, Alaska all states in the US contiguous area and Northern Mexico near large bodies of water where they feed mainly on fish.

These birds have an impressive wingspan ranging from 1.8 to 2 meters depending on their size making them one of nature’s most magnificent creatures.Scientific classification:

SpeciesH. leucocephalus

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3. American Crow

American crow

The American crow is a large bird of the Corvidae family, native to most parts of North America.

It is similar in size and structure to its European counterpart, the carrion crow, as well as Eurasia’s hooded crow.

The three species occupy the same ecological niche, but are distinguishable by their differences in appearance.

American crows have black feathers covering their entire body with wingspan averaging between 17-21 inches wide for males and 16-19 inches for females.

They feed on insects such as grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars; they also eat grains from fields or abandoned farms during winter months when food sources become scarcer.

In addition to feeding habits American crows can be identified by their distinct call which resembles a “caw” sound that travels long distances over open terrain making them popular among birdwatchers.Scientific classification:

SpeciesC. brachyrhynchos

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4. Common Starling

Common starling

The Common Starling is a medium-sized passerine bird that belongs to the starling family. It has glossy black plumage with a metallic sheen, and in certain times of year it can be speckled with white.

The bill and legs are typically pink or black depending on the season, while its length measures about 8 inches long.

Its diet consists mainly of insects but also includes small fruits and seeds as well as some human food waste.

They live in large flocks which provides protection against predators, although they can become quite aggressive when defending their nesting sites during breeding seasons.

Overall, this species is highly adaptable and widely distributed across many parts of Europe making them one of the most successful birds in the region today.Scientific classification:

SpeciesS. vulgaris

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5. Mourning Dove

Mourning dove

The Mourning Dove is a breathtakingly beautiful bird. It has stunning gray and brown feathers with white tipped wings, giving it an elegant appearance. Its long tail also adds to its graceful look in flight.

A symbol of peace and serenity, they are abundant across North America and can be found in gardens or open fields throughout the year.

As well as being popular game birds for hunters, they feed on grains such as wheat and millet providing important food sources for wildlife species including foxes, coyotes, skunks and raccoons.

These doves have a distinctive cooing sound that can often be heard echoing through woodlands during summer evenings making them one of nature’s greatest treasures.Scientific classification:

SpeciesZ. macroura

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6. Tufted Titmouse

Tufted titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a small, cheerful songbird found in North America. It’s part of the tit and chickadee family (Paridae).

It has distinctive white feathers around its eyes, grey-brown wings and upper body, with a pale tan underside.

Its most notable feature is the black crest on top of its head that gives it an inquisitive look. The male also sports a pinkish breast which can be seen.

When singing from high perches during the spring months. This bird loves to eat sunflower seeds or suet at backyard feeders as well as insects in summertime.

You may even see them poking into crevices and bark looking for food.

They are quite social birds too, being often spotted in mixed flocks alongside other species such as nuthatches and woodpeckers all year round.Scientific classification:

SpeciesB. bicolor

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7. American Coot

American coot

The American coot is a bird of the Rallidae family, commonly mistaken for ducks. However, they are only distantly related and have broad lobed scales on their lower legs and toes that fold back with each step to help them walk on dry land unlike ducks which have webbed feet.

Coots are omnivores who typically live in freshwater marshes, ponds and lakes but can also be found in brackish water habitats or even open oceans during migration season.

They feed mainly on algae and aquatic plants as well as small fish, snails, insects larvae and worms from time to time.

The males display territorial behaviour by chasing away intruders within their territory while females lay eggs mostly.

In floating nests made of vegetation near shorelines or islands among reeds where chicks hatch after about three weeks incubation period before swimming off into adulthood shortly afterwards at 10-12 weeks old.Scientific classification:

SpeciesF. americana

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8. American White Pelican

American white pelican

The American White Pelican is a majestic bird from the Pelecaniformes order, known for its impressive size and ability to soar gracefully in the sky.

It breeds during summer months in North America and migrates southwards towards Central and South America during winter.

The species was first described by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin back in 1789 as part of his updated version of Carl Linnaeus’ work.

This large aquatic bird has an all-white plumage with black primary flight feathers on its wings, while its beak features a characteristic yellowish colouration at the base near the face.

Its diet mainly consists of fish which it typically catches after dipping into water using its long bill; yet sometimes they can be seen stealing food items from other birds such as cormorants or gulls.Scientific classification:

SpeciesP. erythrorhynchos

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9. Sanderling


The Sanderling is a small wading bird that can be found in the Arctic region. Its name comes from Old English, meaning “sand-ploughman”. It has grey feathers and light legs which give it its distinct white coloration.

During summer breeding months, they are known to travel great distances – some wintering as far south as South America or Southern Africa. They typically feed on crustaceans such as shrimp and mollusks along coastal shores.

The Sanderling is an important species to watch out for because of their long migratory patterns and sensitivity to environmental change; if there’s trouble with this species then other birds may also be affected.Scientific classification:

SpeciesC. alba

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10. Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-billed grebe

The Pied-billed Grebe is a water bird found in ponds throughout the Americas. It has earned many nicknames, including American dabchick, rail, and Carolina grebe.

This species of grebe can be recognized by its distinctive bill which is pied or mottled with black and white markings.

Its brownish body is also covered in dark spots as well as having long legs for swimming underwater to catch food such as aquatic insects and crustaceans.

The Pied-billed Grebes are monogamous birds that pair up during breeding season from spring to summer where they build their nests together on vegetation near the shoreline of lakes or slow moving rivers.

These birds are solitary outside of mating season but will form small flocks when migrating south for winter months.Scientific classification:

SpeciesP. podiceps

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11. Green Heron

Green heron

The Green Heron (Butorides virescens) is a small heron found throughout North and Central America.

It’s scientific name comes from Middle English ‘butor’ meaning bittern, combined with the Latin term for its distinctive greenish color – ‘virescens’.

For many years it was considered to be part of the same species as the Striated Heron (Butorides striata), commonly referred to as “green-backed herons”.

The nominate subspecies inhabits wetlands across much of this range, where they can be spotted stalking about in shallow water looking for fish or frogs on which to feed.

They are fascinating wading birds that have even been known to use tools such as sticks or baited lines when fishing.Scientific classification:

SpeciesB. virescens

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12. Great Egret

Great egret

The Great Egret is a large, white bird found in many regions of the world. It has four subspecies that reside across Asia, Africa, Americas and southern Europe.

This species usually lives near bodies of water such as lakes and marshes. They are also now starting to spread into more northern areas of Europe due to climate change.

These birds have long yellow legs with an impressive wingspan for their size which allows them to soar majestically through the sky hunting for fish or amphibians in shallow waters below.

Their feathers have been used historically by Native Americans as part of traditional garments or ceremonies but this practice should be avoided today so these amazing creatures can thrive without harm from humans.Scientific classification:

SpeciesA. alba

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13. Great Blue Heron

Great blue heron

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic wading bird found in many parts of North America, Central America, the Caribbean and even as far away as the Galapagos Islands.

It has an impressive wingspan which can reach up to six feet wide. Its feathers are mainly bluish-gray with brownish streaks on both its neck and chest while its head displays white plumes.

The adult herons can also be identified by their yellow bill and legs.

They live near bodies of water such as lakes, marshes or rivers where they feed on fish using a spear like motion with their sharp bills.

An all-white population exists only in south Florida and the Florida Keys making it quite unique.Scientific classification:

SpeciesA. herodias

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14. Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter swan

The majestic Trumpeter Swan is the largest native waterfowl in North America, with a wingspan of up to 8 feet.

Found throughout Canada and parts of the United States, this beautiful bird can live for up to 20 years.

It has black legs and bill that are tipped yellow as well as snow-white feathers that help it stand out in its natural habitat.

The trumpeter swan’s diet consists mainly of aquatic vegetation such as roots, tubers, stems, leaves and seeds which they find by wading into shallow waters or grazing on land.

These birds form strong family bonds; both parents raise their young together until they reach adulthood at four years old.

Through conservation efforts these incredible creatures have been brought back from near extinction giving us all something special to appreciate.Scientific classification:

SpeciesC. buccinator

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15. Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned night heron

The Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is a medium-sized bird found in various parts of the world, including Europe, Asia and North and South America.

It has black crowns on its head with white feathers underneath. Its wings are greyish brown while its underparts are mostly white.

This species can be seen foraging near shallow water or along coastlines during dusk or dawn as it hunts small fish, amphibians and crustaceans.

They also feed on insects such as grasshoppers and beetles which they find in meadows close to freshwater bodies like lakes or ponds where they breed during springtime making nests using twigs lined with reeds and leaves near these waterside habitats.

In Australasia, this species hybridizes with the nankeen night heron that inhabits those areas instead; however both populations remain distinct from each other despite their overlap range regions.Scientific classification:

SpeciesN. nycticorax

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16. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned kinglet

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a small passerine bird native to North America. It has olive green plumage, white wing bars and an eye-ring as well as a distinctive red crown patch on the males.

Juveniles look similar to adults with no distinguishing features other than size.

They are usually found in coniferous forests or woodlands where they spend much of their time searching for insects among foliage and branches while constantly flitting from place to place.

These birds have incredible energy levels that allow them to travel long distances during migration season without getting exhausted too quickly, making them one of nature’s most resilient species.Scientific classification:

GenusCorthylio Cabanis, 1853
SpeciesC. calendula

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17. Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted sandpiper

The Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius) is a small shorebird that can be found across North America and parts of South America.

It has an appealing spotted plumage, predominately brown in colour with white spots on the wings, tail feathers, head and neck.

The Common Sandpiper (A. hypoleucos) is its sister species which takes over geographically when the other moves away; they have been known to hybridize as well when strays settle down among breeders.

This bird was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1766 in his twelfth edition of Systema Naturae as a migratory summer visitor to Europe but it now also occupies many habitats too like beaches, riversides and even grasslands during migration periods or for breeding season itself.

Its diet consists mainly of insects such as air-borne flies plus molluscs from shallow water areas – this makes them quite unique amongst waders.Scientific classification:

SpeciesA. macularius

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18. Redhead


The Redhead is a medium-sized diving duck that can be found in North America. It has a scientific name of Aythya americana, with its Greek roots translating to an unidentified seabird and the Latin meaning “of America”.

This bird measures 37 cm (15 in) long on average with an 84 cm (33 in) wingspan. The typical weight for this species ranges from 2 to 2.5 pounds, although males tend to weigh slightly more than females at around 2.4 lbs (1083 g).

Its beautiful plumage includes shades of browns and grays along with distinctive red feathers on its head which give it its name.

They mainly feed off insects, aquatic plants, small fish and crustaceans making them excellent divers.Scientific classification:

SpeciesA. americana

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19. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray gnatcatcher

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is a beautiful small songbird native to North America. It has a length of 10–13 cm (3.9–5.1 in), wingspan of 6.3 in (16 cm) and weighs only 5–7 g (0.18–0.25 oz).

Males have blue-gray upperparts with white underparts, slender dark bill, and long black tail edged in white; females are less vibrant but still eye catching.

Juveniles are brownish gray overall but may show some hints of the adult colouration around their tails or shoulders as they mature into adulthood.

Their diet consists mainly of insects which they catch while flitting through air like tiny darts.

This stunning species can be found anywhere from woodlands to urban parks so keep your eyes peeled for these delightful creatures on your next outdoor adventure.Scientific classification:

SpeciesP. caerulea

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20. Merlin


The Merlin is a small species of falcon found in the Northern Hemisphere. It has many subspecies across North America and Eurasia, and was once known as a Pigeon Hawk in North America.

Merlins breed mainly during summer months but some migrate to subtropical or northern tropical regions for winter season.

Males have wingspans ranging between 53-58 centimeters while females have slightly larger wingspan of 60-65 centimeters.

These birds are powerful fliers with fast aerial pursuits that can reach up to 50 mph.

Their diet consists mainly of insects, small mammals and other small birds which they hunt using their keen vision from high altitudes followed by swift dives down towards its prey at incredible speeds.

The Merlin continues to be an iconic symbol amongst bird enthusiasts due to its majestic beauty despite facing habitat loss around the world due to human activities such as deforestation and urbanization.Scientific classification:

SpeciesF. columbarius

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21. Double-Crested Cormorant

Double-crested cormorant

The double-crested cormorant is a majestic bird with an impressive wingspan, found across North America from the Aleutian Islands all the way down to Mexico.

Its black plumage stands out against its bright orange-yellow facial skin and some extended patches of white feathers on each side of its throat.

It measures between 28 – 35 inches in length and has webbed feet that enable it to swim gracefully through rivers and lakes, as well as coastal areas.

These birds are known for their voracious appetite for fish, sometimes diving over 100 ft deep into water looking for food.

Despite this reputation they also feed on crustaceans, amphibians and insects when available.

Cormorants have been part of many cultures throughout history due to their remarkable ability to fly long distances making them valued messengers or companions during fishing expeditions at sea.Scientific classification:

SpeciesN. auritum

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22. Greater Yellowlegs

Greater yellowlegs

The Greater Yellowlegs is a large shorebird found in the family Scolopacidae. It nests mainly in central Canada and south Alaska, while wintering in southern North America, Central America, West Indies and South America.

The bird was formally described by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin as part of his revision to Carl Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae.

It has long yellow legs which sets it apart from other birds of its kind; when disturbed or alarmed they will flash these bright-colored limbs about wildly.

Its diet consists mostly of insects like flies, beetles, grasshoppers and dragonflies although aquatic invertebrates are also eaten on occasion.

These birds have adapted well to human habitation near shallow marshes or mudflats with plenty of food sources for them to feed upon making them an easier species for people who love bird watching.Scientific classification:

SpeciesT. melanoleuca

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23. American Kestrel

American kestrel

The American kestrel, also known as the sparrow hawk, is a popular falcon species in North America. It is the smallest falcon and can come in different sizes based on subspecies and sex.

Its weight ranges from that of a blue jay to a mourning dove. In addition to North America, this bird species is also found in South America.

There are 17 subspecies of American kestrels, each adapted to different environments.

Although small in size, the American kestrel is a fierce predator, often preying on insects, rodents, and other small birds.

Its impressive hunting skills and stunning coloration make it a favorite among birdwatchers and falconers alike.Scientific classification:

SpeciesF. sparverius

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