Central Texas is well-known for its rich and varied wildlife, and birds are no exception. With a diverse mix of habitats ranging from grasslands to forests, wetlands to deserts, the region is home to over 400 different species of birds.
Whether you are an avid birdwatcher, a casual observer, or just someone with a general appreciation for nature, there is something special about the birds of central Texas.
From the majestic bald eagle to the tiny, colorful painted bunting, each bird has its own unique characteristics and contributes to the intricate web of life that makes this area so special.
In this article, we will explore some of the most common and fascinating birds found in central Texas and learn more about their behavior, habitat, and conservation status.
1. Black-chinned hummingbird
The Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is a small but widely distributed bird. It migrates to Mexico for the winter months, and in summer can be found across much of North America.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird has been known to hybridize with several other species such as Anna's, Lucifer, Broad-tailed and Costa's hummingbirds.
It prefers open habitats like desert scrub or grasslands that provide plenty of nectar from flowers.
These birds are also capable flyers, able to reach speeds of up to 34 miles per hour. With its dazzling plumage and impressive flying skills the Black-chinned Hummingbird makes an intriguing sight for any nature enthusiast lucky enough spot one in the wild.Scientific classification:
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2. Common grackle
The Common Grackle is a large icterid bird commonly found in North America. It has an iridescent head and pale yellow eyes, which are framed by its long dark bill and long tail.
Males typically have more vivid colors on their heads than females do. These birds can be seen across much of the continent, in fields, forests, wetlands - even urban areas.
They form huge flocks to search for food such as grains or insects that they catch with their bills.
The grackles may also scavenge from human sources like garbage dumps or picnic tables if available. With its colorful plumage and distinct call it's easy to spot this species amongst other birds.Scientific classification:
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3. White-winged dove
The White-winged Dove is an impressive bird with a large body and wingspan. Its distinctive feature is the white edge on its wings, which makes it easily recognizable when in flight.
It has blue eyerings, red eyes and gray plumage, while juveniles are duller in coloration than adults.
This dove species inhabits areas from Southwestern United States through Mexico to Central America as well as Caribbean islands.
They usually live close to human settlements or cities but can also be found in agricultural fields feeding on grains like corn or wheat seeds left by farmers after harvest season ends.
In their natural habitat they feed primarily on insects, fruits and small plants such as certain cacti species.Scientific classification:
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4. Lesser goldfinch
The Lesser Goldfinch is a tiny species of bird found in the Americas. It belongs to the same clade as American goldfinches and Lawrence's goldfinches, which can be identified by their males having black or rarely green foreheads.
The face appears red or yellow on these birds unlike other species in its genus Spinus sensu stricto.
They are small songbirds with short bills, brown wings and tails with white edges, grey-brown backs and olive heads.
These birds inhabit open woodlands and fields where they feed mainly on seeds from weeds such as thistle, pigweed and ragweed but also consume insects at times during breeding season for additional nutrition.
In addition to being an important part of North America’s avian ecology, these birds have been popularized through recent artwork depicting them in various poses among flowers.Scientific classification:
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5. Turkey vulture
The turkey vulture is a large bird of prey that can be found in many parts of the world. It has a wingspan of up to 6 feet and its feathers are mostly black with brownish-red patches on the underside which give it an overall dark red appearance.
Its head is bald, which helps protect it from getting overheated when flying long distances looking for food.
The Turkey Vulture usually feeds off carrion but will also feed on fruit and insects.
Its keen eyesight allows them to spot potential meals from miles away while they soar through the sky using their broad wings and thermal air currents to stay aloft without expending much energy.
They are very important scavengers as they keep ecosystems healthy by consuming dead animals before disease can spread amongst living creatures or contaminate local water sources like rivers or lakesScientific classification:
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6. Carolina chickadee
The Carolina Chickadee is a small passerine bird found in the tit family Paridae. It stands out for its distinct black and white, grey-brown feathers with an offwhite underside.
This species can be spotted by its call: "chick-a-dee". The American Ornithologists' Union has classified them into their own genus called Poecile as they differ from other tits due to both genetic data and morphology.
These birds are found all over North America, living in wooded areas near open fields or water sources.
They feed on insects such as caterpillars but also have been known to eat suet at backyard feeders during winter months when food is scarce.Scientific classification:
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7. 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:
|Genus||Corthylio Cabanis, 1853|
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8. Cooper's hawk
Cooper's Hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey native to North America. It belongs to the Accipiter genus, which are known for their agility and small size compared to other hawks.
They usually inhabit wooded areas, making them well-adapted hunters in dense environments.
Cooper’s Hawks have rounded wings with short tails that help them maneuver quickly through trees when chasing after prey such as small rodents or birds.
These raptors also possess powerful feet equipped with sharp talons used for catching food items on the ground and even out of midair.
The adult plumage has barred upperparts, ranging from greyish brown on lighter individuals up to dark chestnut colors found in darker specimens; they also display rusty underparts marked by thin white streaking down either side of their chests and bellies.Scientific classification:
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9. Black-crested titmouse
The Black-crested titmouse is a passerine bird in the Paridae family and was recently recognised as its own species.
Native to southern Texas, Oklahoma and east central Mexico, they have been known to make their way as far north and east as St. Louis Missouri through vagrancy.
The birds measure between 5 - 6 inches long with an overall grey colouring featuring white underparts and black crowns on their heads giving them the name 'Black-crested'.
These birds are omnivores foraging for insects, fruit or seeds depending on seasonality of food sources available at different times throughout the year.
They form monogamous pairs typically making nests of twigs lined with grasses & feathers which both parents take part in building & raising young before fledging.Scientific classification:
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10. Purple martin
The Purple Martin is a beautiful passerine bird in the swallow family, and is the largest of its kind in North America.
It has dark blackish-blue feathers that have an iridescent sheen which can make them appear blue or deep purple depending on the light; they may even look green.
These birds are quite social creatures and often build communal roosts with multiple nests, having as many as hundreds of individuals living together at once.
They feed mainly on flying insects such as flies, moths, wasps and bees.
Their habitats include areas near bodies of water like lakes or rivers where there's plenty for these birds to eat all year round.
The Purple Martin is truly an amazing species worth protecting.Scientific classification:
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11. Ladder-backed woodpecker
The Ladder-backed Woodpecker is a small black and white bird native to North America.
At about 16.5-19 cm in length, it has a characteristic barred pattern on its back resembling the rungs of a ladder, as well as speckled black rump and cream colored underparts on its breast and flanks.
These birds can be found inhabiting woodlands across their range, where they feed mostly on insects that they find by drilling into trees or hunting from exposed branches.
Their call consists of short chirps repeated every few seconds with an occasional longer trill thrown in for good measure.
They are also known to use twigs or other objects to probe crevices while searching for food - making them quite resourceful hunters indeed.Scientific classification:
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12. Painted bunting
The Painted Bunting is an eye-catching bird from the Cardinal family, native to North America. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his eighteenth-century Systema Naturae.
The males of this species are particularly striking; they have brightly coloured plumage which only appears after their second year of life and can be distinguished from female birds through close inspection.
These colourful songbirds are a delight for any avid birder, with their vibrant hues bringing joy to nature lovers everywhere.
They often inhabit woodland areas where there is plenty of seed and insects available for them to feed on - as well as some shrubbery so that they can hide away safely when needed.Scientific classification:
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13. Golden-cheeked warbler
The golden-cheeked warbler is an endangered species of bird found only in Central Texas. It has a distinctive appearance, with bright yellow cheeks and chestnut colored wings and back.
The males also have black stripes across their white breasts. During the breeding season, they build nests by weaving together pieces of bark from juniper trees using spider webs as glue to construct their cup shaped homes.
In addition to foraging for insects on the ground during the day, this songbird often feeds high up in trees at night when predators are less active.
Conservation efforts have helped increase its population significantly over recent years but more can still be done to ensure its survival going forward.Scientific classification:
14. Common nighthawk
The Common Nighthawk is a medium-sized nocturnal bird of the Americas. It has dark grey, black and brown cryptic colouring which makes it difficult to spot during the day.
They are most commonly found in open fields or near water sources such as rivers and lakes with tall grasses and trees for shelter from predators at night.
Its identity can be easily revealed through its vocalization - a loud "peent" sound that they make while flying around looking for food like beetles, moths and other insects.
During mating season their display flight includes steep dives followed by sharp climbs accompanied by their distinctive call making them even easier to identify.Scientific classification:
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15. Cedar waxwing
The Cedar waxwing, also known as Bombycilla cedrorum, is a medium-sized bird found in North and Central America.
They have a mixture of brown, gray and yellow feathers on their body, and their wings have wax-like tips.
These birds prefer open wooded areas in Southern Canada for breeding, and during winter, they migrate to the Southern part of the United States, Central America, and the far.
The Cedar waxwing is a member of the waxwing family of birds or Bombycillidae family.
They are known for their distinctive crest on their head and a black mask-like area around their eyes.
These birds are social creatures and can often be seen in large flocks, sometimes even intermixing with other bird species.
Their diet consists mainly of fruit and insects, and they are important dispersers of fruit seeds.
The Cedar waxwing bird is a beautiful and fascinating creature to observe in the wild.Scientific classification:
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