It’s highly likely that you’ve seen a black bird with an orange beak in your backyard; the glossy plumage and distinct bright bill are instantly recognizable amongst the usual garden guests.
But did you know just how many variations of Black Birds with orange beaks actually exist?
- List of Black Birds with Orange Beaks
- Abyssinian Scimitarbill
- African Skimmer
- American Oystercatcher
- Atlantic Puffin
- Black Laughingthrush
- Black Oropendola
- Black-and-gold Cotinga
- Black Breasted Thrush
- Common Blackbird
- Common Hill Myna
- Crested Auklet
- Crested Caracara
- Dusky Lory
- Grey-winged Blackbird
- Inca Tern
- Indian Blackbird
- Orange-billed Sparrow
- Rhinoceros Hornbill
- Toco Toucan
- Tufted Puffin
List of Black Birds with Orange Beaks
Blackbirds with orange beaks can be found all over the world, from urban areas in Europe to the forests of North Africa. In this article, we are going to look at some vastly differing species, some of whom dispel the idea that this blending is an ordinary, common-or-garden occurrence.
Take for instance the Dusky Lory – a breathtakingly vibrant member of the parrot family or the Crested Auklet – a seabird with a most remarkable forward arching crest. You’ll never look at the black-orange color fusion the same way again!
Scientific Name: Rhinopomastus minor
The downward-curved beak of this glossy, blue-black bird is used for catching insects, and eating fruit and seeds. The northern variety also sports white bars on its wings which are clearly visible in flight. They also have a pretty long tail.
They sing in a fascinating series of notes which gradually rise in octave and sometimes a more agitated-sounding set of ‘doks’
Found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Scientific Name: Rynchops flavirostris
This fairly uncommon skimmer has a black crown, back, and hindneck; the rest of its body is white and it has a vivid, long orange beak that is tipped with bright yellow. The lower mandible is significantly longer than the top and they work sideways similar to a pair of scissors.
They have very good night vision and so can feed at dusk and dawn. Food for them is a variety of fish, including microlenses, tilapia, Barbus, and headsets.
Found in Senegal, the Congo River, and the Southern Nile valley.
Scientific Name: Haematopus palliatus
The characteristic black and white plumage is the perfect backdrop to this distinguished bird’s elongated tangerine bill. Even their eyes have an orange orbital ring and he strides the shorelines with pale pink legs.
The bold beak is not just there to look impressive; he uses it to pry open mollusks along with the marine invertebrates which form his diet, incorporating crabs, urchins, and of course, oysters.
They breed along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of America.
Scientific Name: Fratercula arctica
This well-built member of the auk family has a smooth black crown and back with a white body and underparts. Its gaudy markings around the eyes and beak account for its nickname of ‘sea parrot’. The beak is orange and black and the eyes are almost triangular.
They spend autumn and winter in the northern sea and return to coastal areas in late spring to breed and nest in cliff tops.
Found in the Atlantic Ocean, they breed in Russia, Iceland, Ireland, and even as far as Maine and France.
Scientific Name: Terathopius ecaudatus
Predominantly black, the eagle-like bateleur is one of the most eminent raptors in the world. When translated from Latin, their scientific name means: ‘magnificent face, no tail’. That ‘magnificent face’ is red with an orange beak but they do in fact have a tail – it’s just extremely short.
They spend an exhausting amount of time hunting, 8-9 hours a day is not unusual. Their prey consists of birds, mice, and the occasional antelope carcass.
These magnificent-faced birds are native to sub-Saharan Africa.
Scientific Name: Melanocichia lugubris
The bright orange bill of this solid black thrush is the perfect tool for feeding on beetles, berries, and fruits including wild strawberries.
This species is classed within the family of Timaliidae. They love to forage around in the lower foothills and broad forests where you can hear their high-pitched bubbling ‘laughter’ ringing through the trees.
Residents of the Thai-Malay peninsula.
Scientific Name: Psarocolius guatimozinus
Both sexes of black oropendola are black with a black chestnut rump and orange-tipped black beak with a bluish patch of bare skin at the base.
Their diet is thought to consist of insects, fruit, and small vertebrates but this species requires closer study. They build large hanging nests in groups of up to 20 birds in a single tree.
Found along rivers, they range across Panama and into Columbia.
Scientific Name: Lipaugus after
Male black-and-gold cotingas are an amazing sight. Completely black with a stunning yellow patch on his wings. Females are a more subdued olive-green and both sexes have a rather short, and very bright orange beak.
Groups of males will occupy parts of forests where they will call from the tops of trees.
Endemic to the Atlantic Forest in the highlands of Brazil.
Black Breasted Thrush
Scientific Name: Turdus dissimilis
The black-breasted thrush is 22 cm (8.7 in) long including his tail. The male and female are similar in color in their lower parts.
They have beautiful and melodious calls and they enjoy mollusks, insects, berries, and anything else they can forage from the ground.
They breed at different times of the year depending on the country they are in, for instance, in India, they reproduce from April to June but in China, only during May and June.
Scientific Name: Turdus merula
This glossy garden bird will be familiar to many. The orange bill is important in social situations and males will react less aggressively to those with paler yellowish beaks. Females are brown as are juveniles.
They love to eat earthworms, seeds, berries, and spiders and once paired will seek a nest in thorny shrubs such as holly, hawthorn, or ivy.
They reside across Europe, and North Africa, and some sub-species are found in Asia.
Common Hill Myna
Scientific Name: Gracula religiosa
This corpulent jet myna has vivid orange-yellow patches of skin and ample wattles on the side of its head and nape. The sturdy legs and strong beaks are vivid yellows.
Both males and females can emit an incredible range of vocalizations, each bird having a repertoire of 13 call types.
Found in China, India, Borneo, and The Philippines, this talented mimic is consistently under threat from the caged bird trade.
Scientific Name: Aethia cristatella
The bodies, wings, and tails of this stunning auklet are dark grey-black which contrasts starkly with their brilliant orange beak.
Known for foraging in very deep water, they will occasionally venture closer to shore and always in large groups. Their diet is mainly krill, and larval fish and they will dive elegantly through the water to catch their prey.
Distributed through the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Scientific Name: Caracara plancus
This large caracara is darkish brown-black with yellow legs and deep yellow-orange cere.
They are considered rather strange compared with other falcons, for instance, it is known to search for prey by scanning the ground with their long legs. Its preference for walking over flying is another reason it is considered somewhat of an oddity.
Frequenting the open country of the Southern US states, look for it flying low or on foot!
Scientific Name: Pseudeos fuscata
This dazzling parrot has a golden-brown crown, an orange collar and beak, and a tail of electric blue!
Their tongues are specially adapted for feeding on nectar with tiny hair-like structures allowing pollen to be sucked up. 70% of their day is spent foraging, frequently traveling over 30 miles to find food.
Find this beautiful creature in New Guinea, Indonesia, and the islands of Salawati and Yapen.
Scientific Name: Turdus bulbous
This member of the thrush family is black across the head, neck, back, and top of underparts. The lower underparts are also black but have a light grey streak in a very stylish scaled flourish. The bill is a contrasting yellow-orange.
He breeds at very high altitudes in humid evergreen forests and feeds upon larvae, insects, and caterpillars.
They are found in the Himalayas, South China, and Indochina.
Scientific Name: Larosterna inca
Both sexes of this rather large tern are similar in color with slate grey plumage and orange-red bill and legs.
They breed on rocky cliffs, finding a hollow or even recycling the old nest of a penguin. Eggs are incubated for 4 weeks and they feed on very small fish such as anchovies.
Find this noble-looking tern along the coasts of Peru and Chile.
Scientific Name: Turdus simillimus
This black thrush has a very bright orange bill. The plumage does vary depending on the location – Sri Lankan birds are a true ‘midnight black’ whereas central Indian birds are brown with black heads and wings.
They breed in woods and gardens and eat a wide variety of berries, fruits, insects, and worms.
You may hear the loud melodious song of the Indian Blackbird in forests across India and Sri Lanka.
Scientific Name: Arremon aurantiirostris
This audaciously colored sparrow has a brightly colored orange beak which is almost visible at night! Note the brilliant white stripe across his otherwise black head and the pretty greenish tinge across the wings.
He lives at the edges of tropical lowlands and humid forests preferring shady undergrowth and shrubland.
Find this delightful little bird in Central America, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
Scientific Name: Buceros rhinoceros
This large hornbill is predominantly black with a white tail and legs. The beak is huge and orange-red, a color which is enhanced by the preen oil gathered from above the tail.
The diet is mostly fruit but will be supplemented by insects and even small reptiles. They nest inside tree trunks and after the eggs are laid, the male will block up the entrance with mud to keep them all safe.
Living in mountainous Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, and Singapore, these amazing birds favor tropical and sub-tropical climes.
Scientific Name: Ramphastos toco
The impressive Toco Toucan has a striking black body with a white throat but this is outclassed by its most remarkable trait: a huge colorful bill.
As omnivores, they feed on mostly fruit but will occasionally eat insects, reptiles, birds, and eggs. They tend to hop from tree to tree as they are rather poor flyers.
It is believed that the large size of its beak helps them to crack larger seeds as well as being an intrinsic part of courtship and a defensive weapon. It is often assumed that it must be a heavy burden to carry around such a huge beak, however, they are remarkably light as they are mostly hollow inside.
There are 37 species of Toco Toucans ranging from Mexico to Argentina.
Scientific Name: Fratercula cirrhata
This large puffin has a glossy black body, a white face, and long, pale neck plumes offsetting beautifully a huge orange bill.
These tufted seabirds eat small fish which they can catch while swimming. They can carry between 5-20 fish back to their nests at a time.
The North Pacific Ocean is the place to look for these keen fishermen.