Birds are among the most colorful animals on our planet, but not all of them possess a vibrant rainbow of feathers. Many display their burst of color on their non-feathered areas, such as their beak. This article lists 11 avian species that boast the combination of black feathers and a yellow bill.
- List of Black Birds with Yellow Beaks
- Small Black Birds with Yellow Beaks
- Large Black Birds with Yellow Beaks
- Why Do Birds Have Yellow Beaks?
List of Black Birds with Yellow Beaks
Despite all the birds on this list having yellow beaks, their morphologies are incredibly diverse. The black thrush has a dainty, narrow bill whilst the toucan has a huge beak that accounts for almost half of its total length. The shape and size of the bills also reflect a bird’s diet. The steller’s sea hawk has a hooked bill for catching fish whilst the black oystercatcher has a long, straight bill for probing in the sand.
Small Black Birds with Yellow Beaks
Scientific Name: Turdus infuscatus
The black thrush was formerly known as the black robin. The male is entirely black, aside from a bright yellow bill, eyes, and legs. This black and yellow coloration makes for a very striking appearance. Females, on the other hand, are dark brown in color.
Some individuals have hints of white feathers on their underbelly. Black thrushes belong to the Turdidae family.
Insects, worms, and fruits are the main food sources of this bird’s diet. Black thrushes are arboreal feeders and forage in fruiting trees. Occasionally, they forage on the ground.
Black thrushes frequent tropical and subtropical forests that are moist and at high altitudes. Geographically, they range across El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Common Hill Myna
Scientific Name: Gracula religosa
The common hill myna is also known as the hill myna or myna bird, where myna is also spelled mynah. It is a member of the starling family and is a common species in aviculture. They are popular pets due to their pretty looks and talkative nature.
Black feathers with an iridescent blue-green gloss to them cover this bird’s stocky body. They have white wing patches that are most obvious during flight. On either side of its head, bald yellow-orange patches contrast with the rest of its plumage.
They have a strong, large bill that is bright orange and tipped with yellow. Their legs are also vibrant yellow.
Fruit, such as bananas, chili, and figs are this bird’s preferred food source. However, they will eat almost anything including insects, annelids, and eggs.
Common hill mynas favor habitats with both high rainfall and high humidity. As such, they can be found in jungles, evergreen forests, and wet, deciduous forests. They are residents across South Asia.
Scientific Name: Turdus merula
The Eurasian blackbird is also known as the common blackbird and is a species of true thrush.
Males have a glossy black plumage overall, whilst their female counterparts adorn a sooty-brown plumage. Both sexes have bright yellow bills and yellow feet. Yellow rings also outline their jet-black eyes.
A wide range of food sources makes up this omnivore’s diet. they will consume almost anything from seeds to fruits, to insects. They are ground feeders, foraging along the grass and low-lying vegetation in search of food sources.
Eurasian blackbirds reside in a wide range of both urban and rural habitats including woodland, gardens, and city centers. They are widely distributed, inhabiting Europe, Russia, North Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. They are migratory birds.
Scientific Name: Sturnus Vulgaris
The European starling is also known as the common starling. They have iridescent black, green, and purple plumage adorned with white speckles. Their legs are orange, and their beak is a vibrant yellow.
Being omnivores, they consume a variety of food sources including seeds, berries, and invertebrates. They are ground foragers and probe the soil with their beaks in search of prey.
The European starling lives in urban and rural environments, ranging from woodlands to agricultural fields to city streets. They are found throughout Eurasia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Yellow Billed Chough
Scientific Name: Pyrrhocorax graculus
The yellow-billed chough is also called the alpine chough and belongs to the crow family. Their plumage is entirely glossy black apart from their bill which is an eye-catching yellow. Their legs and feet are bright oranges.
During the summer months, this bird feeds mainly on invertebrates such as caterpillars and beetles, which they pluck from the pasture. During spring, autumn, and winter, the main bulk of their diet comes from fruits and berries. They forage in open habitats.
The yellow-billed chough breeds on mountains at high altitudes. Their eggs are specially adapted to increase oxygen uptake and reduce water loss to deal with the thin atmosphere. They nest in cavities on the rock faces.
Yellow-billed choughs are monogamous birds and form a lifelong relationship with their mate. They are distributed throughout southern Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia.
Yellow Legged Thrush
Scientific Name: Turdus flavipes
The yellow-legged thrush is a medium-sized songbird. The male has mainly black plumage with a slate-gray belly and back. Females, on the other hand, are warm brown in color with slightly paler underparts.
Both sexes have vibrant yellow legs, feet, a beak, and a ring around the eyes.
Fruits and berries comprise the majority of this bird’s diet. They forage on the ground as well as in trees and bushes.
The yellow-legged thrush favors dense woodlands and rainforests in areas of fairly high elevation. They are distributed across Northeast South America and the Caribbean.
Large Black Birds with Yellow Beaks
Scientific Name: Haematopus bachmani
The black oystercatcher is a large and heavy shorebird. Their head and neck are jet black, while their wings and tail are dark browns. They have long, thick legs that are pale pink in color. Their vibrant yellow-orange bill contrasts with their dark plumage. They also have piercing yellow eyes.
Shellfish make up the majority of this bird’s diet. They forage for shellfish on rocks which they either smash open or use their bill to pry them open and cut the mollusk’s muscle to open the shell.
Black oystercatchers reside on islands and shorelines in close proximity to rocks and tidal pools. They have a fairly small range along the shoreline of Northwest America.
Common Black Hawk
Scientific Name: Buteogallus anthrancinus
Reaching 22 inches in length, this raptor is large and full-bodied. They have broad wings and tails, a hooked beak, and thick legs with sharp talons.
They are gray-black in color although their underwings look slightly browner. They have a white tail strip and white patches on the underside of their wings. Their legs are yellowish, and their bill is bright yellow with a black tip.
Small animals including fish, reptiles, mammals, and invertebrates constitute the bulk of their diet. They hunt by perching on a high vantage point, often in close proximity to a river, then swoop down to grab their prey with their talons.
Common black hawks can spot terrestrial prey from 100 feet in the air. They are also efficient hunters and can chase and catch food whilst in flight.
The common black hawk resides in forest habitats in canyons and deserts that are near bodies of water. Swamps, marshes, and flooded forests are among some of their favorite places to hunt. These birds can be found across the United States and Northern Mexico.
Double Crested Cormorant
Scientific Name: Nannopterum auritum
Double-crested cormorants get their name due to their horn-like crest, but it is only visible during the breeding season. They also get white patches on either side of their head. They are large water birds that can reach around 35 inches in length.
Overall, these birds are black-brown in color. They have a small patch of yellow-orange skin that surrounds their face. Their bill is pale and their legs are dark with webbed feet.
Fish make up almost their whole diet and they feed on around 250 species. They dive under the water and chase the fish which they will then catch with their hooked upper bill.
Double-crested cormorants are waterbirds that gather in colonies in large bodies of water that support an abundance of fish. Lakes, lagoons, and ponds are some of their habitats. After fishing, they stand on large rocks and spread their wings to dry off.
Double-crested cormorants are found along the continental interior and coastal regions across North America.
Steller Sea Eagle
Scientific Name: Haliaeetus pelagicus
The steller sea eagle is one of the largest, strongest, and heaviest eagle species in the world. They weigh up to 22 pounds and can reach 36 inches in length.
The plumage of a steller’s sea eagle is mainly black with bright white patches of feathers along the top of the wings and the rump and tail. Their strong bill and chunky feet are bright yellows in color.
Fish, such as salmon and trout, make up the majority of this bird’s diet. They hunt in shallow waters, skimming the surface to grab fish with their sharp, curved talons. Adults do not have any natural predators.
Steller sea eagles are solitary raptors that live in cold, coastal regions. They are endemic to Northeast Asia where they can be found along the coasts of Russia, Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan.
Scientific Name: Ramphastos toco
The toco toucan is also known as the common toucan or giant toucan because they are the most well-known and largest species of toucan. They can grow up to 25 inches and their huge bill can be as long as 7 inches.
The plumage of a toco toucan is predominantly black with a white patch around its face and neck. They have bright blue eyes. Out of every bird species, the toco toucan has the largest bill relative to its body size. Its huge bill is vibrant orange-yellow in color and tipped black.
Fruits make up a large portion of this bird’s diet, which they pluck from trees using their large, downward-curved bill. They will also consume insects, reptiles, small birds, and eggs. Their length bill allows them to reach food that would otherwise be too far away.
Their massive bills are used to intimidate and scare predators, but for physical combat are rather futile.
Toco toucans live in high canopies in the rainforests. They are found throughout Eastern and Central South America.
Why Do Birds Have Yellow Beaks?
The beaks of birds come in a variety of shades and colors including yellow, pink, and black. The colorful plumages of birds have been well studied, however, the featherless parts of birds, such as their beaks, have much less data surrounding them.
Carotenoid pigments are responsible for the red, orange, and yellow coloration of bird beaks. The more vibrant a beak is, the higher the levels of carotenoid pigments.
Birds, like other animals, do not naturally produce carotenoid pigments, but rather obtain them through their diet. this may be through either plant or animal matter.
Bright bill color is therefore reflective of what the bird has consumed, which is also linked to their overall health and reproductive status, which is important for sexual selection and evolution.
A beak that is a vibrant yellow in comparison to a pale or dull yellow will be more beneficial to the bird. It plays a role in obtaining a mate and asserting social ranks and dominance.
You may also be interested in Birds That Lay Blue Eggs