Who said that the feathers of birds are the only part of their bodies capable of harboring color and beauty? Of course, the plumage of the birds that inhabit all of North America is full of color and diversity, making the different species of birds that inhabit this continent the most sought after and admired by nature lovers and photographers.
But that is not their only virtue. The beak of some of these species of birds can also raise a great interest, being the red-billed birds the most famous and difficult to find among nature lovers.
And the simple fact of having a striking red beak can turn a simple bird of common appearance from being “just another bird in the crowd” to being the center of attention of all eyes. And that’s precisely what we’ll talk about next, listing in detail some of the most beautiful and exotic red-billed bird species in the world.
Want to know more about birds with a red beak? We’ll tell you all about them below.
20 Birds With Red Beaks And Where To Find Them
1. Black Oystercatcher
• Scientific name: Haematopus bachmani
• Length: 16.5-18.5 in
With a robust, dark plumage and a long, bright red bill. Oystercatchers are one of those birds that if it weren’t for their striking bill and piercing yellow eyes, no one would stop to look at.
It is a common bird that spends most of the year mating and flies over the Pacific coasts in search of food when the tide is at its lowest, feeding on crustaceans and mussels that remain attached to the rocks on the shore.
Its plumage is a powerful black color, both on the head and neck, while the rest of its feathers have a light chocolate brown tone and long, tapering pink legs.
Throughout the year it is quite noisy, especially during the breeding season when the males of the colony perform duo flights to show off in front of the females and arouse their interest. It is a bird that hunts crustaceans and shellfish from the rocks, breaking their shells with its sharp and long beak.
While the Black Oystercatchers that range from Alaska to the coasts of Oregon have completely dark plumage, those that inhabit more towards the south of the continent present white and much browner plumages, something that experts explain is due to the hybridization between the Black Oystercatcher and the American Oystercatcher.
2. White Ibis
• Scientific name: Eudocimus albus
• Length: 22.1-26.8 in
These beautiful birds are easily confused with flamingos because of their long, pink legs and large reddish bill.
These beautiful wading birds are accustomed to moving among the shallow wetlands of the Southeastern United States, always nesting in the areas of trees and shrubs that line the banks of estuaries, although they rarely repeat the same location each year and are always in a constant state of migration.
These beautiful, wading birds always move in groups as they forage for food in wetlands or areas of standing water. They always walk with their heads bent in search of insects and crustaceans that they can hunt quickly by sticking their long beaks into the mud and when they fly we can see how they stretch their long legs backward and stretch their necks.
Female White Ibis has a shorter bill, shorter wings, and weigh an average of 3 kilos less than male Ibis.
3. Common Tern
• Scientific name: Sterna hirundo
• Length: 12.2-15.0 in
The Common Tern is the most widespread type of tern throughout North America and is a truly beautiful bird to watch as it flies with its long, angular wings, large red bill, gray belly, and black cap.
They can usually be seen flying over open water near rocky islands, mudflats and barrier beaches, lakes, and marine waters. Although during the breeding season they move through both salt and fresh waters, during the winter they will always stay close to marine environments waiting for the arrival of good weather.
Common Terns are extremely beautiful vocal and gregarious birds that like to be noticed, which not only means that they will always fly in groups giving us beautiful pictures worthy of immortalizing with our camera, but we will always know when they are nearby their beautiful whistles.
Common Terns drink water as they fly, dipping their red beaks while holding up their large wings. They are able to do this because, like many other seabirds, common terns have nasal glands that allow them to excrete sea salt and not swallow it when they drink.
4. Laughing Gull
• Scientific name: Rynchops niger
• Length: 15.3-18.1 in
As their name indicates. Laughing Gulls are noisy birds that are always hanging around near the shore looking for something to put in their mouths.
It is common to find them on the docks of the beaches of the southeast and the Gulf of Mexico, and they are very easy to identify because of their characteristic black head white torso, and large red beak and you will always know they are there because of the screams they always make while waiting for something to eat.
They are noisy birds that will always hang around the docks and shores of the beaches waiting for a handout to feed on, even scavenging through human garbage. Their most outstanding characteristic is the shrill whistles they emit while waiting for food.
Unlike other birds, male and female black-headed gulls usually build their nests together. However, if during the mating season the male has not been able to find a female, he may start building his nest to attract new females and impress them with the nest he has built for his eggs.
5. Buff-Bellied Hummingbird
• Scientific name: Amazilia yucatanensis
• Lenght: 3-4 in
This beautiful gray-bellied hummingbird differs from other hummingbirds found throughout the United States with its gray belly, sharp, bright red bill, and beautiful blue-green and chocolate-brown plumage.
This particular hummingbird moves between the U.S-Mexico border and is commonly seen sipping nectar from flowers in big city gardens, thickets, and river corridors in the south Texas area.
This gray-bellied hummingbird is slightly larger in size than the other hummingbirds that frequent the Texas area, allowing it to scare them away when it wants to feed at hummingbird feeders and easily prey on all kinds of small insects that wander among suburban vegetation.
This hummingbird is notable for being one of the few species to move northward across the continent during the winter, moving from its usual breeding grounds in Texas to cold Louisiana.
6. Black Skimmer
• Scientific name: Rynchops niger
• Length: 15.8-19.7 in
Black skimmers are large black-and-white plumaged birds that use their large reddish bill to hunt by skimming the waters. The black skimmer hunts by dropping its lower jaw all the way into the water, waiting to touch a fish before quickly closing its beak and taking it.
This is called “hunting by touch”, which allows them to hunt even at night without problems due to the lack of light.
Black Skimmers have some of the rarest flights known making very long ascents and moderate descents in order to stay close to the surface of the water but without diving. This makes their flight very irregular and fun to watch.
The black skimmer is a bird that we can always see activity during the day, although it is precise during the twilight hours (at dawn and dusk) when they like to hunt the most thanks to their special skills hunting even in the middle of the night.
7. Purple Gallinule
• Scientific name: Porphyrio martinica
• Length: 13.0-14.6 in
Purple Gallinules combine cherry red, sky blue, moss green, aquamarine, indigo, violet, and school bus yellow a truly beautiful palette of colors to observe that curiously matches perfectly with the tropical and subtropical wetlands of the southeastern United States where this bird lives.
These beautiful long-legged birds move gracefully and stealthily among the wetlands and water lilies in search of food, with frogs and tubers being some of their favorite delicacies.
Purple Gallinules are very beautiful but they move in a very similar way to the common hens, walking slowly through the mud and along the edge of the marshes in search of prey. They are good swimmers and can also easily climb bushes and trees with the help of their long legs.
In the tropical areas of Costa Rica and Panama, these birds usually produce more than one brood per year, something quite unusual for this species that happens thanks to the fact that the youngest chicks help the adults to take care of the new nests.
And the territory from predators, instead of staying safe and hidden until the new breeding season arrives.
8. Tufted Puffin
• Scientific name: Fratercula cirrhata
• Lenght: 15 inch
Tufted Puffins are one of those birds that never go unnoticed and are worth seeing up close at least once in a lifetime. Their large head is filled with striking large yellow feathers, which perfectly match their large red beak and bright white face.
These birds are native to the sea, moving from the subtropical waters of the Pacific coasts to the Arctic Ocean.
Unlike other birds, Tufted Puffins hunt underwater. Using their long wings as flippers to swim rapidly as they chase fish to eat underwater. They are usually quite solitary birds that we will always see hunting individually, although they may also come in groups to hunt in areas where there is a higher concentration of fish.
These birds nest on the slopes and cliff edges where they dig nests up to 1.5 meters deep, providing their nests with maximum security against predators in the area.
9. Red-Crowned Parrot
• Scientific name: Amazona viridigenalis
• Lenght: 11-13 inches
Red-crowned Parrots are typical of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas, where they are easily recognized by their striking leaf-green plumage and curved, pale red bill. They are large, noisy birds that always move in large colonies, and like other parrot species are endangered by the illegal cage bird trade.
They live in flocks most of the year and their flight is characterized by a shallow and agitated flapping of wings. They move nimbly and quietly through the treetops as they search for fruits and seeds to eat.
They are very fast birds that can reach a flight speed of up to 27 miles per hour.
10. Zebra Finch
• Scientific name: Taeniopygia guttata
• Lenght: 4 inches
Zebra finches are the most common songbirds of central Australia, being extremely beautiful birds because of their colorful plumage composed of black, white, gray, orange, and brown tones in the case of males and totally gray in females. Their eyes are red to match their colorful orange-red beak.
These small birds can always be spotted in areas close to water, grasslands, and savannahs with scattered trees or bushes. They are very social animals that always move in flocks, being able to gather in flocks of more than 500 specimens during the breeding season.
The song of these birds is reserved only for their male specimens, which emit a very rhythmic sweet whistle. Females are not born with the ability to sing.
11. Common Moorhen
• Scientific name: Gallinula galeata
• Length: 12.6-13.8 in
Common moorhens move and behave similarly to ducks, bobbing their heads forward as they walk over marsh vegetation and slightly wagging their white-feathered tails upward as they crouch in search of something to eat. They are birds that move from the coasts of Canada to Chile.
They are birds that love to swim even though their legs are not prepared for it moving gracefully through vegetation and soft mud. We will always see them looking for something to put in their mouths, but they do not usually move in large flocks, being the most common to see them looking for food separately.
Newly hatched young have spurs on their wings that help them to climb the nest or cling to the vegetation in their first weeks of life.
12. Broad-Billed Hummingbird
• Scientific name: Cynanthus latirostris
• Lenght: 5 inches approx.
These small hummingbirds are the smallest of their species, characterized by their beautiful blue-green plumage and small but sharp red bill. They can be seen along the border of Mexico and Arizona, and are very easy to attract by placing nectar feeders and agave flowers for them to eat quietly.
Both females and males are characterized by being quiet birds that are dedicated to eating the nectar of the flowers with their beaks, being able to fly long distances if necessary between patches of flowers.
On the other hand, the male performs a very funny and curious to see pendulum courtship dance, which can also be carried out with other males and perform exhibition dances called “leks”.
It is interesting to know that Broad-billed Hummingbirds are capable of consuming up to 1.7 of their body weight in nectar daily.
13. Black-bellied Whistling Duck
• Scientific name: Dendrocygna autumnalis
• Length: 18.5-20.1 in
These noisy, long-legged, reddish-billed ducks are common in the agricultural areas of Texas and Louisiana and are commonly heard whistling loudly whenever they have finished eating and retreat in search of resting places.
These ducks are common in the southern United States although various data reveal that they are beginning to expand northward.
These black-bellied whistling ducks move about in groups and feed on grain debris from local agricultural fields, usually doing so at night so as not to be seen. They emit high-pitched whistles when they retire to rest that can be heard from meters away.
The oldest recorded black-bellied whistling duck was 10 years and seven months old. and was captured in Louisiana.
14. Red-Breasted Merganser
• Scientific name: Dendrocygna autumnalis
• Length: 18.5-20.1 in
Red-breasted Merganser ducks are typical of Canada, although they spend winters between the two coasts and during migration spend a lot of time in various parts of the United States. They are easily identified by their black and white head, redbreast, and long red bill.
These ducks spend the day foraging and flying over the water at low altitudes so that they can dive their heads quickly if they spot prey with their sharp, serrated bills.
These small ducks need to eat a minimum of 15 to 20 fish per day, which is why they spend most of the day diving and swimming in search of them.
15. Common Merganser
• Scientific name: Mergus merganser
• Length: 21.3-27.9 in
Common merganser is common in most freshwater and saltwater lakes in the United States. Males are characterized by a dark green head and white breast and females are gray and white mottled with a beautiful reddish head that fans out.
They are very good swimmers and use their serrated bills to hunt for slippery prey. They like to stay with their flock during the colder months of the year to hunt and mate, however in summer they mix with other diving ducks without a problem.
Newly hatched chicks of this species leave the nest only one day after hatching, being able to hunt their own food at only 12 days old.
16. Wood Duck
• Scientific name: Aix sponsa
• Length: 18.5-21.3 in
Wood ducks are surely the most beautiful ducks in existence. The males have a bright green plumage full of ornamentation on practically all of their feathers, and the females are not far behind with a delicate yet very striking white pattern around their eyes.
They are very special ducks because they like to fly over-dense forests and perch in large trees. It is common to see them in groups, although never in large numbers while moving from one area to another or during the breeding season.
They are one of the few species of ducks that are endowed with strong claws to grip the bark and perch on top of tree branches without a problem.
17. Northern Cardinal
• Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
• Length: 8.3-9.1 in
The Northern Cardinal is possibly one of the most famous red-billed birds in the world and the reason many are beginning to do more research into ornithology. They are beautiful and docile and retain their beautiful reddish plumage all year round.
These birds like to move in pairs near trees, bushes, or feeders. They are very discreet and social, giving us a sweet song throughout the summer that dazzles everyone who hears it.
The northern cardinal is able to sing in duet with its mate during the mating stage, being the female the one who always sings the most complex phrases, being able to inform the male when he needs more food for the nest through these complex sounds.
18. American Oystercatcher
• Scientific name: Haematopus palliatus
• Length: 15.8-17.3 in
The American Oystercatcher is a typical bird of the Pacific coasts that we can identify by its striking yellow eyes and its elongated red-orange beak.
They are birds that we can see in search of food exploring the sandy and stony areas where they usually find mollusks or clams to feed on. They spend most of the day sleeping while waiting for the tide to go out and are quite noisy during the mating season.
Several monitoring studies of these birds reveal that oystercatchers have very unpredictable migratory movements, as their young do not usually follow their parents after the hibernation season and some adults do not stay in the same breeding site all year round either and travel hundreds of kilometers autonomously.
19. Wattled Curassow
• Scientific name: Crax Globulosa
• Lenght: 32-35 in
The Wattled Curassow is a species of galliform bird native to the South American regions of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. It is a really difficult bird to find nowadays because of the increase of excessive hunting by poachers in the area, which is why it is a protected species and we will rarely be able to see it in person.
It is a large bird with an elegant appearance. Its plumage is dark black and its beak is a striking scarlet red, and its peculiar hooked shape is reminiscent of the beak of roosters and turkeys.
These birds move in the areas near the banks and in the dense forests of the Amazon rainforest. They like to climb among the branches of trees and their nesting season is between August and September.
Males during the mating season court the female by bending her neck backward and placing her head on his back, while circling around her.
20. Toucan Toucan
• Scientific name: Ramphastos toco
• Length: 25 inches
This species of toucan is possibly the best known by all and the most beautiful to see. Its large red and orange beak, black and white plumage, and striking blue eyes make this tropical bird a true wonder for any bird and nature lover.
This bird is typical of the savannahs and forests of Brazil, being very common to hear them from miles away because of the shrill whistles they produce, in addition to the fact that their way of flying and flapping their wings is quite noisy.
Although apparently its beak may seem to be its main weapon for hunting and defending itself from danger, the truth is that it is more of a decorative element than a real tool that the animal can use.
It is a very beautiful beak that is made of a very fragile keratin honeycomb, so it simply serves to deter small prey or to entice those who want to contemplate it.
These are some of the red-billed birds that you can find throughout the United States. South America and Central America. These 20 birds are just a small sample of the richness and biodiversity that our nature contains a true gift that is worth taking care of.
Do not hesitate to travel to these places if you are an ornithology lover to have the opportunity to see in person some of these beautiful birds.