21 Types of Gray Birds in North America

Last Updated on October 28, 2022 by Lily Aldrin

There are a great number of various species of gray birds, all of which may be recognized first by the predominance of gray in their plumage and subsequently by the other distinguishing characteristics of their bodies.

Depending on the amount of light that is present or even when viewed in direct sunlight, several birds with gray plumage may give the appearance of having black feathers.

In the following articles, we are going to talk about the many species of gray birds that can be found across North America.

ImageName
Dark-eyed JuncoDark-eyed Junco
Rock PigeonRock Pigeon
Say’s PhoebeSay’s Phoebe
The Northern ParulaThe Northern Parula
Gray CatbirdGray Catbird
Eastern Wood-PeweeEastern Wood-Pewee
Black Cap ChickadeeBlack Cap Chickadee
Black and White Head WarblerBlack and White Head Warbler
Northern MockingbirdNorthern Mockingbird
White-Flanked Wings DoveWhite-Flanked Wings Dove
White Breast NuthatchWhite Breast Nuthatch
Eastern KingbirdEastern Kingbird
Tufted TitmouseTufted Titmouse
Eurasian Collard DoveEurasian Collard Dove
Carolinas ChickadeeCarolinas Chickadee
BushtitBushtit
Black PhoebeBlack Phoebe
The Warbling VireoThe Warbling Vireo
Blue-gray GnatcatcherBlue-gray Gnatcatcher
Loggerhead ShrikeLoggerhead Shrike
Willows FlycatcherWillows Flycatcher

Types of Gray Birds in North America

1. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Sparrows, known as dark-eyed Juncos, may have a variety of various colors depending on where they live. In the east, they often have a slate-gray appearance, but in the west, they might be white, black, or brown.

Some stay put throughout the year across the Appalachian Mountains, the western United States, and the northeastern United States.

Those that spend the breeding season across Alaska and Canada often spend the winter in the southernmost parts of the United States.

Habitat & Food

They are widespread over the continent and may be spotted in regions that are open or somewhat forested. They are frequently seen on the ground.

There is a range of seeds, including peanuts, millet, cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds, and nyjer, that may be used to entice more dark-eyed juncos to the bird feeders in your garden.

The ideal feeders are either platform feeders or those that are spread on the ground.

2. Rock Pigeon

Rock Pigeon

The Rock Pigeon‘s plumage is bluish-gray overall, with two black stripes on each wing and a black apex to the tail. They possess orange throats and eyes plumage with an iridescent sheen.

They are often seen in urban areas, but they sometimes go to suburban gardens in search of food that has fallen to the ground.

It is against the law in certain municipalities to feed pigeons since they are regarded to be a nuisance.

3. Say’s Phoebe

Says Phoebe

The upper parts of Say’s Phoebes appear brownish-gray, and these flycatchers have gray breasts, cinnamon bellies, and blackish tails. Say’s Phoebes are thin and have long tails.

Phoebes of the Say’s subspecies build their nests in the far north of Canada, Alaska, and the United States and then migrate south to Mexico and the southern states.

Those who live within southern states stay throughout the year.

Habitat & Food

Say’s Phoebes are most often seen in dry open territories, such as canyons, badlands, and the edges of deserts.

Flies, crickets, beetles, and other insects make up the majority of Say’s Phoebe’s diet. This species is classified as a flycatcher.

They have frequently been seen nesting on buildings and may be observed sitting on wooden posts and surrounding buildings. Additionally, their nests can be located under the eaves or beneath the eaves of buildings.

Put up a nesting box or a shelf that is linked to a structure to entice Say’s Phoebes to nest there, and fill your garden with native shrubs and trees.

This will invite more Say’s Phoebes to visit your backyard.

4. Northern Parula

The Northern Parula

The Northern Parula has been a bright and lively warbler that may be spotted in wooded areas. Its coloring is a contrast of yellow and gray.

They have two white wing bars and a yellow spot on their backs. Their backs are bluish-gray in color, having a yellow spot. Both men and females have yellow on their throats and chests, but males possess a chestnut stripe that divides the yellow into their throats and chests. The females are much paler than the males.

Range

Before migrating south to spend the winter across the Caribbean and Central America, Northern Parulas spend their summers breeding in southeastern Canada and the eastern United States.

It’s possible that they’ll spend the winter across southern Florida.

In deciduous woods, they make their nests within long clumps of moss and lichen, which drape from the tree branches, where they then forage for insects higher up in the canopy.

During the summer, the easiest method to find them is to try looking up at enormous clusters of hanging moss and search for them there.

5. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

The song of the Gray Catbird, which is described as a “catty mew” and may linger for up to ten minutes, is the reason for the bird’s common name.

Read:  11 Most Common Yellow Birds in America

They are songbirds of medium size and have a black hat, a slate gray hue, and a scarlet patch beneath their tails.

The Gulf Coast and the Caribbean are where Gray Catbirds spend the winter after breeding in the Eastern and Midwestern United States as well as the southern part of Canada. Along the East Coast, you may still find some of them year-round.

Habitat & Food

The Gray Catbird may be found in thickets of shrubs and small trees, as well as at the borders of forests and in hedgerows.

The presence of fruits and fruit trees or shrubs in the garden, like winterberry, serviceberry, and dogwood, might encourage additional Gray Catbirds to eat at the feeders you have set up.

6. Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee

The Eastern Wood-Pewee is an unobtrusive flycatcher that is gray overall with off-white underparts and gets its name from the sound that it makes.

The Eastern Wood-Pewee spends the winter in South America, where it is colder than other parts of the world, and then migrates north to breed within Canada and the eastern United States.

They are frequently seen waiting for their food, which consists of tiny flying insects, while perched on visible branches in woodland environments.

7. Black Cap Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a lovely little bird that has a large head in comparison to its little body. These birds will gladly eat at whatever feeders you have in your garden and will inspect anything, even you!

They possess black beaks and heads, white cheeks, gray wings, tails, and backs. They are a species of bird.

The Pacific, the Midwest, the Northwest, and the Northern States, as well as Canada, are all permanent homes for black-capped chickadees.

Habitat

They may be found in places such as open woodlands, forests, and parkland. Spiders, seeds, insects, berries, and suet are some of the foods that black-capped chickadees consume.

Try providing Black-capped Chickadees with peanuts, sunflower seeds, peanut, or suet butter in your backyard.

This will encourage them to stay longer. They are among the first birds to typically locate new feeders, and they will even eat from your hand if you offer it to them.

They will also utilize nest boxes if you provide them with wood chippings to line the inside of the box.

8. Black and White Head Warbler

Black and White Head Warbler
Credits – All About Birds

The black-and-white warbler has a distinctly striped look, which makes it much simpler to recognize than other species of warbler. In certain lighting conditions, they might seem gray.

Males possess a bigger and darker black spot over the eye and face than females do, and the male pattern is also darker overall.

The wintering grounds of the Black-and-white Warbler extend from Florida as well as the Gulf Coast southward via Baja California and Mexico, the Caribbean, and finally reaching South America.

During the spring, they make their way northward over the southern United States and down the border between Canada and the United States, traveling in a clockwise direction.

They are simple to notice because they bounce back and forth over the trunks and branches of trees in search of insects.

9. Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Songbirds of medium size, Northern Mockingbirds, have lengthy tails and tiny heads in comparison to their bodies. They have a hue that may be described as a combination of brown and gray, and the underside is a shade lighter than the back.

When in flight, you can see two white-wing bands on their wings.

They are most often seen either alone or in couples, and they make a vigorous effort to protect their area.

Mockingbirds are able to sing throughout the day and into the night, and the males may acquire up to 200 songs over their lifetime by imitating the melodies of other species of birds.

However, individuals from the northern part of their habitat have been seen to travel eastward and southward.

Habitat

They do not frequently visit the feeders; however, they will frequent the open grass areas. Planting fruit trees or shrubs, such as mulberries, blackberry brambles, and hawthorns is one strategy you may use to entice numerous Northern Mockingbirds to your yard.

10. White-Flanked Wings Dove

White-Flanked Wings Dove
Credits – All About Birds

White-winged Doves have a black line on the face and a white band on the tip of the closed wing that stands out against the center of the dark wing while the bird is already in flight. Doves are quite a light gray-brown color overall.

Found all the way into Central America, the West Indies, and Mexico, as well as near the southern border with Mexico. During the winter, those who live towards the north of the mountains could go south, towards the Gulf Coast, or even into Mexico.

Habitat & Food

White-winged Doves are found in arid environments, woods that are thorny and thick, woodlands, and suburban areas. They get most of their nutrition from grains but also eat fruits and huge seeds, and they forage for their food on the ground.

Place seeds of maize, sunflower, milo, and safflower on platform feeders around your backyard. This will encourage more White-winged Doves to visit. Additionally, grow native bushes that produce berries.

Read:  10 Birds with Red Beak (Red Beaked Birds)

11. White Breast Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatches are lively tiny birds that have a white on the abdomen and cheeks, a gray-blue back, and a black crown on top of their heads.

The bottom part of their bellies and the area beneath their tails frequently have a chestnut tint.

The majority of states in the United States and southern provinces of Canada have a year-round population of white-breasted nuthatches.

Food

They are most likely to be seen in woodland edges, deciduous woods, gardens, and parkland that have trees, as well as at bird feeders.

They consume mostly insects, including beetles and their larvae, ants, spiders, and caterpillars, among other arthropods.

In addition to this, white-breasted nuthatches consume seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, hawthorn berries, acorns, and even corn harvests on occasion.

They will first wedge huge nuts and acorns into the bark of trees and then use their bills to crack them apart or “hatch” them in order to extract the seed within.

Sunflower seeds and peanuts hung from tube feeders or suet feeders in your garden can encourage additional White-breasted Nuthatches to make their home there.

12. Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

The backs of Eastern Kingbirds are brownish-black, while the undersides of their tails and wings are white. These flycatchers are of medium size and have huge heads. The top of their heads are a deeper shade of black, and the end of their tails are white.

Their fierce competition with one another and other species of birds for territory during nest defense is where the moniker “king” comes from.

They may reveal a crown of orange, red, or yellow feathers that are hidden behind their head, and they do so when they feel the need to protect themselves or their nest.

Before migrating south towards Central and South America for the wintertime, Eastern Kingbirds spend their breeding season over the majority of the United States, with the exception of the Southwestern states.

Orchards, fields, and the margins of forests are typical breeding grounds for them. They typically set up their nests close to bodies of water, like lakes or rivers.

Flying Eastern Kingbirds are excellent bug hunters. They will frequently wait for flying insects while perched high above fields in this manner

13. Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

The rear of the tufted titmouse is gray, while the underside is white. It has a lovely gray crest, and its eyes are huge. It frequently congregates with woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches.

All throughout the year, you may see Tufted Titmice throughout the Southeastern and Eastern States.

You may find Tufted Titmice in parks, forests, and at the bird feeders in your garden. They are known to be dominant over other, smaller birds.

Food

During the summer, the majority of their diet consists of insects, such as beetles, caterpillars, wasps, and ants. They also consume spiders and snails.

In addition, they consume berries, fruits, and nuts, and they store away seeds that have had their shells removed.

Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet hung in tube feeders or suet cages in your garden may all be used to entice tufted titmice to visit your feeders.

Additionally, they will consume food from platform feeders. You may also try hanging a nest box on the tree in the hopes of luring in a mating couple.

14. Eurasian Collard Dove

Eurasian Collard Dove
Credits – All About Birds

Eurasian-collard Doves are quite a light brownish-gray color having white spots in the tail. They resemble Mourning Doves in appearance but differ in that they have black half-collars even at the nape of the neck.

They are bigger and have a square tail instead of a pointy one. Mourning Doves have pointed tails.

Even though they weren’t discovered in the United States until the 1980s, Eurasian Collared-Doves have since spread over the majority of the landmass.

The diet of the Eurasian Collared-Dove consists mostly of grains and seeds, although it also includes insects, berries, and other small animals

15. Carolinas Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee

These little birds are known as Carolina Chickadees. They have black necks and caps, white bellies and cheeks, and velvety gray wings, tails, and backs.

They are quite similar in appearance to the Black-capped Chickadee, and where their ranges overlap, they are known to interbreed with one another.

They are present throughout the year in the parkland, forests, and gardens of the Southeastern and Eastern states of the United States.

Food

Peanuts, nyjer seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, and suet feeders are some of the bird foods that will encourage a greater number of Carolina Chickadees to visit your garden feeders.

They are able to consume food from a variety of feeders, including suet cages, tube feeders, and platform feeders. In addition to that, they will nest in nest boxes and nesting tubes.

16. Bushtit

Bushtit

Bushtits are little birds that are soft gray in color and practically circular in shape. They have short beaks and long tails. They possess a touch of brown coloring on their face and below their body.

Throughout the western states, bushtits are present throughout the whole year.

They are common in regions of open forest or scrubby vegetation, as well as backyards and parks. Spiders and insects, such as beetles, ants, caterpillars, and wasps, make up the majority of their food.

Read:  10 Types of Red Birds in North America

Amazing hanging nests made of plant matter and spider webs are created by bushtits. These nests have a drop of approximately a foot and might even take up to a month to construct.

Food

Planting native trees and shrubs in your backyard will encourage bushtits to come, and they might eat on mealworms, black oil sunflower seeds, or suet from platform feeders.

Bushtits will also visit your backyard if you grow native bushes and trees.

17. Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe

The head, breast, and back of a Black Phoebe are entirely black, while the underside of the bird is white.

Black Phoebes are rather tiny and chubby flycatchers. In some lighting conditions, they might seem gray.

They spend much of their time living in the states of Mexico, Central America, and the southwestern United States.

After reproducing, there is a possibility that some individuals from the northern part of this area may move south.

Phoebe black may often be spotted in or close to bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, ponds, or coastal environments.

They wait for insects or arthropods such as grasshoppers, flies, wasps, bees, spiders, and beetles to arrive along while perched above the soil.

You may entice Black Phoebes to visit your backyard by including water features and natural plants that draw in other wildlife, such as insects.

They might even construct a nest under the eaves when there is a supply of mud in the surrounding area that they might use to construct their nest.

18. Warbling Vireo

The Warbling Vireo
Credits – ebird

Warbling Vireos are birds that have a brownish-gray upper part and a lighter, more white-yellow underpart.

Except for the Gulf Coast, the breeding range of Warbling Vireos extends over the majority of the United States and into the far northwest of Canada. They go to Central America and south to Mexico during the winter.

Because they like to forage under the canopy of the trees, they are not always easy to locate.

19. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are very little songbirds that have a back that is a bluish-gray hue and an underside that is a grayish-white color.

They have a patchy appearance all over their wings and a black tail. During the summer, males possess a unique black ‘V’ shape in the center of their foreheads.

They possess thin, short, and straight bills in contrast to their long legs and tails. 

Before migrating farther south, blue-gray Gnatcatchers raise their young in the deciduous woodlands of the eastern and southeastern United States.

Throughout Florida and other southern coastal places, they are present throughout the whole year.

Continuations of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nests are tiny and constructed onto branches such that they seem like a tree knot enclosed in lichen. This gives them a similar appearance to hummingbird nests, which are also small.

They catch their prey by chasing it about with their tail and startling it with their continual hopping. Their diet consists of spiders and insects.

20. Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

The Loggerhead Shrike is a songbird having the instincts of a raptor. These birds are gray with black wings and masks and have a raptor-like disposition.

The southern half of the United States is home to Loggerhead Shrikes throughout the year; however, in the summertime, they migrate to the northern half of the country to breed before heading back south.

Food

Gray birds are known to prey on various species of birds, lizards, insects, and sometimes small animals. In order to consume their victims, they will either impale them on thorns or force them into confined areas.

In open areas, you may often see them sitting and keeping an eye out for potential prey.

21. Willows Flycatcher

Willows Flycatcher

The Willow Flycatcher has a drab, brownish-gray appearance with olive undertones. Their tummies have shades of yellow and gray in them.

Before migrating to Central America and Mexico, willow flycatchers spend their breeding season across the hilly western states of the northern United States.

In addition, migration is a time when they may be observed in every state in the United States.

Conclusion

North America is a fantastic area to go to if you want to go birding and view a variety of different kinds of birds, including gray birds.

This article will aid you in identifying the many kinds of bluebirds that might be spotted in the state of North North America.

Take your camera with you and go outside to get a closer look at them in their natural habitat.

FAQ

What do you name those little birds with gray feathers?

Small gray birds are frequently flycatchers, chickadees, and gnatcatchers; however, the Dark-eyed Junco and the Gray Catbird are among the most abundant of these species. The following is a list of the 12 most frequent gray birds that you could see in your own garden or when hiking in the nearby forests and meadows.

What sort of bird is it, looking almost blue?

The upper parts of gnatcatchers generally have a faint blue-gray color, while the underparts are a grayish-white color. Their tails are primarily black, having white borders. White predominates, for the most part, on the underbelly of the tail. A thin but noticeable white eyering draws attention to the features of the face.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.