A bird’s beak is an important aspect of any bird species. It is responsible for the breaking down of food, killing prey, and used for defense. They can use their beaks to manipulate objects, build nests, feed nestlings, and for heat regurgitation.
Some birds have a white beak, which makes them stand out against other species.
If you have seen a bird with a white beak or are wondering what birds have this unique feature, continue reading to find out more.
1. Northern Gannet
The northern gannet (Morus bassanus) is a seabird and the largest species in the gannet family. As adults, they have streamlined bodies that are mostly white with long necks. Their wingspan is around 180 centimeters and their body is around 100 centimeters.
There is a blue tinge to the head that is prominent during the breeding season. The wings have dark brown edges. The beak is white-blue with bare skin around the eyes and mouth. As juveniles, they are gray and become white over five years, as they reach maturity.
This white-beaked bird is found on both sides of the North Atlantic. They are found on coasts that are influenced by the Gulf Stream. Some colonies are seen on the east coast of Canada and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. They nest in large colonies on cliffs that overlook the ocean.
This bird is native to the Atlantic Ocean coastlines where they breed in Western Europe and Northeastern North America.
2. Hawaiian Coot
The Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai) is a bird that belongs to the rail family and is endemic to Hawaii. They grow to just over 40 centimeters and weigh approximately seven hundred grams. They have black plumage with a frontal shield.
This bird prefers freshwater lakes, marshes, saline lagoons, and water storage areas. It was listed as an endangered species in October 1970 and is considered endangered by the state of Hawaii.
You will encounter this white-beaked bird in the wetlands of Kaneohe Bay, mostly at the Percolation Ditch and the Klipper Golf Course Ponds. It is only found in Hawaii.
3. American Coot
The American coot (Fulica americana) is also known as a mud hen and belongs to the rail family. They are often mistaken as ducks. They do not have webbed feet but rather broad scales on their toes and lower legs that fold back when they walk.
This bird lives near water and often is found in open water bodies and wetlands in North America. It is a migratory bird that lives in most of North America. It lives in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and the Pacific throughout the year, occupying northeastern regions in the summer months.
During winter they can make their way down to Panama. They build floating nests that hold up to twelve eggs. Their diet comprises algae and aquatic plants.
This bird can grow to forty-three centimeters with a seventy-centimeter wing span. The adults have a short white beak and white frontal shield. There is often a red-brown spot between the eyes. Females are smaller than males.
They are always found near water, including lakes, ponds, open marshes, and slow rivers. They can be found in southern Quebec, North America, and South America. Birds east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to the southern United States and southern British Columbia.
They migrate from August to December. Males and non-breeding birds move south before the females and juveniles. They migrate again in the spring from late February to mid-May. Males and older birds tend to move North first.
4. Eurasian Coot
The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) is also referred to as the common coot. It is a glossy black bird with a white beak and white frontal shield. The males and females are similar in appearance.
This bird can grow to thirty-eight centimeters in length with an eighty-centimeter wing span. Males can weigh just shy of nine hundred grams and females just over seven hundred grams. They are mostly black except for the white beak.
They have long strong toes with partial webbing for swimming. As juveniles, they are lighter in color with white breasts and no facial shield. The adult plumage develops when the bird is around four months old. The frontal shield only develops at around one year.
This noisy white-beaked bird can be found near freshwater lakes and ponds in Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia. They have recently been observed in New Zealand. In Asia, they tend to migrate south during the cold winter months.
5. Red-knobbed Coot
The red-knobbed coot or crested coot (Fulica cristata) is found close to freshwater ponds and lakes where they build nests made of dead reeds close to the water’s edge.
This bird is predominantly back except for the white frontal shield and beak. They grow to forty-two centimeters in length with an eighty-five-centimeter wing span. Females are slightly smaller than males, though they look similar.
This is a swimming bird with partially webbed feet on long toes. As juveniles, they are lighter than adults with white breasts and no facial shield. They are very similar in appearance to the Eurasian coot and their range overlaps in northwestern Africa and southern Iberia. The red-knobbed coot has two red knobs at the top of the facial shield
The red-knobbed coot runs on the water’s surface with a lot of splashing before they take flight. They are excellent swimmers and will bob their heads and dive to escape predators.
You can encounter this white-beaked bird in southern Spain, Morocco, and Algeria. There is also a population reported in sub-Saharan Africa. They can also be found in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. They are commonly seen near freshwater lakes, ponds, dams, swamps, and flood plains.
6. Australian Magpie
The Austrian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a black and white bird native to southern New Guinea and Australia. This robust bird can grow to forty-three centimeters in length with black and white plumage. They have golden-brown eyes and a wedge-shaped beak in white.
The males and females are very similar and can only be distinguished by the markings on their backs. Males have pure white feathers on the beach of the head, whereas females have white blending with gray on the back of the head.
This bird spends the majority of its time on the ground. It walks and hops. It is omnivorous and has a varied diet that comprises invertebrates. It is very territorial throughout its range. They have adapted to human habitats and can be found in gardens, farmlands, and parks.
More than one thousand Australian magpies were introduced to New Zealand over ten years, from 1864 to 1874. They are now considered a pest species in New Zealand. They are mascots of several Australian and New Zealand sporting teams.
As juveniles, they are light gray and brown and closely resemble the females by the time they reach three years of age. They have a long life span of more than twenty years.
You will find this magpie in the Trans-Fly region of southern New Guinea and across most of Australia. You will also find it in its introduced area of New Zealand. They prefer fields, residential areas, and grasslands where they forage on the ground.
7. Eurasian Wigeon
The Eurasian wigeon (Mareca penelope) is widespread in the Palearctic range. It grows to fifty-two centimeters in length and can weigh more than one thousand grams. Breeding males have gray flanks, black rears, dark green speculums, and pink breasts.
Females are light brown with a light head and white beak. They are seen in the northernmost areas of Europe and the Palearctic regions. It migrates further south in the cold winter months to southern Asia, Africa, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
8. Pied-billed Grebe
The pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a member of the grebe family of water birds. It is found near ponds throughout America. This small bird grows to thirty-eight centimeters in length and is mostly grown with a dark back and crown. They camouflage themselves in marshes to escape predators.
The beak is short and chicken-like in a light gray to white. The beak is circled with a bread black band during the summer months. They do not have webbed feet. They do have lobes that come out of the sides of each toe. The lobes assist with paddling.
They are commonly found in North America, the Caribbean, South America, and Central America. You will see them in freshwater habitats, where they hind in the vegetation. They are sometimes found close to salt water.
9. Crimson-backed Tanager
Crimson-backed tanagers (Ramphocelus dimidiatus) are common in Venezuela, Panama, and Columbia. They have also been introduced to French Polynesia. They live in moist lowland forests and degraded former forests.
This small bird grows to eighteen centimeters in length. Males have a silver sheen on the lower beak. The head and chest are maroon-red, which brightens on the abdomen and lower back. Females are dull with black undersides. They are common in western Columbia and Venezuela, and throughout Panama. They can be found in scrubs and gardens.