10 Popular Black and White Birds in Georgia (Ultimate Guide + Pictures)

A narrow stretch of marshland beaches, coastal plains, and forested mountains make up the Empire State where many black and white birds migrate or are spotted around the year. 

Black and white birds in Georgia include everything from cute Chickadees and spirited Ladder-Back Woodpeckers to bold American Oystercatchers, giant White Pelicans, and puffy Royal Terns.

Black and White Birds in Georgia

Whether you’re in the woods or near water, this list showcasing 10 popular black and white birds in Georgia can help you identify an unknown bird in the state.

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1. Common Goldeneye (Male)

  • Scientific name: Bucephala clangula
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Habitat: Ponds, streams, rivers, and lakes
  • Lifespan: About 10 years
  • Size: 20
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Wingspan: 28 inches

A Common Goldeneye is a dramatic-looking diving duck that spends its time in Georgia’s coastal or marshy backwaters. A male bird will sport a white body with black wings and back. The head is a shiny greenish-black hue that’s completed by bright golden eyes and round white spots at the bill.

Most Goldeneyes stay underwater much of the time where they consume fish, small invertebrates, and submerged vegetation.

2. Black-and-White Warbler

  • Scientific name: Mniotilta varia
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Habitat: Mixed old and young woods
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Size: 5 inches
  • Weight: Less than 1 ounce
  • Wingspan: 8 inches

Georgia’s woods are home to many kinds of small songbirds. One of the most popular songbirds that you may see and hear is the perky Black-and-White Warbler. It has black lines above its eyes and white bars that cross its wings.

With its bold horizontal black and white stripes, this bird is a welcome sight at any backyard feeder but generally prefers to pick over dead leaves or walk up and down trees looking for bugs in a forest.

3. Snow Goose

  • Scientific name: Anser caerulescens
  • Diet: Mostly herbivore and frugivore
  • Habitat: Saltwater coasts, bays, marshes, freshwater ponds, and wetlands
  • Lifespan: 27 years
  • Size: 25 to 33 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Wingspan: 59 inches 

The Snow Goose is a gorgeous black and white bird that has a pinky-orange serrated bill tipped with a black patch on the edges. This gives it a look like it’s smiling at the world. Look for its black eyes, pink legs, and feet. While this bird breeds in the sub-arctic or arctic islands, it winters as far south as Georgia. 

In winter, this bird can be spotted in Georgia’s wetlands, salt marshes, or coastal bays looking for berries, seeds, or other vegetation.

4. Black Skimmer

  • Scientific name: Rynchops niger
  • Diet: Piscivore and molluscivore
  • Habitat: Beaches, sandbars, inlets, estuaries, and lagoons
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Size: 20 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Wingspan: 50 inches 

Black Skimmers are big black and white birds that usually congregate in flocks along Georgia’s beaches, wetlands, or lagoons. A Black Skimmer has a black head with a white belly and wing undersides. The tops of the wings and back are black. Look for a soft white collar on the neck and a long orange beak with a shorter top mandible.

This bird has a barking cry when it flies over shallow water to hunt for fish.

5. Black-Capped Chickadee

  • Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
  • Diet: Insectivore invertivore, and frugivore
  • Habitat: Mixed evergreen and deciduous woods
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Wingspan: 8 inches

This small songbird has a distinct “chick-a-dee” song that gives the bird its name. It also has white body feathers, and crisp white stripes on its cheeks that extend towards the back of the head, and wears a large black cap.

Black-Capped Chickadees are seen in a variety of places, from mixed woodlands to parks and backyards. They enjoy a diet of bugs, berries, and seeds.

6. Black Necked Stilt

  • Scientific name: Himantopus mexicanus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Habitat: Lakes, wetlands, and ponds
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: 14 inches
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Wingspan: 28 inches 

Black Necked Stilts can get territorial if you get too close to them, but these interesting birds are also a gorgeous sight as they wade and hunt for fish in wetlands or along shallow coastal waters.

Look for a white-bellied bird with black wings and back. Stilts have long thin legs like pink straws, sharp bills, and red eyes surrounded by white circles.

7. American Oystercatcher

  • Scientific name: Haematopus palliatus
  • Diet:  Molluscivorous
  • Habitat: Salt marshes, tidal mudflats, and beaches
  • Lifespan: 23 years
  • Size: 17 to 21 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Wingspan: 35 inches 

The American Oystercatcher is a remarkable black and white bird that frequents beaches, tidal mudflats, or saltwater wetlands in the state.  

A male bird has long thin white legs with a pale pink tint, a white body topped with black feathers, a black head, neck, and chest, and orange-yellow eyes. Females can have some brownish-black and white plumage

The most striking thing about an Oystercatcher is the 4-inch-long vivid red-orange bill that the bird uses to catch and pry open the oysters that give it its name.

8. Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

  • Scientific name: Dryobates scalaris
  • Diet: Insectivore, herbivore, and frugivore
  • Habitat: White pinyon pine or juniper forests
  • Lifespan: 4 years
  • Size: 6 to 7 inches
  • Weight: 1 to 2 ounces
  • Wingspan: 13 inches

This cute woodpecker has crisp black and white stripes that run up its back like the rungs on a ladder. The wings have a checkered pattern, while the belly is white or speckled with black. This bird has a puffy white face with black stripes that run from the beak down to the neck. While females lack the red cap, males wear a red crown.

Look for this bird in dry pinyon pine forests or woods with mixed juniper and pinyon pine where they consume everything from ants, beetles, and caterpillars to fruits and berries.

9. Royal Tern

  • Scientific name: Thalasseus maximus
  • Diet: Aquatic carnivore, piscivore, and molluscivorous
  • Habitat: Salt bays and sandy beaches
  • Lifespan: Up to 30 years
  • Size: 19 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Wingspan: 29 to 53 inches

This large bird is endemic to the Americas and its size is only surpassed by the Caspian Tern. A Royal Tern has a white belly with pale gray on its wings, a crested black head, and a yellow-orange-red beak.

They inhabit Georgia’s sandy beaches and warm saltwater coasts year-round where they fish for minnows, sardines, bluefish, and soft-shelled blue crabs. 

10. American White Pelican

  • Scientific name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Habitat: Coasts, islets, and wetlands
  • Lifespan: 30 years
  • Size: 4 to 5 feet
  • Weight: 11 to 18 pounds
  • Wingspan: 9 feet

This massive bird looks like something out of a fairytale. That’s because the White Pelican has an impressive snow-white head, neck, body, and wings tipped with black, fanned feathers.

 It has yellow-orange legs and a huge beak in the same color with a ridged upper mandible that can clamp and catch fish. Keep in mind that unless a White Pelican is in flight, you won’t see any black feathers, only the bird’s pure white body.

These carnivores live along coasts and sheltered wetlands where they consume a diet rich in fish and aquatic life such as minnows, mullet, carp, and even frogs, insects, small mammals, and crustaceans.

Final Thoughts

Georgia has some of the most amazing and beautiful avian wildlife in the American South. It’s possible to spot everything from storks and pelicans to terms and the unusual ladder-back woodpecker depending on the habitat. Next time you’re out in nature, you can bring our identification guides along to get the most out of your bird watching experience.