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

Many interesting black and white birds migrate through or live among Wyoming’s majestic mountains and upland plains. If you spot a bird on the fly, it might be hard to figure out what species you just saw. That’s where our identification guide can help you tell one similar black and white bird apart from another. You might even discover a new bird that you didn’t know existed.

Western states such as Wyoming contain many different species of black and white birds that aren’t often seen in Midwest, eastern, or Southern states. Some birds such as Black-Capped Chickadees, Woodpeckers, and Juncos are a ubiquitous sight in almost every region, while others like the White-Tailed Swift are typically seen soaring and nesting over the rocks and canyon faces of the American West 

Black and White Birds in Wyoming

Check out our list of the 10 popular black and white birds in Wyoming.

Check out these other popular picks in this category:

1. White-Throated Swift

  • Scientific name: Aeronautes saxatalis
  • Diet:  Insectivore
  • Habitat: Canyon walls and cliff ledges
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: 7 inches
  • Weight: 3 ounces
  • Wingspan: 14 inches

If you look up in the sky arching over a Wyoming canyon or catch sight of birds flocking to crevices in a cliff, you might observe White-Throated Swifts in their natural habitat. This black and white bird is big and chunky with a white belly and broad wings that curve like a scimitar when they fly. 

These social birds often take to the skies or perch on ledges in huge flocks. You might notice that they perform acrobatic feats of agility to roll and dive while snatching bugs out of the air.

2. American Coot

  • Scientific name: Fulica americana
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Habitat: Ponds, rivers, wetlands, and lakes
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: 17 inches long
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Wingspan: 8 inches

 An American Coot is as round as a chicken but has short, sleek black feathers, a sloping black head with a white beak, and bright red eyes with a red mark between them.

These birds consume fish, bugs, and aquatic vegetation in many lakes, ponds, or marshy places. The best way to tell a Coot apart from different species of ducks is to look at its feet. Unlike a duck’s webbed lower members, a Coot has scale-covered feet that move and fold up when they walk.

3. Black-Capped Chickadee

  • Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
  • Diet: Mostly insectivore
  • Habitat: Many kinds of deciduous or mixed woods
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Wingspan: 8 inches

You can tell a Black-Capped Chickadee both by its simple song without an extra “dee” note and by its white body topped by a distinct black cap. Look for white streaks across the cheeks. The cap pattern is also crisp and does not fade into the back feathers.

Watch for these birds in a mix of conifer and deciduous trees in parks, yards, and woods. In winter, Black-Capped Chickadees will broaden their insectivore diet with berries and seeds.

4. Black-Billed Magpie

  • Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Habitat: Fields, roadsides, farmland, and backyards
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Size: 18 inches
  • Weight: 6 ounces
  • Wingspan: 22 inches

A Black-billed Magpie is another avian visitor that appears in the state of Wyoming. Look for a large black bird with shimmering black wings with a blue tint that contrasts sharply with a white body. A Black-Billed Magpie has a thick, curving beak and white wing tips. When this bird flies, its tail opens in two parts like scissors.

Magpies often sit alone on fence posts or flock in droves to farmland to harvest seeds and anything else they can find.

5. White-Breasted Nuthatch

  • Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
  • Diet: Mostly insectivore
  • Habitat: Deciduous woodlands
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Size: 4 inches
  • Weight: 1 ounce
  • Wingspan: 8 inches

This bird has a distinctive white belly, white cheek marks, and blue-black feathers that extend from its back to its wings. Check out if the bird has a black cap and nape and a blunt tail to further identify it.

White-Breasted Nuthatches can be seen in deciduous trees or in backyards where they devour a mix of mealworms, peanuts, and sunflower seeds in feeders.

6. Dark-Eyed Junco

  • Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
  • Diet: Insectivore and Herbivore
  • Habitat: Fields, parks, farmland, backyards, and roadsides
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Weight: 1 ounce
  • Wingspan: 9 inches

Just like other small black and white songbirds, Dark-Eyed Juncos are a common backyard sight in Wyoming. You can tell them apart from other similarly colored songbirds by their puffy charcoal silhouette, white underparts, and black wings and back.

They also have pale pink beaks that they use to eat seeds in backyard feeders in winter or catch insects in conifer forests in summer.

7. Northern Goshawk

  • Scientific name: Accipiter gentilis
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Habitat: Mature mixed woods
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Size: 25 inches
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Wingspan: 47 inches

A Northern Goshawk is a raptor with a black head, white eyebrows and cheeks, a white chest and underbelly, and a gray-black back and wings.

They are swift flyers who consume a variety of small prey from rabbits and squirrels to other birds in their ponderosa pine or aspen forest habitats.

8. Hairy Woodpecker

  • Scientific name: Dryobates villosus
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Habitat: Backyards and parks with mature, deciduous trees
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Wingspan: 14 inches

Hairy Woodpeckers are big birds with coarse, hairy black and white feathers. They have a completely black tail and a crimson crest that set them apart from the smaller Downy Woodpecker. These birds not only have a long beak chiseled like a railroad spike, but they are also 30% larger than Downies.

Look for these birds pecking away for insects in old-growth or dead trees. You can also attract them to your yard with suet and shelled peanuts.

9. Black Necked Stilt

  • Scientific name: Himantopus mexicanus
  • Diet: Primarily carnivore
  • Habitat: Swamps, shallow coastlines, marshes, and lakes
  • Lifespan: 9 or 10 years
  • Size: 14 inches
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Wingspan: 28 inches 

This waterbird is easy to identify by its slim pink legs and shocking red eyes circles with white rings against a tall body. Their stomach feathers are white while their wings and back have black plumage.

You can spot them in shallow waters where they consume fish and other small aquatic life.

10. Black-and-White Warbler

  • Scientific name: Mniotilta varia
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Habitat: Young and old-growth woods
  • Lifespan: 2 or 3 years
  • Size: 5 inches
  • Weight: Half an ounce
  • Wingspan: 8 inches 

This chirpy little warbler wears preppy black and white horizontal stripes with black eyebrows and white bars on the wings that help it stand out against a mixed forest background. These birds usually look for bugs by turning over leaf litter or going straight to the source and climbing trees to obtain insects.

Final Thoughts

Ready to name the next bird that you spot? Check out our full list of identification guides for multiple species of birds with different colored feathers to get started.

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