19 Bird Names That Start With Z

Bird Names That Start With Z
Photo by Cristina Gottardi

Birds are lovely creatures, and in this article, we will get to know bird names that start with Z. Birds soar joyfully when they locate food, fly with the wind in their feathers, and mate with the flock’s most attractive bird.

They also exhibit a few somewhat peculiar traits. Each bird is unique. Feathers are available in various hues, including iridescent greens, brilliant blues, and black. But did you know that every bird has a Z as its first letter? 

Below are 19 bird names that start with Z: 

1. Zone-tailed Hawk 

  • Scientific Name: Buteo albonotatus 

All over their body, these medium-sized raptors are a dark grayish-brown color. Their outer flight feathers seem barred with dark tips when viewed from below.

Their tails will likewise be closed when they are still adolescents, but when they are adults, they will be fully dark with two white bands.

In slopes, canyons, and mesas, zone-tailed hawks prefer to hunt for their prey, small birds, animals, reptiles, and amphibians. 

Their appearance is similar to that of a turkey vulture when seen from the ground. To trick its prey into believing it is merely a vulture flying overhead and not a predator.

2. Zanzibar Red Bishop 

  • Scientific Name: Euplectes nigroventis 

Zanzibar Red Bishops are a type of weaver found in East Africa, and they are named after the island where they are endemic.

Most of these birds’ habitats include marshes, flooded meadows, cultivated regions, and damp areas; their range frequently overlaps that of the Black-winged Bishops. 

Due to sexual dimorphism, breeding male Zanzibar Red Bishops differ from non-breeding males and females in appearance.

Bright orange and black are the colors of the breeding males. Except for a brilliant orange breast band, their underbody is black in contrast to their orange head and upper body. 

On the other hand, the non-breeding males and females have dull, streaked brown fur. They lack the brilliance and breast band of the breeding males. 

3. Zenaida Dove  

  • Scientific Name: Zenaida aurita 

The Zenaida Dove is also one of the bird names that start with Z. They live in the Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula. Although they are generally a darker color, Zenaida doves resemble North American mourning doves.

The vivid white stripe on the inner portion of the wing is one of this dove’s most distinguishing characteristics.

Usually, when the dove is flying, this is easier to see. Zenaida doves eat seeds and grains primarily while foraging on the ground, like most doves.

Locals on the Caribbean island of Anguilla refer to them as “turtle doves” because they are the national bird of that location. 

4. Zappey’s Flycatcher 

  • Scientific Name: Cyanoptila cumatiis 

Zappey’s Flycatchers are a family of Old World Flycatchers found in China, the Malay Peninsula, and the Indonesian islands. They were first believed to be a Blue-and-white Flycatcher subspecies. 

The IUCN has designated these flycatchers as a Near-threatened species. The breeding males and females of Zappey’s Flycatchers, sexually dimorphic adults, look very different from one another. They have a dark rufous tail and wings with a vivid blue head, breast, and back. 

On the other hand, the wings and tails of the females and non-breeding males are bluish and less brilliant than those of the breeding males.

They also have a grey head and upper back. All birds have dark feet, legs, and short, dark bills. They also all have white undersides. 

4. Zino’s Petrel 

  • Scientific Name: Pterodroma madeira 

It exclusively breeds on the island of Madeira, making the Zino’s petrel a rare bird. Portugal owns the island of Madeira in the Atlantic.

Only on well-vegetated ledges in the island’s central mountains does this petrel build its nest. They spend the daytime at sea and are only active in the breeding locations at night. 

The birds move to the sea after the breeding season. Little is known about where they go; besides that, they are occasionally spotted in other locations along the Atlantic, like Great Britain. 

They build their nests in old rabbit tunnels they find or dig themselves. Petrels of different ages create longer tunnels than those of younger ones. 

5. Zebra Finch 

  • Scientific Name: Taeniopygia guttata 

One of the most common endemics of the Australian species of estrildid finches is the zebra finch. Originally solely found on the island of Timor, these birds have since been brought to Portugal and Puerto Rico. 

The males have white underparts and a grey head, while their fronts and sides have a striking black color. Additionally, grey with black borders is their wings and tail. 

On the other hand, their female counterparts are devoid of black markings and have a grey head, back, and underbody.

The bill of both sexes has a vivid orange color, and a dark line runs beneath each eye. Additionally, males have orange cheek patches, while females do not. 

In the wild, zebra finches typically live five years, but with the proper care and nutrition, they can live up to twelve years. These birds eat primarily grass seeds, both ripe and semi-ripe. 

6. Zeledon’s Antbird 

  • Scientific Name: Hafferia zeledoni 

lives in Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Panama. The Zeledon’s antbird’s females are all brown, while the males are all black.

Around their eyes, both sexes have an unfeathered blue patch. They occupy lower levels of the canopy in humid woods.

As their name implies, they frequently accompany ant swarms, but the ants stir and flush out insects from the forest floor to collect them. 

7. Zapata Wren  

  • Scientific Name: Ferminia cerverai 

Next on our list of bird names that start with Z is Zapata Wren. A monotypic member of their genus is the Zapata Wren.

Their natural habitats are mainly lowland savannas with sparsely spaced shrubs and low trees. They have an endangered population, and the main threats to their species are habitat destruction (caused by forest fires and expanding agricultural activities) and invasive predators. 

Medium-sized Zapata Wrens have an overall grayish-brown coloration. They have long tails for a wren, and most underparts are black and grey striped. They have dark eyes, grey legs and feet, and a bill with a downward curve. 

The adult Zapata Wrens don’t show any sexual dimorphism in size and plumage, making both sexes look similar. Their song is surprisingly comparable to the House Wrens, given how loud and high-pitched it is. 

8. Zapata Sparrow 

  • Scientific Name: Torreornis inexpectata 

These sparrows are mostly found on Cuba’s Zapata Peninsula, just as the Zapata wren. They have a rusty crown and are primarily grayish-brown with a yellow hue to their chest. These sparrows inhabit grasslands, and their diets may fluctuate with the seasons. 

They concentrate on eating seeds, insects, flowers, and snails during the dry season, whereas during the wet season, they have been reported to consume more tiny lizards.

Although these sparrows were once restricted to the Zapata region, they are now distributed throughout the rest of Cuba.

Because of this, they have occasionally been referred to as the Cuban Sparrow; perhaps one day, this will change. 

9. Zambezi Indigobird  

  • Scientific Name: Vidua codrington 

The Zambezi Indigobird is a species of African indigobird that takes its name from the Zambezi River in that continent.

These birds prefer to live in wet woodlands, along the edges of forests, and on agricultural land. “Green Indigobird” and “Twinspot Indigobird” are also used to describe them. 

The male breeding Zambezi Indigobirds have a different plumage than the non-breeding males and females, demonstrating the species’ high sexual dimorphism. 

The males’ overall color is black, with a greenish shine during the breeding season. Their beak, legs, and feet are shades of orange, while their eyes are dark. 

The males have a brownish appearance outside the breeding season, extensive body streaking, and a grey breast band. The Zambezi Indigobirds sing in a variety of quick trills and squeaky sounds. 

10. Zimmer’s Tapaculo 

  • Scientific Name: Torreornis inexpectata 

Next on our list of bird names that start with Z is Zimmer’s Tapaculo. Zimmer’s Tapaculo lives in southern Bolivia and northwest Argentina.

These tiny tapaculos have a gray mid-body, a white throat, a white stripe across the forehead, and a brown tail and rump with bars.

Although little is known about their diet, they prefer to feed on the ground among ferns and roots. They frequently inhabit rough ravines and slopes as they live along the Andes Mountain range. 

This is mainly because it is unlikely that their optimum height range of 5,600–10,500 feet in steep terrain will experience habitat loss. 

11. Zapata Rail 

  • Scientific Name: Cyanolimnas cerverai 

The medium-sized Zapata Rail is a member of the rail family native to the Zapata Swamp in Cuba. These birds live in low trees, wetlands overgrown with bushes, and flooded vegetation. 

Their species has been classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. These birds are becoming less and less able to fly or losing their ability to pass completely, making them more and more prey for predators. 

The upper half of the adult Zapata Rails are an olive-brown color. Slate-grey on both sides of their head, underparts, and lower belly, with slight barring. These birds have white under tails and grey-brown flanks. 

The wings of Zapata rails are short and rounded. Their bill is yellow with a crimson base, while their feet, legs, and irises are all red.

The sexes of these birds don’t differ sexually; their size and plumage are comparable. They mainly eat plant matter and invertebrates. 

12. Zimmer’s Woodcreeper 

  • Scientific Name: Dendroplex kienerii 

Lives in the Amazon basin of Brazil, northeast Peru, and southeast Colombia. These gorgeous woodcreepers are warm chestnut brown with white stripes on the head and upper back. Their bill is broad and pale, almost appearing white.

Woodcreepers frequently hold themselves upright when clinging to trees and plants. Their tails pressed up against the tree trunk to support their weight. 

These are forested areas near rivers and freshwater lakes prone to flooding during periods of intense precipitation. Varzea is unique freshwater swamps and flooded woodlands found in the Amazon Basin. 

13. Zarudny’s Sparrow 

  • Scientific Name: Passer zarudnyi 

Zarudny’s Sparrow is also one of the bird names that start with Z. Small, and pallid Zarudny’s sparrows can be found in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

They are sometimes known as “Asian Desert Sparrows.” Within their range, these birds live in the dry, sandy terrain, desert shrubs, and scrubs. 

Males and females of Zarudny’s Sparrows do not differ sexually. Both sexes have a tiny body, a head, and a gray upper body. They feature sand-colored underbodies, white-patched wings, black eye masks, and chin patches. 

14. Zimmer’s Tody-tyrant 

  • Scientific Name: Hemitriccus minimus 

Lives in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. The family of birds known as flycatchers, specifically the tyrant flycatchers, includes Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant.

The Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant is a tiny flycatcher with two yellow wing bars and an olive-gray body. They can frequently be found in woods with poor soil, sand, or dry shrubland.

Some of the other birds on this list may have names that begin with “Zimmer’s,” as you may have observed.

This is in honor of American naturalist John Todd Zimmer, who traveled to numerous locations in the early to mid-20th century on birding trips, including Africa and Peru. 

15. Zebra Dove 

  • Scientific Name: Geopelia striata 

The Zebra Dove is a dove species native to Southeast Asia, referred to as “Barred Ground Doves.” Additionally, these doves can be found in French Polynesia, Mauritius, the Hawaiian Islands, and the islands of Indonesia. Their primary habitats include scrublands, lowlands, farms, and cities. 

Due to their sexual monomorphism, adult zebra doves have an identical outward appearances for both sexes.

They have small bodies and rather long tails. They have a brownish-grey upper body, a bluish-gray face, and pastel-pink undersides. 

Black streaks cover their abdomen, neck, and breasts, and their back has black and white areas. These birds occasionally search for ground invertebrates but typically eat weed seeds and grasses. 

16. Zitting Cisticola 

  • Scientific Name: Cisticola juncidis 

Next on our list of bird names that start with z is Zitting Cisticola. Zitting Cisticola lives in southern Europe, Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australia.

These little birds have short tail with white tip and rounded tail end. They have buffy sides, a light chest and throat, and a brown-mottled back. Zitting cisticolas are insect-eating birds that dwell near bodies of water in grassland settings. 

Males start the cup-shaped nest’s construction deep in the grass before inviting females to take a look. The female will complete nest construction once she selects a location.

Males will fly in a zigzag manner and frequently vocalize throughout the breeding season. They were once known as the fan-tailed warbler.

17. Zenker’s Honeyguide 

  • Scientific Name: Melignomon zenkeri 

The indicator bird species known as Zenker’s Honeyguides is native to the central and western regions of Africa and is named for the German botanist Georg Zenker. They reside in low-lying areas like the borders of forests. 

The sexuality of Zenker’s Honeyguides is monomorphic. Both sexes share olive green underparts and pale green upper parts. Zenker’s honeyguide’s tail is black-tipped, their vent is extensively striped, and their wings are glossy green. 

18. Zebra Waxbill 

  • Scientific Name: Amandava subflava 

Lives in Africa, south of the Sahara. Orange-breasted waxbill is another name for zebra waxbills. Small birds have a red beak, a gray back, and a red rump. Males have crimson eyebrows as well. 

Depending on where they are, their underparts may be yellow, orange, red, or a combination of those colors.

They frequently congregate in small flocks and eat large seeds, plant shoots, and insects. They often use the oval-shaped grass nests that the red-collared widowbirds left behind. 

19. Zigzag Heron 

  • Scientific Name: Zebrilus undulatus 

Last on our list of bird names that start with Z is Zigzag Heron. One monotypic member of their genus is the zigzag heron.

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, the Amazon Basin of the Andes, and Bolivia are all home to these herons, which are native to South America. They are found in marshes, lakes, and rivers surrounded by grass. 

Zigzag Herons are tiny birds with primarily dark grey feathers. These birds are sexually monomorphic in both sexes. They have dusky flying feathers, a brown top portion, and buff white flecks. 

Adults have zigzag barred underparts and a mottled-grey head. They have legs that are grayish-yellow, a short black bill, and yellow eyes. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about enhancing your bird-watching experience and that it has motivated you to go out more frequently. 

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