31 Birds That Start With D (With Pictures)


This list includes a selection of birds that start with the letter D. However, there are over 200 birds whose common name starts with D. 

Many of these include locations (Damar), coloration (Dappled), or other descriptions like “Double-toothed”. Of these, dusky and dark are the two most common name elements for birds that start with D. 

However, this list includes the 8 birds whose primary name starts with D. It also offers a selection of other birds, ranging from common North American birds to rare birds that might be native to extremely small areas. 

1. Dipper

Scientific Name (Genus): Cinclus

Dippers are tree-dwelling birds with the unique ability to dive and swim – which they do to hunt prey underwater. That makes this group of birds unique, as most tree-faring birds cannot swim. 

Dippers manage this with dense, oily feathers and extra hemoglobin in their blood – which stores oxygen and allows the birds to stay underwater for up to 30 seconds. 

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However, dippers mostly eat small larvae of mayflies, blackflies, and tiny fish. 

During the winter, they may also eat mollusks and crustaceans. Despite that, their thin beaks are not adapted for opening crustaceans, which makes them significantly different from other water-hunting birds. 

Dippers live around water in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa – often by fast-moving freshwater streams and rivers. 

2. Dotterel 

Scientific Name: Charadrius morinellus 

The Dotterel or Eurasian Dotterel is a small plover bird native to Europe and Siberia and migrating to the African continent for the winter. 

The bird features a russet belly with stripes and spots on the wings. However, juveniles are more distinctly spotted. Females are also more colorful than males. 

They’re also hard to miss while flying, as the bright chestnut red chest and white underbelly are not found in many other birds. 

Dotterels are also unique in that they don’t build nests. Instead, they lay eggs in a scrape on the ground. 

Females leave these to the male to incubate and go to find another male and lay another clutch, repeating this until the season is over. 

3. Dove

Scientific Name (Family): Colombidae

The dove is a name for a broad range of birds including doves and pigeons. 

In fact, with 331 species in the family, it’s one of the most extensive families of birds. Many of these are impossible to tell apart with the naked eye but many others can be quite distinctive. 

Doves are known for their light gray bodies with black and white markings. However, many also feature metallic pink and green sheens to the feathers. 

In the tropics and in breeding programs, doves can also be brightly colored, with pink and bright green feathers – although the marking patterns normally remain distinctly “dove-like”. 

In addition, there’s no difference between a pigeon and a dove. Instead, most European species are known as “pigeons”, after the French word and most species named in English are “doves” after the German word.

Culvers also refer to doves. 

4. Dowitcher

Scientific Name (Genus): Limnodromus

Dowitchers are a genus of two North American wading birds and one closely related Asian bird. All three are so similar as to be difficult to tell apart, except for the long-billed dowitcher. 

All three are also very similar to snipes and godwits, but with shorter legs. 

Dowitchers are tan with speckled wings. They also have long bills, which can be as long as three inches while the bird averages about 12 inches in length. 

Dowitchers are found in the northern United States but migrate to the coasts of South and Central America for the breeding season. 

5. Duck 

Scientific Name (Family): Anatidae

Ducks include a large number of animals in the family Anatidae. They’re normally distinguished from geese only by the length of their necks. 

Here, ducks have 16 or fewer vertebrae in the neck and geese have 17-23 vertebrae and swans have 24 or more. Otherwise, these animals are very closely related. 

Currently, it is thought that there are over 130 species of duck. These include specialized ducks like diving ducks, which can go over 200 feet underwater to find food. 

The domesticated duck is the most common – and descends from a wild ancestor – but is often larger than its wild counterparts. 

6. Dunlin 

Scientific Name: Calidris alpina 

The Dunlin is a small wading bird with populations and subspecies across most of the world. In fact, most Dunlins live in temperate regions in Europe, Asia, and North America. 

During the breeding season, they fly to Canada, Russia, Kamchatka, Siberia, and Greenland. 

Dunlins also look very similar to sandpipers. Their brown coats and long beaks are very similar to other stints. 

In addition, their patterning can be difficult to tell apart from other birds of the same type. However, with a length averaging under 8 inches, they are quite small for this type of bird. 

The name Dunlin is also a shortening of an old English name, meaning “Dull” referring to their brown feathers. 

7. Dickcissel 

Scientific Name: Spiza americana 

The Dickcissel is a small, seed-eating bird commonly seen in the midwestern United States. During the winter, it migrates to South America. 

This brightly colored yellow and red bird is also closely related to the cardinal – although it lacks the crest the cardinal is famous for. 

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In addition, with most dickcissels measuring less than 6 inches in length, they’re much smaller than their cousins. Dickcissels are also drabber, with gray backs, brown wings, and only bright yellow on the cheeks, head, and chest. 

During the breeding season, they gain more color – which is also when you’re most likely to spot them. 

8. Dunnock 

Scientific Name: Prunella modularis 

The Dunnock is a small, tree-faring bird that looks so much like a sparrow it’s often called a hedge sparrow. 

These birds are small (not usually more than 5 inches in length) and feature a gray body with brown wings. In some cases, the wings are marked with black patterning, much like sparrows. 

Dunnocks are also native to most of Europe as well as some parts of Asiatic Russia. That makes them one of the most wide-ranging birds of their type (accentor) although they’re also one of the drabbest. 

9. Dusky Lory

Scientific Name: Pseudeos fuscata 

The Dusky Lory is a vivid parrot native to New Guinea. The bright bird is distinctly gaudy, with black and red or orange banding across the full bird. 

In addition, the beak normally matches the orange, yellow, or red feathers – although the beak may be red and the banding yellow. Like many parrots, there’s no difference between the male and female. 

Dusky Lories are also relatively small parrots. At maturity, they measure just 10 inches long including the tail. 

10. Dagua Thrush

Scientific Name: Turdus dagua 

The Dagua Thrush is a South American thrush found in Panama and Ecuador. 

The bird is dark brown with a cream-to-tan underbelly and a white or cream throat. It also features a yellow-tipped beak and faint yellow rings around the eyes. 

The Dagua Thrush was once thought to be a subspecies of the more common Turdus assimilis, the white-throated thrush. Both have also been called robins, although they’re not true robins. 

In addition, the Dagua Thrush is not found in North America, but the White-Throated Thrush is. 

11. Dark Pewee

Scientific Name: Contopus lugubris 

The Dark Pewee is a small, dark gray bird native to Central America. 

To most, Pewees look exactly like gray cardinals, although their crest is smaller. However, at 10 inches in length, the birds are also a similar size, making them even easier to confuse. 

However, the Dark Pewee is only found in mountain ranges. At the same time, like the cardinal, the Pewee is extremely defensive of its territory. 

The bird has been known to attack birds more than twice its size, like the Emerald Toucanets, when they get too close to its nest. 

12. Dark Hawk-Cuckoo

Scientific Name: Hierococcyx bocki 

The dark hawk cuckoo is a bird that’s unique in several ways. 

First, the family of hawk cuckoos outwardly mimics small hawks in appearance. At first glance, you might think you’re looking at a kestrel or other small raptor. 

The wing shape and gliding pattern even mimic that of the sparrowhawk, which is thought to protect the bird from would-be predators. 

Like other cuckoos, the dark hawk-cuckoo is also a brood parasite. This means that it lays its eggs in other birds’ nests. 

Here, the dark hawk-cuckoo has evolved to parasitize the nests of babblers and thrushes. However, because many thrushes can detect normal cuckoo eggs, the dark hawk-cuckoo lays eggs that mimic the size and appearance of thrush eggs. 

And, when born, the hatchlings mimic the sounds of the thrushes’ own chicks.  

13. Diard’s Trogon 

Scientific Name: Harpactes diardii 

Diard’s trogon is a brightly colored bird native to Southeast Asia and India. It’s also extremely common in zoos, because it’s colorful, slow-moving, and easy to spot, even in dense foliage. 

Like other Trogons, Diard’s is very brightly colored, with a black head, a pink belly, and an orange back. Most have gray wings. In addition, females are less bright, but still pinkish. 

Diard’s Trogons also have very flat and rectangular tails, especially when seen from the back. This helps them use the tail to slow their momentum as they frequently stop to peck insects and other arthropods off trees and plants. 

14. Drongo Fantail

Scientific Name: Chaetorhynchus papuensis 

The Drongo Fantail is a small bird that resembles a flat-tailed swallow. With a similar wing shape and body shape – although it’s more chunky – many people assume they’re related. 

However, the Fantail is the only species in its genus and it’s endemic to the island of New Guinea. It’s also just 5 inches long – making it much smaller than most similar orioles. 

Drongo fantails are blue-black with white markings under the wings and black flight feathers. 

They’re also very elusive and, as they mostly go out in small flocks at dawn and dusk, their coloration can make them extremely difficult to see. 

15. Drab Seedeater

Photo: Nick Athanas / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Sporophila simplex 

The Drab Seedeater is a small seedeater native to the subtropical and tropical grasslands of Ecuador and Peru. 

The bird is mousy gray or brown with a cream belly and a short, broad beak, ideal for eating seeds. And it likely gets its name from the fact that it’s one of the only seedeaters that are completely brown – with most being gray, red, blue-gray, or black and white. 

Still, this striking little bird can be quite pretty. However, at less than 4 inches in size, they’re also small enough to easily hide in the grasslands they live in. 

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16. Dusky Pigeon

Photo: markaharper1 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Patagioenes goodsoni 

The Dusky Pigeon is a pigeon that’s native to Colombia and Ecuador. It’s also a very common pigeon but because of the many types of pigeons in the region, has been poorly studied. 

This pigeon is named “Dusky” because of its gray body with dark brown back and rump. The wing and tail are bronze and can be glossy purple. In addition, the eyes are normally red. 

This makes the dusky pigeon look quite a bit different from the gray pigeons common in Europe and North America. However, the markings are very much the same as gray pigeons. 

17. Dwarf Tinamou

Photo: Cesar Augusto Resende Navarro/Alice P. Navarro / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5

Scientific Name: Taoniscus nanus 

The Dwarf Tinamou is a small bird native to the Cerrado region of Brazil. The bird is the smallest in the ratite family (the same family as ostriches and emu) but unlike its larger cousins, it can fly. 

The dwarf tinamou also resembles a partridge however it is not a relation. In addition, this small, 6-inch-long bird spends most of its time on the ground, where it hunts for seeds, termites, insects, and other arthropods.

In addition, the dwarf tinamou nests on the ground. However, its coloration means it’s hard to see against grassland, meaning many people don’t see the birds, even when there’s a small flock. 

18. Double-banded Sandgrouse

Scientific Name: Pterocles bicinctus 

The Double-banded Sandgrouse is a medium-sized ground-dwelling bird native to parts of Africa including Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. 

The bird resembles a speckled brown pigeon at first glance. However, it’s not a relation. 

All double-banded sandgrouse are brown with black and white speckles or dots. 

The males also sport a wide black band across the chest and one across the face above the beak (hence the name). Males also sport an orange beak – while the females do not. 

19. Dead Sea Sparrow

Scientific Name: Passer moabiticus 

The Dead Sea Sparrow is a small sparrow native to the Middle East – with most of its habitat along the Jordan River. At under 5 inches in length, it’s one of the smallest sparrows. 

However, it’s often difficult to tell the females apart from the common house sparrow. On the other hand, the males sport red bands on the wings. 

These birds are interesting in that they were first found in Cyprus but migrated away. Today, it’s found in Jordan, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan. 

20. Daurian Partridge

Scientific Name: Perdix dauurica

The Daurian Partridge is a type of gray partridge native to temperate Asia. 

Unlike the gray partridge, it features orange and red markings, including a tuft of long feathers under the beak, resembling a beard. 

In addition, these partridges become darker and brighter in more eastern climates. 

Daurian partridges are popular game birds, as they’re very common, weigh close to a pound, and often flock together – even outside of the breeding season. 

This means hunters can often find a full flock of partridges. 

In most of the world, you’re unlikely to see them. Daurian partridges are common enough that they aren’t usually found in zoos. 

However, the red and orange patches make them much brighter and prettier than the common gray partridge. 

21. D’arnaud’s Barbet

Scientific Name: Trachyphonus darnaudi 

D’arnaud’s Barbet is a species of barbet native to the African continent. 

In most cases, this small bird doesn’t get over 8 inches in height. However, it can build elaborate nests between trees with tunnels between trees and a separate nesting chamber. 

Barbets are in the same family as toucans. However, they have much smaller beaks. Instead, they have small bristles on the beak. 

D’arnaud’s Barbet is also brightly colored. Males and females are bright yellow with brown wings. 

The yellow feathers feature black speckles. The brown feathers feature white speckles. And, the undertail area is bright red. 

22. Dark-eyed White-eye

Scientific Name: Zosterops tetiparius 

The dark-eyed white-eye is a small white-eye bird endemic to the Solomon Islands. 

The birds are only found on their home islands, and each island has its own subspecies. Like other white-eyes, these birds average just over 3 inches. 

White-eyes get their name from the fact that they have a dark ring inside the white ring on their eyes. This gives the appearance of a larger and darker natural eye – although it’s just a darker ring. 

23. Dark-breasted Rosefinch 

Scientific Name: Procadyuelis nipalensis 

The Dark-breasted rosefinch is a large finch native to India, China, and Southeast Asia. Often, it’s found in subtropical and high-altitude forests and shrubland. 

In addition, this bird gets its name from the dark pink or “rose” coloration of the male, which can be very intensely pink. On the other hand, the female is normally a pink-dusted brown. 

The Dark-breasted rosefinch primarily eats seeds and nuts. It also nests in branches and on trees. 

Here, it’s a target of several species of cuckoo, who lay eggs in the rosefinches nest and whose young mimic the sounds and smells of a rosefinch hatchling. 

24. Diamond Firetail 

Scientific Name: Stagonopleura guttata 

The Diamond Firetail is a species of finch endemic to Australia – normally in dry forests and woodlands. 

The bird is one of the largest finches in Australia, but features a distinctive banding across the chest with a bright red beak and undertail. 

In addition, the bird stands out with dotting on the black banding, which can be more distinctive when the firetail is flying. 

Plus, firetail fly in long, low lines. Flocks fly low enough to spot food sources from the air and usually fly in a single file. That can make them a unique sight for bird watchers. 

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In addition, firetails are one of the few birds found building nests in the bases of birds of prey nests. For example, one kite nest was found to contain nine firetail nests – as the larger birds of prey probably offer some protection to the smaller birds. 

25. Damara Tern

Scientific Name: Sternula balaenarum 

The Damara Tern is a small tern native to the African Continent. 

In fact, at just 9 inches in length, it’s one of the smaller terns. In addition, with a mostly white body, it has fewer markings than many of its cousins. 

Terns feed on small fish and arthropods, often flying to the Gulf of New Guinea to coincide with spawning fish. 

In addition, while they roost communally, often sharing nests and hollows in rocks, they space themselves as much as 150 feet apart when eating. 

26. Dalat Shrike Babbler 

Scientific Name: Pteruthius aeralatus annamensis 

The Dalat Shrike Babbler is a babbler bird native to the Asian continent. However, it’s a subspecies of an American bird, the White-browed Shrike Babbler. 

This bird is possibly the result of migration and a colony of babblers established in South Asia – which resulted in evolutionary drift and its own species. However, until recently, that was thought to be convergent evolution. 

Shrike Babblers feature white bellies, gray backs, and orange and black wings. They also feature black heads with white stripes – resembling a shrike. 

As babblers, these birds eat a range of insects, nuts, and seeds. 

27. Dalmatian Pelican 

Scientific Name: Pelicanus crispus 

The Dalmatian pelican is a very large white pelican. At up to 6 feet in length and up to 33 pounds, with an 11-foot wingspan, it’s the largest pelican and possibly the largest freshwater bird

In addition, while previously common throughout Europe, the birds are now mostly only found in Russia, India, China, and southeastern Europe, likely due to the industrialization of waterways in Western Europe. 

Dalmatian pelicans primarily live in lakes, rivers, and river estuaries and, unlike many other pelicans, are able to work well in elevations. 

Most are white with an orange beak during the breeding season. However, during the year, they sport black and dark gray plumage, especially on the underside of the wings. 

28. Denham’s Bustard 

Scientific Name: Neotis denhami 

The Denham’s Bustard is one of the largest bustards in its genus. 

In fact, at up to 22 pounds and over 46 inches in height, the bustard can be significantly large. However, females can be as little as two-thirds of that size. 

Denham’s bustard lives across the African continent, primarily in grassland and floodplains. Some also migrate in winter – although most do not. 

In addition, these birds feature white heads and necks with brown wings and striking orange ruffs on the neck, and a polka-dot pattern on the sides and underbelly. 

Like many other African birds, Denham’s bustards don’t build nests. Instead, they scrape shallow holes in the ground and lay eggs there. 

29. Desert Owl 

Scientific Name: Strix hadorami 

The Desert Owl is a common owl found across the Arabian peninsula and is one of the most common owls in the Middle East. 

It also almost completely resembles the more common tawny owl in appearance but is lighter and doesn’t feature the same streaks. In addition, their eyes are yellow. 

The Desert Owl was also recently renamed after a 2015 study resulted in renaming the Omani Owl based on genotype. 

30. Double-eyed Fig Parrot 

Scientific Name: Cyclopsitta diophthalma 

The double-eyed fig parrot is a small parrot native to Australia. At just 5 inches on average, it’s also the smallest parrot in Australia. 

In addition, it gets its name from two blue dots above the eyes, separated by a red dot – giving it the appearance of having a second set of blue eyes. 

The parrot is also bright green, allowing it to blend in with the fruit trees on which it feeds. However, males sport red heads. 

Some subspecies sport blue bands around the eyes as well. In addition, in some subspecies the female’s head is completely green and in others, the female also sports blue banding. 

31. Demoiselle Crane 

Scientific Name: Grus virgo 

The Demoiselle Crane is a small crane found between Mongolia and China and often overwintering in Africa and India. At 30 inches tall and about 5-6 pounds, it’s also the smallest crane. 

However, the bird stands out with a striking dark gray neck and head, long tufts of white feathers on the head, and a light gray back and wings, giving it a graceful appearance. 

These cranes are known for their extreme migration patterns. Here, the birds gather into large flocks of up to 400 birds. Then, they fly over the Himalayan mountains, reaching altitudes of over 26,000 feet. 

Many do not survive the journey. However, at their destination, these cranes flock in massive social groups, sometimes reaching over 20,000 members in a single flock. 

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James Goodman

James is a native Texan with a love for birding and outdoor adventures. When he's not birdwatching, you can find him hiking, camping or playing the piano.

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