There are 210 birds whose common name starts with the letter E. Most of these have descriptive names like “Eared”, “Eastern”, “Eyebrowed”, and “Eurasian” as part of a longer name.
However, it is one of the smallest selections of names by letter – although some like X only have a few birds in them.
This list collects 31 birds whose common names start with E. Of these, just three have a primary name starting with E. The rest are all specific types of birds like the Eastern Pheobe, which you’re less likely to know.
Of those, some are common and easy to find, others are endemic to specific parts of the world and you’ll have to go to a zoo to see them.
Scientific Name (Family): Accipitridae
Eagles include 68 species of birds of prey, all of which are in the family Accipitridae.
Eagles are large hunters who are often among the largest raptors, although that isn’t universal. For example, the smallest eagle, the booted eagle, weighs less than a pound and is about the same size as a buzzard.
The largest eagle also depends on how you track size.
For example, the heaviest eagle is the Steller’s Sea Eagle, averaging at 14-15 pounds. The Philippine Eagle and Harpy Eagle are the longest, each averaging 3 feet 3 inches. And, the White-tailed Eagle is the broadest, with a median wingspan of 7 feet 2 inches.
Eagles are also extremely diverse. They almost always have larger and broader wings than any other bird of prey. However, they can be found in almost every habitat and environment.
Most Eagles are native to Eurasia and Africa. For example, Australia is home to just three, North America to 2 (although Bald and Golden Eagles are very common), and 9 are home to Central and South America.
Scientific Name (Subfamily): Ardeinae
Egrets are famed for their broad wings and beautiful crests. However, many people aren’t aware that they are simply herons which happen to have a crest.
In fact, there’s otherwise no differentiator between a heron and an egret. Instead, any heron with a crest is normally named an egret instead.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, the yellow-crowned night heron features a crest, but is called a heron.
However, there are 12 species of “Egret” that grow out dense, soft feathers along the back as part of their mating plumage. These soft feathers are the original source of the name Egret.
In addition, many of these species became endangered in the 19th century because of hunting – as the feathers which were only produced during breeding season, were used for making hats.
Scientific Name (Species): Dromaius novaehollandiae
The Emu is the second tallest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emu are native to Australia, where they inhabit most of the continent. And, while large birds, their populations can exceed 1 million animals during years with high rainfall.
Often, Emu populations are as little as half of that, and during high periods of drought, as little as 1/5th of that.
Emus are flightless but with a height of over 6 feet and a top speed of about 30 miles per hour, can easily outrun many predators. They can also go weeks without eating or drinking – especially when incubating eggs. However, when they do have access to water, they drink extreme amounts, which they then store up.
Emus are very closely related to the cassowary, although cassowaries are normally considered to be more aggressive birds.
4. Eared Dove
Scientific Name (Species): Zenaida auriculata
The Eared Dove is a South American dove native to most of the continent. Its closest relative is the American Mourning Dove, which is similar in appearance except more gray.
Like the Mourning Dove, the Eared Dove features black markings from the eyes towards the back of the head, giving it the appearance of crying.
Eared Doves are also extremely common in Argentina, where population estimates suggest there are some 32 million birds.
Hunters gather there, sometimes bringing in as many as 1,000 birds per day per hunter – but with so many birds, and local farmers who have taken to growing pigeon food because they make more money from tourism, pigeon populations aren’t falling.
5. Eared Quetzal
Scientific Name (Species): Euptilotis neoxenus
The Eared Quetzal of the Eared Trogon is a trogon native to Arizona, North Mexica, Sonora, and the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico.
As a result, it’s one of the only Trogon you can see in the United States. It’s also one of the most colorful birds native to North America.
Eared Quetzals are large birds at about 14 inches in length. They’re also iridescent and green on the back with black or barred white undertail feathers.
The male has a green breast and red belly while the female has a gray breast with a red spot on the belly.
During mating season, both males and females get tufts of feathers behind their eyes, leading to the common name.
6. Eastern Bluebonnet
Scientific Name (Species): Northiella haematogaster
The Eastern Bluebonnet or Greater Bluebonnet is a species of Australian parrot famous for its bright patchworks of color. These parrots inhabit arid and semi-arid forests in Australia, where they primarily live in trees and feed on the ground.
Unlike most small parrots, Eastern Bluebonnets are normally only found in pairs or in small groups. That’s in stark contrast to groups of Eurasian parrots, which can reach hundreds of birds.
However, with low food and water availability in their native habitat, smaller concentrations of birds make sense.
Bluebonnets are gray or mouse brown in color with patches of color including green, yellow, red, and orange across the bird. This can vary quite a bit depending on subspecies and gender.
The name bluebonnet comes from the dark blue on the outer wing, which is present in most subspecies.
7. Eastern Double-collared Sunbird
Scientific Name (Species): Cinnyris mediocris
The Eastern Double-Collared Sunbird is a species of sunbird native to Tanzania and Kenya. These birds are very similar in size and appearance to hummingbirds.
However, they cannot hover like hummingbirds. In addition, they often hunt insects, spiders, and small mollusks in addition to feeding on nectar.
Sunbirds often join groups of other birds when foraging. However, their iridescent green heads and necks stand out, as do their red breasts and bright olive-to-yellow bellies.
8. Eastern Phoebe
Scientific Name (Species): Sayornis phoebe
The Eastern Phoebe is a small, gray-brown bird that looks similar in appearance to a sparrow. However, with no striping, the bird is unmistakably not a domestic sparrow.
In addition, with lengths of up to 7.5 inches, the Phoebe can be slightly larger than the sparrow (which maxes out at 7.1 inches).
The Phoebe also stands out with a head that’s up to three times larger than the sparrow. These big-headed birds can have a head that takes up a third of their total body size not counting the tail.
In addition, many can puff up a crest during aggression or mating, which can increase the effect. It’s very difficult to tell the Eastern Phoebe and the Eastern Wood Pewee apart without significant familiarity with both birds.
However, phoebes are extremely common in urban environments across the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.
9. Edible-nest Swiftlet
Scientific Name (Species): Aerodramus fuciphagus
The Edible-nest Swiftlet is a 5.5-inch bird native to the coasts of South East Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. The bird resembles a swallow with a shorter tail in flight, although it has some split to the tail.
However, the thing that makes this species famous is its nest, which it makes entirely out of saliva. Swifts use spit to build hard nests in rocks and against cliff clefts which they do in large colonies, sometimes of 1,000 birds or more.
This nest is a threat to the bird, as locals and hunters looking for delicacies take the nests to use for bird’s nest soup. Here, the nest is soaked in water and boiled into a gelatinous soup – which can cost over $100 per bowl.
10. Edward’s Pheasant
Scientific Name (Species): Lophura edwardsi
Edward’s Pheasant is a Vietnamese pheasant found in only a tiny part of central Vietnam.
The bird is now critically endangered, thanks to hunting, changes to habitat, and human encroachment. In addition, the bird is extremely affected by herbicide, which has led to significant measures to try to preserve the species.
Edward’s Pheasant is a medium-sized pheasant, averaging about two pounds. That’s led to extensive trapping and hunting for food in the past.
However, the birds also have beautiful and iridescent blue-green feathers, which has led to them being kept for decorative purposes as well.
11. Egyptian Goose
Scientific Name (Species): Alopochen aegyptica
The Egyptian Goose is a medium-sized goose originally native to the African continent. However, because of their plumage, which is gray with distinctive facial markings and red markings on the tail – they’re also extremely popular as ornamental birds.
As a result, there are now established feral populations of the goose across most of the world. For example, in the United States and Western Europe, it’s extremely common to see these birds as established alongside other ducks and geese.
Egyptian Geese are also commonly mistaken for ducks, because they frequently hide their long necks in a dense ruff of feathers at the base. However, they are geese (members of the family with 17-23 bones in the neck).
12. Elegant Quail
Scientific Name (Species): Callipepla douglasii
The Elegant Quail is an attractive quail found only on the mountain slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental, at elevations over 3,300 feet. This range means they are found from Mexico to Nayarit, but only on brush-covered mountain slopes.
Like many other quail, these birds are small, usually not more than 10 inches.
Unlike their North American cousins, they’re also very colorful, with most sporting a russet wing, neck, and crest covering. Their russet wings are similar in color to many red chickens.
In addition, they sport the typical quail “spots” on the wings and sides.
13. Elfin Woods Warbler
Scientific Name (Species): Steophaga angelae
The Elfin Woods Warbler is a small gray bird native to Puerto Rico. Even in its native habitat, the bird is rare. It also wasn’t discovered by science until 1968, making it the most recently discovered Warbler in the Americas.
This small blue-gray bird (averaging 5 inches in length) is also endangered. That’s because of its very small range and restricted native habitats.
However, there are now significant efforts underway to preserve the bird. But with most of its habitat already in protected forests, the Warbler has had a stable population since the 1980s.
14. Elliot’s Storm Petrel
Scientific Name (Species): Oceanites gracilis
Elliot’s Storm Petrel is a seabird found on the western coast of South America. However, the bird is elusive.
While frequently seen, little is known about its mating habitat, including where it nests. To date, only 11 nests have been found in the wild – on the island of Chungungo off of Chile.
Otherwise, Elliot’s Storm Petrel is a mid-size seabird with a dark body, a white “V” over the wings, and dark to light gray wings.
The bird is sometimes known as the “white-vented” petrel for this reason. In addition, this petrel has unusually long legs for a petrel, which it trails behind itself while flying.
15. Emperor Goose
Scientific Name (Species): Anser canagicus
The Emperor Goose, Painted Goose, or Beach Goose is a large and striking goose with distinctive patterning. Adults grow over two feet in length and normally weigh about 2.5 pounds.
In addition, they’re found across the west coast of the Americas, ranging from California up to Alaska. However, they are migratory, but only travel about 300-500 miles, to coastal islands for breeding.
The Emperor Goose is striped black and white for most of the year. This is only broken by a crown of white on the head, which gives the bird its name.
In the summer, these birds often feed from pools that are full of iron oxide, leading to a distinctive yellow stain on the head, beak, and chest. This rarely extends to the back. However, it can give the appearance that the bird molts yellow in the summer.
16. Emperor Penguin
Scientific Name (Species): Aptenodytes fosteri
The Emperor Penguin is probably the most famous of all penguins, mostly because of its large size – which can reach 99 pounds. These large birds are also up to 39 centimeters tall, making them the largest penguin.
Emperor penguins feature black and white bodies and distinctive yellow necks. They’re also famous for breeding in colonies of up to several thousand individuals.
With just one egg laid per year, per pair, maintaining population stability can often be difficult. As a result, these birds are near threatened.
Emperor penguins can also dive to impressive heights, spending as much as 20 minutes underwater and surviving at depths of over 1,700 feet.
17. Empress Brilliant
Scientific Name (Species): Heliodoxa imperatrix
This tiny but unmistakable species of hummingbird is a brilliant green bird found in a tiny region of Colombia and Ecuador. In fact, the bird is found only on the Pacific slope of the Andes, at elevations of 1,300-6,600 feet.
That tiny native range means populations are small, but those populations are stable.
Empress Brilliants are normally about 5 inches long and brilliant, metallic green. They feed on nectar and small insects, which it may glean from leaves.
In addition, they often steal spider silk to bind their nests, which they make from palm fronds and seed fluff.
18. Enggano Hill Myna
Scientific Name (Species): Gracula enganensis
The Engano Hill Myna is a medium-sized bird endemic to Enggano Island, which is near Sumatra.
The bird is about 11 inches in length and stands out with a black body with bright orange-yellow patches that, on close inspection, turn out to be bare skin. Its beak and legs are normally a matching or more brilliant orange.
It also features large white patches on its wings, which stand out during flight.
Despite the exotic appearance, the Myna is a starling, with nearly identical habits to varieties more common to Europe and the United States. That includes eating fruit, insects, and nectar, nesting in trees, and flocking together in large (and loud) groups.
19. Equatorial Akalat
Scientific Name (Species): Sheppardia aeuatorialis
The Equatorial Akalat is a species of flycatcher native to South Africa. It’s mostly found in subtropical mountains, where its small size (less than 5 inches) means it’s elusive and rarely seen.
However, this flycatcher features a brilliant dark yellow chest and sides, which can stand out against the underbrush in the fall – but blends in in the winter.
Like other flycatchers, the Akalat is primarily insectivorous but also eats fruit, nectar, and seeds.
20. Ethiopian Cisticola
Scientific Name (Species): Cisticola lugubris
The Ethiopian Cisticola is a mid-sized cisticola found in Ethiopia and small parts of Eritrea. The bird is notable for its relatively colorful plumage and downy feathers, which give it a soft appearance, much like a tit or a flycatcher in Europe.
Like flycatchers, the Cisticola primarily feeds on insects. However, it features a much longer tail than the slightly smaller bird it resembles.
The Ethiopian Cisticola can also range from almost full gray with reddish patches on the head and tail to almost fully russet, with only black stripes on the wings and back.
21. Esmeraldas Woodstar
Scientific Name (Species): Chaetocercus berlepschi
The Esmeralda’s Woodstar is one of the smallest species of hummingbird. However, with all Woodstars having an average length of under 2.3 inches, that’s true of all 6 species in the genus.
In addition, all 6 Woodstars are extremely similar to each other in appearance, making them difficult to tell apart and difficult to study. However, Esmeralda’s Woodstar is one of if not the smallest of the Woodstars.
The birds are also very bright and metallic green and feed almost exclusively on nectar from flowering shrubs.
They live in tiny coastal areas in western Ecuador, where deforestation has threatened the species. Most are only found in low-elevation areas along the coast – but as they are rare and elusive, even locals only rarely see them.
22. Espanola Cactus Finch
Scientific Name (Species): Geospiza conirostris
The Espanola Cactus Finch is a species of Tanager endemic to the Galapagos Islands. In fact, this small black bird is most famous for being one of Darwin’s finches, used to showcase bird beak evolution around local food sources.
The Espanola Cactus Finch primarily feeds on the cactus opuntia, hence the name.
The finch is also about 5.9 inches in length and males are completely black. Females may have white or gray speckling on their underbelly and wings. And, Cactus Finches normally nest in and live in the cacti they feed on.
23. Eurasian Bittern
Scientific Name (Species): Botaurus stellaris
The Eurasian Bittern or Great Bittern is the largest Bittern, with a height of up to 39 inches and a wing span of up to 50 inches.
These birds, which were once common across Europe, Asia, and the African continent, are declining in population. However, they’re still populous, despite being elusive and rare to see.
Bitterns feature brown wings with lighter brown or cream necks that can be up to twice the length of the body. They use these to fish for mollusks, fish, and crustaceans in the wetlands they call their home.
Many also nest in reeds, where their coloring and patterning can make them extremely difficult to spot nesting or hunting.
24. Eurasian Magpie
Scientific Name (Species): Pica pica
The Eurasian Magpie is one of the most common birds in the crow family and native to most of the Eurasian continent, except the extreme northern reaches of Russia.
This magpie, which is divided from crows by name only, is almost identical in appearance to the American Magpie. Otherwise, these birds are distinctive from other corvids, with a white belly and wing markings against the black head, back, and tail feathers.
Magpies, like many other corvids, adapt very well to urban environments. Therefore, they’re a common sight in cities and in parks – where people often feed them.
Magpies are also unique in another way. They’re the only bird known to pass the mirror test, in which the bird identifies itself in a mirror.
25. Eurasian Wigeon
Scientific Name (Species): Mareca penelope
The Eurasian Wigeon is a species of dabbling duck, common across Russia, Asia, and parts of the African continent. Here, the bird summers in the northern area of Europe and Russia and moves to Africa and the coast of China and Indonesia for the winter.
The Wigeon is about 20 inches long and normally weighs 1-2 pounds. They are light brown with pinkish feathers for most of the year. However, during mating season, the male grows out a pink breast and chestnut head, which can be quite striking.
26. European Bee Eater
Scientific Name (Species): Merops apiaster
The European Bee Eater is a medium-sized colorful bird that sources a significant portion of its diet from European Honeybees.
However, despite being able to eat 250 bees in a single day, studies show that the European Bee Eaters reduce bee populations by less than 1% in their ranges.
Bee Eaters are also extremely bright and colorful birds compared to most other birds in Europe. Here, they feature bright blue bellies and bodies with red and green patches on the wings, red crowns, and yellow throat patches.
At up to 11 inches long, they’re also not as small as other colorful birds, which can make them a favorite of bird watchers.
27. Evening Grosbeak
Scientific Name (Species): Hesperiphona vespertina
The Evening Grossbeak is a bright yellow and black bird native to most of the northern United States as well as the Rocky Mountains.
The bird, which is up to 14 inches in length, is a common sight across coniferous forests in the United States and can sometimes be found in Canada.
In the winter, birds are almost entirely gray with light yellow bellies. In the summer, they can be much darker and brighter yellow, almost during this period, they’re mostly only found in Canada and in higher mountain ranges.
Today, they’re vulnerable to extinction, which means sightings are rare. However, they are extremely social and may flock in large groups during the winter.
28. Everett’s Thrush
Scientific Name (Species): Zoothera everetti
Everett’s Thrush is a large thrush endemic to the Island of Borneo, specifically in the Sabah and Sarawak mountains.
This small range means most will never see one, although they can be quite common in forests with dense undergrowth. Like other thrushes, Everett’s Thrush hunt mostly on the ground – where it can be found picking at insects and other small invertebrates.
Everett’s Thrush is dark or silvery gray with a bright orange or russet patch on the chest. In females, that fades to a white underbelly.
29. Exclamatory Paradise Whydah
Scientific Name (Species): Vidua interjecta
The Exclamatory Paradise Whydah is a striking bird native to the African continent, where it is common throughout its range.
This black and white bird sports an orange neck and ruff. However, it’s most well known for the male, who has a tail as much as twice the length of the body. During the year, the tail is flat and splits.
During breeding season, the tail is fluffed up, so that it looks almost twice the size of the bird – which can give a very striking appearance. However, the female has a short tail, about a third of the length of the body.
30. Eyebrowed Wren Babbler
Scientific Name (Species): Napothera epilepidot
The Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler is a common bird across Southeast Asia and Indonesia, where it lives and hunts underbrush.
The bird stands out for its stocky appearance, with a head that is about two-thirds the length of the body and a very rounded body.
These birds also stand out for their feathers, which feature white shafts and barbs, giving the illusion of snowflakes. They also feature white stripes above the eyes and back across the head, leading to the name.
31. Eye-ringed Thistletail
Scientific Name (Species): Asthenes palpebralis
The Eye-ringed Thistletail is a small bird found in central Peru. While endemic to a tiny area of the country, the bird is very common in its range.
It’s also notable for its distinctive appearance, with a chocolate brown upper back and wingspan.
However, the underside of the bird is mouse gray – which allows the bird to camouflage quite well in the understory and thistle scrub of the Andes where it lives.
The bird gets its name from the white ring around its eyes. It’s also just one of two Thistletails with an eye ring, making it relatively easy to identify.