There are hundreds of birds whose common name starts with the letter F. This list selects just 30 of them, highlighting a range of birds from the common to the extremely rare and endangered.
In fact, some of these birds can be found in your backyard. Others, you’d have to go to a tiny region of the world to see.
In addition, 5 of these birds are “types” of birds, meaning that their primary name starts with F. The rest have longer common names with descriptive naming like “Frilled”, “Fiery-Throated”, or “Flying” in the name.
Scientific Name (Genus): Falco
Falcons include 40 species of birds in a single genus. These birds are raptors or birds of prey, which mostly hunt small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.
Like other birds of prey, they soar on wind currents until they spot their prey and then dive to make a kill.
Falcons are unique among birds of prey in that they kill exclusively with their beaks. Other raptors use their feet.
Falcons also feature narrower and more tapered wings, which allow them to change direction rapidly – but which costs more energy to fly with.
Finally, falcons are found on every continent except Antarctica. These birds also range in size significantly depending on their habitat.
For example, the gyrfalcon often reaches 2 feet in length and weighs close to 5 pounds. On the other hand, the pygmy falcon is just 7-8 inches in length.
Scientific Name (Family): Fringillidae
Finches are small tree-dwelling birds that are native to almost every part of the world except Australia and polar regions. True finches are one of the most common birds with more than 200 species spread across the world.
In addition, many birds that are not finches have “finch” as a common name – for example, Darwin’s finches are tanagers.
Finches are most often 4-7 inches in length. They normally live in wooded or forest areas and almost always live in trees.
In addition, they are omnivorous and live on a diet of seeds, insects, and fruit. And, almost all of them live in one place year-round rather than migrating.
Scientific Name (Species): Colaptes auratus
The Flicker or Northern Flicker is a small woodpecker native to North America, Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands.
While the bird blends in with the trees in which it lives, it’s striking in appearance once you spot it.
For example, its tan or brown body is speckled with black dots, it features a black ruff, and females sport bright orange under-tail feathers. Males sport a dark orange or red crown.
Flickers also stand out as being the only woodpecker that migrates. Here, the flickers living in Central America and other very warm areas migrate north to Alaska and Canada for breeding.
On the other hand, flickers living in temperate and high-elevation ranges where temperatures remain cooler are less likely to migrate at all.
Scientific Name (Family): Muscicapidae
Old World Flycatchers are one of the largest groups of birds, with some 352 species.
These birds are all small, normally primarily insectivorous, and mostly brown or gray in color. The birds can also be quite colorful, especially in Asia and the African continent.
Flycatchers are all smallish, with the largest at about 8.6 inches long and the smallest at about 3.5 inches long. Most also live in scrub underbrush and understory in trees – feeding on insects and arthropods.
As a result, they can be found in nearly any environment with tree cover – although very northern species will typically migrate to warmer climates for the winter.
Scientific Name (Family): Procellaridae
Fulmars include two species of seabird, both native to colder oceans. The Northern Fulmar is native to the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans while the Southern Fulmar is found almost exclusively on islands.
Both species are medium-sized at up to 20 inches in length with a 40-inch wingspan. They also nest on cliffs and rocks, where each pair lays a single egg.
Unlike many other birds, fulmar do not nest or burrow but instead, lay their eggs in shallow depressions, which they may line with plant material.
In addition, both are extremely long-lived, sometimes living over 40 years in the wild.
6. Fairy Pitta
Scientific Name: Pitta nympha
The Fairy Pitta is a small bird native to Asia, where it migrates to Southeast Asia for the winter.
The bird is normally no more than about 7.5 inches high, but features bright green wings with metallic stripes and a dark red tail – which can be quite noticeable against underbrush.
The bird is also rare and is considered vulnerable to extinction, as deforestation and trapping for the pet trade have reduced its numbers in the wild.
Fairy pittas are also commonly seen on the ground, where they hunt for earthworms, slugs, and slow-moving arthropods. However, they are opportunistic feeders and have been known to eat shrews and even small snakes.
7. Fiery-throated Hummingbird
Scientific Name: Panterpe insignis
The Fiery-throated hummingbird is a bright metallic green hummingbird native to Costa Rica and Panama.
From the side, the bird is bright green and black. However, from the front, it features a brilliant red throat patch and a dark blue grown. Like many other hummingbirds, the bird is metallic and can be quite reflective in the sunlight.
Fiery-throated hummingbirds are normally just over 4 inches in length. However, unlike many hummingbirds, there’s no distinction between males and females.
Females are, however, responsible for nest building and their distinctive moss-cup nests can be spotted in bamboo groves between August and January.
8. Fiji Woodswallow
Scientific Name: Artamus mentalis
The Fiji Woodswallow is a medium-sized bird endemic to the island of Fiji. However, the bird looks larger than its 7 inches, often because it’s broad with a big head, and looks bigger than it is when it nests.
The Woodswallow is black and white with soft downy feathers.
Fiji Woodswallows live in trees and primarily feed on insects which it catches in flight or on the ground. These birds are also very defensive, and flocks of the bird may aggressively mob predators to force them out of areas.
After the introduction of cats and dogs to Fiji, Woodswallows started mobbing those predators as well.
9. Finn’s Weaver
Scientific Name: Ploceus megarhynchus
Finn’s Weaver or Finn’s Bar is a bright yellow weaver bird native to river valleys in India and Nepal. The birds are bright yellow in color with black wings and beaks and black spots under the eyes and on the chest.
They’re also famous for their elaborate nests, which they weave from strips of leaves and reeds – often on top of a reed.
In addition, Finn’s Wavers are one of the only weaver birds to fully line their nest. Others normally only line the bottom of the nest.
Weaver nests are also very distinctive, as the birds strip leaves from the reeds the nest is built on, making them visible from fairly far off.
10. Fasciated Tiger Heron
Scientific Name: Tigrisoma fasciatum
The Fasciated Tiger Heron is a small heron native to the African continent.
The bird is solitary and can be found standing alone in shallow waters, where it hunts by rapidly stabbing its neck into the water to spear small fish and crustaceans. It also eats small insects where available.
Like many other herons, these birds are so solitary that when more of them congregate in a single hunting spot, they stand several hundred feet apart to hunt.
Fasciated Tiger Herons are dark brown with a striped body. They also look like penguins when seen from afar, as they often sit with their neck hunched.
When hunting, they rapidly extend the neck, creating a great deal of impaling force.
11. Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant
Scientific Name: Hemitriccus flammulatus
The Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant is a small bird native to the areas around the Amazon Basin. Like many other tyrant flycatchers, it’s small and almost completely brown, which allows it to blend in with trees and underbrush.
However, during mating season, flammulated bamboo tyrants can become streaked with olive green – which allow it to blend in better with the bamboo and leaves where it lives and hunts.
This bird is also almost ever seen on the ground. Like many other tyrant birds, it hawks insects from the air in flight.
These birds also blend in very well with the forest, which often means they are found not by sight but by their distinctive pipping call.
12. Fork-Tailed Sunbird
Scientific Name: Aethopyga christinae
The Fork-tailed Sunbird is a brightly colored bird native to Asia and Southeast Asia. The bird is normally found in subtropical forests, where it can be seen flitting between trees and feeding on nectar in flowers.
Males feature a bright, metallic green head with a red breast. Females are olive to yellow and gray but might also be bright yellow.
These sunbirds are normally under 4.5 inches in length. This allows them to easily flit among flowers that they feed on. However, they’ll also eat insects and other small arthropods they come across.
13. Forest Elaenia
Scientific Name: Myiopagis gaimardii
The Forest Elaenia is a small flycatcher tyrant native to South America and Trinidad. The bird is about 5 inches long and sports a gray back with a light yellow or greenish belly.
Most blend in quite well with trees or shrubs, especially in their preferred habitat around mangrove swamps.
These birds are also insectivorous and primarily eat insects and spiders on branches and leaves. However, they may also eat fruit, especially during the summer.
14. Forest Penduline Tit
Scientific Name: Anthoscopus flavifrons
The Forest Penduline Tit is a bird native to subtropical forests on the African continent.
To the casual observer, it’s almost indistinguishable from the Forest Elaenia listed above. However, the birds are not related, live on different continents, and are unlikely to be kept together.
Still, their gray bodies, greenish-to-yellow bellies, and even beaks and legs look remarkably similar. Unlike the Elaenia, the Penduline Tit may also have a green neck and wings.
They’re also more likely to be found in small flocks, where they can frequently be found hunting for insects in trees and on the foliage of their habitat.
15. Fulvous Crested Tanager
Scientific Name: Tachyphonus surinamus
The Fulvous Crested Tanager is a small bird native to the Amazon basin, where it lives in subtropical and tropical forests. The bird, like other tanagers, primarily eats seeds and fruit but will also hunt for insects.
In addition, this tanager has an extreme amount of sexual dimorphism, where the males are normally black with white streaks on the wings and red or yellow side patches.
Females on the other hand are yellow with gray patches on the neck and green wings. That can lead many people to assume that males and females are different species, especially as it’s common to find the Fulvous Crested Tanager in mixed-species flocks.
16. Fulmar Prion
Scientific Name: Pachyptila crassirostris
The Fulmar Prion is a small seabird that feeds almost exclusively on zooplankton. Like the blue petrel, these birds have a bill split into 7-9 horny plates, which allows them to better filter out food from seawater.
In addition, they have a unique nasal passage on the upper part of the bill, which enables them to excrete brine from seawater.
Prions nest on islands in colonies where, like many other seabirds, they lay a single egg per pair.
At about 9 inches long, they are quite small for a seabird. However, you cannot easily distinguish them otherwise from gulls and petrels, except for the location of the nostrils.
17. Frilled Monarch
Scientific Name: Arses telescopthalmus
The Frilled Monarch is a bird native to New Guinea and surrounding islands.
Its black-and-white patterning is also very similar to the magpie. However, with a rounded head, body, and wings, the monarch looks more similar to a swallow than a magpie.
The bird also has a blue ring around the eyes. On the other hand, females typically have an orange chest and throat and may be fully ochre in color. In fact, the ochre monarch is sometimes considered a subspecies of the frilled monarch.
In addition, the monarch can fluff up its neck feathers to make itself look larger. These birds often do this when defending an area or when trying to impress a prospective mate.
18. Fire-capped Tit
Scientific Name: Cephalopyrus flammiceps
The fire-capped tit is one of the most colorful of the tit family although most of its cousins living around the Himalayas can be quite colorful as well. The bird averages about 3.9 inches long with a long tail and a short beak.
It’s also bright yellow with a red crest or crown and dark or olive wings. This color scheme allows it to blend in well with local vegetation, which is often yellow.
Fire-capped tits are also loud, frequently fly in small flocks, and are therefore extremely popular with bird watchers. The birds also frequently hunt in tree-tops, where they look for insects, leaves, and pollen.
19. Flying Steamer Duck
Scientific Name: Tachyeres patachonicus
The Flying Steamer Duck is a brown duck with white spots that’s native to the southern tip of South America.
These birds stand out for their unusual means of locomotion, where they use both their wings and their feet to paddle. That movement resembles an old-fashioned steamer paddle boat, hence the duck’s name.
In addition, most steamer ducks cannot fly. The flying steamer duck can – mostly, although some large males will be unable to as their wings are too heavy for flight.
This ability to fly gives the flying steamer duck access to islands that most steamer ducks aren’t found on – including the Falkland Islands.
20. Fly River Grassbird
Scientific Name: Poodytes albolimbatus
The Fly River Grassbird is a bird found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, where it inhabits marshes and lakes.
The bird is rare and is now vulnerable to extinction, as much of its native habitat is threatened by agriculture and urban development.
In addition, this small and elusive bird is rarely seen. Most people who see it do so by boat, where the bird is unlikely to notice and hide deeper in reeds or grass.
Otherwise, the Fly River Grassbird is light gray with a rufous crown and dark wings. This allows it to very easily blend into its chosen habitat, and it can be near-invisible against dry grass.
21. Forest Canary
Scientific Name: Crithagra scotops
The Forest Canary is a bright green and yellow canary native to South Africa and Eswatini.
The bird primarily lives in forests in subtropical and tropical areas but may be found in lowlands and mountains. In addition, it’s primarily spotted in trees – although its small size of about 4-5 inches and green coloration can make it very hard to see.
Like many other finches, the forest canary builds a cup nest out of moss. The female then incubates eggs, for as little as 14 days, before the chicks hatch and she feeds them with help.
22. Frilled Coquette
Scientific Name: Lophornis magnificus
The Frilled Coquette is a tiny species of hummingbird and one of the smallest birds alive. In fact, this bird often comes in at 2.8-3 inches total, including the beak.
Size doesn’t make it less striking though, as the frilled coquette features a red crest as much as a third of the height of the bird, brilliant green feathers, and checker black and white patterning on the breast.
It’s often considered one of the most striking of the coquette hummingbirds.
However, this tiny flier is only found in eastern and Southern Brazil to Bolivia and Paraguay. This means most people are unlikely to see the frilled coquette outside of a zoo.
23. Forty-Spotted Pardalote
Scientific Name: Pardalotus quadragintus
The Forty-Spotted Pardalote is a small gray and yellow bird covered with distinctive white and black spots across the back and wings.
Viewed from the ground, the bird looks white with a yellow head. From the top, it’s dark black with spots.
However, the Forty Spotted Pardalote is one of the rarest birds in Australia. Estimates suggest there are fewer than 5,000 of the birds in existence, meaning they are endangered.
They’re also exclusively found in eucalyptus forests, where it forages on white gum eucalyptus.
24. Freckled Nightjar
Scientific Name: Caprimulgus tristigma
The Freckled Nightjar is a nightjar native to the tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
The bird is large for a nightjar at about 11 inches in length. However, the bird can swallow insects up to 1.5 inches long whole thanks to their very wide mouth.
Freckled nightjars are dark gray and black to brown with speckles, usually in black. This allows them to blend in very well against rocks and sand, where they frequently roost, especially when looking for insects and other food.
25. Flores Sea Cuckoo Dove
Scientific Name: Macropygia macassariensis
The Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove is a bird in the pigeon family that’s primarily found in the Indonesian archipelago.
The bird is extremely similar to other cuckoo doves, where it was grouped as a single species (the bar-necked cuckoo dove) until 2016.
The Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove features a long tail and a long neck, especially compared to other pigeons. They’re also brown, with a light cream neck and dark brown wings.
The name also likely comes from the fact that the bird was originally thought to be a pseudo rather than a true dove.
26. Flavescent Warbler
Scientific Name: Myiothlypis flaveola
The flavescent warbler is native to the subtropical and tropical forests of South America.
This small, bright green and yellow bird gets its name from its color (flavescent), which means green.
It also varies quite a bit in color, with the dullest being gray-green on the wings and back and the brightest bright green. The coloration allows them to easily blend into foliage when roosting and nesting.
However, the warbler hunts on the ground, catching insects, and sometimes even following mixed flocks of birds after army ants. Here, the warbler mostly eats small insects and arthropods, although it will eat fruit, nuts, and seeds as well.
27. Flat-billed Vireo
Scientific Name: Vireo nanus
The Flat-billed vireo is a big-headed bird endemic to some regions of the island of Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic).
The bird looks similar to a domestic sparrow but with a head that is typically about half the size of the body. It also lives exclusively in subtropical and tropical forests.
In addition, at about 5 inches in length, it’s normally marginally smaller than the sparrow.
Vireo may also sport yellowish belies, especially during the breeding season.
28. Finsch’s Bulbul
Scientific Name: Iole finschii
Finsch’s Bulbul is a songbird native to the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia and Indonesia. The bird is dark brown or gray on the back and bright yellow on the front but may be almost entirely gray during the winter.
These birds also stand out with a very short ruff or crest and a very short cream beard as well as red eyes. This means that even the completely gray examples of the species can be quite distinctive.
Their beaks are also dark gray to purplish gray.
29. Fanti Drongo
Scientific Name: Dicrurus atactus
The Fanti Drongo is a bird native to Sub-Saharan Africa.
The bird is a striking black, with a distinctive forked tail. It also features a soft downy head with red eyes.
During the breeding season, the birds also take on a very distinctive blue sheen which can be very metallic.
These birds are primarily found in sub-tropical and dry forests. In addition, they look very similar to the downy drongo, but do not share a range with those birds.
30. Flesh-footed Shearwater
Scientific Name: Ardenna carneipes
The Flesh-footed shearwater is a medium-sized seabird native to most of the Pacific Ocean.
The birds are similar to the pink-footed shearwater, to the point where they may eventually be renamed as a single species.
Shearwaters are brown seabirds with very broad and stiff wings. They get their name from the fact that they fly high and then cut or shear very close to the waves to catch small fish and insects while in flight.
This can give them the impression of flying directly through the water.
The Flesh-footed shearwater gets its name from its light tan or pink legs and beak. These can resemble the skin color of the average white person, which is how they get their name.