This list of birds that start with the letter G includes a selection of 29 birds by their common name. However, there are hundreds of birds whose common names start with G.
This list highlights everything from rare birds to common backyard birds.
In addition, there are 14 birds whose primary or genus name start with G. These include common gulls and geese, as well as less well-known godwits and grosbeaks.
Scientific Name: Mareca strepera
Gadwalls are a species of dabbling duck native to most of the northern half of the planet. The bird is common across Europe, Russia, parts of Asia, parts of the African continent, the United States, Canada, and parts of Central America.
It’s also extremely populous and is one of the most common wild ducks – and one of the few whose populations are on the rise.
These dark gray and brown ducks are also important for insect control in waterways, where they often swim in small flocks and in pairs.
It can also be extremely difficult to tell the male apart from a female mallard. However, the male is dark gray with no iridescent cap.
Scientific Name (Genus): Gallinula
Gallinules are wading water birds common to most of the world. Most are similar to coots in appearance but are brown, feature white patches on the wings, and do not normally have colorful or webbed feet.
In addition, of five species of gallinule, only one is called a Gallinule. The rest are described as” moorhens”, although they may locally be known as “dark” or “black” gallinule.
Gallinule are poor fliers. However, in the winter, they may migrate several thousand miles. That’s especially true of populations that live in Siberia.
The Gough moorhen, however, is almost flightless as it only flies for a few yards at most.
Scientific Name (Family): Pollioptilidae
Gnatcatchers are a family of 21 small birds which are common across the United States, Central America, and South America.
All gnatcatchers are bluish-gray in color and typically have patterned heads – especially in the males. All of them also live in underbrush and scrub, where they hunt for small insects on the ground.
In most cases, these birds are also quite small, with many under 5 inches in length. Many are also very common, although most species are elusive and hard to see in their native habitats.
Scientific Name (Genus): Limosa
Godwits are large wading birds native to most of the world.
These birds are extremely similar to Dowitchers and Curlews, to the point where they must be distinguished from dowitchers by the length of their legs and from curlews by the slightly longer and upturned bills.
All of these birds wade in water where they hunt for mollusks and worms in sand. In the winter, they flock together – sometimes in groups of several thousand birds.
Godwits are normally about two feet in length. However, their legs can be as long as their bodies. And, their bills are often about a third of the body length.
Scientific Name (Genus): Bucephala
Goldeneyes are a group of small diving ducks native to the Americas and to Eurasia. In addition, all three are small, primarily white, and marked with distinct black, green, and brown.
Females are normally mostly mouse brown with chocolate brown heads. However, their eyes stand out significantly. Males almost always have iridescent green feathers – although these are most pronounced on the common goldeneye.
At under 2 feet, these ducks are smaller ducks. However, they can dive to significant depths, which they do to catch insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. They might also eat fish eggs when the opportunity allows them to.
Scientific Name: Carduelis carduelis
The goldfinch is a small Eurasian bird famous for its bright colors.
In the winter, the bird features a red head with a cream and tan body and black and yellow wings. However, females can be entirely cream or brown, which can make them difficult to tell apart from some other types of finches.
The goldfinch is usually about 5.1 inches in length or smaller. In addition, they feature a forked tail, which you normally only see when the bird is in flight.
However, their song is considered one of the prettiest of birds in their range, which extends from Europe to North Africa and even Central Asia.
Scientific Name (Family): Anatidae
Geese are water birds in the goose, duck, and swan family, distinguished from their cousins by the fact that they have 17-23 neck bones (ducks have 16 or fewer, and swans have 24 or more).
These birds are normally larger than ducks and smaller than swans, although there are some exceptions.
Geese, like ducks, often migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Here, they fly in V patterns, which can be quite distinctive.
In addition, geese are quite well-known for their loud hissing and for their toothed bills, although not all species do either.
Scientific Name: Quiscalus quiscula
The grackle is a corvid-like bird native to North America and fairly common in most of the country. However, there are 10 different types of grackle, some of which are only very loosely related.
The common grackle is a dark blue-black bird with brown wings and a tail. It lives in all but the Western United States and Canada and flies northward for the breeding season.
Grackles live in trees and may forage for seeds, insects, berries, eggs, small birds, and small fish. They may also steal from other birds.
In addition, grackle will frequent bird feeders, although they may chase other birds off first.
Scientific Name (Order): Podicipediformes
Grebes include mostly crested birds that are very loosely related.
While there are 22 species of Grebes, they can be quite distinctive from each other. However, Grebes are all very similar to their closest living relative, the flamingo.
On the other hand, most Grebes are significantly smaller, with the great Grebe standing at 28 inches and the least Grebe standing at 9.3 inches.
The name probably means “crested” and refers to the male, which develops a high crest around the head and neck during the mating season.
Grebes are also mostly gray, brown, and white. However, they may sport russet feathers, especially during the breeding season.
Scientific Name (Family): Fringillidae
Grosbeaks are a type of finch sporting a very wide beak which they use to eat seeds.
While these birds all look very similar and have very similar beaks, some are only loosely related, with cardinals, weavers, and bullfinches. However, the name just means “large beak” which is certainly true across all of them.
In fact, the Kona grosbeak has a beak almost as large as its head.
Most grosbeaks are also colorful birds. Most are yellow or bright red with black markings. Females are normally brown or gray, although they may also sport brightly colored heads.
Scientific Name (Family): Laridae
Gulls, commonly known as seagulls, are a large family of 54 species of seabirds. These range from the 11-inch little gull to the 30-inch great gull.
Most are found on coasts but, following learning to feed on human refuse, many have migrated far inland.
Gulls live in large flocks and may hunt on beaches, in low water, and in waves – where they might skim the water for fish. Some gulls are even known to use bread as bait for fish, which they then catch and consume.
Gulls are extremely social and may nest and flock in groups of several thousand birds. Most also nest in rock walls and cliffs on coasts and islands – where they typically tunnel or use crevices and normally lay a single egg per nesting pair.
Scientific Name: Eolophus roseicaplla
The galah or the pink and gray cockatoo is one of the most common species of cockatoo. It’s also native to Australia and found throughout most of the continent.
While common, these birds are striking with bright pink bellies, chests, and faces capped by gray wings and backs. Both species have a fluffy pink crest, which they can raise and lower – although the crest is gray in juveniles.
Galahs are also replacing some other cockatoos in their range. This includes new populations in regions where galahs were introduced after pets escaped.
However, it does mean that galahs are doing very well in urban areas meaning populations are actually increasing.
Scientific Name: Spatula queruedula
The Garganey is a small dabbling duck native to Europe and Africa, where it migrates from the Palearctic to southern Africa depending on the time of year.
The bird, which is just over a foot in length is also very sexually dimorphic. Females are difficult to tell from mallards at a distance, although they have a longer beak and a crescent over the eye.
Males are very distinctive, with a brown body speckled with black and white dots, a black crest, and white ridges over the eyes. They also feature white and black wing feathers.
In their Palearctic range, Garganey are often found in small groups. However, in their winter range, they can occur in flocks of thousands of birds, which is unusual for ducks.
Scientific Name: Regulus regulus
The Goldcrest is a tiny but colorful bird native to the Eurasian continent.
At an average of 3.5 inches in length, it’s one of the smallest birds in Europe. However, its tiny stature doesn’t diminish from its folklore, with European stories often calling the Goldcrest the “King of Birds”, as is reflected in its Latin name.
Goldcrests are gray with white bellies and bright yellow wings. The male sports a yellow crest and back and can be very bright gold in the summer – especially during mating season. The goldcrest can resemble a crown, hence the nickname, “king of birds”.
15. Glossy Flowerpiercer
Scientific Name: Diglossa lafresnayii
The Glossy Flowerpiercer is a medium-sized bird native to mountainous forests in the Andes, which means it is found across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
The bird, which is solid black except for tiny white patches on the wings, lives in grassland. There, it eats seeds, insects, and even nectar.
The Glossy Flowerpiercer is also a favorite of local bird watchers, as the birds forage in pairs and often in mixed-species flocks. They also aren’t shy, which makes them common at watering and feeding stations.
16. Green-tailed Sunbird
Scientific Name: Aethopyga nipalensis
The Green-Tailed Sunbird is a small sunbird native to the forests of the Indian Subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia.
Like most other sunbirds, it feeds primarily on nectar, which it accesses via a long hooked bill. However, the sunbird will also eat and hunt insects on foliage and branches.
The female Sunbird is a mouse brown with dark brown wings and a cream chest. The male is almost twice her size, with an iridescent blue head, bright red back, green wings, orange breast, and long black tail feathers.
17. Great Hanging Parrot
Scientific Name: Loriculus stigmatus
The Great Hanging Parrot is a brilliant green parrot native to the islands around Indonesia.
At just under 6 inches in length, it’s also small compared to many other parrots. However, it is one of the largest hanging parrots, most of which are around 5 inches in length.
Hanging parrots are so named because they sleep upside-down, hanging from branches.
These bright green parrots also feature a distinct red patch on the throat and head. Otherwise, they can be indistinguishable except for size, from other hanging parrots, as the color patches are normally the only differentiator.
18. Golden-olive Woodpecker
Scientific Name: Colaptes rubiginosus
The Golden-Olive Woodpecker is a very populous woodpecker found throughout almost all of Mexico and coastal South and Central America.
It’s also one of the brightest woodpeckers, with bright yellow wings, a speckled body, and bright red and white striping on the head.
Males are larger than females and sport more red but the females have the same large golden wings, which are also striking.
Like other woodpeckers, these species are about 9 inches long and primarily live in holes in trees, which they may bore themselves.
These woodpeckers also often hunt in mixed flocks of birds, where they will eat ants, termites, and beetles.
19. Green Pheasant
Scientific Name: Phasianus versicolor
The Green Pheasant is a large pheasant endemic to the Japanese islands. It’s often considered a subspecies of the common pheasant.
However, the male features a fully green body with gray and russet wings and no comb. Side by side, the two are otherwise very similar, with very similar size, wattles, and tail coloration.
The female is brown and cream, fading to dark brown at the tail. This allows her to better blend into the scrub and grass where she places a nest.
The males are often kept as ornamental birds – although the pheasant has also been introduced to Hawaii as a game bird.
20. Guadalupe Murrelet
Scientific Name: Synthliboramphus hypoleucus
The Guadalupe murrelet, sometimes known as Xantu’s murrelet is a seabird native to the west coasts of the Americas.
The bird is marked by its chunky appearance, with a dense body and a head that’s usually about a third the size of the body.
The birds are divers, with little difference in size between the neck and the body. This can cause them to look like tiny penguins, and their coloration matches.
However, murrelets are auks, which are superficially similar to penguins but not closely related. In addition, murrelets commonly follow schools of large fish like tuna and feed on small fish flushed out of hiding by those larger fish.
Murrelets often swim far out to sea and between islands, usually in pairs or small families.
21. Green Tinkerbird
Scientific Name: Pogoniulus simplex
The Green Tinkerbird is a small green bird native to Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The dull green bird features lighter green spots across the body and the wings, dark brown wings, and distinctive white eyebrows.
It’s also poorly described by science, and was only found in the wild in 1959. Before that, the bird was described based on a series of skins.
However, the tinkerer is quite common in its range, despite being hard to see in the trees in which it lives.
22. Green Manakin
Scientific Name: Cryptopip holochiora
The Green Manakin is a small bird native to the Amazon Basin, where it’s a common songbird and extremely popular with bird watchers.
The birds are gray with a green sheen and may grow out to almost fully green, especially during the breeding season. This allows them to better blend with the foliage where they nest and live – and where they pick insects and seeds.
Manakins are not shy birds so they’re a common sight at bird feeders, if you live in an area where they frequent.
23. Gray-Crowned Yellowthroat
Scientific Name: Geothlypis poliocephala
The Gray-crowned yellowthroat is a bird native to the shrubland of the Americas, including the United States, Central America, and South America.
The bird is bright yellow with a very long tail, gray wings, and dark eye patches. It’s also distinctive for its darker head which can stand out quite a bit against the yellow of the rest of the bird.
Yellowthroats are often photographed on bushes and fences and may raise a crest during mating season.
24. Gurney’s Sugarbird
Scientific Name: Promerops gurneyi
Gurney’s Sugarbird is a medium-sized bird endemic to Southern Africa.
The bird is about 11 inches long, more than half of which is the tailfeathers. This tail is one of the defining features of the bird, as well as a long and curved beak, similar to that of a sunbird.
Gurney’s Sugarbird is dark gray and russet brown.
It also feeds exclusively on the nectar of a single plant and insects. This exclusivity means that it is a pollinator of the sugarbush, from which it gets its name.
Most of its insect diet is also found on sugarbushes, where the sugarbird removes pests that would otherwise eat the bushes.
25. Gull-billed Tern
Scientific Name: Gelochelidon nilotica
The Gull-billed Tern is a tern common across Eurasia and Africa and migrates to South America for part of the breeding season.
However, while widely distributed, the bird is only found inland in tiny portions of the continent, which means it’s rare to see them on land.
Gull-billed terns get their names from their heavy bills, which resemble those of a gull. These terns are also white with light gray wings and dark black crowns and beaks.
Like other terns, they’re usually about a foot in size and normally nest in beach and rocky areas, where they lay two to five eggs on freshwater coasts.
Scientific Name: Falco rusticolus
The gyrfalcon is the largest falcon species and also one of the most famous. At up to 2 feet in length, it’s also significantly large for a raptor. However, with a wingspan of just 51 inches, they’re significantly smaller than many eagles and vultures.
Gyrfalcons feature a white body with light black speckling across the wings and back. Like other falcons, they hunt prey by diving from the air and catching the prey, which they kill with their beak.
And, like other falcons, gyrfalcons feature very thin and delicate wings which allow them to maneuver and change direction suddenly in the air, allowing them to outmaneuver prey trying to escape.
27. Gray-breasted Wood Wren
Scientific Name: Henicorhina leucophrys
The gray-breasted wood wren is an amply named wren with a brown body and a gray head and breast. It also features speckling on the head and a white stripe from the eyes – which can resemble eyebrows.
At just 4 to 4.5 inches long, it’s relatively small for a wren, but is regularly seen in its range of humid montane forests. However, the bird is almost exclusively found above 4,900 feet which means most people never see it.
In addition, these birds build complex nests with a downward-facing entrance and a separate egg chamber. Often, these nests are hidden in ravines and along water banks and the female may stay inside until the eggs are hatched.
28. Green Iora
Scientific Name: Aegithina viridissima
The Green Iora is a bright green bird native to Southeast Asia, where it primarily lives in lowland and mangrove forests.
Here, its deep green coloration, lighter green belly, and striping on the wings help it to blend in against foliage that stays green year-round. At just 5 inches long, it’s also very small, although it is one of the larger Ioras.
These bright green birds can also fluff up a crest when singing or when posturing for a mate.
29. Golden-winged Sparrow
Scientific Name: Arremon schiegeli
The Golden-winged Sparrow is a new world sparrow endemic to Colombia and Venezuela. Unlike most sparrows, this bird misses the typical striping and patterning.
It can also be significantly colorful, with bright yellow patches on the upper wings and back and a bright yellow beak. Otherwise, the bird is light gray with black and white markings.
It’s also only found in a very tiny range of South America, where its small size and tendency to forage alone or in small pairs, can mean that it’s often overlooked.