Discover 20 Amazing Birds That Start with N

Written by Lev Baker
Updated: November 7, 2023
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Common birds that start with the letter N include the Nubian Woodpecker, Natal Francolin, Nelson’s Sparrow, Northern Goshawk, Nashville Warbler, Nene, Northern Cardinal, Nyanza Swift, Northern Potoo, Noisy Pitta, Noble Snipe, Nepal Fulvetta, Neddicky, Nazca Booby, Nava’s Wren, and Narina Trogon. Read on to learn more about these amazing birds!

From the Nene, a Hawaiian goose with a fascinating backstory, to the Nicobar pigeon adorned with iridescent plumage, these amazing birds that start with “N” will dazzle you with their beauty. So get ready to impress your friends with your knowledge of these 20 birds that start with the letter “N.”

1. Nubian Woodpecker (Campethera nubica)

A Nubian woodpecker perched on a tree at Masai Mara, Kenya

With distinct reddish markings, the Nubian

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woodpecker

is one of the most interesting birds that start with “N.

©Dr Ajay Kumar Singh/Shutterstock.com

The Nubian woodpecker is a bird of medium size, found exclusively in eastern Africa. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with distinct features in males and females. In particular, the male Nubian woodpecker displays a striking red crown and nape and a reddish streak on its cheek. On the other hand, the female showcases a black crown adorned with white speckles, a red nape, and a dark cheek stripe with white speckling.

The Nubian woodpecker stands out from other birds by its unique behavior. Unlike many species that migrate, this fascinating woodpecker prefers to stay put in its earthly habitat all year long.

2. Natal Francolin (Pternistis natalensis)

The Natal spurfowl or Natal francolin (Pternistis natalensis)

Found in southern parts of

Africa

, the Natal francolin is a common bird species.

©Swaroop Pixs/Shutterstock.com

The Natal francolin is a charming medium-sized bird with a brownish coloration. It features distinct yellow nostrils and stands out with its vibrant orange-red bill and legs. Its back displays a mottled brown pattern, while the underpart feathers have brown and white edges, giving it a marbled scaled appearance.

This delightful bird can be found in a few countries in southern Africa. One interesting fact is that the Natal francolin breeds throughout the year, making it a constant presence in its habitat.

3. Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni)

Nelson's Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) perched in its breeding habitat, undisturbed marshes.

This is a small and unique sparrow species found throughout the eastern United States.

©Agami Photo Agency/Shutterstock.com

Nelson’s sparrows are a unique species among their mostly streaky brown counterparts. These sparrows boast eye-catching features, including gray cheeks, bold yellow-orange faces, and a distinctive yellow band across their finely streaked breasts. Their preferred breeding grounds are primarily located in marshes in the USA along the northern Atlantic Coast and in the northern Great Plains.

The oldest known Nelson’s sparrow was a male bird that lived to be at least 10 years old!

4. Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

Northern goshawk (accipiter gentilis) searching for food and flying in the forest of Noord Brabant in the Netherlands

A formidable bird of prey, the northern goshawk can fly nearly 40 miles per hour!

©Henk Bogaard/Shutterstock.com

Northern goshawks are fascinating birds known for their distinctive appearance. They feature pale gray barred underparts and sport a dark slate gray color on their upper body. They also have striking red-to-orange eyes and a dark head with a wide white stripe over their eye. The northern goshawk has a wide range located across North America and Eurasia. 

These birds have impressive grip strength, measuring 200-plus pounds per square inch (psi). They are also known for their swift flight, reaching speeds of 30 to 40 mph.

5. Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

A male Nashville Warbler is singing from his perch on a branch with beautiful flowers. Ashbridges Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The coloring of the Nashville warbler makes it an exciting bird to spot in the wild.

©Paul Reeves Photography/Shutterstock.com

The Nashville warbler is a vibrant species known for its predominantly yellow plumage. It has a green back, a gray head, and a distinctive white ring around its eyes. Furthermore, the bird’s lower belly is white, positioned between the yellow breast and yellow undertail coverts. Conversely, female and immature Nashville warblers have a less pronounced appearance, with a duller olive-grey head and a less vibrant yellow throat.

Interestingly, despite its name, the Nashville warbler only visits Nashville, Tennessee, during migration. 

6. Nene (Branta sandvicensis)

Nene Goose Laying on Leaves and Grass

While normal geese evolved to live in and near the water, the nene has adapted to live on primarily on land and walk on rough volcanic terrain.

©Ian Fox/Shutterstock.com

The nene is a unique bird that shares its lineage with the Canada goose. It underwent an evolutionary process in the Hawaiian Islands, adapting to a nonmigratory and nonaquatic lifestyle. This led to the development of shortened wings and half-webbed feet, enabling it to walk on rough lava terrain. The nene sports a distinctive appearance, featuring a dark-streaked buff neck, a black face, and a gray-brown barred body.

As an endemic species, the nene is exclusively found in the wild on the Hawaiian Islands. It holds a special place in the avian diversity of the region. Similar to other geese, the nene exhibits monomorphism.

7. Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Male Northern Cardinal on a tree branch.

The northern cardinal is a very common bird to see across the United States.

©peter weiler/Shutterstock.com

With its unique features and vibrant colors, the northern cardinal stands out among other birds. The male cardinal mesmerizes with its brilliant red plumage covering its entire body, complemented by a reddish bill and a black mask encircling it.

 In contrast, the female cardinal sports a more subdued palette, with a soft brown hue spreading across its entire body. 

Northern cardinals are one of the most beautiful birds that start with “N” and can be found in various parts of the United States. They are also one of the most commonly seen birds at the bird feeders, so keep an eye out for them!

8. Nyanza Swift (Apus niansae)

The Nyanza Swift is a mid-sized bird with a brownish hue and impressive flying abilities. Another notable feature of this species is the contrasting paler patches along the trailing edges of its wings next to the body. However, identifying the Nyanza swift can be challenging without a clear view or photograph due to its resemblance to other swift bird species.

The Nyanza swift is primarily found in northern Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia, with some individuals migrating to Kenya during winter. One characteristic sound associated with this bird is a high-pitched, descending trill. 

9. Northern Potoo (Nyctibius jamaicensis)

A Great Potoo is perching on a big branch at night with a black background looking towards the camera at Pouso Alegre Lodge, Northern Pantanal, Mato Grosso State, Brazil

This bird is nocturnal and is extremely unique in appearance.

©Rob Jansen/Shutterstock.com

The northern potoo is a fascinating nocturnal bird with a bizarre appearance, featuring a large head and bug-like yellow eyes. Its plumage is cryptically streaked, allowing it to blend into its surroundings. This bird calls the northern reaches of Latin America its home, specifically the region between Northern Mexico and Costa Rica.

During the day, the northern potoo roosts upright on branches, camouflaging itself to resemble a broken tree branch. However, at night, when illuminated by a flashlight beam, its eyes reflect a brilliant amber glow, resembling glowing coals.

10. Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor)

The noisy pitta (Pitta versicolor)

Covered in a canvas of beautiful colors, the noisy pitta is one of the most interesting birds that starts with “N.”

©Swaroop Pixs/Shutterstock.com

The noisy pitta has a beautiful chestnut crown that sets it apart from other species. It flaunts eye-catching green and black wings, complemented by dull yellow underparts. Also, the noisy pitta has a black facial stripe, a vibrant blue shoulder patch, and a red patch under the tail, which all complete its striking appearance. This species is found in southern New Guinea and eastern Australia.

Known for its shyness, the noisy pitta is often heard rather than seen due to its elusive nature. 

11. Noble Snipe (Gallinago nobilis)

Gallinago nobilis

A wading bird with short legs, the noble snipe is found in South America.

©Alejandro Bayer Tamayo from Armenia, Colombia / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

The noble snipe is a wading bird with a robust body and shorter legs than other birds in its family. It boasts beautiful streaks and patterns of dark brown and buff on its upper parts, head, and neck. The feathers are adorned with golden edges, creating distinct lines along its back.

This fascinating bird is exclusively found in Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. However, its population is currently in decline, and it is classified as a threatened species.

12. Nepal Fulvetta (Alcippe nipalensis)

The pretty Nepal Fulvetta posing on a tree stump

As its name suggests, the Nepal fulvetta is typically found in Nepal.

©plains-wanderer/Shutterstock.com

The Nepal fulvetta shares similarities with other “gray-cheeked” fulvettas but stands out with a few distinct features. It has a noticeable pale eye-ring, a black brow stripe, and warmer sepia tones on the wings. Additionally, it boasts a white chin. Its call notes consist of buzzy chatters, while its song consists of a short series of rather harsh notes.

The Nepal fulvetta is primarily found in Nepal and a few other Asian countries.

13. Neddicky (Cisticola fulvicapilla)

Neddicky, Cisticola fulvicapilla, bird, Cisticola

Native to Africa, the neddicky is a tiny bird with a loud voice.

©Clayton Burne/Shutterstock.com

The neddicky is a small bird known for its vocal nature and unassuming brown plumage. It sports a reddish cap and a plain back, while its underparts are buff with a slightly darker tone on the breast. The neddicky’s short, straight brown bill is accompanied by pinkish-brown feet and legs. 

This bird is native to Africa, specifically residing only south of the equator.

13. Nazca Booby (Sula granti)

Nazca Booby Sula granti flies beautifully against the backdrop of the ocean.

A sea bird, the Nazca booby is found in the Eastern Pacific coastline

©ZHMURCHAK/Shutterstock.com

Nazca boobies are large sea birds with white plumage and black tail feathers. Males can be identified by their yellow or orange beaks, while females have paler beaks with a pinkish tone. These fascinating birds inhabit the Eastern Pacific coastline, specifically coastal areas of mainland South America and Central America. While rarely seen far from the coast, they thrive in their coastal habitats.

The feeding behavior of the Nazca booby is remarkable as they hunt for small fish by swiftly diving from flight into the ocean at high speeds like a torpedo.

14. Nava’s Wren (Hylorchilus navai)

Nava’s wren is a small bird with a rich brown crown and upper parts, accompanied by a tawny face. The bird’s throat and upper chest have a whitish color that gradually transitions to pale gray on the lower chest and then to gray-brown at the vent. This fascinating species is found exclusively in Mexico, adding to the country’s avian diversity.

Unfortunately, the IUCN has classified Nava’s wren as Vulnerable due to its limited and decreasing range. The population estimate suggests that fewer than 7,000 adult individuals remain. 

15. Narina Trogon (Apaloderma narina)

A male Narina Trogon (Apaloderma narina) perched on a branch,  close up of the head and body, against a blurred forest background, Western Cape, South Africa

The Narina trogon has beautiful green plumage and a bright red belly.

©Andrew M. Allport/Shutterstock.com

Another bird that starts with “N” is the Narina trogon, a bird with an iridescent-metallic-green plumage complemented by a vibrant scarlet belly. It has a broad yellow bill and a white under the tail. Regarding facial features, male Narina trogons display a green face and throat, while females exhibit a more subdued gray-brown coloration.

This captivating species can be found across a wide range, spanning from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia and extending further into East Africa, eastern and southern South Africa. Despite its adaptability to various habitats, the narina trogon’s populations have suffered local declines due to deforestation. 

16. Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

Nankeen Kestrel - Falco cenchroides also Australian kestrel, bird raptor native to Australia and New Guinea, small falcons, pale rufous upper-parts with contrasting black flight-feathers.

One of the most commonly sighted birds in Australia is the nankeen kestrel.

©Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock.com

The nankeen kestrel is a slender and relatively small falcon belonging to the raptor family. It sports mostly rufous upper parts with subtle dark streaking, and its wings are distinguished by black tips. This nankeen kestrel is found in Oceania, inhabiting Australia, New Guinea, and a few other nearby islands. 

Significantly, in comprehensive surveys conducted across Australia, the nankeen kestrel has consistently ranked among the top ten most commonly sighted birds. It has surprisingly been recorded in 95% of the survey sites throughout the entire country. 

17. Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

Male Namaqua dove Oena capensis sunbathing on the ground. Oiseaux du Djoudj National Park. Saint-Louis. Senegal.

Male Namaqua doves boast a black mask and a colorful bill.

©Victor Suarez Naranjo/Shutterstock.com

The Namaqua dove is a little bird with a slender body and a long tail. Its dark-colored upper body contrasts with its pale underparts. The male stands out with a black mask and a vibrant, colorful bill, while the female has a plain head and a dark bill. When in flight, their wings display a bright rufous hue, adding to their charm.

Native to sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, the Namaqua dove has a distinct vocalization consisting of a long, two-parted “hoo-oooooo” call, which it often repeats endlessly. 

18. Nicobar Bulbul (Ixos nicobariensis)

The Nicobar bulbul is a charming bird that may not have a fancy crest or colorful markings, but it has its own understated beauty. Its wings, back, and tail are adorned with a shade of dusky green, while its face boasts a lighter tone. Also, the throat and underside of this delightful creature sport a gentle yellowish-white hue. However, what really sets this bird apart is the striking sooty-brown cap that gracefully extends down to its eye level.

This species is exclusively found on seven islands within the breathtaking Andaman and Nicobar archipelago in India. Unfortunately, the Nicobar bulbul has been designated as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

19. New Britain Rail (Gallirallus insignis)

The new Britain rail has a round body and short tail, supported by its long pink legs. Its upper body is predominantly chestnut in color, while the lower body displays black plumage with white barring. This bird is nearly flightless, relying more on its strong legs for mobility. While its vocalizations are not well-documented, it has been reported to emit wheezing nasal barks and screams.

Endemic to the island of New Britain, this bird faces the threat of habitat loss, putting its survival at risk.

The Largest Bird That Starts with N

Northern Cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus)

Northern cassowary, Casuarius unappendiculatus, the one-wattled cassowary, single-wattled cassowary, or golden-necked cassowary, a large, stocky flightless bird of northern New Guinea. Portrait

The northern

cassowary

is the largest bird that starts with “N.

©NataliaVo/Shutterstock.com

If you’re curious about the largest bird starting with the letter “N,” look no further than the magnificent northern cassowary. This impressive bird boasts blue facial skin, a prominent casque on top of its head, and hard and stiff black plumage. Furthermore, with a towering height of almost 6 feet and a whopping 82 pounds, the northern cassowary is definitely not a small bird!

Endemic to the lowland rainforests and coastal swamps of the islands of Yapen and northern New Guinea, Salawati, and Batanta, this remarkable creature is known for its shy and solitary nature. When it comes to their diet, the northern cassowary enjoys a variety of fruits, small animals, and smaller birds, as well as a wide range of insects and snails. Occasionally, they even feed on carcasses they stumble upon.

Officially ranked as the third largest bird in the world, the northern cassowary is truly a magnificent sight to behold.

The Fastest Bird That Starts with N

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)

Northern gannet (Morus bassanus).Seabird, the largest species of the gannet family. Female squats in nest.The male invites her to mate as a gift by offering fresh herbs.

The northern gannet can reach impressive speeds of up to 60 miles per hour!

©Algirdas Gelazius/Shutterstock.com

Get ready to meet the fastest bird starting with the letter “N” – the impressive northern gannet! As one of the largest seabirds around, these magnificent creatures can dive into the water at incredible speeds of up to 60mph!

The northern gannet is a striking bird with a sleek appearance. It boasts a sharp, heavy bill, a pointed tail, and long, slender wings. The adults also showcase a stunning snowy white plumage with black wingtips and a crown that shimmers with a golden hue.

While most of their plunge dives are relatively shallow, these skilled divers can reach astonishing depths of up to 72 feet!

Witnessing gannets in action as they hunt fish is truly a breathtaking wildlife spectacle. During the nonbreeding months, you can spot many of them between New York and North Carolina.

Summary of 20 Amazing Birds That Start with N

NumberCommon NameScientific Name
1Nubian WoodpeckerCampethera nubica
2Natal FrancolinPternistis natalensis
3Nelson’s SparrowAmmodramus nelsoni
4Northern GoshawkAccipiter gentilis
5Nashville WarblerLeiothlypis ruficapilla
6NeneBranta sandvicensis
7Northern CardinalCardinalis cardinalis
8Nyanza SwiftApus niansae
9Northern PotooNyctibius jamaicensis
10Noisy PittaPitta versicolor
11Noble SnipeGallinago nobilis
12Nepal FulvettaAlcippe nipalensis
13NeddickyCisticola fulvicapilla
14Nazca BoobySula granti
15Nava’s WrenHylorchilus navai
16Narina TrogonApaloderma narina
17Nankeen KestrelFalco cenchroides
18Namaqua DoveOena capensis
19Nicobar BulbulIxos nicobariensis
20New Britian RailGallirallus insignis
21Northern CassowaryCasuarius unappendiculatus
22Northern GannetMorus bassanus
Summary of 20 Amazing Birds That Start with N

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alejandro Bayer Tamayo from Armenia, Colombia / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License / Original


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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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