Discover and Spot Marvels: 50 Black and White Birds in Michigan’s

Michigan’s diverse ecosystems support a wide variety of black and white birds in Michigan with striking black and white plumage. These visually stunning species span different families and behaviors, from songbirds to raptors to wading birds. Birdwatchers prize sightings of these charismatic black and white birds in Michigan, whether perching, soaring, wading, or migrating through the state.

Did you recently see a mystery BLACK and WHITE bird in Michigan?

If you’ve recently spotted a black and white bird with striking plumage in Michigan, you may have seen one of our many resident or migrating species. The state’s diverse habitats host woodpeckers, songbirds, raptors, waterbirds and more displaying beautiful patterns.

In our forests, keep an eye out for the black and white warbler creeping along branches, nuthatches scurrying down trunks, or chickadees singing their namesakes. Woodpeckers like the downy and red-bellied also exhibit black and white plumage while drilling into trees. In open wetlands, white egrets slowly wade through shallows while dark cormorants perch with wings spread.

Soaring high above, the broad-winged hawk and American kestrels showcase mottled black-and-white patterns. The peregrine falcon migrates through Michigan using its superb speed and aerial agility. Near the water, watch for the distinctive bald eagle with a white head and a dark brown body.

With diverse habitats, Michigan hosts many potential black and white bird sightings. Let us know if you spot one of these special species. Share a photo or description with your local Audubon chapter to help identify your mystery bird. Then you can continue marveling at the beautiful plumage patterns all around our state.

Names of Black and White Birds in Michigan

#Bird SpeciesOverviewLocation in Michigan
1Black and white Warbler
Small songbird with striped black and white pattern. Breeds in deciduous and mixed forests. Forages by creeping along branches and gleaning insects.The smallest woodpecker in Michigan. Black and white with spotted tail feathers. Drills into trees searching for insects.
2Black-billed Magpie
Black-billed Magpie
Small, active songbird found throughout Michigan. Blackcap and bib, white cheeks, gray underparts. Excavates nest cavities in rotted trees and stumps.Open areas with scattered trees and thickets, including farmlands, across northern and central Michigan
3Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Large, noisy bird found across northern and central Michigan. Black and white with a long tail and yellow bill. Nests in trees eat an omnivorous diet.Deciduous and mixed woodlands across Michigan
4Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
Plump, gray bird with black forehead and tufted crest. Inhabits deciduous and mixed forests. Loud “peter-peter” call.Deciduous and mixed forests across Michigan
5White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Small songbird with black cap and stripe, white face, rusty underside. Forages for insects on tree trunks and branches.Deciduous forests and wooded suburbs across Michigan
6Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Looks similar to Downy but larger with longer, sturdier bills. Excavates nest cavities in live trees.Across Michigan
7Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
The largest woodpecker excavates huge cavities. Mostly black with a bright red crest. Feeds on carpenter ants and beetle larvae.Deciduous and coniferous forests across Michigan
8Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Michigan’s smallest falcon. The male has rusty barred plumage, female has brown. Preys on insects, small mammals, and reptiles.Across Michigan
9Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Black and white zebra stripes on the back, red on the lower belly. Eats beetles, ants, fruits, nuts.Open woodlands across Michigan
10Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker
Large woodpecker with brown barred plumage and black spots. Feeds on ants and beetles on the ground.Open woodlands across Michigan
11American Kestrel
American Kestrel
The long-winged hawk flies with wings in a V-shape. Cruises low over marshes and fields.Open country across Michigan
Small, swift falcon found in Michigan in winter. Preys on small birds by streaking through the air.Winters across Michigan
13Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Fastest animal on Earth. Slate-blue above, lighter below with dark bars. Preys on birds captured mid-air.Migrates through Michigan
14Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
Large raptor with white head and tail, dark brown body. Found near rivers and lakes. Eats mainly fish but also waterfowl.Rivers and lakes across Michigan
15Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Crow-sized woodland hawk. Steely blue-gray upperparts, barred underbelly.Rural and urban areas with trees across Michigan
16Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Small, forest-dwelling hawk with barred underparts. Short, rounded wings and long tail.Northern forests migrate across Michigan
17Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Common, widespread raptor. Stocky, broad-winged with a reddish-brown tail. Preys on rodents and other small animals.Across Michigan
18Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Large raptor of open country with dark wrist patches and belly stripes. Breeds in the Arctic.Winters in grasslands and marshes across Michigan
19Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk
Fierce predator of boreal and mixed forests. Slate-gray above with white eyebrow stripes.Forests across Michigan
20Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Small buteo with dark brown back and rufous barring below. Migrates in huge flocks.Breeds across Michigan
21Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Striking black and white checkered wings. Lives in swampy woodlands and bottomlands.Wetland forests across Michigan
22Northern forests migrate across Michigan
Northern forests migrate across Michigan
Long-winged, long-tailed hawk. Brown above with white throat and breast patches.Grasslands, agricultural areas across Michigan
23Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
North America’s largest buteo. Inhabits open grasslands of western Plains. Some in western Michigan.Western sections of Michigan
24Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
Marshes, fields, and grasslands across MichiganNorthern forests migrates across Michigan
25Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Small, forest-dwelling accipiter with barred underparts. Surprise attacks on small birds in dense cover.Northern forests migrate across Michigan
26Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Crow-sized woodland hawk with steely blue-gray upperparts and barred underbelly.Rural and urban forests across Michigan
27Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk
Fierce forest predator. Slate-gray above with white eyebrow stripes. Short, broad wings and long tail.Boreal and mixed forests across Michigan
28Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Striking black and white checkered wings. Swamp and bottomland forests.Wetland forests across Michigan
29Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Small forest buteo with dark brown back and rufous barring below.Breeds across Michigan
30Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Common, widespread raptor. Stocky with reddish-brown tail.Across Michigan
31Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Large open country raptor with dark wrist patches and belly stripes.Winters in Michigan
32Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Huge raptor with golden head and neck feathers. Massive cliff nests.Western sections of Michigan
33American Kestrel
American Kestrel
Michigan’s smallest falcon. Male rusty barred, female brown.Open country across Michigan
34Merlin Gray-Blue
Small, swift falcon. Males gray-blue above, females brown.Winters across Michigan
35Lakes, rivers, and coasts across Michigan
Lakes, rivers, and coasts across Michigan
Large, dark soaring bird with a featherless red head. Finds carrion by smell.Migrates through Michigan
36Prairie Falcon
Prairie Falcon
Medium-sized falcon of western North America. Some in western Michigan.Western sections of Michigan
37Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
Large raptor and national symbol. White head and tail, dark brown body.Rivers and lakes across Michigan
38Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Small heron with a greenish back, chestnut body, and dark cap. Walks wetland edges looking for prey.Across Michigan
39Black Vulture
Black Vulture
All black with whitish wingtips. Follows Turkey Vultures to carcasses.Expanding northward across Michigan
Large fish hawk that plunges into water talons-first to catch fish.Lakes and rivers across Michigan
41Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Abundant waterbird with glossy black feathers. Dives for fish.Lakes, rivers, coasts across Michigan
42Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Tall, long-legged wading bird with bluish-gray plumage. Stalks wetlands for prey.Wetlands across Michigan
43Green Heron
Green Heron
Marshes, ponds, and shorelines across MichiganA summer visitor to Michigan
44Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Stocky heron with black cap and white underparts. Nocturnal feeder.Wetlands across Michigan
45Great Egret
Great Egret
Large, elegant white heron with long breeding plumes.A summer visitor to Michigan
46Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
Smaller elegant white heron with yellow feet and black bill.Small white herons are found near livestock pastures. Arrived in North America in the 1950s.
47Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret
Small slate-blue heron. Purple-maroon neck in the breeding season.Expanding across Michigan
48Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
White underparts, slate blue-gray back. Purple head and neck in the breeding season.Fresh and saltwater wetlands across Michigan
49Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron
Small white herons are found near livestock pastures. Arrived in North America in 1950s.Coasts and Great Lakes wetlands
50Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Nocturnal, stocky heron with black back and white underparts.Wetlands across Michigan

Black Birds in Michigan

Michigan’s birdlife boasts black species like the American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, and Red-winged Blackbird. Their striking plumage enhances the state’s natural beauty, providing a contrast to its landscapes and contributing to the diverse avian tapestry.

White Birds in Michigan

Michigan’s skies are graced by elegant white birds like the Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and Trumpeter Swan. Their graceful presence adds a touch of purity to wetlands and lakeshores, enhancing the state’s natural charm. These birds exemplify Michigan’s diverse and captivating avian inhabitants.

Ideal Times and Locations to see Michigan birds black and white

Spring Migration

Look for returning neotropical migrants like black-and-white warblers arriving in May

Summer Breeding Season

  • Find nesting species like bald eagles along Great Lakes shorelines
  • Search for elusive black-billed magpies in northern Michigan

Fall Migration

Scan for migrating hawks like Cooper’s hawks passing through in September


See visiting merlins hunting songbirds in open country


Permanent residents like chickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers sighted across seasons

Hotspots by Region

  • Southeast – Point Pelee National Park, Detroit River Important Bird Area (IBA)
  • Southwest – Kirtland’s Warbler breeding grounds
  • Northeast – Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
  • Northwest – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Mackinac Straits
  • Central – Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Behavioral Highlights of Michigan birds black and white

The diverse of Michigan birds black and white and exhibit remarkable behaviors adapted to their habitats and food sources.

Foraging Strategies

  • Nuthatches creep along tree trunks probing for insects
  • Woodpeckers chisel into wood making holes to reach larva
  • Herons patiently stalk shorelines before spearing fish
  • Hawks soar high on thermals scanning for small mammal prey
  • Swallows perform aerial acrobatics catching insects on the wing


  • Short-distance migrants like kinglets and phoebes travel from the Upper Peninsula to southern Michigan
  • Neotropical migrants like warblers fly thousands of miles between breeding and wintering grounds
  • Irruptive species like snowy owls and Bohemian waxwings periodically migrate south in huge numbers

Courting and Territoriality

  • Great horned owls call to defend their territories and attract mates in late winter
  • Red-winged blackbirds sing and display their epaulets to attract females and guard nesting areas

Nest Building

  • Bald eagles construct huge stick nests high in trees near water
  • Chickadees nest in old woodpecker cavities lining the hole with soft materials
  • Killdeer scrape simple nest depressions lined with pebbles on open ground

Conservation Status and Protection

Several black and white bird species faced severe population declines in the 20th century but recovered thanks to conservation actions.

Endangered Species Act

The 1973 Endangered Species Act provided key protections enabling the recovery of:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Kirtland’s Warbler

Ban of DDT

The 1972 ban on the pesticide DDT allowed the recovery of species sensitive to its reproductive effects:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Osprey

Habitat Protections

Preserving forests, wetlands, and shorelines maintained habitat for:

  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Ongoing threats like climate change, light pollution, and habitat loss require continued conservation efforts to maintain healthy bird populations.

Conclusion: black and white birds in Michigan

Michigan’s magnificent selection of black and white birds reflects the beauty and diversity of the state’s natural habitats. Some species like the boldly-patterned Black-and-white Warbler decorate the forests, while streamlined pelecaniformes like the Double-crested Cormorant ply the open waters. Backyards too can share in the spectacle, with downy woodpeckers and black-capped chickadees visiting feeders. Continued conservation and protection of these special species promises rewarding birdwatching and valuable environmental stewardship for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about black and white birds in Michigan

What are the most common birds in Michigan?

Some of the most widespread black and white birds in Michigan include the Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, American Crow, Black-and-white Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, and Dark-eyed Junco.

When is the best time to see black and white popular birds in Michigan?

The peak viewing times are during spring and fall migration, but many species like chickadees and woodpeckers are resident year-round. Late spring is ideal for seeing breeding plumage and courtship displays.

Where are black and white spotted bird in Michigan?

Productive birding spots include Point Pelee National Park, Detroit River Important Bird Area, Whitefish Point, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Mackinac Straits, and anywhere with forests, wetlands, lakes, and rivers.

What black and white birds migrate through Michigan?

Key migratory black and white birds include warblers like the Black-and-white, Cape May, and Magnolia, thrushes like the Swainson, falcons like the Merlin and Peregrine, and orioles like the Orchard and Baltimore.

Which black and white birds stay in Michigan year-round?

Permanent resident species include Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Blue Jay, along with some Northern Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos, and American Crows.

What threats do black and white birds face in Michigan?

Major threats include habitat loss, collisions with human structures, climate change disrupting migration and breeding, the presence of invasive species, light pollution, and pesticide exposure.

How can I attract black and white birds to my backyard?

You can attract them by planting native trees and shrubs, putting up nest boxes, keeping natural debris for foraging, installing a birdbath, and offering preferred foods like suet, nuts, and seeds.

What tips can help identify confusing black and white birds?

Pay close attention to plumage patterns, bill and body proportions, behaviors, flight styles, habitats, and songs and calls. Referencing a field guide can also help pin down Look-alike species.

Where can I report a black and white bird sighting in Michigan?

You can log sightings via eBird, report banded birds to USGS, or share photos and descriptions with Audubon chapters and local birding groups on social media to help identify species.

How can I support black and white bird conservation in Michigan?

Actions like keeping cats indoors, reducing collisions with bird-safe building designs, participating in citizen science, and supporting habitat protection through donations and volunteering can help conserve bird populations.

About the Author: Hudaibia

My name is Hudaibia with the profound passion for our feathered friends. Birds have captivated my heart and mind since childhood. Now I share my avian devotion through my website,