A Selected Glossary of Birds and Bird Terms

Bald Eagle

The national bird and national animal of the United States, the Bald Eagle is a bird of prey that faced extinction in the late 20th century.

Did you know: Bald eagles are not actually hairless. The name comes from an older definition of "white headed."

Blue-footed Booby

A marine bird in the Sulidae family. The Blue-footed Booby is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which males display in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female.

Did you know: Rowdy the River Hawk has been called many things over the years, including a Blue-footed Booby by one fresh fan.

Common Nighthawk

NighthawkA medium-sized nocturnal bird that is invisible by day, and has an unusually large mouth. 

Did you know: Nighthawk is also the name of several fictional characters in Marvel Comics. The Nighthawk is also an $182,000 car offered by BMW capable of going from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds.


An often loud, black bird. A member of the Corvus family, the crow is known as among the most intelligent animals. In a group, they are known as a flock or, interestingly, a murder.

Did you know: Crow is also what you do when your hockey team puts the hurt on Notre Dame twice in one weekend.

European Turtle Dove

A migratory species whose arrival in spring is heralded by its purring song, a deep, vibrating “turrr, turrr”, from which the bird's name is derived.

Did you know: Turtle doves are also featured as one of the twelve gifts (wedged between the more famous partridge in a pear tree and three fussy French hens) cited in the seasonally annoying song penned by English composer Frederic Austin in 1909.


taylor-simon-opt.jpgA gray and white bird of the southern and eastern United States, from the Mimidae family, best known for mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians.

Did you know: “Mockingbird” is also a song, made famous in a remake introduced by James Taylor and Carly Simon. Simon overcame her fear of live performing to come onstage to sing "Mockingbird" with Taylor during his 1975 tour.


A brightly colored bird with a huge, multicolored bill. This neotropical bird can often be found on cereal packages.

Did you know: How many peregrine falcons does it take to make a nest? Toucan.


A small bird with loud and often complex songs. Wrens often sing in duet. 

Did you know: Sir Christopher Wren is one of the most highly acclaimed architects in history. He oversaw the rebuilding of 52 churches in London following the great fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral. He is buried there, near a plaque that reads, “If you seek his monument—look around you.”