10 Beautiful Canadian Birds To Watch This Year

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canadian birds

Birds are so unique! Their presence in the environment makes nature look even more beautiful. May it be their chirping or the colorful feathers; every bird has some of the other astonishing features. Today, I will unveil some of the most beautiful and rarest Canadian birds that you would love to see sometime in your life.

Birds have some distinctive features like wings that make them different from the other organisms on earth. Moreover, they have a body that is so light in weight that it makes flying possible. Birds are found in all parts of the bird, and each type of bird is unique in its way.

Birds might seem to be popular only due to their beauty, but the truth is that they are an extremely important part of our ecosystem. They even help to disperse seeds, which is an essential step for pollination.

The following are some of the rarest Canadian birds that you must know about.

1. Prothonotary Warbler

The Protonotary warbler is one of the most charming Canadian birds. It belongs to the New World Warbler family and is a songbird. It is around 13 centimeters long and weighs approximately 12.5 grams. The prothonotary warbler has an olive-black back and blue-grey wings and tail. It is a tiny bird and is quite rare in Canada.

Another distinctive feature of this compact bird is that it has a blazing yellow or orange head. A male prothonotary warbler generally builds a new and temporary nest, but a female makes a proper nest and lays 3-7 eggs. It is also believed that these birds build a nest in a hole dug by a woodpecker.

These pleasing Canadian birds are always searching for an opaque and dense habitat where they try to find snails and insects for consumption. The sounds that these birds make are sweet and chirpy and can be heard loudly.

Prothonotary warblers are beautiful birds that had first appeared in the 1940s, and their news started spreading and wide. These birds migrate all over the world every year. They breed in Ontario and then travel to various places around the world, including the eastern United States, West Indies, and some western states.

The sad part is that these beautiful birds have continuously lost their habitats and have become one of the rarest Canadian birds.

2. Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola, also known as a citrine wagtail, belongs to the Motacillidae family of birds and is one of those Canadian birds that cannot be spotted very often in the country. Citrine means yellowish color. The name of the bird thus tells us a lot about the color of the bird, yellow.

10 Beautiful Canadian Birds To Watch This Year 1

J.M.Garg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Citrine wagtails are generally sylphlike, and their length is around 5-7 centimeters long. Some of the visible characteristics that can help you find them easily are the continuous wagging of the tail, the blue or black color on the upper side commonly found in the males, along with white color on their remiges.

Other than these characteristics, citrine wagtails have yellow color on their body that is spread all over except for their brownish little heads. The yellow color in their underparts is commonly seen diluting with white color.

These birds make nests and lay 4-5 eggs. Motacilla citreolas are insectivorous birds that generally prefer areas like bogs and meadows for habitat. These are migrating birds that have been spotted in different areas of the bird but are not seen as much as the other birds.

3. Henslow’s Sparrow

Henslow’s sparrow was a bird that breeds in wet and shrubby fields. It was named by John James Audubon in honor of John Stevens Henslow and belonged to the passerelle family. These birds have a brownish color and generally have a crown-like structure on their heads. Initially, these birds were classified as a part of Emberiza [genus] and were known as Henlow’s bunting in those days.

henslow sparrow

Dominic Sherony, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An adult Henslow’s sparrow is expected to have streaked underparts that are brown in color along with a white belly and a white neck. Their wings have a rusted color, and above all these features, they also possess a short, forked tail, which is quite dark in color.

An average Henslow’s sparrow builds nests are situated close to the ground and can be either open or closed. Nests of these brown birds can be found in grassy areas in small colonies. These birds are continually decreasing in number, primarily due to the loss of habitat. Hence, Henslow’s sparrows have become one of the infrequent Canadian birds.

4. Snow Goose

As the name suggests, a snow goose is a beautiful white bird and is explicitly found in areas of North America. It is one of the uncommon Canadian birds. The scientific name of snow goose is Anser caerulescens. A snow goose generally has a length of 22-33 inches and has a wingspan of about 4.5 feet!

These precious snow-colored birds are known for their white plumage. However, many of the snow geese have been noticed to have darker colors. When this difference was first found, scientists declared that they were different species. Later, these two types of birds had distinctive colors yet belonged to the same species.

Snow Goose

Photo by John Duncan on Unsplash

A unique feature of these pretty birds is that they are an indicator of the changing seasons.  They fly towards the south during wintertime, and their flocks are recognized due to the shape ‘V.’ They have a completely vegetarian diet, and grains are an essential part of their diet.

The time when winter ends is when they fly North for breeding. They are seen flying toward the tundra region. During this time, they lay 2-6 eggs for the whole year.

There has been a drastic decline in the number of snow geese. In fact, in 1916, the hunting of this species was banned due to its sudden disappearance in the environment. Strict measures have been taken to save the snow geese since then.

5. Cackling Goose

The cackling goose is a bird that belongs to the genus Branta of black geese and is the next on the list of the occasionally spotted Canadian birds. These birds have a remarkable resemblance to the Canadian geese.

cackling goose

VJAnderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cackling geese lay 2-8 eggs per year with an average 25-28 days incubation period. This bird species is said to have several subspecies, including small cackling goose, Moffitt Canada goose, dusky Canada goose, and Aleutian cackling goose. Cackling geese are small-bodied birds that have triangular-shaped bodies.

Top Bird Watching Destinations In Canada

Icy Canada

6. Barnacle Goose

The next among the rare Canadian birds are the Branta leucopsis, commonly known as the Barnacle goose. Barnacle geese belong to the Branta genus of black geese and are recognizable due to their black plumage.

These birds are medium-sized birds generally 55-70 centimeters long and have a wingspan of 130-145 centimeters’. The face and the belly of an average barnacle goose are usually white, and the portion of the head is black.

When barnacle geese are migrating, Canadian birds fly in a V-shaped structure. While they fly, their silver-grey underwing linings are vividly visible. Barnacle geese give utmost importance to safety and, thus, build their nests in mountainous and rocky regions away from predators.

These Canadian birds are often parts of famous stories and legends. There is a legend that narrates that this species of bird were born of driftwood.

The agreement on the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory waterbirds was an independent organization formed to conserve bird species that migrated between Europe and Africa. This policy now extends up to the Canadian archipelago and parts of the middle east also. This auspicious treaty applies to the Barnacle goose.

7. Trumpeter Swan

The Cygnus buccinator or trumpeter swan is the heaviest and longest North American bird and is one of the rarely spotted Canadian birds. These trumpeter swans can be recognized due to their white plumage and have a huge wingspan.

trumpeter swans

Photo by R K on Unsplash

The breeding habitats of these pleasing Canadian birds include shallow ponds, serene lakes, wide and slow rivers, marshes, and intact wetlands. These birds fly in a V-shaped flock and are non-migratory.

8. Blue Jay

The blue jay is a passerine bird in the family of Corvidae and is one of the beautiful Canadian birds that are occasionally spotted. These birds breed in both deciduous and coniferous forests. There are four recognized subspecies of the blue jay.

The blue jay is a bird that mainly feeds on nuts and seeds. Besides, small vertebrates might also be a part of their diet at times. These birds build an open nest on trees, and both genders do this nest construction.

A blue jay lays 2-7 eggs, bluish or light brown, and can commonly be recognized by the brown spots. The children of a blue jay generally remain with their parents for 1-2 months.

9. Ring-Necked Duck

The Aythya collaris, commonly known as the ring-necked duck, is a diving duck found in freshwater ponds and lakes and is one of the infrequent Canadian birds. The scientific name of this duck has originated from a Greek word mentioned in books by authors like Aristotle and is referred to as an unidentified seabird.

A ring-necked duck can vary from small to large, and the male birds resemble the Eurasian tufted duck. It is observed that the body size of the male birds is slightly larger than the females. As the name already suggests, it has two white rings surrounding its grey bill, making it look exceptional.

These birds have shiny angular heads with black backs. Some other distinctive features of this bird include white lines on wings and pretty yellow eyes. Ring-necked ducks are omnivores and acquire their food primarily by diving into water bodies. Young ducklings, however, are dependent on worms, leeches, midges, and snails.

10. Surf Scoter

The Melanitta perspicillata, surf scoter, is a huge sea duck and infrequent Canadian bird. These birds generally breed in Canada and Alaska.

The male surf scoters are black and have some white patches on their body [particularly on their nape and head], whereas the females are slightly browner and smaller. Mussels and benthic invertebrates are the essential parts of their diet. Scoters generally migrate to places with a temperate environment in the winter season as it is suitable for them.

10 Beautiful Canadian Birds To Watch This Year 2

Ómar Runólfsson (omarrun), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These Canadian birds usually have a vulnerable period during July or August when they become flightless during the simultaneous shedding of their flight feathers. Before the shedding of the flight wings, they undergo a complete body molt. This week’s phase of the year lasts for around four weeks. During this time, the vivid colors of their body gradually get replaced with dull colors.

Urbanization has had some positive effects on the world. However, it is very unfortunate that it is due to urbanization that several exotic birds are losing their homes and going extinct. Caging birds is another unacceptable practice that many people follow all around the world.

All of us need to understand that saving birds is our duty as human beings. People should realize this before all the Canadian birds, and the other birds in the world go extinct.

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