Let's kick things off with one of the most beautiful and graceful of all "American" birds. American Avocet by Ilsproat via Birdshare. The American Wigeon is a duck that doesn't quack; instead it has a soft whistling call with a hint of kazoo in it. Photo by Brian Kushner via Birdshare. Similar to a female Mallard but with a purplish wing patch and a greenish-yellow bill, this is our continent's very own American Black Duck. Photo by John Owen via Birdshare. The outrageous color of the American Flamingo makes its own statement. Photo by Jesse Kramer/Macaulay Library. Three cheers for the humble, dependable American Coot. Photo by Tony Clements via Birdshare. With a bill almost as bright as the stripes on the American flag, this is the American Oystercatcher. Photo by Ray Hennessey via Birdshare. This long-distance migrant breeds in Alaska and Canada, but can turn up almost anywhere in the U.S. during migration. American Golden-Plover by Eric Gofreed/Macaulay Library. The American Woodcock delights birders on chilly spring evenings with its peent call and flight display. Photo by Chris Wood/Macaulay Library. Americans are rumored to have voracious appetites, and this one—the American White Pelican—lives up to the hype. Photo by Rick Dunlap via Birdshare. American Bitterns prowl our continent's marshes, staying largely unseen despite being quite common. Photo by Roy DeLonga via Birdshare. This small woodpecker is one of the most powerful of all excavators, able to carve out nest holes in the hardest of trees. American Three-toed Woodpecker by Tim J. Hopwood via Birdshare. These tiny, fierce, colorful falcons are a common sight on telephone wires over much of the continent. American Kestrel by Ken Phenicie Jr. via Birdshare. A bird with prodigious smarts, strong family ties... and a nose for french fries. How much more American could the American Crow be? Photo by Keith Drevecky via Birdshare. A 2-ounce bird that dives into river rapids for its meals, the American Dipper has a unique way of making a living. Photo by Jason Kazuta via Birdshare. A cheery orange-bellied songbird that occurs across Canada, breeds throughout the U.S., and winters in much of Mexico, the American Robin is a good reminder of the full geographic meaning of "North America." Photo by B.N. Singh via Birdshare. The American Pipit's range covers all of North America, from the far north of Alaska and Canada in summer to the entire breadth of Mexico in the winter. Photo by David Stephens via Birdshare. This brilliant yellow bird with the "po-ta-to-chip" call is a fitting accompaniment to Fourth of July picnics. American Goldfinch by Linda Petersen via Birdshare. In the heat of midsummer these attractive sparrows are all nesting in Alaska and northern Canada, but come winter all those American Tree Sparrows will come back down to grace snowy backyards and fields in the northern and central U.S. Photo by Adam Bender via Birdshare. And finally, a bird that seems to be part warbler, part firecracker: the flashy American Redstart. Happy Fourth! Photo by Todd Fellenbaum via Birdshare.
Originally published July 2018, updated July 2021.
Every Fourth of July here in the United States, the airwaves, newspapers, and social media channels get covered with Bald Eagles. And while we love
that majestic bird and its inspirational conservation comeback, this year we wanted to share the spotlight with some other deserving birds.
It turns out that 19 species in the U.S. and Canada have “American” in their common names. That includes birds as flamboyant as the American Flamingo, as daring as the American Dipper, and as demure as the American Pipit. And of course, there’s the American Redstart, which is about as close to an exploding firecracker as any bird gets. We hope you enjoy this slideshow, and enjoy the Fourth!