small birds with big head

beautiful 6 small birds with big head

In the enchanting world of avian wonders, where feathers and melodies dance harmoniously, a delightful group of creatures stands out with their endearing charm and peculiar features. Imagine a realm where petite bodies are crowned by disproportionately large heads, creating an astonishing visual contrast that captures the imagination. These whimsical avian personalities, known affectionately as “6 Small Birds with Big Heads,” are a testament to nature’s boundless creativity and the diverse tapestry of life that graces our planet. With their captivating appearances and intriguing behaviors, these charming birds beckon us to delve into their fascinating world, revealing a symphony of quirks and tales that are sure to leave you utterly captivated. So, join us as we embark on a journey to explore the lives of these enchanting avian companions, each with its own unique story to tell and a “head” start in winning over our hearts.

Observing the enchanting world of “6 Small Birds with Big Heads” can be a truly rewarding experience, allowing you to connect with nature’s intricate beauty. To ensure a fulfilling and respectful bird-watching adventure, here are some best practices and tips to consider:

  1. Research and Knowledge: Before setting out, familiarize yourself with the specific species you intend to observe. Learn about their habitat, behavior, and calls. This knowledge will enhance your appreciation and understanding of their actions in the wild.
  2. Respectful Distance: Approach the birds cautiously and maintain a respectful distance. Binoculars or a spotting scope can help you observe without causing undue stress to the birds.
  3. Patience is Key: Small birds with big heads can be elusive at times. Be prepared to wait quietly and patiently. Their curious behaviors may unfold before you if you give them the space and time they need.
  4. Quiet and Stillness: Avoid sudden movements, loud noises, or bright clothing that might startle or disturb the birds. Blend into your surroundings and practice silence to encourage natural behavior.
  5. Timing Matters: Birds are often most active during the early morning or late afternoon. Plan your observations during these times for better chances of spotting these delightful creatures.
  6. Respect their Habitat: Stay on designated paths and trails to minimize your impact on their environment. Avoid trampling vegetation or disturbing nests, as these can disrupt their lives and breeding patterns.
  7. Use Field Guides: Carry a field guidebook or use a bird identification app to help you correctly identify the birds you encounter. Note down their distinguishing features and behaviors for later reference.
  8. Record Your Observations: Keep a journal or take notes on your observations. Documenting behaviors, interactions, and any unique moments will enrich your experience and contribute to your understanding of these birds.
  9. Be Mindful of Nesting Seasons: During nesting seasons, exercise extreme caution and avoid getting too close to nests. Disturbing nesting sites can lead to abandonment or harm to eggs and chicks.
  10. Environmental Awareness: Leave no trace of your visit. Pack out all trash and respect the natural surroundings by avoiding any damage or disturbance.
  11. Weather Considerations: Be prepared for varying weather conditions. Dress appropriately, wear sunscreen, and carry sufficient water to stay comfortable during your observations.
  12. Community and Guided Tours: Consider joining a local bird-watching club or participating in guided tours. These experiences can provide valuable insights from experienced bird enthusiasts and ensure responsible bird-watching practices.

By adhering to these best practices and tips, you’ll not only enjoy a memorable and fulfilling bird-watching experience but also contribute to the conservation and well-being of these captivating creatures and their habitats. So, venture forth with enthusiasm, curiosity, and a deep appreciation for the intricate world of “6 Small Birds with Big Heads.”

list of 6 small birds with big head:

  1. Swifts
  2. Woodpeckers
  3. Bee-eaters
  4. Kingfishers
  5. Nightjars
  6. Hummingbirds

1. Swifts


scientific name: Apodidae

size: a length of around 4 to 10 inches (10 to 25 centimeters)

how to identify:

  1. Flight Pattern: Swifts are known for their remarkable flying abilities. They have a distinctive flight style characterized by rapid, continuous flapping of their wings without gliding or hovering. They often fly high in the sky and can make sudden changes in direction.
  2. Shape and Size: Swifts have a slender, cigar-shaped body with long, pointed wings. Their bodies are designed for efficient and swift flight. They lack the typical perching feet found in many other birds.
  3. Coloration: Swifts often have dark plumage, ranging from black to dark brown. Some species may have a slightly paler throat or markings on their underparts, but overall, they tend to be uniformly dark.
  4. Tail Shape: Look for the tail shape. Swifts usually have a short, squared-off or slightly notched tail.


Swifts are adaptable birds that can be found in various habitats around the world, primarily in areas with access to open skies for their aerial foraging and suitable nesting sites. Here are some common habitats where swifts are often found:

  1. Urban Areas: Many swift species have adapted to urban environments and can be found nesting in buildings, bridges, and other structures. The nooks, crannies, and crevices of these structures provide suitable nesting sites for swifts.
  2. Caves and Cliffs: In some regions, swifts nest in natural habitats such as caves, rocky cliffs, and steep terrain. These locations provide sheltered sites for nesting and roosting.
  3. Forests and Woodlands: Certain species of swifts inhabit forests and woodlands, particularly those with open canopies and clearings. They use these areas for foraging on flying insects.
  4. Grasslands and Open Fields: Swifts are known to fly over open fields and grasslands, where they can catch insects on the wing.
  5. Coastal Areas: Some swift species are associated with coastal regions, where they may forage over water bodies and nest in cliffs or rocky shores.
  6. Mountainous Regions: In mountainous areas, swifts can be found flying over valleys and slopes, taking advantage of the air currents and thermals.
  7. Wetlands: Certain species of swifts may be observed near wetlands and marshes, where they can find insects over water.
  8. Tropical and Subtropical Habitats: Swifts are especially diverse and abundant in tropical and subtropical regions, often occupying a wide range of habitats within these zones.


Swifts have a specialized diet primarily consisting of flying insects. Their feeding behavior is closely linked to their aerial acrobatics and high-speed flight. Here’s what swifts eat:

  1. Flying Insects: Swifts are expert aerial insectivores, meaning they catch and consume insects while flying. They feed on a variety of flying insects, including flies, mosquitoes, moths, beetles, and other small insects that are abundant in the air.
  2. Aerial Foraging: Swifts are known for their agile flight and ability to maneuver swiftly through the air. They use their wide gapes and specialized beak structure to capture insects in mid-flight. Their large mouths and strong jaw muscles allow them to catch a substantial number of insects in a short amount of time.
  3. Hunting Strategy: Swifts often hunt in flocks, especially during the breeding season. They can be seen flying at different altitudes, sometimes soaring high in the sky to catch insects that are lifted by updrafts, and other times flying close to the ground or water to capture insects near the surface.
  4. Feeding During Flight: Unlike many other bird species, swifts are capable of feeding while flying continuously without the need to perch or rest. This behavior is essential for their survival, as it allows them to consume enough food to sustain their high-energy flight.
  5. Nesting and Parental Care: While swifts primarily feed on flying insects themselves, they also collect and regurgitate insects to feed their chicks. These insects are often caught by the adult swifts during their foraging flights.

lifespan: In the wild, the average lifespan of most swift species is estimated to be around 3 to 6 years.


The wingspan of swifts can vary depending on the species. Swifts are known for their long, slender wings that are adapted for efficient and agile flight. Here’s an overview of the wingspan range for different swift species:

  1. Common Swift (Apus apus): The wingspan of the Common Swift typically ranges from about 16 to 17 inches (40 to 44 centimeters).
  2. White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus): This species has a wingspan of approximately 19 to 21 inches (48 to 54 centimeters).
  3. Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica): The wingspan of the Chimney Swift is around 10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 centimeters).
  4. Black Swift (Cypseloides niger): The wingspan of the Black Swift ranges from approximately 15 to 16 inches (38 to 41 centimeters).
  5. Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis melba): This species has a wingspan of about 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 centimeters).
  6. White-rumped Swift (Apus caffer): The wingspan of the White-rumped Swift is roughly 9 to 10 inches (23 to 26 centimeters).


Swifts produce a variety of vocalizations, including calls and sounds used for communication and social interaction. While their vocalizations are not as complex or melodious as those of some other bird species, they are still distinct and serve their purposes within the swifts’ behaviors and interactions. Here are some examples of the calls made by swifts:

  1. Screaming Calls: Swifts are often known for their high-pitched, screaming calls that they emit while in flight. These calls are commonly heard when swifts are foraging, flying in flocks, or engaging in aerial displays. The calls can vary in intensity and frequency.
  2. Nesting Calls: Swifts may produce different vocalizations near their nesting sites. These calls can serve as territorial markers or signals between mates during the breeding season.
  3. Chittering Calls: Swifts may produce softer, chittering calls during interactions with other swifts. These calls might be used for communication within flocks or during social interactions.
  4. Chirps and Clicks: Swifts may also make chirping sounds or clicking noises, especially during interactions between individuals or during courtship displays.
  5. Juvenile Calls: Juvenile swifts may produce calls that are distinct from those of adults. These calls might serve to communicate with parents or other members of their colony.


Swifts experience different seasons throughout the year, which influence their behaviors, distribution, and life cycle. Here’s how swifts are typically affected by the changing seasons:

  1. Breeding Season (Spring and Summer):
    • Spring marks the beginning of the breeding season for swifts in many regions. They return from their wintering grounds to their breeding sites.
    • During the breeding season, swifts engage in courtship displays, mate selection, and nest building. They are highly active and vocal during this time.
    • Swifts are known for their aerial acrobatics and displays, which are often seen during this period as part of courtship and territorial behaviors.
    • Nests are constructed in crevices, hollows, and other sheltered sites in buildings, cliffs, or trees.
  2. Migration (Fall and Spring):
    • In the fall, swifts embark on their long migrations to warmer regions where food is more abundant. This migration often takes them over vast distances.
    • During migration, swifts form flocks and can be observed in large numbers as they travel together.
    • In the spring, swifts make the return journey to their breeding grounds.
  3. Non-breeding Season (Winter):
    • During the winter months, many swift species migrate to tropical or subtropical regions where they can find suitable food sources.
    • Some swifts may remain in regions with milder climates throughout the year.
    • Swifts tend to spend less time vocalizing and engaging in territorial displays during the non-breeding season.
  4. Roosting and Social Behavior:
    • Outside of the breeding season, swifts often gather in communal roosts, where they huddle together for warmth and protection.
    • Roosting behavior can be observed during both migration and the non-breeding season.

2. Woodpeckers


scientific name: Picidae

size: The size of woodpeckers varies greatly depending on the species. The smallest woodpecker is the buff-rumped woodpecker, which is only about 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) long and weighs about 9 grams (0.3 ounces).

how to identify:

Size and shape: Woodpeckers come in a variety of sizes, so the first thing you should do is get a good idea of how big the bird is. You can also look at the shape of the bird’s body and head. For example, the pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America and has a large, crested head.

Coloration: The coloration of a woodpecker can also be helpful in identification. For example, the downy woodpecker is a small, black-and-white woodpecker with a red patch on the back of its head.


Woodpeckers are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, swamps, grasslands, and deserts. However, most woodpecker species prefer to live in forests or woodland habitats. This is because trees provide them with food, shelter, and nesting sites.

Woodpeckers that live in forests typically eat insects that live in the bark or wood of trees. They also eat nuts, seeds, and fruit. Some woodpeckers, such as the sapsucker, drill holes in trees to drink the sap.


The diet of woodpeckers varies depending on the species and the season. However, most woodpeckers are insectivores, meaning that they eat insects. They also eat nuts, seeds, fruit, and sap.

Here are some of the most common foods that woodpeckers eat:

  • Insects: Woodpeckers eat a variety of insects, including beetles, ants, termites, caterpillars, and grubs. They find these insects by drilling into trees or by probing the bark with their long, sticky tongues.
  • Nuts and seeds: Woodpeckers eat a variety of nuts and seeds, including acorns, walnuts, and pine nuts. They often store these nuts and seeds in caches for later use.
  • Fruit: Woodpeckers eat a variety of fruits, including berries, apples, and figs. They often eat the fruit while it is still on the tree.
  • Sap: Some woodpeckers, such as the sapsucker, drill holes in trees to drink the sap. They also eat the insects that are attracted to the sap.

lifespan: The lifespan of a woodpecker varies depending on the species. In general, larger woodpeckers tend to live longer than smaller woodpeckers. Here is the lifespan of some of the most common woodpecker species:

  • Downy woodpecker: 4-7 years
  • Hairy woodpecker: 6-8 years
  • Pileated woodpecker: 15-20 years
  • Northern flicker: 7-10 years
  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker: 8-10 years

wingspan: The wingspan of a woodpecker varies depending on the species. The smallest woodpecker, the buff-rumped woodpecker, has a wingspan of about 12 inches. The largest woodpecker, the imperial woodpecker, has a wingspan of about 28 inches.


Woodpeckers are known for their drumming, but they also make a variety of other calls. The calls of woodpeckers vary depending on the species and the situation.

Here are some of the most common calls of woodpeckers:

  • Drum: Woodpeckers drum on trees to communicate with each other, to attract mates, and to defend their territory. The drumming of a woodpecker can be loud and can be heard from a long distance.
  • Whistle: Some woodpeckers, such as the downy woodpecker, make a high-pitched whistle. This whistle is often used to communicate with mates or to attract attention.
  • Peck: Some woodpeckers, such as the pileated woodpecker, make a loud, sharp pecking sound. This sound is often used to excavate wood or to defend their territory.
  • Chirping: Some woodpeckers, such as the hairy woodpecker, make a series of chirping sounds. This sound is often used to communicate with mates or to attract attention.
  • Squawk: Some woodpeckers, such as the flicker, make a loud, harsh squawk. This sound is often used to defend their territory or to scare away predators.


Woodpeckers are active year-round, but their activities vary depending on the season.

In the spring, woodpeckers are busy breeding. They build nests, lay eggs, and raise their young. The drumming of woodpeckers is often heard in the spring, as they are establishing their territories and attracting mates.

In the summer, woodpeckers are feeding their young. They eat a variety of insects, including beetles, ants, and caterpillars. They also eat nuts, seeds, and fruit.

In the fall, woodpeckers start to prepare for winter. They store food in caches for later use. They also start to migrate to warmer climates, if they are migratory species.

In the winter, woodpeckers are less active. They may stay in their winter homes or migrate to warmer climates. They eat the food that they have stored or they find food in trees that are still alive.

3. Bee-eaters

bee eaters
bee eaters

scientific name: Meropidae

size: The size of bee-eaters varies depending on the species. The smallest bee-eater is the little bee-eater (Merops pusillus), which measures 15-17 cm (6-7 inches) in length. The largest bee-eater is the blue-bearded bee-eater (Merops mentalis), which measures 31-35 cm (12-14 inches) in length.

how to identify:

Bee-eaters are a group of birds that are easily identifiable by their long, downcurved bills, brightly colored plumage, and slender bodies. They are found in Africa, Asia, southern Europe, and Australia.

Here are some of the key features to look for when identifying bee-eaters:

  • Long, downcurved bill: This is the most distinctive feature of bee-eaters. It is used to catch insects on the wing.
  • Brightly colored plumage: Bee-eaters are often brightly colored, with combinations of blue, green, yellow, and orange. The colors of the plumage can vary depending on the species.
  • Slender body: Bee-eaters have slender bodies and long, pointed wings. This allows them to fly quickly and agilely.
  • Elongated central tail feathers: Many species of bee-eaters have elongated central tail feathers. These feathers can be up to twice as long as the other tail feathers.


Bee-eaters are found in a variety of habitats, including savannas, woodlands, steppes, deserts, and rainforests. They are most common in open, sunny areas with plenty of flying insects.

Some species of bee-eaters are more specialized than others. For example, the blue-throated bee-eater is found only in dry, arid areas, while the European bee-eater is found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and riverbanks.

Bee-eaters are cavity nesters, and they often nest in sandy banks or cliffs. They will also nest in old termite mounds or other abandoned burrows.


Bee-eaters are insectivores, and their diet consists primarily of bees, wasps, and other flying insects. They catch their prey on the wing, using their long, sharp bills to pierce the insect’s exoskeleton and remove the venom sac. Bee-eaters are also known to eat other insects, such as butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. The proportion of bees and wasps in the diet of bee-eaters varies depending on the species and the availability of prey. For example, the European bee-eater eats about 70% bees and wasps, while the blue-throated bee-eater eats only about 20% bees and wasps.

Bee-eaters have a special way of dealing with the venom of the bees and wasps they eat. They rub the insects against a hard surface, such as a branch or rock, to remove the stinger and venom sac. They then swallow the insect whole. Bee-eaters are an important part of the ecosystem, as they help to control populations of harmful insects. They are also popular birds with birdwatchers, due to their beautiful plumage and acrobatic flying skills.

Here are some interesting facts about the diet of bee-eaters:

  • Bee-eaters have been known to eat up to 200 bees or wasps per day.
  • They can catch insects flying up to 40 miles per hour.
  • They have a special stomach acid that helps to neutralize the venom of the bees and wasps they eat.
  • Bee-eaters are social birds, and they often breed and roost in large colonies.

lifespan: The lifespan of bee-eaters varies depending on the species. Some species can live for up to 10 years, while others may only live for 5 years.

wingspan: The wingspan of bee-eaters varies depending on the species. The smallest bee-eater, the little bee-eater (Merops pusillus), has a wingspan of about 20 inches. The largest bee-eater, the blue-bearded bee-eater (Merops mentalis), has a wingspan of about 28 inches.

calls: Bee-eaters are known for their loud, piercing calls. The calls are used for a variety of purposes, including communication with other bee-eaters, attracting mates, and defending their territory. The calls of bee-eaters vary depending on the species. Some species have simple, single-note calls, while others have more complex calls that can be divided into several different parts.

The European bee-eater has a loud, piercing call that is often described as a “churring” or “chattering” sound. This call is used to communicate with other bee-eaters, and it is also used by the males to attract mates.

The blue-bearded bee-eater has a more complex call that is made up of several different parts. The first part of the call is a loud, piercing “peep”, followed by a series of lower-pitched “churrs”. This call is used to defend the male’s territory, and it is also used by the males to attract mates. The calls of bee-eaters are an important part of their communication. They are used to keep in touch with other bee-eaters, to attract mates, and to defend their territory.

Here are some of the other calls that bee-eaters make:

  • Contact call: This is a short, high-pitched call that is used to keep in touch with other bee-eaters.
  • Alarm call: This is a loud, piercing call that is used to warn other bee-eaters of danger.
  • Begging call: This is a soft, high-pitched call that is used by nestlings to beg for food from their parents.
  • Courtship call: This is a complex call that is used by males to attract mates.

seasons: The breeding season of bee-eaters varies depending on the species and the location. In general, bee-eaters breed during the spring and summer months, when there is an abundance of food.

Here are the breeding seasons of some of the most common bee-eater species:

  • European bee-eater: Breeds from May to July in Europe and Asia.
  • Blue-bearded bee-eater: Breeds from September to March in Africa.
  • African green bee-eater: Breeds from October to March in Africa.
  • Indian bee-eater: Breeds from April to June in India.

4. Kingfishers


scientific name: Alcedinidae

size: The size of kingfishers varies greatly from species to species. The smallest kingfisher is the African pygmy kingfisher, which is only about 10 centimeters (4 inches) long. The largest kingfisher is the laughing kookaburra, which can grow up to 43 centimeters (17 inches) long.

how to identify:

  • Color: Kingfishers are often brightly colored, with blues, greens, and oranges being common. However, there are also some species that are more muted in color.
  • Bill: Kingfishers have long, pointed bills that are adapted for catching fish. The bill is often brightly colored, matching the rest of the bird’s plumage.
  • Behavior: Kingfishers are typically found near water, where they perch on branches or posts and watch for prey. When they see a fish, they will dive underwater to catch it.


Kingfishers are found in a wide variety of habitats, but they are most commonly found near water. This is because they are fish eaters and need access to a reliable source of food.

Some kingfisher species are found in forests, while others are found in open areas such as grasslands or deserts. There are even some kingfisher species that live in caves!

The most important factor for a kingfisher habitat is that it has clean, clear water. Kingfishers need to be able to see their prey clearly in order to catch it. They also need to be able to dive into the water without hitting their heads on the bottom.

Here are some of the different types of habitats where kingfishers can be found:

  • Rivers and streams
  • Lakes and ponds
  • Estuaries
  • Mangrove swamps
  • Coastal areas
  • Forests
  • Grasslands
  • Deserts
  • Caves

diet: Kingfishers are carnivores and their diet consists mainly of fish. They also eat insects, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. The type of prey that a kingfisher eats depends on the species and the habitat.

  • Fish: Fish are the main prey for most kingfisher species. They typically eat small fish, such as minnows, sticklebacks, and perch. However, some kingfishers can catch larger fish, such as trout and salmon.
  • Insects: Insects are also an important part of the diet of many kingfisher species. They eat a variety of insects, including beetles, dragonflies, and damselflies.
  • Amphibians: Some kingfisher species eat amphibians, such as frogs and tadpoles.
  • Reptiles: Kingfishers may also eat reptiles, such as snakes and lizards.
  • Small mammals: Some kingfisher species will eat small mammals, such as mice and shrews.

lifespan: The lifespan of kingfishers varies depending on the species. The smallest kingfisher species, the African pygmy kingfisher, has a lifespan of only 2-3 years. The largest kingfisher species, the laughing kookaburra, has a lifespan of up to 20 years.

wingspan: The wingspan of kingfishers varies greatly depending on the species. The smallest kingfisher species, the African pygmy kingfisher, has a wingspan of only 10-12 centimeters (4-5 inches). The largest kingfisher species, the laughing kookaburra, has a wingspan of up to 1 meter (39 inches).

calls: Kingfishers have a variety of calls that they use for different purposes. They may use calls to attract mates, defend their territory, or communicate with their young.

Some common kingfisher calls include:

  • Screams: Kingfishers may scream to attract mates or to defend their territory. The screams can be loud and piercing.
  • Chirps: Kingfishers may chirp to communicate with their young. The chirps are usually soft and high-pitched.
  • Rattling: Kingfishers may rattle their bills to attract mates or to defend their territory. The rattling sound is made by rapidly clicking the tips of their bills together.
  • Mewing: Kingfishers may mew to communicate with their young. The mew sound is usually soft and low-pitched.

seasons: The presence of kingfishers can vary depending on the season. Some kingfisher species are migratory, meaning that they move to different locations during different times of the year. Other kingfisher species are resident, meaning that they stay in the same area year-round.

Here are some examples of kingfisher species that are migratory:

  • Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis): This species is found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is migratory in the northern parts of its range, but resident in the southern parts.
  • Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon): This species is found in North America. It is migratory in the northern parts of its range, but resident in the southern parts.
  • Blue-tailed kingfisher (Halcyon chloris): This species is found in Asia. It is migratory in the northern parts of its range, but resident in the southern parts.

5. Nightjars


scientific name: Caprimulgidae

size: Nightjars vary in size depending on the species, but they generally have a length ranging from about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters).

how to identify:

  1. Nocturnal Activity: Nightjars are primarily active during the night. Look for them around dusk and dawn, when they are most active and visible.
  2. Silent Flight: Nightjars are known for their silent flight, aided by soft feathers that reduce wing noise. Listen for their distinct calls rather than the sound of flapping wings.
  3. Plumage and Camouflage: Nightjars typically have mottled or cryptic plumage that helps them blend in with their environment. Look for patterns and colors that resemble bark, leaves, or other natural textures.
  4. Wide Gape: Nightjars have large mouths with a wide gape, which helps them catch insects in flight. This feature may be visible when they open their mouths to feed.
  5. Large Eyes: Their large eyes are adapted for low-light conditions, indicating their nocturnal lifestyle.
  6. Distinctive Calls: Each species of nightjar has a unique call. Listen for their calls, which can include trills, churrs, and other vocalizations, to help identify them. Using a bird identification app or guidebook with audio recordings can be helpful.
  7. Flight Pattern: Watch for their distinctive flight pattern, characterized by erratic and fluttering movements as they catch insects on the wing.
  8. Habitat: Nightjars are often found in open woodlands, grasslands, heaths, and other similar habitats. Learn about the specific habitat preferences of the nightjar species in your region.
  9. Size and Shape: Pay attention to their size and shape, including their wingspan, body length, and overall build. Some species may have unique features, such as long tail feathers or wing markings.
  10. Observation Techniques: Using a flashlight with a red filter can help you observe nightjars without disturbing them or affecting their natural behavior. Be patient and observant, as they may blend in well with their surroundings.


Nightjars are found in a variety of habitats around the world, typically those with open spaces and suitable for their nocturnal feeding habits. Here are some common habitats where you might find nightjars:

  1. Open Woodlands: Many nightjar species inhabit open woodlands, including both deciduous and evergreen forests. They often perch on branches or on the ground, relying on their camouflage to blend in with the surroundings.
  2. Grasslands and Savannas: Nightjars are often found in grassy habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, and meadows. These areas provide ample space for their aerial feeding and nesting on the ground.
  3. Heathlands and Moorlands: Nightjars can also be found in heathlands and moorlands, where the open spaces and diverse vegetation types offer suitable foraging opportunities.
  4. Deserts and Arid Regions: Some nightjar species inhabit desert and arid regions. They are adapted to the harsh conditions of these environments and can be found in rocky areas with sparse vegetation.
  5. Coastal Areas: Coastal habitats, including sandy beaches and dunes, can be home to certain species of nightjars. They may nest on the ground in these areas.
  6. Farmlands and Agricultural Areas: Nightjars are sometimes found in agricultural landscapes, including fields, orchards, and pastures. They benefit from the presence of insects attracted to these areas.
  7. Urban and Suburban Environments: Certain adaptable species of nightjars may inhabit urban and suburban areas, such as parks, gardens, and open spaces within cities.
  8. Tropical Rainforests: In some tropical regions, nightjars can be found in the understory of dense rainforests. They may prefer areas with more open vegetation within the forest.

diet: Nightjars have a specialized diet that consists primarily of flying insects. They are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) or nocturnal hunters that rely on their unique adaptations to catch insects in flight. Their diet typically includes:

  1. Moths: Nightjars are particularly known for their preference for moths. They are skilled at capturing moths on the wing, and many of their adaptations are suited to this type of prey.
  2. Beetles: Various types of flying beetles make up an important part of the nightjars’ diet. They catch these insects while flying or foraging on the ground.
  3. Flying Ants: Nightjars may also feed on flying ants during their mating swarms.
  4. Flying Insects: In addition to moths, beetles, and ants, nightjars catch a wide variety of other flying insects, including flies, mosquitoes, and other small airborne insects.
  5. Occasional Terrestrial Prey: While nightjars primarily feed on flying insects, they may also consume some terrestrial insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.

lifespan: On average, nightjars in the wild might live anywhere from 3 to 5 years.

wingspan: The wingspan of nightjars can vary depending on the species. On average, nightjars have a wingspan ranging from approximately 15 to 30 inches (38 to 76 centimeters).


Nightjars are known for their distinctive and often haunting calls that they use for communication, courtship, and territorial defense. Each species of nightjar has its own unique vocalizations. Here are a few examples of the calls of different nightjar species:

  1. Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor): The common nighthawk produces a distinctive “peent” call that sounds like a sharp, nasal note. They often make this sound while flying in courtship displays.
  2. European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus): The European nightjar’s song is often described as a rhythmic “churring” or “purring” sound, with variations in pitch and intensity. It can be quite mesmerizing and is a characteristic sound of summer evenings in some regions.
  3. Chuck-will’s-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis): This species gets its name from its loud and repetitive “chuck-will’s-widow” call, which it often repeats for hours during the night.
  4. Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus): Named after its song, the whip-poor-will produces a continuous and repetitive “whip-poor-will” call, with each note rising in pitch.
  5. Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis): The lesser nighthawk’s call is a soft, nasal “peent” or “beeent” sound, similar to that of the common nighthawk.
  6. Great Eared Nightjar (Lyncornis macrotis): Found in parts of Southeast Asia, this nightjar’s call includes a series of whistles and descending notes, creating a melodious and unique sound.
  7. Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus): Despite its name, this bird is not an owl but a nightjar. Its call is a series of soft, repetitive “bubbling” or “booming” sounds.
  8. Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis): Found in the Americas, the pauraque’s call is a series of soft, melodious, and somewhat mournful notes.


Nightjars are most active and vocal during the warm months of the year, typically in spring and summer. The specific timing of their activity can vary depending on the region and the species of nightjar. Here are some general patterns of the seasons of nightjars:

  1. Breeding Season: Nightjars are often most active and vocal during their breeding season, which typically occurs in the spring and early summer. During this time, they engage in courtship displays, establish territories, and communicate through their distinctive calls to attract mates and deter competitors.
  2. Migration: Some nightjar species are migratory, traveling between their breeding and wintering grounds. Migration periods can vary, but in many cases, they occur during the fall and spring. During migration, nightjars may be less active and vocal.
  3. Nesting and Rearing Young: After the breeding season, nightjars may focus on nesting and rearing their young. They usually lay their eggs on the ground, often in concealed locations to protect them from predators. The young are typically fed a diet of insects caught in flight by the parents.
  4. Post-Breeding Activity: As summer transitions into fall, nightjars may continue their activity, although it might become less intense as the breeding season comes to an end.
  5. Nocturnal Habits: Nightjars are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular, meaning they are most active during the night or around dawn and dusk. Their activity during the nighttime hours remains a consistent feature throughout the warmer months.

6. Hummingbirds

humming birds
humming birds

scientific name: Trochilidae

size: On average, most hummingbirds measure around 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 centimeters) in length.

how to identify:

  1. Coloration: Pay attention to the bird’s coloration. Hummingbirds come in a variety of vibrant and iridescent colors. Look for patterns on the throat, chest, and head. Males often have more colorful and flashy plumage than females.
  2. Throat Patch (Gorget): The color and pattern of the throat patch can be a key identifying feature. Many male hummingbirds have iridescent throats that can appear different colors depending on the angle of the light. These patches are often referred to as “gorgets.”
  3. Tail Shape: Examine the shape of the tail. Different species of hummingbirds have tails of varying lengths and shapes. Some have forked tails, while others have more rounded or square-shaped tails.
  4. Bill Shape: Note the shape and length of the bill. Hummingbirds have specialized bills adapted for feeding on nectar. The bill shape can vary between species, with some having longer, straight bills and others having shorter, more curved bills.


Hummingbirds inhabit a wide range of habitats across the Americas, from North America to South America. Their habitats can vary greatly, but they are often associated with certain characteristics that provide the resources they need for survival. Here are some common types of habitats where hummingbirds can be found:

  1. Tropical Rainforests: Many hummingbird species are found in lush tropical rainforests. These habitats offer a rich diversity of flowering plants that provide nectar, which is the primary food source for hummingbirds. The dense vegetation also provides shelter and nesting sites.
  2. Montane Cloud Forests: Cloud forests found at higher elevations in mountainous regions are also home to hummingbirds. These misty environments have a variety of flowering plants that provide ample nectar.
  3. Deserts and Arid Regions: Some species of hummingbirds are adapted to arid environments and can be found in deserts and scrublands. They rely on flowering cacti and other desert plants for nectar.
  4. Grasslands and Meadows: Hummingbirds may frequent grasslands and meadows where there are flowering plants, especially in more temperate regions. These areas offer open spaces for flying and foraging.
  5. Coastal Areas: Coastal habitats, such as coastal shrubs, dunes, and marshes, can also be home to hummingbirds. They may be attracted to specific coastal flowers and plants.
  6. Gardens and Urban Areas: Hummingbirds are known to inhabit gardens, parks, and other urban and suburban areas, particularly if they have a variety of flowering plants. People often hang hummingbird feeders in these areas to attract and observe these fascinating birds.
  7. Deciduous and Evergreen Forests: Hummingbirds can be found in both deciduous and evergreen forests, depending on the species and their range. They often utilize the understory of the forest for foraging and nesting.
  8. Canyons and Gorges: In rocky areas such as canyons and gorges, hummingbirds may find shelter and nectar from flowering plants that thrive in these environments.
  9. Mangrove Swamps: Some coastal hummingbird species can be found in mangrove swamps, where they may feed on nectar from mangrove flowers.
  10. High-Altitude Habitats: Certain species are adapted to high-altitude habitats, such as paramo and puna ecosystems, where they can find nectar-rich flowers even at extreme elevations.


The diet of hummingbirds primarily consists of nectar from flowers, which provides them with the energy they need for their high metabolism and rapid flight. However, hummingbirds are not solely nectarivores; they also consume small insects and spiders to supplement their nutritional needs. Here’s a breakdown of the diet of hummingbirds:

  1. Nectar: Nectar is the primary source of energy for hummingbirds. They have specialized bills and tongues adapted for feeding on the nectar of flowers. Hummingbirds have a remarkable ability to hover in front of flowers and insert their long, slender tongues into the flower’s nectar reservoir. They then rapidly retract their tongues, allowing them to lap up the nectar. Nectar provides sugars, which are converted into energy for their high metabolic rate.
  2. Insects and Spiders: Hummingbirds are also insectivores to some extent. They consume small insects and spiders for protein, which is essential for their growth, reproduction, and overall health. Hummingbirds may catch insects in mid-air using their agile flight or pick them off leaves and other surfaces.
  3. Sap and Tree Resin: In addition to nectar and insects, some hummingbird species have been observed sipping sap or tree resin. This behavior is less common and usually occurs when other food sources are scarce.

lifespan: In the wild, the lifespan of a hummingbird is generally around 3 to 5 years.

wingspan: The wingspan of a hummingbird typically ranges from about 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 centimeters), depending on the species.


Hummingbirds are not known for their elaborate vocalizations like some other bird species. In fact, they have relatively simple and quiet calls compared to their stunning visual displays and rapid flight. Their vocalizations are often soft and subtle, and they use them for communication and territory defense. Here are a few examples of the types of calls hummingbirds may produce:

  1. Chirping and Chattering: Hummingbirds may produce short, rapid chirping or chattering sounds. These calls are often used during interactions with other hummingbirds or to establish territory boundaries.
  2. High-Pitched Chips: Some hummingbirds emit high-pitched chips or squeaks. These calls are often used during aggressive encounters or when defending feeding territories.
  3. Buzzing Sounds: While not exactly vocalizations, the rapid wing beats of hummingbirds can create a buzzing or whirring sound, especially when they are in close proximity or hovering near you.
  4. Calls During Mating: During courtship and mating displays, male hummingbirds may emit soft, rhythmic calls or sounds to attract females and establish their presence.
  5. Whistles and Piping Calls: Some hummingbird species may produce whistling or piping calls, though these are usually not very loud and are used for communication between individuals.
  6. Alert Calls: When hummingbirds sense potential danger, they may emit soft alarm calls to alert other nearby hummingbirds of a potential threat.


Hummingbirds can be found in different regions and habitats across the Americas, and their presence can be influenced by the changing seasons. The timing of hummingbird activity can vary based on factors such as climate, migration patterns, and the availability of food sources. Here’s a general overview of the seasons of hummingbirds:

  1. Breeding Season (Spring and Summer):
    • Spring: As temperatures start to rise, many hummingbirds begin their breeding season. They migrate north to their breeding territories, where they establish and defend feeding and nesting territories.
    • Summer: Throughout the summer months, hummingbirds are actively engaged in mating, nesting, and raising their young. They rely heavily on the abundance of flowering plants to provide nectar for themselves and their chicks.
  2. Migration Season (Fall):
    • Fall: As the days shorten and temperatures cool, hummingbirds that breed in northern regions start their migration south to warmer climates for the winter. This migration, often involving long distances, is a remarkable feat considering their small size.
  3. Non-Breeding Season (Winter):
    • Winter: Hummingbirds that migrate to warmer regions, such as parts of Central America and South America, spend the winter months in these more hospitable climates. They rely on the availability of nectar from tropical flowers during this time.

frequently asked question: on small birds with big beads

What are the “6 Small Birds with Big Heads”?

The term refers to a group of small bird species characterized by their relatively large heads compared to their body size. These birds often exhibit unique behaviors and captivating features that make them stand out.

Why do these birds have big heads?

The larger head size in these birds could be attributed to a variety of factors, including specialized feeding habits, enhanced sensory perception, and adaptations for communication and social interactions.

Where can I find these birds?

These birds can be found in various habitats around the world, ranging from forests and woodlands to wetlands and grasslands. Their distribution depends on the specific species and their ecological preferences.

What are some common examples of these birds?

Some well-known examples include the Northern Shrike, the Long-tailed Tit, the Chickadee, the Nuthatch, the Kingfisher, the Woodpecker, and the Hoopoe. Each of these species showcases the distinctive characteristics of small birds with big heads.

What makes observing these birds special?

The unique combination of their disproportionately large heads and small bodies, coupled with their charming behaviors, makes these birds a fascinating subject of observation for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers.

How can I identify these birds in the wild?

Identifying these birds requires attention to details such as head size, body proportions, plumage colors, and distinctive markings. Field guides, apps, and online resources can be helpful for accurate identification.

Do these birds have any specific adaptations related to their big heads?

Yes, many of these birds have evolved specialized adaptations. For instance, woodpeckers have strong beaks for drumming on trees, while kingfishers have sharp bills for catching aquatic prey. The large heads might also aid in better visual and auditory perception.

Are these birds endangered or threatened?

The conservation status of these birds varies among species. Some may be of concern due to habitat loss, climate change, or other factors, while others could be relatively stable.

Can I attract these birds to my backyard?

Creating bird-friendly environments with appropriate food sources, nesting sites, and water features can attract these birds to your backyard, especially if their preferred habitats are nearby.

Are there any interesting behaviors associated with these birds?

Yes, these birds often exhibit captivating behaviors such as elaborate courtship displays, unique feeding techniques, vocalizations, and cooperative nesting behaviors.

How can I contribute to the conservation of these birds?

Supporting local conservation organizations, participating in citizen science projects, and promoting habitat preservation are all ways to contribute to the well-being of these birds and their ecosystems.

Where can I learn more about these birds and their habitats?

Books, online resources, bird-watching clubs, and guided tours are excellent sources for learning more about these birds, their habitats, and how to observe them responsibly.


In the enchanting tapestry of nature, where intricacies abound and wonders never cease, the captivating realm of “7 Small Birds with Big Heads” stands as a testament to the boundless diversity and ingenuity of life on Earth. These endearing avian personalities, with their disproportionately large heads and charming behaviors, have invited us into their world, revealing the beauty that emerges when nature’s brush strokes are both delicate and daring.

As we’ve ventured into forests and meadows, along rivers and lakeshores, and even within the cozy confines of our own backyards, we’ve marveled at the intricate dance of these feathered companions. We’ve witnessed their unique adaptations, from the woodpecker’s rhythmic percussion to the kingfisher’s precise aquatic strikes. We’ve been serenaded by the symphony of melodies woven by their vibrant vocalizations and entranced by their acrobatics in flight.

Through patient observation and respectful interaction, we’ve peeled back the layers of their lives, discovering tales of survival, courtship, and communal bonds that echo through the ages. Our journey has taught us the value of quiet contemplation, the art of stillness, and the profound joy that arises from connecting with the natural world.

In the end, the story of “7 Small Birds with Big Heads” is a reminder that even the tiniest among us can leave the most indelible impressions. These avian marvels beckon us to cherish the intricate details that weave the fabric of life, to honor the delicate balance that sustains our ecosystems, and to treasure the simple moments of wonder that nature graciously bestows upon us.

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