Lisa’s challenge this week is BIRDS with BLACK FEATHERS.

There are so many birds with black feathers, so I am going to limit myself to Corvids and Seabirds. I’m still going to indulge myself (if not all of you!) When going through my photos, I was very tempted to slip in one or two others!

Corvids are birds belonging to the Crow family. Our all-black Carrion Crow and Rook can look and sound somewhat menacing and are very difficult to tell apart. The Carrion Crow is feathered around the base of its bill while the Rook has bare grey skin between the bill and eye. It is sometimes said that “If you see lots of crows together, then they are rooks, but it you see a rook on its own, then it is a crow” – it can be a useful guide but it’s not infallible! Rooks nest in colonies called Rookeries which are very noisy. I don’t think I have a good photo of a Rook.

Our other similar-looking Corvids are the Jackdaw (which behaves a bit like Rooks but is a little smaller, has a different call and greyer feathers on the back of its head) and Ravens, which are our largest all-black Corvid but much less common, living mainly around cliffs (both coastal and on mountains).


Corvids are predators and scavengers. We once saw a Magpie killing a Blackbird, and they often try to raid the nests of other birds in our garden to feast on eggs and nestlings.

Corvids are also highly intelligent. The brain-to-body weight ratios of corvid brains are amongst the largest in birds and only slightly lower than humans! Their intelligence is boosted by the long growing period of the young. By remaining with the parents, the young have more opportunities to learn necessary skills. They are able to solve problems and devise simple tools.

Just a bit of contrasting colour on the bills (such as Choughs) or feathers (eg: Hooded Crow and Eurasian Magpie) can make otherwise all-black birds look less threatening and dull. In certain lights, black feathers can also have a beautiful glossy sheen, often appearing to be blue, green or purple. The Hooded Crow  is not common in the UK, being found mostly in Scotland and other northern European countries. Red-billed Choughs are found on some of our cliffs while the Alpine Chough, with its striking yellow bill, is found in the mountains of Europe. Perhaps our most beautiful British Corvid is the Eurasian Jay which isn’t very common and usually only seen fleetingly. I haven’t yet managed to photograph one.


Here are some Corvids from other countries.


Now for some British sea birds with black feathers……


If you’re still with me, here are some photos of sea birds with black feathers I’ve seen on my travels.


13 thoughts on “Lisa’s Weekly BIRD CHALLENGE: Birds with BLACK FEATHERS

  1. Pingback: Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #21 – Our Eyes Open

  2. OMG! WOW! Did I say OMG? You way outdid yourself this week! You could have saved 1/2 of these for this week’s shorebirds. I hope you have more! LOL! I would say I’m speechless…but apparently not! Incredible gallery of birds and I stayed right there with you. The penguins were a wonderful surprise at the end. I’m only ever seen penguins in the zoo and it would be a thrill to see them in the wild. Fabulous! 🙂 WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments. I decided to keep the penguins to the last, as a surprise! Puffins are the nearest we get to penguins – not ornithologically but in terms of colour and being oddly endearing and cute! I had a friend living in the Falkland Islands who invited me to visit. The only way to get there is via Chile, where I was visiting Chilean friends, so it seemed daft not to make the most of the opportunity. We were taken out in a 4×4 vehicle off the road, bouncing violently through icy bogs to reach this beautiful and vast remote beach. It was very cold but the sun was shining and the sea was turquoise – a stunning setting. Apart from a thousand or more penguins, we were the only living things there. You’re not supposed to get closer than 2 metres (not because of COVID!), but I just sat down and some came right up to me to investigate while the rest carried on doing what penguins do best – looking comical and being noisy! Only the Kings had ‘babies’, which looked very strange and not at all bird-like. It was one of the most wonderful wildlife experiences of my life which I will never forget. It was such an amazing privilege. Apparently, in season, when cruise ships come in, there can be more than a thousand tourists on the beach, which I would have hated! No doubt the penguins hate it as well!

      I didn’t realise you were doing shore birds next. But don’t worry – I’ve got plenty of them as well, excluding what I’ve put on for this challenge!!

      Liked by 1 person

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