7 Black Birds with Large White Half Moon on Wings

In this article, I’m going to focus on black birds whose plumage features white half moons of the wings. It’s not uncommon for the wings of the birds to be a different color than that of the rest of the plumage. Wings may also have a contrasting color with the rest of the body or other markings that stand out.

The following birds feature black plumage with large white half moons on their wings. I have chosen birds of various sizes, distributed across North America and other parts of the world.

Pileated Woodpecker

Headlining this list, the Pileated Woodpecker is a large woodpecker that’s nearly the size of a crow. Its colors would be no different either, except the Pileated woodpecker features bold stripes running down the side of its face.

The stripe continues at the inner edge of its wings, forming an ever so thin white line that’s half-moon shaped. The white stripe is more pronounced in the female Pileated Woodpecker.

But these aren’t the most attractive feature in this woodpecker; the flaming red crest is, which makes it easy for you to spot this bird.

But there’s another interesting feature, namely the underside of the wings, which is extensively white, and it’s revealed only in flight.

You’ll most often spot this woodpecker in search of carpenter ants by whacking away at the barks of fallen logs and dead trees. The repeated whacking leaves rectangular holes in the wood, which serve as a nesting site for several other bird species.

As forest birds and bark forages, Pileated Woodpeckers enjoy forests with large, standing dead trees and downed wood. Pileated Woodpeckers of the East live in young forests, while those in the West live primarily in old forests.

They sometimes visit backyards and even bird feeders, where suet is their main attraction.

Gray-winged Blackbird

As the name suggests, the Gray-winged Blackbird features black plumage and silvery gray wings edged with white that form the shape of a half moon.

The bill of this blackbird is yellow, while the eyes are black with a silvery white ringlet around them.

Females of the species are different from the males in that they have no black plumage, instead they’re pale olive-brown. Their back shows brown scaling, while the edge of the wings is also brown.

The bird enjoys humid evergreen forests and breeds at an elevation of 1800-2700 meters (5900-8850 feet). Its range extends from the Himalayas in south-east Asia to northern Vietnam.

The Gray-winged blackbird feeds mainly on insects and their larvae, foraging for them in the moss of branches. It also hunts for caterpillars and enjoys foraging the ground as well for snails, earthworms, and slugs.

When insects are out of season, the Gray-winged Blackbird switches its diet to fruits and berries. Berries of Cotoneaster and Berberis are enjoyed the most.

The breeding season starts in April and lasts until June. Pairs produce two broods per season. The female lays 2-4 pale eggs and incubates them. After hatching, both parents feed the hatchlings.

Pied Currawong

A native to eastern Australia and Lord Howe Island, the Pied Currawong is a large black bird with a long, heavy bill and strikingly yellow eyes.

The plumage isn’t completely black, though. Patches of white under the tail, at the base of the tail and two white patches on the tip of the tail.

There are also the white patches on the wings, which resemble the shape of a half moon.

If you’re not familiar with this bird, you might easily mistake it for an Australian Magpie or a Pied Butcherbird. However, neither of these two have yellow eyes, so a quick look at the yellow eyes will help you identify the bird as the Pied Currawong.

Also, both magpies and the Pied butcherbird have white markings on their backs, while the Pied Currawong does not.

In terms of diet, this large bird is omnivorous and an opportunistic feeder, eating whatever is available in the season from insects like beetles and ants to fruit and berries as well as invertebrates. They’ll even go as far as to eat small vertebrates such as smaller birds.

Although they have a cheeky side, they’re also helpful in cleaning up carrion and roadkill. They also help prevent eucalyptus defoliation by eating a species of stick insects that’s responsible for defoliating patches of eucalyptus forests.

Lark Bunting

A small bird the size of a sparrow, the Lark Bunting is all black except for the white wing patches and except for females of the species, which are brownish with brown streaking and white in the upper wing coverts.

The bill of the Lark Bunting is a pale gray and its conical shape is similar to that of the grosbeak.

Their preferred habitat is that of sagebrush plains with an understory of weeds and grass, other open grasslands, agricultural fields and open fields. These birds forage on the ground searching for insects. They also make their nests on the ground.

If you’re hoping your garden will be visited by a Lark Bunting, the chances are slim, especially if you don’t have plenty of open areas in your garden.

However, when in migration, they may forage the ground if there are seeds scattered.

In summer, the Lark Bunting eats insects including grasshoppers, beetles, bees, ants, and others. In winter, it switches to seeds, especially those of weeds and grasses.

Pairs usually produce one, sometimes two, broods per season. The female lays 4-5 eggs, which she then incubates.

While the male may sometimes help out with incubation, it’s usually the female that will incubate them. However, both the female and the male help feed the hatchlings.


When it comes to birds, it’s usually the males who are more spectacular. In the case of Bobolinks, I’d say the roles are reversed – females are the ones with more color.

Male bobolinks have black underpants – and the only birds in North America to do so! – and a white back with white half-moon patches on the wings. The one spot of color that’s remarkable, it’s the pale yellow patch on the back of their heads.

Females, on the other hand, are much more colorful. They’re a warm yellow with brown streaks on the back, flanks, and crown.

The bill of the male is black, while that of the female is pinkish.

Look for these birds in uncut pastures, overgrown meadows, prairies, and tall grasslands. During migration, they can be spotted in marshes and agricultural fields.

Bobolinks forage on seed bearing weeds, feed on several grains including rice, and hunt for insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, etc.

Bobolinks build their nests on the ground, well hidden in the dense grass or weeds. Nests are shallow, cup-shaped lined with weeds and grass.

The female lays 5-6 eggs and incubates them for 11-13 days. Usually, there’s only one brood per year. Once the eggs hatch, both parents feed their young.

Crested Myna

You have to look closely to spot the white half moons on the wings of the Crested Myna since they’re very discreet. The bird is otherwise all black, except for the white markings on the edge of the wings.

The bird received its name after the tufts of feathers at the base of the base of its beak. Native to southeast China and Indochina, the Crested Myna is also known as the Chinese starling.

It’s an adaptable bird that inhabits a wide range of habitats from rural to urban areas. You can spot them in grasslands, the edge of forests, agricultural fields, orchards, parks, alongside roads and alleys, and many other settings.

The omnivorous nature of this bird is what makes it so adaptable to habitats that are quite different from one another.

Northern Mockingbird

Colorful in personality and much less in their plumage, the Northern Mockingbird is a prolific songbird with a singing repertoire that’s hard to match. Males of the species can learn as many as 200 songs and call throughout their lifetimes.

These birds are gray overall, with a lighter shade on their belly and darker one above. The two white wing bars on each have landed them on this list.

Northern mockingbirds can be spotted in suburbs and backyards, towns and parks, as well as forest edges and open lands.

They’re not a common presence at bird feeders, but there are other ways to attract them to your backyard. Namely, by planting berry shrubs such as mulberries, hawthorns, and blackberry brambles.

Other than berries, the Northern Mockingbird feeds on insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, beetles, wasps, and other insects.


If you’re looking for black birds with distinctive markings like white half moons on wings, there are plenty of birds that share this feature.

Sometimes these white markings may look discrete when the bird is at rest or perching on top of trees and become visible when the wings extend in flight.

In some bird species, both the male and and female will have the marking, while in other species only one of the sexes will bear it.

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