5 Interesting Birds Beginning With ‘F’ You May Never Have Heard Of

The latest in our series of ‘birds beginning with’ articles is the letter F.

5 Interesting Birds Beginning With 'F' You May Never Have Heard Of

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at five bird species that we think are worthy of a little more attention than they get. Without any further ado, let’s get right to it! 

Fernandina’s Flicker

Fernandina’s Flicker

This species, endemic to the Caribbean island state of Cuba, is a member of the woodpecker family.

Sadly, it is among the most endangered species of woodpecker in the world, with a population of just 600-800 individuals.

Although never common, the species was previously found right across Cuba, although now it is limited to isolated pockets across the island’s dry forests, savanna, swamps, and pastures.

The biggest population, estimated at around 120 individuals, is found in the Zapata Swamp on Cuba’s west coast.

Habitat loss due to farming and logging, as well as repeated hurricane damage, are the biggest threats to this species’ survival. 

Fernandina’s Flicker is a medium-sized woodpecker, typically measuring about 14/15 inches in length, and is mostly a yellowish tan in color with varying amounts of black barring. The male is distinguished from the female by its black moustachial stripe.  

Fiordland Penguin

Fiordland Penguin

Most people think of the penguin as an antarctic bird, conjuring up images of emperor penguins huddling against the cold and snow.

But in reality, penguins are not an Antarctic bird but a Southern Hemisphere bird, and can be found in a variety of habitats and climates.

One such bird is the Fiordland Penguin, a crested penguin species endemic to the South Island of New Zealand and its outlying islands.

The species is named for ‘Fiordland’, a geographical region in the southwest of the South Island where the penguins are most commonly found.

It is characterized by high mountain peaks, deep glacial valleys, and large fiords, often called ‘sounds’. 

The Fiordland penguin is a medium-sized penguin, growing to approximately 24 inches in length and weighing on average about 8lbs.

Like most penguins, it is primarily black and white, though its most prominent characteristic is its large yellow crest, which extends from the bill over the top of the eyes and down the back of the neck.

Fiordland penguins primarily eat squid, though they also eat fish and crustaceans like krill. 

Fiordland penguins are classed as near threatened as a result of having lost much of their former range. 

Frigatebird

Frigatebird

Frigatebirds are a family of seabirds that are found in tropical and subtropical ocean habitats.

There are five extant species of frigatebird. They are characterized by their dark black plumage, long hooked bills, and long, forked tails.

Males and females look slightly different; the female has a distinctive white underbelly, whilst the male has a large red gular pouch on the throat that is inflated to attract females during the mating season. 

The frigatebird has an extremely large wingspan for a bird its size, reaching lengths of up to 7.5ft from tip to tip.

In fact, this means that the frigatebird has the biggest wingspan to body weight ratio of any living bird species.

This wingspan allows the frigatebird to soar for weeks on the ocean winds, spending most of their days on the hunt for prey like fish and squid. 

Another interesting fact about the frigatebird is that it has the longest duration of parental care among any bird species.

They may only breed once every other year due to this fact, and it is thought that they only reach full sexual maturity at eight to eleven years old depending on sex.  

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

The ferruginous hawk is a large bird of prey native to the arid prairie and grasslands of North America, mostly concentrated down the grassy spine of North America, extending from Canada down into Mexico, known as the Great Plains. 

Its name, ‘ferruginous’, comes from the Latin word for iron rust, ‘ferrugin’, and refers to the reddish brown color of the bird’s plumage.

In terms of size, the ferruginous hawk is the largest of the North American Buteos, a genus of raptors often known as buzzards in the world.

Females are larger than males, but this species typically measures between 20-27 inches in length, with a wingspan of 48-60 inches.

The average weight of a ferruginous hawk depends on which part of its range it is found, typically being heavier in the north, averaging about 2lbs to 4lbs. 

Because of the ferruginous hawk’s large size and aggressive behavior, they are often mistaken for eagles at a glance.

They are a popular falconry bird, but because of this behavior, are not recommended for beginners and are usually used only by experienced falconers in pursuit of larger hares and jackrabbits. 

Frogmouth

Frogmouth

Frogmouths are a group of birds found in southeast Asia and Australasia.

They are nocturnal birds, feeding on insects at night and resting horizontally on branches during the day due to their comparatively weak flight.

They have been known to occasionally take larger prey, like frogs and mice, though this is not the origin of their name.

Instead, the frogmouth is so named due to its large flattened bill and accompanying large frog-like gape which it uses to hoover up insects.

Although they look somewhat like owls and have similar predatory behavior, the frogmouth is most closely related to swifts, hummingbirds, and owlet-nightjars. 

One particularly interesting fact about the frogmouth is that an April 2021 study by researchers from Jena in Germany found it to be the ‘most Instagrammable’ bird species on earth.

Using an algorithm to compare the aesthetic appeal of more than 27,000 bird photographs, the researchers found that the frogmouth had the highest number of likes relative to its exposure to Instagram. 

Final Thoughts

So there we have it; Fernandina’s Flicker, the Fiordland Penguin, the Frigatebird, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Frogmouth.

Four birds beginning with F that are all totally different, and yet each interesting and valuable in their own right.

Hopefully, by continuing to draw attention to these beautiful birds, we can support their ongoing conservation and protection.

Finally, checkout the entire series of birds that start with or begin with the letter: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

Olivia Kepner