Birds are some of the most interesting and unusual creatures on the planet.
They are the last descendants of the dinosaurs, and they have developed along such different lines to both mammals and reptiles that they became their own order of animal.
There are millions of birds on the planet today, but only a few of them have names that start with the letter A.
As such, we decided to create a list of these birds and give you the rundown of what they are like.
American Black Duck
This bird is a large kind of dabbling duck, which means that it gets its food primarily from skimming the water’s surface with its bill and eating anything that sits on the top.
It is only found on the North American continent and is endemic to eastern Canada and the eastern United States.
Although its plumage is a dark brown, its wings more closely resemble a black color in flight with a blue square on the top.
Due to the diverse range of its habitat, the American Black duck has an incredibly varied and rich diet, that consists of land and freshwater residents.
The Antillean Nighthawk is a type of nightjar that makes its home on the islands of the Caribbean, specifically the Greater Antilles.
This bird is distinguished from its closest relative, the Common Nighthawk, by the coloration on its flight feathers.
The Antillean Nighthawk has a large mouth and eyes, so as to catch insects mid-flight during the waning hours of dusk and the brightening hours of dawn.
The natives of these islands have made note of the Nighthawk’s distinctive call, which echoes in the land around it.
A favorite of any bird or flower enthusiasts living along the west coast of America, Anna’s hummingbirds are tiny creatures, having a wingspan of only 4 inches, but make a giant impression with the pink plumage on their head that reflects light and the ever-present drone of their wings.
While they do feed on nectar most of the time, they have also been known to partake of insects and other flying arthropods that happen to come across their path.
While they were limited to Baja California for many years, their numbers have been growing, and they have spread as far north as Canada.
Otherwise known as the Crested Honeycreeper, the ‘Akohekohe is one of the last of the native Hawaiian birds still holding on in Maui in the Hawaiian islands, the only place it is found in the world.
Its survival has come about because of three factors: its size, its habitat, and its behavior.
It is the largest of the Honeycreepers and lives in high elevation wet forests – far away from humans – with its food of choice being flower nectar, which it defends with aggressive displays and surprising effectiveness.
These three things have allowed the Honeycreeper to cling on in its homeland.
Avocets are a group of waders that exist on every continent, except for Antarctica.
They are medium-sized birds with long thin legs and upward curving thin beaks.
They skim these beaks at the surface of brackish or saline heavy water in order to catch any food – insects, arthropods, or otherwise – that may be sitting at the surface.
When alone they are vulnerable, but as a group or colony they will fiercely defend their colony or territory from others, including any creature that simply wants to nest there.
The most common variety is the Pied Avocet, which roosts from the UK and West Africa all the way to the Russian Far East.
The Arctic Tern is a migratory bird that, as its name would suggest, is strongly tied to the polar and subpolar regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
While its range can reach as far south as Massachusetts, it normally stays close to the Polar north in countries like Norway, Iceland, Russia, Canada, Ireland, and the UK.
They have a sleek body with a mottled gray and white color, while the plumage on their head remains completely black.
These birds mainly feed on shoaling fish, like herring or cod, following them and picking them off.
They will also feed on crustaceans, arthropods, and even berries to fill their bellies, with some resorting to stealing food from other birds to feed themselves.
One thing that should be noted about the tern is that its wings are more angular than most birds.
This is because terns never stop in one place for too long and, in fact, basically in a form of constant migratory movements.
Moving back to the Americas now, we have the Anhinga, also known as the Snakebird.
The Anhinga is native to the regions of Central and South America, with significant populations populating the coasts of the United States southern regions.
The Anhinga is a large bird with an extraordinarily long neck.
This neck, combined with its incredibly sharp beak, is used to spear fish after the Anhinga has rapidly pursued them through the water.
While it cannot fly a long distance with wet wings, it can swim very fast and run if it needs to.
This little owl is endemic to the island of Hispaniola, which is split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
It resembles an American Barn Owl, but its color is darker and the white feathers you would normally see on a Barn Owl’s face are speckled with dark and ashy colors.
The bird does not migrate, is nocturnal, and feeds mostly on an array of small vertebrates, particularly small mammals like rodents, however it also has a taste for small birds and lizards as well.
The Ashy-faced Owl is said to emit a terrifying shrill scream that can be heard throughout the night on the island.
With the sheer amount of birds in the world, there are bound to be few with their name starting with the letter A.
However, the ones on this list are amazing and interesting beyond what their name’s first letter is.