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8 Incredible Birds You’ll Only See in Florida

Be ready to be amazed! These birds you’ll only see in Florida 

The Sunshine Estate is just a marvelous place to visit, and you should put it on your travel list this year, of course, if you haven’t been there by now! And if you go, there is always a second time, a third time, and so on to rediscover Florida’s magic. I could never get enough of it anyway.

Besides enchanting beaches and many other wonders, Florida is home to some of the most amazing birds ever found because of the state’s distinctive geographic position and ideal tropical environment.

More than 500 different kinds of birds may be seen in Florida’s dozens of protected areas. Whether you’re a bird expert or just a fan of Mother Nature, you will be blown away by these tiny feathered creatures! Without further ado, these are the birds you’ll only see in Florida:

birds you'll only see in Florida
Photo by Stubblefield Photography from Shutterstock

1. White Crowned Pigeon

Everybody saw pigeons wandering around the city and being as clumsy as they could be, but have you seen the white-crowned pigeon? This tiny one is one of the birds you’ll only see in Florida.

The white-crowned pigeon is a very private bird that only nests in mangrove woods. It is more difficult for travelers to locate since it favors little islands off the mainland. White-crowned pigeons are dark gray with white on the crown of the head, and they are somewhat bigger than the well-known rock pigeon. Feathers on the back of the neck will also be seen in the correct light.

Adults have a pink beak with a white tip and pale yellow eyes. All juveniles are gray, but as they get older, their eyes and crowns lighten. All these pigeons have pink feet. Isn’t that cute? You can spot these feathered fellows off-shore in southern Florida. Since they like to wander a lot, you might also want to check out Everglades National Park, where they reside throughout the entire summer.

Since white-crowned pigeons are the only birds you’ll only see in Florida, if you want to make sure you won’t miss them, get some good binoculars or a camera that allows you to zoom in without damaging the image quality.

2. Short-Tailed Hawk

Despite their menacing figure and the fact that they can be a threat to some small creatures, hawks are among the most beautiful birds out there. Being able to differentiate itself from other birds is mostly due to its sympatric shifts in its light and dark plumage. Its tail is roughly the same length as its body, despite what its name may suggest.

One thing is for sure: since hawks are one of the birds you’ll only see in Florida, it will be a pity not to have a nice camera to take some pictures of them! You never know when you will be able to see it again.

3. Northern Cardinal

Another one on the list of birds you’ll only see in Florida is the extraordinary Northern Cardinal. Typically, Northern Cardinals live in the backyards of homes as well as on the margins of woodlands. Since they live so close to humans, it’s easier for them to get free meals all the time. Lucky!

Female Northern Cardinals’s attire is light brown to greenish brown with occasional red accents, whereas males’s feathers are entirely red with a black facial mask.

4. Limpkin

Limpkins are probably one of the cutest birds on the list! This peculiar bird is usually found in Florida’s moist marshes. Because of its large beak, it can be spotted in these areas eating apple snails, called Pomacea.

Why are limpkins special compared to other birds on the list? Well, they hunt both day and night, and whenever they do it, they make a weird haunting cry, which can’t be exactly described in words, but I can assure you it will have an impact on you if you’re lucky to hear it someday! The physical characteristics of this bird are heron-like, with brown overall feathers dotted with white.

birds you'll only see in Florida
Photo by Wang LiQiang from Shutterstock

5. Roseate Spoonbill

Similar to a flamingo’s feathers, the roseate spoonbill is one of those captivating birds you’ll see only in Florida and nowhere else. This stunning bird has a height of almost two feet, is mostly bright pink, and has a flat, rounded beak that is used for sifting dirt in search of food. They inhabit lagoons, mangrove environments, fresh and saltwater marshes, and other shallow waters around Florida’s coastlines.

Are you looking for some good-quality binoculars for the next time you’re planning to visit Florida and do some birdwatching? I got you! This pair of waterproof binoculars is available on Amazon for $46. Since they’re also portable and easy to carry around, it won’t be a problem to take them with you, even if you travel by plane.

According to customers, this pair of binoculars is versatile and great for birdwatching because it guarantees high focus that won’t hurt your eyes if you need to watch something for a long time. 

6. Florida Scrub Jay

If you’re passionate about birdwatching, among all the birds you’ll only see in Florida, you should also snoop for the Florida Scrub Jay. This little fellow has amazingly blue-colored feathers and is super tiny because its average size is around 12 inches long for both males and females.

The distinctive features of adult birds are the vivid blue tail, wings, and neck. Only scrub oak habitats—especially those with open sandy soil and shrubs—are home to Florida scrub jays. To catch insects and acorns, they congregate in family groupings and hop on the ground and among branches.

If you want to see them, you’ll have to travel to Florida since they don’t travel to other places. Furthermore, the Florida scrub jays are also among the endangered species since there are fewer than 4,000 birds in the world at the moment of speaking.

Don’t worry about finding them in nature since they aren’t that good at hiding, especially with that vivid blue plumage. Plus, they make weird, specific sounds that are easy to recognize.

7. Purple Gallinule

While you go birdwatching in Florida, don’t forget to look for the great purple gallinule! The purple gallinule is a colorful bird that is roughly the size of a chicken. It has blue-green feathers, a red beak with a brilliant yellow tip, and long yellow legs.

Even if these birds can’t fly, they excel when it comes to walking on lily pads. I guess each bird has its own special talent! If you are unable to travel to Florida soon, you can also spot this particular bird in areas like South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, especially near swamps with dense vegetation.

8. Snail Kite

And we got to the end of the list of birds you’ll only see in Florida, and the last bird to mention is the majestic snail kite. These birds have some distinct features; for example, males have dark gray bodies that fade into black at the head and wingtips; the base and tip of the tail are white. Juveniles have brown eyes and a less distinct stripe, while females have red eyes with a white stripe covering their eyes. Both genders are speckled brown and buff.

If you want to spot a sublime Everglade snail kite while you’re visiting Florida, go to Everglades National Park. In case of no luck, you can also try going to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

Are you a bird lover? Then you’ll appreciate reading about hoatzin, the strutting sage-grouse, and a couple of others in this article These 5 Strange Birds Will Shock You!

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