Southern Texas has some of the most colorful bird species in the country. The stunning Altamira Oriole is a common sight along with beautiful Green Jays, and a host of warblers during migration. However, other much less colorful birds can look just as beautiful. Some of the nicest looking birds are just plumaged in plain old black, white, and various shades of gray.
One of the most striking and easily recognizable warblers is the appropriately named Black and White Warbler.
The Black and White Warbler is the only North American wood warbler with such a striking black and white pattern. It is also one of the only warblers that creeps up tree trunks and along branches kind of like a Brown Creeper.
Although these are common migrants in southern Texas, it is always a treat to get photos of these dapper little birds.
The Black-crested Titmouse is another dapper little bird although this one is a common, year-round resident in the valley. Since it comes to feeders, it is not too difficult to photograph but its still nice to get good images of this feisty bunch of feathered energy.
Speaking of feathered bundles of energy, the bird above is almost as hyperactive as a hummingbird. The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher seems to never stop flicking its tail back and forth as it searches the vegetation for small insects. I was very pleased to get a close shot of this tiny, active bird.
One of the other common passerines in southern Texas to show dapper, black and gray plumage is the Gray Catbird. Although it is related to the mockingbirds, this sleek slender bird looks quite similar to the Eurasian Blackcap, an unrelated common European songbird.
Birds plumaged in gray, black, and white also occur in wetland habitats. Both Franklin’s and Laughing Gulls are a common sight at this time of the year. You can tell the Laughing Gulls in this image by their slightly heftier size and extensive black in the primaries.
I end this post with a picture of one of the more showy black and white birds of southern Texas. Crested Caracaras are one of our more common raptor species and add a touch of color to their striking plumage with a reddish- orange face and yellow-orange legs.