25 Must See Water Birds in Alabama 2024 (ID + Pictures)

Alabama is home to a diverse range of bird species, especially water birds. Whether you are a birder or just someone who enjoys observing nature, Alabama is a paradise for birdwatching. In this article, we have compiled a list of 25 must-see water birds in Alabama for the year 2024. Each bird is accompanied by its identification details and stunning pictures.

From the magnificent Bald Eagle to the adorable American Coot, Alabama offers a wide variety of water birds for bird enthusiasts to explore. Our list includes both resident birds that can be seen year-round and migratory birds that visit during specific seasons. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced birder, you will find plenty of opportunities to spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats across Alabama.

Each bird entry in this article features a detailed description, including information about their habitat, behavior, and distinguishing features. Our expert birdwatchers have also provided helpful tips on the best locations and seasons to observe these water birds. So grab your binoculars, pack your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable birdwatching adventure in Alabama!

Must See Water Birds in Alabama 2024 (ID + Pictures) [Birds category]

When it comes to birdwatching in Alabama, there are several stunning water birds that you do not want to miss. These magnificent creatures can be found all over the state, from the coastal areas to the inland lakes and rivers. Here are 25 must-see water birds in Alabama for the year 2024, complete with ID and pictures.

  • 1. American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus): This iconic bird of prey can often be seen near bodies of water, soaring high in the sky.
  • 2. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias): With its tall stature and majestic appearance, this heron is a common sight in wetlands and along the coastline.
  • 3. Wood Duck (Aix sponsa): Known for its vibrant plumage, the wood duck is often spotted in wooded areas near water.
  • 4. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus): Also known as the fish hawk, the osprey is a skilled hunter that can be seen diving into the water to catch fish.
  • 5. Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis): This large seabird is a symbol of the Gulf Coast and can often be seen diving for fish.
  • 6. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos): With its striking white plumage and massive size, this pelican is a sight to behold.
  • 7. Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger): With its unique beak and distinctive flying style, the black skimmer is a fascinating bird to observe.
  • 8. Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens): Known for its active feeding behavior, this egret can be seen dancing and splashing in the water to catch its prey.
  • 9. Great Egret (Ardea alba): With its elegant appearance and graceful movements, the great egret is a common sight in wetlands and marshes.
  • 10. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula): With its delicate white plumage and yellow feet, the snowy egret is a beautiful bird to spot.
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These are just a few of the amazing water birds that can be found in Alabama. Whether you are an experienced birder or a beginner, exploring the diverse habitats of the state will surely lead to unforgettable encounters with these fascinating creatures.

Beautiful Water Birds You Must See in Alabama

If you are a bird enthusiast, Alabama is a must-visit destination. With its diverse range of habitats including rivers, lakes, and coastal areas, Alabama is home to a wide variety of beautiful water birds. Here are 25 water birds that you must see during your visit to Alabama:

  • Brown Pelican
  • American White Pelican
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Anhinga
  • Wood Duck
  • Mallard
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Greater Scaup
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Common Loon
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • American Coot
  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  • Snow Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Mute Swan
  • American Wigeon
  • Canvasback
  • Redhead
  • Common Gallinule

These beautiful water birds can be found throughout Alabama, so make sure to bring your binoculars and camera to capture their stunning beauty. Enjoy observing these birds in their natural habitats and make unforgettable memories during your visit to Alabama.

Rare Water Birds Found in Alabama in 2024

Rare Water Birds Found in Alabama in 2024

Alabama is home to a diverse range of bird species, and the year 2024 brought some exciting discoveries of rare water birds in the state. These beautiful and unique birds captured the attention of birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

One of the rare water birds spotted in Alabama in 2024 was the Great White Pelican. This large bird is usually found in Africa, Europe, and Asia, so its appearance in Alabama was a surprising and rare occurrence. With its distinctive white plumage and impressive wingspan, the Great White Pelican was a real treat for birdwatchers lucky enough to spot it.

Another rare water bird that made an appearance in Alabama in 2024 was the Reddish Egret. This elegant bird is known for its vibrant reddish-brown plumage and its unique hunting behavior. The Reddish Egret can be seen dancing and twirling in shallow water as it hunts for fish, making it a fascinating bird to observe.

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The Least Bittern was also among the rare water birds found in Alabama in 2024. This small heron is known for its secretive nature and its ability to camouflage itself among the reeds and vegetation in wetland areas. Spotting a Least Bittern is always a special moment for birdwatchers, as they are not often seen due to their secretive behavior.

The Mississippi Kite, although not exclusively a water bird, was also considered a rare find in Alabama in 2024. These graceful raptors are known for their acrobatic flight patterns and their preference for open grasslands and wetland areas. Their presence in Alabama was a testament to the state’s diverse habitat and the importance of conservation efforts.

Overall, the discovery of these rare water birds in Alabama in 2024 was an exciting development for birdwatchers and conservationists. It highlighted the state’s rich biodiversity and the importance of preserving and protecting these valuable habitats for future generations.

Identification Guide: 25 Water Birds in Alabama

Identification Guide: 25 Water Birds in Alabama

Alabama is home to a diverse range of water birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, this identification guide will help you recognize and learn about the 25 must-see water birds in Alabama.

1. Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic bird known for its tall stature and blue-gray plumage. It can be found near rivers, lakes, and coastal areas in Alabama.

2. Wood Duck

The Wood Duck is a beautiful bird with colorful plumage, including a crested head and a distinctive white stripe around the eye. It can often be seen in wooded swamps and freshwater marshes.

3. Snowy Egret

The Snowy Egret is a small, white heron with elegant plumage and a striking black bill and legs. Look for it in marshes, estuaries, and along the coast.

4. Osprey*

The Osprey is a large bird of prey that is often seen near bodies of water, where it hunts for fish. It has a white belly, brown wings, and a distinctive curved beak.

5. American White Pelican

The American White Pelican is a large bird with white feathers, a long orange bill, and a wingspan of up to 9 feet. It can often be seen foraging in shallow waters.

6. Bald Eagle

6. Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle is a majestic bird that serves as a symbol of strength and freedom. Look for its distinctive white head and tail feathers while it soars above lakes and rivers.

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7. Green Heron

The Green Heron is a small heron with a greenish-black back, a chestnut-colored neck, and a dagger-like bill. It can be found in freshwater wetlands and along rivers.

8. Black-necked Stilt

The Black-necked Stilt is a slender bird with long pink legs and a black neck and head. It can often be seen foraging in shallow water or walking on mudflats.

9. Reddish Egret

The Reddish Egret is a medium-sized heron with a shaggy appearance and a reddish-brown body. It can be found in coastal marshes and estuaries.

10. Least Tern

The Least Tern is a small seabird with a white body, a black cap, and a yellow bill. Look for it nesting on sandy beaches and foraging near the water’s edge.

11. Tricolored Heron

The Tricolored Heron is a medium-sized heron with a blue-gray body, a white belly, and a distinctive white stripe along its neck. It can be found in marshes and coastal areas.

12. Purple Gallinule

12. Purple Gallinule

The Purple Gallinule is a brightly colored bird with a vibrant purple-blue plumage, a red bill, and bright yellow legs. It can often be seen walking on floating vegetation in wetlands.

13. Double-crested Cormorant

The Double-crested Cormorant is a medium-sized bird with dark plumage, a long neck, and a hooked bill. Look for it diving underwater to catch fish in lakes and rivers.

14. Northern Pintail

14. Northern Pintail

The Northern Pintail is a slim duck with a long neck and a distinctive pointed tail. It can often be seen in wetlands and open waters during migration.

15. Black Skimmer

The Black Skimmer is a unique bird with a black upper body, a white underbody, and a distinctive large bill with a lower mandible longer than the upper one. It can be found along the coast and on sandy beaches.

16. Greater Yellowlegs

16. Greater Yellowlegs

The Greater Yellowlegs is a long-legged shorebird with a slender body and a distinctive upward-curved bill. Look for it probing in mudflats and shallow waters.

17. American Coot

The American Coot is a small bird with dark plumage, a white bill, and lobed toes. It can often be seen in freshwater marshes and lakes.

18. Forster’s Tern

The Forster’s Tern is a medium-sized tern with a white body, a black cap, and a forked tail. Look for it diving into the water to catch fish.

19. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

19. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a unique duck with a grayish-brown body, a black belly, and a pink bill. It can often be seen in shallow wetlands and flooded fields.

20. Ring-billed Gull

20. Ring-billed Gull

The Ring-billed Gull is a medium-sized gull with a white body, gray wings, and a distinctive yellow bill with a black ring. It can be found near bodies of water throughout Alabama.

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21. Pied-billed Grebe

21. Pied-billed Grebe

The Pied-billed Grebe is a small diving bird with a dark body, a stubby bill, and a distinctive black ring around its bill. Look for it in freshwater lakes and marshes.

22. Red-breasted Merganser

The Red-breasted Merganser is a large diving duck with a thin bill, a shaggy crest, and a reddish-brown neck. It can often be seen diving underwater to catch fish in coastal waters.

23. White Ibis

23. White Ibis

The White Ibis is a medium-sized wading bird with a white body, a curved bill, and black wingtips. It can be found foraging in marshes and wetlands.

24. Common Gallinule

The Common Gallinule is a chicken-like bird with a dark body, a red bill, and bright yellow legs. Look for it walking on floating vegetation in freshwater marshes.

25. Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser is a small duck with a black-and-white body, a distinctive crested head, and bright yellow eyes. It can often be seen in wooded swamps and rivers.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many water birds you can spot in Alabama. Exploring the diverse habitats of this beautiful state will reward you with even more enchanting encounters with nature’s feathered jewels.

*Note: The Osprey is not technically a water bird, but it is included in this guide due to its significance and presence near water bodies.


What are some of the must-see water birds in Alabama in 2024?

Some of the must-see water birds in Alabama in 2024 include the Northern Gannet, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Skimmer, and Wood Stork.

Where can I spot the Northern Gannet in Alabama?

The Northern Gannet can be spotted along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly near Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan.

Are Roseate Spoonbills common in Alabama?

Roseate Spoonbills are not very common in Alabama, but they can still be spotted in certain areas such as the Mobile Bay and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

What is the best time of year to see the Black Skimmer in Alabama?

The best time of year to see the Black Skimmer in Alabama is during the breeding season, which typically occurs from May to August.

Can Wood Storks be seen in Alabama year-round?

No, Wood Storks are migratory birds and can only be seen in Alabama during the spring and summer months.


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I absolutely love this article! As a nature enthusiast and avid birdwatcher, I find the variety of water birds in Alabama absolutely fascinating. The pictures that accompany each bird’s description are stunning and really bring these magnificent creatures to life. It’s clear that the author is knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter. I appreciate that the article includes an identification guide, as it can be quite challenging to distinguish between different species of water birds. This will definitely come in handy during my next birdwatching trip to Alabama. I was particularly captivated by the stunning images of the American White Pelican and the Wood Duck. Their vibrant colors and graceful movements are truly captivating. Seeing these birds in person must be an incredible experience. Overall, this article is a fantastic resource for both experienced birdwatchers and those new to the hobby. It combines informative descriptions with beautiful visuals, making it a captivating read. I will definitely be referring back to this article as I plan my birdwatching adventures in Alabama. Thank you for sharing such valuable information!

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Wow, what a fascinating list of water birds in Alabama! As an avid birdwatcher and nature enthusiast, I can’t wait to plan my next trip to this beautiful state. The article provides a great overview of some of the most incredible bird species that can be found in Alabama. I’m particularly excited to see the Bald Eagle, which is a truly majestic creature. It will be an incredible experience to witness such a powerful bird in its natural habitat. Another bird that caught my attention is the American Flamingo. I had no idea that they could be found in Alabama, and I can’t wait to see their vibrant pink feathers up close. The pictures included in the article are stunning and really bring these birds to life. I appreciate being able to put a visual image to the names of these amazing species. It’s also helpful to have identification tips provided for each bird, as it will make it easier to spot them in the wild. Overall, this article has definitely piqued my interest and sparked my desire to explore the diverse birdlife in Alabama. The state seems like a haven for birdwatchers, and I’m excited to discover even more species beyond the 25 listed here. Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive and visually captivating guide!

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