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Birds That Have a Black Stripe Across Their Eyes

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Black eye lines are quite common in birds and they vary in degree from a tiny black stripe to a full sized mask that covers not only the eyes but much of the face as well, such as in the cardinal. This coloring is most common in woodpeckers but can be found in a large number of birds; sparrows and mallard ducks included.

A Variety of Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers with black stripes on the eye include the downy woodpecker, with a red cap on the head, the yellow-bellied sapsucker, with a yellow collar around the neck, the hairy woodpecker, with a longer bill than the downy and a more erect posture, the ladder-back who lives among the cacti of the American southwest, nuttall's woodpecker, a red-capped bird from the oak forests of California, and the red cockaded woodpecker, a United States native living in mature pine forests.

A Few Sparrows and the Longspur

There are three sparrows with black stripes on their eyes. These are the chipping sparrow, with a black eye stripe and red head, the house sparrow, with a golden brown back, and a narrow black mask; the golden crowned sparrow, with a wide black stripe across the eyes, a gray and brown body and a yellow head. The chestnut-collared longspur looks like a sparrow but isn't and has a black striped face and a brown neck.

Blue Jays and Western Scrub Jays

The blue jay has a black stripe across the eyes and is a large bird with a blue crest on its head. Western scrub jays have a similar size and shape, plus the black stripe across the eyes. Yet the Western scrub jay has no head crest, though it still presents a form of the well known blue jay coloring. Its blue, black and white colors are not as pronounced as the blue jay's.

Cardinals and the Vermilion Fly-catcher

The male cardinal is a bright red, while the female is more of a dull brown. The cardinal's face is black around the bill with a large black mask across the eyes in both genders. The Vermilion Fly-catcher male is similar to the cardinal but without the head crest. He has a black mask around the eyes, that is nearly covered by a fluffy red crown. The female has just a tiny black eye stripe.

Mallard and Mallard Hybrid Ducks

Mallard ducks have black eye stripes extending from the base of the bill, almost to the back of the head. On the male this stripe is only visible when the bird is in molt and most or all of the head colorings are missing. On the female and the young, the stripe is present at all times. Mallard hybrids often have the same eye stripe, usually making their identity as mallards an obvious one.