The Rare And Unique Birds That Start With X

As one of the rarest starting letters for bird names, X birds are highly prized additions for avid birders looking to expand their life lists. Though few in number, these birds showcase incredible qualities that make them gems of the avian world.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: some birds that start with X include the Xantus’s Hummingbird, Xantus’s Murrelet, Xingu Swift, and Xingu Rail.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key identification features, distribution, habitat, diet, breeding, and conservation status of every major bird species starting with the letter X. Whether you are new to birding or a seasoned pro, you are certain to discover some exotic and fascinating X birds to watch for on your next birding adventure.

Xantus’s Hummingbird

One of the rare and unique birds that starts with the letter X is the Xantus’s Hummingbird. This fascinating bird is named after a Hungarian explorer, John Xantus, who collected the first specimen in Baja California in the 1850s.

Xantus’s Hummingbird is known for its vibrant colors and distinctive behavior, making it a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.


The Xantus’s Hummingbird is a small bird, measuring about 3.5 to 4 inches in length. The male has a shiny green crown and back, with a white breast and belly. It also has a long, straight beak and a forked tail, which adds to its unique appearance.

The female, on the other hand, has a duller coloration, with more grayish tones.

Range and Habitat

Xantus’s Hummingbird is native to the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. It is mainly found in arid coastal areas, including scrublands, desert canyons, and cactus forests. These birds are highly adapted to the dry climate and can be seen feeding on the nectar of various desert flowers.

They are known to be territorial and often defend their feeding grounds vigorously.


Xantus’s Hummingbird is known for its acrobatic flight and agility. It can hover in mid-air, fly backward, and make sharp turns with incredible precision. Like other hummingbirds, it has a high metabolic rate and needs to consume large amounts of nectar to fuel its energy.

Apart from nectar, it also feeds on small insects and spiders, which provide essential protein for its diet.

Conservation Status

The Xantus’s Hummingbird is considered a species of least concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, its population is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, mainly due to human activities such as urbanization and agriculture.

Conservation efforts are in place to protect its natural habitat and raise awareness about the importance of preserving this unique bird species.

For more information about Xantus’s Hummingbird, you can visit the Audubon Society website or the IUCN Red List.

Xantus’s Murrelet

The Xantus’s Murrelet is a rare and unique bird that starts with the letter X. It is named after the Hungarian ornithologist John Xantus de Vesey, who first discovered this species in the mid-19th century.

This small seabird belongs to the Alcidae family and is known for its distinctive appearance and behavior.


Xantus’s Murrelets are small birds, measuring around 9-10 inches in length. They have a blackish-brown plumage with white underparts. One of the distinguishing features of this species is the white crescent-shaped patch behind its eye.

They also have a short, stubby bill and webbed feet, which make them excellent divers.

Range and Habitat

The Xantus’s Murrelet is primarily found along the Pacific coast of North America, from southern California to Baja California in Mexico. They inhabit rocky cliffs and offshore islands, where they nest in crevices and burrows.

These birds are highly adapted to a marine environment and spend most of their time at sea, foraging for small fish, crustaceans, and squid.


Xantus’s Murrelets are known for their agile diving skills. They can plunge into the water from great heights and swim underwater for extended periods to catch their prey. These birds are also excellent fliers and can travel long distances to find suitable foraging grounds.

During the breeding season, they form small colonies and lay a single egg in their nesting burrows.

Conservation Status

The Xantus’s Murrelet is listed as a species of concern by various conservation organizations due to its small population size and limited breeding range. The destruction of coastal habitats, disturbance from human activities, and predation by introduced species pose significant threats to their survival.

Efforts are being made to protect their nesting sites and raise awareness about the importance of conserving this unique bird species.

To learn more about Xantus’s Murrelet, you can visit the Audubon Society website, which provides detailed information about their habitat, behavior, and conservation efforts.

Xingu Swift

The Xingu Swift is a rare and unique bird species that starts with the letter X. It is a small bird known for its swift and agile flight. This species is found in the Xingu River basin in Brazil, which is its primary range.


The Xingu Swift has a distinct appearance that sets it apart from other bird species. It has a dark brown or black plumage with a slightly glossy sheen. The wings are long and narrow, allowing for fast and precise aerial maneuvers. It also has a short, forked tail that aids in its flight.

Range and Habitat

The Xingu Swift is endemic to the Xingu River basin in Brazil. It primarily inhabits the tropical rainforests and surrounding areas in this region. These birds are often found near water sources such as rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

They prefer areas with dense vegetation where they can find suitable nesting sites.


These swifts are highly social birds and are often seen in large flocks. They communicate with each other using high-pitched chirps and calls. Xingu Swifts are known for their impressive flight abilities, including their swift and agile maneuvers in the air.

They primarily feed on insects, which they catch mid-flight.

Conservation Status

The Xingu Swift is currently listed as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, due to habitat loss and degradation caused by deforestation in the Xingu River basin, their population may be at risk in the future.

Efforts are underway to protect and conserve their habitat to ensure the long-term survival of this unique bird species.

Xingu Rail

The Xingu Rail is a rare and unique bird species that starts with the letter X. It is a small to medium-sized bird belonging to the rail family. This bird is known for its distinctive appearance and interesting behaviors.


The Xingu Rail has a striking plumage with a combination of black, white, and chestnut colors. It has a long and curved bill, which is adapted for probing in mud and vegetation. The bird has short wings and a long tail, which aids in its agile movement through dense vegetation.

Range and Habitat

The Xingu Rail is endemic to the Xingu River basin in Brazil. It is primarily found in the wetlands, marshes, and flooded forests within this region. The bird prefers habitats with dense vegetation and water bodies, as it feeds on insects, small invertebrates, and plant matter.


The Xingu Rail is a secretive bird that spends most of its time hidden among the vegetation. It is known for its ability to walk on floating vegetation and swim when necessary. The bird is also a proficient flier, using short bursts of flight to move between different areas of its habitat.

The Xingu Rail is a territorial bird and defends its territory through vocalizations and displays. It is a solitary bird, except during the breeding season when pairs form and build nests in the dense vegetation near water sources.

Conservation Status

The Xingu Rail is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The main threats to its population include habitat loss due to deforestation, pollution of water sources, and disturbance from human activities.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect its habitat and raise awareness about the importance of preserving this unique bird species.


Though few birds possess names starting with the letter X, those that do represent some truly special species for avid bird enthusiasts across the world. We hope this guide provided valuable information to identify and appreciate the handful of exotic X birds waiting to be discovered.

Next time you pick up your binoculars and peer skyward, remember these rare and remarkable birds and the treasures they represent. Your passion for birding will surely grow with the addition of each new X bird sighting and lifer!

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