12 Small Birds With Long Necks (With Pictures)

Check out these 12 birds with long necks, a shape that might not be as familiar to us in our everyday encounters. Typically, these birds have larger bodies and long legs to match their extended necks. Their elongated necks serve multiple purposes, like keeping a lookout for predators hiding in low vegetation or aiding in fishing and reaching sediment in shallow waters. Explore where you can spot these common long-necked birds.

Here we will learn about 12 Birds with long necks



Meet the ostrich, Africa’s own feathered giant. Found in diverse habitats including savannas, grasslands, woodlands, and deserts, these birds thrive in open spaces with minimal vegetation. Standing tall at 6.9-9 feet, they’re not only the largest but also the fastest birds on the planet, clocking speeds of up to 70 km/h. Despite their impressive stature, they’re not without threats, facing off against lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs. Their height and long necks serve as a lookout tower, aiding them in spotting predators from afar and making a quick escape. As for their diet, ostriches have a varied palate, munching on roots, shrubs, fruit, flowers, leaves, seeds, and occasionally indulging in insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars during certain seasons.

2. EMU


Meet the emu, a hefty, flightless bird native to Australia. Resembling the ostrich, these creatures sport a shaggy coat of grayish-brown feathers that reach partway up their long necks. Their extended necks serve as lookout towers, helping them stay vigilant against their main predator, the dingo.

Emus are daytime creatures, spending their hours foraging for food, resting, and tending to their feathers. During the breeding season from December to January, male emus strut their stuff with courtship dances to attract females. Females typically lay between 5 to 24 eggs per season, carefully nesting them amidst dried grasses.



Meet the Goliath heron, a majestic giant among herons. Stretching up to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of around 7.7 feet, it holds the title for the largest heron species. Originating from Africa, these impressive birds also inhabit regions including Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of India. While they typically go solo outside of breeding season, during mating time, you might catch them mingling with others of their kind.

Sporting lengthy necks, Goliath herons are adept fishers and amphibian catchers. They stalk their prey by wading through water, necks extended, scanning for movement. Upon spotting a potential meal, they swiftly strike with their sharp bills to secure their catch.



The Great Egret, are large wading birds with long necks, is found worldwide, including North America, in shallow water habitats. With a wingspan up to five feet, it’s one of the largest herons. Recognizable by its long dark legs and extended neck, it preys on amphibians, snakes, crayfish, and aquatic insects. Once hunted for its prized white plumes.



  • Scientific Name: Anhinga anhinga
  • Size: 3 feet

Anhingas, aquatic birds found from the eastern United States to South America, inhabit shallow freshwater areas like wetlands and lagoons. Known for their long, snake-like necks, they swim with only their necks above water, earning the nickname “snake bird”. They also sport long turkey-like tail feathers. With a length of 3 feet and a wingspan of 3.7 feet, they primarily feed on fish, spearing them with their sharp bills while swimming underwater. Despite frequent water activities, their feathers aren’t waterproof like ducks, necessitating sun-drying with outstretched wings after swimming.



  • Scientific Name: Cygnus buccinator
  • Size: 4.6-5.5 feet

Trumpeter swans, large and elegant, are native to North America. They breed in Alaska, parts of Canada, and the Great Lakes, then migrate to coastal British Columbia and scattered spots in the U.S. These hefty birds, weighing over 25 pounds, require ample open water space to take flight, about 100 yards or more. They prefer living near wetlands, nesting close to water, and even use their webbed feet to cover their eggs for incubation.

Trumpeter swans boast a snowy white plumage, contrasting with black feet and beak. Once nearly extinct, they’re gradually rebounding. Their diet consists of aquatic plants and insects, but they also dine on berries, grasses, grains, and tubers during winter.



  • Scientific Name: Antigone canadensis
  • Size: 4 feet

Sandhill cranes, resembling herons but bulkier, inhabit North America. They breed from the northern U.S. up to the Arctic and winter in spots like California, Texas, Mexico, and Florida. During migration, they fly in large groups, emitting loud trumpeting calls. Named after Nebraska’s Sandhills region, they make a significant stop there en route between winter and summer grounds. Nests, built with sticks and grasses, are placed in open wet grasslands. They typically wait 2-7 years before breeding and mate for life.



  • Scientific Name: Casuarius casuarius
  • Size: 5.8 feet

The Southern Cassowary, a large flightless birds with long necks, resides in rainforests across Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. With unique features like powerful legs, bristly black feathers, a blue face, red neck-wattles, and a sturdy casque atop their head, they stand out. Feeding on forest floor delicacies like fungi, insects, small animals, and fruits, even those toxic to others, they’re quite the foragers.

Known for their danger, they possess powerful legs capable of high jumps and forceful kicks, each foot armed with three toes boasting large, sharp claws.



  • Scientific Name: Egretta caerulea
  • Size: 2.5 feet

The Little Blue Heron, a dainty wader, can be spotted from North America to Central and South America. Along the Gulf and southeast coasts of the U.S. is where they’re most commonly seen year-round. Recognizable by their slim bill, long neck, and blue-gray body with a purple-maroon head and neck, plus greenish legs. Juveniles sport white feathers until they mature, helping them blend in with other white herons and egrets for added protection in their first year.

Whether resting or flying, these herons hold their long necks in an elegant S-shape. They inhabit various water bodies like ponds, lakes, marshes, and swamps, hunting fish, frogs, snakes, and small prey. Their elongated neck aids in spotting and spearing their meals with precision.



  • Scientific Name: Eudocimus albus
  • Size: 2.3 feet

The white ibis, found along the coast of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Gulf and southeast coast, sports a long neck and a pink curved beak used for probing mud and sediment for food. They feed in shallow waters, about 10 to 15 cm deep, dining on insects, worms, crayfish, lizards, snails, crabs, and other small creatures.

Easily recognizable by their white bodies and black-edged wings, white ibises are highly sociable birds often seen in groups while feeding, flying, or nesting. At night, they roost together in trees.



  • Scientific Name: Egretta tricolor
  • Size: 1.8-2.5 feet

The Tricolored Heron, a medium-sized bird with a long neck, resides in North America and along the coasts of Central and South America. Recognizable by their blue-gray bodies with purplish highlights, white bellies, and neck stripes, they’re often seen with their necks curved when resting or flying.

Inhabiting marshes, swamps, and mudflats, they feed on small fish, crustaceans, and insects in shallow water. These herons tend to be solitary with strong territorial instincts.



  • Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus roseus
  • Size: 4-5 feet

Greater Flamingos, the tallest flamingo species, are large, long-legged birds found in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia. They inhabit shallow lakes and muddy beaches, using their 19 cervical vertebrae to reach food like algae and crustaceans in the water. Their distinctive color comes from carotenoid pigments obtained from their diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the name of the birds with long necks?

The bird with a long neck is called a “crane.”

Q2: What bird extends its neck?

The bird that extends its neck is commonly known as a “stork.”

Q3: What bird looks like a heron but is smaller?

The bird resembling a heron but smaller in size is called an “egret.”

Q4: What is a scavenger bird with a long neck?

A scavenger bird with a long neck is typically referred to as a “vulture.”

Mya Bambrick

I am a lifelong bird lover and nature enthusiast. I admire birds for their beauty, diversity, and intelligence. Birding is more than a hobby for me; it is a way of life. Therefore, I created this website to provide better and quality information about bird species. You know there are many bird species in the world right now. I started a path to introduce you to birds one by one.

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