11 Brown Birds with Long Tails (Identification)

Brown birds with long tails are a common sight in many parts of the world. From brown thrashers to flycatchers to shrikes, this vast array of species make up an impressive group of birds. 

With their distinctive coloring and tail lengths, these brown birds have developed amazing adaptations to survive in different climates and habitats. This article will explore the fascinating way that these brown birds with lengthy tails live, how they vary between species, as well as what makes them special.

List of Brown Birds with Long Tails 

1. Brown Thrasher

brown thrasher

Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum

Typically found in eastern North America, the brown thrasher is an interesting long tail brown bird. 


The brown thrasher is a medium-sized bird that can be identified by its long tail and reddish-brown color on its upperparts. Below, this thrasher is white with dark brown markings. Note the long and thick, slightly curved bill and noticeable yellow eyes. 

What do female brown thrashers look like? They resemble males; all brown above and white streaked below. 

How long is its tail? On average, the adult brown thrasher’s tail is 4.3-5.6 inches long and their wingspan ranges from 11.4-12.6 inches. 

The brown thrasher is also known for its ability to mimic the sounds of other birds species, particularly tufted titmouse, northern flickers, and northern cardinals. 

2. Black Falcon

black falcon

Black Falcon – Falco subniger

source: theganglingman

A member of the falcon family, the black falcon is a large bird of prey that is common in inland Queensland. 


With a wingspan of up to 45.3 inches, the bird is mostly dark brown with paler wings. Some birds may look almost black. Note its feathered feet and broad shoulders. 

How long is its tail? Birders have noted the black falcon’s tail is almost the same size as its body. So, with an average body length of 17.7-22 inches, its tail is about 8.3-11 inches.  Note, female falcons are larger than male black falcons. 

In its habitat, the black falcon is an apex predator, feeding primarily on Australian pipits, honeyeaters, and zebra finches. The bird’s call has been described as loud cackles or hacking sounds reminiscent of crows.

3. Indian Paradise Flycatcher

indian paradise flycatcher

Indian paradise flycatcher – Terpsiphone paradisi

source: yashzoi

The Indian paradise flycatcher has one of the most interesting tails on this list. But first, let’s look at its body plumage. 


It’s a brown bird with a glossy black with with black mohawk. Note the blue eyering which is only noticeable up close. Upperparts are chestnut colored while underparts are off-white. 

Male and female paradise flycatchers look alike but their tails are not the same length. On average, the adult flycatcher is about 6.7 inches long.

Male paradise flycatchers have long central tail feathers. The middle tail feathers are twice its body length, so about 13 inches long. Females have shorter tails. 

This bird species also possesses an impressive speed during flight at over 30 mph as well as being incredibly agile with quick maneuvers midair.

4. Black-bellied Cuckoo

Black-bellied Cuckoo

Black-bellied Cuckoo – Piaya melanogaster

source: anmltracker

Black-bellied cuckoos are Central and South American birds that are often confused for their North American cousins; the black-billed cuckoos. 


To tell apart the two species you can identify the black-bellied cuckoo by looking at  their distinctive black belly, oval brown body, red bill and stunning red eyes. Note the yellow patch on its face near its eyes. 

How long is the black-bellied cuckoos tail? The tail of this long-tailed brown bird ranges from 14.7-15.9 inches.

The black-bellied cuckoo is also known for its unique call which has been described as “dyerií-dyu”. This sound is used to attract mates during breeding season, but can also be heard during the nonbreeding season when they are alone. 

5. Pheasant-Tailed Jacana

Pheasant-Tailed Jacana

Pheasant-Tailed Jacana – Hydrophasianus chirurgus

The Pheasant-Tailed Jacana is a beautiful and unique water bird that can be found in India, China, and Southeast Asia. 


This species of jacana is easily identified by its distinctive chocolate brown body as well as its long black tail feathers. 

These beautiful brown birds with long tails have pure white faces and wings. Note the yellow neck patch. 

How long is this jacana’s tail? The average tail length is 9.8 to 13.8 inches long.  

Where do jacanas live? They prefer shallow wetlands such as marshes, ponds, lagoons and flooded fields. They feed mainly on aquatic insects but also consume some plants like grasses and sedges.

6. Rufous Treepie 

 Rufous Treepie 

Rufous Treepie – Dendrocitta vagabunda

Another brown bird with long tail of Southeast Asia that birders enjoy watching is the rufous treepie. 


It is easily identifiable by its rusty brown body, black head and black and white tails and wings. Notice the grayish, slightly hooked bill. The Rufous treepie is known for its loud vocalizations “ko-tree” and “bob-o-link” 

How long is its tail? The rufous treepie’s tail is about 11.8 inches long. 

This species is commonly seen perching on trees or rocks in open woodlands where it searches for food. Their diet consists mainly of fruit, small invertebrates, and some seeds that they may find while searching through leaf litter or crevices in tree bark. They often travel in groups when foraging which helps them to spot potential predators more quickly than if they were alone.

Related Read: Types of brown and black birds

7. Black-faced Coucal

black-faced coucal

Black-faced Coucal – Centropus melanops

source: melinagoldenbird

Endemic to the Philippines, black-faced coucal are a species of cuckoo that are known for their loud “wup-wup” calls. 


It has an unmistakable black face, cream-colored head and neck,  and chestnut wings. The male’s body is also typically darker than that of the female.Their tail is about the same length as their body. 

These ground-dwelling birds tend to inhabit woodlands, grasslands and agricultural areas. They use their dark colored legs to walk along the ground in search of food such as insects, lizards and occasionally fruit. They will often perch on trees or shrubs while waiting for prey to come within striking distance.

8. Rufous-backed Shrike

 Rufous-backed Shrike

Rufous-backed Shrike – Lanius schach

Rufous-backed shrikes are native to Asia. Also, these birds have varying plumage depending on the region. Brown colored shrikes occur on the eastern side of the continent. 


Although they are small birds, their size does not diminish their impressive beauty. With its distinctive black mask and chestnut back, the rufous-backed shrike stands out from other species of its type. 

Their throat is whitish while tails are grayish-black. Note, tail is the same length as their body. 

They typically inhabit open areas such as fields or meadows with shrubs and trees nearby for perching and nesting. When flying, they stay low near the ground, often chasing after insects or other food sources.

9. Black-throated Thistletail

Common throughout its range, the black-throated thistletail is a Bolivian bird that is known for its high squeaks. 


Its distinct black throat and brown-gray body are perfect identifiers for this small and lively species. The average size of a black-throated thistletail is 6 inches in length, with a wingspan reaching 8 inches wide. Tail is 7-9 inches long. 

They typically inhabit cloud forests and areas of dense vegetation, where they feed on insects such as ants, beetles, flies and caterpillars.  

10. Buff-browed Chachalaca

Buff-browed chachalacas are exotic brown birds with long tails that are endemic to Brazil.  


Native to tropical rainforests, the buff-browed chachalaca can be identified by its distinct coloration and patterns. This species has a gray chest that fades into brown on its belly. The rest of its body is brown. 

Like the Indian paradise flycatcher, this chachalaca has long central feathers. Its tail is half its body length; about 11 inches long. 

In addition to their unique physical characteristics, the vocalizations of the buff-browed chachalaca are quite distinctive; high pitched “typical of Ortalis” calls. 

11. Afghan Babbler

afghan babbler

Afghan Babbler – Argya huttoni

source: animallover.d

Afghan babblers are ground dwellers. They are often spotted in large groups and are native to the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. 


The Afghan babbler adult has a mainly brown body with dark streaks. Its tail is slightly longer than its body length; 10.2 inches. 

As for its call, it produces a variety of loud trills that are more persistent and higher pitched than those of most  birds in the area. Furthermore, when perched on trees or rocks it tends to flick its tail back and forth rapidly which is another helpful identification technique.

12. Albert’s Lyrebird

 Albert's Lyrebird

Albert’s Lyrebird – Albert’s Lyrebird

source: emporium_images

Albert’s Lyrebird is an Australian species that prefers the rainforest. It is known for its remarkable ability to mimic the sounds it hears, mostly of small birds like satin bowerbirds. 


Albers’s lyrebird sexes have similar body plumage. They are chestnut-brown above with a bluish eyering and pale below. 

To separate the sexes, look at their body length and tails. Males are about 29.5 inches while female lyrebirds are 27.5 inches long. Also, the male of this species have longer tails with even longer central tail feathers. When walking, its tail is normally upward curved.


What is a brown bird with a long tail? 

In North America, brown thrashers are the most common brown birds with long tails. You can find them on the eastern side where they breed and live all year round. 

Are brown thrashers rare? 

No. These birds are common within their range. Also, they are versatile breeders, ensuring their population grows. 




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *