Dark, mysterious, and oh-so-elegant, the color black shows up in a lot of man-made art, architecture, and fashion. When it comes to the natural world, however, black things may be a little bit more difficult to find. It’s one of the rarest colors in nature, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be found if you’re willing to look a little bit harder.
As a general rule, the color black can be found in the plant, animal, and mineral areas of nature, but there’s a pretty clear breakdown between those three categories. Black minerals are relatively rare (as compared to green, red or yellow gemstones), as are black plants. In nature, the color black is most often found in the animal kingdom, with creatures around the world displaying this powerful hue.
List of Black Things
Here’s our extensive list of things that are black in nature:
1. African Black Beetles
The African black beetle is a type of rhinoceros beetle, a subset of scarab beetles that are distinguished by their large sizes and unusual shapes. The African black beetle, for example, has a large, bulky shell that helps it plow through crops, trees, and lawns without any issues.
2. American Black Bears
The American black bear is found throughout North America. Its fur is usually a rich black color, but it can also come in lighter brown shades – some black bears may actually look closer to blond. Black bears are also the smallest bears found throughout North and South America.
3. American Oil Beetles
With their dull black shell and slow walking pace, American oil beetles may look harmless, but they have a few tricks up their sleeve. If you threaten or injure an American oil beetle, the small insect secretes an irritating chemical that can leave painful blisters on human skin.
4. “Before the Storm” Irises
The “Before the Storm” iris wasn’t always a naturally occurring plant. It’s a hybrid form of the Bearded Iris and was released in 1989. Nevertheless, with its long, slender leaves and striking black flowers, this iris is stunning enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
5. Black Baccara Roses
Like the black irises mentioned above, the Black Baccara rose is a hybrid of several strains of tea rose that were carefully bred in order to produce the end result – a medium-sized rose with petals so dark that they almost look black, instead of an extremely dark red.
6. Black Bamboo
Like all other kinds of bamboo, black bamboo is technically a type of grass. The “culms”, or bamboo stalks, start out green but quickly darken as they mature. After a few years of growth, the bamboo consists of black stalks with bright green leaves growing in every direction.
7. Black Bat Flower
The Black Bat flower takes its name from its unique shape and color. With its wide “wings” and small central lobe, this orchid looks like a bat with its wings outstretched. It also develops long, spidery tendrils that hang off of the flower and stretch towards the ground.
8. Black Beans
Sometimes referred to as the “black turtle bean”, the common black bean is native to the Americas, but it has quickly become a popular mainstay in cultures and cuisines around the world. Its color comes from a concentration of anthocyanins, natural compounds that create a dark purple or black shade.
9. Black Bearded Irises
We’ve already looked at the “Before the Storm” iris, but bearded irises in general are the most likely to take on a dark color. While only a few “official” strains of black iris are recognized internationally, it’s entirely possible to find a black bearded iris in the wild.
10. Black Lace Elderberry Bushes
Black Lace elderberry bushes are dramatic, striking plants that are often grown for their ornamental value. While the flowers and berries of this plant may vary depending on the time of year or on the bush’s growing conditions, the actual leaves are a dark purplish black.
11. Black Bugs
There are actually lots of black bugs out there, so this entry serves as more of a catch-all term than a specific creature. We’ll look at some of the more famous black insects later on, but even if you’re just looking around your home, you’ll know that black bugs are pretty common.
12. Black Caimans
The black caiman is a large, carnivorous reptile that’s part of the crocodile family. This huge river predator has a dark greenish black skin and can grow up to over fourteen feet in length, which makes it a formidable threat to many prey animals.
13. Black Carpet Beetles
The third of several beetle species on this list, the black carpet beetle is a common household pest found throughout the world. Even though they don’t get very large, the brownish-black beetles can eat their way through carpets, clothes, furniture, and any other objects made with natural fibers.
14. Black Cats
Today, they might be considered bad luck, but back in Celtic tradition – as well as in Japanese folklore – black cats were often considered to be good luck, as it was believed that these fuzzy feline friends could chase away any threats to the house or the family inside.
15. Black Colobus Monkeys
Native to west Central Africa, the black colobus monkey is sometimes referred to as the “satanic black colobus”. Despite the ominous name, these extremely endangered monkeys are cheerful and friendly creatures who live in large, social packs.
16. Black Coral Bell Bushes
Sometimes called the “black taffeta” bush, the black coral bell bush is a pretty, delicate-looking decorative shrub that produces large, frilled leaves in a dark purplish-black hue. During the summer, it grows tiny pink flowers that really stand out against the more dramatic backdrop of the bush’s leaves.
17. Black Dahlias
Dahlias are one of several flowers that can come in a wide range of colors, so it’s not too surprising that black is just another one of those shades. Before scientists discovered insulin in 1923, diabetic patients were often given a mix of fruit sugars derived from the tubers of the dahlia plant.
18. Black Drongos
The black drongo is a small black bird native to southern Asia. One of its more unique personality traits is its willingness to take on birds that are several times its size, dive-bombing them repeatedly until they leave the area that it has already claimed for its own.
19. Black Eyes
About 79% of people in the world have brown eyes, but completely black eyes are virtually nonexistent. Instead, what most people perceive as black eyes are actually a deep shade of extremely dark brown, which can pass for the color black unless you’re really taking the time to look.
20. Black Flies
Black flies can be any one of literally thousands of insects within the fly family, so it isn’t too much of a surprise that the insects we call “black flies” are some of the most common insects in the world. They often feed either on nectar or on the blood of mammals, including humans.
21. Black Garden Ants
If you’ve ever been outside and seen a bunch of black ants hurrying busily about their tasks, odds are pretty good that you’re seeing a black garden ant, which typically lives in colonies of around four to seven thousand insects.
22. Black Garlic
Black garlic is a type of garlic with rich, deep reddish-black cloves, but it doesn’t grow that way on its own. Instead, black garlic is the result of long exposure to heat at high levels of humidity, which can kickstart a chemical reaction that turns the bulbs black.
23. Black Hair
Dark hair is the most widely-seen hair color, appearing around the world in various shades of intensity, from a dark brown to a black so deep that it almost looks like blue. No matter the shade, black hair tends to be highly reflective, catching the light in a dazzling display – even though the color black actually absorbs more light than lighter colors.
24. Black Holes
We don’t know a whole lot about black holes, but what we do know is this – they’re a region in spacetime with such an extremely high level of gravity that nothing can escape its pull, not even light. They’re formed when a giant star collapses under its own weight, and appear as perfectly black spots in the expanse of space.
25. Black Hollyhock Blossoms
With their pretty, star-shaped flowers and their short, lobed leaves, hollyhocks are often used as decorative garden plants. Black hollyhock blossoms are a great choice for gardeners who want the traditional beauty with a little bit of extra drama.
26. Black Magic Mangaves
A spiky succulent with long, gently curving leaves, the black magic mangave is yet another hybrid plant that was carefully designed in order to produce the deep black hue that its leaves boast today. It’s a tough, durable plant with plenty of attitude.
27. Black Mondo Grass
Depending on the lighting, black mondo grass can either look deep purple or pure black. During the summer, it produces lavender-colored flowers that eventually become dark purple berries during the late summer and early autumn months, even though the grass itself keeps growing throughout the changing of the seasons.
28. Black Olives
On the tree, most olives have a pale greenish color, but as they ripen, they begin to change their shade until they reach a deep purplish-black. Many of the olives you find at the grocery store have been artificially dyed in order to reach their black color, but natural olives will still get pretty dark before they’re harvested.
29. Black Opals
Opals come in a wide range of colors – from white, gray or green to warmer colors like orange, yellow, and red – but black opals are by far the rarest shade for these highly reflective and valuable rocks.
30. Black Pansies
Like some of the other black flowers on this list, black pansies didn’t just occur on their own. After generations of selective breeding that pushed traditional purple flowers deeper and deeper, there are several different strains of inky black pansy blossoms available on the market today.
31. Black Panthers
The black panther isn’t a distinct animal. Instead, it’s a variant of either the leopard or the jaguar – two cats within the “panthera” family – that has a pure black coat. True black panthers are extremely rare, with only about eleven percent of animals displaying the characteristic black hue.
32. Black Pepper
When you think of pepper, black pepper is probably what pops into your mind. Peppercorns growing on the branch are usually a dark red color, but once they’ve been harvested and dried, their color deepens even further to a dull black shade that adds just a little bit of extra spice to any meal.
33. Black Petunias
Black petunias are small, star-shaped flowers that – like all petunias – are part of a strange family of plants. Other plants in the same family include gooseberries, tomatoes, deadly nightshade, and most varieties of chili pepper, although petunias have no fruit of their own that humans consume.
34. Black Prince Coleus Plants
Black Prince or Black Dragon coleus plants are both variations on the more common coleus bush. This short plant with wide, flat leaves and fascinating patterns is typically seen in garden decorations.
35. Black Quinoa
The price of quinoa has more than tripled in the last 20 years as a result of this grain’s ever-growing popularity among health food aficionados. Black quinoa is just another form of this heart-healthy grain, but it lends a bit of extra flair to any dish that you make.
36. Black Rice
In ancient China, black rice was known as “forbidden rice”, due to the fact that its scarcity and its stunning appearance made it suitable for consumption only by the highest levels of Chinese society. Today, the purplish black grain is far more widely available.
37. Black Roosters
Roosters tend to be more showy and ostentatious than female birds of the same species, so it should come as no surprise that black and red roosters are often a common sight in your average barnyard. Their glossy black feathers help them stand out from the rest of the flock in order to intimidate any potential challengers.
38. Black Sand
When you think of the beach, you’re probably picturing blue-green waves crashing over golden-white sands, but black sand is surprisingly common around the world. It’s most often found in places with active volcanoes, like Iceland or the Hawaiian islands, but can appear anywhere where the primary rock sources have a black hue.
39. Black Sapphires
Sapphires are often found in shades of blue, although rarer varieties may be found in red, green, black, or various other shades. The famous “Black Star of Queensland” is a rich black color.
40. Black Sesame Seeds
In the West, when you think of sesame seeds, you probably think of pale yellow or golden brown seeds. However, in China and Southeast Asia, the most commonly produced sesame seeds are a deep black color that results from a different strain of sesame plants being grown.
41. Black Spinel Stones
Spinel is another mineral that can come in a wide range of colors, most commonly some shade of red. However, black spinel stones are not nearly as unusual as they are in other precious or semiprecious stones. Before the 18th century, spinel stones – especially the red varieties – were often referred to as rubies.
42. Black Squirrels
Like black panthers, black squirrels aren’t so much a separate species of squirrel as they are an all-black strain of the common squirrels you see on campuses and in parks every day. Usually, their black fur is the result of a mutation in the common gray squirrel’s genetic code.
43. Black Orchids
The black orchid is a dark, almost unnatural flower that often has a pale purple, red, or white center which complements its inky black petals. The petals of the black orchid look soft and silky, and the end result is a visually striking flower.
44. Pinacate Beetles
Pinacate beetles or desert stink beetles, as the name might suggest, are famous for the foul-smelling liquid that they spray whenever they are injured or feel threatened. The beetles themselves are of average size and boast a tough black shell that protects them when their chemical spray fails to frighten predators away.
45. Black Swans
Black swans, with their dusty black coat, are native to Australia but have been introduced to bodies of water around the world. They’re strictly monogamous, which means that they mate for life and remain faithful until death.
46. Black Tea
Once it’s been steeped in water, black tea typically takes on a reddish brown color, but the leaves themselves are usually a deep brown or black color. Black tea is the most popular variety of tea enjoyed by many around the world today.
47. Black Tourmaline Stones
Made of a blend of compounds, including iron, magnesium, and aluminum, tourmaline is a semiprecious stone that comes in a wide range of colors. Dark brown or black tourmaline, however, is usually found only in the Drave district of Carinthia, which is located in southern Austria.
48. Black Tulips
Tulips usually grow in some shade of red, orange, white, or yellow, but stranger varieties have evolved over the years, including the deep blue or dark purple shades that are deep enough to be considered true black tulips.
49. Black Velvet Petunias
Black Velvet petunias are a specific strain of petunias that were intentionally developed for their rich black color. Flowers of this species will often have a pale yellow or white ring in the middle of their overlapping petals, but otherwise, they appear completely black.
50. Black Vultures
The name “black vulture” can actually refer to two separate birds – the American black vulture and the Eurasian black vulture – but the species aren’t really related. However, both birds sport the same dark feathers and the same scavenging habits that have made vultures such a mainstay in popular culture.
51. Black Widow Cranesbill Geraniums
The name “geranium” is given to more than four hundred different flowering plants, but the Black Widow Cranesbill geranium truly stands out from all of the others. While the leaves of this plant are still bright green, its flowers are deep purplish black in color.
52. Blister Beetles
In a lot of animals and insects, bright colors serve as a warning that the creature is poisonous, and black and red blister beetles are no exception. Unlike the bodies of most beetles, these beetles glossy black and red bodies are soft, but they secrete a chemical that can leave you with nasty blisters all over your hands.
53. Black-Billed Magpies
The black-billed magpie is often referred to as the “American magpie”, thanks to its distribution across North America. It’s one of only four American birds whose tail is greater than or equal to its body in length, and – like most Corvid species – it’s relatively friendly towards humans.
Blackberries aren’t truly black, of course, but they’re such a deep purple reddish color that they can certainly pass for black in the right light. They’re also loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that make them as healthy as they are delicious.
55. Blackie Sweet Potato Vines
The sweet potatoes grown on this vine may look like normal tubers, but the vines themselves have a deep purplish black hue that makes them a popular choice for gardens and other ornamental situations, which means that the potatoes themselves usually don’t pose an issue, since the vines will be grown for their foliage instead of their fruit.
There are several different species of butterfly that boast black wings, but most of these butterflies fall into the “emperor butterfly” family, the largest and most impressive-looking group within the species. The butterfly on the photo is the Atrophaneura Semperi, a black and red butterfly from Indonesia also known as the vampire butterfly.
57. Canna Tropicanna Black
Tropicanna lilies are a specific strain of lilies that are noted for their large blossoms and open petals. The black canna variety takes that same impressive size and shape and imbues it with a rich black color that makes it all the more noteworthy.
If you’ve ever had a bonfire or been camping, then you’ve probably used charcoal to start your fire. Since ancient times, people have been making charcoal by burning wood in a compacted area with high pressure and low humidity, which is often a difficult and time-consuming task.
59. Chocolate Cosmos Blossoms
The “Chocolate Cosmos” flower is a small, daisy-like bloom that grows out of a small tuber root. Aside from its deep purple-black color, what sets this flower apart is its very distinctive perfume, which smells every bit as rich and chocolate-y as the name would imply.
60. Chocolate Lilies
Chocolate lilies may have the same rich reddish-brown color that the Chocolate Cosmos blooms boast, but they don’t have nearly as much of a perfume. Instead, these large, sweet-looking flowers make up for their lack of smell with the stunning depth and intensity of their black petals.
61. Colocasia Black Magic Plants
Colocasia plants in general are often referred to as “elephant ear” plants, due to their broad, flat leaves. The “Black Magic” variety goes above and beyond the usual variety’s showy nature and grows wide leaves that are a rich brownish-black in color, prized for their ornamental value.
62. Common Grackles
The grackle is a medium-sized bird found throughout North America and easily distinguished by its harsh, almost metallic call that sometimes sounds like the buzzing of a power line. Grackles tend to form large flocks known as “plagues” and show a limited ability to mimic humans and other birds.
63. Common Swifts
The common swift is a small, fast bird that looks very similar to a swallow, but lacks some of the defining characteristics of that bird species. Swifts are entirely dark brown, ranging to black in more extreme cases, and often appears on the heraldry crests of a noble lord’s wandering younger sons in European history.
While the name “crow” is given to a wide range of birds within the Corvid family, the most famous bearer of the name is the American crow. This glossy black bird is found in every major region in the United States except for deep in the Pacific rain forest.
65. Cucumber Beetles
Cucumber beetles are common pests found throughout North and South America. To be more specific, the larvae of these beetles love to munch on a wide variety of agricultural crops and can be absolutely devastating to the large fields of produce grown across the country, even if their adult varieties are slightly less harmful.
66. Dark Reiter Geraniums
Geraniums are always easy to identify thanks to their petals, which are noticeably cleft in two as they radiate out from the center of the flower. “Dark Reiter” geraniums are derived from a dark purple variety that was pushed darker and darker until it passed for black.
67. Diabolo Ninebark Bushes
Sometimes known as the “Eastern ninebark” or the “Atlantic ninebark”, the common ninebark is a flowering plant that’s actually part of the rose family. The “Diabolo” ninebark, however, produces deep reddish-black leaves that stand in sharp contrast to the pale white flowers.
68. Diopside Stones
Diopside is a mineral made of magnesium, calcium, silicon, and oxygen. Although its most common form is a yellow or dull green variety, various other shades have been found, including a murky black variety that could almost pass for quartz unless it is inspected more closely.
69. Pacific Black Ducks
The Pacific black duck isn’t completely black, but it does have some feathers on its wings that appear black. Other pet ducks or even show ducks are carefully bred in order to produce a deep black color, but this is rare.
70. Black Fang Begonias
The name “begonia” can refer to any one of more than two thousand different plants, but most begonias are known for their bright blossoms and broad leaves, which make them a popular choice for houseplants, even in this strikingly unique black variety.
71. European Starlings
The European starling is often called the “common starling”, a reflection of the bird’s wide range and large numbers. Its feathers are a glossy black, but it often has white or yellow speckles throughout its shiny coat.
72. Galloway Cattle
Galloway cattle take their name from the Galloway region of Scotland. Introduced during the 17th century, these shaggy, thick-coated cows belong to the oldest breed of beef cattle in the world. They often come in various shades of black or brown and are as popular today as they were nearly four hundred years ago.
You may have heard gorillas referred to as “silverbacks”, but most gorillas are easily distinguished by their thick black coats, powerful stance, and keen intelligence. They also have a remarkable lifespan for wild animals, with most gorillas living to between 35 and 40 years of age.
74. Great Cormorants
The great cormorant is named after a series of Greek and Latin words that, taken together, mean “bald charcoal raven”. In China, Japan, and other East Asian countries, cormorants work closely with human fishermen. The birds catch fish for the fishermen and are rewarded with a portion of the day’s catch.
75. Black Hellebore Blossoms
Hellebore flowers take their name from the ancient Greek words for “to injure” and “to eat” – a clear indication that these flowers are extremely toxic if ingested. Most hellebore flowers are a pale pink, white, or purple color, but the black variety gives a hint to the danger lurking within the petals.
76. Hill Mynas
The common hill myna is a small black and yellow bird with a green undertone to its feathers. This bird is renowned around the world for its remarkable imitative abilities, and it’s one of the few bird species capable of mimicking human speech and carrying on short conversations.
77. Indigo Rose Tomatoes
When we think of tomatoes, we tend to think of red, green, or even yellow fruits. However, “Indigo Rose” tomatoes are a special breed of tomatoes that produce anthocyanins, the same pigments that give blueberries and blackberries their characteristic bluish black color.
Jasper is usually found in shades of yellow, brown, green, or red. Blue varieties are fairly rare, so it should come as no surprise that the true black variety is even rarer still. As a result, the highly polished black varieties are considered quite valuable as a precious gemstone.
Melanite is technically a subcategory of andradite, which in and of itself is a subcategory of garnet. However, Melanite specifically refers to the deep black variety of this stone, which is sometimes called “titanium andradite” and is usually found in igneous rock formations.
80. “Molly Sanderson” Violas
The name “Viola” usually applies to the violet family as a whole, but “Molly Sanderson” violas are a specific hybrid plant that was developed and prized for its true black petals. As is the case with most flowers in the violet family, the petals of the Molly Sanderson viola are fully edible.
81. Night Embers Sedum
The Night Embers sedum is a type of shrub that produces dark purple-black foliage. In contrast to this gloomy display, the same shrub produces pale pink flowers that grow on dark red stems each autumn to complete the plant’s deeply dramatic appearance.
Perhaps the most famous black rock on this list, obsidian is actually a type of glass. It forms when lava from a volcano hits a water source – usually the ocean – and cools rapidly, leaving behind a shiny, jet-black rock that has been treasured by various civilizations since at least 700,000 BC.
83. Dark Ornamental Millet
Millet is one of the oldest seed-type grains in the world, dating back to the early days of modern civilization. This purplish-black strain of millet, however, is grown for its showy stalks and dark black grain heads, not for any actual food.
84. Ornamental Black Pearl Pepper
Not to be confused with regular black pepper, the “Black Pearl” ornamental pepper still produces the same reddish-brown berries that make such a great addition to any meal. What sets this plant apart, however, is the dark greenish-black leaves that give it its ornamental status.
In Western culture, owls are most heavily associated with wisdom and knowledge, but black owls are often seen as a sign of bad luck or ill omen. On the other hand, in modern-day Japan and Mongolia, owls are often considered as good luck charms or bringers of good fortune.
Round, fuzzy, and ridiculously laid back, pandas are some of the most popular animals at zoos and animal parks around the world. Following decades of conservation efforts from multiple countries and organizations, this black and white bear was moved from the “endangered” to the “vulnerable” animal categorization in 2016.
87. Papuan Black Snakes
The Papuan black snake is native to Papua New Guinea and West Papua. It’s a venomous snake that can grow up to seven feet in length and has dark black scales with a gray underbelly. Its venom is primarily a neurotoxin, and it can kill humans, although other snakes in the area are more dangerous.
They may not be completely black, but if you’ve ever seen a penguin, you know that these ever-popular flightless birds tend to have black, white, and gray patterns across their thick feathery coats. Regardless of the individual breed, all penguins have some sort of black feathers.
89. Black Persian Lilies
Persian lilies aren’t completely black, although they can look that way in the right lighting. Instead of true black petals, these beautiful blooms are a variation on a reddish-brown strain of lilies that were carefully bred and crossbred until they reliably produced black-looking blossoms or flowers.
90. Dark Purple Calla Lilies
Like the above entry, dark purple calla lilies are a strain of lily that pushes the purple shade found in many lily strains until it becomes almost black. Like some of the other flowers on this list, this particular strain of lily wasn’t always found in nature, but was instead designed to have this distinctive color.
Quartz is a semiprecious mineral that actually makes up several more famous gemstone varieties – amethysts are actually quartz, as are carnelians – but smoky quartz ranges in color from a pale, wispy gray to a shade of gray so dark that it looks like an opaque black stone.
The largest member of the Corvid family, ravens are often mistaken for crows, but there are a few key differences. Ravens are larger than crows, and where crows often have a green undertone to their black feathers, ravens have a distinctive blue undertone that sets their coats apart. Ravens also have bigger, curvier beaks.
93. Red Rubin Basil
Despite the name – and the admittedly red undertones to its leaves – red rubin basil is a black strain of basil that is valued both for its sweet, mild flavor and its decorative plant status.
94. Red-Winged Blackbirds
The red-winged blackbird looks pretty much exactly the way that you’d expect it to look. The males of the species have rich black feathers with a red patch on the joint of its wing and a yellow stripe underneath. They travel in flocks of up to one million birds.
95. Red-Bellied Black Snakes
The red-bellied black snake is one of the most common snakes in Australia. As its name implies, it’s a black snake with a dull red belly and orange or red patches of scales along its flanks. It’s venomous enough to kill small prey animals, but no human deaths have ever been recorded as a result of its bite.
96. Rhinoceros Beetles
Earlier, we looked at the African Black beetle, but Rhinoceros beetles as a family tend to have black shells. They also tend to be larger and tougher-looking than your average beetle, which means that there’s that much more of a shell for bug experts to look at.
Another member of the Corvid family, rooks are friendly, outgoing birds that show high levels of intelligence and a willingness to learn new information. You can identify a rook by the white, featherless patch right at the base of their beak, which most Corvids do not have.
Scapolite is a silicon-based mineral that is usually found in a white or grayish color. The black specimens of this mineral are extremely rare and often highly valued, but every shade of scapolite is distinguished by its fluorescence. When exposed to certain lighting, these tough minerals will give off a faint glow.
The further north you go, the more likely you are to find pure white seals, but in southern climates, dark brown or even black seals are far more common. Their skin also looks darker when wet. The family of animals known as seals are technically called the “pinniped” family, named after the Latin word for “fin”.
100. Silver-Laced Primroses
As the name might suggest, the silver-laced primrose is a small flower with a bright white or silvery-gray border around its edges. The edges may be silver and the center of the flower may be golden, but the rest of the flower is a deep, inky black.
101. Tasmanian Devils
The Tasmanian devil is a small marsupial with an extremely powerful bite. These small black animals can open their jaw to nearly seventy or eighty degrees, which allows them to bite down on their prey with bone-crushing force. They also enjoy climbing trees and laying in the sun.
102. Crape Myrtle Trees
Native to southeast Asia, crape myrtle trees are grown around the world for their beautiful flowers that bloom during the summer. The “Black Diamond Pure White” variety of crape myrtle has black leaves and bright white flowers that provide a striking visual contrast.
103. Valais Blackneck Goats
One look at the Valais blackneck goat is more than enough to tell you where this animal got its name – from the shoulders up, the goat’s hair is black, while the rest of its body is white. The breed dates all the way back to 1387 and thrives in Switzerland and Italy today.
104. Varanus Salvator Lizards
Their technical name may be “varanus salvator”, but most of us know these large black lizards as Asian water monitors. These dark lizards may look intimidating, and their bite carries a mild venom, but they’re often valued for their work in preying on pests that would otherwise ruin crops.
105. Western Capercaillie Birds
Also known as the “wood grouse”, “heather cock”, or “cock-of-the-woods”, the capercaillie is the largest grouse species still living today. The males of the species have a glossy black coat with blue or red undertones in various places, while the females are a far more muted brown color.
106. Wine and Roses Bushes
The “Wine and Roses” bush is a flowering shrub that produces bright pink flowers during the summer. These flowers stand in a sharp contrast to the leaves of the bush, which are dark green with a reddish undertone – a green so dark that it looks almost completely black.
Although we tend to picture them as gray, brown, or silver-colored, wolves can have black fur, too. This is a relatively rare phenomenon, as a wolf’s coat usually helps to camouflage them in their wooded or grassy environment, but when it occurs, the end result is certainly dramatic.
108. Aeonium Bushes
Another startlingly dramatic succulent, the “Zwartkop” Aeonium plant grows “blooms” of up to eight inches in diameter, all with the characteristic dark, striking, purplish-black hue to their fleshy lobes. The shrubs themselves can grow up to between three and four feet tall and two feet wide.
109. Friesian Horses
The stunning black Friesian breed has noble ancestry. Experts believe that the ancestors of modern-day Friesians were used as war horses. The breed’s strong, sturdy build helped it to carry fully-armored knights with ease. Today, Friesians are good riding and driving horses, and they are becoming increasingly popular as dressage mounts. Friesians are almost exclusively black, but very occasionally, you might see a red chestnut one. In order to meet the breed standard, the only white marking they can have is a small star on the forehead.
110. Shiny Cowbirds
Like other cowbird species, the shiny cowbird is a brood parasite. That means that instead of building their own nests, cowbird parents simply lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species. However, not all species will willingly accept the eggs and raise the young. Some will, while others will remove the eggs or hatchlings from the nest. The shiny cowbird can be found in much of South America. Its relative, the brown-headed cowbird, can be found in much of North America.
111. Black Angus Cattle
Black Angus cattle are probably among the best-known breeds of beef cattle. Though the breed originated in Scotland, it has become popular worldwide thanks to its superior marbled meat. Angus cattle are also very large: bulls average 1,870 pounds while cows average 1,210 pounds. Notably, these cattle are naturally polled (without horns). The polled gene is dominant, so black Angus cattle can be crossbred with horned breeds to produce polled offspring.
112. Bombay Cats
Very few cat breeds are always or almost always black. But the Bombay cat is one of them; it even has a black nose and black whiskers. The breed was created by crossbreeding black American Shorthair cats with sable Burmese cats. They look almost like little panthers, and their bright yellow-green eyes stand out from their black coats.
113. Black Girdled Lizards
All-black lizards are fairly rare. But there’s a reason for the black girdled lizard’s dark color. It lives only on Table Mountain on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula (although there is an isolated, smaller population in Langebaan on the western cape). This is one of the darkest areas in South Africa, and the lizard’s dark, black skin helps it absorb more light. Like some other lizard species, the black girdled lizard is solitary. Its flat, spiny body makes it easy to spot against the pale desert terrain.
You might be most familiar with graphite from number 2 pencils. But this versatile substance has plenty of other uses as well. It is a crystalline form of carbon, and its crystals look hexagonal under a microscope. Graphite is a good conductor of electricity, so it is frequently used in solar panels, batteries, and electrodes. And if it is exposed to high temperatures and pressures, it even turns to diamond. This useful form of carbon is readily available in the natural world, and it has a glossy, eye-catching black sheen.
115. Sumatra Chickens
Chickens come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but the all-black Sumatra really stands out. This black bird’s feathers have a green iridescent sheen. Black is the most common Sumatra variety, but you can also find these chickens in red, blue, and white. In breeding blue varieties, breeders sometimes produce extra-colorful “splash” birds with patches of color. Interestingly enough, Sumatras have retained many of the characteristics of the wild birds from which modern chickens descended. Most notably, they still have a fairly impressive ability to fly. They aren’t ideal for meat or eggs, and most are kept as show birds or lawn ornaments.
116. Outer Space
Photos from outer space are full of all sorts of colors. But as you’ve seen, the background color in any photo from outer space is overwhelmingly black. But why is that? It might seem like the black color of outer space comes from the absence of light. But there are plenty of bright stars in outer space. Some of the darkness we see likely comes from the fact that many stars are so far away that their light comes to us as infrared light. Infrared isn’t visible to the human eye, so we would just perceive that light as darkness.
117. Black Marsh Turtles
Many of us imagine turtles as being green. And while many are green or brown, the black marsh turtle shows us that you sometimes may run into an all-black specimen. This nice-looking turtle is native to parts of Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, they are an endangered species. This is largely due to the illegal wildlife trade. But they aren’t collected as pets; rather, black marsh turtles are in high demand in China for both food and traditional medicine. They are revered in Buddhism, though. Many Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia keep them as sacred animals or as pets.
118. Melanistic Mule Deer
Mule deer are not naturally black. But as is the case with many animal species, mule deer can occasionally be melanistic. Melanism is an overabundance of melanin, the pigment responsible for black coloring in skin and hair. Thus, a melanistic mule deer like the one in the picture will appear to be entirely black. Melanistic mule deer (like other melanistic animals) are very rare. So if you see one, consider yourself lucky. These deer are native to much of western North America, although they come in many different subspecies.
119. Cuban Bullfinches
This odd-looking little bird is one of the most memorable creatures on our list. It’s a relative of Darwin’s finches, but it is only found in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Isle of Pines. The Cuban bullfinch is almost entirely black; its scientific name is Melopyrrha nigra, with “nigra” translating to “black.” It just has a thin white edging along part of each wing. If you enjoy birdwatching, you might be relieved to hear that the Cuban bullfinch is common and very easy to find. It typically lives in scrub and woodlands. However, it is very easy to confuse with the Grand Cayman bullfinch. Up until relatively recently, the two were considered to be the same species.
120. Black Pearls
You probably already know that pearls form when a piece of sand or another small irritant gets inside an oyster shell. But pearls come in many different colors. Those colors aren’t random; different colors come from different types of oysters. The black pearl comes from only one oyster species: Pinctada margaritifera, better-known as the black-lipped oyster. They are often called “Tahitian pearls” because natural black pearls only come from Tahiti. However, other pearl types are sometimes chemically treated to make them look like authentic Tahitian pearls.
121. Eastern Rat Snakes
These relatively plain-looking snakes were once called black rat snakes. They are covered in glossy black scales but have pale whitish underbellies. Though these snakes are not venomous, they can certainly be intimidating; they can grow up to seven feet long. They do have an interesting defense mechanism, though. If they feel threatened, they can produce a highly unpleasant smell that is intended to smell the way a poison would taste. Though many people may become frightened of these snakes upon seeing them, they are almost always harmless to humans. Most of these snakes will either flee or freeze if they are confronted by a person.
122. Eurasian Jackdaw
This beautiful bird is especially notable for its intense blue-white eyes. It’s mostly black, with a silvery “shawl” around the neck. The Eurasian jackdaw is incredibly common in Europe, and it can also be found in large numbers in parts of Asia. These birds aren’t picky about what they eat. A typical jackdaw diet includes fruit, seeds, carrion, insects, and even the eggs and hatchlings of other bird species. These birds are incredibly social. Pairs mate for life, but they also become part of a stable flock. And like crows and related species, jackdaws often snatch up shiny objects to take back to the nest.
123. Black Howler Monkeys
In bird species, you often expect to see sexually dimorphic coloring. But the howler monkey is a great example of a primate species whose males and females look much different. The males have deep black coats. The females are more of a grayish brown. The howler monkey is very aptly named, as the species vocalize with a howl that sounds like wind through a tunnel. Thanks to these apes’ huge vocal cords, you can often hear their howls from over two miles away.
124. Ayam Cemani Chickens
Earlier, we mentioned the striking black Sumatra chicken. But if you’re looking for what’s probably the blackest chicken breed in the world, the Ayam Cemani is your answer. These birds have what’s called fibromelanosis (or hyperpigmentation). That condition means that the entire bird is black, including the skin, meat, internal organs, and even bones. This breed is very rare and its population is somewhat low. But in Africa, it is being preserved thanks to the African Ornamental Breeders Association’s breeding program. The Ayam Cemani is rare to nonexistent in Europe and the Americas, but it is kept in Belgium, Germany, Slovakia, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.
125. Black Mambas
The black mamba is one of the world’s most venomous snakes. It can be found in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the name, it ranges in color from pale gray to black. However, the inside of its mouth is always black. Much like a cobra, the black mamba will fan out part of its neck into a hood-like shape when it is threatened. Unlike many other venomous snakes, this one won’t usually just strike once. If the snake feels threatened, it will often bite several times very quickly. This tactic can lead to a very large release of venom.
126. Murgese Horses
These horses look a bit like Friesians, although they have separate origins. Murgese horses originated in Italy largely from the crossbreeding of Arabian, Barb, and Neapolitan horses. They were the main mount of the Italian cavalry, but today, they are more popular as cross-country horses. Thanks to their strength, they are also well-suited to light farm work. Murgese horses are known for their unusually hard hooves, and the stallions are so gentle that they aren’t often gelded. Though the breed was nearly extinct at one point, the establishment of a herdbook in 1926 helped to both revitalize and standardize the breed.
127. Eurasian Blackbirds
These distinctive-looking birds are not related to the blackbirds found in North America. Only the males are black, as females are more of a dusty brown in color. Eurasian blackbirds are very distinctive-looking. They have a bright yellow-orange beak and eye rings to match. In Europe and Asia, these birds are called “common blackbirds.” One can be heard singing on the official recording of the Beatles song “Blackbird.” Because of the very large range of this species, it is currently made up of several different subspecies.
128. Labrador Retrievers
The Labrador retriever is among the world’s most popular dog breeds. Though it was bred to retrieve shot waterfowl for hunters, the Labrador is more commonly kept as a pet. This breed comes in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. And interestingly enough, you can often find litters including puppies of all three colors. Over time, Labradors bred for field work and show work have begun to look somewhat different. Some people will mistakenly refer to hunting-type dogs as “American Labradors” and show-type dogs as “English Labradors.” However, both types appear in both America and the UK, and all Labrador retrievers initially come from British bloodlines. But regardless of which type you have, the Labrador’s loyalty and easygoing temperament makes it a great pet.
Things That Are Black in Nature
Obviously, this collection of black things in nature is by no means an exhaustive list. There are tons of other natural objects that capture the timeless hue for everyone to see. However, this list should be a great way to start searching for the color black in the world around you. See if you can add onto our list with any specific objects that you’ve noticed in your surroundings.