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Top 20 Common & Observed Bird Species in U.S

The birds were selected from a list of the most popular searches, with a further filter of being very widespread.


Number 1 – American Goldfinch

american goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The brightly-colored male American Goldfinch looses its brilliant colors in the fall. In the winter, it looks more like the female American Goldfinch shown below.

american goldfinch

Number 2 – American Robin

America Robin

American Robin

The American Robin spends spring and summer months hunting for worms. In the winter they sometimes form very large flocks (up to tens of thousands of robins) and switch to fruit and berries.

Number 3 – Black-capped Chickadee

black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a favorite feeder bird. The very similar Carolina Chickadee is found in the southern United States.


Number 4 – Blue Jay

blue jay

The beautiful Blue Jay is an under-appreciated mimic, and does an excellent Red-shouldered Hawk.

Number 5 – Brown-headed Cowbird

brown-headed cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbird is a parasitic nester. The female lays her eggs in the nest of other species.


Number 6 – American Crow

common crow

American Crows have been hard hit by the West Nile virus. The Fish Crow and Northwestern Crow are very similar on appearance.

Number 7 – Common Grackle

common grackle

Male and female Common Grackles are similar in appearance, females are less glossy and slightly smaller. The Common Grackle is one of the three grackle species in the United States. It is sometimes confused with Brewer’s Blackbird.


Number 8 – Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are common at backyard feeder stations. The very similar Hairy Woodpecker is larger, with a longer bill.


Number 9 – Eurasian Collared-Dove

european collared-dove

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is an introduced species that is very rapidly expanding across the country, from initial Florida populations.


Number 10 – Dark-eyed Juncos


Dark-eyed Juncos are a common and popular backyard bird. They only appear in large parts of the country in winter and are sometimes referred to as snow birds. Several different races were previously considered separate species.

Number 11 – European Starling

european starling

The enterprising European Starling was introduced into the United States from Britain in the 1800s. It does millions of dollars in crop damages each year and competes with native species for nesting locations. This bird is in breeding plumage.

european starling

Winter plumaged European Starling.


Number 12 – Purple/House Finch

house finch

Originally a bird of the west coast, House Finches were sold as pet birds in New York City. Escaped birds formed a local population, which has expanded to the point that House Finches can now be found throughout the United States. Only the male has the reddish color. Easily confused with the Purple Finch.


house finch

Female House Finch


Number 13 – House Sparrow

house sparrow

Another import from England, the very common House Sparrow is found throughout the United States. It is an aggressive species that will even kill adult bluebirds to take control of a nesting cavity. Male shown in this image.


house sparrow

Female House Sparrow


Number 14 – Killdeer


The Killdeer is a type of shorebird, although it will nest far from beaches or shorelines, including rooftops and driveways.


Number 15 – Mallard


The ubiquitous Mallard is America’s best known duck. Wild populations are generally migratory. Male Mallard shown here.



Female Mallard.


Number 16 – Mourning Dove

mourning dove

The Mourning Dove is common in backyards and continues to be a widely-hunted game bird.


Number 17 – Northern Cardinal

northern cardinal

The beautiful male Northern Cardinal is a popular subject for both amateur and professional photographers.


northern cardinal

The female Northern Cardinal is not as colorful as the male, but can match or even exceed his singing skills.


Number 18 – Northern Mockingbird

northern mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is a master singer and may know as many as 200 different songs.

Number 19 – Red-tailed Hawk

red-tailed hawk

The Red-tailed Hawk is often seen perched on telephone poles or fence posts.

Number 20 – Red-winged Blackbird

red-winged blackbird

A flash of red on an all black bird is a sure indication of a Red-winged Blackbird.

red-winged blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbirds do not look anything like the males.


Bonus Bird – Rock Pigeon
rock pigeon

While we are reluctant to refer to the Rock Pigeon as a bonus bird, it is one of the most common and widespread species.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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