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Birds With Red Chests

Bird with red chest

A bird with red chest is not the most common color combination, but there are quite a few. Red is one of the more eye-catching colors shown by birds, after all! Whether scarlet, rose, or crimson, males usually show these eye-catching colors to attract a mate.

In North America, there are a bunch of birds with red chests. Some probably even live right in your own backyard! In this article, you’ll see and learn about 15 of the most beautiful red-chested birds that live in Canada and the USA.


#15 American Robin

American Robin

The American Robin is a familiar bird with rusty red chest and belly. It also has a blackish head with some white markings around its eyes and on its throat, and has an orange-yellow beak.

This common species has a gray back and wings, a blackish tail with small white corners on the outer tail feathers, and a white lower belly and undertail.

Both sexes are similar but females are paler overall.

American Robins live in residential areas, and a wide variety of habitats in most of Alaska, Canada, the USA, and parts of Mexico.


#14 Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

The Painted Bunting is a sparrow-sized songbird with a finch-like bill. The male is stunning and has bright, deep red underparts, a red rump, and a red eyering. He also has beautiful blue on his head and sides of his neck, a yellow-green back, and dusky wings with red and green highlights.

The female Painted Bunting lacks red and has a pale eyering. She is bright green above and yellow green below.

This beautiful little bird is a summer resident of coastal habitats from the Carolinas to Florida, and scrubby habitats from Kansas to Mississippi and Texas. It winters in southern Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.


#13 Red Siskin

The Red Siskin is a small bird with red chest, along with dark head and wings.

Female Red Siskins are mostly pale gray and only have orange-red on their chest, wings, and rump.

This species has become endangered by the captive bird trade. Scattered wild populations live in savannahs and other tropical habitats in Venezuela, one area in northern Colombia, and Guyana. A few from an introduced population may also still occur in Puerto Rico.


#12 Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon has a red chest and underbelly

The Elegant Trogon is a dove-sized, round-headed bird with a stout yellow bill, and a long, rectangular tail. The male has an orange-red belly and undertail, a white band on his chest, and a dark, glossy green breast.

He also has rounded, gray and black wings, a tail that is bronzy above and black and white underneath, and dark green upperparts. Its throat and face are blackish, and he has a narrow red eyering.

The female Elegant Trogon is gray and buff, and has red on her lower belly and undertail. She also has a white mark behind her eyes.

This species is a summer resident of forested canyons in southeastern Arizona.


#11 White-winged Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill

The White-winged Crossbill is a small, sparrow-sized bird with an odd, twisted beak where the tips cross each other. The male has pink or beautiful rose-red on his head, underparts, back, and rump. His back also has some dull streaks, and he has a gray belly and undertail.

This bird has long black wings with two white wing bars, and a notched, black tail. Female White-winged Crossbills are like males but are more streaked and yellow-olive instead of pink or red. Young birds look like dull-colored females.

White-winged Crossbills occur in coniferous forests and trees in Alaska, Canada, and parts of the northern USA.


#10 Purple Finch

Purple Finch

The Purple Finch is a hefty, sparrow-sized bird with a conical beak. The male has rose or raspberry-red plumage with shiny highlights on its head, breast, flanks, and back. It is duskier red on the rest of its upperparts and white on his belly and undertail.

The female Purple Finch lacks red and is a gray-brown, streaked bird with a brown and white pattern on her face.

This species breeds in coniferous and mixed forests in Canada, the northeastern USA, parts of the Appalachians, and in Pacific coastal forests from Washington to California. It also winters in much of the eastern USA and southern Arizona.


#9 Common Rosefinch

Common Rosefinch is a bird with red breast

Common Rosefinches are similar to the House Finch and Purple Finch but common in Europe and Asia © Imran Shah

The Common Rosefinch is a sparrow-sized bird with a rounded finch-like beak. The male has a beautiful red chest and head. The rest of its underparts are pinkish and white, and its back is reddish-brown.

The male’s long wings and tail are also reddish-brown. The female Common Rosefinch doesn’t have any red in her plumage and is gray-brown with two pale wing bars. She also has gray-brown streaking on her pale underparts.

This species is native to forest habitats in northern Eurasia. It is a rare vagrant to Alaska, where it can occur in a variety of habitats.


#8 Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent Frigatebird

The Magnificent Frigatebird is a huge, pterodactyl-like seabird with long pointed wings, a long forked tail, and a long gray beak. Males are black except for a bright red throat patch, which can be mistaken for a red chest.

This patch is mostly hidden but, when displayed to females, is inflated into a big red globe.

Females lack this red patch and are black with a white chest, and a pale mark on their upperwing. Young birds are like females but also have a white head.

This species typically frequents coastal habitats in Florida but occasionally occurs further north on the Atlantic seaboard and in California.


#7 Red-Breasted Sapsucker

Red-breasted Sapsuckers is a bird with red chest

Photograph © Glenn Bartley

The Red-breasted Sapsucker is a striking woodpecker with a red head and chest. Males tend to have brighter plush red colors while females have duskier shades of red.

They also have a bit of white on their face (more in females), a pale yellow belly with small dark markings, and a big white patch on their long black wings. Their backs have some yellowish or white mottling, they have a narrow white rump, and a black and white tail.

Young birds lacks red and are darker with a sooty brown head and breast. This species lives in coniferous forests from southern Alaska to California.


#6 Pyrrhuloxia


Photograph © Greg Lavaty

The Pyrruhuloxia is a gray and buff cardinal with a stout, rounded, pale yellow beak and rose-red highlights. Males and females have a long, pointed crest with a red tip, and have red in their short wings and long, rounded tail.

Males also have red on their face, throat, and a broad patch of rose-red that extends all the way down the underparts to the undertail. Young birds are duller, mostly buff, and only have a hint of red in their wings and tail.

This lovely bird lives in deserts and arid habitats of southern Arizona, New Mexico, and southern and western Texas.


#5 Vermilion Flycatcher

vermillion flycatcher

The Vermilion Flycatcher is a sparrow-sized flycatcher with a small black bill and black tail. The male has intense fiery red chest, along with underbelly and red head. This contrasts with his narrow black mask and black upperparts.

The female is pale gray-brown above with a narrow white eyebrow, has a white throat, gray-brown streaks on a white breast, and a pink belly and undertail. She also has white edging in her wings and tail.

Young birds are like females but have yellow on their belly and undertail. This striking bird lives near streams and wetlands from the American southwest to South America.


#4 Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeaks have beautiful red chests

The Pine Grosbeak is a large finch with a short, curved beak and two white bars on long dark wings. The male has raspberry red on his head, chest, flanks, and back. This lovely shade of red stands out against the rest of the bird’s gray plumage.

The female Pine Grosbeak is mostly gray with yellow-olive instead of red. Females and young birds can also have red-orange colors on their head and rump.

This species lives in boreal and coniferous forests in Alaska, Canada, Maine, and mountains in the western USA. In winter they can wander south to New York and Michigan.


#3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a thrush-sized black and white bird with red chest. The male is a handsome bird with black and white plumage highlighted by a bright red patch on its breast. In flight, he also shows red on the underside of his wings.

The female Rose-breasted Grosbeak doesn’t have any red. She is a sparrow-like, brown and white bird with streaks and a bold face pattern. In flight, she shows buff-yellow wing linings.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are birds of forest edge, second growth and other woodland habitats in central and southeastern Canada. They also live in the northeastern USA south to Kansas and in the Appalachians south to northern Georgia.


#2 House Finch

House Finch red color

The House Finch is a sparrow-sized bird with a short, slightly curved, finch-like beak. The male has soft, orange-red colors on his head, throat, breast, and rump. He also has a grayish mark on his face, a gray-brown, streaked back, and some gray brown streaks on pale flanks.

The female lacks red and is a much duller, gray brown, streaked bird. Like the male, she has longish, gray-brown wings with two pale wing bars.

House Finches live in deserts, gardens, parks, and other urban areas in much of the USA and southern Canada. They are regular visitors to bird feeders.


#1 Painted Redstart

Painted Redstart is a bird with red chest

The Painted Redstart is a small black and white bird with red chest. Males and females look alike and have a small white mark under each eye, a big white patch in each wing, and broad white sides on their tail.

They also have some black and white marks on their undertail and lower belly. They love to flash the white in their tail but the field mark that makes the biggest impression is the red on their underparts.

This striking bird is a summer resident of canyons in pine-oak forests of Arizona, New Mexico, and Big Bend, Texas south to Honduras.


Birds With Red Chests – Frequently Asked Questions

How common is it to see a bird with a red chest?

Birds with red chests are not uncommon, but identifying them can be tricky. In total, there are quite a few species with some red on their chests in the United States.

Which bird is a black and white bird with red chest?

There are multiple black and white birds with red chests in the United States, but the most common ones are the Painted Redstart and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

What bird is blue with a red chest?

There aren’t any birds in the United States that are blue and have a red chest, but the closest ones are Belted Kingfishers and Eastern Bluebirds. Both have some rusty colors on their chests and have bluish plumage.


Read next: Birds With Orange Chests

About the Author

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell has been focused on all things avian since the age of 7. Since then, he has helped with ornithological field work in the USA and Peru, and has guided many birding tours, especially in Costa Rica. He develops birding apps for BirdingFieldGuides and loves to write about birds, especially in his adopted country of Costa Rica.

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