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Different Species of Red Birds (You Might Have Seen)

Top 10 Red Birds

Did you see a red bird but didn’t know what it was?

Well, consider this list of possible options. If you don’t find it here, please describe it in the comments and we (or other readers) will try to give you an answer.

If you’re just drawn by the color red, then get ready to be dazzled, because today we’re going to be exploring a group of birds that showcase this vibrant hue in all its glory.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most striking species of red color birds, learning about their physical characteristics, behavior, and unique adaptations. So, let’s dive into the world of red color birds and discover what makes these feathered friends so special!

So, sit back and enjoy!

Red Birds


Northern Cardinal

northern cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a bird of substantial size, distinguished by its long tail, noticeable crest, and thick, short bill. The male Northern Cardinal boasts striking red plumage all over its body, except for black feathers surrounding its bill. Similarly, the bill of the male is reddish in color.

On the other hand, the female Northern Cardinal features mostly light brown plumage, with a hint of red on its crest, tail, and wings. The females share the same black face and reddish bill as the males.

Read more: What do red birds symbolize?

Northern Cardinals are widely distributed across the United States and Mexico, and they inhabit areas such as parks, backyards, forest edges, and woodlots. Birdwatchers often spot them at feeders, leading to the assumption that they mainly consume seeds.

While they do love black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, safflower seeds, and striped sunflower seeds, Northern Cardinals also have a diverse diet that includes fruits and insects. They feed on wild grape, hackberry, mulberry, and blackberry, as well as crickets, beetles, leafhoppers, flies, cicadas, centipedes, butterflies, and spiders.


Painted Bunting

painted-bunting - Jimmy Kall

The Painted Bunting, a finch-like bird with a stout bill designed for seed-eating, is a medium-sized bird. The males’ plumage is stunning with a blend of green backs, blue heads, and red underparts.

Female and immature Painted Buntings are bright yellow-green without any specific pattern, and their color is more brilliant and greener than other birds. These birds can be found in Coastal North Carolina, Coastal South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Mexico, the Bahamas, Cuba, and Central America. Painted Buntings prefer nesting in woodlands, brushy roadsides, abandoned farms, sections of grasses, wildflowers, and weeds.

They can also be found in scrub communities, wooded back dunes, maritime hammocks, palmetto thickets, hedges, fallow fields, citrus groves, and yards. In winter, they migrate to overgrown pastures, high grass, and shrubby vegetation.


Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager is typical red bird

Photograph © Glenn Bartley.

The Scarlet Tanager is a medium-sized songbird with a large head, round and stout bill, and a wide, short tail. Adult male Scarlet Tanagers have bright red plumage with black tails and wings during spring and summer.

Female Scarlet Tanagers are greenish-yellow with a darker greenish-yellow color on their tails and wings. When the breeding season ends, adult males molt and look like females, but with black instead of the darker greenish-yellow color on their tails and wings.

These birds are commonly found in eastern North America, Cuba, the Bahamas, Central America, and South America. Scarlet Tanagers prefer larger forests with big trees, nesting in oak, oak-hickory, pine-oak, hemlock-hardwood, and beech forests. They can also be found in eastern hemlock forests.

Scarlet Tanagers use similar habitats in fall and spring, as well as gardens and parks. In winter, they prefer mature forest edges and forests in western and northern South America.


Vermilion Flycatcher

vermillion flycatcher

The Vermilion Flycatcher is a petite yet sturdy flycatcher that boasts a flat head, a broad and straight bill, and a slender tail.

If you happen to spot a male, you’ll be treated to a beautiful sight – the head, breast, and belly are a stunning orange-red, while the back, wings, tail, and eye area are covered in dark brown feathers. Meanwhile, the females have grayish-brown feathers with pinkish-red underparts and muted streaks on the breast. Regardless of sex, both have black bills.

These charming birds can be found in the Southern United States and Mexico, and they prefer open areas such as dry scrublands, deserts, farmlands, canyon mouths, and parks with streams and bottomland trees such as willow, cottonwood, mesquite, and sycamore. Keep an eye out for these lovely creatures!


Elegant Trogon

elegant trogon

The Elegant Trogon is a pot-bellied and stocky medium-sized bird with a round head, large eyes, and stout, short bill. The male has rose-red underparts, copper-green upperparts, a white band across the breast, a black-and-white barred underside, and black face and throat.

The female has grayish-brown upperparts and a white splotch around the eye. These birds can be found in Arizona, Mexico, and Central America, living in a variety of habitats, including forested mountain canyons, juniper habitats, and areas with limited Douglas-fir, mesquite, and cottonwood-oak cover.


Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon Teal

The Cinnamon Teal is a duck that’s on the smaller side, but don’t let that fool you – they have larger heads and relatively long bills. To give you an idea, their bills are shorter than those of a Northern Shoveler but longer than those of a Blue-winged Teal.

Breeding male Cinnamon Teals are a sight to behold with their red eyes, vivid rusty plumage, brownish backs, white underwings, and long dark bills. On the other hand, nonbreeding males and females have a mostly brown appearance. Regardless of gender, both have light blue patches on their wings, but you’ll only be able to see them when their wings are open.

You can find Cinnamon Teals in Canada, the Western United States, Mexico, and South America. In North America, they prefer to nest in freshwater wetlands with emerging vegetation. You might also spot them in streams, ditches, stock ponds, and reservoirs.

These birds use various marsh plants such as Baltic Rush, Spikerush, Saltgrass, Tufted Hairgrass, Foxtail Barley, and Western Wheatgrass for nesting. These plants provide both food and cover for the birds. During the winter, Cinnamon Teals migrate south of the United States and can be found in wet agricultural fields and reservoirs.


Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager

The Hepatic Tanager is a delightful medium-sized songbird, with strong feet and legs, long wings, long tails, and a heavy, short bill. Males of this species boast gray ear patches, reddish underparts, and red-grayish upper parts, while females have dusky ear patches, yellowish underparts, and olive-yellow upper parts. Both male and female have strikingly dark legs and bills.

These colorful tanagers can be spotted in parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, Central America, and South America. In the United States, they breed in open woodlands with a partially open canopy and open understory, favoring key tree species like pinyon pine, ponderosa pine, white fir, and Jeffrey pine, where they build their nests.

During migration, these birds prefer habitats with pine and pine-oak trees, but they can also be found in deciduous habitats along rivers. In desert environments, migratory birds tend to appear in vegetation-rich habitats. Interestingly, most of the U.S. breeding population of Hepatic Tanagers spend their winters in Mexico.


Ringed Kingfisher

Ringed kingfisher red belly

The Ringed Kingfisher is known for its heavy build, is a large kingfisher with a long tail, long wings, short legs, and shaggy crest. They have a dagger-like, thick bill. The male Ringed Kingfisher has slaty blue upperparts, chestnut underparts, a white collar, and white splotches on the wings and tail, as well as white under tail coverts. Female Ringed Kingfishers are similar in appearance but have a bluish band across the chest and a thin white crescent above the reddish-brown belly.

These birds can be found in Texas, Mexico, Central America, and South America, and are commonly found near freshwater habitats with clear waters that allow them to spot prey from above. Ringed Kingfishers will perch on anything available, including both natural and man-made structures, such as utility wires and tall trees.

They hunt in a variety of habitats, including lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as brackish and saltwater areas. During the breeding season, Ringed Kingfishers tend to stay in their preferred freshwater habitats, but they expand their range after breeding and may hunt in ditches and canals if there are perches available. In Central and South America, they also inhabit offshore reefs, mangrove forests, and fish farms.


Roseate Spoonbill

roseate spoonbill

Roseate spoonbill

Rosate Spoonbills are medium-sized wading birds. They’re such interesting wading birds! They’re not too big or too small, just the right size, and they have these funny spoon-like bills that are perfect for catching their favorite foods.

These birds like to hang out in shallow waters where they can find lots of yummy invertebrates to eat, and they can be found in all sorts of habitats like mangroves, swamps, and even roadside ditches! When they’re not foraging, they like to roost and nest in trees along the water’s edge.

One of the coolest things about Roseate Spoonbills is their beautiful pink coloration.

Fun Fact: Did you know that it comes from the pigments in the crustaceans they eat? It’s just like how flamingos get their pink color!

So, next time you see a Roseate Spoonbill, you can appreciate just how special and unique they are.


Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanagers are medium-sized songbirds with large heads, chunky bodies, and thick, large bills. The males are a beautiful bright red, while the females are a bright greenish-yellow, with a slightly greener back and wings. Both have pale bills.

You can find Summer Tanagers in many places, including the southern United States, Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas, Central America, and South America. They love to breed on the edges of open forests in the mid-Atlantic and southern United States. In the southwest, they prefer low-elevation areas with cottonwood and willow trees.

During migration, these tanagers stop in similar habitats to those in their breeding range, but they also inhabit beach ridges and gardens. They spend their winters in open habitats of Mexico, Central America, and South America.


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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