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Most Common (Wild and Backyard) Birds Of Oregon

Western Meadowlark

Oregon is a large state in the Pacific Northwest. Bordered by Washington, California, and Idaho, this 98,381 square-mile state has a population of 4, 246,000.

Oregon has temperate rainforest and a beautiful coastline in the west, and arid shrub habitats in the east. It also has montane habitats that reach 11,246 feet on Mount Hood, fantastic and vital wetlands such as the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, and other habitats that help give Oregon a bird list of 548 species.

This total is the 7th highest bird list of any state and promises wonderful birding in Oregon at all times of the year.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the Oregon state bird and most common bird, so stay tuned!


Most Common Birds of Oregon

According to breeding bird surveys and other data from 2021, the following species are the most common birds in Oregon. Learn what these beautiful birds look like and where we can see them below!


American Robin

Female American Robin

© Tom Grey

The American Robin is a large and familiar thrush. It has mostly reddish-orange underparts, and a blackish head with some white on the face and throat. Its back and wings are gray, and the blackish long tail has white in the outer tail feathers.

Females look like male American Robins but aren’t as colorful and have some white marks on the underparts. Juveniles have spotting and are pale orange below.

American Robins forage in open, grassy spots for insects and worms. They find them by carefully looking and listening, and then quickly reaching down to snatch the prey with their bill. During the winter, they form large flocks that wander while searching for berries and fruiting trees.

The American Robin is a common and familiar bird in Oregon. It occurs in woodlands and other habitats throughout the state. In spring, its familiar caroling song is frequently heard in most of the state, even in urban areas.


Brewer’s Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbirds

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

The Brewer’s Blackbird is a black bird with a short, pointed black bill. About the same size as a Red-winged Blackbird, it has a pale yellow eye, fairly long wings, and a medium-length tail.

Males of this blackbird species are glossy black with dark green highlights, and have metallic purplish hues on the head. During the winter, their head is more brownish in coloration.

Female Brewer’s Blackbirds are dull, grayish-black, have brownish highlights on the head, and usually have dark eyes. Juvenile males resemble females with black patches in their plumage.

This species forages by walking in open habitats and using its beak to pick food from the ground. It feeds on insects, seeds, and grain. It often occurs in flocks, especially in the winter. In Oregon, the Brewer’s Blackbird is a common species of lawns, farms, and other open habitats throughout the state.


Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

The Oregon state bird is a chunky, pale brown blackbird species with a large “V”-shaped patch on bright yellow underparts. It has fine white streaks on a dark crown, a pale face with a dark line going back from the eye, and white streaks on mottled, pale brown upperparts.

This species has a yellow spot in front of the eye, yellow on the lower part of the face, and a pale eyebrow. It also has white outer tail feathers, and dark markings on the sides. Both sexes look alike. During the winter, they have paler, more “washed out” plumage.

The Western Meadowlark usually occurs in pairs. In flight, it shows rounded wings and much white in the tail.

Western Meadowlarks forage for insects and seeds by picking them off the ground with their long, sharp bills. Males also frequently sing from the ground, a post, or other low perch. This melodious, whistled song is a beautiful and essential part of open habitats throughout Oregon.

Interestingly, the Western Meadowlark also happens to be the state bird of Oregon. It was named as the state bird thanks to the joined efforts of women’s clubs and the Portland Audubon Society.


European Starling

European Starling

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

The European Starling is a chunky bird species about the same size as a blackbird or thrush. In summer, the adult male starlings have pointed, yellow bills, and glossy black plumage with iridescent green and purple. They also have some pale spotting on the body and under the short tail.

Female European Starlings in summer are like males but are less iridescent and have more spotting. Juvenile birds are gray and have white on the throat. In the winter, adults are heavily spotted, have reddish in the wings, and grayish heads.

The European Starling is an introduced species that has become well adapted to living in urban areas, parks, and farmlands. It uses its sharp beak to forage for grain, seeds, insects, and other items on the ground. This bird also takes fruit while perched in bushes and trees.

In Oregon, this species is common and easily seen in a variety of habitats throughout the state.


Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Slightly smaller than the American Robin, the Red-winged Blackbird has a pointed, black beak, dark eye, and a fairly long tail with a rounded tip. Male Red-winged Blackbirds are easily recognized by their glossy black plumage, and scarlet red shoulder patch bordered with yellow and white.

Female Red-winged Blackbirds don’t look anything like the males. They are mottled brownish-gray with white streaking above and have dark gray streaking below. Female birds also have a buff throat and eyebrow.

In Oregon, Red-winged Blackbirds feed on seeds and grain. They love corn, also eat insects, and find most of their food on the ground. This bird is a very common species of wetlands, shrubby fields, vegetated ditches, and other, similar habitats. Its distinctive, “kon-ker-ee!” song is heard throughout the state.

In the winter, Red-winged Blackbirds form large flocks that forage in farm fields, and other open habitats. These flocks can also contain Brewer’s Blackbirds, European Starlings, and other birds.


Swainson’s Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

The Swainson’s Thrush is a small to medium-sized, brown bird with a reddish-brown tail, and spotting on the underparts. Both sexes look alike and are pale olive-brown above, and pale gray below with dark brown spots on a buff breast. They also have pale brown on the sides, and a dark brown line on each side of the throat.

The most distinguishing feature of the Swainson’s Thrush is its “spectacles”; a pale eyering and area in front of the eye. Young birds are like adults but are more reddish-brown.

During the summer, the Swainson’s Thrush feeds on beetles, caterpillars, and other insects. It picks these food items from the ground and low vegetation. It also feeds on berries in bushes and trees, especially during migration and winter.

In Oregon, the rising flute-like song of the Swainson’s Thrush is often heard in coastal forests and in the Blue Mountains. In spring and fall, it can also be seen migrating through other areas but is absent during the winter.


Canada Goose

Canada Goose 

The Canada Goose is a hefty, big gray-brown goose. It has a long black neck and head with a distinctive white patch on the face and throat. This species also has some pale edging on the wings and back, and on most of the underparts. The lower belly and undertail are white.

Its back and long wings are darker than the underparts, and it has strong, grayish legs and feet. Both sexes of the Canada Goose look similar and have duck-like, black bills.

Canada Geese are grazers that feed on grass and other vegetation in and around wetlands. These big birds have become adapted to living on golf courses and in parks but also occur in marshes.

They forage by walking along and using their long neck to reach down and nip grass and other vegetation. In the water, they also dip below the surface to feed on vegetation.

The Canada Goose is a common bird in Oregon. It is easily seen and, its honking calls heard, throughout the state.


Common Raven

Common Raven

The Common Raven is a big, glossy black bird with long, broad wings, and a wedge-shaped tail. Both sexes look alike and also have a large, heavy black bill with a hint of a hooked tip.

Although the Common Raven resembles a crow, it is bigger, has a tail with a different shape, and sounds different. Instead of making “caw” sounds, Common Ravens have deep, croaking vocalizations.

In certain lighting, Common Ravens also show deep dark blue highlights. These intelligent birds are omnivorous and feed on carrion, nestlings and other small animals, insects, fruit, and grain. Pairs often fly above roads and many other habitats in search of food. When they spot a dead animal or other food item, they fly down and use their strong bills to feed on it.

The Common Raven usually occurs in pairs and may form small flocks. In Oregon, this bird frequents most habitats and is often seen soaring like a raptor, high overhead.


Dark-eyed Junco

dark eyed junco oregon

The Dark-eyed Junco is a small, handsome, sparrow-like bird with a pale pink, dainty, conical bill. In Oregon, there are two main morphs (or subspecies) of Dark-eyed Juncos. The “Oregon” Junco breeds and winters in the state, and the “Slate-colored” Junco is a winter visitor.

The male Oregon Junco has a black hood, and reddish upperparts. It also has a white belly with reddish sides, and a gray tail with white outer tail feathers. The female looks similar but is duller and has a dark gray hood.

The male Slate-colored Junco is gray with a white belly and white outer tail feathers. The female is similar but is brownish-gray.

All Dark-eyed Junco subspecies feed on seeds and insects. They occasionally take fruit but are usually seen picking seeds off the ground. In the winter, this species visits feeders and occurs in small flocks. In Oregon, Dark-eyed Juncos are commonly seen in coniferous forests and other habitats throughout the state.


Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow

The Cliff Swallow is a chunky swallow with a pale buff rump, and a pale buff spot above the beak. It has black and rufous on the throat and side of the neck, and grayish on the chest and flanks. Cliff Swallows also have narrow pale collars, a dark cap, and white streaks on black-blue backs.

This swallow has long, dark wings, and a dark, slightly forked tail. Male and female Cliff Swallows are similar. Young birds look like adults but are much duller overall.

Cliff Swallows feed on small insects. As with other swallow species, they catch these food items in flight. In Oregon, Cliff Swallows forage over many places and habitats but are most common in open areas and above wetlands.

This bird nests in colonies, often under bridges and other structures. In Oregon, we only see Cliff Swallows during spring, summer, and fall.


Western Tanager

western tanager

The Western Tanager is a beautiful, thrush-sized bird with two pale wing bars on long, dark wings. The male is yellow with orange-red on the head. He also has a black back, black tail, and a yellow shoulder. The female is yellow olive and gray, and has a narrow yellow eyering.

This lovely species feeds on a variety of insects and fruit. It picks insects from foliage and sallies from a perch to catch them in flight.

Western Tanagers also forage for cherries, elderberries, and other fruits by picking them from shrubs and trees while perched. They can visit feeders to feed on oranges and other fruit.

The Western Tanager is a common summer bird in western Oregon and the northeastern part of the state. In spring and early summer, its colors and husky warbling song lend a lovely touch to wooded areas.

In fall, this bird migrates to spend the winter in tropical dry forests in Mexico and Central America.


Horned Lark

Horned Lark

Horned Lark, Palouse Falls, Washington

The Horned Lark is a dainty bird with a black mask, black mark on the breast, and has black, horn-like tufts on the head. This bird has a small beak, pale eyebrow, and a yellow throat.

The Horned Lark has grayish-brown and rufous on the upperparts and sides, and has white outer tail feathers in a blackish tail.

Birds in Oregon can be plain below or have fine streaks on the breast and sides. Female Horned Larks resemble males but don’t have head tufts and are duller overall. Juvenile Horned Larks look like females but are darker gray and have spotted upperparts.

This species mostly eats small seeds but also takes insects, especially in summer. It forages on the ground, using its small bill to pick small seeds from farm fields and other wide-open habitats.

In Oregon, the Horned Lark is common in open plains and fields in the central and eastern park of the state. During migration and winter, it also occurs on the coast.


American Crow

American Crow

© Alan D. Wilson

The American Crow is large, black bird with long wings and a fairly long tail. Both sexes look alike and have some feathers on the base of their stout, black bills. In certain lighting, we can also see dark blue highlights in their black plumage.

In Oregon, their loud “Caw! Caw! Caw!” vocalizations are a common feature of habitats throughout the state. Intelligent and adaptable, American Crows have learned to live with people and are often seen in cities.

They eat a variety of items including seeds and nuts, fruit, the nestlings of other birds, small animals, carrion, and other things.  These social birds are often seen feeding together and usually occur in small, noisy flocks.

Groups of crows are quick to give alarm calls if they suspect a predator is around. If several give frantic calls while focused on one spot, they may have discovered a hidden owl or other predator.


Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

The Song Sparrow is a small sparrow with a slender, conical bill. They have brown and gray on their heads, a buff eyering, and a buff “moustache” bordered with dark brown.

Males and females look alike and have pale underparts, a dark brown spot on the breast, and dark brown streaks on the sides. The upperparts are brown with dark streaks, and its longish, brown tail is slightly rounded. This sparrow also has two white wing bars on short, brown wings.

The Song Sparrow eats a variety of insects and seeds. It finds food while foraging in low, dense vegetation, and on the ground. This species can also visit feeders but usually takes seed from the ground, below the feeder.

True to its name, this bird does sing a lot. In Oregon, its cheery song is heard in second growth and edge habitats in most parts of the state.


Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is a pale brown and gray dove with a long, pointed tail. It has a rather small head with a slender, dark beak, and grayish eyering. This dove species has more gray tones on the lower back and tail, and small black spots in the wings.

Mourning Doves also have white in the tail, a black mark on the face, and a bit of copper and gold iridescence on each side of the neck. Females are slightly duller and have less gray than males.

Mourning Doves eat grain and a variety of seeds. They are also frequent visitors to feeders. Usually, they forage on the ground where they use their beaks to pick up seeds in open areas.

In Oregon, the Mourning Dove is a very common bird of parks, woodlands, and other habitats. The mournful, owl-like “who WHO who hoo hoo” of this species is frequently heard throughout the state.


Brewer’s Sparrow

Brewers Sparrow

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

The Brewer’s Sparrow is a dainty, plain sparrow with a slender, conical bill. It is pale gray and brown, has fine dark streaks on the crown, and dark streaks on the back. This species has a hint of wing bars, a dark line going back from the eye, and a narrow white eyering.

It also has indistinct dark marks on each side of its throat, and a longish, slightly forked tail. Both sexes of the Brewer’s Sparrow look similar and are slightly duller after breeding.

They can be told from non-breeding Chipping Sparrows by their streaked crown, narrow eyering on a plain face, and pale brown rump.

The Brewer’s Sparrow feeds on insects and small seeds. Pairs pick insects from shrubby vegetation, and take seeds from the ground. In winter, they flock together and with other sparrows.

In Oregon, the Brewer’s Sparrow is a summer bird of sagebrush habitats in the eastern part of the state.


Western Wood-Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee

The Western Wood-Pewee is a dull, grayish flycatcher with a short crest. It is mostly gray with a pale throat, and white on the belly and undertail. It also has a hint of an eyering, a pale mark in front of the eye, and a dark bill with an orange base.

This species has long, blackish wings with some white edging, and two grayish wing bars. Often, the lower wing bar is much more obvious than the upper wing bar. It has a medium-length, gray tail, and the sexes are alike.

Western Wood-Pewees feed on insects. They forage by perching on a branch or other suitable spot, and then sallying into the air to catch their food. In Oregon, the husky call of this species is commonly heard in summer woodlands, brushlands, and other habitats throughout the state.

In fall, it migrates to tropical highland habitats in Central and South America.


Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The Barn Swallow is an elegant, long-tailed swallow species with peach-orange underparts. It has dark, steel-blue upperparts, a reddish patch above the bill and on the throat, and some white in the tail.

Males and female Barn Swallows are similar but females are duller and have shorter tails. Juvenile birds resemble adult females.

This friendly species feeds on insects in flight. It forages by flying over wet fields and other open areas, and catching insects with its wide, open mouth. It tends to fly lower than other swallow species, often, a few feet above the ground.

During the breeding season, Barn Swallows mostly occur in pairs and build mud nests in barns and other structures. At other times of the year, they flock together and with other swallow species. In Oregon, this summer bird can be seen zipping over farmland and other open habitats throughout the state.


Steller’s Jay

stellers jay

Photograph © Glenn Bartley.

The Steller’s Jay is a fairly large jay with a prominent, dark crest. It has a blackish beak, and is dull, sooty black on the head, breast, and back. The rest of the bird is deep, sapphire blue with shades of brighter blue on the wings and tail. The broad and rounded wings, and broad tail also have some black barring.

Male and female Steller’s Jays look alike but juvenile birds are duller and have a pale line on the base of the bill. This omnivorous species feeds on acorns, seeds, fruit, and insects.

Like most members of the crow and jay family, it is opportunistic and will also feed on the eggs and nestlings of other species.

In Oregon, the loud and scratchy calls of these noisy birds are commonly heard in evergreen forests. They are year-round residents in western and southern Oregon, and in the northeastern part of the state.


Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a chunky, finch-like bird with a hefty, conical bill. The male is burnt orange with some yellow on the belly, and has a black head and back. It also has white markings in long black wings, and in its black tail. In flight, the wings have a big white patch and are yellow underneath.

Female Black-headed Grosbeaks look like hefty, colorful sparrows with grayish bills. They have a dark brown crown and face, pale eyebrow, and small, dark streaks on buff and white underparts. They also have brown upperparts with dark streaks on the back, a brown tail, and some pale spots in brown wings.

Black-headed Grosbeaks feed on a variety of insects, arthropods, seeds, and fruit. They use their large beaks to pick food items from foliage in trees and bushes. These beautiful birds can also visit feeders for sunflower seeds and even take nectar.

In Oregon, the Black-headed Grosbeak is a common summer species in wooded habitats throughout the state.


Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

Photograph © Glenn Bartley.

The Spotted Towhee is a thrush-sized, slender, sparrow-like bird with a black, conical bill. The male has red eyes, and a black head,  breast, and upperparts. It also has white on the belly, dark chestnut sides, and dark orange under the tail. The male’s black wings have some small white spots, and it also has some white in the tail.

The female Spotted Towhee is like the male but, instead of black, is dark, sooty brown. Both sexes feed on insects, acorns, and seeds. They forage by hopping along the ground and picking food items up with their bill. They also use their feet to scratch leaves and reveal hidden insects. This species can also forage in low bushes for fruit and insects.

In Oregon, the Spotted Towhee is a common bird and year-round resident of dense, brushy habitats in most of the state.


Yellow-rumped Warbler


The Yellow-rumped Warbler is a small, colorful bird. The subspecies that occurs in Oregon is the “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler. The male of this subspecies is blue-gray with yellow on the crown, throat, rump, and sides of the breast.

It has black marks on the breast, face, sides, and back, and blackish wings with white edging. The male also has white on the belly and in the tail, and a broken white eyering.

The female “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler looks like the male but is duller gray and paler below. She also has two white wing bars, and much less yellow on the throat and underparts.

This species mostly feeds on insects and arthropods. It gleans them from vegetation and sallies into the air to catch them in flight. The Yellow-rumped Warbler can also eat berries, including the waxy fruits of Myrtle bushes.

In Oregon, this species frequents conifers and other habitats in most of the state. It is a permanent resident along the coast and in the Blue Mountains.


Hermit Warbler

Hermit Warbler

Photograph © Greg Lavaty

The Hermit Warbler is a small bird with a yellow face and a slender, black bill. The male also has a black throat and has some black markings on gray upperparts. He has two white wings bars on blackish wings and some white in his tail. The rest of his underparts are white.

Female and young Hermit Warblers resemble males but are duller and can be browner with buffy sides. This small warbler feeds on insects and other small arthropods. It uses its bill to pick food from vegetation and branches, and, can also sally to catch insects in flight.

Hermit Warblers love to spend their time in the high branches of mature Douglas Fir and other conifers. In Oregon, these summer residents are seen, and their buzzy song heard, high overhead in the western part of the state. In fall, they migrate to montane forests in Mexico and Central America.


House Sparrow

House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a small gray and brown bird with a hefty, conical beak. Male House Sparrows have a black throat, some black on the face, and a black beak. They also have a gray crown, reddish-brown on the side of the head and back, and a white or gray face.

Male House Sparrows have a brown back with dark and buff streaks, gray rump, and a brown tail. They have short, rounded brown and black wings with small white shoulders.

The female House Sparrow doesn’t have the male’s prominent head pattern. Instead, she has a paler bill, a buff eyebrow, a dark line through the eye, and a brown crown.

This very familiar species was introduced from England in 1851. Subsequent introductions helped its population grow, and by 1910, it had become firmly established on the west coast.

House Sparrows pick seeds, grains, insects, and other food from the ground. In Oregon, they are common in urban areas, farms, and other places near people.


Warbling Vireo

Warbling Vireo

The Warbling Vireo is a small, plain bird with a pleasant, warbling song. Both sexes look the same and have pale gray upperparts and white underparts. Some birds have yellowish on the underparts, and all have white eyebrows and a bit of white under the eye.

This vireo also has a grayish bill with a tiny hook on the tip, and fairly long, plain wings. It feeds on caterpillars and other insects in deciduous vegetation. Like most vireos, this species seems to take its time as it moves through leafy trees and bushes. This deliberate manner of foraging helps it find and pluck arthropods from their hiding places.

Warbler Vireos also frequently sing. In summer, their rushed, warbling song is heard in riparian zones and other deciduous woodlands throughout Oregon. When fall arrives, they migrate to Mexico for the winter.


Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

The Mountain Chickadee is a small, pale gray bird with a black throat, black cap, and white eyebrow. Males and females look alike. They also have a stubby, black bill, and white on their face and side of the neck. The rest of their upperparts are gray, and they are pale-grayish white below.

Mountain Chickadees pick arthropods and conifer seeds from foliage and branches. Like the closely related Black-capped Chickadee, the Mountain Chickadee holds large seeds with its foot while hammering them with its bill.

This species forms small groups and can also feed with Hermit Warblers and other small birds. In fall, they find and hide conifer seeds as soon as they become available. The birds use these cached seeds during the winter when other food items are scarce.

In Oregon, their clear, whistled “ptee-tur-tur” is often heard in montane coniferous forests in the central part of the state and in the Blue Mountains.

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

The Hermit Thrush is a plump, brown bird with a reddish-brown tail. Male and female Hermit Thrushes look the same and have a dark, slender bill with a pale base. They also have a pale eyering that is broken in the front part of the eye. These birds have brown spotting on white underparts, and pale brown flanks.

On each side of the throat, Hermit Thrushes have dark brown markings. During the summer, this species feeds on insects and other small creatures.

It mostly forages by hopping in the understory and picking food items from the ground and from low vegetation. During the winter, Hermit Thrushes also feed on berries and other small fruits. They forage for this type of food in low bushes.

In Oregon, Hermit Thrushes breed in coniferous forests in the south-central part of the state. They also migrate through the east and winter in coastal forests.


Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

© Alain Daigle

The Chipping Sparrow is a small and slender bird with a small, conical beak. It has a rufous cap, a black line through the eyes, and a pale eyebrow. This sparrow also has white crescents above and below the eyes and gray on its the neck and face.

The Chipping Sparrow has gray below and on the lower back and rump. The rest of the upperparts are brown with some black streaks, and it has a longish, brown, slightly forked tail. This bird has rounded wings with black marks and two pale wing bars.

Both sexes are alike. In fall, they lack the reddish cap and have more brown plumage overall.

In Oregon, the Chipping Sparrow is a common, summer bird of parks and other semi-open habitats with conifers. It picks insects and seeds from the ground, and gives its mechanical, trilled song from perches in trees and bushes.


Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

© Elaine R. Wilson

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is blue-gray above and orange below. This cute bird has a longish, slightly upturned bill with a sharp tip, and some black and white in its short tail.

This species has a striking head pattern of a black cap and narrow black mask separated by a long white eyebrow. Females resemble males but have gray cap and white throat.

Red-breasted Nuthatches feed on insects and other arthropods, and conifer seeds. To forage, these birds use their strong little legs and feet to grasp the bark and hitch headfirst, down a conifer. They inspect the bark and vegetation for small insects caught with their bill.

These birds take conifer seeds and stow them away for the winter. During the cold months, these hidden conifer seeds are their main food source.

In Oregon, the Red-breasted Nuthatch occurs in coniferous forests in the west and in the Blue Mountains. During winter, it also occurs in other parts of the state.


White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Copyright Glenn Bartley
[email protected]

The White-crowned Sparrow is a large, gray and brown sparrow with a black and white, striped head. Males and females look alike and have longish, slightly forked tails. They have small, yellowish, conical bills, and gray underparts with brown flanks. This species also has a pale brown back with dark streaks, and rounded wings with two white wing bars.

Juveniles resemble adults but have a brown crown instead of black and white. White-crowned Sparrows feed on insects, seeds, and fruit. They forage by picking food from the ground and from low vegetation. In summer, this adaptable species also sallies for insects from a perch.

In winter, flocks of White-crowned Sparrows forage for seeds in weedy fields and other, open, brushy habitats. At this time of year, they also eat more fruit. In Oregon, this sparrow is a permanent resident on the coast and in the Blue Mountains. During the winter, we see them throughout the state.


Vesper Sparrow

Vesper sparrow

The Vesper Sparrow is a pale, grayish-brown, streaked sparrow with white outer tail feathers. Both sexes look alike and have a small, pale conical bill and a narrow white eyering. They have dark streaks on the crown and back, a dark line going back from the eye, and a dark border on the lower part of the face.

It has a white throat with a thick dark border on each side, and pale underparts. There is a small dark spot on the breast, and dark streaks on the breast and sides. It can be hard to see the small rufous patch on the shoulder of the rounded wings.

Vesper Sparrows feed on small arthropods and a variety of seeds. They forage by picking food items from the ground and from low vegetation. In Oregon, the Vesper Sparrow breeds in open areas with sparse grass in the eastern part of the state, and in the region located between the mountains and the coastal forests.


Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is a fair-sized pale gray and brown dove with a black mark on the nape. Both sexes look alike and have a slender, dark bill, and longish, plain wings with dark flight feathers. They also have a long, square tail with a broad white tip.

Juveniles resemble adults but are slightly darker gray and have some pale markings on the wings. This introduced species is very much adapted to living with people.

They pick seeds, cereals, and grain from the ground but aren’t shy about visiting feeders. Eurasian Collared-Doves might also prefer sunflowers and corn over other seeds and thus avoid some competition with the native Mourning Dove.

This species may need to live near people and occurs around farms, and in towns and other urban areas. They have become established in Oregon and occur in these habitats in much of the state.


Sage Thrasher

Sage Thrasher

The Sage Thrasher is a slender, long-tailed bird around the same size as a Red-winged Blackbird. Males and females look alike and have heavy streaks and spotting on white or buff underparts, and plain brown-gray upperparts. They have two white wing bars on medium-length wings, and white corners to their dark gray tails.

Sage Thrashers also have a mottled buff-brown face, a pale eye, and a slightly curved, dark bill with a pale base. Juveniles and adults in late summer generally have duller and paler plumage than adults at other times of the year.

This species mostly feeds on insects but also takes some berries. It catches food on the ground and can use its bill to dig for various types of insect prey.

In summer, the complex whistled and chattering song of the Sage Thrasher is heard in sagebrush habitats in central and eastern Oregon. It migrates to the southern USA and northern Mexico for the winter.


Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbird is a smallish blackbird with a short, dark, finch-like bill. Male Brown-headed Cowbirds are black with glossy, dark blue highlights, and have brown heads. Female brown-headed Cowbirds are dull gray with some brown coloration, and have a white throat. Both sexes have short tails and fairly long wings.

This species feeds on a variety of seeds, especially from “weedy” plant species. They pick all of their food from the ground and also feed on insects.

The Brown-headed Cowbird is a very social species that groups together in flocks. During winter, large flocks are often seen in open habitats and farm fields. They also commonly occur with cows and pick seeds from their manure.

In Oregon, we find Brown-headed Cowbirds in every habitat but they are most common on farms, and in open habitats. As in all of its range, in Oregon, this species lays its eggs in the nests of towhees, and many other species.


Violet-green Swallow

Violet-Green Swallow

The Violet-green Swallow is a small and beautiful swallow species with a short, forked tail. Adults are emerald green on the back and head, and are snow white on the face, underparts, and sides of the rump.

They also have purple in the rump and lower back. Females tend to be duller than males and can have a dusky face with a bit of white near the eye. Juveniles look even duller and have a duskier, plainer face.

All ages and sexes have white on the sides of the rump and long, dark wings. These birds feed on small insects caught in flight. They can occur over a wide variety of habitats but are often seen flying over open fields next to forest and wetlands.

In Oregon, Violet-green Swallows occur throughout the state and are a common summer bird in most areas. In fall, they migrate to Mexico for the winter.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are common birds in Portland, Oregon?

Portland, Oregon has many common birds. Some of them are the Canada Goose, American Robin, House Sparrow, and Song Sparrow.

What is the Oregon snow bird?

The snow bird is another name for the Dark-eyed Junco.

What is the largest bird in Oregon?

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest bird in Oregon. It is 72 inches long. The heaviest bird in Oregon is the Mute Swan (416 ounces), and the bird with the biggest wingspan is the American White Pelican (110 inch wingspan).

What birds call at night in Oregon?

Various owls in Oregon call at night. Three of the most common species are the Western Screech-Owl, the Great Horned-Owl, and the Barn Owl.

What is the fastest bird in Oregon?

The fastest bird in Oregon is the Peregrine Falcon. This is the fastest bird on the planet.

What is the screeching bird in Oregon?

The screeching bird in Oregon is the Barn Owl. This species occurs throughout Oregon and makes a loud, raspy, screeching call.

Are there any hummingbirds in Oregon?

Rufous Hummingbird and Anna’s Hummingbird are two of the most common hummingbirds you can find in Oregon. It is possible to see some other hummingbirds in the state, such as Calliope Hummingbirds, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Costa’s Hummingbirds, and even some other species.

Are there any woodpeckers in Oregon?

Woodpeckers are pretty common in Oregon, the most common species include Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, and Hairy Woodpeckers.

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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