28 Red Birds You Can Find In North America


There are some brightly colored species of birds in North America, and there are many that are different shades of red. Birds are red for many reasons. Their colors help them attract mates and defend their territories.

The red colors in their plumage come from pigments in the food they eat. These molecules are called carotenoids which produce a yellow pigment; however, some birds change this into a red one. This is why you sometimes see a yellow cardinal, not a red cardinal.

In this article we look at the birds that have red plumage in North America.

Here is a list of all the birds found in the United States

Rose-throated Becard
Alan Schmiererer Flickr

Rose-throated Becard

The rose-throated becard can be found in North America in Arizona and southern Texas, and northern Mexico. They generally migrate south for the winter.

The Rose-Throated Becard is a small songbird with a long tail that lives primarily on insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, moths, crickets, and spiders. This particular bird species spends its days foraging for food from dawn to dusk before returning to its roosting spot at nightfall. They are often found in woodland habitats with trees and shrubs for nesting and feeding, though they can be seen near water sources such as streams or ponds.

Mals are most easily identified by their distinctive red throat (gorget) and black head, while females are brownish-grey and do not have the red spot.

Birds are diverse in their size, colors, diet, and other ways.  Find out more in this article I wrote

Eurasian Bullfinch
Hedera.baltica Flickr CC2.0

Eurasian Bullfinch

Eurasian bullfinches are rare birds in North America. They generally inhabit the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Europe. They can sometimes be seen in Alaska, flying over from Russia.

These birds have beautiful plumage that changes colors with age, from a light brown color as juvenile females through orange and yellow as they mature into adult males. Males have dark orange to red underparts with blue wings, but females are drabber with grey-brown underparts and wings.

They like to nest near shrubs or under tree branches where they have plenty of cover from predators such as cats and hawks. It’s often seen feeding on seeds and berries or perched on branches near its nest.

Do you know if birds can see in color?  Find out in this article I wrote

Painted Bunting
Dominic Sherony Flickr CC2.0

Painted Bunting

The beautiful painted bunting has some of the best colors in North America. Males have an intense blue head with red underparts and rump and green wings. These colors only appear from their second year, while females stay green, making them hard to spot among the foliage.

They can found among woodland edges, shrubbery, and brushy areas, but they can also be found visiting gardens with dense shrubs. There are two subspecies of painted bunting in North America. They can be found in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. They have been seen as far north as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

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Northern Cardinal
Andy Morffew
Flickr CC2.0

Northern Cardinal

The northern cardinal is one of the most recognizable birds in the United States. The northern cardinal has been designated the state bird for seven U.S. states: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Northern Cardinals are a common bird throughout the eastern United States. They are a strikingly beautiful bird with a bright crimson red body and black mask around the eyes and neck. With its striking coloration, the northern cardinal often stands out in its environment of green leaves and brown branches.

Northern cardinals inhabit urban and rural areas, forests, city parks, and suburban backyards.

Red-crested Cardinal
Matt MacGillivray Flickr CC2.0

Red-crested Cardinal

The red-crested cardinal is a medium-sized bird. They are known for their vibrant feathers and the crest of feathers on their heads, making them easily identifiable. It gets its name from the crest, which it displays during courtship and territorial disputes. Their heads are bright red, with a light gray body and darker gray wings.

They live in shrubland and agricultural areas and can be found near lakes and rivers. In North America, they can be found in Hawaii and live in parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. They like to eat seeds, insects, fruit, and berries.

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Common Chaffinch
Nahid V Flickr CC2.0

Common Chaffinch

The common chaffinch is not actually common in North America. They generally live in Europe and Africa, but some sightings have been made in the U.S. and Canada.

Males have a reddish-orange breast with a gray and black head, with a rust-red throat. They have a greenish rump with a gray and black tail with white wedges.

Red Crossbill
Jason Crotty Flickr CC2.0

Red Crossbill

The red crossbill gets its name from its distinctive bill. Their beaks cross at the tips. These bills allow them to access conifer cones. They have a unique way of eating seeds from pine cones by using their crossed mandibles. Crossbills can use their bills to pry seeds out from tight pine cones, which they then crack open by pressing their mandibles together.

There are nine red crossbill variants in North America, each with its own beak size and shape. Each of these nine variants lives in different areas of North America depends on the type of conifer seeds in the area.

They can be found in mountains and pine, spruce, and fir forests but can also be seen around towns and backyards. They live from Alaska and most of Canada, throughout most of the United States.

They are a deep brick red, with dark reddish-brown flight and tail feathers. Females are brownish or olive-brown.

Want to know what the 10 smallest birds in North America are?  Find out here in an article I wrote.

White-winged Crossbill
David Mitchell Flickr CC2.0

White-winged Crossbill

The white-winged crossbill is a small, stocky finch with a bill that is crossed. They have the remarkable ability to extract seeds from pinecones. The crossbill’s beak can fit neatly into the tiny holes in a pinecone, and because of this adaptation, it doesn’t need to compete with other birds for food sources.

The white-winged crossbill is red and can be distinguished from the red crossbill by the white wing bars. They also have a higher call than the red crossbill, especially when making the chip call.

Common Rosefinch
Koshy Koshy Flickr CC2.0

Common Rosefinch

The common rosefinch is a medium-sized, seed-eating bird that is quite rare in North America. They are a vagrant visitor from Europe and Asia. They are known for their bright red head, breast, and rump, with a gray or white belly.

Females are often mistaken for house sparrows as they do not have the red coloring, but they have two pale wing bars.

The Common Rosefinch is a very active bird; they like to eat seeds from weed and grasses and insects such as aphids, beetles, caterpillars, crickets, flies, and spiders during the breeding season.

Game birds are not just for Christmas.  Find out about the game birds of North America here.

Cassin’s Finch
Tara Lemezis Flickr CC2.0

Cassin’s Finch

Cassin’s Finch can be found in the western United States and parts of Mexico. Many are permanent residents, while others, generally non-breeding birds, will migrate from the U.S. to Mexico.

The Cassin’s finch is a small brownish-gray bird with a red head, back, rump, and breast. They are similar to the purple finch but have a longer, straight-edged bill and less distinct facial markings.

It has been studied extensively for its song-learning abilities – studies have shown that some of these birds can learn up to 100 songs and mimic other birds.

House Finch
Becky Matsubara Flickr CC2.0

House Finch

House finches are small finches that can be found throughout most of the United States. They are permanent residents, although those most northern will migrate south.

Their diet mainly consists of seeds, berries, and grains. They can often be found on bird feeders because they love to eat sunflower seeds. House finches will often steal nesting materials from other birds like bluebirds or robins and take over abandoned nests.

The male is usually more brightly colored than the female and has a longer tail. Males have reddish heads, necks, and shoulders, with the most deeply red males attracting the most females. They have brown and gray wing and tail feathers.

Purple Finch
Linda Tanner Flickr CC2.0

Purple Finch

The purple finch is a sparrow-sized bird that you can find throughout most of Canada, the west coast of the U.S., and throughout most eastern states.

The red can identify them on their heads, breasts, back, and rump. They have a white line above the eye and a forked brown tail. This coloration distinguishes it from other species that are similar in size and shape, such as the house finch.

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Vermillion Flycatcher
Gerry Zambonini Flickr CCb-By-SA-2.0

Vermillion Flycatcher

The vermillion flycatcher is a small, attractive bird. It’s bright scarlet red head and breast with black eye mask make it easy to spot and identify in the wild. They are found in the southwest United States and down to Central America. Some have been spotted on the west coast of Canada.

They are often found near the outskirts of forests and agricultural and shrub areas, where they can be seen flying over open areas. These birds like to build their nests in trees or shrubs near water sources, so they have plenty of food nearby.

They can often be spotted darting from tree to tree to eat insects, feeding on flies, beetles, and grasshoppers.

European Goldfinch
I Am birdsaspoetry.com  Flickr CC2.0

European Goldfinch

The European goldfinch is a small, colorful bird that was introduced to North America. They can also be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. These birds are active during the day, and their diet consists of seeds such as thistle, dandelion, mullein, and ragweed. They have many predators, including hawks, owls, snakes, and squirrels.

The European Goldfinch is a small bird with an average length of about 5 inches and a wingspan of 9.8 inches. They have deep yellow, white, and black feathers that make them very distinct in color from other birds like the house finch or the American Goldfinch, which are mainly brown and red, respectively.

The male of the species is more colorful than the female with glossy green wings and yellow underparts, while females are a drab brown on top with paler underparts. Males have a red face with black markings around the eyes.

Click here to find out about the 10 largest birds of North America.

Pine Grosbeak
Shawn McCready Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Pine Grosbeak

The pine grosbeak is a medium-sized, beautiful songbird that resides around the Great Lakes and New England. They can be found throughout Canada and into Alaska. They are resident although will fly south in extreme cold. The bird can be seen year-round and has an array of colors to its feathers to give it the perfect camouflage for any environment.

The pine grosbeak is a beautiful bird that has an extensive range of habitat and food sources. They can be found in both the northern and southern parts of the North American continent. These birds are known for their rose-red head, back, and rump. They have black wings with white wing bars. Females are drabber with olive on the head and rump and grey underneath.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Mark Nenadov Flickr CC2.0

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The rose-breasted grosbeak is a beautiful bird that lives in the Eastern United States and into Canada. They winter in Mexico and Central America before returning. This species’ male has a bright red chest and black head, while females are mostly brown with pinkish-white underparts.

They are medium-sized songbirds that can be found in deciduous forests and woodlands. They can also be seen in parks and gardens and prefer habitats with a few trees.

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Pyrrhuloxia
Andy Morffew Flickr CC2.0

Pyrrhuloxia

The pyrrhuloxia is a colorful bird that is endemic to the southwest United States and Mexico. While it was first discovered in the 18th century, people saw these birds for centuries before they were officially documented.

The Pyrrhuloxia is a small, brightly colored, and active bird that has a curved bill that it uses to feed on insects, lizards, spiders, and other invertebrates. The male pyrrhuloxia has red feathers on its face and crest with an orange bill, while the female is more brownish-gray.

Their name comes from Greek terms for its coloration and the shape of its bill. They can be mistaken for the northern cardinal and the vermillion cardinal.

Common Redpoll
Tim Lenz Flickr CC2.0

Common Redpoll

Redpolls are one of the favorite birds on this list. They are a small member of the finch family with red patches on their forehead, and males have a pale red breast.

Common redpolls are energetic and can be seen zipping around feeding on catkins, and are frequent visitors to bird feeders. They mostly eat seeds such as those from birch, juniper, oak, and pine trees. If you want to attract common redpolls, then nyjer seed should be on your bird table. They live in boreal forests and arctic tundra, and in cold winters, they can be found in the southern United States.

Click here to find out the 10 largest birds that can be found in North America

Hoary Redpoll
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren Flickr CC2.0

Hoary Redpoll

The Hoary Redpoll is also known as the Arctic redpoll. They spend their winter in Canada and Alaska’s northern reaches before migrating south to breed in the boreal forests and tundra of Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern United States. This bird species is most often seen during migration when it stops over on Arctic tundra or taiga regions for feeding.

Hoary Redpolls are one of the most beautiful birds you can hope to see during the winter months. With their striking red breast and white belly, they are easily confused with the common redpoll. However, the arctic redpoll is paler and has an unstreaked rump, unlike the common redpoll.

Black Rosy-finch
InAweofGod’sCreation Flickr CC2.0

Black Rosy-finch

The black rosy-finch is quite difficult to spot in North America, and not much is known about them. Their habitat is why as they live around alpine rocks and build their nests in cliff cavities. They live in the west in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The black rosy-finch gets its name from its overall black color with a pink belly and wings. They have a gray crown. Nonbreeding birds are not black but dark brown. They are about 6 inches long from head to tail and weigh around 22 grams.

Brown-capped Rosy-finch
Dominic Sherony Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Brown-capped Rosy-finch

The brown-capped rosy-finch can only be found in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. They nest in shaded cliffs and crevices of mountain ranges before flying to lower elevations for the winter. The brown-capped rosy-finch has shorter bills than other rosy-finches, which they use to feed on seeds, berries, and insects.

Brown-capped rosy-finches use their chestnut-colored feathers to attract mates by fluffing their feathers to show off their red undercoat. The brown-capped rosy-finch is named after its distinctive milk-chocolate brown cap. Males will often defend their territory by singing and chasing other males away from their mate or nesting area.

Gray-crowned Rosy-finch
Dominic Sherony Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Gray-crowned Rosy-finch

The gray-crowned rosy-finch is very difficult to spot, again due to their habitat. They live in rocky, remote alpine habitats and are found primarily on the west coast of North America and from Alaska to California. There are six subspecies of gray-crowned rosy finch in the continent. Some will migrate south in winter, while others are residents.

The gray-crowned rosy finch is a medium-large finch with a notched wing and tail giving them their distinctive appearance. It also has a long bill that helps them find food by probing under leaves or other vegetation for insects, seeds, and berries. This makes them an important part of the ecosystem because their diet consists mostly of invertebrates such as small insects like grasshoppers or beetles that many animals rely on as a food source.

This species has a very distinctive appearance with pinkish-red underparts and brown back and breast. They have a gray head with a black forehead and throat.

Flame-colored Tanager
Festive Coquette Flickr CC2.0

Flame-colored Tanager

The flame-colored tanager is a medium-sized bird with the largest populations in Central America and South America. The birds are mostly found in tropical rainforests, but they have been spotted north up to Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

They have a large range of color morphs which include bright reds and orange. A tanager with a bright red chest and head, this little bird has been known to attract tourists’ attention due to its beauty. They are now classified in the cardinal family.

The flame-colored tanager inhabits humid forests with dense undergrowth. It is mostly found in the canopy of forests, but you can also see them along riverbanks and edges of the forest.

It feeds on insects and fruit, especially figs, making this bird a keystone species in its habitat due to its effect on the ecosystem’s balance of plant growth.

Hepatic Tanager
Mick Thompson Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Hepatic Tanager

The hepatic tanager is a beautiful bird with an amazing plumage. The word Hepatic comes from the Ancient Greek word “hepar,” which means liver or spleen of an animal. This is because they have a yellowish hue to their feathers on their underparts, giving them a liver-like appearance. The brightest color shines through on the throat and forehead. They have gray flanks and a dark streak around the eye. Only the males are red, with females being yellow.

The Hepatic Tanager is a bird that lives in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and down into Mexico and Central America. They are very active in their habitat and can be found around ponds or streams, often hopping around on the ground or climbing through trees.

Scarlet Tanager
Kelly Colgan Azar Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Scarlet Tanager

The scarlet tanager is a stunning bird that can be found all over eastern North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are classified as cardinals. You may see this bird on a list of yellow birds as well as this list. That is because females are olive-yellow, while males are bright crimson-red with black wings and tails.

The Scarlet Tanager is a medium-sized bird that lives in forests and woodlands. It breeds from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic coast, west to Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and eastern Minnesota. They can often be seen in suburban areas and at backyard birdfeeders.

Summer Tanager
Becky Matsubara Flickr CC2.0

Summer Tanager

A member of the cardinal family, the summer tanager, is a medium-sized bird, measuring around 7 inches in length. It lives primarily in the southeastern United States, down to Mexico and South America. The summer tanager has rose-red plumage all over. The vibrant colors help them attract mates during the mating season.

They live in wooded areas where they can be seen foraging in trees. Their diet consists mainly of flying insects such as bees and wasps. They will also eat berries and fruit. The summer tanager can often be seen feeding at bird feeders.

Click here for the 10 most common birds of North America.

Elegant Trogon
Dominic Sherony Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Elegant Trogon

The elegant trogon is a small bird that lives in Central and South America’s tropical rainforests but can also be found in Texas and Arizona. It is sometimes called a ‘flying jewel’ because of its bright, colorful feathers.

The elegant trogon can be seen perched on branches or high up in the trees where it can look like a leaf, making them hard to spot for those who are not aware of their existence. The elegant trogon’s feathers are iridescent and beautiful, with colors ranging from green to red.

They have long tails that they use as stabilizers when they walk around on tree limbs looking for insects or fruit to eat. Their long tail also comes in handy when flying between trees because it helps them steer and control their flight pattern while searching out prey or trying to escape predators such as birds of prey, snakes, large cats, and other small mammals.

Red-faced Warbler
Dominic Sherony Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Red-faced Warbler

The red-faced warbler is a small songbird that lives in North America. They are small, but they have an impressive voice with loud, high-pitched calls. When they sing, their feathers will rise to form a ruff around their neck and head. The red-faced warbler has bright red patches on its face, neck, and upper breast, with light gray wings and a paler underside.

The red-faced warbler, also known as the American redstart, is a small songbird that migrates from Arizona and New Mexico down to Central America. They can be found in mountainous forests up to 3,000 meters.

If I have forgotten any, please let me know by clicking on the contact us button below.

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Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Nature.

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