If you see a bird with a redhead while birding, hiking trails, or just hanging out in your backyard, you’ll want to know how to recognize it. Woodpeckers, the Cherry-headed Conure, tanagers, redpolls, and northern cardinals are all examples of birds with vivid redheads of feathers.
Observing apparent characteristics such as form and color is one of the most effective techniques for recognizing new birds. If you’ve seen a red-headed bird in the United States, your options have been significantly reduced.
We’ll describe every red-headed bird you’re likely to encounter in this article.
Have you seen a red-headed bird that you’d want to identify? Surely it can’t be that difficult, but with so many red-headed birds to choose from, how are you meant to know where to begin?
These are the most common red-headed birds, as well as others with red on their heads or necks are
Table of Contents
- 1. Cassin’s Finch
- 2. House Finch
- 3. Northern Cardinal
- 4. Downy Woodpecker
- 5. Western Tanager
- 6. Red-faced Warbler
- 7. Red-bellied Woodpecker
- 8. Barn Swallow
- 9. Vermillion Flycatcher
- 10. Hairy Woodpecker
- 11. Pileated Woodpecker
- 12. Red-breasted Sapsucker
- 13. Red-Headed Woodpecker
- 14. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- 15. Purple Finch
- 16. Scarlet Tanagers
- 17. Acorn Woodpecker
- 18. Redhead Duck
- 19. Summer Tanager
- 20. Western Tanagers
- 21. Vermilion Flycatcher
- 22. Red Crossbill
- 23. Common Redpoll
- 24. Pyrrhuloxia
- 25. Pine Grosbeak
1. Cassin’s Finch
In appearance, the Cassin’s Finch is a little brown bird with a redhead that looks quite similar to the House Finch. The male Cassin’s Finch is the only one with a redhead. He has a crimson face, breast, and back, as well as unmarked whitish underparts, which distinguishes him from the House Finch.
These birds may be found in the Western states of Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, where they live in the mountains. It is possible to find them from Canada to Mexico.
2. House Finch
It’s a common and ubiquitous species, the House Finch, which has a redhead and a small body. Most of the United States is home to these birds, including major cities.
Despite its redhead and brown body, the House Finch has streaked; brownish underparts that make it stand out from the crowd. Only male House Finch has redheads, and their colors become significantly stronger during the mating season. House finches are a delight to observe in the yard because they use finch feeders.
3. Northern Cardinal
The male Northern Cardinal is a brilliant red bird with a black face, body, and tail. They’re stunning, especially against a snowy backdrop. With brown coloration, a strong brown crest, red accents, and red beaks, the females are likewise a bit conspicuous.
Northern Cardinals may be found in the eastern and southern United States, and during the breeding season, they can occasionally fight their own reflection to protect their territory. You may attract more Northern Cardinals to your garden by using sunflower seeds, peanut nuts, millet, and milo.
They will eat food from big tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food that has been strewn about the ground.
4. Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are tiny birds that use feeders in backyards. They’re found in almost every state. The males of this bird have a redhead patch on the rear of their heads. Male and female woodpeckers have distinct appearances.
Males frequently have a crimson patch on their chest. They’re frequently mistaken for other birds like chickadees and nuthatches. They are black and white in appearance. They have a similar appearance to the Hairy Woodpecker.
In addition to suet feeders, they will also consume black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts from platforms.
5. Western Tanager
The Western Tanager is a brightly colored bird that may be found across the Western United States, as well as Mexico and Canada. They have a yellow back and a redhead.
This is one of America’s most gorgeous birds, and it’s difficult to confuse it with anything else. During the mating season, the Western Tanager’s crimson head is most visible.
6. Red-faced Warbler
The Red-Faced Little grey warbler with a redhead is a beautiful bird. These birds have a black “helmet” on their heads.
Only the states of Arizona and New Mexico are likely to encounter these birds, which are not widely distributed in the United States. They’re a high-altitude woodland bird that only appears during the summer, so you’ll have to travel to view one.
7. Red-bellied Woodpecker
The light red belly of woodpeckers might be difficult to notice. This red-headed bird has a black-and-white striped back.
They’re found throughout the Eastern United States. In the spring and summer, they emit a loud cry and may be found in woodlands and forests, especially near deadwood. They are migratory woodpeckers.
Suet feeders attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and they will occasionally eat on hummingbird feeders.
8. Barn Swallow
In addition to their blue backs, wings, and tails, barn swallow species also have rusty red cheeks. Prior to flying south for the winter, they breed over much of North America.
To find food, they are commonly observed darting over fields and open water. They also make nests out of mud that they create in man-made structures such as barns.
If you want to attract more Barn Swallows to your yard, you can put ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder and leave an outbuilding or barn door open.
9. Vermillion Flycatcher
The male Vermillion Flycatcher has a stunning crimson head and a matching red underbelly. The female, on the other hand, seems a whole other species, since she is simple and brown in appearance.
The male’s head feathers create a crest that may be raised or lowered. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California are home to just a few desert bird species that may be found in the desert.
10. Hairy Woodpecker
Most of North America is home to the Hairy Woodpecker. The heads of these black and white birds feature a red mark. They are somewhat bigger than their Downy Woodpecker counterpart. They’re located in big trees and maybe heard tapping if you pay attention.
There is a lot to learn about woodpeckers. Suet feeders might help you attract more Hairy Woodpeckers, especially in the winter.
11. Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpeckers have a brilliant red crest on their heads and a mainly black body with white streaks. Besides the northwest coast, it may be found in the eastern states.
Foraging for carpenter ants on decaying wood, it is a large bird approximately the size of a raven. Suet feeders might help you attract more Pileated Woodpeckers.
12. Red-breasted Sapsucker
A little bird with a redhead and chest, the Red-breasted Sapsucker is a small bird with a redhead and chest. Additionally, they have a unique white patch between the base of the beak and eye, as well as red feathers surrounding their heads.
You may find these woodpeckers across western North America, from Canada to Mexico. Although they may be found in a broad range of forested environments, these birds prefer coniferous woods.
13. Red-Headed Woodpecker
Red-headed as their name suggests, woodpeckers have redheads. Their bodies are white, and their wings are black and white. They may be found in eastern states all year and breed, but they move to the extreme north-west of their territory to spend the winter.
They live in marshes and pine savannas, where they may be found in open woodlots and dead timber. Insects and seeds are stored in cracks in wood, under bark, and under shingles on roofs.
They are aggressive protectors of their territory, even puncturing or removing the eggs of other species’ nests. Suet feeders and fruit might entice Red-headed Woodpeckers to your yard.
14. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Raptors have black and white plumage, with a pale yellow underbelly and a red patch on top of their heads and throat.
They breed in the extreme north and in Canada, and they spend the winter in the southeast. They may be found in woods, where they leave a trail of small holes in tree bark where their brush-tipped tongue has been consuming sap. Suet feeders are a possibility.
15. Purple Finch
Its head and breast are a reddish-purple, but its back and wings are a darker shade of brown, like the House Finch.
You may view them all year round along the Pacific coast’s north and east coasts. They flock to feeders in search of black oil sunflower seeds.
16. Scarlet Tanagers
Red-headed and black-tailed Scarlet Tanagers are vividly colorful birds. In the summer, they nest in eastern woodlands before traveling to South America. Because they like to stay high in the forest canopy, Scarlet Tanagers might be difficult to see.
The Scarlet Tanager loves berry plants such as blackberries, raspberries, huckleberry, and Juneberry to attract them.
17. Acorn Woodpecker
Black backs, white crests, and whitish-black under portions differentiate the Acorn Woodpecker from other woodpecker species. It’s exclusively found in a handful of southern states and along the California coast.
They dwell in vast groups in western oak woods, cramming hundreds of acorns into specially created holes in trees. Acorn woodpeckers have a lot of intriguing and disgusting facts. From the tops of trees, they produce loud parrot-like squarks. Seed and suet feeders may be visited.
18. Redhead Duck
Black breasts and a reddish-brown head distinguish the Redhead duck from other species. They may be seen in flocks ranging in the thousands across the United States, notably near the Gulf Coast in the winter. They can be found breeding in reedy ponds over the Great Plains and West in the summer.
19. Summer Tanager
The males of the Summer Tanager are brilliant red all throughout, while the females are yellow. They breed throughout the southern and eastern United States before wintering in Central and South America.
In open woods, forest songbirds that feed on bees and wasps in mid-flight can be found. They capture them and kill them by slamming them against a limb, rubbing the stinger off, and then devouring them.
Berry plants and fruit trees might help you attract more Summer Tanagers to your yard.
20. Western Tanagers
The head of a Western Tanager is fiery orange-red, and the body is yellow with black wings. Breeding in the north and then migrating south for the winter, they may be found all throughout western states.
Despite their brilliant coloration, they dwell in open coniferous woods and are concealed in the canopy. The red coloration is most likely due to the Western Tanager’s consumption of insects that generate a pigment that they cannot synthesize.
Dried fruit, sliced oranges, and other fruits from bird feeders can be used to attract Western Tanagers.
21. Vermilion Flycatcher
The Vermilion Flycatcher has a brilliant red crest, neck, and breast, as well as a black back and wings and a black eye stripe.
In the far south, they can be observed all year round, gathering insects or resting on exposed perches in dry environments. They’re very numerous in the southwest, but they’re also seen in lower quantities near the Gulf Coast.
22. Red Crossbill
Male Red Crossbills have black wings and tails and are brick red throughout. In the northern and western areas, as well as in the eastern states, they can be seen all year round.
They hunt in flocks from tree to tree, cracking apart unopened cones with their strong beaks. They may be spotted eating grit along the roadside in the mornings, as well as in coniferous forests.
23. Common Redpoll
Most of the body of the Common Redpoll is brown or white save for its pink breasts. Their numbers increase in northern locations throughout the winter, while they decline over most of Central America.
To be warm at night, they built tunnels under the snow. In one day, a crow may consume up to 42 percent of its total weight in food, and store up to 2 grams of seeds in the flexible esophagus.
In weedy places or on tree catkins, they can be found, but they will also flock to feeders in search of small seeds such as nyjer seeds or thistle.
Male Pyrrhuloxia is grey in color with red highlights on the forehead, crest, and breast, and tail. They dwell in the Southwest’s scorching deserts. They aggressively protect their territory during the mating season, but in the winter, they may be seen in groups of up to 1000 birds.
Pyrrhuloxia eat seeds, as well as insects, and can be found at sunflower seed feeders, however, they prefer to spread them on the ground.
25. Pine Grosbeak
The males of the Pine Grosbeak species have redheads, breasts, and backs, with grey on the rest of their bodies and wings. They are big finches with a sluggish flight speed.
During the summer, they may be found in open spruce and pine woods in areas of the West, while in the winter, they can be found in northern states. In the northern states, black oil sunflower seed feeders can attract Pine Grosbeaks during the winter.
However, they will also swarm to feeders looking for tiny seeds like nyjer seeds or thistle.
Other Redheaded Woodpeckers
The majority of American woodpeckers have red on the rear of their heads. As an example, consider:
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker
- Red-naped Sapsucker
- Lewis’s Woodpecker
- Ladder-backed Woodpecker
- Gila Woodpecker
More birds with red markings on their heads
If you haven’t been able to identify the bird you saw after looking through all of the birds on this list, try one of the following:
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Sandhill Crane
- Turkey Vulture
- Male Wild Turkey
- White Ibis
- Common Gallinule
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird
- Male Magnificent Frigate bird
- Ruby-crowned kinglet
- Male Ring-necked Pheasant
These birds don’t all have completely redheads, but they all have some red on their heads.
There are a number of birds with redheads, as you can see, but this list should help you identify any red-headed birds you see. You should be able to identify red-headed birds easily after reading this article. Why not make a goal of spotting all of these species when birding as a challenge? Doesn’t it seem like a good time? Enjoy your bird watching!
Why do male birds have more color than female birds?
When it comes to bird species, the males tend to be more colorful and attractively marked than their female counterparts. He requires these vibrant hues in order to attract a girl and to impress other men. Bright colors are a symbol of health and fitness, which females like since it might indicate that the guy would be a good father or, at the very least, has decent genes.
What causes birds to have different colors?
Pigments and other microscopic structures in feathers reflect light, which generates the colors we see on bird’s plumage.