Minnesota Birds: Most Common Birds in Minnesota (With Pictures)

Last Updated on February 11, 2022 by Lily Aldrin

Many individuals enjoy bird watching as a pastime. It’s frequently considered as a pastime that necessitates pricey equipment, yet all you really need are your eyes and ears to get started.

This post will show you the most frequent backyard birds in Minnesota, along with images and information about each one so you can recognize them when they visit your yard.

american crowAmerican crow
black capped chickadeeBlack-capped Chickadee
blue jayBlue jay
white breasted nuthatchWhite-breasted nuthatch
song sparrowSong sparrow
mourning doveMourning dove
house sparrowHouse sparrow
house finchHouse finch
common grackleCommon grackle
chipping sparrowChipping sparrow
red winged blackbirdRed-winged blackbird
red bellied woodpeckerRed-bellied woodpecker
european starlingEuropean starling
dark eyed juncoDark-eyed Junco
hairy woodpeckerHairy woodpecker
downy woodpeckerDowny woodpecker
american robinAmerican robin
American GoldfinchAmerican Goldfinch
northern cardinalNorthern cardinal
common yellowthroatCommon yellowthroat
barn swallowBarn swallow
gray catbirdGray catbird
brown-headed cowbirdBrown-headed cowbird
house wrenHouse wren
ruby throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbird

The following is a list of Minnesota birds that may be found in your backyard and beyond. Pictures of the birds are included, as well as information on how to identify them.

Whether you’re looking for small brown birds or more colorful birds, you’ll find them on the list below.

1. American Crow

American Crow

The American Crow is one of North America’s most common and successful birds. They were brought to Australia and are now present in every region except Antarctica. Their breeding populations may be found as far south as Guatemala and their range spans from Alaska to Mexico.


Forested regions, open pastures, deserts, and even suburbia are all part of their environment.


The American Crow eats invertebrates like earthworms and crickets, as well as small vertebrates like frogs and mice that they catch alive and give to their chicks.

2. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

In the northern portion of the United States, this is a popular backyard bird. Chickadees are tiny birds that are similar to American Goldfinches in size.

These birds are Gray on top, buffy on the bottom. Wing feathers have white margins.


Forests that are both deciduous and mixed. They encompass the bulk of Alaska as well as the north side of the US and the southern parts of Canada.

Small groups of people acrobatically soar from twig tips to twig points. Chickadees make up the majority of mixed-species flocks in the winter, which also include nuthatches, creepers, and other birds.


They consume food through tube and tray feeders. They adore suet and black oil sunflower seeds.

3. Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jays are a moderate bird seen in both the United States and Canada. The distribution of this species stretches from Newfoundland to Florida and westward over much of the continental United States. It’s been spotted all the way up to Alaska.

Because they are nomadic species with migratory habits that span throughout North America during specific seasons, they have a wide range.

Habitat & Food

They live in open woods, brushy areas, suburbs, orchards, and rural gardens, eating mostly nuts and seeds but sometimes insects like beetles and ants when food is limited.

4. White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

The white-breasted nuthatch is a widespread bird that may be found over most of North America, notably in southern Canada, northern states, and central Mexico. It’s also a highly busy bird, especially in the spring and summer, when it’s most visible in densely populated regions.


Male nuthatches have a reputation for being violent. They love ancient, mature timber and will require the presence of big oak trees for protection. Backyard bird feeders are also frequented by white-breasted nuthatches.

5. Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is a tiny North American songbird. They’ve been found in every state in the continental US as well as northern South America.


The Song Sparrow’s habitat includes grassy areas, weedy areas, and wetlands.


Its major food source is insects, although it also eats seeds from weed seeds or maize, as well as tiny snails and worms. They travel southward in the winter, to Mexico or Central America.

6. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

The Columbidae group of birds includes the Mourning Dove. They may be found in areas of North America and Europe. The pleasant cooing sounds and nesting behaviors of these birds are well-known.


Their distribution extends from central Canada to Mexico. Although they prefer open woodlands and agricultural areas close to water such as ponds and lakes their habitat ranges from deserts to mountain range forests.

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Seeds and grains make up the majority of their food, although they will also consume insects, small animals, eggs, and young birds if they are available. They are migratory birds that move when threatened by cold weather or other environmental reasons such as drought or food scarcity.

7. House Sparrow

House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a little bird that breeds in Asia and North America. The House Sparrow’s range encompasses the majority of the United States and Canada. They live in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. They are found in South America as far south as Peru, but not in Chile or Argentina.


Cities, towns, farms, meadows with grassy fields for nesting places, and urban environments with gardens holding attractive plants are all part of their habitat.


Seeds, fruits, and flies are their primary sources of food, but they will sometimes steal eggs or nestlings from other birds’ nests, such as swallows or robins. House sparrows generally migrate with their breeding partners if they don’t move as a family unit, and it’s not unusual for them to return year after year to feed their babies.

8. House Finch

House Finch

House finches are tiny North American bird species. They may be found in a variety of environments, although they are most commonly found in the eastern United States and Canada.


Their preferred meals include seeds and nuts, as well as insects.


Their ideal environments are open spaces, meadows, fields, parks, and gardens. During the winter, house finches migrate south to Mexico or Central America to breed before coming north in the spring to Canada and the United States.

9. Common Grackle

Common Grackle

The Common Grackle is a bird that may be found throughout eastern North America. They can be seen throughout the year, although they are most common in the summer. Grackles can be spotted as far north as Alaska and southern Canada, and as far south as Panama and Brazil.

The grackle population has expanded to nearly every nation with an east coast or an ocean coast west of India.


Suburban yards, farms, and lakefront are among the ecosystems.


This bird will consume seeds, flies, grubs, and other tiny creatures when foraging on land or in water.

10. Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

In America, the Chipping Sparrow is a popular songbird.


The Chipping Sparrow’s habitat ranges from farmland to urban areas and its range span most of the United States and Canada. They like scrubby vegetation, open fields, meadows, and pastures to dwell in.


This bird’s diet consists primarily of insects and other invertebrates that they collect off the leaves and bark of trees, shrubs, and low vegetation; some may also eat seeds or fruit. These birds migrate south during the winter reaching as far south as Central America or northern South America depending on where they spend the summer.

11. Red-winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

The Red-winged Nightingale is a species that lives in marshes and wet pastures in America. It has a broad range of habitats from the East Coast to the Mountains.


They are generally found in big numbers in wetland environments and have been observed breeding in conjunction with human development and agricultural fields such as rice crops.


Flies, beetles, and other tiny invertebrates make up the majority of their food. The red-winged blackbird migrates south to warmer regions in Central America and the southern United States during the winter then returns north in the spring.

12. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a moderate woodpecker in North America. The Red-bellied Woodpecker’s range includes Canada and the United States, with the exception of New England.

These can be observed throughout the year in much of their habitat, but they migrate to Florida and Central America in the winter.


Red-bellied woodpeckers like deciduous woods with lots of dead trees and towering dead trees that haven’t gone down yet.

There are a variety of ecosystems throughout the range, including wooded wetlands, upland hardwood forests, and open woods dominated by oak or hickory.


The birds like to consume insects such as ants and larvae that they obtain by piercing into tree trunks and branches.

13. European Starling

European Starling

European starlings are among North America’s most frequent birds. These songbirds may be seen from Eastern Europe to Siberia as well as across Europe and Africa. European starlings prefer to live near bodies of water or damp terrain.


Spiders, small animals, and fruit are all part of their diet, but they also eat carrion and rubbish when it’s available.

This migratory bird migrates south for the winter to warmer areas where it is not subjected to the harsh winters of its native region. Their capacity to travel large distances at night without stopping is one of their most distinctive characteristics.

14. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco has the largest range of any North American bird species. Except for some deserts and high mountains, they can be seen throughout Canada and most of the United States. They could well be found from coast to coast.

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Coniferous woods, shrubby regions, and residential yards are all good places to look for them. Seeds, berries, and invertebrates are all part of this species’ diet. Their winter flight path leads them south from the northern United States, over Central America, and into Argentina, where they feast on insects during the warmer months.

15. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is a woodpecker of medium size. With the exception of Newfoundland, the bird’s range encompasses the northern United States and every Canadian province. The bird may be found across Central America, as well as Chile, Ecuador, and Brazil.


They like to live in woods, particularly pine or mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, but will occasionally go into open fields.


The majority of this bird’s diet consists of ants, grasshoppers, and other bugs. This bird also eats nuts from hickory and walnut trees.

16. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a tiny North American bird that may be found throughout the continent. The Downy Woodpecker’s range in the United States stretches across Canada and Alaska to Texas and Mexico. It’s also been seen in portions of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres, as well as Europe.


They prefer to reside in evergreen woodlands, but they are not limited to this habitat.


When accessible, they eat primarily insects, although they also eat nuts, seeds, and berries. The most notable characteristic of this species is its migratory behaviors throughout the winter, which are primarily seen for breeding purposes.

17. American Robin

American Robin

The American Robin is a North American migratory songbird that may be found throughout the continent. Their crimson breast and yellow-orange beak distinguish them from other birds.

From North through Central America, south through the U.S, and into northern Mexico, the robin’s range is extensive.


They like thick undergrowth and trees near water sources in woods, marshes, gardens, or parks.


They eat mostly fruits, but will occasionally devour small vertebrates. During the winter, robins travel from colder climates to warmer climes such as Florida or California and then return in the spring.

18. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The Us Finch is a small, ubiquitous bird found across North America. They’re primarily found in the western United States, although they’ve been seen east of the Rocky Mountains as well.


In recent years, sightings have become increasingly rare. Seeds, berries, nectar, and insects are their main sources of nutrition, and they may be found near water sources or farmlands.


High-altitude forests with wide areas for feeding or breeding are their native habitat. Some birds move to warmer climes during the winter, while others remain year-round in their current location.

19. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinals are one of North America’s most frequent birds. These birds are mostly found in the Eastern United States, however, relocate to California in the wintertime.


Forests and parks with bushes and trees for breeding places make up their habitat.


A northern cardinal’s food consists primarily of seeds, fruits, and insects. Because of their love for bird feeders and house gardens, these birds usually reside near human civilization.

20. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Yellowthroats are little songbirds with brownish backs and brilliant yellow bellies and long tails. The males wear a black mask that completely conceals their faces. The intensity of the yellow varies by location, and certain areas beneath the surface may seem more olive.


In the spring and summer, they may be found in the marshy or brushy fields and tangled vegetation across most of America.


They consume primarily insects and can be found in vast, densely vegetated backyards.

21. Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow


Barn Swallows are little birds with a dark blue back reddish-brown underside, and a reddish-brown face. Long outer feathers form a deep fork in the tail.

They breed over the majority of North America before migrating to Central and South America to breed.


They are commonly seen soaring over meadows, farms, and fields in search of insects, and they make mud nests in man-made buildings such as barns.

To attract more Barn Swallows, keep putting up nesting boxes or containers, and they’ll eat ground-up eggshells from a podium feeder.

22. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds get their name from their unique catty mew sound, which may last up to ten minutes. They’re medium-sized songbirds with slate grey plumage, a blackhead, and a tail, as well as a scarlet spot underneath their tails.


Gray Catbirds may be found in thick shrubs, tiny trees, forest margins, and hedgerows.


More Gray Catbirds will come to your feeders if you have fruit or bushes like dogwood.

23. Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird


Brown-headed Cowbird males have short tails and broadheads and have a black body and brown head. Females are brown with faint striping all over.

They are frequently seen as a nuisance since they destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds in order to place their eggs in the nest and have the bird care for their young.


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They breed across most of northern and western North America before moving south, although they spend the entire year in the Eastern and Southern states, as well as the Pacific Coast.

24. House Wren

House Wren

House Wrens are tiny brown birds with lighter necks and darker barred wings and tails. Before traveling to the extreme south and Mexico for the winter, they breed in most states.


House Wrens can be seen hunting for insects in brush heaps in backyards, parks, and open forests. By leaving brush piles or erecting a nest box, you might attract more to your backyard.

25. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is native to North America. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird derives its name from the color of its neck, which is ruby red. They are a seasonal hummingbird species that migrate south during the winter.


The Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s top parts are metallic-green in color, while the underparts are white-grey. Their beak is long and their wings are blackish. They sip nectar from many flowers using their bill.


Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are identical to males but lack distinctive ruby-colored throats. An adult Ruby-throated hummingbird’s body length ranges from 7 to 9 cm. They have a large bill that they utilize to drink nectar from many flowers, including many garden plants.


They sip the nectar using their lengthy beak inserted into the flower’s ovary. They eat small insects and worms throughout their flying and relocation. They also pay a visit to the suet and sugared water bird feeders in people’s backyards.

How to Recognize Birds in Minnesota?

If you want to go birding or just do some backyard bird watching in Minnesota, here are some suggestions to help you identify birds:

1. Size

The first thing you notice about a bird is its size. In guidebooks, birds are frequently measured in inches or millimeters. It’s important to make a mental note of the bird’s size, whether it’s little, medium, or huge, so you can find it later. A sparrow is approximately the size of a little bird, a pigeon is about the size of a medium bird, and a goose is around the size of a large bird.

2. Form

Take notice of the bird’s silhouette and jot it down or sketch it out. Examine the length of the tail, the form of the beak, the shape of the wings, and the overall body shape.

3. Color scheme

Make a mental note of the primary color of the head, back, belly, wings, and tail, as well as any secondary colors or patterns. Patterns like banding or highlights should be observed as well.

4. Behavior

Do they live on the ground or in the trees? Are they all in groups or on their own? Are you able to figure out what they’re eating?

5. Habitat

Woodlands, parks, bushes, grasslands or meadows, shores, or marshes are all examples of habitats.


There have been a few birds listed in this article that can be found in Minnesota. Minnesota’s winter weather is often unpredictable. In certain regions of Minnesota, snow may fall as early as October or November.

Birds can be spotted sheltering beneath branches and trees to protect themselves from the extremely cold and severe winds of Minnesota winters. Some birds can even be observed protecting themselves from the weather by nesting in natural holes.

If you want to feed the birds throughout the winter, make sure the meals are heavy in fats and protein. Feeders benefit from the addition of black oil sunflower seeds and suet.


Which is the biggest bird in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s largest bird is the Sandhill Crane. Adults may reach a height of 4 feet, have a wingspan of 6-7 feet, and weigh approximately 10 pounds.

What is Minnesota’s most abundant bird?

In Minnesota, the black-capped chickadee is the most common bird. In 2021, this bird will be seen 49.5 percent of the time, which means it will be seen at least once out of every two sightings.

What is Minnesota’s rarest bird?

In Minnesota, there are numerous uncommon species, including the black-throated sparrow, Magnificent Frigate bird, White-tailed Kite, and McCown’s Longspur. The chance of seeing one of these birds is one in a million.

In Minnesota, what are the yellow birds?

The American Goldfinch and the Yellow Warbler are the two most common yellow birds in Minnesota. The most common yellow bird is the American Goldfinch, although there are a few others, such as the Yellow Warbler and Yellow-breasted Chat.

In Minnesota, how many different bird species can you find?

Minnesota hosts 422 bird species, making it a bird watcher’s delight. Some are uncommon and difficult to get by, while others are ubiquitous across the state. Some are year-round residents, while others move for the winter or summer and then return. Because it is home to so many species, Minnesota is a magnet for birdwatchers and other wildlife enthusiasts.

In Minnesota, what is the tiniest owl?

The saw-whet owl is Minnesota’s tiniest owl. It is just 7-8 inches long and weighs approximately 2-5 ounces, with a wingspan of roughly 16-19 inches.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.