Hello, bird enthusiasts!
Welcome to an informative article that will introduce you to the fascinating avian inhabitants of Mississippi.
In this piece, we’ll be exploring 16 common bird species found in this beautiful southern state.
Whether you’re a beginner birdwatcher or a seasoned observer, this guide will provide you with essential insights into the diverse birdlife that graces Mississippi’s skies.
So, grab your binoculars, prepare your notepad, and let’s dive into the vibrant world of Mississippi’s feathered friends!
If you don’t have the time to read the whole article, check out this video on Common Birds in Mississippi for a quick understanding.
Common Birds in Mississippi
1. Common Yellowthroat
The Geothlypis trichas, or Common Yellowthroat is a little new world warbler from the Parulidae family.
They are found all across North America.
As its name suggests, this bird’s neck is lemon-yellow.
The Common Yellowthroat’s whole body is covered in light yellow plumage.
A black stripe runs from the tip of the head to the eyelids, then back to the rear of the head on the Common Yellowthroat.
The bird’s feathers and upper regions have a greenish-yellow color.
The typical body length is 4.3-5.1 in, with a wingspan of almost 5.9-7.5 in.
A Common Yellowthroat typically weighs approximately 0.3 oz.
This bird forages on nearby trees and the grass in search of food.
Cherries, fruits, cereals, and nuts are their primary sources of nutrition.
This bird eats caterpillars, larvae, and beetles, among other small insects.
Below are the characteristics of the Common Yellowthroat,
|Scientific Name||Geothlypis trichas|
|Habitat||Wetlands, marshes, and thickets|
|Food||Insects, spiders, small invertebrates|
2. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is a tiny singing bird.
This bird belongs to the Polioptilidae genus of birds.
These birds are easily identified due to their peculiar grey feathers.
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher’s whole body is covered with blue and grey feathers.
Their upper parts are black, and their bottoms are grey.
Their tummy and breasts appear greyish-white instead of blue and white.
The typical length of this bird is 10–13 cm, with a wingspan of 6.3 in on average (16 cm).
A mature Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is only 5–7 g in weight.
They preferably reside in tiny shrubs and trees’ water bodies.
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher bird mostly enjoys tiny insects such as moths, bugs, and beetles.
Some of the insects’ larvae and eggs are also enjoyed by them.
Tiny nuts and grains of small plants are also eaten by the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher bird.
They also feed on a variety of nuts and grains.
They also visit the bird feeders to feed themselves when hungry.
Below are the characteristics of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher,
|Scientific Name||Polioptila caerulea|
|Habitat||Woodlands, forests, and brushy areas|
|Food||Insects, spiders, and small invertebrates|
3. Brown-Headed Cowbird
The Brown-headed Cowbird, usually known as the Molothrus ater, is a North American bird with a medium build.
This migratory bird moves from one region to another depending on food availability, weather, and environment.
Its rear is more colorful.
They usually go to the northwest in the summer.
This bird’s black plumage is much more bluish-black than absolute black.
Males have more vibrant and colorful plumage.
Excluding the brown neck and head that females have, the Brown-headed Cowbird’s appearance is totally black.
The female has brown and black plumage.
Females have a lower wingspan and weigh less than males.
Female birds are easily identified from males in the flock due to their varied coloration.
They are migratory birds, meaning they go from one location to another.
Insects, blossoms, berries, fruits, and cherries are all eaten by the Brown-headed Cowbird.
Below are the characteristics of the Brown-Headed Cowbird,
|Scientific Name||Molothrus ater|
|Habitat||Open fields, grasslands, and agricultural areas|
|Food||Seeds, grains, insects, and small invertebrates|
4. Purple Martin
Purple Martins, also known as Progne subis, is a bird known to be one of the largest swallow bird species in North America.
Their name originates from the color of their plumage, which is blackish-blue but turns a brilliant purple when they soar high in the sky and sunlight falls on them.
Greenish-blue colors may be seen in their shiny feathers.
They’re migratory birds who go south during the winter.
They are very well for their gliding and rapid flight ability.
Females differ from males in their build that they are thinner and lighter than males.
Females have a different plumage color in addition to these characteristics.
The upper parts of these birds are purple, which eventually faded to white as they got closer to the margins.
An adult’s body length ranges from 7.5-7.9 inches, with a wingspan of around 15.3-16.1 inches.
An adult’s weight ranges from 7.5 to 7.9 pounds. Purple Martins weigh between 1.6 and 2.1 ounces.
This species migrates to the south and makes a brief halt in Cuba.
They migrate to the North as early as the cold weather is through.
The birds feed on insects and worms from the skies.
They attack their prey.
They seldom visit bird feeders in North America.
Below are the characteristics of the Purple Martin,
|Scientific Name||Progne subis|
|Habitat||Open areas near water, such as fields and lakes|
|Food||Insects, primarily flying insects and beetles|
5. Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadees have silky grey backs, small wings, and long, slender tails that are the same color as their backs.
However, there will be some white edging on the wings and white tail feathers, so keep an eye out for them as well.
This bird’s underside and breast are white, but it has a little black bib and a huge black cap that ends at approximately mid-eye level, with the middle color between the cap and bib being white.
The beaks of these birds are triangular and black.
The length of this bird is 3.9–4.7 inches, and its wingspan is 5.9–7.9 inches broad.
These birds are common visitors to gardens and well-stocked backyard feeders, but they can also be seen in the woods.
These birds mostly consume insects.
Below are the characteristics of the Carolina Chickadee,
|Scientific Name||Poecile carolinensis|
|Habitat||Deciduous forests, wooded areas, and suburban parks|
|Food||Insects, seeds, nuts, and berries|
6. Common Grackle
These birds are huge songbirds and are endemic to North America.
This bird’s eyes are white with a little black mark on them.
They have a greater size, a longer tail, and a slate-black beak.
They live in the North all year, but they do travel to other parts of the nation.
This bird is distinguished by its black wings, shining golden neck, and black underparts.
Both sexes are essentially identical in appearance and cannot be discriminated against only based on appearance.
The male and female grackle populations are slightly varied.
From afar, however, it’s hard to tell them distinct.
They often feed on the bird feeders.
These birds feed on meat as well as vegetables; hence are omnivores.
Among their preferred diets are small worms, spiders, bugs, reptiles, minnows, caterpillars, berries, nuts, and seeds.
They are seen competing with other birds for food.
Below are the characteristics of the Common Grackle,
|Scientific Name||Quiscalus quiscula|
|Habitat||Open habitats including fields, meadows, and urban areas|
|Food||Insects, fruits, seeds, grains, and small animals|
7. Pine Warbler
The Pine Warbler, commonly known as Setophaga pinus, is a tiny new world warbler belonging to the Parulidae family.
This songbird is known for its lovely song which attracts males and communicates with others.
Pine warblers derive their name from their habit.
They spend more time devouring the twigs and trunks of pine trees.
They are wanderers that usually move to the northern hemisphere during winter.
A white abdomen and white wing bands distinguish this bird’s plumage.
The longer beak is foraging in the pine trees and on the floor.
The adults of the Pine Warbler have a completely olive-yellow plumage, with olive-yellow breasts and upper parts.
The breasts and necks of females and Juvenile Pine Warbler have a different color from males and are somewhat pale.
A mature pine warbler has a body length of 5–5.75 inches and a wing of up to 8.75 inches.
A mature Pine Warbler can weigh up to 12 grams.
These birds most like tiny insects, berries, and nuts grains.
To find food, they graze on tree branches and the ground.
Below are the characteristics of the Pine Warbler,
|Scientific Name||Setophaga pinus|
|Habitat||Pine forests, coniferous woodlands, and mixed forests|
|Food||Insects, spiders, seeds, and berries|
8. American Robin
The American Robin is a tiny migratory songbird with red and black plumage.
It visits several locations in the United States.
Male American Robins differ from female American Robins in that the males have more colorful plumage.
A Male’s body is mostly colored vibrantly, while females are more subdued.
Both of the sex’s bodies are also diverse in size and shape, with female bodies being thinner and smaller and male bodies being somewhat bigger.
Tiny creatures and their eggs, small nuts, and cherries are among their favorite foods.
They feed on the seeds of plants, tiny shrubs, and bushes.
Below are the characteristics of the American Robin,
|Scientific Name||Turdus migratorius|
|Habitat||Various habitats including forests, woodlands, gardens, and urban areas|
|Food||Insects, worms, fruits, berries, and small invertebrates|
9. American Goldfinch
They are a stunning bird species, with plumage that is more vibrant than many other birds.
The male and their counterpart females of these species are identical in appearance, except that the females do not have the black mark on their heads that the males do.
The bird is bright yellow in color, having golden upperparts and underparts.
In contrast, the American Goldfinch has jet-black wings.
The underside of the wings is white.
Their tail is black having beautiful white designs.
The pigment of their beak is a magnificent golden pink.
Both males and females are identical in size, weight, height, and color.
The American Goldfinch readily enjoys small insect seeds and fruits from tiny plants and bushes.
They are friendly but stay safe from humans and escape when approached too closely.
Below are the characteristics of the American Goldfinch,
|Scientific Name||Spinus tristis|
|Habitat||Open fields, meadows, and brushy areas|
|Food||Seeds, especially those of thistles and sunflowers|
10. Pileated Woodpecker
The Pileated Woodpecker is a woodpecker with a medium build and is native to North America.
This red hat of a pileated Woodpecker is well known.
They are easily distinguishable due to the red crown present on their head.
They are similar to the other woodpecker species except for their red crest mounted on the top of their head.
Their distinct head makes them unique from the other Woodpecker species.
Male and their counterpart females have a minimal difference in their appearance.
The line from the beak to the neck is red in males while black in females.
The wings are also different in males and females; male wings are black, while female wings are brownish.
These species, like other species, drill holes in tree trunks.
They feed on the bird feeders daily. Ants, caterpillars, beetle and arthropod larvae, grasses seeds, and microscopic grains are among the foods they eat.
Below are the characteristics of the Pileated Woodpecker,
|Scientific Name||Dryocopus pileatus|
|Habitat||Mature forests, woodlands, and wooded areas|
|Food||Insects, beetles, ants, fruits, and nuts|
11. Brown Thrasher
Mockingbirds and birds have a genetic relationship.
The bird is fully coated in brown plumage, as its name indicates.
On their feathers and the tops of their wings, they have black patches.
Brownish-grey plumage covers the underbelly, belly, and breasts of the bird.
The huge Brown Thrasher may be seen over the whole eastern United States.
It forages brazenly on open lawns at times, but it scurries into deep cover at the first sign of trouble, hiding amid the briar tangles and emitting loud crackling call notes.
The male Brown Thrasher sings a rich, beautiful song of repeated phrases from the top of a tall tree, despite the fact that the bird spends most of its day low to the earth.
Brown Thrasher has a dull coloration and no markings when they’re young.
Brown Thrashers weigh between 61 and 89 grams as adults.
It rummages for insects on the ground, flipping fallen leaves aside or digging in the earth with its bill.
To consume berries, it perches in bushes and trees.
Will pound acorns open with its beak to break them open Insects, berries, and nuts are among the many options.
Bees, larvae, bugs, crickets, dragonflies, and other insects make up more than half of the food; it also consumes spiders, earthworms, slugs, crustaceans, lizards, and frogs.
Berries and tiny fruits are very significant in the diet, particularly in the autumn and winter, and it consumes a lot of nuts and seeds, especially acorns.
Microscopic creatures and worms are the primary foods of the Brown Thrasher.
They also enjoy the larvae of tiny little insects.
Wheat, grains, berries, and nuts also are consumed by the Brown Thrasher.
They will come on a constant schedule if bird feeders offer suet and other comparable food.
Below are the characteristics of the Brown Thrasher,
|Scientific Name||Toxostoma rufum|
|Habitat||Brushy areas, thickets, and woodland edges|
|Food||Insects, berries, fruits, seeds, and small animals|
12. Eastern Kingbird
The Tyrannus, often known as the Eastern Kingbird, is one of the largest flycatchers in North America.
The Eastern Kingbird makes an open nest in thick woodlands.
The abdomen of the Eastern Kingbird is large with white.
Their bill is black, and their neck is dark grey.
These birds have elongated and pointed plumage.
Their plumage is composed of grey feathers entirely.
The whole belly, underarms, and breast area are tinted white.
In a few respects, adult Eastern Kingbirds vary from their adolescent counterparts.
It’s difficult to tell both male and female Eastern Kingbirds apart since their plumage colors and body structures are nearly identical.
The Eastern Kingbird has a wing of almost 33–38 cm and a body length of 19–23 cm.
On average, this Eastern Kingbird weighs 33–55 g.
The birds search for food on the ground as well as tree branches.
They feed on both meat and vegetables and hence are called omnivores.
Beetles, small flies, and other invertebrates are readily enjoyed by the Eastern Kingbird.
Green vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains are also consumed.
Below are the characteristics of the Eastern Kingbird,
|Scientific Name||Tyrannus tyrannus|
|Habitat||Open woodlands, riparian areas, and fields|
|Food||Insects, including flies, beetles, and bees|
13. Mourning Dove
The Zenaida macroura, popularly known as the Mourning Dove, is a moderate dove in the Zenaida family.
It has a reddish-brown tint throughout its plumage. The feathers above the wings have a few black dots.
The Mourning Dove is a popular visitor to bird feeders in many parts of the United States.
Mourning, both female and male Doves have body forms and sizes that are almost identical.
They have white and brown plumage as well.
They may reach a length of 12 inches and a wing of up to 19 inches.
They may be up to 120 grams in weight.
Because of their appearance, they are simple to recognize and identify.
The male and female mate in the spring and fall, and the male lures the female with a beautiful song-like mating scream.
While the female lays the eggs and sits on them, the male feeds and protects her and the eggs.
The Mourning Dove eats insects from bird feeders and grains, seedlings, and tiny insects strewn about on the ground or in the soil.
Below are the characteristics of the Mourning Dove,
|Scientific Name||Zenaida macroura|
|Habitat||Open woodlands, farmlands, and suburban areas|
|Food||Seeds, grains, and fruits|
14. Red-headed Woodpecker
They are tiny woodpeckers native to North America.
They are wanderers that spend the winter moving from North to South.
The Red-Headed Woodpecker got its name from the bright redhead.
This bird’s plumage is magnificent and dazzling, with the back black having a white zigzag pattern, with their tails of the same hue.
Their beak is powerful and blunt, and they use it to peck the tree.
The underside of the Woodpecker’s belly and breast is brilliant white.
The feathers of both males and females have the same colors.
The heads of immature Red-headed Woodpeckers are grey.
An adult Red-headed Woodpecker’s body length can range from 19 to 25 cm, with a wingspan of up to 42.5 cm.
An adult Red-headed Woodpecker usually weighs from 56 to 97 grams.
The Red-headed Woodpecker usually bores a hole in the tree’s trunk and enjoys living inside the tree trunk.
This bird captures most of its prey, insects, in mid-flight.
They hardly seldom graze on the ground.
They mostly seek food in the top reaches of trees.
They also enjoy cereals, seeds, grains, and nuts.
Below are the characteristics of the Red-headed Woodpecker,
|Scientific Name||Melanerpes erythrocephalus|
|Length||7-9 inches (18-23 cm)|
|Weight||2.7-3.9 ounces (77-110 grams)|
|Wingspan||16-18 inches (41-46 cm)|
|Habitat||Deciduous forests, open woodlands, parks|
|Food||Insects, acorns, nuts, fruits, seeds, berries, and occasionally small vertebrates|
15. Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal is a stunning songbird species that can be observed in Mississippi.
The males are blazingly red, while female Northern Cardinals have duller coloring than males.
They have been expanding their species in the North.
Now, it graces the northern and southeastern parts of Canada with its beautiful presence and melody with its color and whistles.
Sunflower seed feeders may have helped its northward expansion.
The Cardinal is mainly absent west of the Great Plains, but it is regionally prevalent in the arid Southwest.
They are simple to distinguish since males and females have distinct colors, body shapes, and sizes.
Forages primarily on the grass or in low shrubs, with occasional foraging higher in trees.
They often visit the bird feeders and mostly enjoy the sunflower seeds.
Northern Cardinals have a body length of 21–23.5 centimeters and a wingspan of 25–31 centimeters.
They are around 33.6–65 g in weight.
The Northern Cardinal has a red beak and red plumage with black and white markings.
Small insects, such as spiders and worms, are favorites of the Northern Cardinals.
Crushed nuts, tiny seeds from various herbs, and berries from various small trees are also eaten by them.
Below are the characteristics of the Northern Cardinal,
|Scientific Name||Cardinalis cardinalis|
|Habitat||Woodlands, gardens, shrublands, parks|
|Food||Seeds, grains, fruits, insects, and spiders|
16. Belted Kingfisher
These are medium-sized birds with bands around their necks.
Females are more vibrant and have more brilliant colors than males.
Their head has a slate blue hue with a white collar.
A wide blue band is present on the breast, whereas the underparts are white.
Their wings are blue and black in color, and also they have tiny white spots on them.
Because of the reverse dimorphism, the females are bigger than their males and have more masses and a larger wingspan than their male counterparts.
Waterways, rivers, ponds, and riverside lands are good places for the Belted Kingfisher to lay its eggs.
Small amphibians, tiny fish, insects, small animals, and even reptiles are among the foods they consume.
Females lay eggs, which they sit on until they hatch.
Below are the characteristics of the Belted Kingfisher,
|Scientific Name||Megaceryle alcyon|
|Habitat||Rivers, lakes, streams, coastlines|
|Food||Fish (primary), crustaceans, insects, amphibians|
In conclusion, the vast array of bird species that call Mississippi home is a testament to the state’s rich natural diversity.
From the majestic Pine Warbler to the vibrant Brown Thrasher, each of these 16 common birds holds a unique place in Mississippi’s ecological tapestry.
Whether you’re exploring the lush forests, serene wetlands, or bustling urban areas, keep your eyes and ears open for the sights and sounds of these avian wonders.
By familiarizing ourselves with these feathered residents, we not only deepen our understanding of Mississippi’s ecosystems but also cultivate a deeper appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of the natural world.
So, the next time you venture out into the great outdoors, remember to embrace the joy of birdwatching and the delightful encounters that await you.
Let us cherish and protect the habitats that support these birds, ensuring their continued presence for generations to come.
By valuing and conserving their habitats, we can play an active role in preserving the rich avian heritage of Mississippi.
So, grab your binoculars, venture into nature, and let the captivating world of birdwatching in Mississippi unfold before your eyes.
Are there any migratory birds in Mississippi?
Yes, Mississippi is an important stopover and wintering area for many migratory bird species. Birds such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Warblers, and Sandhill Cranes pass through Mississippi during their seasonal migrations.
Where can I go birdwatching in Mississippi?
Mississippi offers a variety of excellent birdwatching locations. Some popular spots include the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, and the Mississippi River Delta region. State parks, wildlife refuges, and coastal areas are also fantastic options.
Can I attract birds to my backyard in Mississippi?
Absolutely! Creating a bird-friendly backyard is a great way to attract a diverse range of bird species. Providing food sources such as bird feeders with a variety of seeds, and nectar for hummingbirds, and offering fresh water for drinking and bathing can help attract birds to your yard.
Are there any endangered bird species in Mississippi?
Yes, Mississippi is home to a few endangered bird species, such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the Mississippi Sandhill Crane. These species require special conservation efforts to protect their habitats and ensure their survival.
Can I participate in citizen science projects related to birdwatching in Mississippi?
Absolutely! Citizen science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count and the eBird program encourage birdwatchers of all levels to contribute their observations, helping scientists track bird populations and migrations. These initiatives provide valuable data for conservation efforts.
Last Updated on July 14, 2023 by Lily Aldrin