Montana Birds: Common Birds in Montana

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

A variety of bird species may be found in Montana. In Montana, over 429 distinct bird species may be spotted at varying times of the year. Birds in Montana range from common species like the American Robin to uncommon species like the Rusty Blackbird.

Montana’s state bird is the Western Meadowlark, designated as such in 1931. The Western Meadowlark may be found in Montana at any time of year.

American RobinAmerican Robin
Chipping SparrowChipping Sparrow
Western Wood-PeweeWestern Wood-Pewee
Gray CatbirdGray Catbird
Red-winged BlackbirdRed-winged Blackbird
Northern FlickerNorthern Flicker
Steller's JaySteller's Jay
Mourning DoveMourning Dove
Western MeadowlarkWestern Meadowlark
Brown-headed CowbirdBrown-headed Cowbird
Pine SiskinPine Siskin
Cedar WaxwingCedar Waxwing
Mountain ChickadeeMountain Chickadee
Yellow-rumped WarblerYellow-rumped Warbler
Downy WoodpeckerDowny Woodpecker
House WrenHouse Wren
White-throated sparrowWhite-throated sparrow
Common starlingCommon starling
Eurasian-collared DoveEurasian-collared Dove
American CrowAmerican Crow

Common Birds of Montana

1. American Robin

American Robin

American Robins are frequent on lawns because they eat earthworms. Their breast and backs are riddled with red or orange blackheads. As it is liked by these birds to perch in the trees all across the winter season, Woodlands, woods, hills, farms, gardens, and lawns are just a few of the places where American Robins may be found.


Among their preferred snacks are insects, bugs, snails, and berries. American Robins are among Montana’s most beautiful songbirds.

The American Robin may be seen throughout the year, but the ideal time to observe it in Montana is from mid-May to early June. The months of June and July are the best months to see them.

2. Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

The Chipping Sparrow, is a little songbird’s top and lower portions are brown, black, and mostly grey. These birds are mostly encountered in the summer in North America.

Male and female birds are very similar, making it difficult to tell them apart. Male Chipping Sparrows are bigger, heavier, and have a wider chest and wingspan than females. Males’ black, brown, and grey coloring is shinier than females’.


The Chipping Sparrow visits the bird feeders for food during the summer. Tiny insects and their eggs, beetles, seeds from young trees, and berries from various plants are among their favorite foods.

3. Western Wood-Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee

The Western Wood-Pewee, also known as Contopus sordidulus, is a tiny tyrant flycatcher that belongs to the Tyrannidae family of birds. The Western Wood-Pewee is a bird that is endemic to western North America.

They have a sharp beak, black eyes, dark heads, and a crown over their heads. The colors of the male and female plumage, as well as their weight, vary somewhat.

Length & Weight

An adult Western Wood-body Pewee’s length ranges from 5.5 to 6.3 inches, with a wingspan of about 10.2 inches (26 cm). A grown-up bird can weigh between 0.4 and 0.5 ounces.

The Western Wood-Pewee tends to swoop down on its prey and hawk it away. They hover in the branches for prey, then attack and eat it generally in mid-flight. Tiny seeds, grains, nuts, cherries, and fruits of various plants are also eaten by them.

4. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

The Gray Catbird is small to the medium-sized bird of the mimid family. Their population migrates to various states throughout the winter, which is why they are less visible during that time.

Length & Weight

The typical adult is just 8 inches long, with a wingspan of 11 inches. The weight of an adult bird ranges from 30 to 50 grams. Lead-gray feathers cover the whole body. Male and female Gray Catbirds seem virtually identical, making it difficult to tell them apart.

Small insects and beetles are eaten by the Gray Catbird. They eat the nuts and berries of a range of small plants, as well. They also consume the grains and seeds of several tiny shrubs and grasses.

5. Red-winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

The red-winged blackbird’s all-black plumage, but for the bright yellow and red shoulder patches, making them easy to seeIn the winter season, they tend to fly in the very large-scaled flock that reaches even up to millions.

To lure as many of these birds as possible, spread mixed and various seeds on the land. They’ll also devour massive platform feeders or tube feeders. The red-winged blackbird’s all-black plumage, but for the bright yellow and red shoulder patches, making them easy to see.


Worms, tiny insects such as crawlers, and ant larvae are favorites of the Red-winged Blackbird. They also consume many trees and shrubs’ seeds, broken nuts, and berries.

6. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers are large woodpeckers about the same size as a robin or crow.

They also possess brown coloration, blackish patches on their skin, crescents, lines, and red on the neck region. The wings and tails of eastern birds are brilliant yellows, whereas those of western species are red.

They can be seen searching for insects and bugs in woodlands and forest borders on the ground.

Northern Flickers also like black oil, sunflower seeds, and suet. The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker species whose homeland is believed to be Northern America.

Habitat & Food

Fields, woodlands, and lawns with trees are among their preferred habitats. The Northern Flicker feeds on insects found on the ground, such as ants and beetles.

7. Steller’s Jay

Steller's Jay

The beautiful Steller’s Jay has an evony-colored head with black coloring that extends farther down, almost like a hood. The rest of the body has a brilliant blue hue, which stands out even more because the belly isn’t white like many other Jays’.

The Steller’s Jay has a distinctive crest on the top of its head that is standing straight up, with small white lines penciled in above each eye. Their beaks are likewise long and somewhat curled.


This is a huge bird with a length of 11.8–13.4inches and a wingspan of 17.3 inches.

Habitat & Food

Steller’s Jays can be found in evergreen forests, parks, and backyards. Black Oil Sunflower, Peanuts, Suet, Peanut Butter & White Proso Millet Cornmeal, Black Oil Sunflower are liked by these birds.

8. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves have elongated tails and plump bodies and are petite, beautiful birds. The wings are bright brown with black patterns on them.

Mourning Doves can be seen throughout the year in the lower 48 states, but they also move towards the north.

Habitat & Food

They eat grains or from platforms feeders. They will eat black sunflower seed, cracked corn, and near and peanut hearts. They are amongst North America’s most frequent birds.

They are commonly seen in the United States and Canada and even span from Alaska to Mexico. Mourning doves may be found in various environments, including farms, woods, mountains, and even beaches.

Seeds and grains and insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars are eaten by mourning doves. Because they move south during the winter and then return north in the spring, they have a large range.

9. Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks are small black avians with a unique blackish V-Shaped band along with their yellowish breast that lightens in color and turns grey in the winter season. 

Habitat & Food

Before moving towards the south, they used to mate in the north of the United States and Canada. Those birds which live in the west and the middle of the country tend to stay all across the whole year in grasslands and meadows. Western Meadowlarks can be seen hunting bugs and seeds, either alone or in small groups.

Western Meadowlarks are tiny to medium-sized birds that prefer to eat on the ground and reside in open areas. The Western Meadowlark may be found east of the Rocky Mountains in much of North America.

It breeds from Alaska to Labrador, south through Mexico and Arizona, and all the way down to Florida along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

Any open environment with little flora, such as meadows or agricultural areas, is suitable for this bird. They are not migratory. However, they may migrate to warmer climates for feeding, breeding, and wintering.

10. Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbird, commonly known as the Molothrus ater, is a North American medium-sized bird. The Brown-headed Cowbird is a transitory bird that migrates from one location to another based on food, weather, and climate conditions.


The Brown-headed Cowbird’s plumage is entirely black, except for the head and neck, which are brown instead of black. This bird’s black plumage is more bluish-black in hue instead of perfect black.

Males have shinier and more colorful plumage than females. The female has brown and black plumage. Females are smaller than males, with a smaller wingspan and weight. Females are easily identifiable within the flock because their coloration differs from males’.

To attract females for mating, the bird sings a high-pitched song. They are migratory birds, meaning they migrate from one location to another. Bugs, caterpillars, plant seeds, berries, and cherries are all eaten by the birds.

11. Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskins are little birds with brown and yellow stripes on their wings and tails. They inherit a forked tail and pointed wings, and a small pointed beak.

Pine Siskins reproduce in Canada and can overwinter in much of the United States. However, they may not migrate in some years due to low pine cone yields. On the other hand, some birds spend an entire year in the pine woods of the west.

As their name indicates, Pine Siskins consume seeds from coniferous trees, but they also eat young buds and pollen from grasses and weeds. Those feeders with suet, nyjer, and black sunflower seeds lure many of these birds.

The Pine Siskin is a Spines family bird native to North America. It’s a migratory bird with a discontinuous winter range and no forever home in the United States.

It migrates from the Northern Pacific towards the southern Atlantic as part of its life cycle. It has a long flying range and can travel thousands of miles from its birthplace. Their diet comprises a variety of plants, including cedar oak hemlock, juniper pines, and ash.

12. Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing


Cedar Waxwings have breasts and heads of brown color and a crest that fades to grey on the back, wings, and tail. Their tail tip is a brilliant yellow color, while their belly is a pastel yellow color. Their eyes are veiled under a black mask, and their wingtips are a fiery red. They live in the north for the full year and in the south for the winter.

They breed in Montana and spend the winters in California. Some of them become used to life in the Clark Fork Valley.

Length & Weight

This cedar waxwing is around 7 inches long and 1.1 ounces in weight. It bears a bright tip on its tail. The feathers have a silky texture and a golden belly.

The wings are a bluish-black combination of colors. Dark streaking patterns may be seen on the juvenile birds. Shrubs and trees that are bearing tiny fruit or berries attract Cedar Waxwing. Fruit is another option for platform feeders. Montana is home to a large number of cedar waxwings.

13. Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadees may be found in abundance in Montana’s mountains, making them an excellent choice for any wildlife watching excursion.

They are superb climbers and prefer hanging from trees, so if you go on a bird watching tour in the woods, they will be the birds that catch your eye. If you visit a national park or a wildlife refuge, the Mountain Chickadee population in Montana will be bigger.

Mountain Chickadees have spread throughout North America and their prominence in Montana. They’re excellent swimmers, and you’ll find many of them along river banks and creeks if you’re searching for a wonderful spot for an afternoon picnic.

Their natural habitat consists primarily of forested slopes where they may hide among brush droppings.

14. Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblersinherit a gray body, yellowish flashes on the face, flanks, rump, and white wings. Females possess a relatively browner shade of skin as compared to the males, and during winter, birds are lighter brown with bright yellow tails and sides, which turn bright yellow and gray in spring.

soon after mating, basically, in Canada, they tend to move towards southern and central northern America, the pacific coast, as well as Mexico Sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter all, are considered really helpful to attract the Yellow-rumped Warblers to your yard

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is a creature that is mostly migrating. This bird basically lives in the east of North America.


The range of the Yellow-rumped Warblers includes Eastern United States, Southern Canada, and the Western United States. Because they are hunting for nesting locations or food supplies, they reside in deciduous woods with numerous dead trees.


The warblers eat tiny insects, including ants, spiders, caterpillars, beetles, and fruits like wild cherries, mulberries, and sumac berries. During the winter, these birds travel to the United States before returning to their summer homes in South America, Central America, and Canada.

15. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are small birds that feed on bird feeders in backyards. Chickadees and nuthatches, among other species, are frequently mistaken for them. They had a crimson mark on the back of their heads and seemed to be black and white. They show a close resemblance to the Hairy Woodpecker. However, they are smaller.

In North America, Downy Woodpeckers are a common bird. They may be found all throughout the continent, from Mexico to Canada.

Habitat & Food

They may be found in both urban and rural settings, although they prefer mixed woodlands with plenty of dead trees to drill into. They are both omnivores and insectivores, feeding on insects, berries, nuts, and seeds.

Downy Woodpeckers move back and forth between continents in search of food during the migratory season, with birds migrating south in the winter and north in the summer.

Bugs, beetles, caterpillars, cherries, nuts, and grains are eaten by downy woodpeckers, which can be found in woodlots along waterways, city parks, and backyards. Suet feeders are an excellent way to increase the number of Downy Woodpeckers in your backyard.

16. House Wren

House Wren

House Wrens are little brown birds they have dark patterned wings and tails and a lighter neck. Before traveling to the extreme south and Mexico for the winter, they reproduce in the majority of states.

Habitat & Food

House Wrens may be seen in backyards, parks, and open forests, hunting for spiders and insects such as bugs, moths, and earwigs among brush piles.

They may often be spotted jumping over tangles and low branches, their tails lifted, pausing to sing their cheerful song. They frequently assault larger birds in order to get access to the finest nesting sites, pulling eggs or nestlings away from the desired nest location.

You may attract more birds to your yard by leaving brush piles or building a nest box. 

17. White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

For a brief period of time, several birds can be found in Montana. These are migratory birds. Therefore look for habitats in Montana at specified times of the year. Normally, these Montana birds reside in Canada, but they travel to Montana in the spring and fall.


White-throated sparrows are similar to white crown sparrows in appearance. The head of this sparrow is striped black and white. White-throated sparrows have a white neck area, thus the name. Between eyes and beak, it has yellowish feathers with a darker bill. 

They’re usually seated on a low plant, singing in wide, shrubby, and moist surroundings. At backyard feeders, they’re regularly sighted.


The insects and plants that Singing Sparrows consume include beetle, caterpillar, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They’ll eat buckwheat, sunflowers, raspberry, natural cherry, blackberries, wheat, and rice, among many other things.

More song sparrows will come to your backyard feeders if you put black oil seeds, crushed corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

18. Common Starling

European Starling

The European Starling (Common Starling) is a bird that may be found in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. They stretch all the way across southern Canada to Argentina and South America.


These birds’ habitat ranges from temperate to tropical climes and marshes, woodlands, and gardens.


These birds consume insects, but they also eat small vertebrates like frogs, snakes, rodents, and food like berries and figs, seeds, and plants like ferns, grasses, and mosses, and invertebrates like earthworms.

In terms of migration, they tend to go southward for the winter, while some may stay in warmer locations all year.

19. Eurasian-collared Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

The most extensively dispersed bird on the earth is the Eurasian Collared-Dove. It may be found across Asia and Europe but is also found in North America. They may be found in a variety of settings, although they favor deserts, open fields, parks, and gardens since they have minimal vegetation or large trees.

It may be found in Montana at a variety of locations, including all along the western flank of the Continental Divide, on the Plains, along the Rocky Mountains, and even in the northern Rocky Mountains.


Seeds, fruit, and insects that they locate just on land below them are eaten by Eurasian Collared Doves. They prefer eating nuts, grains, berries, tiny fruits, suet, and black sunflower seeds.

20. American Crow

American Crow

The American Crow is the most common and numerous among all Northern American crows. Spanning southern Canada to Central America, they have a range that stretches nearly the whole length of the continent.

Habitat & Food

Suburban parks, rural farming, deserts, and rainforests are among their natural habitats. Their food is omnivorous, although they favor big insects like grasshoppers, beetles, & cricket; eggs; smaller animals such mouse or hare; carrion (dead animals); urban trash; and occasional fruit.

During the winter, this species migrates southward to Mexico or Central America before heading north in the spring. These birds may be found all around the state.


A number of beautiful birds have been discussed in this article that presides in Montana. We came across a number of vibrant birds and discussed their foraging preferences and their common abodes, and also their physical features have been talked about, which will help you in identifying and spot them.


Which of the bird is a temporary visitor of Montana?

White-throated sparrows are not widely noticed.

What is the name of the official state bird of Montana?

The northern cardinal is known to be the state bird of Montana.

Are American robins common to see in Montana?

Yes, American robins are prevalent in Montana.

Are common starling omnivores?

Yes, common starlings are omnivores birds.

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.

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