8 Common Birds in Nebraska

Nebraska is a state that boasts a diverse range of habitats, from the sprawling prairies to the rolling hills and tranquil lakes.

These varied landscapes make it an ideal place for many bird species to thrive.

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply enjoy observing the beauty of nature, Nebraska has a lot to offer.

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at 8 common birds in Nebraska.

From the majestic American Robin to the delightful American Goldfinch, these feathered friends are sure to capture your attention and leave you in awe of their remarkable beauty and unique behaviors.

So, grab your binoculars and get ready to discover some of the most fascinating birds that call Nebraska home!

American Robin

American Robin

  • Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius
  • Family Name: Turdidae
  • Length: 9-11 inches (23-28 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7-3.0 ounces (77-85 g)
  • Wingspan: 12-16 inches (31-41 cm)
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Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

  • Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura
  • Family Name: Columbidae
  • Length: 9-13 inches (23-33 cm)
  • Weight: 4-6 ounces (113-170 g)
  • Wingspan: 17-19 inches (43-48 cm)
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Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

  • Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus
  • Family Name: Picidae
  • Length: 11-14 inches (28-36 cm)
  • Weight: 3-5 ounces (85-142 g)
  • Wingspan: 16-20 inches (41-51 cm)
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Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

  • Scientific Name: Junco hyemalis
  • Family Name: Passerellidae
  • Length: 5.5-6.5 inches (14-16.5 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.0 ounces (18-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 inches (19-25 cm)
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Blue Jay

Blue Jay

  • Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
  • Family Name: Corvidae
  • Length: 9-12 inches (30 cm)
  • Weight: 2.5-3.5 ounces (70-100 g)
  • Wingspan: 13-17 inches (34-43 cm)
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Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

  • Scientific Name: Geothlypis trichas
  • Family Name: Parulidae
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 ounces (8-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 16–19 cm (6.3–7.5 in)
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American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

  • Scientific Name: Spinus tristis
  • Family Name: Fringillidae
  • Length: 11–13 cm (4.3–5.1 in)
  • Weight: 11–20 g (0.39–0.71 oz)
  • Wingspan: 19–22 cm (7.5–8.7 in)
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White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

  • Scientific Name: Sitta carolinensis
  • Family Name: Sittidae
  • Length: 13–15 cm (5.1–5.9 in)
  • Weight: 18–30 g (0.63–1.06 oz)
  • Wingspan: 25–28 cm (9.8–11 in)
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If you don’t have the time to read the whole article, check out this video for a quick understanding.

Common Birds in Nebraska

1. American Robin

American Robin

American Robins (Turdus migratorius) do not feed on seeds, so they are not commonly seen around bird feeders. Instead, you will see them usually looking for food on the floor.

They usually feed on the invertebrates like worms, snails, and insects.

You will also see them eating fruits.

The American Robin is a medium-sized bird, about 9-11 inches in length, with a distinctive reddish-orange breast and dark gray-brown back.

The head and tail are also dark gray-brown, and the wings have white markings.

The American Robin is typically 9-11 inches long from beak to tail.

The American Robin typically weighs between 2.7-3.0 ounces (77-85 grams).

The wingspan of the American Robin is typically 12-16 inches.

If you see them in your backyard, it will most likely be a sight of them on the ground, eating an earthworm instead of hanging around and eating from the feeders.

The American Robin is found throughout much of North America, from Alaska and Canada to Mexico.

American robin commonly nests nearby places where there are a lot of people.

Their nest has the shape of an open cut consisting of beautiful and distinctive colored eggs.

These beautiful baby eggs are about three to five in number and are light blue colored usually.

This exotic natural bird resides in the southern half at a colder time of year and is an inhabitant of the northern parts of the United States too.

Below are the characteristics of the American Robin,

Scientific Name Turdus migratorius
Family Name Turdidae
Length 9-11 inches (23-28 cm)
Weight 2.7-3.0 ounces (77-85 g)
Wingspan 12-16 inches (31-41 cm)
Habitat Woodlands, suburbs, parks, gardens
Food Insects, fruits, berries, earthworms

2. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) occurs commonly in Nebraska by a frequency of 40 percentage points, so a lot of people are familiar with this dove.

Mourning Doves have a distinctive cooing call, and their plumage is a muted gray-brown color with black spots on their wings.

They have long, pointed tails, small heads, and slender bodies.

Mourning doves are medium-sized birds, measuring about 12 inches in length and weighing between 4 to 6 ounces.

They have a wingspan of approximately 18 inches.

This species, just like its beautiful name, has a beautiful grayish color with its wings having some patches of dark black on them.

They have legs longer than most birds with an eye ring of blue color and a black colored bill too.

If you want to identify the mourning bird in your surrounding, you can look for them on the ground because that is where they usually feed.

You can also find them in tall tree peaks or some telephone wires.

Mourning doves are primarily seed-eaters and feed on a variety of seeds from plants such as sunflowers, corn, wheat, and other grains.

They also eat some insects and fruit.

Below are the characteristics of the Mourning Dove,

Scientific Name Zenaida macroura
Family Name Columbidae
Length 9-13 inches (23-33 cm)
Weight 4-6 ounces (113-170 g)
Wingspan 17-19 inches (43-48 cm)
Habitat Open areas such as fields, farms, and suburban areas
Food Seeds, grains, and occasionally insects

3. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is a beautiful bird that has already attracted most of the visitor’s or residents’ attention.

Northern Flickers are medium-sized woodpecker species that are found across North America.

They are identified by their brownish-gray plumage, spotted breasts, and black bib. Males have a distinctive red patch on the back of their heads.

They have a slightly curved bill and a long, narrow tail.

Northern Flickers range in length from 11 to 14 inches, with a wingspan of approximately 20 inches.

They weigh between 3 to 5 ounces.

These woodpeckers are found in a variety of habitats, including open woodlands, forest edges, and suburban areas with mature trees.

They are also sometimes seen in parks and gardens.

Northern Flickers are primarily insectivores, feeding on ants, beetles, and other insects found in trees and on the ground.

They also eat fruits, berries, and seeds.

Below are the characteristics of the Northern Flicker,

Scientific Name Colaptes auratus
Family Name Picidae
Length 11-14 inches (28-36 cm)
Weight 3-5 ounces (85-142 g)
Wingspan 16-20 inches (41-51 cm)
Habitat Forests, woodlands, and suburban areas
Food Insects, fruits, seeds, and occasionally small animals

4. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) is a type of sparrow found in open spaces, on the ground, and in woody areas.

They are the inhabitants of the Appalachian Mountains and the west throughout the year, so they do not migrate to other places.

Dark-eyed Juncos are a small, sparrow-like bird species found throughout North America.

They are identified by their gray or brownish-gray plumage, with a white belly and a dark hood or cap on their head.

There are several sub-species of Dark-eyed Juncos, each with slightly different color variations.

Dark-eyed Juncos range in length from 5.5 to 6.5 inches, with a wingspan of approximately 7.5 to 9.5 inches.

They weigh between 0.5 to 0.8 ounces.

Different species of this bird found in different areas of the world have different colors in the east side of the world, you will see more of the slate color of this bird, and in the western part of the world, you will see white, blackish-brown color. 

Some of their species which are found in Canada and Alaska, are not year-round residents and opt towards migration to the United States.

To attract this beautiful creation, you can simply put up bird feeders in your backyard.

Make sure to add Nyger, millet, corn, which is cracked, and peanuts which is their favorite, to their feed.

They prefer feeding on ground or platform feeders.

Dark-eyed Juncos are primarily granivores, feeding on seeds and grains, including those from grasses, weeds, and trees.

They will also eat insects and other small invertebrates during the breeding season.

Below are the characteristics of the Dark-eyed Junco,

Scientific Name Junco hyemalis
Family Name Passerellidae
Length 5.5-6.5 inches (14-16.5 cm)
Weight 0.6-1.0 ounces (18-28 g)
Wingspan 7.5-9.8 inches (19-25 cm)
Habitat Forests, woodlands, and suburban areas
Food Seeds, insects, and occasionally fruits

5. Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is the most common bird seen in the state of Nebraska.

Blue jays are songbirds that have a crest of blue color, a bottom of white color, and backs with black and blue color.

These birds are easy to differentiate from other birds because of their blue-colored appearance.

Blue Jays range in length from 9 to 12 inches, with a wingspan of approximately 13 to 17 inches.

They weigh between 2.5 to 3.5 ounces.

You will hardly see them alone while traveling larger distances. They usually travel in groups.

They are migratory too and usually migrate flying in large groups from the northwest parts of the US and into the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast.

You will find them near forests and places with a lot of greenery as they love eating acorns, so you will most likely see them near the oak trees.

They feed on nuts, seeds, grains, insects, and sometimes on the eggs of other birds too.

Blue Jays are omnivores, feeding on a variety of foods, including insects, nuts, seeds, fruits, and berries.

They will also eat small animals, such as mice and frogs, and occasionally feed on the eggs and young of other bird species.

Below are the characteristics of the Blue Jay,

Scientific Name Cyanocitta cristata
Family Name Corvidae
Length 9-12 inches (30 cm)
Weight 2.5-3.5 ounces (70-100 g)
Wingspan 13-17 inches (34-43 cm)
Habitat Forests, woodlands, and urban areas
Food Seeds, nuts, insects, and occasionally small animals

6. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

The Common Yellowthroat bird or Geothlypis trichas is one of the most common birds and is seen in large quantities throughout North America.

They are identified by their bright yellow throat and breast, olive-green upper parts, and distinctive black mask.

Males have a broader and more distinct black mask than females.

Common Yellowthroats range in length from 4.5 to 5 inches, with a wingspan of approximately 6 to 7 inches.

They weigh between 0.3 to 0.4 ounces.

It is a tiny-sized bird from the Parulidae family.

The male and female Common Yellowthroat can be differentiated easily from one another depending upon certain features.

These have sexual dimorphism, and the males have the distinction of a full black face.

While generally, males and females both have light yellow or lemon colors.

Common Yellowthroats are insectivores, feeding on a variety of insects and other invertebrates, including spiders, caterpillars, and beetles.

They also eat small fruits and berries.

Below are the characteristics of the Common Yellowthroat,

Scientific Name Geothlypis trichas
Family Name Parulidae
Length 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
Weight 0.3-0.4 ounces (8-12 g)
Wingspan 16–19 cm (6.3–7.5 in)
Habitat Wetlands, brushy fields, and marshes
Food Insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates

7. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) are among the most familiar and popular birds.

These birds have distinctive features for both males and females, with females being more dull-colored than males during the cold seasons.

The males will be seen with black and a striking yellow color during the spring period.

American Goldfinch is typically 4.3 to 5 inches (11-13 cm) in length, with a short tail and a conical bill.

American Goldfinch is one of the lighter birds, with an average weight of 0.4 to 0.6 ounces (11-17 g).

The wingspan of the American Goldfinch is about 7.5 to 8.7 inches (19-22 cm).

Throughout the year, American Goldfinches can be seen spread in the country, but while breeding season starts, they move towards the US northern states and Canada.

After the breeding, they move towards the southern states.

These are commonly found and seen around the public parks, backyards of one’s home, sunflower fields, aster plants, weedy fields, and through the suburbs of the city.

If you want to attract and take care of an American Goldfinches bird, then you can attract them to your backyards by putting Nyger and sunflower in your bird feeders.

Sooner or later, these birds will show up.

The American Goldfinch feeds primarily on seeds of thistles, sunflowers, and other plants, as well as insects and spiders during the breeding season.

In the winter, they switch to a diet of primarily seeds.

Below are the characteristics of the American Goldfinch,

Scientific Name Spinus tristis
Family Name Fringillidae
Length 11–13 cm (4.3–5.1 in)
Weight 11–20 g (0.39–0.71 oz)
Wingspan 19–22 cm (7.5–8.7 in)
Habitat Open fields, meadows, and gardens with tall plants
Food Seeds, especially thistle and sunflower seeds

8. White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) are tiny but full of energy.

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small bird, about 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length.

It has a distinctive blue-gray back and wings, a black crown and eyestripe, and a white face, throat, and belly.

Its most recognizable feature is its long, straight bill.

White-breasted Nuthatches are small birds, weighing around 0.6 to 1 ounce (18-28 g).

The wingspan of the White-breasted Nuthatch is approximately 8.5 inches (22 cm).

They are super active, and you will hardly see them resting anywhere.

On their backs, They are grayish-blue colored, on their lower belly they have chestnut color, and on their face, they are black colored.

You can find these birds in different places, for example, in the forests, edges of the woodlands, backyards, parks, and on trees and at feeders eating varieties of foods such as caterpillars, spiders, and beetles, etc. or seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, acorns, hawthorns, and sometimes corn crops.

Their way of eating acorns and nuts is very interesting.

They would stick them in between the large tree barks and then whack them open to get the seeds from them.

If you wish to attract them to your homes and your backyard feeders, then you should add seeds of sunflower and peanuts to the suet and tube feeders.

This will prove to be effective as White-breasted Nuthatches love these, so it will surely visit.

White-breasted Nuthatches primarily eat insects and spiders, which they find by searching the bark and crevices of trees.

Below are the characteristics of the White-breasted Nuthatch,

Scientific Name Sitta carolinensis
Family Name Sittidae
Length 13–15 cm (5.1–5.9 in)
Weight 18–30 g (0.63–1.06 oz)
Wingspan 25–28 cm (9.8–11 in)
Habitat Mature deciduous or mixed forests
Food Insects, seeds, and nuts

Check out this article on Types of Birds That Start with Q.


In conclusion, Nebraska is home to a diverse range of bird species, from the majestic Blue Jay to the tiny and colorful American Goldfinch.

These eight common bird species are just a small sample of the rich avian diversity that can be found in the state.

Again, The Common Birds in Nebraska are:

  1. American Robin
  2. Mourning Dove
  3. Northern Flicker
  4. Dark-eyed Junco
  5. Blue Jay
  6. Common Yellowthroat
  7. American Goldfinch
  8. White-breasted Nuthatch

Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or simply enjoy watching birds in your backyard, Nebraska offers ample opportunities to observe and appreciate these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.

By learning more about these birds and their behaviors, we can deepen our understanding and appreciation of the natural world around us.


What is the best time of year to observe birds in Nebraska?

The best time of year to observe birds in Nebraska is during the spring and fall migration periods when many species are passing through the state. Additionally, summer months can be a good time to observe birds that breed in Nebraska, while winter months can be a good time to observe wintering birds that visit the state.

What habitats are best for observing birds in Nebraska?

Birds can be observed in a variety of habitats in Nebraska, including forests, grasslands, wetlands, and urban and suburban areas. Depending on the species of bird you are interested in observing, certain habitats may be more suitable than others.

What equipment do I need to observe birds in Nebraska?

To observe birds in Nebraska, you will need a pair of binoculars, a field guide to identify different bird species, and a notebook to record your observations. A camera can also be useful for capturing images of the birds you observe.

Are there any birdwatching tours or events in Nebraska?

Yes, there are several birdwatching tours and events in Nebraska, including guided birdwatching tours at wildlife refuges and state parks, as well as annual birding festivals like the Nebraska Birding Festival.

How can I attract birds to my backyard in Nebraska?

To attract birds to your backyard in Nebraska, you can provide food and water sources, such as bird feeders and bird baths. Planting native plants and trees can also provide habitat and food sources for birds. Additionally, providing shelter such as birdhouses can encourage birds to nest in your backyard.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

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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