Ohio Birds: Most Common Birds in Ohio (with Pictures)

The state of Ohio is well-known among birdwatchers. It attracts a large number of migratory songbirds, particularly warblers. Many beautiful bird species, including raptors, may be seen along Ohio’s Lake Erie shore. Because of the large numbers of ducks, gulls, and other distinctive species, the winter season in the area may be an excellent time for birding.

Most Common Birds in Ohio
Most Common Birds in Ohio

In Ohio, you may explore various ecosystems, including woods, grasslands, wetlands, and more.

Of Ohio’s 433 officially reported bird species, 40 have only been sighted once, and three are extinct: the Carolina parakeet, Passenger Pigeon, and Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Every year, more than 180 bird species, including neotropical migrants, nest here. Take a peek at the list of Ohio’s must-see birds, but make sure you’re prepared.

Northern BobwhiteNorthern Bobwhite
tundra swanTundra Swan
carolina chickadeesCarolina Chickadees
summer tanagersSummer Tanagers
hooded warblerHooded Warbler
ruddy duckRuddy Duck
american woodcockAmerican Woodcock
northern shrikeNorthern Shrike
chimney swiftChimney Swift
great black backed gullGreat Black-bucked Gull
swamp sparrowSwamp Sparrow
rough legged hawkRough-legged Hawk
chestnut sided warblerChestnut-sided Warbler
lark sparrowLark Sparrow
red shouldered hawkRed-shouldered Hawk
cerulean warblerCerulean Warbler
pied billed grebePied-billed Grebe
eastern screech owlEastern Screech Owl
blue winged warblerBlue-winged Warbler
wood duckWood Duck
yellow billed cuckooYellow-billed Cuckoo
lapland longspurLapland Longspur
pileated woodpeckerPileated Woodpecker
indigo buntingIndigo Bunting
northern harrierNorthern Harrier
northern cardinalsNorthern Cardinals
greater scaupGreater Scaup
black vultureBlack Vulture

Common Birds of Ohio

1. Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

The northern bobwhite is a tiny ground-dwelling bird that is known as Ohio’s sole native quail. A northern bobwhite has brown-speckled plumage leads to difficulty while looking for this pretty bird. Because of its small crest and contrasting black and white stripe patterns on its face, the male of this species seems a little more distinguishing. Northern bobwhites forage in groups and are known to be wary of humans.

2. Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan

Ohio’s biggest waterfowl is the tundra swan. It has a lot of similarities to trumpeter swans, so you could have a hard time distinguishing it. Tundra swans may be found in many regions of North America on lakes and wetlands.

These birds are frequently referred to as whistling swans because of the unique whistling sound produced by their wings. They are entirely white with the exception of their black bills. The smear of yellow around the beak is also a definite sign of a tundra swan.

3. Carolina Chickadees

Carolina Chickadee

The Carolina chickadee is a tiny, inquisitive bird that might be mistaken for the black-capped chickadee. It can be seen frequently in southern Ohio throughout the year. Despite their matching black crowns and grey wings, these two chickadee species are not the same.

Carolina chickadees may be found in wooded regions. It’s a leaf gleaner and is the best to search the tree branches when you hear its unique voice. These birds have been observed visiting feeders and taking seeds to eat at a more particular location.

4. Summer Tanagers

Summer Tanager

A spectacular bird that you may see in Ohio, the strawberry-colored summer tanager has a completely crimson look. When you watch the bird flying through the green trees and shrubs, the visual impact is magnified.

Summer tanagers are crimson in males and mustard-yellow in females. Despite its striking red hue, locating a summer tanager can be tricky unless you know how to recognize its sound.

5. Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler is a black hood covering its throat and contrasting brilliantly with its bright yellow spots on the face and underbelly. Hooded warblers are very easy to recognize if you get a good look at them. Even though their numbers have grown as Ohio’s woods recover, these birds remain challenging to locate.

You’re better off listening for this Warbler than looking for it visually. You may find this adorable bird in densely forested areas.

6. Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

The ruddy duck, a small bird with an enormous tail and a sky-blue beak, maybe a striking sight along the Ohio shorelines of Lake Erie. The male of this species has a shining chestnut body and a lengthy tail that is held vertically.

The white cheek patch also makes it easier to spot. Birders admire the splendid motions involved in the ruddy duck’s courting. The male puts on a show that involves thumping his bill and different flamboyant postures to attract females.

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7. Bobolink


Any birder in Ohio may enjoy a beautiful scene of breeding bobolink males. Because of its white back and black belly, this bird has a distinct appearance. It’s a relatively rare bird with a yellow patch on its head that makes it easy to spot.

The bobolink delivers a bubbling melody with harsh metallic notes. Males perform unusual patterns in their display flights. Due to the diminishing population of this bird species, you may have difficulty locating it in its native grassland or overgrown field habitats.

8. American Woodcock

American Woodcock
Credits – Wikipedia

The American woodcock is a tricky bird to see because of its exceptional camouflage abilities. It forages insects in the dirt, and its brown-mottled plumage mixes well with the forest’s leaf litter. Although it is related to coastal shorebirds, the American woodcock prefers shrubby meadows and young woods.

Because of its reclusive nature and low-profile habits, spotting this bird may need some chance. Try looking for it at nightfall in the spring, when you could have an opportunity to see the male woodcock do a stunning display fly.

9. Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike

The northern shrike is a ferocious predator of birds and small animals with a vivid mask and hooked beak with a diminutive stature. The birds nest in the Arctic, but they may be seen hunting in semi-open environments in northern Ohio, where they use thick undergrowth to grab their prey by surprise.

Because it seldom sits out in the open, finding this bird will take some time. If you have a backyard feeder, the northern shrike could appear to be hunting other birds drawn to the food.

10. Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift
Credits – Wikipedia

The summertime in Ohio may bring a plethora of birding possibilities. The chimney swift, which has a distinctive profile and flight style, is one of the points of interest. Check for its amazing cigar-like body and irregular wing flapping in the skies to spot it.

The bird’s name relates to its habit of nesting in towering chimneys in metropolitan areas. Because chimneys aren’t as famous as they once were, this swift has seen a dramatic drop in numbers. Near lakes and rivers, where they feed with other birds, is the most incredible place to look for a chimney swift.

11. Great Black-Backed Gull

Great Black-Backed Gull

Lake Erie in Ohio is a popular gathering spot for a variety of gulls. The great black-backed gull is one of the most stunning birds to look out for. It’s a large bird with a distinctive black cloak that aids identification by birders. The gull’s size is a dead giveaway, with even immature individuals having enormous bodies and bills.

If you want to view the great black-backed gull, go to Lake Erie in the winter. Other gull species that aren’t seen anyplace else in Ohio will also be visible.

12. Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

As its name suggests, the swamp sparrow favors moist habitats such as boreal bogs and cattail marshes. You can only find it year-round in a few areas. If you want to see this tiny bird, the northern regions of Ohio are the best place to consider.

Wetlands, sedges, and diverse brackish environments provide a lot of potential for the swamp sparrow to be discovered. The birds are not plentiful, but finding them may be difficult because they prefer to hide among water vegetation.

13. Rough-Legged Hawk

Rough-Legged Hawk

Winters in Ohio may be very interesting for birds. One of them is the rough-legged hawk passing through the state on its way to and from its northern breeding grounds. This bird has several distinct behavioral traits that might assist you in identifying it.

Look for it perched on tree limbs or gliding through the air in pursuit of food. Rough-legged hawks are more challenging to see than other hawks because they come in two color phases: lighter birds that are more frequent and darker birds that are black.

14. Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

When it comes to observing warblers, Ohio is well-known among birders. The chestnut-sided species that inhabit the thick forests of the state’s northern regions is another attraction. The golden crown and distinctive plumage colors and patterns distinguish this Warbler, which has a thin body.

Clearings and disturbed areas and younger tree patches might be ideal places to look for chestnut-sided warblers. It is advised that you listen to their musical tune. You may also notice birds feeding through fine branches.

15. Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

The lark sparrow caught the eye of any birder with its harlequin face appearance and spotted tail. This is a very big sparrow that sings a sweet song and engages in some unusual courting behaviors.

While the lark sparrow is more widespread in the western and southern parts of the United States, Ohio provides a good nesting environment. If you want to see this brightly colored bird, go to grasslands and shrubby borders.

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16. Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk

If you’re looking for raptors, Ohio provides a variety of intriguing birds to see. One of the most fascinating birds to observe is the red-shouldered hawk. You can use the red patch on the bird’s shoulder to identify it, but it’s safe to say that you’ll need to be up close to see such detail.

A sequence of loud, high-pitched notes might be even more effective in detecting this stunning hawk. Red-shouldered hawks have seen a drop in numbers due to a loss in their native woodland habitat, but as Ohio’s woods recover, these birds are trying to make a comeback.

17. Cerulean Warbler

cerulean warbler
Credits – Wikipedia

When visiting Ohio, you may see a variety of beautiful warblers. The Cerulean Warbler is an illustration, with its fragile body colored in a bright blue hue that makes it stand out. This lovely bird gets its name from its cerulean neckband and distinctive streaks. The male of the species is the most aesthetically stunning, although the female is as well-dressed, with a more greenish tinge to her plumage.

Cerulean warblers prefer to forage in the high canopy of trees, so getting a decent look requires some neck-craning. For the most pleasing viewing results, use a high-end spotting scope.

18. Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

The pied-billed grebe is a little brown bird with a strong beak that loves lakes and ponds with fewer people. This bird seldom flies since it is generally diving for fish, crabs, and other invertebrates. Although pie-billed grebes are very common in Ohio, locating them might be difficult unless you seek them in the correct areas.

Birds like to hide on the margins of emergent foliage, so look for them there. Another excellent way to see this grebe species is to listen to its booming cries.

19. Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

The Eastern Screech Owl is a noisy owl that comes in various colors, including grey and red. Adult grey eastern screech owls might blend reasonably well with tree bark, but you can readily spot one by listening for its characteristic trills and whinnies late at night.

The sounds of the owl may be incredibly eerie and strange. Although forested regions are the ideal places to look for this bird, it may also be seen in suburbia and parks. Eastern screech owls will use nest boxes in your yard.

20. Blue-Winged Warbler

Blue-Winged Warbler

The blue-winged warbler, a brilliantly colored warbler, may be found in Ohio’s forest edge settings. It has a bright yellow body with striking blue-grey color on the wings for easy identification. Listening to the bird’s song, which includes a distinctive bee-buzz, is another method to identify it.

The state of Ohio is a beautiful area to look for the blue-winged Warbler, especially early in the nesting season when you may hear the unique song.

21. Wood Duck

Wood Duck

There are a few well-regarded birding locations on Lake Erie in Ohio that you should not overlook during your birding excursions. There’s a chance you’ll see some amazing birds like wood ducks there. The iridescent markings on the head and elegant feathers make this lovely waterfowl stand out.

Unlike several other duck species, the wood duck has powerful claws that allow it to rest on branches. Wood ducks prefer to stay near the water’s edge, and their distinctive color pattern on the belly and underwings makes them easy to see in flight.

22. Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

In Ohio, you may observe this slim and graceful bird. The long tail of the yellow-billed cuckoo has sharp white dots on the underside. Although it is difficult to spot, the yellow-billed cuckoo may be identified by its unique tail since it prefers to hide in deep forest settings.

It’s best to listen for its distinctive drawn-out, knocking sound, which is challenging to misinterpret with other bird vocalizations. The cuckoo does not have a set call period; however, it appears more frequently in the early summer.

23. Lapland Longspur

Lapland Longspur

During the winter, the Lapland longspur is a widespread songbird in Ohio present in large numbers. Males of these birds have a striking chestnut nape and a jet-black mask that contrasts with the bird’s white underbelly. Even inexperienced birders may recognize this longspur.

Follow agricultural areas are good places to start looking for this bird, but any open field will enhance your chances of sighting it. Check out some of the birding spots along Lake Erie’s shoreline as well.

24. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is roughly the same size as a crow in the United States. It is a cherished find for many birdwatchers. This is due to the bird’s extreme secrecy and unwillingness to show itself. The vast woods of Ohio’s southern and eastern regions provide suitable habitat for the pileated woodpecker.

As confirmation of their presence, look for those unique cavities. If you’re serious about finding this woodpecker in its natural habitat, you should become familiar with its sounds.

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25. Indigo Bunting

indigo Bunting

Indigo buntings are stunning birds with a completely blue appearance. These songbirds are pretty abundant in the eastern United States, despite their bright coloration. If you want to see an indigo bunting, travel to Ohio’s shrubby regions. When it’s not singing from a high perch, the bird forages for insects and grains.

Attracting an indigo bunting to your yard is a more straightforward method to view one. Mealworms are the most pleasing thing to put in the bird feeder to get the bird to come out.

26. Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

The northern harrier is a strange-looking raptor that has a large range across North America. It is pretty easy to recognize even from a great distance. This is a long-tailed hawk with a unique white patch at the base of its tail. You can compare the bird’s visage to that of an owl.

You may find northern harriers in a variety of habitats, including open grasslands and wetlands. Seeing a flying bird that is sluggish and coursing is your best bet. Look for the harrier’s white rump and the way its wings are held in a V shape.

27. Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinal

The northern cardinal is the official bird of Ohio because of its widespread distribution and distinctive red coloring. It’s particularly good to have a good glimpse at this cardinal in the wintertime when the vivid hue adds some vibrancy to the otherwise dead landscape.

Northern cardinal males have red plumage, while brown females have a more basic appearance with red highlights. If you’re looking for this bird in the summer, pay attention to its beautiful whistling.

28. Greater Scaup

Greater Scaup

One of Ohio’s most beautiful ducks is the greater scaup. It dives into the water in search of food. This bird may be found in big flocks around Lake Erie’s beaches. Although they get along with other duck species, the greater scaup is distinguished by its unique green sheen on the head.

The female lacks this trait and has a chocolate-brown head. The head of this duck is spherical, unlike that of the smaller scaup. As a novice birder, it takes some practice to tell them apart.

29. Black Vulture

Black Vulture

The black vulture is most likely visible to Ohio residents in the southern portion of the state. This is very much the northernmost extent of the range of this species, which is more commonly seen in the south of the continent. This vulture is undoubtedly a sight to see, with its black plumage and white stars on the wingtips.

Soaring is a favorite pastime of black vultures, especially on hot days. Even before you figure out the rest of the story, you’ll notice their striking silhouette in the sky. Black vultures, on the other hand, can be spotted eating on roadkill or near dumpsters.

Final Words

Once you’ve started watching backyard birds in Ohio, you could find yourself interested in seeking more than simply backyard birds. After that, you’ll be on your path to discovering wildlife on an immense globe. Everywhere you look, there are birds. Every place has a different one. In reality, there were 10,000 of them. Just seeing them once is enough to bring you delight for countless lives! All because you wanted to know what kind of birds were in your yard!


How many different bird species can you find in Ohio?

Ohio is home to a wide range of bird species. There are over 424 distinct bird species that call it home. Birds in Ohio range from common species like the Northern Cardinal to rare species like the Cliff Swallow.

What is Ohio’s largest woodpecker?

The Pileated Woodpecker, which is 40.5 to 48 cm in length and is about the size of a crow, is giant in Ohio and the United States, yet it is difficult to spot.

What Birds Stay In Ohio During Winter?

During the winter, Ohio-native birds assemble in massive groups searching for secure refuge and food, while raptors, titmice, nuthatches, and chickadees migrate south for the winter.

You may find what types of birds in Ohio?

Ohio is home to approximately half of all known bird species in the United States during the year, with 433 permanent and migratory bird species.

What is Ohio’s smallest bird?

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the difficult-to-find Winter Wren, the distinctive Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the beautiful Golden-crowned Kinglet, and the long-tailed Blue-gray Gnatcatcher are the smallest birds in Ohio.

What is Ohio’s most common bird?

In Ohio, the Northern Cardinal is the most frequent bird. Mourning Dove is the most numerous and widespread bird species in Ohio because of its high reproductive rate, flexibility, and wide range of habitats.

Last Updated on February 7, 2022 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.