Oklahoma is known for its variety of avian species and is an excellent birding destination. It’s no wonder that our feathered companions feel at home here, with four mountain ranges and forests covering about a fourth of the state.
Today we’ll talk about Oklahoma’s backyard birds and offer you some facts about them, as well as some feeder suggestions and some recommendations on where you might go in Oklahoma to see some birds you might not have realized were there. Let’s chat about Oklahoma’s backyard birds!
Oklahoma has a big bird population due to its abundance of woodlands and open areas. Oklahoma has approximately 480 bird species, so your chances of seeing a new bird are quite excellent. You can’t identify them all, but you may divide the birds into seasons when these birds are most likely to be seen.
Table of Contents
- 1. Brewer’s Blackbird
- 2. Black-capped Vireo
- 3. Brown-headed Cowbird
- 4. White-eyed Vireo
- 5. Painted Bunting
- 6. Belted Kingfisher
- 7. Purple Martin
- 8. Carolina Wren
- 9. American Goldfinch
- 10. Brown Thrasher
- 11. Red-headed Woodpecker
- 12. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- 13. Blue Jay
- 14. Downy Woodpecker
- 15. Tufted Titmouse
- 16. Barn Swallow
1. Brewer’s Blackbird
This bird is smaller than a robin and has a long, pointed, black beak. Brewer’s blackbirds are occasionally mistaken with other species but may be differentiated due to some characteristic features such as the long rudder-like tail of the common grackle or the conical beak and a shorter tail of the brown-headed cowbird.
Brewer’s blackbirds are commonly seen in pastures, feedlots, cultivated fields, and riparian forests. During the winter, these birds can be seen virtually statewide, although they are considerably more abundant in central and western Oklahoma.
When they are not at the feeders, they consume insects, seeds, and occasional fruit. The length ranges from 8.3 to 9.8 inches. The wingspan is 14.6 inches. Brewer’s blackbirds congregate with other blackbirds to feed. They would rather eat on the ground.
2. Black-capped Vireo
The back, wings, and sides of the black-capped Vireo are greenish. The breasts and stomach are white. For breeding and feeding, black-capped vireos prefer low, brushy, dispersed thickets of deciduous trees, particularly blackjack oak.
Such environment is largely located in the state’s southwest quadrant and has historically been preserved by periodic fire and drought. In Oklahoma, there are currently just two known populations of black-capped vireos.
The biggest is found in Comanche and Kiowa counties in the Wichita Mountains. This species used to be found in numerous, scattered congregations throughout the Cross Timbers Ecoregion in the west to middle Oklahoma.
These migratory species spend the springtime, midsummer, and winters in Oklahoma or Houston. Vireos often come to Oklahoma in semi and depart in mid-September. The eggs are laid in a little hanging nest that is built at the end of a branch 4-8 feet from the level on a short, scrubby tree.
3. Brown-headed Cowbird
A moderate North American bird, the Molothrus water is also referred to as the Brown-headed Cowbird. The Brown-headed Cowbird is a migrating bird that follows the climate trends and looks for nourishment. The bird has the form of a conventional crow, but its back is brighter. They regularly visit the north throughout the summer.
Excluding the brown throat & head, which are brown rather than black, the Brown-headed Cowbird possesses all feathers. This bird’s black coloration is more bluish-black than it is pure black. Males have brighter and shinier plumage than females.
Brown or black plumage covers the female. Females are relatively small as males, get a smaller span, and weigh a lot less. Due to their different appearance, females within the flock are clearly differentiated from males.
The bird sings a high-pitched melody to lure females to breeding. They are migrant birds, meaning they move from one region to another.
4. White-eyed Vireo
Among the smallest birds in Oklahoma is the White-eyed Vireo, which is alternatively called Vireo griseus. The White-eyed Vireo is a seasonal bird that travels from north to central and southern America.
The feather coat of the White-eyed Vireo is striking and vivid. This bird’s crown and neck are covered with olive-colored plumage. The tops, backs, and wings of the bird appear olive to dark, having black and white margins.
A whitish ring can be seen in its eyes. Their belly is yellow in color. The overall length of a White-eyed Vireo may vary between 4.3 and 5.1 inches (11 to 13 centimeters), with a wingspan of about 6.7 inches (17 centimeters).
The mother White-eyed Vireo lays 3 to 6 eggs. The eggs are sat on by both the male as well as female before they hatch. They construct cup-shaped exposed nests.
They also eat tiny grains, nuts, and fruits from a variety of plants.
5. Painted Bunting
The backs and wings of Painted Buntings are yellow-green, with dark grey highlighting on the wings and black wingtips. It has a long grey tail and a reddish-orange lower back, with a vivid orange-red breast and abdomen.
The red hue extends all the way to the bill, with blue flanking lines at the shoulder. This bird has a short, curved grey beak and a prominent eyeing, which is typically red.
Females and adolescents will have no marks other than a little eyering and will also be yellow-green all over.
These tiny lovelies are 4.7 – 5.1 inches long, with wingspans ranging from 8 to 8.5 inches.
Fields are also common haunts for them, as long as they are overgrown enough to give some cover.
Black Oil and White Proso Millet Sunflower seeds will make Painted Buntings extremely happy, but we recommend that you use a protective cage over the feeding tube to keep larger birds away. Because they are shy birds, they require particular protection.
6. Belted Kingfisher
The Belted Kingfisher, a moderate-sized kingfisher, having a stripe across its neck, is a part of the kingfisher family. Their beaks are huge and strong, and they have a bushy crest on their heads. Males of these birds are brighter and possess more striking colors compared to females. Its blue and black wings typically contain white spots.
Length & Weight
The male Belted Kingfisher is 27 to 34 centimeters in length and has 47 to 57 centimeters of wingspan.
The weight of a fully grown Belted Kingfisher ranges from 113 to 178 grams. Due to reverse dimorphism, females are bigger compared to males, having a wider wingspan as well as more weight.
Among numerous creatures, they consume tiny amphibians, rats, and lizards. The females deliver eggs and then wait for them to hatch. The male, as well as the mother, give food to their offspring.
7. Purple Martin
Its name comes from its feather coat, which is not actually purple but instead blackish-blue, but takes on a sparkling purple color as they soar in the light.
Greenish-blue colors can also be seen in their beautiful feathers. Female Purple Martins differ from male Purple Martins since they are smaller and lighter than male Purple Martins. They have brown chests and underside, as well as a brown stomach.
Moving closer to the edges of its body, the above parts turn purple and fade to white.
Length & Weight
The overall length of a fully grown bird can be anywhere between 7.5 to 7.9 inches, while the wingspan can be anywhere between 15.3 to 16.1 inches. Purple Martins can weigh anywhere from 1.6 to 2.1 oz as adults.
They return to the North with the arrival of the cold season. Bugs and small insects are eaten by this bird. They attack their target from above. They usually stop by bird feeders all across North America.
8. Carolina Wren
The Carolina Wren is distinguished by its cinnamon-colored back, wings, and tail. Look for little black and white ‘cubes’ on this bird’s wings and tail, as well as its yellow-orange breast and underbelly.
This bird has brown coloring on the upper section of its face, while the throat and bottom portion of its face is white. There’s also a speck of black-dotted grey under the eye that extends to the cheek. This bird has a lengthy, slightly curved black beak and a prominent white forehead mark visible above the eye.
The length of these little birds ranges from 4.7 to 5.5 inches, with wingspans of roughly 11.4 inches. While you may hear them sing from the tops of trees, you’re more likely to hear them from thickets, where they may forage in relative safety.
These birds mostly eat insects, although they also consume seeds and berries. Add some chopped cherries or strawberries and leave out the White millet mixed with Black Sunflower seeds for the best results. If you have some shrubs in your yard, this is a bonus for bringing the Carolina Wren.
9. American Goldfinch
They have long, black tails with white patterns, and their breast and underside contrast with their brilliant yellow hue. This bird has a white rump and yellow cheeks, as well as a black cap that runs from the top-middle of the head right down to the short, conical orange beak.
Females have dimmer yellows and olive coloring instead of black, and both sexes molt their colorful plumage in the winter in favor of drab brown feathers. The unique wing bar is still evident, although dimly, so they are still simple to spot if you look closely.
These little birds range in length from 4.3 to 5.1 inches and have wingspans ranging from 7.5 to 8.7 inches. This bird prefers to graze in flood-prone areas and large, open weedy fields.
Oil of Saffron Sunflower seeds combined with Nyjer weed will attract and maintain an American Finch’s interest.
10. Brown Thrasher
Toxostoma rufum, which is alternatively called Brown Thrasher, is a big bird belonging to the Mimidae family. Small birds possess a genealogical connection with these birds. Brown Thrashers may be found in rocky areas all throughout the globe, especially in the United States.
The bird is completely coated in brown color, just like its name suggests. It has deep brown or black markings on the tips of its feathers and above its wings.
Because its structure, color, and length are so identical, it’s tough to distinguish male and female Brown Thrasher birds. Brown Thrasher youngsters are born lacking feathers and in a dull color scheme.
Length & Weight
Brown Thrashers possess a wingspan of 29 to 33 centimeters and a body length of 23.5 to 30.5 centimeters.
A typical fully grown Brown Thrasher weighs between 61 and 89 grams (2.2 to 3.1 oz). The female bird delivers three to five eggs, and she monitors them until they hatch. Throughout this period, the male feeds the entire family.
Tiny insects and larvae are the main foods of the Brown Thrasher. Various plants’ nuts, grain, berries, or buds are eaten by the Brown Thrasher. If you put suet and other such things in the bird feeders, they will come on a fairly frequent basis.
11. Red-headed Woodpecker
The Red-headed Woodpecker is a small woodpecker bird endemic to North Americas. This bird is a migrating bird that relocates from northern regions to southern parts of the country throughout the winter.
Red-headed “woodpecker” comes out after the bird’s gleaming reddish-brown plumage. This bird’s plumage is stunning and gleaming. Their backs have a black & white design on them. Their tail is also black.
They have a sharp, strong beak, which they use to peck into tree roots. The Red-headed Woodpecker’s belly, rump, and chest are completely white. The young Red-headed Woodpecker’s forehead is grey.
Length & Weight
The overall length of an adolescent Red-headed Woodpecker is 19 to 25 centimeters (7.5 to 9.8 in), and the wing is up to 42.5 cm (7.5 to 9.8 in). A fully grown Red-headed Woodpecker may reach somewhere from 57 to 98 grams (2.0 to 3.4 oz).
The Red-headed Woodpecker is well-known for digging holes in tree trunks and residing there. Its bird eats insects caught in mid-flight as a result of this breed. They don’t eat much from the ground.
They primarily seek food in the woods. Tiny grains, nuts, and oats are their favorite foods.
12. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
This bird is a tiny North American hummingbird. As migrant humming subspecies, they travel south in the wintertime.
The upper portions of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird are iridescent green, with fair-skinned undersides. Their beak is big, and their wings are brown or black. Female birds of this species are very identical to the males, although their necks are not as red.
Length & Weight
The body length of a Ruby-throated hummingbird is 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 in), and its wing is 8 to 11 cm (3.1 to 4.3 in). As an adult, a Ruby-throated hummingbird might range anywhere from 2 to 0.2 g (0.071 to 0.212 oz).
They’re only little birds. With their long beaks, they suck nectar from the flower’s ovary. They eat microscopic insects and worms throughout their migration and flying.
13. Blue Jay
Blue Jays are beautiful and simple to identify. They have complete blue backs with a ‘scaling’ pattern of blue highlighted in the black beginning just above the white wing bar on each wing and progressing towards the tail with bigger white spots defined in black.
The underside of the tail is white and features symmetrically segmented patterns of lighter blue accentuated in black or dark blue. This bird’s chest and underside are completely white, with quite a black stripe going from the rear of its lovely crest across the neck to the other side.
This bird has a white patch with a thin black mask that zigzags and links to the lines at the rear of the skull, creating a ‘conceptual’ look.
This bird’s beak is long and straight. These birds are 9.8 – 11.8 inches long from tip to tail, with wingspans ranging from 13.4 to 16.9 inches.
These birds prefer spending time at the forest’s edge, especially around oak trees and their tasty acorns. Blue Jays, who are not afraid of humans, spend a lot of time in cities and would happily visit your feeder for some well-chosen treats.
Blue Jays will consume a variety of foods, but their favorites include Sunflower seeds, almonds, and suet.
14. Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker is a little bird that is a member of the woodpecker family. The bird’s appearance is mostly black, having white spots on its wings and black and white bands on its head. The male and female birds of this woodpecker have comparable body colors, but the female does not have the male’s red dot on the head.
The Downy Woodpecker possesses a whitish stomach and white spots on its wings. A male Downy Woodpecker features a larger wingspan and weighs considerably more than a female. In terms of physical size, female Downy Woodpeckers are somewhat shorter compared to their male counterparts.
Tiny insects, nuts, and berries from small plants are eaten by this tiny bird. They are enticed by the feeders that provide them with suet. During the wintertime, they are more likely to be found in feeding locations than during the summer.
15. Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse is a tiny North American bird species. It has a black plume attached to its brow.
Length & Weight
The overall length of a fully grown Tufted Titmouse is 5.6 to 6.2 inches (13 to 16 centimeters), having a wingspan of 7.9 to 10.2 inches (20-26 centimeters) and bodyweight of 20 to 26 grams.
Men and women have the same physical shape and size. These birds may appear to be similar, but you can tell them apart by their tufted crown. The Tufted Titmouse has a dark main body with a white belly.
They feature blemish flanks as well as a rust-colored upper chest. On the back of its forehead, the Tufted Titmouse features a tufted grey crest/crown, which would be complemented with either a black forehead. They have a wonderful and lovely melody with around 20 distinct rhythm variants.
They employ these many rhymes in various circumstances, resulting in a varied type of song depending on the situation. They do not build exposed nests, unlike several other species. Instead, they make their nests within the crevices in tree trunks.
Grain and seeds from a variety of tiny plants and herbs are their main sources of nutrition. Tiny berries and fruits are some of this bird’s favorite food. Bugs and wasps are among the Tufted Titmouse’s additional preferred foods.
16. Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow is a member of the Hirundinidae family, and it is a moderate-sized bird. These birds are also among the most commonly found swallow birds on the Earth.
They are distinguished by their longer tail and beautiful blue and white feathers. The upper portions and tails of the Barn Swallow are basically fully vividly colored. However, the chest and stomach are totally white. Blackish-brown rings decorate the necks in an identical style.
Length & Weight
A Barn Swallow’s standard overall length is 7 inches, with a maximum wingspan of 33 centimeters. The average adult guy weighs roughly 20 grams. Females are shorter, lightweight, and have a reduced wingspan compared to their male counterparts.
These birds have a longer body compared to other birds due to their lengthy tail. Its body is average, but its twisted tail is longer. The plumage color of young Barn Swallows is unusual, having black above parts and wings as well as creamy white bottoms and chests.
They consume smaller insects like large flies, small moths, as well as other tiny invertebrates and larvae.
That’s all the time you have today, but you’ve had a taste of the sort of birding adventure Oklahoma has to offer. Remember that with over 480 species, everything you’ve seen is simply a drop in the bucket.
Oklahoma can keep you quite occupied when it comes to birding. This article will be of help when you opt for exploring the outdoors in search of these beautiful birds.
What is Oklahoma’s most endangered bird?
The Red Slough Wildlife Management Area in southern Oklahoma is the best place to see 300 different species, including the most endangered birds like the Ash-throated Flycatcher and Fish Crow.
What is Oklahoma’s biggest bird?
With a wingspan of 23 inches, the Ferruginous Hawk is Oklahoma’s biggest Buteo hawk. The back is dark, and the breast is pale, with some stripes on the flank. The tail may contain a hint of red, but it is not as bright as that of a Red-tailed Hawk. Legs with brown feathers down to the toes are a telltale sign.