16 Most Common Birds in Wisconsin

Birdwatching in Wisconsin is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors while witnessing birds you wouldn’t normally see unless you lived nearby.

Most Common Birds in Wisconsin

Many people in Wisconsin are unaware that the state is home to dozens of different bird species, but if you start exploring, you’ll discover many beautiful birds you’ve never heard of. 

Because of its location in the Midwest, it is home to a wide range of species that aren’t found anywhere else in the country.

Keep a lookout for the following common birds while Birdwatching in Wisconsin.

Black-capped ChickadeeBlack-capped Chickadee
American CrowAmerican Crow
American RobinAmerican Robin
American GoldfinchAmerican Goldfinch
Northern CardinalNorthern Cardinal
Mourning DoveMourning Dove
Blue JayBlue Jay
Red-Winged BlackbirdRed-winged Blackbird
Downy WoodpeckerDowny Woodpecker
Song SparrowSong Sparrow
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed-bellied Woodpecker
House SparrowHouse Sparrow
European StarlingEuropean Starling
Dark-eyed JuncoDark-eyed Junco
House FinchHouse Finch
Gray CatbirdGray Catbird

Most Common Birds in Wisconsin

1. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

The black-capped chickadee is a nonmigratory North American bird that prefers to live in mixed and deciduous forests. These birds may be found in ponds all around the East Coast, particularly in marshes, where they have a limited population.

Although some live in backyards, they spend most of their time on land.

Climate change puts them at risk in particular ways. As a result, their numbers have decreased in several areas during the previous two decades. Providing these little birds with bird feeders and nesting boxes is an excellent way to help safeguard them. ​​

Identifying Characteristics of Black-capped Chickadee

Habitat Forests, backyards, and parks, both deciduous and mixed
Length 11.5 – 16 cm
Frequency 49.96
Weight 8 – 15 grams
Food Insects, nuts, and berries
Family Paridae
Genus Poecile
Range Canada and the United States of America are included in the range

2. American Crow

American Crow

The American Crow belongs to the Corvidae family of large, passive passerine birds. Many people in the United States are familiar with it because it can be seen anywhere from Arkansas to Montana in North America.

Nesting sites for the American Crow include backyards, gardens, and even city streets.

The male may be found in the upper Midwest and higher Southwestern portions of North America, as well as in the coldest southern parts of the south, from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Texas and New Mexico’s extreme west coast. 

The highest regions of the northeastern states will experience it again in the spring and summer.​​​​​​​ This wild bird can be seen in Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan backyards.

Identifying Characteristics of American Crow

Color Black
Habitat Open country, farms, parks, forests, villages, and cities
Frequency 45.50
Weight 315 to 620 grams
Food Invertebrates, carrion, seeds, eggs, fish, cereals, mice, frogs, and other tiny creatures
Family Corvidae
Size 16 – 21 inches
Genus Corvis

3. American Robin

American Robin

The American Robin is a frequent migratory songbird and one of the species with the most successful captive records. 

For many years, the American Robin’s distribution was mostly limited to the southern states of North America, but in the last decade, the bird’s range has increased eastward and westward, making it a more common visitor to backyard bird watchers. 

Male American robins eat a variety of insects, including flies, mosquitoes, dragonflies, caterpillars, worms, grubs, snails, beetles, and a variety of berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, bilberries, hawthorn berries, and other berries.

​​​Identifying Characteristics of American Robin

  • Colour: The back is mostly dark, with an orange breast.
  • Habitat: Backyards, parks, and fields are all examples of wooded regions.
  • Range: The United States of America, Canada, and Mexico
  • Length: 12 – 16 inches in diameter
  • Frequency: 44.55 percentage point
  • Weight: Approximately 72–95 grams
  • Food: Insects, fruits, and berries (earthworms, beetles, caterpillars)
  • Family: Turdidae
  • Genus: Turdus

4. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The American goldfinch is a beautiful tiny yellow and black avian species with unique wing markings that distinguish it from other songbirds. These lovely birds have long been a favorite among bird watchers.

There are a few things to know about American goldfinches, which are found mostly in North America and Central America. Seeds, nuts, worms, tiny insects, and bird eggs are among the items consumed by these species. ​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of American Goldfinch

  • Color: The face, throat, and underside are yellow, while the wings are black with white bands.
  • Habitat: Deciduous woods and thickets, roadside, grasslands, backyards, and meadows.
  • Range: Canada, the United States, and Mexico
  • Length: 4.3 – 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 12-18 grams
  • Frequency: 42.04 
  • Food: Grass, dandelions, chickweed, sunflowers, and ragweed; thistle, red alder, birch, and spruce seeds; thistle, red alder, birch, and spruce seeds
  • Family: Carduelinae.
  • Genus: Spinus.
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5. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is the most frequent member of the Cardinalidae family of birds, which includes the Cardinals Genus. Eastern Canada, through the lower portion of the United States to middle Louisiana, south through Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, and south-west across the United States to south-west Alaska is the most prevalent locations.

It has a large beak and red and black upperparts and is around 9 inches long. They build their nests in deciduous trees in parks, along highways, and in backyards, but one of their favorite places is a wide gap in a cliff.​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of Northern Cardinal

  • Color: Primarily crimson with a black mask and pink bill.
  • Habitat: Woodlands, gardens, parks, backyards, and wetlands.
  • Range: United States, Canada, and Mexico
  • Frequency: 40.82 
  • Length: 8.2 – 9.3 inches in diameter
  • Weight: 33 to 65 grams.
  • Diet: Fruits, berries, and insects (grasshoppers, beetles, snails, cicadas)
  • Family: Cardinalidae.
  • Genus: Cardinalis.

6. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove belongs to the Columbidae family of doves as well as the clover flock. More than 25 million pairs of this bird have been seen in North America. In many areas of North America, the Mourning Dove is known by several names, the most frequent being in the northeast and mid-west.

This species is also known as the turtle bird, the raindoodle, the American mourning dove, and the turtle dove. For most bird watchers, seeing Mourning Doves in Wisconsin is a magical experience. Birds of this genus are found in a variety of habitat types including open environments such as prairies or grasslands, as well as wooded parts of parks.

​​​​​​​Identifying Characteristics of Mourning Dove

  • Color: Light grey-brown on top, lighter and pinkish on the bottom. There are black dots on the wings.
  • Habitat: Open environments, cities, farms, prairies, grasslands, and forested regions
  • Range: Can be seen in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Greater Antilles
  • Frequency: 38.5%
  • Length: 12 inches.
  • Weight: 112–170 grams
  • Diet: Rapeseed, corn, millet, safflower, sunflower seeds, pokeberry, sesame, and wheat.
  • Family: Columbidae.
  • Genus: Zenaida.

7. Blue Jay

Blue Jay

The blue jay is a small passerine bird that belongs to the Corvidae family of insects and was once endemic to the eastern United States. Except for the northern parts of Texas and Montana, it currently inhabits the entire western and central United States. 

It is a frequent visitor to bird feeders in the spring and early summer. In Minnesota and Missouri, there is also some visitor activity from December to March. Except in northern Texas and Montana, resident populations may be found across the western and central United States.

The male blue jay, unlike other passerines, prefers to build his nest near water rather than in trees. A river bend, a beach, or even the land along a telephone line, telephone pole, or neighboring road are all ideal places to look for a blue jay bird nesting location. 

Birds will occasionally build their nests in tree branches near bird feeders or on power lines. The greatest time to see these birds at bird feeders is in the morning when they are feeding. ​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of Blue Jay

  • Color: With a white face and belly, the head, wings, back, and tail are entirely blue.
  • Habitat: Deciduous and mixed woods, mixed woodlands, backyards, and parks.
  • Range: Southern Canada, the eastern and central United States, Florida, and Texas.
  • Frequency: 38.15%
  • Length: 8 to 12 inches
  • Weight: 70–100 grams in weight
  • Diet: Nuts, seeds, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles.
  • Family: Corvidae.
  • Genus: Cyanocitta.

8. Red-winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

During most of the year, huge flocks of red-winged blackbirds may be found flying around. This species does, however, have a mating season in May or June, during which one male and one female will nest in abandoned nests on cliffs or in forested areas. 

Nests can be found in a variety of places, including logs and tree stumps, as well as fields with food. In the winter, these birds migrate to northern states, where they can be found in large numbers, particularly in the Great Lakes region. 

They are weather-dependent, with certain species favoring hot, sunny regions while others prefer cooler temperatures.​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of Red-winged Blackbird

  • Color: All-black with red shoulder patches and a yellow wing bar
  • Habitat: Deciduous woods, conifers, waysides, rivers, backyards, and parks.
  • Range: North America and Central America
  • Length: 6.7 – 7.1 inches
  • Weight: 41.5–65 grams 
  • Frequency: 34.89%
  • Diet: Seeds and insects (butterflies, dragonflies, moths, frogs, worms, spiders, snails, carrion, and flies.)
  • Family: Icteridae.
  • Genus: Agelaius.
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9. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are a tiny woodpecker species that is typically the smallest in North America. In the eastern United States, this tiny bird prefers big wooded regions near major highways and trains. 

In the winter, they spend their time on woodland islands, ponds, and streams. In the spring and summer, they migrate south. The Downy Woodpecker has a great flying capability despite its tiny size (in contrast to other bird species).

The Downy Woodpecker’s song is a screaming, high-pitched chirping that may be heard in the fall and early spring.​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of Downy Woodpecker

  • Color: Black with white on the neck, belly, and back. Wings with white dots
  • Habitat: Deciduous woods and thickets, roadside, meadows, backyards, and parks are also suitable habitats.
  • Range: Can be seen in Canada, the United States, and Mexico
  • Frequency: 34.69%
  • Weight: 20–33 grams.
  • Diet: Mostly insects, beetles, and ants, as well as gall wasps and caterpillars.
  • Family: Picadae.
  • Length: 5.5–7.1 inches
  • Genus: Dryobates.

10. Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is a tiny songbird from North America that is medium in size. The Song Sparrow is a popular visitor to bird feeders and nesting boxes, although it is often prevented from utilizing these locations by larger birds. 

Some songbirds prefer to construct their nests under towering buildings or trees rather than on a bird feeder. However, some bird observers have reported witnessing numerous Song Sparrows at a single feeding location, suggesting that this isn’t always the case. 

Song sparrows, unlike other songbirds, do not make a lot of noise when flying; instead, they pick their targets and sing at them until they find a suitable location. They may often be seen singing near lights or at ground level in metropolitan settings.​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of Song Sparrow

  • Color: Grey head with white cheeks, black bib, and rufous neck
  • Habitat: Urban areas, farms, backyards, borders, yards, and parks are all good habitats.
  • Range: Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia, Australasia, Africa, and the Americas are all part of the range.
  • Length: 5.5 to 7.0 inches
  • Frequency: 29.77%
  • Weight: 25–40 grams
  • Diet: Grains, seeds, and insects.
  • Family: Passeridae.
  • Genus: Passer.

11. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Eastern Red-bellied Woodpecker, commonly known as the Red-bellied Woodpecker, is a small to medium-sized woodpecker in the Picidae pecking family. It primarily breeds in the eastern United States and, to the east of Texas, as far as Canada. 

Its small tail allows it to move quickly and easily across the garden. They seek food in predatory piles of leaves and branches before moving on to roosting trees or stick and twig barrows. They are extremely skilled diggers. 

They look for termites, ants, and other termites in roosts, poking through holes produced by their wings and grabbing their prey.

Identifying Characteristics of Red-bellied Woodpecker

  • Color: Gray across the torso, face, and underparts. The wings, back, and tail have a black and white pattern.
  • Habitat: Forests and backyards.
  • Range: Southern Canada, Eastern United States, and Florida.
  • Length: 9 – 10.6 inches
  • Frequency: 26.59%
  • Weight: 56 to 91 grams.
  • Diet: Insects, leaky sap, tiny bird eggs, small fish, and tree frogs.
  • Family: Picidae.
  • Genus: Melanerpes.

12. House Sparrow

House Sparrow

The house sparrow is a tiny bird, measuring just 6 inches in length and weighing only 24 grams. The adults leave the nest in the winter to gather food and will remain around your garden’s entrance until the spring migration. 

They will be seeking for locations to build their nests during this time, and if you have given them safe and warm circumstances, they will deposit their eggs in your garden.

House Sparrows might be attracted to your garden these days if you provide them with adequate shelter and food. If you put out various types and sizes of bird feeders, they will construct their nests in your yard. ​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of House Sparrow

  • Color: Grey underparts, reddish-brown back, and grey head markings
  • Habitat: Urban regions, suburban areas, backyards, borders, yards, and parks.
  • Range: North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Length: 5.5– 7.1 inches
  • Frequency: 23.98%
  • Weight: 25–39 grams
  • Diet: Insects, beetles, caterpillars, aphids, grasshoppers, crustaceans, earthworms, and vertebrates.
  • Family: Passeridea.
  • Genus: Passer.

13. European Starling

European Starling

The European starling is a tiny, medium-sized passerine bird that may be found in woods and fields throughout eastern North America. It’s around 20 centimeters long and has a heavy metallic sheen on the breast, as well as greyish grey flanks with blue-black streaks.

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The European Starling may be found in densely forested regions along the eastern seaboard as well as low-lying wetland habitats in southern Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southern Pennsylvania in the United States. 

Along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, as well as in the central sections of Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, it is more frequent. ​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of European Starling

  • Habitat: Forests, forests, backyards, borders, yards, and parks.
  • Range: North America, Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, and China.
  • Length: 7 – 9 inches
  • Weight: 60–100 grams
  • Frequency: 21.18% 
  • Diet: Insects (ants, beetles, and invertebrates), fruits, seeds, and berries.
  • Family: Sturnidae.
  • Genus: Sturnus.

14. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

The dark-eyed junco is a very variable species, with populations changing dramatically even within its range. This very arboreal bird may be found over most of North America, including the sub-Arctic, as well as in central Mexico. 

At different periods of the year, you may expect to observe a variety of birds, including those that are frequent from April to October and others that may become scarce as late as June.

The dark-eyed juncos have one of the greatest birding communities in the Northern Hemisphere, which may seem unusual. They mostly eat in willowy forests, with a preference for conifers and big leafed plants, however they occasionally frequent fields and roadsides. ​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of Dark-eyed Junco

  • Color: Head, neck, and breasts are grey, with grey/brown backs and wings, and a white underside.
  • Habitat: Wooded regions, forest margins, roadside vegetation, gardens, and parks.
  • Range: United States and Canada
  • Frequency: 21.18%
  • Length: 5.1 – 6.9 inches
  • Weight: 18–30 grams
  • Diet: Seeds, insects, and arthropods.
  • Family: Passeriformes.
  • Genus: Junco.

15. House Finch

House Finch

The house finch is a lovely member of the finch family. These birds may be found in a variety of areas during the mating season, including south and central Texas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

They are slow-moving and rarely spotted at night. They flutter in and out of trees and shrubs during the day. Trees with silvery leaves, as well as sunny locations, appeal to them. House finches are frequently seen at bird feeders, birdbaths, and nesting boxes by hobbyists. ​​​​​​​

Identifying Characteristics of House Finch

  • Color: Reddish on the face and upper breast, with brown stripes on the back, abdomen, and tail.
  • Habitat: Backyards, borders, yards, and parks in urban and suburban regions
  • Frequency: 21.14%
  • Range: Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
  • Length: 5 – 6 inches
  • Weight: 16–27 grams
  • Diet: Aphids, grains, seeds, berries, nettle, dandelion, and sunflower.
  • Family: Fringillidae.
  • Genus: Haemorhous.

16. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

The grey catbird is a common medium-sized perching bird in North and Central America. Gray Catbirds eat a wide range of tiny insects that float in the midst of their dense thickets.

Ants, mites, spiders, cockroaches, centipedes, moths, beetles, and some flies are among them. Their population peaks towards the end of the summer, when they experience fast development, necessitating the construction of more habitats by their progeny.

Adult birds’ rapid development frequently culminates in a series of magnificent bird flights across the United States and Central America. The birds compete with one another for the remnants of the overwintering plants and other insects that line the thickets during this season, but if they can’t get to the food, they will starve.

Identifying Characteristics of Gray Catbird

  • Color: Gray with black on the tail and head and white highlights on the body.
  • Habitat: Woodlands, marshes, and meadows
  • Range: East of the Canadian Rockies, it may be found in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
  • Length: 8 to 9.5 inches.
  • Weight: 23-57 grams.
  • Frequency: 16.21%
  • Diet: Fruits, berries, earthworms, beetles, bugs, ants, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and moths.
  • Family: Mimidae.
  • Genus: Donatella.


This article explains which Wisconsin birds you may expect to see in your yard and when they are most active. We also have a photo and description section to assist you with Wisconsin bird identification of the most frequent backyard birds.


What is Wisconsin’s state bird?

Wisconsin’s state bird is the lovely American Robin.

When it comes to birds in Wisconsin, what’s the most common?

Chickadees with black caps birds are most common in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, how many different bird species are there?

455 bird species can be found in the state of Wisconsin.

Last Updated on August 23, 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.