17 Types of Red Birds in Illinois

Are you fond of birds? If you are living in the US, then you may witness different kinds of birds flying and chirping each day in your area.

A variety of birds fly around Illinois, and some of them are often found in the backyard of your home.

These birds are different species, but they do share identical appearances and, in some cases, their habits.

If you are looking to find information about types of red birds in Illinois, then this guide explains all about the different species that are found here, along with their habits and other info.

Northern CardinalNorthern Cardinal
Rose-Breasted GrosbeaksRose-Breasted Grosbeaks
Red-Bellied WoodpeckerRed-Bellied Woodpecker
Summer TanagerSummer Tanager
Scarlet TanagerScarlet Tanager
Ruby Throated HummingbirdRuby Throated Hummingbird
Pileated WoodpeckerPileated Woodpecker
White Winged CrossbillsWhite Winged Crossbills
American RobinAmerican Robin
Northern FlickerNorthern Flicker
House FinchHouse Finch
Red-Headed WoodpeckerRed-Headed Woodpecker
Hepatic TanagerHepatic Tanager
Vermilion FlycatcherVermilion Flycatcher
Common RedpollsCommon Redpolls
Ruby-Crowned KingletRuby-Crowned Kinglet
Pine GrosbeakPine Grosbeak

Types of Red Birds in Illinois

1. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of Illinois, and it is the most well-known red-colored bird in North America as a whole.

The head, chest, and belly of male Northern Cardinals are a vivid crimson red color, while the back and wing feathers are a little darker shade of red.

The face also features a black mask that covers the throat and a brilliant red bill. 

In Illinois, the Northern Cardinal is a frequent backyard bird that can be spotted all year long in gardens, small woodlands, and parks.

This red bird frequents bird feeders on a daily basis.

It doesn’t defend its area throughout the winter months and occasionally forms feeding flocks of up to 25 birds.

2. Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

During the breeding season, rose-breasted grosbeaks can be seen throughout most of Illinois, but they typically only migrate to the southern part of the state.

These grosbeaks can frequently be found in deciduous forests, woodlands, parks, and gardens.

Such types of red birds can be identified by their distinctive black, white, and red plumage, which includes a triangular red form closer to the throat, a white breast, and black and white wings and tail feathers.


The majority of females, on the other hand, are brown and white. Rose-breasted grosbeaks are widely recognized for eating a wide range of different foods, including seeds like safflower or sunflower seeds, small insects, berries, and other smaller fruits. 

3. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Another type of red bird found in Illinois is the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Its red crown extends all the way to the neck’s base.

The crimson tint on its belly, for which it is known, can be difficult to discern unless you get a close-up look.

Thankfully, this stunning red-headed bird is slowly increasing its distribution throughout the entire nation.

Although the female has a partly grey crown, both sexes have a similar appearance. 


The Red-bellied Woodpecker loves backyards with mature trees, shady forests, and forest margins. To find beetles, centipedes, spiders, and other insects, it drills holes in rotting wood.

This bird hides berries and acorns in the cracks and crevices of trees for the winter.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker builds a new nest in the same tree every year, burying the old one beneath it.

4. Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

A stunning and seductive songbird with a peaked (as opposed to rounded) crown is the Summer Tanager. From May through August, you will be able to see the Summer Tanager in Illinois, where it breeds and spends the summer months.

Although their wing feathers are significantly deeper in color, adult male Summer Tanagers are totally bright red.

Females and young birds are buff-yellow in contrast to males, though they may contain a few areas of pale red.

Since Summer Tanagers like to graze on the tops of deciduous and mixed forests, it might be challenging to spot them.

The remainder of the year is spent in Mexico and Central America because it is strictly a migratory bird.

5. Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanagers

Beautiful red birds called Scarlet Tanagers can be seen in the summer in Illinois. The Scarlet Tanager spends its winters in Central and South America and comes to Illinois in the summer.

To indicate and protect their territory from other Tanagers, both sexes sing a song that is similar to one another.

Bright red birds called scarlet tanagers have black wings and tails. Females are yellow, and their wings and tails are darker.

Habitat & Food

Before making their way to South America, they spend the summer breeding in eastern woods.

By growing berry plants, including blackberries, serviceberries, strawberries, raspberries, huckleberries, juneberries, and chokeberries, you can draw more Scarlet Tanagers in your yard.

This red bird prefers warm weather, so it arrives later in the spring and departs earlier in the fall. 

Despite the fact that there are other tanager species in the world, the Scarlet Tanager is the only one that may be found in Illinois.

6. Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

A ruby-throated hummingbird can be identified by its red, white, and green plumage.

Their back and wings are emerald green tint, with their breast and stomach being white. Their throat is crimson. The majority of females are white and green in color.

In Illinois, ruby-throated hummingbirds will breed in the late spring and summer. 

Given that they have a very powerful metabolism and must frequently eat during the hour, ruby-throated hummingbirds prefer to stay close to areas with flowerbeds. 

As a result, you can find them in open areas of forests, parks, backyards, and fields.

The usual longevity of these tiny little hummingbirds is 3 to 5 years, and the highest lifespan ever seen was just under 7 years.

7. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker, which is the largest woodpecker in Illinois and the most commonly found in sizable areas of woods, is a very shy bird.

A male Pileated Woodpecker’s scarlet mustache and brilliant red crest and forehead distinguish it from other huge, crow-sized woodpeckers.

The white front margins of the wings glow brightly while flying, but the remainder of the body is largely black.

Large wood chips left on the ground near its feeding trees are a surefire indication that Pileated Woodpeckers have been busy.

Its preferred diet is carpenter ants, and it feeds regurgitated insects to the young in its nest. Young woodpeckers essentially look like adults when they leave the nest.

8. White Winged Crossbills

White-Winged Crossbill

In the wild, white-winged crossbills have been observed to survive for about 4 years in Illinois, though this number may be different in captivity.

These barred crossbills may be identified by their red head and body plumage, black wings with white stripes, and a downward-pointing bill that crosses over itself.

Females, on the other hand, tend to be grey and green in color. During their non-breeding months, white-winged crossbills can be seen throughout most of Illinois, excluding the southern border of the state.

Habitat & Food

These crossbills can be found residing amid mature spruce and larch trees in highland coniferous woods.

It consumes smaller insects, including spiders, caterpillars, aphids, and others, as well as docks, pine cones, grass, and thrift seed.

9. American Robin

American Robin

Another very common type of red bird found in Illinois is the American Robin. These lawn birds are well-known and have red breasts.

They are common in open areas with sporadic deciduous trees and in residential areas.

Male American robins have a red brick breasts and a brownish-gray upper body. Females have a paler grey top and a paler orange bottom. American Robins spend the entire year in Illinois.

10. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

The usual lifespan of northern flickers is 5 to 7 years, while the longest one ever found was 9 years and 2 months. All year long, Illinois might be home to these northern flickers.

Their preferred diet consists primarily of insects as well as smaller fruits and berries.

Mostly cream-colored with black patches, orange, and black tail feathers, and hints of red on the lower portion of their faces, northern flickers can be identified.

With the exception of the red features on their faces, females resemble males extremely closely.

In addition to metropolitan parks and suburbs, northern flickers are frequently seen in and around forests, forest borders, and open fields with scatted trees.

11. House Finch

House Finch

The House Finch is the most prevalent red bird in North America, and it may be found in a variety of populated regions, from tiny villages to major cities.

The House Finch was first found in the western United States, and it wasn’t until the 1940s that it was found in New York and other locations along the east coast.

The females have brown backgrounds with grayish streaks rather than any red coloring. 


The House Finch only eats plants, primarily seeds, buds, and fruits. When a bird feeder is placed in the backyard, House Finches will likely be among the first to use it.

Even though it is not a migratory bird, the House Finch moves to locations with more food outside of the breeding season. It is a year-round resident of Illinois.

12. Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-headed woodpeckers live in Illinois all year long, so you can always find them there. In addition to having a redhead, red-headed woodpeckers also have black and white body and wings.

Habitat & Food

These woodpeckers often spend most of their time in farmland, orchards, shade trees in urban areas, huge scattered trees, forest borders, orchards, open pine forests, and higher tree groves. Red-headed woodpeckers can live up to 10 years in the wild, according to some records. 

The food of a red-headed woodpecker comprises a wide range of insects, such as spiders, earthworms, various kinds of nuts, seeds, berries, and other fruits.

These peckers occasionally will even consume small rodents or the contents of other birds’ eggs.

13. Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager
Credits – Wikipedia

The name “Hepatic Tanager” comes from the brownish tinge that early ornithologists associated with the males’ red plumage, which they thought resembled the color of the liver.

Of the three tanager species on our list, this one has the most constrained range in North America. Only a handful of this species of North American tanager spends each winter in southern Arizona and Illinois, making it the only one to do so. 

14. Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

The Vermilion Flycatcher is not plain-looking and difficult to distinguish from other North American flycatchers.

A vivid red-orange crest and underparts stand out against the dashing male’s dark-brown mask.

These red birds, like other flycatchers, spend most of their time on exposed perches searching for insect prey, which they then grab in flight.

They are primarily found in riparian areas of the Southwest.

15. Common Redpolls

Common Redpolls

During their non-breeding seasons in the fall and winter, common redpolls can be seen all around Illinois.

A common redpoll can be found near pine, spruce, and larches that are part of boreal woods.

Redpolls have been known to live for as long as seven years and ten months, although most of them live far shorter lives, typically between four and five years.

These common redpolls may be identified by their red, white, and brown plumage, which includes red and white patches on their forehead and breast and brown and white patches on their wings.

The females’ bodies are mostly brown and white, with a little patch on the top of their heads.

These birds eat a variety of small invertebrates, including caterpillars, beetles, flies, and seeds from birch, alder, and spruce.

16. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

While largely migrating through Illinois, ruby-crowned kinglets will spend the fall and winter at the state’s southern border.

Along with the red or orange color on top of their heads, these kinglets can be identified by their overall grey and green plumage.

Except for the orange/red element on the head, females resemble one another almost exactly.

Ruby-crowned kinglets are frequently observed in tall, heavily forested areas of conifers such as tamarack, spruce, and fir.

The majority of wild birds consume the same types of food as these kinglets do, which in this case would be tiny insects, minuscule berries, seeds, and other smaller foods.

A ring-crowned kinglet’s lifespan is thought to be between four and six years.

17. Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak

When they are not nesting, pine grosbeaks can be found along Illinois’ northern border. This will cover their winter and fall accounts.

The characteristics of pine grosbeaks are their grayish-white wings and tail feathers, reddish-pink bodies and heads, black beaks, and feet.

The plumage of female grosbeaks is often a light grey color with touches of orange around the body and tail, making them considerably less colorful than the males.

Pine grosbeaks spend most of their time in coniferous forests, where they can rest by straddling a limb or foraging for small insects, seeds, buds, berries, and other cool foods.

These birds have reasonably lengthy lifespans for birds of their size, with records of them living up to 9 years old and occasionally much longer.


This was a discussion on different types of red birds in Illinois in which we shared information regarding all the birds in red found here.

If you need more info, see FAQ.


What red bird is the most prevalent?

The Northern Cardinal is the most well-known RED bird in the United States. In addition to having stunning colors, they are frequently seen at bird feeders.

What is a tiny red bird called?

Among red-colored birds, the vermilion flycatcher is a notable example. The Tyrannidae family of tyrant flycatchers includes this little bird. The brilliant vermilion-red hue on the males’ breasts, abdomen, and crest is referenced in the name’s first part, vermilion.

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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