11 Types of Red Birds in Ohio

Hi there, bird enthusiasts! As an avid birdwatcher based in Ohio, I’m thrilled to share with you an exciting topic – the 11 types of red birds that can be spotted in the Buckeye State.

From vibrant cardinals to striking woodpeckers, Ohio is home to a diverse array of red-feathered beauties that are sure to capture your attention.

Join me on this avian adventure as we explore the stunning red birds that grace the skies and trees of Ohio.

Let’s dive in and discover these fascinating creatures!

Northern CardinalNorthern Cardinal
Male Summer TanagerMale Summer Tanager
Rose-breasted GrosbeakRose-breasted Grosbeak
House FinchHouse Finch
Scarlet TanagersScarlet Tanager
Ruby Throated HummingbirdRuby Throated Hummingbird
Common RedpollCommon Redpoll
Red CrossbillRed Crossbill
White-winged CrossbillWhite-winged Crossbill
Pine GrosbeakPine Grosbeak
Purple FinchPurple Finch

Types of Red Birds in Ohio

1. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

You can see these cardinals all year long across Ohio.

The red body and beak of a Northern Cardinal, in addition to the black markings across its face, make it easily recognizable. 

The females resemble the males in that they both possess light brown feathers and red accents on their beaks and bodies.

Whether the sugar water or seeds in the feeders please their taste buds, you may find these cardinals in waterways, gardens, forests, shrublands, and yards.

Betelnuts, ants, grasshoppers, spiders, real bugs, flies, snails, caterpillars, and centipedes are just a few of the minute creatures that make up their diet.

Their diet also includes berries, weed seeds, and other little fruits.

The average lifespan of a northern cardinal in the wild is significantly shorter than the reported lifespan of 15 years.

2. Male Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

As their name implies, summer tanagers may be seen across Ohio during the summer months, when they are likely to be engaged in parental care.

Most male summer tanagers have bright red feathers, and their beaks are silvery grayish or white.

Males have a brownish tint, while females are nearly totally yellow.

The summer tanager often inhabits lowland tropical woods with a high tree cover.

They are also able to inhabit environments located at the height of 1800 meters above sea level.

Bees and wasps make up the bulk of these tanagers’ diets, but they will also eat berries and other tiny fruits they find in gardens and fields.

The typical lifespan of a summer tanager in the wild is estimated to be approximately five years.

3. Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

During the mating season, rose-breasted grosbeaks may be seen all around Ohio.

The months of May through July are the prime mating time for them.

The backs of rose-breasted grosbeaks appear black, the wings and wing-tail plumage are a combination of black and white, the breasts are white, and there is a triangular patch of red near the neck.

Nevertheless, females tend to be a mix of white and brown.

These grosbeaks are most often seen in and near yards, coniferous trees, and parkland.

Some of the foods that rose-breasted grosbeaks eat include tiny invertebrates, berries, and seeds, including sunflower and safflower.

A rose-breasted grosbeak’s life expectancy is around Seven years throughout the wild but increases to over 23 years when kept in captivity.

4. House Finch

Female House Finch
Credits – ebird

During non-breeding seasons, these finches may be seen all around Ohio, and in some more remote areas, they may even remain all year.

The plumage of house finches is red and brown; their bodies are primarily a light brown, and their heads are made up of a red gradient with traces of brown.

The females, on the other hand, are primarily brown, having some black on their backs and wings.

House finches are found in a wide variety of environments, from dry lowland desert and desert meadow to open conifer woodland, streamside, oak savannah, and chaparral below 6,000 feet in elevation.

These tiny birds sometimes visit a feeder put up across Missouri if the food is to their taste, such as black sunflower seeds.

House finches consume a variety of foods, including berries and fruit, as well as tiny insects like aphids, in addition to seeds.

House finches have a lifespan of about ten years in the wild, while captive finches can live for approximately 13 years.

5. Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanagers

As the scarlet tanager mating season rolls around, the birds all congregate around Ohio.

Despite their name, scarlet tanagers are easily identified by their bright red feathers, black wings, and silvery/gray beak.

The females are easily distinguishable from the males because of their black wings and green feathers.

Deciduous woodlands, where oak, maple, beech, as well as other trees, thrive, are home to these tanagers.

Besides living in pine-oak forests, these creatures are also found in coniferous forests that are mostly pine or hemlock.

Scarlet tanagers get their nutrition primarily from insects, including aphids, moths, caterpillars, wasps, beetles, bees, berries, and tiny fruits.

Scarlet tanagers have a maximum lifespan of 13 years in the wild, albeit this is very unlikely for the species as a whole.

6. Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ohio is home to ruby-throated hummingbirds between the months of March through July, which also appear to be prime breeding time for the species.

The red, white, and green coloration of a ruby-throated hummingbird makes it easily recognizable.

Their bright red neck stands out against their white abdomen and chest and emerald greenish back and wings.

Women are far less daring than men, opting instead for a color palette that is primarily green and white.

Their diet consists mostly of nectar; however, it also includes tiny insects, fruit, sugar water from feeders, tree sap, and other sugars.

Due to their high metabolic rate, ruby-throated hummingbirds often congregate in or near areas with many flowering plants.

As a result, their natural habitats include places like gardens, parks, and even forest clearings.

The usual longevity of these little hummingbirds is estimated to be between three and five years, while the highest lifespan documented is over seven years.

7. Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Ohio is home to common redpolls throughout the wintertime, which is also when they are not reproducing.

The common redpoll is easily recognizable by its red, white, and brown feathers; the bird’s head and chest are both tinged with white, and its wings are contrasting brown and white.

Ladies have males’ little patches on the forehead but are otherwise white and brown.

A common redpoll may be seen in and near spruce, pine, and larch trees in the boreal forest.

Birch, spruce, and alder seeds are among the main food sources for these birds, along with a wide variety of tiny insects, including flies, beetles, caterpillars, and so on.

While the average redpoll lifetime is closer to five years, the longest-lived redpoll on record lived for almost seven years and ten months.

8. Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill

Their names come from the fact that their bills look like a pair of crossed scissors when bent.

The adult males of this species of bird are identified by their deep brown backs and wings and their bright red heads, undersides, and rump feathers.

Female and juvenile Red Crossbills are less conspicuous due to their olive coloring and streaking on the sides and abdomen.

The crossbill of a red crossbill is sharp enough to cut through the scales of a pine cone, allowing the bird to extract the seeds inside.

These bright red birds throughout Ohio use their feet to hold down pine cones, whereas they employ their tongues to remove the seeds.

They begin nesting as early as February, which coincides with the ripening of pine and spruce cones.

9. White-winged Crossbill

White-Winged Crossbill

The White-winged Crossbill, like other crossbills, possesses a beak that is shaped like a cross.

Adult male White-winged Crossbills have a pinkish-red coloration throughout most of their feathers, though this is a much more muted shade than that of male Red Crossbills.

The black wings and tail are distinguished by two white wing bars.

Females have yellowish streaks on their bodies but black wings with a wing bar shape like males.

White-winged Crossbills do not travel far from their nesting sites in Canada and the western and northern United States during the winter.

White-winged Crossbills are rare visitors to Ohio during the winter, though their numbers can increase in years with mild winters.

10. Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeaks are small red birds with short, stubby bills.

A variety of shades of gray may be seen on the sides and abdomen of mature males, although they are mostly red.

There are two white stripes on the wings and a black tail.

Male birds tend to be brighter and more vibrantly colored than their female counterparts, which are duller and more uniformly brownish-yellow.

This type of red bird is found on the upper peninsula of Ohio.

It stays throughout the year, although it could go south in extreme cold.

11. Purple Finch

Purple Finch

The Purple Finch is a small songbird having a big head in relation to its size, a pointed beak, and a small body.

Male adults have intense raspberry-red coloring on their chests and heads, having brown and red stripes across their backs.

There are pink streaks across the otherwise cream-colored flanks.

Eastern birds possess a white underbelly, while Western birds possess a gray underbelly.

The underside of Ohio’s purple finches is often gray.

Females and juveniles have streaks of gray-brown on their top parts, whereas the undersides are striped with brown.

Breeding occurs from May to August across eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, where the Purple Finch is also often seen around northern Ohio.

Yet, some birds make the long journey south to spend the winter season, mostly in the eastern United States.

They are now ubiquitous in the state of Ohio.


In conclusion, Ohio’s avian landscape is truly a treasure trove for bird enthusiasts, especially those captivated by the splendor of red-feathered birds.

With a rich diversity of species, ranging from the iconic Northern Cardinal to the elusive Red Crossbill, Ohio offers ample opportunities for birdwatchers to marvel at these striking creatures in their natural habitats.

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, exploring the 11 types of red birds in Ohio is a rewarding experience that can deepen your appreciation for the beauty and diversity of nature.

So grab your binoculars, head outdoors, and be prepared to be amazed by the vibrant red plumage and captivating behaviors of these stunning birds.

Happy birdwatching in the Buckeye State!


What is the most iconic red bird in Ohio?

The most iconic red bird in Ohio is the Northern Cardinal, known for its vibrant red plumage and distinct crest. It is the state bird of Ohio and is a year-round resident of the state.

Where can I spot red birds in Ohio?

Red birds in Ohio can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, forests, parks, gardens, and backyards. Popular birdwatching spots in Ohio, such as the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Hocking Hills State Park, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, are known to host several species of red birds.

What do red birds in Ohio eat?

Red birds in Ohio have varied diets depending on the species. Northern Cardinals and House Finches primarily eat seeds, fruits, and insects. Woodpeckers, such as the Red-bellied Woodpecker and Red-headed Woodpecker, feed on insects, nuts, and fruits. Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins consume a mix of insects, seeds, and fruits.

When is the best time to spot red birds in Ohio?

Red birds can be seen in Ohio throughout the year, but the best time to spot them is during the spring and summer months when they are actively breeding and nesting. Fall can also be a good time to spot migratory red birds passing through Ohio on their way to their wintering grounds.

What are some unique characteristics of red birds in Ohio?

Red birds in Ohio are known for their striking red plumage, which can range from bright red to deep crimson and may be accompanied by other distinctive features such as crests, patches, or markings. Many red birds also have unique behaviors, such as the drumming of woodpeckers or the territorial displays of birds like the Red-winged Blackbird.

How can I attract red birds to my backyard in Ohio?

To attract red birds to your backyard in Ohio, you can provide a variety of food sources such as bird feeders with seeds, nuts, or fruits. Creating natural habitats with trees, shrubs, and flowers can also provide shelter and nesting sites for red birds. Fresh water and a clean environment are also important for attracting these feathered friends to your backyard.

Are there any conservation concerns for red birds in Ohio?

Some red bird species in Ohio, such as the Red-headed Woodpecker and Scarlet Tanager, face habitat loss due to deforestation and urbanization, which can impact their populations. It’s important to be mindful of conservation practices and respect the natural habitats of these birds to help protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Can I photograph red birds in Ohio?

Yes, you can photograph red birds in Ohio, but it’s important to observe ethical birdwatching and photography practices. Avoid disturbing the birds or their habitats, maintain a safe distance, and never interfere with their natural behaviors. Respecting the birds and their environment is crucial for their well-being and conservation.

Last Updated on April 19, 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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