Skip to content

Get to Know These 20 Widespread Birds

    Among the best issues about birds is that they’re all over the place. (Significantly, there are even information of the South Polar Skua at, you guessed it, the South Pole.) And even although many individuals don’t understand it, they see and listen to all kinds of birds day-after-day whereas going about their every day lives—grabbing their mail, exterior their work home windows, on their morning run, watching their child’s soccer sport . . . all over the place.

    However regardless of birds being all over, for most individuals figuring out them begins and ends with the Rock Pigeon. This checklist covers lots of the different birds you’re more likely to see regularly, from coast to coast, all year long. The species right here might be seen in city, suburban, and rural areas, and the bulk frequent backyards and feeders. So whether or not you’re new to the world of birding or simply need to know what that little chook within the bushes is, this primer ought to assist. And in case it doesn’t, you may go to our on-line area information or obtain our free Audubon chook information app to resolve the thriller.

    American Robin

    American Robin. Donald Metzner/Great Backyard Bird Count

    Maybe no different North American chook is as acquainted to most of the people because the American Robin. Widespread, frequent, and conspicuous, these medium-size birds might be present in each state within the Decrease 48, each Canadian province, and Alaska. They’re straightforward to identify with their rusty orange bellies and grey backs. Typically seen operating upright throughout lawns and meadows whereas foraging for worms, robins might be discovered from cities and cities to parks and forests, the place their wealthy, throaty songs present a relentless soundtrack to our every day lives.

    Good chook reality: Though Robins are thought-about one of many key harbingers of spring, just some birds in northern states journey south throughout winter. As an alternative, stragglers will be part of giant roaming flocks searching for berries. When spring returns, they disband and unfold again out throughout their full vary.

    Northern Cardinal

    Northern Cardinal. Michele Black/Audubon Photography Awards

    With its black face and crimson crest, beak, and physique, the male Northern Cardinal, or “redbird” to many, is without doubt one of the most acknowledged and well-known birds in North America. Although much less showy, females are additionally splendid, sporting gentle, tawny feathers as an alternative of the male’s shiny pink plumage. Cardinals are sometimes in pairs and might be seen at feeders and round combined habitat all through the East and elements of the Southwest.

    Good chook reality: The Northern Cardinal is the most well-liked state chook (seven) and the mascot for a complete bunch of sports activities groups. Nonetheless, regardless of what the College of Louisville may suppose, cardinals most positively do not need enamel. 

    Blue Jay

    Blue Jay. Brian Kushner/Audubon Photography Awards

    As with the cardinal, it’s fairly darn laborious to mistake a Blue Jay for the rest. A particular chook that may be seen year-round within the jap United States, the Blue Jay is of one of the hanging—and loudest—jays. At house within the forest, in addition they thrive in suburban habitats and are sometimes unfairly (or, okay, pretty) considered feeder bullies. Whereas straightforward to determine at a look because of its crest and shiny coloring, don’t miss the gorgeous sample of black, white, and blue on the wings.

    Good chook reality: The colourful feathers of a Blue Jay are magnificent, little question, however much more spectacular are the microscopic keratin particles all through every feather that scatter mild, producing  the cooler colours seen on these and different birds.

    Steller’s Jay

    Steller's Jay. Markus Hoeckner/Audubon Photography Awards

    While you attain the Rocky Mountains, out of the blue Blue Jays are changed by Steller’s Jays. With their contrasting blue decrease our bodies and black backs, heads, and crests, Steller’s are simply distinguishable. Loud and boisterous, they’re most frequent in coniferous forests, however as with all jays, these birds are daring and have grown accustomed to people, making them frequent guests to campsites, parks, and backyards. A solitary nester, Steller’s Jays dwell in flocks for the remainder of the 12 months.

    Good chook reality: Steller’s Jays can range extensively in each physique and head shade, starting from extraordinarily darkish populations to paler birds with white marks on their heads. In complete, 16 subspecies have been described throughout North America.

    Mourning Dove

    Mourning Doves. Kat Bradley Bennett/Audubon Photography Awards

    Essentially the most widespread dove in North America, the Mourning Dove is an simply startled floor feeder that may be discovered just about wherever with open habitat, from woodlands to cities. Notice the uniform brown-gray coloring, darkish spots on the wings, light-blue eye ring, and sharp, pointed tail. These doves may also simply be recognized by their woeful cooing, which is usually mistaken for the hoots of an owl.

    Good chook reality: Right here’s a brand new time period for ya: pigeon milk. Secreted from the crops of doves and pigeons (a part of their digestive system), this chunky, yellow substance is extremely nutritious and fed to child birds after being regurgitated by the mother or father. Yum!

    American Crow

    American Crow. Brian Kushner/Audubon Photography Awards

    Certain, what a crow appears to be like like. However are you aware what sort of crow you’re taking a look at? Typically present in quite a lot of semi-open habitat, American Crows are giant, all-black birds that may simply be recognized by their harsh caw! name, which figuring out is vital to differentiating the American Crow from the almost-identical-looking Fish Crow and Northwestern Crow. This information will assist you to inform the three aside, and this one will clarify the important thing variations between crows and Widespread Ravens.

    Good chook reality: Aesop knew what he was speaking about. Crows and ravens, which belong to the gifted corvid household, are extremely good and curious, with the flexibility to use instruments and drawback clear up.

    European Starling

    European Starling. Rolland Swain/Audubon Photography Awards

    Speak about a chook that’s really all over the place. Stroll exterior, go searching, and chances are high good you’ll see a starling. An launched species to the U.S., these birds are actually omnipresent—a lot to the drawback of many different species. Typically present in enormous flocks within the winter and fall, this medium-size forager sports activities a spiky yellow invoice and richly detailed black feathers which have an oily sheen to them. Their name usually has a metallic or squeaky sound.

    Good chook reality: The European Starling was famously launched in 1890 by Eugene Schieffelin, who, in accordance with legend, thought that America ought to have each chook talked about in Shakespeare’s performs. So he launched two waves of the birds in Central Park, and now they’ve taken over your entire U.S. Thanks, Eugene.

    Northern Mockingbird

    Northern Mockingbird. John Pizniur/Great Backyard Bird Count

    You have positively heard a Northern Mockingbird earlier than. that chook that retains you up in the midst of the evening with its infinite stream of songs? That is a mocker. One of the vital frequent suburban birds throughout the U.S., the Northern Mockingbird is a grasp mimic, in a position to imitate a whole lot of birds’ songs and calls. With their grey our bodies marked by black wings and flashy white wing bars, mockingbirds can usually be discovered atop a tree or the eve of a close-by roof—singing away, in fact.

    Good chook reality: Along with different species’ songs, Northern Mockingbirds have been recognized to mimic equipment, carry out near-perfect variations of human appears like music and automobile alarms, and may even mimic frogs and toads.

    Black-billed Magpie

    Black-billed Magpie. Becky Matsubara/Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

    A staple of the American West, this huge chook is difficult to overlook with its black head and again, white breast, lengthy tail, and iridescent feathers. Members of the corvid household together with crows, jays, and ravens, magpies might be discovered in any respect elevations in city and rural habitats, usually strutting round open areas foraging for meals. The Black-billed Magpie isn’t a discriminatory eater, both, consuming every little thing from grasshoppers and beetles to carrion and small rodents.

    Good chook reality: Black-billed Magpies assemble huge spherical nests that may attain as much as three ft in diameter and appear like giant bushel baskets. On all sides they create entry and exit holes.

    Darkish-eyed Junco

    Dark-eyed Junco. Dennis Derby/Audubon Photography Awards

    Juncos are a preferred and widespread winter customer to nearly the entire United States from the boreal forests of the North and excessive mountains. They like combined woods and coniferous habitat, however they’re staples of backyards, the place they bounce round below feeders foraging and consuming spilled seeds. The jap model of the junco—the dark-eyed one above—encompasses a white stomach and a slate head and again, however there are a number of completely different subspecies of the chook that fluctuate geographically.

    Good chook reality: Darkish-eyed Juncos are colloquially often called “snowbirds” as a result of their sudden look all through a lot of the nation when the temperature begins dropping. The time period is usually used for quite a lot of winter birds, however juncos are the true snowbirds.

    Black-capped Chickadee

    Black-capped Chickadee. Becky O'Neil/Audubon Photography Awards

    A everlasting resident throughout the northern U.S. and in elements of the Appalachian Mountains, Black-capped Chickadees are energetic little birds that want combined, open woods and forest edges. Straightforward to determine by their white cheeks sandwiched between a black cap and chin, chickadees additionally dwell in suburban environments and are standard feeder guests, the place they’ll readily be recognized by fast bursts of their namesake name: chick-a-dee-dee-dee.

    Good chook reality: Whereas juncos have a number of subspecies, there are fairly a number of completely different precise species of chickadees throughout the U.S., and so they all look fairly related.

    White-breasted Nuthatch

    White-breasted Nuthatch. Michele Black/Audubon Photography Awards

    With a desire for being the other way up, the nuthatch is without doubt one of the extra acrobatic birds on this checklist, usually noticed skulking alongside the tree limbs and down trunks all through a lot of the U.S. The nuthatch’s pale stomach, slate again, and black cap mixed with its streamlined form give it a appear like no different yard chook. When not seen, its nasal yank-yank name provides away its presence.

    Good chook reality: Nuthatches have a penchant for caching meals. In backyards, this chook conspicuously shuttles seeds from feeders and suet blocks to varied hiding spots in free tree bark for later snacking.

    Tufted Titmouse

    Tufted Titmouse. Jocelyn Anderson/Audubon Photography Awards

    The place there are chickadees, nuthatches, and juncos, you’re nearly assured to discover a titmouse, if not a number of. At house within the deciduous and combined forests of the East, this grey little chook is the one certainly one of its measurement with a spiky crest, setting it other than the opposite birds at feeders. Notice the rust-colored wash below the wings and the little little bit of black above the beak. The decision, a assured and clear peter-peter-peter, is unmistakable.

    Good chook reality: The title titmouse has no connection to rodents; “mouse” right here is derived from an previous English phrase for a small chook. To start out an argument amongst chook lovers, ask them, “Ought to the plural be titmouses or titmice?” Then sit again and benefit from the present.

    Home Sparrow

    House Sparrow. Tracey Lowrey/Audubon Photography Awards

    Should you stroll exterior, go searching, and don’t see a starling, you’ll positively see a Home Sparrow. Additionally extraordinarily frequent, these birds thrive in human environments, the place they are often discovered foraging on sidewalks and fluffed up in bushes. One other launched species, Home Sparrows dangle in teams and put on a hodgepodge of colours: brown backs, grey chests and caps, and a blatant black patch protecting their chins and throats.

    Good chook reality: Home Sparrows dwell in organized, military-like models which can be led by the male with the largest black patch. So subsequent time you see a bunch, search for the chook with probably the most black on its breast and also you’ve seemingly discovered the chief.

    Home Wren

    House Wren. Nick Shearman/Audubon Photography Awards

    Should you’ve ever been scolded by a plucky little brown chook, chances are high good it was a Home Wren. Because the title suggests, this frequent wren species thives in city and suburban areas, gracing backyards, parks, and hedgerows with its cheerful, bubbly music. These birds might be furtive, however when defending their territory or nests, they change into conspicuous, bouncing from perch to perch with their flippantly striped tails held excessive, incessantly chattering on the intruder.

    Good chook reality: Home Wrens nest in pure or artifical cubbies, however earlier than they do, male Home Wrens will usually construct a number of partially accomplished potential nests for his or her companions to select from. As soon as a nest is chosen, the feminine completes the construct by including lining.

    Home Finch

    House Finch. Michele Black/Audubon Photography Awards

    Probably the commonest customer to feeders all through the U.S., Home Finches are present in suburbs and concrete areas. A small chook, males stand out because of a dollop of pink on their faces that diminishes because it stretches down their necks and breasts. Females are all brown with mild striping on their breasts. Male Home Finches are simply confused with similar-looking Purple Finches, however this useful information will hold you straight.

    Good chook reality: As soon as solely discovered within the American Southwest, the Home Finches have been launched to the East by a New York pet-shop house owners illegally promoting finches. To keep away from prosecution, they launched their birds in 1940. By the Nineties, an jap inhabitants had unfold all the best way to the chook’s authentic western vary

    American Goldfinch

    American Goldfinch. Suntesha Wustrack/Audubon Photography Awards

    Simply as comfy clinging to feeders as it’s to the purple tops of thistle crops, the goldfinch is a cheery drop of sunshine throughout the summer season and spring months throughout the northern U.S., the place it is a year-round resident. In winter, the place it will also be discovered within the southern U.S., males commerce their distinctive black cap and golden feathers for olive-colored plumage, matching the feminine. Each birds have telltale white wing bars. To draw goldfinches, dangle a tube feeder stuffed with nyjer seeds.

    Good chook reality: American Goldfinches are so intently related to thistle that John James Audubon portrayed them on the plant in his seminal information Birds of America. “Every time a thistle was to be seen on both financial institution of the New York canal, it was ornamented with a number of Goldfinches,” he wrote of 1 stroll alongside the Mohawk river.

    Downy Woodpecker

    Downy Woodpecker. Sujata Roy/Audubon Photography Awards

    Woodpeckers! Woodpeckers are such good birds. They’re pretty straightforward to seek out because of all that hammering, and so they’re enjoyable to observe. The downy is the smallest and most plentiful woodpecker we have now, occurring throughout the U.S. year-round, save for the arid Southwest. Straightforward to draw to your yard with a suet feeder, Downy Woodpeckers might be present in quite a lot of habitats, from deep woods to city parks and backyards.

    Good chook reality: How do woodpecker hold from knocking themselves out? All species have an enlarged and strengthened mind case, permitting the mind to take a seat greater than the affect zone, the place the cranium can be thicker. Due to this and further muscle tissue behind the beak, woodpeckers primarily have built-in shock absorbers.

    Bushy Woodpecker

    Hairy Woodpecker. Sandy Cutting/Audubon Photography Awards

    Nope, you’re not seeing double—Bushy and Downy Woodpeckers look nearly precisely alike. Including to the frustration of many a brand new birder, in addition they share just about the very same territory throughout the U.S. Nonetheless, with a bit coaching, the birds are simply differentiated by their physique and invoice measurement; the furry is far greater on each accounts, with a thicker physique and heavier invoice. Just like the downy, it enjoys suet however visits feeders much less usually.

    Good chook reality: Regardless of the title, this woodpecker has feathers, not hair. It will get its title from some lengthy, stringy feathers within the heart of its again—a characteristic missing in its smaller look-alike.

    Crimson-bellied Woodpecker

    Red-bellied Woodpecker. Toni Herkalokoch/Audubon Photography Awards

    “Wait, the place’s the pink stomach?” That is the standard response most individuals have once they first be taught the title of this medium-size woodpecker, which might be discovered all through the American South, stretching up into the Mid-Atlantic states and into the Midwest. look will reveal the wash of shade that earned the chook its title, however this species is extra simply recognized by its shiny pink cap, white-striped again, and rolling name.

    Good chook reality: To succeed in bugs and different goodies as they peck away, woodpeckers want extra-long tongues, which wrap across the within their cranium when retracted. The Crimson-bellied Woodpecker’s tongue can attain two inches previous its beak.