25 Backyard Birds In North Carolina (Pictures, Facts)

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the more well-known and recognized wild bird species found in North Carolina. Several of these species are migratory and only partial-time residents in North Carolina, while others live there all year. In this section, we’ll learn a little about each species by examining 25 backyard birds in North Carolina.

I’ll teach you a crash course in the 10 distinct forms of bird feeders that may be used to draw them to your property, as well as recommend a few bird watching hotspots in North Carolina after that.

How many different species of wild birds are in North Carolina?

It’s hard to say just how many bird species live in North America, the United States, or even in the state of North Carolina because there are so many. The state of North Carolina, on the other hand, has at least 470 species of birds, according to Wikipedia.

According to one research, there are 2,059 species of birds in North America, while another older research claims only 914 species. Thus, I’m uncertain how much faith I put in these data since they provide us with an estimate of the continent’s species.

Despite everything we’ve just discussed, for the purpose of this piece, we’ll simply look at some of our favorite species found in North Carolina.


In North Carolina, we’ll take a look at 25 different species of suburban birds, some of which are year-round and some aren’t. These are some of the more well-known and identifiable North Carolina backyard birds, but they aren’t necessarily all of the species in the state. Without further ado, let us look!


Scientific nameCardinalis cardinalis

Length: 8.3-9.1 in

Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in

Among the most well-known and widespread birds in North America are Northern Cardinals. Females have duller hues and are more pale brown with occasional crimson hues, while males have brilliant red feathers and a black mask. The distinctive hairstyles and reddish orange beaks of both males and females are immediately distinguishable.

The state of North Carolina is home to the Northern Cardinals year-round.

Most seed feeders will be visited by Cardinals, who will provide them with mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


Scientific nameBaeolophus bicolor

Length: 5.5-6.3 in

Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-10.2 in

Within their range, these little birds are common at feeders and in backyards. They, like Cardinals, have a little mohawk that distinguishes them from other birds. Titmice have a black patch just above their beaks and are silver-gray on top and lighter on the bottom.

The Tufted Titmouse can be found year-round throughout North Carolina.

Most seed feeders will be visited by titmice, who will provide them with mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.


Due to their black head and black bib, chickadees are small little birds that are fairly simple to identify. Their underbodies are puffy and whitish, and their cheeks are solid white. It has a blackish-gray color to its wings and backs.

Carolina Chickadees may be found across North Carolina, and they should not be confused with Black-capped Chickadees. They’re frequently seen darting back and forth from a feeder to cover and uncover for more food at bird feeders. When I visit a new feeder in my yard, chickadees are usually among the first birds I see.

Most seed feeders will be visited by chickadees, who will mix sunflower seeds with other seeds.


Scientific nameCyanocitta cristata

Length: 9.8-11.8 in

Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz

Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in

In North America and the United States, another well-known bird species is the American Robin. The Blue Jay is a bird that lives in the area. Their heads are topped with a huge blue crest, which has white feathers on the bottom and blue feathers on top. Their necks are also wrapped in a black ring, which appears to be a necklace. White, blue, and black are the colors of their barred wings.

Another year-round resident of North Carolina’s Blue Jays is the birds. Backyards and feeders are common places to find them.

Another year-round resident of North Carolina is the Blue Jays. At feeders and in backyards, they are common.

Platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with large perches are some of the species that Blue Jays prefer. Black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts are all good options.


Scientific name: Sialia sialis

Length: 6.3-8.3 in

Weight: 1.0-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-12.6 in

Bluebirds have rusty reddish-orange bellies and are blue on top. They are true to their name. These are probably the most desired birds of prey tenants in the United States. The bluebird home business is booming as a result of this. In the backyards, they’re common, but not as common as with feeders. Build a birdhouse and hope for the best when it comes to attracting a mating pair. With this birdhouse on Amazon, I was able to attract nesting bluebirds for the second year in a row.

Eastern Bluebirds may be found throughout North Carolina year-round, and they are the state bird of North Carolina.

While seed-eating bluebirds are uncommon, they may be persuaded to visit feeders with mealworms on a tray or in a dish.


Scientific nameSitta carolinensis

Length: 5.1-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in

White-breasted Nuthatches are a common feeder species found across their range in most backyards. They get their name from the fact that they use their sharp beaks to hatch nuts and seeds placed underneath tree bark. They appear to be able to climb vertically up trees better than many other species of birds, which I’ve observed. They have a white stripe on either side of their heads, as well as a black stripe on their bellies. Gray and black are the most common colors of their wings.

In North Carolina, white-breasted Nuthatches may be found year-round.

Most seed feeders are visited by nuthatches, who provide them with mixed seed blends, black sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet.


Scientific nameTurdus migratorius

Length: 7.9-11.0 in

Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

The American Robin is another common backyard bird in North Carolina. Robins are mostly seen eating worms and other invertebrates while hopping around the grass. They do not normally eat seeds, although they might snack on bird feeders on occasion. They are easily recognized due to their vibrant red bellies and yellow beaks.

In North America, including North Carolina, American robins are very common backyard birds.

Meal worms, native fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath are all good ways to attract American Robins to bird feeders.


Scientific nameZenaida macroura

Length: 9.1-13.4 in

Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz

Wingspan: 17.7 in

Doves are a common sight in backyards, where they sit perched on telephone wires or in groups in trees. They are around the size of a robin. They’re sometimes seen walking around on the ground, but they’re more often seen on my tray feeder. Gray mourning doves have black markings on top and a pale peachy tint below.

North Carolina, as well as the rest of the lower 48 states, Mexico, and regions of Central America, are home to Mourning Doves.

Dove feeders are popular, but birds search the earth for fallen seeds. Sprinkle some seeds on the ground or try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend.


Scientific nameSturnus vulgaris

Length: 7.9-9.1 in

Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

In the 1890s, a hundred starlings were released in New York, and they have since overrun the United States. They attack feeders, smash other birds’ nests, and kill their offspring. They’ll even overrun you if you try to give them any of the food you provide. They have yellow beaks and feet and are mostly dark in color with white specks on their backs and wings. The iridescent purple and green color of starlings may also be quite lovely in the right light.

Starlings, on the other hand, are one of the most frequent backyard birds in North Carolina and can be found year-round in every lower 48 state.

Anything goes for European Starlings. We recommend not trying to attract them since they are an invasive species, and they will find you.


Scientific nameSpinus tristis

Length: 4.3-5.1 in

Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in

In the spring and summer, when the goldfinches have their bright yellow feathers, they are among my favorite birds to see at feeders. Yellow, or “gold,” with black-tipped wings and a black hat on top of their heads, they are most often seen during this time. They’ll molt in the winter, and their bright colors will fade away, leaving them with dull brownish or olive hues. The black on their wings and finch-like beaks will always identify them, no matter what time of year it is.

In most of North Carolina, goldfinches may be found all year.

Thistle feeders are preferred by goldfinches, but sunflower chips are a close second. You’ll have the best chance of attracting them to a thistle feeder.


Scientific nameHaemorhous mexicanus

Length: 5.1-5.5 in

Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in

In North Carolina, the House Finch is a frequent backyard bird. Although they are invasive in North Carolina, they are not as despised as House Sparrows, and they do not cause the same kind of issues. They might arrive in huge flocks and surround your feeders if you attract them, which is straightforward to do. Females are generally brown (female in the photo above), while males are mostly streaked brown with red on the head and chest.

In many eastern states, including North Carolina, House Finches are common.

Thistle feeders are visited by House Finches, as they are by other finches. Try some black sunflower seeds to attract them, since they are more common at seed feeders than Goldfinches.


Scientific namePasser domesticus

Length: 5.9-6.7 in

Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz

Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in

Houses Sparrows are the only other kind of wild bird in the United States, and they are generally seen as pests. Apart from commercially trapping and humanely killing starlings, Like starlings, they were first seen in New York in the 1800s and have since gone wild across the United States. They have brown wings and a buffy chest, with some black and brown streaking on them. When it comes to other birds, they are generally hostile, especially around nests.

In North Carolina, the rest of the United States, Mexico, Central America, and much of Canada, House Sparrows are permanent residents.

House Sparrows, like European Starlings, are invasive and endanger indigenous species. They’ll devour practically anything you cook for them.


Scientific nameAgelaius phoeniceus

Length: 6.7-9.1 in

Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz

Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in

Male Red-winged Blackbirds are one of the most common birds in North America, with their crimson wings making them stand out. Nonetheless, this species’ females appear to be brown with yellow highlights and are rather distinct. Males of this species may mate with up to 15 different females, making them a polygynous species.

Throughout the year, North Carolatians can see Red-winged Blackbirds.

Most kinds of feeders attract Red-winged Blackbirds, who will eat both seed and suet.


Scientific nameCorvus brachyrhynchos

Length: 15.8-20.9 in

Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz

Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in

Crows are black in color and considerably massive. They’re also recognized for solving complex problems quickly, similar to their cousin the Raven. Crows will gather in large numbers on the uppermost branches of trees, where they can have a birds-eye view of everything around. The roost will cry out if an owl or a hawk arrives, alerting everyone to the presence of danger. I just saw a great-horned owl being chased away by three crows and a red-shouldered hawk team.

Every year, crows can be found throughout North Carolina.

Because they are too big to fit into bird feeders, American Crows are omnivorous and do not go.


Scientific nameMelospiza melodia

Length: 4.7-6.7 in

Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz

Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in

The back and wings of these sparrows are brown, while the breast is white. Brown streaks cover their backs and wings. The plumage of song Sparrows varies somewhat from place to place and they can be found practically everywhere in North America. The male of the species sings both to attract females and defend his territory.

Song Sparrows are ubiquitous in NC, but they are only seen during the winter in the east and west parts of the state. They are long-term inhabitants of western North Carolina.

Song Sparrows will eat mixed seeds and sunflower seeds from bird feeders on occasion.


Scientific nameMelanerpes carolinus

Length: 9.4 in

Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz

Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in

In general, these medium-sized woodpeckers may be found at feeding stations and in backyards. The brilliant red stripe down the back of their heads may be the first thing you notice, despite the fact that they’re labeled as “red-bellied.” Their white breaks are plain, with a pinkish red patch lower down in their bellies that is typically not visible. With the white and black barring on their wings, they are really easy to identify.

In North Carolina, red-bellied woodpeckers live permanently.

While they will occasionally eat at seed feeders, attract Red-bellied Woodpeckers with a suet feeder.


Scientific namePicoides pubescens

Length: 5.5-6.7 in

Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

Backyard birds such as the downy are very common at bird feeders. They’re among the first birds I notice at a new bird feeder, and they’re the tiniest woodpeckers in North America. Their red spot on the back of the head (in males, females have no red) and their all-white underbodies distinguish them easily. They have black wings with white dots, a black and white striped head, and a black stripe on the back of their heads. Downy’s are smaller than the other birds on this list, despite their similarity to the Hairy Woodpecker.

All year throughout North Carolina, the Downy Woodpeckers can be found.

At most kinds of bird feeders, the Downy Woodpecker is a frequent visitor. Mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet are all good options.


Scientific nameQuiscalus quiscula

Length: 11.0-13.4 in

Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz

Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in

Grackles are also quite lovely in the right light with their iridescent feathers, despite falling into the bully bird category like the starling does. They will roost with other types of blackbirds, sometimes in enormous flocks numbering in the millions of birds, and they appear to be mostly black in color. Their solid color and yellow ringed eye make them easy to recognize.

In North Carolina, grackles may be found all over the place.

Grackles are pests because they are foragers and eat practically anything.


Scientific nameLeuconotopicus villosus

Length: 7.1-10.2 in

Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

Apart from the Hairy Woodpecker’s greater size and a few other key characteristics, there isn’t much to distinguish it from Downy Woodpeckers. They have practically identical patterns and are often discovered in the same regions of the nation as each other. The Hairy Woodpecker, on the other hand, does not seem to visit bird feeders as often as the Downy Woodpecker does.

Throughout the year, Hairy Woodpeckers may be found throughout North Carolina.

Hairy Woodpeckers will feed on suet and seed feeders, albeit they are not as prevalent as Downy Woodpeckers.


Because of their size, these little birds can be challenging to see, but they are lovely. Shrubs and deciduous trees are common habitats for them. During the non-breeding season, look for golden-crowned kinglets in the winter throughout North Carolina and much of the lower 48 states. Their little stature and “golden crown” on the top of their skull are easy to notice. Apart from hummingbirds, golden-crowned kinglets are one of North Carolina’s smallest backyard birds.

When they’re in town, kings rarely pay visits to feeders, but you may occasionally spot one.


Scientific nameIcterus galbula

Length: 6.7-7.5 in

Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz

Wingspan: 9.1-11.8 in

Orioles prefer dark-colored berries and fruits, and they eat fruit. You have a excellent chance of attracting Baltimore Orioles if your yard contains native fruit-producing trees and plants. Males are totally orange on their breasts and underbodies, with a dark hood over their entire head and black backs with white stripes on their wings. They also have orange tail feathers and a rump with an orange tone. Females have a considerably less vibrant yellowish-orange coloration.

In most of the country, including North Carolina, Baltimore Orioles are migratory birds that only visit during the breeding season. As a result, in the spring and early summer, look primarily in the western half of the state for them.

While they’re in town, Orioles love sweet things, so offer them jelly and orange halves with an oriole feeder to attract them.


Scientific nameArchilochus colubris

Length: 2.8-3.5 in

Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz

Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most common type of hummingbird in the United States, but they are only found in the east. In the Eastern United States, they are also the only humbird breeding species. Males have a bright crimson throat, therefore they are called ruby-red gents. The backs, wings, and heads of Ruby-throated Hummers are emerald-green with white underparts. The red throat feathers are not found in females.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds seen in North Carolina, and you might occasionally encounter a few uncommon migratory species. These are the smallest backyard birds in North Carolina, and they can be found all year round in the state.

If you put out nectar feeders, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are very common in backyards, and this should be done in April or May.


Although they aren’t as well-known as the other species on this list, these backyard birds may be spotted in North Carolina if you know where to look. They’re mostly brown in color, and I suppose they’re called thrashers because of the way they smash through fallen leaves hunting for insects, but don’t quote me on that. The Brown Thrashers are excellent songbirds, with over 1100 different songs identified so far, including those of other animal species.

Brown Thrashers are one of North Carolina’s most melodious backyard birds, and they may be seen all over the state.

Birds feeders are not typically visited by Brown Thrashers, although they may pick up seeds on the ground. They’re mostly found scrounging for insects under leaves and sticks.


Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis

Length: 8.3-9.4 in

Weight: 0.8-2.0 oz

Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in

Dark slate gray Catbirds have blackish gray wings and long tails, with black caps on top of their heads. Native fruit-bearing trees and shrubs should attract these birds, who are primarily fruit eaters. Their cries, which sound like those of a meowing cat, earned them the moniker catbird.

During the breeding season, Gray Catbirds may be found across most of North Carolina, however there are some who live along the coast.

If you offer some fruits, berries, and other sweet foods to attract catbirds, they may be attracted to forage on the ground or in bushes for food.


Scientific nameColaptes auratus

Length: 11.0-12.2 in

Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz

Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

In the United States, these medium to huge woodpeckers may be found in backyards, but rarely at feeders. They’re among my favorite birds in North America, in my opinion. Flickers are little less common at feeders than the other woodpecker species on this list, but you may still see them in your yard if you know where to look. Their black markings on their bellies, solid black bib, red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings will help you identify them.

Throughout the winter and summer, Northern Flickers may be found throughout North Carolina.

A suet feeder is visited on occasion by Northern Flickers, however they more often discover food on their own. If you have a bird bath, they may stop by and enjoy it.


Interested in bringing some of these birds to your yard? Take a look at these five basic ideas, starting with the most obvious.


Putting out a bird feeder or two is the optimum and simplest technique to entice birds to your yard. A basic tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or window feeder would be a good place to start. For further information on each, see below.


This Amazon-bought pedestal birdbath is ideal, but you may also utilize a terra cotta flower pot saucer, such as this one. Birds need water not only to clean themselves in, but also to drink, so adding a water feature to your yard is a great way to attract them. Also, since moving water attracts the birds to visit the water even more, consider installing a solar fountain.


If placed in the proper location at the proper time of year, several types of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses. Among the most popular species of birds sought after for birdhouses are Eastern Bluebirds. A mating pair of bluebirds was checking out my birdhouse in the yard the same day I put it up.


Birds need trees, shrubs, and plants that they can easily dart back and forth between when they sense danger. Predators are the primary threat they face. Do your best to install some landscaping elements that will allow birds to view your yard as safe if your yard is in a new development with no mature trees.


Having native plants that produce nuts, berries, and seeds will only help your efforts to attract more birds for many birds that eat them. Since these invasive and non-native plants might be harmful to native birds that are not accustomed to them, try to avoid them.


People set up 10 of the most popular bird feeders in their yards.

  1. Hopper feeder – Hopper feeders get their name because they have a compartment in the middle, the hopper, that holds the bird seed. There are perches on the sides for birds to land on and eat from. Many hopper feeders are in the shape of a house and are covered on top to keep the seed dry. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. Here’s one of my favorite hopper feeders, it’s squirrel-proof too.
  2. Platform feeder – Sometimes called tray feeders, platform feeders are open on top and can usually be hung from a tree or hook, or pole-mounted. They are great for feeding most types of birds and are easy to get set up. Though since they are completely open, every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. I’m using this platform feeder in my backyard right now.
  3. Tube feeder – Tube feeders are nothing more than clear plastic tube-shaped bird feeders. They can range in size from holding a few cups of seed to holding 5 lbs or more. They are great because they keep your seed fresh and dry while also allowing you to easily seed when it needs to be refilled. Many types of birds will use a tube feeder. You can use black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds in tube feeders. Squirrel Buster makes some of the best tube feeders on the market, this one is great and is of course squirrel proof.
  4. Suet feeder – Suet feeders are for one type of bird food, suet cakes. They are a very simple concept, usually made of nothing more than a metal wire cage, sometimes with a tail-prop coming down for larger birds. Suet feeders are popular in the winter time when birds are looking for high-fat foods and are frequently visited by woodpeckers. I suggest getting a suet feeder with a long tail prop so you can attract larger woodpeckers, like the Pileated and Northern Flicker.
  5. Window feeder – Window feeders are small bird feeders that typically mount right onto a glass window by means of suction cups. They are similar to tray feeders in that they are open on top and you just pour the seed into the tray area to refill them. These feeders are popular with many different types of birds, are super easy to get started with, and great for people who don’t have big yards. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. This is by far the most popular window feeder on Amazon, and maybe the most popular bird feeder on Amazon overall.
  6. Thistle feeder – Thistle feeders, aka Nyjer feeders, are specialized bird feeders made especially for thistle seed. The main types of birds that thistle feeders attract are birds in the finch family, which includes the American Goldfinch and House Finch whom are both on this list. Thistle feeders are often in a tube shape and have tiny holes all along the sides of the tube allowing the birds to pick out the thistle. Here’s a good thistle feeder from Droll Yankees.
  7. Ground feeder – Ground feeders are more or less tray feeders that sit on ground level. They will be very popular with birds like Mourning Doves and Juncos as well as squirrels, raccoons, and any other type of ground animal. Use black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed for this type of feeder. You might like this ground feeder made from recycled plastic.
  8. Oriole feeder – Oriole feeders are another type of specialty feeder for pretty much one type of bird, orioles. The feeder itself is often orange in color and usually has little plastic or glass dishes made for holding jelly, which orioles love. They also allow you to stick orange halves onto the feeder, another food that orioles relish. Here’s a simple oriole feeder with 4 jelly trays that holds for orange halves.
  9. Hummingbird feeder – Nectar feeders, aka hummingbird feeders, are designed specifically for hummingbirds to extract sugar water. Even though they are designed for hummingbirds, I frequently see Downy Woodpeckers at mine who also loves that sweet nectar. See this article to learn how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water. Hummingbird feeders are simple and inexpensive so there’s no need to spend much on one, here’s one that I’ve personally used and had success with.
  10. Peanut feeder – Similar to thistle feeders, peanut feeders are tube-shaped and usually composed of a metal wire mesh material. Only the holes in the wire mesh are much further apart to allow for either whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to pass through the holes. These feeders attract birds like Blue Jays and as the name suggests, should be filled with peanuts. If you want to keep squirrels out of your peanut feeder, then this one by Squirrel Buster is your best bet. Otherwise this simple one will do the trick.


If you want to go birding outside of your own neighborhood, North Carolina is a fantastic state to visit. If you want to get more engaged, the North Carolina Audubon Society has 12 chapters and organizes meetups, seminars, field excursions, and birding trips on a regular basis. In North Carolina, you can simply observe backyard birds from your own yard. It’s OK either way.


I’m not from North Carolina, but I’ve visited a few of the places mentioned here and am from a neighboring state. Take a look at this list I’ve made of some popular birding sites and resources in North Carolina if you’re a resident of the state and would like to add some new species to your life list.

  • Carolina Bird Club – map
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore/Pea Island NWR
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Mt. Mitchell State Park
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge
  • South Mountains State Park
  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
  • Weymouth Woods/Sandhills Nature Preserve
  • Carolina Beach State Park
  • Lake Mattamuskeet/ Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
  • NC Birding Trail
  • Wake Audubon
  • Birding in North Carolina

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