31 Backyard Birds In South Carolina (Pictures & Facts)

Curious about the feathered visitors gracing your South Carolina backyard? Look no further! This comprehensive guide is your key to identifying these birds through their distinctive appearances and melodic calls. Discover when you can expect to spot them in South Carolina and seize the opportunity to print a complimentary ID chart featuring the most prevalent backyard birds in the region.

Throughout the year, you can anticipate encounters with an array of avian residents, including the vibrant Northern Cardinal, the lively Carolina Wren, the cheerful Carolina Chickadee, and more. Keep an eye out for the elegant Ruby-throated Hummingbird and the striking Painted Bunting during the summer months. In winter, be on the lookout for the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the melodic White-throated Sparrow, and a host of other captivating species such as the Eastern Phoebe and the Song Sparrow.

Immerse yourself in the wonders of South Carolina’s diverse birdlife and embark on an extraordinary journey of discovery right in your own backyard.

Top 31 Backyard Birds In South Carolina

1. Northern Cardinal

In South Carolina, the vibrant and unmistakable Northern Cardinals reign as the most commonly observed birds throughout the year. These striking creatures grace 67% of summer checklists and 58% of winter checklists submitted by dedicated birdwatchers in the state.

The male Northern Cardinal, adorned in brilliant red plumage and framed by black accents around its face, is a captivating sight, particularly against a backdrop of glistening white winter landscapes. With their striking red crests and beaks, they are a true spectacle to behold.

Not to be outdone, the females also boast a touch of elegance with their beautiful brown coloring, sharp brown crests, subtle red highlights, and striking red beaks.

Scientifically known as Cardinalis cardinalis, these birds measure around 8.3-9.1 inches (21-23 cm) in length, weigh between 1.5-1.7 ounces (42-48 g), and possess a wingspan spanning 9.8-12.2 inches (25-31 cm). While primarily residing in the eastern half of the United States, Northern Cardinals can also be found in some southern states stretching as far west as Arizona.

In their quest for sustenance, Northern Cardinals frequent areas abundant in dense vegetation, where they forage for seeds, fruit, and insects. It’s worth noting that during the breeding season, they may exhibit aggressive behavior by attacking their own reflection in a fervent defense of their territories.

Prepare to be enchanted by the enchanting presence of Northern Cardinals as they captivate the hearts of bird enthusiasts throughout South Carolina.

Invite the charming Northern Cardinals to grace your backyard by offering them a delectable feast of sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo. These vibrant birds will readily indulge in these nutritious offerings whether provided in large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or simply scattered on the ground. Prepare to witness the delightful sight of these feathered friends flocking to your feeding stations, adding a touch of beauty and elegance to your outdoor space.


2. Carolina Wren

Carolina Wrens are a year-round presence in South Carolina, choosing not to embark on migratory journeys. These delightful birds make appearances in an impressive 51% of summer checklists and 47% of winter checklists.

Sporting a shy disposition, Carolina Wrens exhibit a charming combination of dark brown plumage on their upper bodies and lighter shades of brown underneath. They are distinguished by a distinctive white eyebrow stripe, an upright tail, and a melodious song often compared to the phrase “teakettle.”

Scientifically known as Thryothorus ludovicianus, these Carolina Wrens measure around 4.7 to 5.5 inches (12-14 cm) in length, weighing approximately 0.6 to 0.8 ounces (18-22 g). Their wingspan spans about 11.4 inches (29 cm). These resident birds can be found throughout the eastern and southeastern United States.

To attract Carolina Wrens to your backyard, offer suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, or peanut hearts in large tube feeders or on platform feeders. Providing these food sources will entice these lovely birds to visit and enjoy the offerings in your outdoor space.

3. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadees are a familiar sight in South Carolina, gracing the region with their presence throughout the year. They are documented in 40% of summer checklists and 49% of winter checklists.

These charming birds possess a petite stature, characterized by their prominent heads, black caps and necks, white cheeks and bellies, and soft gray backs, wings, and tails. They bear a striking resemblance to the Black-capped Chickadee, and in areas where their ranges overlap, they have been known to interbreed.

Scientifically known as Poecile carolinensis, Carolina Chickadees measure approximately 3.9 to 4.7 inches (10-12 cm) in length, with a weight ranging from 0.3 to 0.4 ounces (8-12 g). Their wingspan spans from 5.9 to 7.9 inches (15-20 cm).

Carolina Chickadees can be found in various habitats, including forests, parks, and backyard areas, across the eastern and southeastern United States. These delightful birds are a delightful addition to the natural landscape year-round.

Entice Carolina Chickadees to visit your backyard feeders by offering them a variety of enticing treats. Black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, suet feeders, or peanuts are all excellent options that will catch their attention. These little birds are versatile and will readily feed from different feeder types, including tube feeders, suet cages, or platform feeders.

If you want to provide a cozy nesting spot for Carolina Chickadees, consider putting up nest boxes or nest tubes in your yard. They will appreciate the sheltered space to raise their young and may choose your backyard as their nesting site.

By offering a diverse and appealing selection of food and providing suitable nesting options, you can create an inviting habitat for Carolina Chickadees in your own backyard.

4. Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are a familiar sight year-round in South Carolina, appearing in 47% of summer checklists and 40% of winter checklists in the state.

These graceful birds have small heads, plump bodies, and long tails. They are primarily a soft brown color, with distinctive black spots on their wings. Males tend to be slightly heavier than females.

Scientifically known as Zenaida macroura, Mourning Doves are widespread across the lower 48 states of the U.S. throughout the year. However, some individuals may migrate from the northern Midwest and southern Canada after breeding.

You can often spot Mourning Doves perched on telephone wires or foraging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and backyards. They are adaptable and can also be found in open areas and woodland edges.

To attract Mourning Doves to your backyard, scatter millet on the ground or offer it on platform feeders. They are also known to enjoy black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts as part of their diet.

5. Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmice are year-round residents of South Carolina, appearing in up to 42% of both summer and winter checklists.

These delightful birds have a gray-colored back, white underparts, and a charming gray crest on their heads. With their large eyes, they often form flocks with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.

Scientifically known as Baeolophus bicolor, Tufted Titmice can be found throughout eastern and southeastern US states all year long.

You can spot Tufted Titmice in woodlands, parks, and backyard feeders. They can display assertive behavior when it comes to food, often pushing in to get to the feeders first.

In the summer, Tufted Titmice primarily feed on insects such as caterpillars, beetles, ants, wasps, spiders, and snails. They also include seeds, nuts, and berries in their diet and are known to hoard shelled seeds for later consumption.

To entice Tufted Titmice to visit your backyard, offer them a variety of treats in your feeders. Fill tube feeders or suet cages with sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts. These birds will also happily feed from platform feeders. Consider installing a nest box to provide a potential breeding site and further attract these delightful birds to your yard.


6. American Crow

American Crows are a familiar sight in South Carolina, where they can be found throughout the year. They are frequently observed, appearing in approximately 38% of summer and winter checklists.

These large, all-black birds emit a distinctive hoarse cawing sound that is often associated with their presence.

Scientifically known as Corvus brachyrhynchos, American Crows measure between 15.8 and 20.9 inches (40-53 cm) in length and weigh between 11.2 and 21.9 ounces (316-620 g). They possess a wingspan ranging from 33.5 to 39.4 inches (85-100 cm).

American Crows are year-round residents across most of the lower 48 states and along the Pacific Coast, while those breeding in Canada and the northern Midwest migrate south for the winter.

These adaptable birds can be found in various habitats, including treetops, woodlands, fields, beaches, and urban areas.

Their diet is diverse, encompassing earthworms, insects, seeds, fruit, fish, young turtles, mussels, clams, and even eggs and nestlings of other bird species.

During winter, American Crows gather in immense numbers, with communal roosts comprising up to two million individuals. These roosts serve as noisy sleeping quarters.

If you wish to attract American Crows to your backyard, consider scattering peanuts. However, be cautious as they may become a nuisance if they are drawn to garbage or pet food left out.

7. Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbirds are a common sight in South Carolina throughout the year. They can be observed in approximately 37% of summer checklists and 35% of winter checklists in the state.

These medium-sized songbirds are characterized by their small heads and long tails. They display a gray-brown coloration, with the underside being slightly paler than the back. In flight, two white wingbars become visible.

Scientifically known as Mimus polyglottos, Northern Mockingbirds measure between 8.3 and 10.2 inches (21-26 cm) in length and weigh between 1.6 and 2.0 ounces (45-58 g). They have a wingspan ranging from 12.2 to 13.8 inches (31-35 cm).

Northern Mockingbirds are non-migratory and can be spotted across the lower 48 states and southern Canada.

They are typically seen alone or in pairs and are known for their aggressive defense of their territory. Male mockingbirds are remarkable for their ability to learn around 200 songs throughout their lifetime, often mimicking the songs of other birds. They are known for their continuous singing, which can persist throughout the day and into the night.

To attract an abundance of Northern Mockingbirds to your backyard, consider planting fruiting trees or bushes such as hawthorns, mulberries, and blackberry brambles. These bird-friendly plants will provide a natural food source that appeals to Northern Mockingbirds. While they may not frequently visit feeders, creating open lawn areas can also entice them to explore and forage in your yard.


8. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are a familiar sight throughout the year in South Carolina, appearing in a significant 37% of both summer and winter checklists.

Although their name suggests a prominent red belly, it can be quite challenging to spot. Red-bellied Woodpeckers are often mistaken for Red-headed Woodpeckers due to their red caps. However, they are smaller in size compared to their Red-headed counterparts. Female Red-bellied Woodpeckers lack the red cap and instead display red coloration at the back of their heads.

These woodpeckers exhibit the classic black and white markings typical of the species on their backs. Melanerpes carolinus is their scientific name, and they can be found in various eastern US states. They do not undertake long-distance migrations.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a diverse diet, including insects, spiders, grass seeds, fruits, nuts, and occasionally even nestlings. They nest in dead trees and often reuse the same nest year after year, laying 4-5 white eggs on a bed of wood chips.

What sets them apart is their remarkable tongue, which extends two inches beyond their beak. This specialized tongue, barbed at the tip and covered in sticky saliva, enables them to extract prey from deep crevices.

If you live near wooded areas, you may frequently spot Red-bellied Woodpeckers at your bird feeders. Their distinctively loud rolling call often precedes their appearance, making them easily recognizable by sound.

9. Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are delightful winter visitors in South Carolina, typically seen from October through mid-May. They are a common sight, appearing in 38% of winter checklists.

These warblers exhibit a primarily gray coloration with vibrant flashes of yellow on their faces, sides, and rump. Their wings display patches of white, adding to their distinct appearance.

Female Yellow-rumped Warblers may have a slightly brownish hue, while winter birds sport paler brown feathers with bright yellow rumps and sides. As spring approaches, their plumage transitions back to gray and yellow.

Scientifically known as Setophaga coronata, these warblers predominantly breed in Canada, the Rockies, and the Appalachian Mountains. During migration, they can be observed in the Midwest before seeking refuge in southern and southwestern US states, the Pacific Coast, Mexico, and Central America for the winter.

Yellow-rumped Warblers favor coniferous forests, particularly during the breeding season. In winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. Their diet shifts accordingly, with a focus on insects during the summer breeding months and a preference for fruit, such as bayberry and wax myrtle, during migration and winter.

To attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard, offer enticing treats like sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter. These offerings will surely catch their attention and provide them with nourishment during their stay.

10. Blue Jay

Blue Jays are year-round residents of South Carolina, with a presence in 34% of summer checklists and 32% of winter checklists, as reported by bird watchers in the state.

These common and vibrant songbirds are known for their striking appearance, featuring a blue upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides.

Scientifically named Cyanocitta cristata, Blue Jays can be found throughout eastern US states and southern Canada throughout the year. While some individuals may migrate westward for the winter, such movements are not as frequent.

Blue Jays are known for their boisterous nature and tend to travel in family groups. They have a fondness for acorns and can often be found in forests, particularly near oak trees, where they feast on this food source. Additionally, they can be observed in backyards near feeders. In addition to acorns, their diet includes insects, nuts, seeds, and grain. They may also opportunistically take eggs from nests or target nestlings.

Due to their larger size, Blue Jays have a distinctive flight pattern, swooping in to quickly grab a peanut or sunflower seed from feeders and carry it away to consume. They prefer platform or tray feeders that offer an easy escape route.

To attract Blue Jays to your backyard, provide offerings of peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet. Open tray feeders or hopper feeders mounted on posts are preferred by these birds, as they facilitate quick access and departure. Additionally, having a birdbath available will be appreciated by Blue Jays as they seek water for drinking and bathing.

11. Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds are a familiar sight in South Carolina throughout the year, appearing in 30% of summer checklists and 32% of winter checklists compiled by birdwatchers.

These charming birds belong to the thrush family and are characterized by their small size, rounded heads, large eyes, and plump bellies.

Male Eastern Bluebirds display a striking deep blue color on their backs and a reddish hue underneath. Females, on the other hand, have a grayer upper body with hints of blue on their wings and tail, and a more subdued orange-brown breast.

Scientifically known as Sialia sialis, Eastern Bluebirds reside year-round in southeastern US states. However, those that breed in the northern US and southern Canada migrate southward for the winter.

Meadows are favored habitats for Eastern Bluebirds, where they can often be observed perched on wires, posts, or low branches, diligently searching for insects.

To invite Eastern Bluebirds into your backyard, entice them with a delectable treat of mealworms. Additionally, consider installing nest boxes to provide a suitable nesting environment, especially if your yard offers ample open space.


12. House Finch

House Finches are year-round residents of South Carolina, and you can often spot them in about 27% of checklists during both summer and winter. The males are characterized by their striking red head and breast, while the rest of their bodies display brown streaks. Females, on the other hand, have a more uniform brown-streaked appearance.

Scientifically known as Haemorhous mexicanus, House Finches were originally found in the western United States but were introduced to the eastern states, including South Carolina. They have thrived in their new habitats and have even outcompeted the native Purple Finch.

To attract these delightful birds to your backyard, offer them a tempting spread of black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders. They will surely appreciate the nourishing feast you provide.

13. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets make South Carolina their winter home and can be observed from October to April. During this period, they are present in approximately 28% of checklists specifically made for the winter season.

These small songbirds have an olive-green coloration, and it’s the males who possess a remarkable feature—a vibrant red crown on their heads. However, this crown is often concealed and flattened, making it difficult to spot.

Scientifically known as Corthylio calendula, Ruby-crowned Kinglets breed in Canada and the mountainous regions of the western United States. As winter approaches, they embark on a migratory journey to seek refuge in southern and southwestern states, as well as Mexico.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be elusive due to their fast and agile nature. They swiftly move among the lower branches, shrubs, and trees, diligently searching for spiders and insects.

To attract these delightful birds to your backyard, consider providing suet or platform feeders filled with enticing offerings such as hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms. Creating a welcoming feeding station increases the chances of attracting Ruby-crowned Kinglets to your vicinity.

14. White-throated Sparrow

During the winter months in South Carolina, from October to mid-May, it is quite common to spot White-throated Sparrows. These sparrows can be found in approximately 28% of checklists specifically made for the winter season.

With their distinctive appearance, White-throated Sparrows display a black and white striped head, a bright white throat, and a yellow patch between their eye and bill. Their backs are adorned with shades of brown, while their undersides appear gray.

Scientifically known as Zonotrichia albicollis, White-throated Sparrows are migratory birds that predominantly breed in Canada. As winter approaches, they embark on a journey southwards, seeking refuge in eastern and southern US states, as well as along the Pacific Coast.

When searching for White-throated Sparrows, you are likely to find them on the ground in forests, wooded areas, and the periphery of such habitats. These sparrows often gather in large flocks.

The diet of White-throated Sparrows primarily consists of grass and weed seeds, as well as various fruits like grapes, sumac, mountain ash, blueberries, blackberries, and dogwood. Additionally, they also consume a significant number of insects, particularly during the summer months, foraging on the forest floor.

To attract White-throated Sparrows to your backyard, consider offering millet and black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders. Creating an inviting feeding area increases the likelihood of attracting these delightful sparrows to your vicinity.

15. Downy Woodpecker

Throughout the year, Downy Woodpeckers can be spotted in South Carolina. They make appearances in approximately 24% of summer checklists and 29% of winter checklists.

These small woodpeckers are a familiar sight at backyard feeders and often mingle with other birds like chickadees and nuthatches. With their black and white plumage, they bear a resemblance to the larger Hairy Woodpecker, but Downy Woodpeckers are notably smaller in size.

Scientifically known as Dryobates pubescens, Downy Woodpeckers are non-migratory birds, meaning they remain in their habitat throughout the year. They can be found in most states and provinces, except for the northern regions of Canada.

You can spot Downy Woodpeckers in a variety of habitats, including woodlots, areas near streams, city parks, and even backyard environments. Their diet primarily consists of insects and beetle larvae, but they also consume berries, acorns, and grains.

To attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard, offer their favorite treat: suet. Additionally, they will readily consume black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts when provided on platform feeders. Creating a welcoming feeding area can increase the chances of enjoying the presence of these delightful woodpeckers in your own yard.

16. Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes are more commonly seen during the winter season in South Carolina, although some individuals can be found year-round in the northern parts of the state. They are present in 8% of summer checklists and 21% of winter checklists.

These plump songbirds have a grayish-brown coloration on their backs and a whitish underside, with a darker head.

Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm) Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (16-21 g) Wingspan: 10.2-11.0 in (26-28 cm)

Eastern Phoebes are migratory birds that breed in northeastern and central US states, as well as in Canada, before embarking on their migration to southeastern US states and Mexico for the winter. Some individuals may choose to remain year-round in the southern parts of their range.

Eastern Phoebes are typically solitary birds and can be found in quiet woodlands, often perched on low branches and wagging their tails. They are known for their ability to catch flying insects, which form the majority of their diet. Additionally, they also consume spiders, other insects, small fruits, and seeds. They build their nests using mud and grass, often choosing locations such as bridges, barns, or houses.

To attract Eastern Phoebes to your backyard, consider putting up a nest box or cultivating native plants that produce berries, as these can serve as enticing features for these delightful songbirds.

17. Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged blackbirds are a common sight in South Carolina throughout the year, appearing in approximately 21% of summer and winter checklists.

These birds are easily recognizable by their all-black plumage, highlighted by reddish-orange wing patches. Females, on the other hand, have a more subdued appearance with streaky brown feathers.

Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus Length: 6.7-9.1 in (17-23 cm) Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz (32-77 g) Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

Red-winged blackbirds are permanent residents of the lower 48 states and the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. However, those that breed in Canada and certain northern states migrate southward for the winter season.

These birds are often observed perching on telephone wires, and during the breeding season, male red-winged blackbirds vigorously defend their territories, even exhibiting aggressive behavior towards intruders who come too close to their nests. In winter, they form large roosting flocks that can number in the millions.

To attract red-winged blackbirds to your backyard, provide a mix of grains and seeds scattered on the ground. They are also known to visit large tube feeders or platform feeders for feeding purposes.

18. Song Sparrow

Song Sparrows are commonly seen in South Carolina during the winter season, appearing in approximately 20% of checklists during this time. While they are most prevalent from October to March, some individuals remain in the area throughout the year.

In terms of appearance, Song Sparrows may not stand out as much as other backyard birds. Their predominantly brown-streaked plumage serves as camouflage, but their constant and melodious song is a key feature used to attract mates during the spring and summer seasons.

Scientific name: Melospiza melodia Length: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm) Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g) Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)

Song Sparrows are year-round residents in the northern states of the US. However, those that breed in Canada migrate to southern US states for the winter period.

You can find Song Sparrows in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on low shrubs while singing their beautiful songs. They are also commonly seen at backyard feeders.

In terms of diet, Song Sparrows have a diverse palate. They consume a wide variety of insects, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. Additionally, they feed on plant-based foods such as buckwheat, sunflower seeds, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.

To attract Song Sparrows to your backyard feeders, provide a selection of black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

19. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers can be found spending their winter in South Carolina, appearing from September to mid-May. They are observed in approximately 17% of checklists during the winter season in the state.

In terms of size, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are relatively small, comparable to the size of a robin. They primarily display black plumage with distinct red foreheads, while the males also feature a red throat.

Length: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm) Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz (43-55 g) Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in (34-40 cm)

After breeding in Canada and Northeastern US states during the summer, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers undertake migration to spend their winter in the Southern US and Mexico.

These birds exhibit a unique behavior of drilling holes in trees and utilizing their brush-tipped tongues to extract sap. They create orderly rows of holes arranged horizontally, which can be observed in young paper birch, yellow birch, red or sugar maple, and hickory trees.

To maintain a steady flow of sap, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers need to continuously maintain these holes. They produce a distinct loud mewing call, and they typically nest in tree cavities, laying 5-6 white eggs.

To attract Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers to your backyard, provide suet as a food source. This will be particularly appealing to these birds and encourage their visitation.

20. Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhees are a year-round presence in South Carolina, making appearances in approximately 19% of checklists during both the summer and winter seasons.

These birds are notable for their striking appearance, resembling large sparrows that are roughly the size of a Robin. In males, their features include a black head, throat, and back, reddish sides, long tails, and a white belly. Females share a similar appearance but with a brown coloration instead of black.

Pipilo erythrophthalmus Length: 6.8-8.2 in (17.3-20.8 cm) Weight: 1.1-1.8 oz (32-52 g) Wingspan: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)

Eastern Towhees are permanent residents of southeastern US states, although individuals from more northern regions migrate south for the winter.

You can often find Eastern Towhees actively foraging in the undergrowth along the edges of forests and thickets, where they rummage for food and explore their surroundings.

Entice Eastern Towhees to frequent your backyard by creating overgrown borders or areas with dense vegetation. These birds are drawn to such habitats, which provide them with suitable cover and foraging opportunities. Additionally, consider setting up platform feeders stocked with a variety of enticing treats, including black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and millet. By providing these enticing offerings, you increase the likelihood of attracting Eastern Towhees to your outdoor space for enjoyable bird-watching experiences.


21. Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers can be observed year-round in South Carolina, with higher sightings during the winter months from October to March. They are reported in 2% of summer checklists and 17% of winter checklists.

These woodpeckers are characterized by their large size, brown plumage with black spots, and a noticeable white patch on their rump when in flight. Male Northern Flickers also display a red nape on their necks, adding a vibrant touch.

Depending on their geographical origin, Northern Flickers exhibit either red or yellow flashes in their wings and tail. The red-shafted variety is found in the west, while the yellow-shafted variety inhabits the east.

Colaptes auratus Length: 11.0-12.2 in (28-31 cm) Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz (110-160 g) Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in (42-51 cm)

Northern Flickers can be spotted throughout the United States year-round, while those breeding in Canada migrate south during the winter.

Their diet primarily consists of ants, beetles, fruits, and seeds, and they are often observed foraging on the ground, using their curved bill to dig.

To attract Northern Flickers to your backyard, provide suet feeders, which they find particularly appealing.

22. American Robin

Throughout the year, American Robins can be found in South Carolina, although they are more commonly observed from December to March. They are documented in 14% of summer checklists and 26% of winter checklists in the state.

American Robins are familiar birds often seen foraging for earthworms on lawns. They have black heads and backs, accompanied by red or orange breasts. During winter, they tend to roost in trees, making them more visible in backyard settings during the springtime.

Turdus migratorius Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm) Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz (77-85 g) Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

American Robins are year-round residents in the contiguous United States, as well as along the Western Canadian coast and Alaska. However, those that breed in Canada and inland Alaska migrate south for the winter.

These robins can thrive in various habitats, ranging from woodlands, forests, and mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. They sustain themselves by consuming earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.

To attract American Robins to your backyard, consider offering a variety of food options such as sunflower seeds, suet, peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. Utilizing platform feeders or scattering food on the ground can be effective. Additionally, planting native berry-producing plants like juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood can enhance their appeal to these birds.

23. American Goldfinch

During winter in the southern part of South Carolina, you can spot American Goldfinches, while they reside throughout the entire state all year. They are documented in 13% of summer checklists and 23% of winter checklists in the state.

American Goldfinches are beloved birds, particularly known for the vibrant yellow and black plumage of the males during spring. In contrast, the females and males in winter exhibit a more subdued brown coloration.

Spinus tristis Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm) Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g) Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

These goldfinches can be found across most of North America and are typically year-round residents. However, those that breed in Canada and the Midwest migrate to southern US states for the winter.

They thrive in weedy fields and overgrown areas, where they forage on plants such as sunflowers, thistles, and asters. American Goldfinches are also commonly encountered in suburban areas, parks, and backyards.

To attract American Goldfinches to your backyard, consider planting thistles and milkweed, which are among their preferred food sources. They are frequent visitors to various types of bird feeders and show a preference for sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds.

24. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

During the summer months, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are frequently observed in South Carolina and appear in 16% of checklists during this time. They can typically be seen from April to November, although some individuals remain in the state throughout the year.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds exhibit vibrant green plumage on their backs and crowns, with a gray-white underside. The males are characterized by their iridescent red throat, while the females lack this feature. Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have green backs, white undersides, and brownish crowns and sides.

Archilochus colubris Length: 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm) Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g) Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in (8-11 cm)

As the only breeding hummingbird species in eastern North America, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds embark on a southward migration over the Gulf of Mexico or through Texas to Central America for the winter season.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds begin arriving in the southernmost regions in February, while their arrival in northern states and Canada for breeding may occur as late as May. Migration back south takes place in August and September.

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can display aggression when defending flowers and feeders. After mating, they do not linger for long and may commence migration as early as August.

These tiny birds swiftly move from one nectar source to another, and they are capable of catching insects in midair or from spider webs. Although they occasionally pause on small twigs, their short legs prevent them from walking and restrict them to shuffling along perches.

During the summer, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be found in flowering gardens and woodland edges. They are also common visitors to urban areas, particularly around nectar feeders.

To attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard, consider offering homemade nectar in feeders. Additionally, shade-loving plants or vibrant hanging plants can serve as enticements for these beautiful birds.

25. Common Grackle

Despite being considered a near-threatened species, Common Grackles can be frequently observed in South Carolina throughout the year. While many of them migrate south for the winter, some individuals choose to remain in the area. They are documented in 20% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.

Common Grackles are larger and have longer tails compared to typical blackbirds, showcasing glossy iridescent bodies.

Quiscalus quiscula Length: 11.0-13.4 in (28-34 cm) Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz (74-142 g) Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in (36-46 cm)

Residing year-round in southeastern states, Common Grackles that breed in Canada and the Midwest undertake migratory journeys to southern regions.

Their diet consists of various crops, with a particular preference for corn. They tend to gather in noisy flocks perched high in trees. Unfortunately, they may also scavenge garbage, leading to potential nuisance issues. Their habitats encompass a diverse range, including open woodlands, marshes, parks, and fields.

During the winter, Common Grackles may assemble in enormous flocks, mingling with other blackbird species, as they forage and roost.

To attract more Common Grackles to your backyard, consider scattering mixed grain and seeds on the ground or using platform feeders.

26. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpeckers can be observed throughout the year in South Carolina. They make appearances in 12% of both summer and winter checklists for the state.

As the largest woodpecker in North America, Pileated Woodpeckers boast a remarkable flaming-red triangular crest that adds to their striking appearance.

Their plumage is predominantly black with a distinctive white stripe, and when in flight, the white undersides of their wings become visible. Male individuals feature an additional red stripe on their cheek.

Dryocopus pileatus Length: 15.8-19.3 in (40-49 cm) Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz (250-350 g) Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in (66-75 cm)

They inhabit eastern US states, extend across Canada, and even reach northwestern US states, maintaining a year-round presence.

Pileated Woodpeckers primarily feed on carpenter ants found in dead trees and fallen logs. Additionally, they consume beetle larvae, termites, and various other insects. Their diet also includes fruits and nuts, such as blackberries, sumac berries, dogwood, and elderberry. Their vocalizations consist of a loud shrill, whinnying call and deep, resonant drumming.

To attract Pileated Woodpeckers to your backyard, consider installing suet feeders equipped with tail props.

27. Painted Bunting

Painted Buntings can be observed in South Carolina during the summer months and make appearances on around 15% of checklists during this time. They are primarily seen in the southern part of the state from April to November.

Male Painted Buntings exhibit a vibrant patchwork of colors, with predominantly red coloring underneath, bright blue heads, green wings, and backs. Females, on the other hand, display a striking bright yellow-green plumage.

Passerina ciris Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm) Weight: 0.5-0.7 oz (13-19 g)

Painted Buntings breed in select states across the south-central and southeastern regions of the United States. During migration, they travel at night to destinations such as Central America, southern Florida, and certain Caribbean islands.

Semi-open habitats serve as the preferred locations for encountering Painted Buntings, where they forage for seeds and insects during the breeding season.

The nests of Painted Buntings are carefully concealed within vegetation, typically around five feet off the ground. Constructed by the female, the nests are made from twigs, bark, grass, and plant materials, held together with cobwebs and lined with horsehair. The female lays approximately four eggs, which take about ten days to hatch, followed by an additional nine days for the young to fledge.

To attract Painted Buntings to your backyard, provide an ample supply of their favorite seeds, such as white millet or black oil sunflower seeds. Additionally, ensure the presence of dense vegetation that offers suitable hiding places for these beautiful birds.

28. Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrows can be observed throughout the year in South Carolina, although they are more commonly seen during the winter months. They make appearances on around 12% of summer checklists and 20% of winter checklists.

Chipping Sparrows are slender birds with long tails. They possess a grayish belly, brown and black-streaked back, and a rusty crown with a black eye line. During the winter, their colors become more subdued.

Spizella passerina Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm) Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g) Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)

During the summer, Chipping Sparrows engage in breeding activities in the United States and Canada. As winter approaches, they migrate to Mexico and Florida, although some individuals remain in the southern states throughout the year.

Chipping Sparrows are commonly found in small flocks on open ground and are known to visit backyards in search of various types of birdseed.

To attract Chipping Sparrows to your backyard, provide seeds or cracked corn on open feeders such as hoppers or platforms.

29. White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatches can be spotted throughout the year in South Carolina, making appearances on around 10% of summer checklists and 12% of winter checklists.

These active little birds have a gray-blue coloration on their backs, with a white face and belly, and a distinguishing black cap. Some individuals may also exhibit a chestnut color on the lower belly and under the tail.

Sitta carolinensis Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm) Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g) Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in (20-27 cm)

White-breasted Nuthatches are year-round residents in the United States and southern Canada.

They can be found in deciduous forests, woodland edges, parks, and yards with trees. Their diet primarily consists of insects such as beetles, caterpillars, ants, and spiders.

In addition to insects, White-breasted Nuthatches also consume seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorns, sunflower seeds, and occasionally corn crops. They have a unique foraging technique where they wedge large nuts and acorns into tree bark and then use their bills to open them and extract the seeds.

To attract White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard, provide sunflower seeds and peanuts on tube feeders or suet feeders.

30. European Starling

European Starlings, considered an introduced species in South Carolina, can be observed throughout the year in the state.

They are reported in approximately 9% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists submitted by bird enthusiasts in the region.

European Starlings, although not native, have become one of the most abundant songbirds. These stocky birds showcase iridescent purple, green, and blue hues against their black plumage.

Sturnus vulgaris Length: 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm) Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz (60-96 g) Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

European Starlings inhabit most regions of North America, excluding the northern parts of Canada and Alaska.

Their aggressive behavior has earned them a reputation as pests. These birds often fly together in large, noisy flocks and can be spotted perched in groups atop trees or soaring over fields.

European Starlings primarily feed on insects, including beetles, flies, caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders. However, they also consume a variety of fruits such as cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, as well as grains and seeds.

To attract European Starlings to your backyard, offer black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts in your feeders.

31. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds can be found throughout the year in South Carolina and are present in approximately 5% of both summer and winter checklists.

These medium-sized songbirds are known as Gray Catbirds due to their unique catty mew song, which can last up to 10 minutes. They have a slate gray plumage, black cap and tail, and a reddish patch beneath their tails.

Dumetella carolinensis Length: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm) Weight: 0.8-2.0 oz (23.2-56.5 g) Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)

Gray Catbirds breed in the Midwest, eastern US states, and southern Canada before migrating to the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean for the winter. However, some individuals remain year-round along the East Coast.

These birds are commonly found in dense shrubs, small trees, and along forest edges or hedgerows. Their name originates from their distinct “mew” vocalization.

To attract Gray Catbirds to your backyard, provide them with fruit and consider planting fruit trees or shrubs such as dogwood, winterberry, and serviceberry.

Common Birds at Different Times of Year in South Carolina

Birds in South Carolina Backyards Throughout the Year The avian visitors to South Carolina backyards undergo seasonal changes, bringing a variety of species at different times. The following lists highlight the most commonly observed backyard birds during specific periods in South Carolina.

These birds frequent South Carolina yards and are likely to make appearances on lawns or at feeders. The compilation is based on the most frequently recorded species in state checklists on ebird during the summer months (June and July) and winter months (December and January).

To provide a more relevant selection, species that infrequently visit feeders or backyard areas were excluded. This data compilation ensures that regardless of the time of year, you are most likely to encounter these birds in your South Carolina backyard, either at feeders or on your lawn.

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