Red-feathered heads are seen on many North American birds. This form of coloration is unusual and noticeable from the marshes of the southeast to the rugged pine woodlands of the Rocky Mountains.
Woodpeckers and songbirds have more red feathers than shorebirds and raptors, but there are still a great many species with crimson-feathered heads. Many of the most common birds in North America with red heads will be shown in this article.
Read on to learn about the 22 different birds!
22 SPECIES OF BIRDS WITH RED HEADS
1. NORTHERN CARDINAL
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
The cardinal’s entire body is crimson in color, not only his head. Females have some red tinges in their light brown feathers, despite the fact that they aren’t as vividly colored.
From the east coast to the southwest and Rockies, cardinals can be found. Sunflower seeds, one of their favorite foods, are a great way to attract them to your bird feeders.
2. WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL
Scientific name: Loxia leucoptera
Due to its crossed-over beak, the white-winged crossbill is difficult to miss. In the coniferous woods of Canada and the northern United States, they utilize this distinctive adaptation to split open pinecones.
Females are a tawny yellow-brown color, while males are red. Year-round, males have red heads, breasts, and backs. They’ve been known to mate throughout the year. They’ll build a nest as long as there’s a consistent food supply.
3. ACORN WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Melanerpes formicivorus
The crown of the heads of Acorn Woodpeckers is covered in a brilliant red patch. White and black patches cover the rest of their face. Males have a white patch in front of the red on the bird’s head, whereas females have a black patch. Scientists refer to this facial pattern as “clown-faced.”
The west, where there are a lot of oak trees, is home to the Acorn Woodpeckers. By collecting acorns and pushing them into the bark of trees, they store them. This method can store thousands of acorns every year.
4. CALIFORNIA CONDOR
Scientific name: Gymnogyps californianus
One of the biggest vulture species in the world, this massive scavenger stands at a height of 2 meters. It can fly over mountains and along the shoreline cliffs in search of its next meal, thanks to its wingspan of up to 10 feet.
California condors are both male and female. These vultures have no red feathers on their heads, unlike other species. The skin is now entirely red-orange in color. The rotting meat is adapted to the condors’ diet. While they peck and rip at carcasses, the lack of feathers around their heads keeps their faces clean.
California condors are extremely clean birds, despite their tumultuous diet. To clean themselves of waste and prey remnants, they bathe often.
5. RED-CRESTED CARDINAL
Scientific name: Paroaria coronata
While you can see them in the US if you go to Hawaii, the red-crested cardinal is native to southern South America and was included on this list. They are not particularly related to the northern cardinal we are used to seeing in the continental United States, despite their name and appearance.
A gray back, white belly, and a brilliant red head with a high crest distinguish both sexes. In open landscapes, they’ll often be seen foraging on the ground.
6. CASSIN’S FINCH
Scientific name: Haemorhous cassini
The house finch and purple finch are comparable to Cassin’s Finch, although there are a few key distinctions. Cassin’s finch may be found in the Rockies, as well as much of the western interior United States. A small red crest tops the heads of male Cassin’s finches. Yellow-brown and white females are the only kind.
By providing sunflower seeds in the winter, you may entice Cassin’s finches to your property. Only males sing, and they’ll mimic sounds from other animals. Males live in ‘bachelor flocks,’ or groups, during their first year of life.
7. CINNAMON TEAL
Scientific name: Spatula cyanoptera
The rich, nearly iridescent, rusty color of male cinnamon teals’ feathers earned them the name. Males have rusty red heads with black backs and tails. Their eyes are also quite vibrant red. Dusky brown females with black eyes are the male.
Throughout the spring and summer months, look for spotted teals in the western United States. You might notice a nest if you examine it carefully. The nest is woven into reeds to make it nearly undetectable from virtually every angle.
8. HOUSE FINCH
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Except for the Great Plains, where trees are scarce, the house finch lives across most of the United States. They have evolved successfully in the eastern United States, where they were originally from.
The antioxidants in the foods that males consume are the only reason they are red. The crimson feathers on their head and breast are tinted with the crimson pigment. It encourages males to eat an antioxidant-rich diet since females prefer to mate with redder males.
9. PINE GROSBEAK
Scientific name: Pinicola enucleator
This red finch is a global traveler. It may be found across most of Canada and Alaska, as well as much of Scandinavia, Ukraine, and Russia, but only on occasion in the northern United States. The female is yellow, gray, and black, while the male has a pastel-red head, back, and breast.
In the winter, by providing sunflower seeds, you can attract flocks of pine grosbeaks to your yard if you live in their range. Make sure the feeder can hold big birds with hungry appetites before placing these large finches.
10. PILEATED WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Dryocopus pileatus
One of the biggest and most well-known woodpeckers in North America is the pileated woodpecker. It stretches from the eastern United States to southern Canada and then to the Pacific Northwest. Their pecking may be easier to hear than with smaller woodpeckers because of their size.
Leave dead branches and trees out in your yard to attract pileated woodpeckers. Several insects that the woodpeckers like to snack on dwell in these. Offer suet in the winter, but ensure that your feeder is adequate for their huge size.
11. LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Dryobates scalaris
The black and white feathers on the ladder-backed woodpecker’s back are arranged like the rungs of a ladder. Its wings are similarly striped, and its underside is white dotted with black, making it a study in patterns.
Males and females of most woodpeckers are not similar. From the crown of the head to the neck, only males have a red central stripe. In the almost treeless environment of the American Southwest, locate one of these little woodpeckers.
12. VERMILION FLYCATCHER
Scientific name: Pyrocephalus rubinus
The male has a bright red head and belly (females are brown), which gives this delicate flycatcher its name. They look for insects on fence posts or other low-level perches. Males woo their companion by presenting her with a brightly colored insect, such as a butterfly or an iridescent beetle.
The range of vermilion flycatchers is limited. They’re only found in the southwest United States and Mexico, but their bright color makes them easy to spot.
13. RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER
Scientific name: Sphyrapicus ruber
This woodpecker’s crimson head feathers bleed into its breast feathers, giving it a watercolor-like appearance. The males and females have a bright red head and are black and white. With their bills, they drill holes in tree bark and foliage, then lap the sap up.
A red-breasted sapsucker may be seen in the Pacific Northwest if you live there. In the winter, when sap is less likely to flow, attract them to your yard with suet feeders.
14. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Both conspicuous and historically significant, red-headed woodpeckers are a breeze to spot. The birds are declining mysteriously and are most frequent in the eastern United States.
A completely red-feathered head is visible on both males and females. They chase after flying insects and collect acorns to eat over the winter, in addition to pecking into trees to find insects like other woodpeckers.
Males and females have a fully red-feathered head. While other woodpeckers eat insects from trees, these peckers pursue airborne insects and collect acorns throughout the winter.
15. SUMMER TANAGER
Scientific name: Piranga rubra
The summer tanager, which nests and raises offspring in the southern and southwestern United States, is a summer visitor. Only males, including the heads, are completely red. The color of females is a dark mustard yellow.
You can’t attract summer tanagers to your yard with birdseed since they eat wasps and bees. If you have pollinator-friendly plants, they may be more likely to come. Insects are more likely to fly by if there are a lot of them in your yard.
16. RED CROSSBILL
Scientific name: Loxia curvirostra
The red crossbill is a difficult bird to forget, because it’s one of the first finches many birdwatchers learn to identify. Its preferred food source, seeds, is especially suited to its crossed-over upper and lower bills. With its beak, it splits open closed cones to access the seeds from coniferous trees.
Large swaths of land are covered in red crossbills. The Pacific coast of western North America, as well as southern Canada and the Rocky Mountains, are their home territory.
17. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
This medium-sized woodpecker can be found hopping between the trees in the southeastern United States, and chances are you’ve spotted it. The dusky-red belly patch of the Red-bellied Woodpecker earned it its name. They, on the other hand, have a clearly visible red patch on their skulls.
This patch of red feathers is found on both sexes. The red begins at the crown in females, while it starts just over their beak in males.
18. SCARLET TANAGER
Scientific name: Piranga olivacea
The male scarlet tanager, which is common in woodlands and forests in the southeastern United States throughout the spring and summer months, has a bright color. Only black wings and tail break up his breeding plumage, which is scarlet.
Male scarlet tanagers change their color to dark yellow plumage throughout the breeding season and migrate to eastern South America when their partners are not present.
The Scarlet Tanager is a sought-after bird. Because they enjoy singing from the tops of the trees, hidden by vegetation.
19. WESTERN TANAGER
Scientific name: Piranga ludoviciana
Yellow and black are the most common colors for western tanagers. Males, on the other hand, grow a vivid orange-red face patch of feathers during the breeding season. It stretches up from their neck and over their eyes, ending in the top of their heads.
In the west’s woodlands, listen for Western tanagers. Conifers are particularly popular for nesting. They’re likened to a flame by some birdwatchers. Males molt their crimson feathers after the breeding season and replace them with green feathers, similar to females. They then head south to South America and the Andes, where they live.
20. RED-FACED WARBLER
Scientific name: Cardellina rubifrons
In the spring and summer, if you reside in the southwestern United States, you might see a red-faced warbler. The high-altitude evergreen woods in New Mexico and Arizona, as well as Mexico, are where this little insect-eating warbler prefers to live.
Red-faced warblers choose to nest on the ground, despite living and foraging in the woods. Males have a black head with a red stripe running behind the eyes that is reminiscent of a headband. Females, like males, have a similar patterned appearance.
21. PURPLE FINCH
Scientific name: Haemorhous purpureus
From southern Canada through the Pacific Coast, and eastward through the United States, look for this little finch. These huge-beaked finches may be mistaken with house finches due to their size. The purple finch’s crimson back and vivid crimson face will help you differentiate them. Females are brown and white, but males have bright red coloring.
You may be lucky enough to witness them nesting and raising chicks if you live up north. They like to sing complicated melodies in the treetops.
22. RING-NECKED PHEASANT
Scientific name: Phasianus colchicus
These colorful birds were brought to North America from Asia in the late 1800s, although they are not indigenous to the continent. They have made themselves at home in the northern United States and Great Plains.
The distinctive red facial plumage is only seen in males. Throughout the breeding season, it assists them stand out against their surroundings and entice females. Females blend in with fields and grasses, and they are a drab brown color.