35 Brown Birds In Delaware (ID Guide, Pictures)

Don’t be daunted by the task of recognizing brown birds, or the “little brown jobs” (LBJ), as they can be tricky to distinguish due to the lack of unique markings compared to their more vibrant relatives.

This handbook is here to aid you in discerning a sparrow, a wren, or any other common brown avian species you may encounter. Furthermore, it provides information on the brown bird species you can expect to see in Delaware during various seasons.

By using this resource, you’ll be able to discern the brown birds that grace your backyard or populate the woods and fields. The guide arranges these birds from the most to the least frequent, as reported by birding enthusiasts in Delaware on the birding platform, ebird. Regenerate response

Year-Round Brown Birds in Delaware

Present throughout the year in Delaware are various brown birds such as the Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, American Robin, Carolina Wren, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, House Finch, Northern Flicker, House Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Cedar Waxwing, Brown Thrasher, and Swamp Sparrow.

Brown Feathered Visitors in Delaware’s Summer

During the summertime in Delaware, one can spot the Common Yellowthroat, Brown-headed Cowbird, Chipping Sparrow, House Wren, Great Crested Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, Wood Thrush, and Louisiana Waterthrush.

Winter Brown Birds in Delaware

In the winter months, the White-throated Sparrow, Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Pine Siskin, Winter Wren, Purple Finch, White-crowned Sparrow, and American Tree Sparrow add their brown hues to the Delaware landscape.

Migratory Brown Birds in Delaware

As migratory birds make their journey, Delaware plays host to the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Waterthrush, and Swainson’s Thrush.

Occasional and Unusual Sightings in Delaware

The Savannah Sparrow is a rarer or unexpected visitor to Delaware.

35 Brown Birds In Delaware

1. Northern Cardinal – Female

Northern Cardinals, known for their regular presence in Delaware, can be spotted all year round. Bird enthusiasts have documented their presence in 54% of summertime and 44% of winter observational records.

Female Northern Cardinals exhibit a certain elegance with their brown plumage, striking brown crest, red accents, and similarly colored beaks.

Conversely, the male Northern Cardinals, sporting bright red feathers with black facial markings, are an impressive sight to behold, particularly against a pristine white winter backdrop. Their red crests and beaks add to their charming appearance.

Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis Size: They typically measure between 8.3-9.1 inches (21-23 cm) in length. Weight: These birds usually weigh between 1.5-1.7 ounces (42-48 grams). Wingspan: They boast a wingspan of 9.8-12.2 inches (25-31 cm). Habitat: Northern Cardinals are primarily found in the eastern half of the United States and even extend their habitat to some southern states, reaching as far west as Arizona.

These birds are generally seen in thickets, foraging for their staple diet of seeds, fruits, and insects. It’s noteworthy that Northern Cardinals can become territorial during the breeding season, sometimes attacking their own reflections in an attempt to ward off perceived intruders.

You can allure Northern Cardinals to your backyard by installing feeders filled with sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo. They can comfortably feed from large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or directly from food sprinkled on the ground.

2. Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are a common sight throughout the year in Delaware, although they are more prevalent during the mating season. They feature in 48% of the summer bird-watchers’ records and 31% of those from winter in the state.

These birds exhibit a delicate charm, characterized by small heads, rounded bodies, and elongated tails. Their gentle brown hue, accentuated with black spots on their wings, adds to their allure. It’s worth noting that the males typically outweigh their female counterparts.

Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura Size: They range between 9.1-13.4 inches (23-34 cm) in length. Weight: Their weight fluctuates between 3.0 -6.0 ounces (96-170 grams). Wingspan: They possess a wingspan measuring 17.7 inches (45 cm).

Mourning Doves inhabit all of the lower 48 states throughout the year but tend to migrate after the breeding season from the northern Midwest and southern Canada.

They can be commonly seen resting on telephone wires or scavenging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, or backyards. They also inhabit open terrains or edges of woodlands.

To entice Mourning Doves to your backyard, consider scattering millet on the ground or on platform feeders. These birds are also fond of black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.

3. American Robin

American Robins, though primarily sighted during Delaware’s breeding season, can be observed throughout the year. They are documented in 52% of summer observational records and 25% of winter ones.

These birds are a frequent sight on lawns as they feast on earthworms. They exhibit black heads and backs contrasted by red or orange chests. In winter, they usually roost in trees, which means springtime and onwards is the best period to spot them in your backyard.

Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius Size: Their length varies between 7.9-11.0 inches (20-28 cm). Weight: They typically weigh between 2.7-3.0 ounces (77-85 grams). Wingspan: They have a wingspan measuring 12.2-15.8 inches (31-40 cm).

American Robins are year-round inhabitants in the lower 48 states, the western Canadian coast, and Alaska. However, the ones breeding in Canada and inland Alaska migrate southwards for winter.

These birds adapt well to varied habitats, ranging from woodlands, forests, and mountainous regions to fields, parks, and lawns. Their diet primarily includes earthworms, insects, snails, and fruits.

To attract American Robins to your backyard, fill your feeders with sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruits, and mealworms. Platform feeders or simply scattering food on the ground work best. Additionally, planting native berry-producing plants, such as juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood can also be an effective lure.

4. Carolina Wren

Carolina Wrens, known for their non-migratory nature, can be observed in Delaware throughout the year. They feature in 39% of summer bird-watchers’ records and 33% of those from winter.

These reclusive birds showcase dark brown upper bodies contrasted with lighter brown lower parts. Their distinguishing features include a white stripe over the eyes, an upright tail, and a distinctive ‘teakettle’ call.

Scientific Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus Size: They typically measure between 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm) in length. Weight: Their weight ranges from 0.6-0.8 ounces (18-22 grams). Wingspan: They have a wingspan of approximately 11.4 inches (29 cm).

Carolina Wrens reside in the eastern and southeastern US states throughout the year. They can be commonly spotted in wooded areas or places with thick vegetation, and they are known to frequent backyard feeders.

Lure Carolina Wrens to your backyard feeders with suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, or peanut hearts, preferably in large tube feeders or on platform feeders.

While many wrens in Delaware are frequently seen in backyards, to observe some species, you might need to explore marshier environments.

5. American Goldfinch – Female

American Goldfinches can be observed in Delaware throughout the year, although their population soars during the mating season. They feature in 40% of summer bird-watchers’ records and 20% of those from winter.

These delightful birds are especially loved for their vibrant yellow and black springtime plumage in males. The females, however, exhibit a more muted brown shade, similar to the males during winter.

Scientific Name: Spinus tristis Size: They typically measure between 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm) in length. Weight: Their weight usually ranges from 0.4-0.7 ounces (11-20 grams). Wingspan: They have a wingspan measuring 7.5-8.7 inches (19-22 cm).

American Goldfinches inhabit most of North America and are predominantly non-migratory. However, the ones breeding in Canada and the Midwest tend to migrate southwards for winter.

These birds can often be seen in weedy fields and overgrown areas, foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They’re also common in suburban areas, parks, and backyards.

To attract American Goldfinches to your backyard, consider planting thistles and milkweed. These birds are also fond of visiting bird feeders and particularly enjoy sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds.

6. Song Sparrow

Throughout the year, you can spot Song Sparrows in Delaware. They feature in 28% of the summer birdwatching checklists and 36% of the winter checklists for the state.

Despite not being as flashy as some other birds you might find in your backyard, Song Sparrows make up for it with their almost incessant singing, especially during the spring and summer seasons when they’re attempting to woo their mates.

Scientific Name: Melospiza melodia Dimensions:

  • Length: 4.7-6.7 inches (12-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-1.9 ounces (12-53 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 inches (18-24 cm)

Song Sparrows are year-round residents in the northern US, whereas those breeding in Canada migrate southwards for the winter.

They inhabit open, shrubby, and wet spaces, where they can often be seen perched on a low shrub, singing away. They are also common visitors at backyard feeders.

These birds have a varied diet, consuming a broad range of insects and plants. Beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms form the non-vegetarian part of their diet. They also relish buckwheat, sunflower seeds, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.

To draw Song Sparrows to your backyard feeders, consider offering black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

For birdwatchers in Delaware, recognizing sparrows can be quite an interesting task. By familiarizing yourself with their distinctive songs and intriguing facts, you can make identification simpler and more enjoyable.

7. House Finch – Female

House Finches are permanent dwellers in Delaware, living in the state throughout the year without migrating. They are reported in approximately 26% of both summer and winter bird watching checklists in the state.

Female House Finches are adorned with brown streaks all over their bodies. On the other hand, male House Finches are characterized by their red head and breast, with the rest of their bodies predominantly marked with brown streaks.

Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus Measurements:

  • Length: 5.1-5.5 inches (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 ounces (16-27 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 inches (20-25 cm)

House Finches originally hailed from the western parts of the US, but were introduced to the eastern states where they’ve flourished, even displacing the Purple Finch.

These birds are typically found in various environments including parks, farms, edges of forests, and backyard feeders. They are often part of noisy groups that you can’t overlook.

To attract House Finches to your backyard feeders, you can use black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.

Keep in mind that not all finches in Delaware sport a brown coloration; some might exhibit more vibrant hues.

8. White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrows make their appearance in Delaware primarily from October through May, most notably during the winter season when they are mentioned in 40% of bird watching checklists.

These birds are easily recognizable with their uniquely striped black and white head, strikingly white throat, and a dash of yellow between their eye and beak. Their backs are adorned with brown, while their underparts are grayish.

Scientific Name: Zonotrichia albicollis Size Specifications:

  • Length: 6.3-7.1 inches (16-18 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.1 ounces (22-32 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 inches (20-23 cm)

White-throated Sparrows are migratory, mainly breeding in Canada and then taking flight to eastern and southern US states, as well as the Pacific Coast, during the colder months.

Their preferred habitats are forests and woodland areas, particularly along the edges, where they can often be spotted foraging on the ground in sizeable flocks.

The diet of the White-throated Sparrow primarily consists of grass and weed seeds and a variety of fruits, including grapes, sumac, mountain ash berries, blueberries, blackberries, and dogwood fruits. During summer months, they also consume a substantial amount of insects scavenged from the forest floor.

If you want to attract these sparrows to your backyard, you can set out millet and black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders.

9. Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers are year-round residents of Delaware, featuring in approximately 16% of the summer birdwatching checklists and 14% of winter ones.

This species of woodpecker is large and brown, distinguished by black spots and a noticeable white patch visible on their rump during flight. Male members also sport a red patch at the back of the neck.

Depending on their region of origin, Northern Flickers can have red or yellow flashes in their wings and tail. The ones with red shafts inhabit the west, while those with yellow shafts are found in the east.

Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus Dimensions:

  • Length: 11.0-12.2 inches (28-31 cm)
  • Weight: 3.9-5.6 ounces (110-160 g)
  • Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 inches (42-51 cm)

You can observe Northern Flickers throughout the US during the entire year, and in Canada in the summer. Those breeding in Canada migrate southward when winter approaches.

Their diet primarily consists of ants and beetles, but they also consume fruits and seeds. They are often seen on the ground using their curved bill to dig for food.

If you’d like to lure Northern Flickers to your backyard, consider providing suet. Besides Northern Flickers, there are also other woodpecker species in Delaware that you may see visiting your feeders.

10. House Sparrow

House Sparrows, a species introduced to Delaware, can be seen year-round within the state. These non-migratory birds appear in 21% of summer birdwatching checklists and 16% of winter ones.

The introduction of House Sparrows has been a considerable success, and they are now among the most frequently observed birds. Sporting heads of gray and brown with white cheeks, a back cloaked in black and brown, and gray bellies, they’re quite a sight.

Scientific Name: Passer domesticus Measurements:

  • Length: 5.9-6.7 inches (15-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.1 ounces (27-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 inches (19-25 cm)

House Sparrows have made their homes across the US and southern Canada, staying put throughout the year. They can often be found in close proximity to houses and buildings, and have a tame demeanor to the point of possibly eating directly from your hand.

These birds mostly feed on grains and seeds, along with discarded food. Despite being a non-native species and sometimes viewed as pests, they are a common sight in backyards, even without any bird feeders.

To entice House Sparrows to your backyard feeders, provide a variety of birdseed, such as millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.

11. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroats are primarily observed during their breeding period in Delaware, which runs from April to October. They make an appearance in roughly 38% of summer birdwatching checklists.

These petite songbirds display a brownish hue on their backs and a striking yellow color underneath, along with long tails. The males are easily recognized by the black masks that cover their faces. The yellow’s intensity can fluctuate depending on their geographical location, with some parts underneath even exhibiting an olive shade.

Scientific Name: Geothlypis trichas Measurements:

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 ounces (9-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 inches (15-19 cm)

Common Yellowthroats spend their summer breeding season over much of North America, excluding Alaska and northern Canada. Some choose to stay throughout the year in the Gulf Coast and Pacific Southwest regions, before migrating south for winter.

These birds typically inhabit marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields, residing within the shelter of dense, tangled vegetation.

If you want to attract Common Yellowthroats to spacious backyards, you should consider dense vegetation and native plants that attract insects.

The Common Yellowthroat is just one type of warbler that you can spot in Delaware. There are many more species, each with captivating songs that you can enjoy and learn from.

12. Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhees are observable in Delaware throughout the year, though they are more frequently sighted during the breeding season. They feature in about 22% of summer birdwatching checklists and in 6% of those compiled in the winter.

The Eastern Towhee, a notably large sparrow comparable in size to a Robin, is a sight to behold with its black head, throat, and back, reddish flanks, lengthy tail, and white belly in males. The female counterparts resemble the males but display a brown hue instead of black.

Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus Measurements:

  • Length: 6.8-8.2 inches (17.3-20.8 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-1.8 ounces (32-52 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-11.0 inches (20-28 cm)

Eastern Towhees are year-round residents in the southeastern United States. However, their northern counterparts migrate southwards during winter.

Eastern Towhees are commonly found foraging in underbrush or along the fringes of forests and thickets.

Their nests are typically ground-based, tucked away amidst fallen leaves. The nests are constructed using twigs, bark, and leaves, and lined with soft grass and animal fur. The Eastern Towhee can lay up to six eggs, which hatch in just under two weeks, and it takes the fledglings about the same amount of time to leave the nest.

If you wish to attract Eastern Towhees to your backyard, consider maintaining overgrown borders and placing platform feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and millet.

13. Brown-headed Cowbird – Female

Brown-headed Cowbirds are predominantly sighted in Delaware from March to August, during the summer months, as reflected in 25% of summer birdwatching checklists. Yet, some persist through winter, making appearances in about 6% of winter checklists.

Females of this species are overall brown with a slightly streaked appearance, whereas the larger males boast black bodies, brown heads, and brief tails.

Scientific Name: Molothrus ater Measurements:

  • Length: 7.6-8.7 inches (19-22 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.8 ounces (42-50 g)
  • Wingspan: 14.2 inches (36 cm)

Brown-headed Cowbirds are year-round residents in the eastern and southern US states as well as along the Pacific Coast. However, those breeding in northern and western US states, along with Canada, migrate southwards for winter.

This species is often seen as a nuisance due to its parasitic nature. Brown-headed Cowbirds are known to destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds, replacing them with their own for the unsuspecting host bird to raise their offspring.

14. Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrows are frequently sighted in Delaware during the summer months, specifically from April to October, which is their breeding season. Even though a few can be seen year-round, they are most common during these warmer months, appearing in 25% of summer bird-watching checklists.

Chipping Sparrows are svelte, long-tailed birds that boast a greyish underbelly and a back streaked with brown and black. They are recognized by their rusty crown and black stripe running through their eye line. During winter, their colors tend to be more muted.

Scientific Name: Spizella passerina Measurements:

  • Length: 4.7-5.9 inches (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 ounces (11-16 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 inches (21 cm)

Chipping Sparrows breed in the US and Canada during summer, after which they migrate to warmer regions such as Mexico and Florida for the winter. Some choose to remain in southern states all year round.

These birds can often be found in small groups on open ground, and they are no strangers to backyard feeders where they enjoy a variety of birdseed.

To draw Chipping Sparrows to your backyard, you can offer seeds or cracked corn on easily accessible feeders like hoppers or platform types.

15. House Wren

From April to October, House Wrens are a common sight in Delaware, making their presence known in approximately 28% of bird-watchers’ summer checklists before they take flight towards the south for winter.

These petite birds are modestly adorned with brown plumage, featuring darker bars on their wings and tails, complemented by a lighter-toned throat. They often exhibit their tails in an uplifted stance.

Scientific Name: Troglodytes aedon Measurements:

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 ounces (10-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9 inches (15 cm)

In summer, House Wrens breed across the United States and southern parts of Canada, later migrating towards southern US territories and Mexico to escape the winter chill.

These tiny birds are frequently seen in open woodlands, parks, and backyards, zealously hopping about within tangled undergrowth and along low-hanging branches with their tails raised. They often pause their energetic frolicking to belt out their joyous melody.

Despite their small stature, House Wrens are undeniably formidable when it comes to securing the most desirable nesting sites. They’re known to boldly confront larger bird species, and in their pursuit of an optimal nesting location, they have been observed ousting eggs or young birds from an appealing site.

To attract these lively creatures to your backyard, consider establishing piles of brush or installing a nest box for them to inhabit.

16. Field Sparrow

Field Sparrows are a year-round sight in Delaware, but their presence is more notable from March to October during the breeding season. Bird-watchers’ checklists show them in 15% of summer reports and 4% of winter observations.

These diminutive avians are distinguished by their slender brown bodies streaked with black, accompanied by a gray underside and head. Their crowns have a reddish hue, and their beaks are pink.

Scientific Name: Spizella pusilla Measurements:

  • Length: 4.7-5.9 inches (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 ounces (11-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9 inches (20 cm)

Field Sparrows inhabit eastern US states all year round, but those breeding in the Midwest embark on a journey southward to escape winter’s grip.

During the breeding season, spotting Field Sparrows is an easier task since the males engage in melodious songs from their perches in the early morning. Otherwise, they peacefully feast on weeds and seeds and can easily go unnoticed due to their preference for deserted fields and their shy demeanor.

Field Sparrows’ nesting habits involve building their nests on the ground for their first brood, then incrementally higher as the breeding season advances. Their nests are fashioned from grass, and they can lay up to five eggs that take approximately two weeks to hatch. From there, it takes merely a week for the fledglings to leave the nest.

To allure Field Sparrows to your backyard, provide a feast of cracked corn, hulled sunflower seeds, and millet.

17. Great-crested Flycatcher

From mid-April to September, the breeding season of Great Crested Flycatchers can be observed in Delaware. They are marked down in 24% of summer bird-spotting checklists.

With a back cloaked in brown, a yellow belly, and a gray throat, Great Crested Flycatchers are quite a sight. Additionally, their wing and tail feathers display a reddish tint. Notably, their crests aren’t particularly prominent.

Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus Dimensions:

  • Length: 6.7-8.3 inches (17-21 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.4 ounces (27-40 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.4 inches (34 cm)

These birds occupy much of eastern North America for breeding, and when winter comes, they migrate to southern Florida, southern Mexico, and Central America.

From their high perches in the woods, they patiently wait for large flying insects, like butterflies, grasshoppers, moths, wasps, and spiders. These birds can be spotted in mixed woodlands, along the boundaries of open areas, parks, tree-bordered neighborhoods, or even on man-made structures such as fenceposts. Aside from insects, they are also known to consume berries and small fruits.

To invite Great Crested Flycatchers into your backyard, consider planting native species to draw in insects, or leave piles of brush. Planting berry-bearing plants can also be helpful, and installing a nest box can provide them a welcoming habitat as they’re known to readily inhabit such spaces.

18. Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes can be sighted in Delaware all year round, with a surge in their population during migration periods. They show up on 19% of spring checklists and make a higher appearance in 27% of fall checklists.

These pudgy songbirds display a grayish-brown color on their backside, while their underparts are predominantly whitish, with their heads appearing darker.

Scientific Name: Sayornis phoebe Measurements:

  • Length: 5.5-6.7 inches (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.7 ounces (16-21 g)
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11.0 inches (26-28 cm)

Eastern Phoebes are birds of migration, breeding in the northeastern and central parts of the United States, extending into Canada. They then migrate towards the southeastern US states and Mexico for winter. Some birds may stick around throughout the year, particularly in the southern regions of their range.

Usually solitary, Eastern Phoebes frequent serene woodlands, often seen wagging their tails while perched low rather than in pairs or groups.

As they belong to the flycatcher family, flying insects constitute a large portion of their diet. However, they also consume spiders, other insects, small fruit, and seeds. They commonly build nests made of mud and grass on bridges, barns, or houses.

Lure Eastern Phoebes to your backyard by installing a nest box or planting native berry-producing plants.

19. Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings are noticeable in Delaware throughout the year, albeit they are more prevalent during their breeding period. They figure in 14% of the state’s summer checklists and 2% of the winter ones.

These graceful social creatures present a light brown hue on their heads, chests, and crests, which gradually transitions into a gray color on their backs, wings, and tails. Their bellies are predominantly light yellow, brightening towards the tail. They possess a narrow black mask that swathes their eyes and a vivid red coloration on the tips of their wings.

Scientific Name: Bombycilla cedrorum Measurements:

  • Length: 5.5-6.7 inches (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1 ounces (32 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 inches (22-30 cm)

Cedar Waxwings are resident birds in the northern half of the United States throughout the year. Those breeding in Canada migrate southwards to the US for the winter.

Their calls are high-pitched, and they can usually be found in areas populated with berry bushes, in woodlands, and near streams.

To attract Cedar Waxwings to your backyard, consider planting native trees and shrubs that bear small fruit such as serviceberry, dogwood, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn. Additionally, you can try setting out fruit on platform feeders.

20. Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrashers are visible in Delaware throughout the year, although they primarily appear from April through October. They feature in 13% of the region’s summer checklists and are mentioned in 1% of winter listings.

Comparable in size to robins, Brown Thrashers are large songbirds distinguished by their elongated forms. Their back feathers sport a brown color, while their chests and bellies showcase white streaks. Their faces, tinted in a shade of gray, house bright yellow eyes.

Scientific Name: Toxostoma rufum Dimensions:

  • Length: 9.1-11.8 inches (23-30 cm)
  • Weight: 2.1-3.1 ounces (61-89 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 inches (29-32 cm)

Brown Thrashers are inhabitants of central and eastern North America. The birds situated in the southeastern parts of their range are year-round dwellers, while those residing farther north migrate south when winter arrives.

Although sizable, Brown Thrashers can be elusive due to their preference for thickets and dense shrubbery. They can, however, be discerned by the rustling sounds they produce when foraging through leaf litter and soil in their quest for insects. In addition to insects, their diet includes berries, beetles, and flying insects they catch mid-air.

As some of North America’s most skilled songbirds, Brown Thrashers are known to perform over 1000 distinct song types — one of the highest counts among North American songbirds.

To draw Brown Thrashers to your backyard, consider providing dense cover and shrubs bearing berries. They also have a penchant for gathering fallen seeds located beneath feeders.

21. Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrows are sighted in Delaware throughout the year, featuring in 4% of the region’s summer checklists and 8% of those compiled during winter.

Sporting dark brown feathers on their backs, Swamp Sparrows can be recognized by their rust-hued crowns and wings. They exhibit gray breasts and white throats, while their heads are mostly gray with brown accents on their faces. Notable features include a distinct dark line around their eyes and a yellow-tipped beak.

Scientific Name: Melospiza georgiana Measurements:

  • Length: 4.7-5.9 inches (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-0.8 ounces (15-23 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.5 inches (18-19 cm)

Swamp Sparrows are predominantly found in the eastern regions. They breed in Canada, northeastern and north-central US states before embarking on their migratory journey to the eastern and southern US states, and further south to Mexico.

As their name implies, Swamp Sparrows favor habitats such as wetlands, swamps, bogs, and coastal marshes. Their diet primarily consists of seeds and fruits, particularly during the winter months, and includes a greater proportion of insects in the spring.

The nests of Swamp Sparrows are typically concealed within ground-level vegetation and are crafted from twigs, leaves, and cattails, with an inner lining of grass and other plant matter.

While Swamp Sparrows don’t generally frequent backyards, they might pay a visit during their migration period, especially to yards that offer abundant vegetation and water sources.

22. Marsh Wren

Marsh Wrens can be observed in Delaware mainly during the breeding season, showing up in 18% of the state’s summer bird sightings. They are predominantly seen from May to August, but occasional sightings occur throughout the year.

Resembling other wren species, Marsh Wrens exhibit a brown plumage interspersed with black and white streaks on their back. Their bellies feature a greyish-brown shade, and they sport the characteristic upright tail of the wren family. There is no discernible difference between males and females.

Although they bear a resemblance to Sedge Wrens, they can be differentiated by their lack of shoulder stripes and longer beaks.

Scientific Name: Cistothorus palustris Measurements:

  • Length: 3.9-5.5 inches (10-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 ounces (9-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9 inches (15 cm)

Marsh Wrens undertake their breeding cycle in the northern US and central Canada, thereafter migrating to southern states and Mexico. Some populations residing in the western regions and along the Atlantic Coast may choose to stay put throughout the year. Their migratory routes often take them through the eastern US.

Look for Marsh Wrens in wetland areas, where they can often be seen perched on reeds, using each foot to clutch a different stalk. Though they can be elusive, their distinctive songs resonate among the reeds, particularly at dawn and dusk. Their diet primarily consists of insects and spiders, which they pluck from leaves near the water’s edge.

The nests of Marsh Wrens are meticulously woven from reeds and grasses, creating an enclosed structure with just a small opening at the top.

23. Wood Thrush

Wood Thrushes are often observed in Delaware throughout their breeding period, spanning from April to October, featuring in 15% of the state’s bird-watching logs during this timeframe.

Their peculiar appearance stems from their brown back and the contrast of their white bellies speckled with black spots, lending them a somewhat amusing look. They also sport reddish hues on their crown and upper back.

Scientific Name: Hylocichla mustelina Dimensions:

  • Length: 7.5-8.3 inches (19-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4-1.8 ounces (40-50 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.8-13.4 inches (30-34 cm)

Wood Thrushes undertake a migration journey from the eastern US, flying across the Gulf of Mexico, and settling in Central America—all in a single night.

These birds prefer to stay concealed, ruffling through leaf litter in mature forests as they search for beetles and flies. Their distinctive flute-like song can often be heard echoing through the woods in the spring.

24. Savannah Sparrow

Though Savannah Sparrows are relatively rare in Delaware, they can still be sighted during the winter months, especially between September and May.

Upon a closer look, these brown-feathered birds exhibit a distinct yellow spot near their eye. They also possess short tails and are distinguished by their streaky brown hues.

Scientific Name: Passerculus sandwichensis Dimensions:

  • Length: 4.3-5.9 inches (11-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-1.0 ounces (15-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 inches (20-22 cm)

During the breeding season, Savannah Sparrows inhabit areas across Canada and the US, then migrate to southern parts of the US and Mexico for the colder months.

These sparrows are typically found foraging on the ground in open spaces like grasslands. They hunt for insects and spiders during the breeding season, while their winter diet mainly consists of seeds.

Savannah Sparrows lay up to six eggs in nests made of grass, situated on or near the ground. These eggs take approximately two weeks to hatch, and it takes another one or two weeks for the fledglings to leave the nest.

While they aren’t regular visitors to bird feeders, they may venture into your yard if it contains brush piles or long grass, especially if it’s situated near fields.

25. Brown Creeper

Brown Creepers are primarily observed in Delaware between October and April, appearing in approximately 4% of winter checklists.

These minute songbirds are renowned for their ability to blend into the backdrop of tree trunks due to their brown-streaked backs and white bellies.

Scientific Name: Certhia americana Dimensions:

  • Length: 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 ounces (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 inches (17-20 cm)

Brown Creepers don’t typically migrate, but they do tend to move southwards or from higher to lower elevations during the winter. They inhabit regions ranging from Alaska, southern Canada, northeastern and eastern US states, all the way down to Mexico and Central America. Sometimes, they also venture into central and southeastern states during certain winters.

To catch a glimpse of these diminutive creatures, you’d need to pay close attention to tree trunks in mature woodlands with large trees. That’s where they often forage for insects and larvae concealed within the bark.

Contrary to nuthatches who face downwards, Brown Creepers usually navigate upwards along tree trunks.

Though they don’t actually sing, these songbirds emit a high-pitched call that can help you locate them.

26. Hermit Thrush

During the winter months in Delaware, Hermit Thrushes can be found, appearing in approximately 4% of checklists during this time. These birds exhibit an alert posture, characterized by an upright stance, sturdy bodies, and lengthy tails. Their coloring consists of a brown back and a white underside adorned with markings on the throat and breast.

Scientifically known as Catharus guttatus, Hermit Thrushes measure around 5.5 to 7.1 inches (14-18 cm) in length, weigh between 0.8 to 1.3 ounces (23-37 g), and possess a wingspan of 9.8 to 11.4 inches (25-29 cm). They breed in Canada, the northeastern United States, and the western United States. During migration, they can be observed in central states before seeking winter habitats along the Pacific Coast, southeastern states, and Mexico.

When searching for food, Hermit Thrushes primarily forage on the ground in forest clearings, sifting through the fallen leaves in search of insects. During the winter season, they also include berries in their diet.

While they seldom frequent residential backyards, their somewhat melancholic song can be heard during the spring and summer seasons.

27. Pine Siskin

During the winter months, specifically from October to May, Pine Siskins are frequently observed in Delaware, making up approximately 2% of winter checklists.

Pine Siskins are small finches with a brown coloration, adorned with yellow streaks on their wings and tail. They possess a distinctive forked tail, pointed wings, and a short, pointed bill.

Scientifically known as Spinus pinus, Pine Siskins measure about 4.3 to 5.5 inches (11-14 cm) in length, weigh between 0.4 to 0.6 ounces (12-18 g), and have a wingspan of 7.1 to 8.7 inches (18-22 cm).

These birds can be found throughout the year in pine forests across western states and along the Canadian border. Some individuals also breed in Canada before embarking on their southward migration for the winter season.

Depending on the availability of pine cones, Pine Siskins can be spotted in various regions of North America. As their name implies, they primarily feed on seeds from coniferous trees, but they also consume young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.

To attract Pine Siskins to your backyard, offering thistle and nyjer feeders can be effective. Additionally, they are known to visit feeders containing black oil sunflower seeds and suet.

28. Winter Wren

During the winter season in Delaware, Winter Wrens can be observed, accounting for approximately 3% of recorded checklists. These birds typically begin to arrive in September and some remain until April, with November and December being the optimal months for spotting them.

Winter Wrens are small and plump, featuring a brown plumage with darker barring on their wings, tail, and belly. They possess a lighter stripe above their eyes and keep their short tails held upright. Interestingly, males and females have similar appearances.

Winter Wrens bear a striking resemblance to Pacific Wrens and were once considered the same species. However, they are now classified as distinct species with different songs.

Scientifically known as Troglodytes hiemalis, Winter Wrens measure around 3.1 to 4.7 inches (8-12 cm) in length, weigh approximately 0.3 to 0.4 ounces (8-12 g), and have a wingspan of 4.7 to 6.3 inches (12-16 cm).

During winter, Winter Wrens can be found in eastern US states, while in the summer, they reside in northeastern US states and Canada.

When searching for Winter Wrens, look for them hidden amidst dense undergrowth in forests and even backyards. They sustain themselves by feeding on insects and spiders, foraging through fallen leaves and decaying bark.

The nests of Winter Wrens are skillfully crafted using twigs, moss, and woven grass, forming a rounded structure with a small entrance. They typically lay between 1 to 9 eggs, with an incubation period of approximately two to two and a half weeks, and fledging occurring within the same timeframe.

To attract Winter Wrens to your backyard, consider incorporating native plants and fostering a dense vegetation cover, creating a welcoming habitat for these delightful birds.

29. Purple Finch – Female

During the winter months, Purple Finches are observed in Delaware, beginning their arrival in September and some staying until June. They are recorded in approximately 1% of winter checklists.

Female Purple Finches exhibit a brown-streaked appearance throughout their body, whereas males display reddish-purple heads and breasts, with more brown coloring on their back and wings, and a paler belly. Although they bear some resemblance to House Finches, Purple Finches are distinguished by their deeper reddish hue, particularly on the upper part of their back.

Scientifically known as Haemorhous purpureus, Purple Finches measure around 4.7 to 6.3 inches (12-16 cm) in length, weigh between 0.6 to 1.1 ounces (18-32 g), and possess a wingspan of 8.7 to 10.2 inches (22-26 cm).

These birds breed in Canada and migrate to eastern US states for the winter, but they can be found year-round in the northeastern region and along the Pacific coast.

Purple Finches can typically be spotted in evergreen forests, where they feed on seeds, as well as buds, nectar, and berries.

When it comes to nesting, Purple Finches construct their nests high up in trees using twigs, barks, weeds, and moss. A typical clutch consists of three to five eggs, which are incubated for a period of approximately thirteen days by the female.

To attract Purple Finches to your backyard, providing black oil sunflower seeds can be enticing to these beautiful birds.

30. Louisiana Waterthrush

During the breeding season, Louisiana Waterthrushes can be found in Delaware and are recorded in approximately 2% of summer checklists. They are typically spotted in this area from April to September.

Compared to other warblers, Louisiana Waterthrushes may appear drab in appearance. They exhibit a brown coloration on their upper parts and pale undersides. They have a distinctive white eyebrow stripe and long pink legs.

Scientifically known as Parkesia motacilla, Louisiana Waterthrushes measure around 5.9 to 6.1 inches (15-15.5 cm) in length, weigh approximately 0.6 to 0.8 ounces (18.2-22.9 g), and possess a wingspan of 9.4 to 10.6 inches (24-27 cm).

These birds breed in eastern US states and can be observed in the southeastern region during migration. For the winter season, they migrate to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, returning to their breeding grounds early in the year.

Louisiana Waterthrushes are commonly found along streams and moving water in woodland areas, where they actively hunt for insects, vertebrates, and larvae.

When it comes to nesting, Louisiana Waterthrushes construct their nests along the banks of streams, often hidden among roots or under logs. The nests are made from leaves, pine needles, and other plant materials, firmly held together with mud.

31. White-crowned Sparrow

During the winter season, White-crowned Sparrows can be observed in Delaware, accounting for approximately 1% of winter checklists. These sparrows are spotted in the state from September until May.

White-crowned Sparrows are relatively large sparrows with a grayish coloration. They feature long tails, small bills, and distinctive black and white stripes on their heads.

Scientifically known as Zonotrichia leucophrys, White-crowned Sparrows measure around 5.9 to 6.3 inches (15-16 cm) in length, weigh approximately 0.9 to 1.0 ounce (25-28 g), and possess a wingspan of 8.3 to 9.4 inches (21-24 cm).

These sparrows breed in Alaska and arctic regions of Canada before migrating south to the lower 48 states and Mexico for the winter. However, some individuals may choose to remain along the Pacific Coast and in mountainous areas throughout the year.

White-crowned Sparrows can often be found in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges, and even in yards, where they forage for seeds of weeds and grasses. They also consume fruits such as elderberries and blackberries.

When it comes to nesting, White-crowned Sparrows construct their nests using twigs, grass, moss, and pine needles. The nests are typically situated low to the ground in shrubs or, in tundra regions, directly on the ground. They lay up to seven eggs, which take around two weeks to hatch, and the chicks fledge after approximately nine days.

To attract White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard, providing sunflower seeds can be enticing, and they will also feed on seeds dropped by other birds at the feeders.

32. Rose-breasted Grosbeak – Female

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are frequently observed in Delaware during their migration periods, which occur from April to May and August to October. They can be recorded in up to 8% of checklists during these times.

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and immature males display a brown plumage with prominent streaking and a touch of yellow beneath their wings.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are striking black-and-white birds with black heads and backs, white bellies, and vibrant red breasts. They also exhibit a flash of red beneath their wings.

Scientifically known as Pheucticus ludovicianus, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks measure approximately 7.1 to 8.3 inches (18-21 cm) in length, weigh around 1.4 to 1.7 ounces (39-49 g), and have a wingspan of 11.4 to 13.0 inches (29-33 cm).

These birds breed in northeastern US states, the Midwest, and southern and central Canada. During migration, they can be spotted in southeastern US states. For the winter season, they migrate to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks can be found in various habitats, including forests, parks, and backyards, where they forage for insects, berries, and seeds.

When it comes to nesting, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks construct their nests in the branches of low trees. These nests are made of loosely-formed twigs, grass, and plant materials. They typically lay around five eggs, which take approximately two weeks to hatch. After hatching, both parents take turns incubating the eggs.

To attract Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to your backyard, offering sunflower seeds and peanuts can be enticing for these beautiful birds.

33. Northern Waterthrush

During migration, Northern Waterthrushes can occasionally be spotted in Delaware from April to May and August to October, although they are not particularly common in the region.

Northern Waterthrushes are relatively large birds resembling thrushes. Both males and females share similar characteristics, featuring brown heads with thick, white eyebrows, dark brown backs, and white bellies adorned with pronounced, dark streaking extending from their throats to their rumps.

Scientifically known as Parkesia noveboracensis, Northern Waterthrushes have an average length of 5.75 inches (15 cm), weigh around 0.8 ounces (23 g), and possess a wingspan of approximately 8.75 inches (22 cm).

These birds breed in Canada, Alaska, and northeastern US states before embarking on their migrations to wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Some individuals may opt to stay in Central and South America throughout the year.

Northern Waterthrushes can often be found in dark, woody swamps, thickets, and bogs. They are particularly attracted to areas with still or sluggish water within forests. During the winter season in tropical regions, they tend to inhabit mangroves.

These waterthrushes are adept at both aquatic and terrestrial foraging. Their long legs enable them to walk on shallow water as they search for prey, which includes water beetles, mosquitoes, slugs, crustaceans, snails, and occasionally small fish. They also feed on caterpillars, moths, and ants, often finding them under leaves.

34. Swainson’s Thrush

Swainson’s Thrushes, typically noticed in Delaware during the months of May and from September to October, appear in approximately 4% of birdwatcher records during migration periods.

These medium-sized thrushes showcase a light underside peppered with spots, while their backs are adorned with a brown shade.

Scientifically known as Catharus ustulatus, these birds measure between 6.3-7.5 inches (16-19 cm) in length and weigh between 0.8-1.6 ounces (23-45 g). They boast a wingspan that ranges from 11.4 to 12.2 inches (29-31 cm).

In their natural habitat, Swainson’s Thrushes can be found in forests, where they scavenge along the forest floor amidst fallen leaves for insects during breeding season. Their diet also includes red fruits such as blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, and sumac. Ants form a significant part of their diet, and they also feed other insects to their young.

In the contiguous United States, these birds are mainly sighted during migration in spring and fall. However, they breed in the regions of Canada and Alaska before migrating to Central and South America to spend the winter.

To attract Swainson’s Thrushes to your backyard, consider installing birdbaths at ground level and providing ample tree and shrub cover.

35. American Tree Sparrow

The American Tree Sparrow makes its presence felt in Delaware during the winter months, starting as early as October and often extending until May. However, the best chance to observe them falls between November and March. They feature in about 1% of winter birdwatching logs.

Physically, these birds present as robust, brown-streaked creatures with long tails, distinguished by their rust-colored crowns, gray faces, and distinct rust-tinted eye line.

Scientifically classified as Spizelloides arborea, these birds measure around 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length, weigh between 0.5 to 1.0 ounces (13-28 g), and have a wingspan of roughly 9.4 inches (24 cm).

A species that spans the North American continent, the American Tree Sparrow spends its summers in Canada and winters in the US. Their breeding grounds lie in the northernmost parts of Canada and Alaska, with their winter migration extending to most US states, excluding the areas along the Pacific and Gulf Coasts.

These birds can be spotted foraging in small groups amidst weedy fields or underneath bird feeders.

Their nests, typically located on or near the ground, are built from twigs, grass, and moss. They typically lay around five eggs, which hatch in just under two weeks, with the fledglings taking just over a week to venture out of the nest.

To draw American Tree Sparrows into your backyard, consider stocking your platform feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and millet. They also enjoy eating seeds that have fallen to the ground from tube feeders.

How Frequently Brown Birds Are Spotted In Delaware In Summer And Winter

Checklists serve as an excellent tool for determining the types of birds commonly sighted in your local area. By consulting these compilations, you can discover which brown avian species are most commonly reported on ebird checklists during the summer and winter seasons in Delaware.

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