38 Brown Birds In North Dakota (ID Guide, Pictures)

Since they don’t always have as many distinguishing characteristics as their brighter-colored counterparts, brown birds or LBJ (little brown jobs) can be difficult to identify.

But don’t be afraid, because this guide will tell you whether a sparrow, wren, or any other brown bird you see is female or male. Also look up what brown birds are seen in North Dakota throughout the year.

This guide lists the most common to least common brown birds that visit your yard or roam through the woods and fields in North Dakota, based on checklists supplied by birdwatchers on ebird.

Brown Birds In North Dakota By Season

House Sparrows, House Finches, Northern Flickers, and Northern Cardinals are all found in North Dakota all year.

American Robin, Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, Chipping Sparrow, House Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Savannah Sparrows Eastern Phoebe and Great Crested Flycatcher may be found in North Dakota during the summer.

Pine Siskin, American Tree Sparrow, Purple Finch, Brown Creeper: Brown Birds in North Dakota during the Winter

White-throated Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Waterthrush, Hermit Thrush, and Wood Thrush are among the birds that migrate through North Dakota.

White-throated Sparrows, Swainson’s Thrushs, White-crowned Sparrows, Northern Waterthrushes, and Hermit Thrushes are among the birds seen in North Dakota during migration.

Spotted Towhee, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Carolina Wren, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Bewick’s Wren are some of the rare or accidental species found in North Dakota.

38 Brown Birds In North Dakota

1. American Robin

During the breeding season, from March to November, North Dakota residents may frequently see American Robins, although some birds may stay all year. Bird watchers in the state report them on 50% of summer and 6% of winter checklists.

On lawns, American Robins eat earthworms and are a common sight. Their breasts are red or orange, and their heads and backs are black. In the winter, they like to roost in trees, and from spring forward, you’re more likely to see them in your yard.

  • 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)

In the lower 48 states and Canada’s west coast, American Robins may be found. During the winter, those that breed in Canada and Alaska head south.

From woodlands, forests, and mountains to fields, parks, and lawns, American Robins may be found in a variety of environments. Earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit are among the foods they consume.

Sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms are all good ways to attract American Robins to your yard. Food should be scattered on the ground, rather than in a platform feeder. Also, juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood are some of the berries-producing native plants to try.

2. Mourning Dove

During the breeding season, Mourning Doves can be found in North Dakota, and they appear on 52% of checklists at this time. From April through October, they’re most commonly seen, although some may be seen all year in the east.

Mourning Doves are tiny-headed birds with fat bodies and long tails. The wings are black with brown specks, and they have a delicate brown color. Males weigh somewhat more than females.

  • Zenaida macroura
  • Length: 9.1-13.4 in (23-34 cm)
  • Weight: 3.0 -6.0 oz (96-170 g)
  • Wingspan: 17.7 in (45 cm)

Throughout the rest of the lower 48 states all year, Mourning Doves are ubiquitous, but they may migrate north after breeding from southern Canada and central Canada.

In grasslands, fields, and backyards, Mourning Doves may be seen perched on telephone wires foraging for seeds on the ground. Open areas and woodland borders are also common places to find them.

By scattering millet on the ground or platform feeders, you may attract Mourning Doves to your property. Black sunflower seeds, nyjer, broken maize, and peanut hearts will be eaten as well.

3. House Sparrow

In North Dakota, House Sparrows are an invasive species that may be seen all year. They are seen in 21% of summer checklists and 33% of winter checklists, and they do not migrate.

Another imported species that has succeeded well is House Sparrows, which are now one of the most common birds. Their heads are gray and brown, with white cheeks. They have black and brown backs, as well as gray bellies.

  • Passer domesticus
  • Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz (27-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)

Throughout the year, House Sparrows can be found in the United States and southern Canada. They can be quite tame and might even eat out of your hand if you spot them near houses and buildings.

Grain and seed, as well as discarded food, are the mainstays of House Sparrows. Because they are non-native, they may be considered a pest, but if you do not feed them, they can be found in gardens.

Most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds, may be used to attract House Sparrows to your backyard feeders.

4. American Goldfinch – Female

From May to September, American Goldfinches are mostly found in North Dakota’s north, although they may be seen across the rest of the state all year. Summer checklists include them 34% of the time, while winter checklists include them 8%.

In the spring, males of American Goldfinches are striking with their brilliant yellow and black plumage. In the winter, both sexes are duller brown.

  • 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)

Most of North America is home to American Goldfinches, who are permanent residents. Breeding birds, on the other hand, migrate to southern states for the winter in Canada and the Midwest.

Foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants, they can be found in weedy fields and overgrown areas. Suburbs, parks, and backyards are also common places for them.

Plant thistles and milkweed in your yard to attract American Goldfinches. They’ll eat sunflower seed and nyjer seed at the majority of the bird feeders they visit.

5. Song Sparrow

Song Sparrows are found on 31% of summer checklists in North Dakota during the breeding season, which lasts from April to October.

Song sparrows, while not as gorgeous as other backyard birds, sing to attract mates in the spring and summer with their practically constant song.

  • 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 may be found in the northern United States throughout the year. During the winter, those that breed in Canada go to southern states.

They’re frequently seen perched on a low shrub, singing, in open, shrubby, and damp environments. They’re often seen at home feeders.

Beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms are among the insects and plants that Song Sparrows consume. Buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice are among the foods they’ll eat.

By placing black oil sunflower seeds, crushed corn, and nyjer on platform feeders, you can attract Song Sparrows to your yard.

You may understand their songs and discover interesting information to help you identify them more simply. A considerable number of sparrows can be found in North Dakota.

6. Brown-headed Cowbird – Female

Throughout the summer, Brown-headed Cowbirds are most commonly seen in North Dakota and account for 40% of checklists. From April to August, they spend the breeding season here, although some may stay all year.

Brown on the top and sides, with streaks, female Brown-headed Cowbirds are brown. With black bodies, brown heads, and short tails, male Brown-headed Cowbirds are bigger than females.

  • Molothrus ater
  • Length: 76.3-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.8 oz (42-50 g)
  • Wingspan: 14.2 in (36 cm)

In the Eastern United States, southern United States, and along the Pacific Coast, Brown-headed Cowbirds stay throughout the year. Nonetheless, for the winter, those that breed in northern and western states migrate south.

Since they are parasite birds that plunder the eggs of smaller songbirds in order to lay their own eggs in the nest and have their chicks fostered, they are frequently considered a annoyance.

7. Chipping Sparrow

During the breeding season, Chipping Sparrows are seen in 30% of summer checklists in North Dakota. They arrive in April and depart in October.

The slender, long-tailed Chipping Sparrow has a grayish belly and a brown and black streaked back. The crown is rusty, and the eyes are black. Their colors are muted in the winter.

  • 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)

Before flying to Mexico and Florida for the winter, Chipping Sparrows spend their summer breeding in the United States and Canada. In the southern United States, some endure all year.

Chipping Sparrows may be found in small flocks on open ground, and they will come to feed on a variety of seed in your yard.

Seeds or broken corn on open feeders, such as hoppers and platforms, will attract Chipping Sparrows to your yard.

8. House Finch – Female

All year, you can see House Finches in North Dakota. They can be found in 12% of summer checklists and 19% of winter checklists, despite not migrating.

Male House Finches have a red head and breast, while the remainder of their bodies are brown-streaked. Females House Finches are brown-streaked all over.

  • Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)

House Finches were first introduced to eastern US states, but have done extremely well and are now pushing out the Purple Finch.

Parks, farms, forest borders, and backyard feeders are all places to look for them in noisy clusters that are difficult to miss.

Black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders can attract house finches to your backyard feeders.

Brown finches may be found in North Dakota, but they aren’t the only kind.

9. Northern Flicker

North Dakota is home to Northern Flickers all year, but they are most frequent during the summer and spring and fall migrations. Summer checklists have 16%, winter checklists have 5%, and migration checklists have up to 47% of the specimens.

In flight, large brown woodpeckers with black markings on their rump and a red nape of the neck, Northern Flickers are enormous brown woodpeckers.

Depending on where they originate, northern flickers have red or yellow flashes in their wings and tail. The west is home to red-shafted birds, whereas the east is home to yellow-shafted birds.

  • 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)

Throughout the year, Northern Flickers may be seen across the United States, as well as Canada. During the winter, those that breed in Canada go south.

Ants, beetles, fruits, and seeds are the primary foods of Northern Flickers, who may be seen digging with their curved bill on the ground.

Suet attracts Northern Flickers to your yard. Other kinds of woodpeckers may be seen in North Dakota, and they will visit your feeders.

10. House Wren

The breeding season is spent in North Dakota, and House Wrens show up on 22% of summer checklists. From May through October, they can be viewed here before going south for the winter.

House Wrens have darker barred wings and tails, as well as a paler throat, and are tiny nondescript brown birds. Their tails are frequently upright.

  • Troglodytes aedon
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (10-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9 in (15 cm)

Before heading to southern US states and Mexico for winter, House Wrens spend their summer breeding in the United States and southern Canada.

House Wrens are common in backyards, parks, and open woods foraging for insects and spiders. They’re frequently seen energetically leaping over tangles and low branches with their tails up, pausing to sing their cheery song every now and then.

When it comes to finding the best nest holes, House Wrens are ferocious for their size. Bigger birds will be harassed on a regular basis, with eggs or nestlings being dragged away from a preferred nesting location.

By leaving piles of brush or putting up a nest box, you can attract House Wrens to your yard.

11. Cedar Waxwing

During the breeding season, Cedar Waxwings may be found in North Dakota in abundance, but they also stay throughout the year. Summer checklists include them in 14% of the time, while winter checklists include them in 4%.

The head, chest, and crest of Cedar Waxwings are pale brown, while the back, wings, and tail are gray. These social birds are elegant.

Towards the tail, their belly is bright yellow, with a pale yellow undertail. Their eyes are hidden by a small black mask, and the wingtips are crimson.

  • Bombycilla cedrorum
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)

The northern half of the US is home to Cedar Waxwings all year. Canadian breeders migrate to the southern United States for the winter.

Berry bushes, woodlands, and streams are all home to these high-pitched callers.

Plant native trees and shrubs with little fruit such as serviceberry, dogwood, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn to attract cedar waxwings to your property. Fruit feeders on platforms are another option.

12. Common Yellowthroat

During the breeding season, Common Yellowthroats are seen in North Dakota, and 22% of summer checklists include them. From mid-April to October, they can be found.

Brownish on the back and brilliant yellow below, with long tails, Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds. Over their faces, the males wear black masks. The yellows may be more olive in parts below, and the brightness of the yellows varies geographically.

  • Geothlypis trichas
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 oz (9-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)

Except for Alaska and northern Canada, the majority of Yellowthroats spend the summer breeding across North America. In the Gulf Coast and Pacific Southwest, some may be found all year. During the winter, they go south.

Yellowthroats are commonly seen in marshy or wetland regions and among thick, tangled vegetation. They may be found in marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields.

In order to attract insects, attract Common Yellowthroats to large yards with thick vegetation and native plants.

In North Dakota, you may observe Common Yellowthroats, but there are several more types of warblers. They have songs that you may listen to and learn, which are both fascinating.

13. Savannah Sparrow

From April to November, you may see Savannah Sparrows in North Dakota during the breeding season. Summer checklists include them in 16% of the time.

This brown bird has a unique yellow patch around its eye if you get close enough to a Savannah Sparrow. Their short tails and streaky brown coloring are also present.

  • Passerculus sandwichensis
  • Length: 4.3-5.9 in (11-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-1.0 oz (15-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in (20-22 cm)

Before heading to the southern US states and Mexico for the winter, Savannah Sparrows breed in Canada and the United States.

During the breeding season, Savannah Sparrows may be seen foraging for insects and spiders on the ground in open areas like grassland, as well as seeds in the winter.

Savannah Sparrow nests are made of grass and are located on or near the ground. They lay six eggs, which take two weeks to hatch and another week or so for the juveniles to fledge.

If you maintain brush piles, have long grass, and live near fields, these birds may visit your yard on a regular basis.

14. Pine Siskin

The Pine Siskins spend the winter in North Dakota, but during migration, they may be seen in both the east and west regions of the state. They are found in up to 11% of these checklists between September and May, and they’re most commonly sighted here.

Little brown finches with yellow streaks on the wings and tail, Pine Siskins are a tiny species. With a small pointed beak, they have a split tail and pointed wings.

  • Spinus Pinus
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)

Throughout the pine woods of the western United States and along the Canadian Border, Pine Siskins stay throughout the year. Before heading south for winter, some breed in Canada.

They may be found across most of North America, depending on the pine cone crops. Pine Siskins are primarily seed eaters, but they also consume young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds. Their name implies that they prefer coniferous seeds.

Thistle and nyjer feeders, as well as black oil sunflower seeds and suet, attract Pine Siskins to your backyards.

15. White-throated Sparrow

During the spring and fall migrations, White-throated Sparrows may be found in North Dakota. They’re most commonly seen from April to May and September to October, when they appear on up to 37% of checklists.

The black and white striped head, bright white throat, and yellow between the eye and beak distinguish White-throated Sparrows. Brown on their backs, with a gray underbelly.

  • Zonotrichia albicollis
  • Length: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz (22-32 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm)

White-throated Sparrows breed mainly in Canada before wintering south to the United States, including eastern and southern states as well as the Pacific Coast.

In woodlands and forests, as well as along the borders of wooded regions, White-throated Sparrows can be found in large flocks on the ground.

Grass and weed seeds, as well as fruits like grape, sumac, mountain ash, blueberry, blackberry, and dogwood, are the major foods of White-throated Sparrows. In the summer, they will eat a variety of insects from the forest floor.

Millet and black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders attract White-throated Sparrows to your yard.

16. Brown Thrasher

From April through September, Brown Thrashers are most commonly seen in North Dakota and account for 10% of summer checklists.

Large songbirds with long proportions, brown thrashers are a sight to behold. They’re roughly the same size as a robin. Their backs are brown, and their chests and bellies are streaked with white. Their eyes are large and yellow, and their skin is gray.

  • Toxostoma rufum
  • Length: 9.1-11.8 in (23-30 cm)
  • Weight: 2.1-3.1 oz (61-89 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in (29-32 cm)

In central and eastern North America, the Brown Thrashers live. Birds in the southeast of their range stay here all year, while birds farther north migrate south for the winter.

The Brown Thrashers, who spend much of their time in thickets and shrubs, are difficult to detect for their size. They may be heard scrounging about in the leaf litter and soil, hunting for insects while they eat berries, beetles, and flying creatures from the air.

These most skilled songbirds sing over 1000 distinct song types, making them one of the biggest in North America.

Dense cover and berry bushes will attract Brown Thrashers to your yard, where they will pick fallen seeds from beneath feeders.

17. Marsh Wren

During the breeding season, Marsh Wrens can be found in North Dakota, and they are seen on 10% of summer checklists. They come as early as April, and some may stay until November, but May through October are the optimum times to see them.

The back of Marsh Wrens is brown with black and white streaks. They have the wren’s distinctive upright tail, which is grayish brown on the bottom. Males and femen look similar.

Their shoulders are striped like Sedge Wrens, but they have larger beaks and lack stripes.

  • Cistothorus palustris
  • Length: 3.9-5.5 in (10-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9 in (15 cm)

Before moving to southern states and Mexico, Marsh Wrens breed in northern US states and Central Canada. Some birds, especially those in the west and along the Atlantic Coast, may stay year-round. During migration in the eastern United States, you may see them.

Marsh Wrens may be found in shallow water, with each foot grabbing a distinct stalk of reeds. They’re difficult to hear, but listen for singing among the reeds at dawn and dusk. Insects and spiders, which they capture off the ground on leaves near the water, are devoured.

Except for a small entrance in the top, Marsh Wren nests are totally enclosed. They’re made of intertwined reeds and grasses.

18. Swainson’s Thrush

From mid-April to June and mid-August to October, Swainson’s Thrushes may be found in North Dakota. During the spring, they are seen in 30% of checklists, whereas during the fall, they are only seen in 9%.

Medium-sized thrushes with brown on the back and white below, Swainson’s Thrushes are a popular species.

  • Catharus ustulatus
  • Length: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.6 oz (23-45 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-12.2 in (29-31 cm)

During the breeding season, Swainson’s Thrushes may be found foraging on the ground in leaf litter for insects and red fruits like blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, and sumac. Other insects will be fed to nestlings, and ants make up a portion of their diet.

Swainson’s Thrushes breed breeds in Canada and Alaska before flying into Central and South America for winter, and they are only seen during migration in the spring and fall of the lower 48.

Ground-level birdbaths and the provision of tree and shrub cover will attract Swainson’s Thrushes to your garden.

19. Spotted Towhee

In North Dakota, Spotted Towhees are regarded as a uncommon or accidental species, however they may be seen mostly from May to October in the west of the state.

In males, Spotted Towhees are black on the head, neck, and back, while in females they are brown. Males and females have white bellies, with white markings on their wings and backs. They also have long tails.

  • Pipilo maculatus
  • Length: 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz (33-49 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.0 in (28 cm)

During breeding, Spotted Towhees move south to Texas from their western habitat.

Spotted Towhees, which include beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, wasps, and bees among their insect prey species, may be seen on the ground in thick tangles of shrubs. Acorns, berries, and seeds are also eaten by them.

If you leave overgrown boundaries, attracted Spotted Towhees will visit platform feeders or ground feeders for Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Hulled Sunflower seeds, Cracked Corn, Millet, and Milo.

20. Rose-breasted Grosbeak – Female

During the breeding season, North Dakota sees Rose-breasted Grosbeaks on 7% of its summer checklists, and they’re spotted. They arrive in May and begin migrating in October.

Brown with extensive streaking and a flash of yellow beneath the wings, adult females of the White-breasted Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and immature males.

Male rose-breasted grosbeaks have black heads and backs, white bellies, and red breasts. They are black-and-white birds with a black head. Their wings have a crimson hue to them as well.

  • Pheucticus ludovicianus
  • Length: 7.1-8.3 in (18-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4-1.7 oz (39-49 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-13.0 in (29-33 cm)

Northern US states, the Midwest, and southern and central Canada are home to Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. They are frequently spotted throughout summer in Florida and Texas. Winter is spent in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks forage for insects, berries, and seeds in woodlands, parks, and backyards.

The branches of a low tree are home to Rose-breasted Grosbeak nests. Twigs, grass, and plants are loosely formed and used to make them. It takes two weeks for the eggs to hatch, assuming they are laid at the same time. The eggs are then incubated alternately by both parents.

Sunflower seeds and peanuts are a great way to attract Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to your yard.

21. White-crowned Sparrow

During the spring and autumn migrations, White-crowned Sparrows can be found in North Dakota, with up to 26% of checklists containing them at this time.

White-crowned Sparrows are huge grayish birds with lengthy tails, tiny beaks, and loud black and white stripes on their heads.

  • Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm)

Before going south for winter, White-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and northern Canada. However, others may live along the Pacific coast and in the highlands of the west throughout the year.

White-crowned Sparrows forage for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit like elderberries and blackberries in weedy fields, along roadides, forest borders, and on property.

Sunflower seeds will attract White-crowned Sparrows to your yard, and they will consume seeds fed to other birds at the feeders as well.

22. Field Sparrow

In North Dakota, field Sparrows are found in 7% of summer checklists. Throughout the breeding season, which runs from late April to mid-October, they may be seen primarily in the state’s south and west.

Little, thin brown-backed birds with black streaks are known as Field Sparrows. Their heads, as well as their undersides and beaks, are gray. They have a crimson crown and pink beak.

  • Spizella pusilla
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (11-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9 in (20 cm)

Eastern US states have Field Sparrows throughout the year, although those that breed in the Midwest migrate to the south for winter.

The males will sing from a perch in the early mornings, making it easier to spot Field Sparrows during breeding season. They prefer abandoned fields and are shy, so they quietly feed on weeds and seeds and may be missed.

Cracked corn, hulled sunflower seeds, and millet are great attractions for Field Sparrows in your yard.

23. American Tree Sparrow

The northern limit of the winter range of American Tree Sparrows is North Dakota. During the spring and fall migrations in March and October, however, their numbers increase.

During the winter, they appear in about 2% of checklists, but during migration, they appear in 10% to 20%.

Long-tailed brown-streaked birds with a rusty cap, gray faces, and a rusty eye line, American Tree sparrows are plump birds.

Long-tailed brown-streaked birds with a rusty cap, gray face, and a rusty eye line, American Tree sparrows are long-tailed brown-streaked birds.

  • Spizelloides arborea
  • Length: 5.5 in (14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-1.0 oz (13-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.4 in (24 cm)

In the United States, winter is spent with American Tree Sparrows, whereas summer is spent with Canadian Tree Sparrows. Except along the Pacific and Gulf Coasts, they breed in the far north of Canada and migrate to most US states for the winter.

In weedy fields and beneath bird feeders, American Tree Sparrows may be seen foraging in small flocks.

The nests of American Tree Sparrows are made of twigs, grass, and moss and are usually found on or near the ground. They placed five eggs, which take roughly two weeks to hatch and a week for the youngsters to fledge.

Black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and millet are all great choices for attracting American Tree Sparrows to your platform feeders. Tube feeders’ dropped seeds are also eaten by them.

24. Northern Cardinal – Female

North Dakota is home to the Northern Cardinals, who can be found throughout the east. Summer and winter checklists have a 3% chance of containing them.

The brown color of the females Northern Cardinals, as well as their sharp brown crest and crimson highlights, makes them a bit more visible.

Yet, against a white winter backdrop, the vivid red male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is an amazing sight. Red crests and beaks are also seen on these birds.

  • Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz (42-48 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in (25-31 cm)

The eastern part of the US is home to Northern Cardinals, while some southern states reach as far west as Arizona.

Northern Cardinals feed on seeds, fruit, and insects in dense vegetation. While defending their territories, Northern Cardinals will occasionally assault their own reflection.

Feeders full of sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo will entice Northern Cardinals to your yard. They’ll eat from tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or ground food that’s been scattered.

25. Eastern Phoebe

In 3% of summer checklists, eastern Phoebes are seen. From April to October, they can be found in North Dakota.

Grayish-brown on the back, pale below, and with a darker head, Eastern Phoebes are plump songbirds.

  • 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)

Before heading to southern US states and Mexico for winter, eastern Phoebes are migrating birds that breed in northeastern and central US states before heading to Canada. Birds that live in the south of their range may stay there all year.

In contrast to their eastern cousins, western Phoebes prefer to be alone in serene woodlands, wagging their tails from low perches.

Flying insects make up the majority of their diet, but they will also eat spiders and other insects, tiny fruits and seeds. They are flycatchers, after all. They build nests out of mud and grass, which they place on bridges, barns, or homes.

By placing up a nest box or native plants that produce berries, you may attract Eastern Phoebes to your yard.

26. Purple Finch – Female

Purple Finches are found in 4% of winter checklists in North Dakota and are most commonly spotted during the winter. In the spring and summer, they also breed in the north of the state.

Males have reddish-purple heads and breasts, with more brown on the back and wings, while females are brown throughout with a lighter belly. They’re redder, notably at the tops of their backs, and they resemble House Finches in appearance.

  • Haemorhous purpureus
  • Length: 4.7-6.3 in (12-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-32 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-10.2 in (22-26 cm)

Purple Finches overwinter in the eastern United States, but are found all year in the north-east and Pacific coast. They breed in Canada and migrate to eastern US states.

Purple Finches eat seeds, buds, nectar, and berries in both evergreen and deciduous woodlands.

Purple Finches build nests high in the canopy of trees. Twigs, barks, weeds, and moss are used to make them. The female incubates three to five eggs for thirteen days.

Black oil sunflower seeds will attract purple finches to your yard.

27. Great-crested Flycatcher

From May to September, Great Crested Flycatchers are breeding in North Dakota. Summer checklists include them at a rate of 4%.

Brown on the back, with a yellow belly and a gray neck, Great Crested Flycatchers are brown. The wing and tail feathers of these birds have reddish flashes. The crest is not particularly noticeable.

  • Myiarchus crinitus
  • Length: 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.4 oz (27-40 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.4 in (34 cm)

Great Crested Flycatchers spend the winter in southern Florida, southern Mexico, and Central America, breeding across much of eastern North America.

Waiting for huge insects flying, such as butterflies, grasshoppers, moths, wasps, and spiders, they perch themselves high in the woods. They may be spotted perched on fenceposts or other artificial constructions in mixed woodlands and at the fringes of clearings, parks, and tree-lined communities. Berries and little fruit will be eaten as well.

By planting native species of plants and leaving brush piles to attract insects, you can attract Great Crested Flycatchers to your backyard. Plant berry-producing plants will readily take up residence in nest boxes, so place one up for them.

28. Northern Waterthrush

In North Dakota, Northern Waterthrushes are rare, however they may be seen during migration season.

Large, thrush-like birds known as Northern Waterthrushes Males and femen have identical characteristics. They both have dark brown backs with large, white eyebrows and white rumps with black, heavy streaking from their throats to their rumps. They both have brown heads with thick, white eyebrows.

  • Parkesia noveboracensis
  • Length: 5.75 inches (15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8 oz (23 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.75 inches (22 cm)

Before migrating to Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, northern waterthrushes breed in Canada, Alaska, and northeastern United States states. In Central and South America, some may stay all year.

Before migrating to Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, Northern Waterthrushes breed in Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern United States. In Central and South America, some could stay all year.

Northern Waterthrushes may be found in damp, wooded bogs and thickets. Northern Waterthrush can be found near still or sluggish water in the woods. They may be located among mangroves in the tropics during the winter.

Foragers of both land and water, the Northern Waterthrushes Water beetles, mosquitoes, slugs, crustaceans, snails, and sometimes small fish are all plentiful in shallow water for these long-legged animals to walk on. Caterpillars, moths, and ants are also eaten by them, which they discover among the leaves.

Northern Waterthrush nests are often found near water in hollows or crevices. The nests are usually hidden among ferns and can be found on a moss-covered stump or under a jutting bank.

29. Swamp Sparrow

In eastern North Dakota, Swamp Sparrows spend the breeding season. They can be seen in the west of the state during the fall migration in October, when their numbers increase.

In the summer, they can be found in about 2% of checklists, and during migration, they may be found up to 7%.

The backs of Swamp Sparrows are dark brown, with rusty crowns and wings. Gray breasts and white throats are their distinguishing characteristics. Their beaks are yellow, and their heads are gray with brown faces and a black eye line.

  • Melospiza georgiana
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz (15-23 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.5 in (18-19 cm)

More in the east, you’ll find Swamp Sparrows. Before moving to eastern and southern US states as well as Mexico, they breed in Canada, northeastern US states, and North Central US states.

Swamp Sparrows live in wetlands, bogs, and coastal marshes, as the name suggests. Throughout the winter, they feed on seeds and fruit, and in the spring, they eat more insects.

Swamp Sparrow nests are usually made of twigs, leaves, and cattails and are normally concealed in the vegetation on or near the ground. Grass and other plant materials are used to line the nest.

Except during migrations to yards with abundant vegetation and water, Swamp Sparrows do not visit gardens.

30. Brown Creeper

From September through May, Brown Creepers can be found throughout North Dakota, with 1% of winter checklists containing them.

With their streaked brown backs and white undersides, Brown Creepers are tiny songbirds that are difficult to detect against tree trunks.

  • Certhia americana
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 in (17-20 cm)

In the winter, Brown Creepers may relocate from higher altitudes to the south. Alaska, southern Canada, the United States’ northeastern and eastern states, as well as Mexico and Central America are all home to them. During some winters, they migrate into central and southern regions.

Watch closely at the bark of mature woodland trees with huge trees, where you may see these little birds hunting for insects and larvae hidden in the bark.

In contrast to nuthatches, who face down the tree trunk, brown Creepers are more often found working their way up the tree, facing upwards.

These songbirds communicate with a high-pitched Piercing cry that assists in their location.

31. Hermit Thrush

Between April and May, and September and October, Hermit Thrushes may be seen in North Dakota during their migration, but they are not especially common.

With an upright attitude, chunky bodies, and long tails, Hermit Thrushes are birds that stand to attention. They have stripes on the neck and breast, and are brown on the back with white underneath.

  • Catharus guttatus
  • Length: 5.5-7.1 in (14-18 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (23-37 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm)

In Canada, the northeastern United States, and the western United States, Hermit Thrushes breed. They may be spotted migrating through the heartland before spending the winter on the Pacific Coast, southeast states, and Mexico.

In forest clearings, where there is leaf litter, Hermit Thrushes forage on the ground for insects. Berries are eaten during the winter as well.

They seldom return to backyards, but in the spring and summer, their melancholy song may be heard.

32. Eastern Towhee

During the breeding season, eastern towhees are only found in the north and east of North Dakota, though they spend most of their time there.

Males of eastern towhees have a white belly and long tails, and they are capable of killing huge sparrows that are similar to Robin in size. Females are brown instead of black and look a lot like males.

  • 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)

Birds in the north migrate south for the winter, while eastern Towhees dwell throughout the year in southern US states.

Eastern Towhees may be seen rummaging in the bushes and around the margins of woods and thickets.

Overgrown borders and platform feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, broken corn, and millet can attract Eastern Towhees to your yard.

33. Winter Wren

In North Dakota, winter Wrens are an accidental species, although there were a couple of sightings in 2021.

Little, pudgy brown birds with blacker wing, tail, and belly markings are known as Winter Wrens. Their brow stripe is lighter, and their tails are shorter, with the tail kept upright. Males and females appear to be the same.

There was once thought to be the same species as Winter Wrens and Pacific Wrens, but they are now classified as separate species and sing distinct songs.

While there was once thought to be the same species, Winter Wrens and Pacific Wrens are now recognized as distinct, with different songs.

Winter Wrens were originally thought to be the same species as Pacific Wrens, but research has since shown that they are separate species with different songs.

  • Troglodytes hiemalis
  • Length: 3.1-4.7 in (8-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.7-6.3 in (12-16 cm)

In the winter and summer, Winter Wrens may be found in the eastern United States, as well as northern United States.

In woodlands and backyards, look for Winter Wrens hidden amid tangled vegetation. By rummaging through fallen leaves and rotting bark, they consume insects and spiders.

Native plants and dense vegetation will help attract Winter Wrens to your yard.

34. Wood Thrush

North Dakota hasn’t seen many Wood Thrushes, but during migration, a few have been spotted.

The plump white and black-spotted bellies of Wood Thrushes give them a humorous appearance. The crown and upper back are reddish in color, while the back is brown.

  • Hylocichla mustelina
  • Length: 7.5-8.3 in (19-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4-1.8 oz (40-50 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.8-13.4 in (30-34 cm)

In one night, Wood Thrushes fly from the United States to Central America across the Gulf of Mexico.

In mature woodlands, these birds are well-hidden and forage on leaf litter for insects like beetles and flies. They may be heard whistling and making a flute-like melody in the spring.

35. Golden-crowned Sparrow

In North Dakota, golden-crowned Sparrows are an uncommon sight and have been declared an unintentional species. In 2021, they were last seen near Bismarck.

The underside of Golden-crowned Sparrows is grayish-brown, and their backs are streaked brown. Their crowns are black, and their foreheads are brilliant-yellow.

In the winter, their crown colors duller, and their forehead is yellower as well.

  • Zonotrichia atricapilla
  • Length: 5.9-7.1 in (15-18 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-1.2 oz (30-33 g)

Before heading to the West Coast for winter, Golden-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and western Canada.

Golden-crowned Sparrow may be seen scratching for seeds such as dock, sumac, and geranium in weedy fields. Apples, grapes, elderberry, and olives are among the fruits they consume. Ants, beetles, butterflies, and termites are all part of the insects that make up their diets.

With ground feeders or plant native plants that fruit, attract Golden-crowned Sparrows to your backyard.

36. Carolina Wren

North Dakota considers the Carolina Wren an accidental species, and they are extremely rare to sight. In 2020, however, they were last seen near Bismarck.

The dark brown top of the Carolina Wrens contrasts with the light brown underbelly. An upright tail and a loud “teakettle” song distinguish them from other species.

  • Thryothorus ludovicianus
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz (18-22 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4 in (29 cm)

Throughout the eastern and southeastern US states, Carolina Wrens may be found all year. They may be discovered around woods and densely vegetated areas, and they will flock to your home feeders.

Suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, and peanut hearts in big tube feeders or on platform feeders will all attract Carolina Wrens to your yard.

In backyards across North Dakota, several Wrens may be found, but in order to find more, go to marshy regions.

37. Louisiana Waterthrush

In North Dakota, the Louisiana Waterthrushes are an accidental species. They’ve been missing in the state for a long time and are very unusual.

In comparison to other warblers, Louisiana Waterthrushes are drab. On top, they are brown, and underneath, they are pale. They have long pink legs and a white eyebrow stripe.

  • Parkesia motacilla
  • Length: 5.9-6.1 in (15-15.5 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz (18.2-22.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.4-10.6 in (24-27 cm)

During migration, Louisiana Waterthrushes may be seen in the southeast. They are a breed found in eastern US states. They return in the spring early in the year after spending the winter in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Louisiana Waterthrush is a member of the insect-eating, vertebrate-eating, and larval-eating family.

Louisiana Waterthrush nests are buried in roots or under logs, and may be found along the bank of a creek. The nest is held together with mud and built from leaves, pine needles, and other plant materials.

38. Bewick’s Wren

In North Dakota, Bewick’s Wrens are considered an accidental species, and they have not been seen here in a long time, according to records.

Brown-backed birds with long gray upright tails with blacker barring, Bewick’s Wrens are a good species to study. Gray bellies and a white stripe above the eye characterize them.

  • Thryomanes bewickii
  • Length: 5.1 in (13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-12 g)

Bewick’s Wrens are year-round residents of southern and western states, with a few migrations in the winter.

Bewick’s Wrens may be found hopping from branch to branch and flicking their long tails in scrub, thickets, and open woodland. Bees, bugs, caterpillars, and beetles are among the insects and larvae they consume.

Rock ledges, old woodpecker nests, nest boxes, and building cracks are all places where nests may be found. They’re cup-shaped and lined with a softer lining of sticks and grasses. Hatching takes two weeks and fledging another two weeks, with three to eight eggs laid.

suet, mealworms, and hulled sunflower seeds will all attract Bewick Wrens to your yard.

How Frequently Brown Birds Are Spotted In North Dakota In Summer And Winter

Knowing which birds are commonly seen in your state can be found in checklists. On checklists in North Dakota during the summer and winter, these lists reveal which brown birds are most frequently recorded.

Brown Birds in North Dakota in summer:

Mourning Dove 52.1%

American Robin 50.6%

Brown-headed Cowbird 39.7%

American Goldfinch 34.4%

Chipping Sparrow 30.9%

Song Sparrow 30.9%

House Wren 22.7%

Common Yellowthroat 22.0%

House Sparrow 21.1%

Savannah Sparrow 16.8%

Northern Flicker 15.6%

Cedar Waxwing 14.3%

House Finch 12.0%

Brown Thrasher 10.9%

Marsh Wren 10.8%

Swainson’s Thrush 9.6%

White-throated Sparrow 8.7%

Spotted Towhee 8.2%

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 7.1%

Field Sparrow 7.0%

Pine Siskin 6.8%

White-crowned Sparrow 5.5%

Great Crested Flycatcher 4.1%

Northern Waterthrush 3.8%

Eastern Phoebe 3.8%

Northern Cardinal 2.8%

Swamp Sparrow 2.5%

Purple Finch 0.9%

Hermit Thrush 0.9%

Brown Creeper 0.5%

Eastern Towhee 0.4%

American Tree Sparrow 0.1%

Winter Wren 0.1%

Wood Thrush 0.1%

Golden-crowned Sparrow <0.1%

Louisiana Waterthrush <0.1%

Bewick’s Wren <0.1%

Brown Birds in North Dakota in winter:

House Sparrow 33.4%

House Finch 19.5%

Pine Siskin 11.0%

American Goldfinch 8.2%

American Robin 6.2%

Northern Flicker 5.2%

Cedar Waxwing 4.3%

Purple Finch 4.3%

Northern Cardinal 3.2%

American Tree Sparrow 1.9%

Brown Creeper 1.7%

White-throated Sparrow 1.3%

Mourning Dove 0.5%

White-crowned Sparrow 0.1%

Song Sparrow 0.1%

Spotted Towhee 0.1%

Brown-headed Cowbird 0.1%

Chipping Sparrow 0.1%

Hermit Thrush 0.1%

Brown Thrasher <0.1%

Field Sparrow <0.1%

Rose-breasted Grosbeak <0.1%

Eastern Phoebe <0.1%

Swamp Sparrow <0.1%

Carolina Wren <0.1%

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