I put together a list of some of the most gorgeous birds in North America for this piece. This article grew larger and larger as I discovered more and more different colorful birds in the United States, until I had to stop somewhere because it was too big. I have a pretty lengthy list, so I may not have every colorful bird on the list. In the comments, please feel free to suggest any that you believe belong on this list.
Some of the birds are well-known, while others aren’t. Although not all birds eat at feeders and not all of them are ones you see on a regular basis in your backyards, they really stand out. Their strikingly vivid hues are one thing they have in common. I hope you like the long list, because I put it together over a period of many days.
MOST COLORFUL BIRDS IN NORTH AMERICA
The Northern Cardinal is the bird that comes to mind when most people think of colorful birds, so I’ll start with it.
1. NORTHERN CARDINAL
The Northern Cardinal, especially the male, is one of the most spectacular birds in North America. According to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, the male cardinal is the only bird that encourages people to begin bird watching. The cardinal is the state bird of Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Illinois. It is most commonly found in the eastern half of the country. The Northern Cardinal is the subject of my article, which you should read.
Bluebirds are remarkable blue birds that are named after their color! In North America, there are three different species of bluebirds. The blue and orange pigmentation of eastern and western bluebirds is almost identical, but their mountain-dwelling relative is completely blue.
2. EASTERN BLUEBIRD
In comparison to the western Bluebird, the Eastern Bluebird has a greater range. The eastern and central states are home to subs. Bluebird is a popular backyard bird because of its vivid blue colors. The bluebird will readily eat mealworms if they are offered, despite the fact that it does not often come to feeders. The bluebird is one of the most popular birds to build a nest in a birdhouse, and will utilize a nest box if one is offered. Insects, fruit, and wild berries are the primary foods of these birds.
3. WESTERN BLUEBIRD
Only in the states along the west coast and those bordering Mexico are Westerns Bluebirds found. With bright blue heads and backs, and rosy-orange on its breast, eastern and western bluebirds appear to be very similar. The chins of western bluebirds are bluer. If a nest box is accessible and the Western Bluebird eats the same foods as other bluebirds, it will utilize one.
4. MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD
The western half of the United States is home to the mountain bluebird. Canada is up and Mexico is down. In the summer, they prefer high, open mountainsides; in the winter, plains and meadows. In contrast to the eastern and western bluebirds, the males are a vivid turquoise and sky blue with a white belly.
5. VERMILLION FLYCATCHER
The Vermillion Flycatcher can be found in the southern regions of the country, such as Florida, Louisiana, Southern Nevada, and Texas. It is more prevalent in Mexico and Central America. The mature male has vivid orange or crimson colors and is readily noticeable in a throng. As open nesters, they feed on insects and prefer to build their nests in tree branches’ crooks.
6. VARIED THRUSH
The Pacific coastal states are home to the Varied Thrush. The male (seen here) has the vivid and extravagant colors, as do most birds. These birds are noted for their aggressiveness and territoriality. These lovely birds eat both insects and bird seed on the ground. They choose Pacific Northwest mature evergreen forests for nesting.
7. CEDAR WAXWING
The black mask that wraps around the Cedar Waxwing’s head, shielding its eyes, is a very distinguishing feature of this bird. They eat mostly fruit and berries, with insects thrown in for good measure. You can plant fruit-bearing trees and berry bushes to entice them to your yard. They get their name from the fact that they have waxy red secretions on their wings’ tips.
8. AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
The American Goldfinch is a bird that can be seen all across the United States. In most places, the weather is year-round. They’re observed in gardens and feeders eating a variety of seeds, including sunflower seeds and thistle, among other things. They are vegetarians who consume primarily seeds. They breed once a year, and each female will give birth to two chicks. During the non-breeding season, their plumage becomes a duller olive green color, which leads many people to mistake them for a different species.
When we discuss jays, many of us might remember the blue jay, but there are ten different kinds of jays in North America. The Jays are a colorful, boisterous, and fiercely territorial species. The three jay species mentioned below are very colorful and worth noting in North America.
9. BLUE JAY
The Blue Jay is one of the most popular colorful backyard birds in North America, along with the Northern Cardinal. Although they have been known to consume other bird eggs, their diet consists of seeds, nuts, berries, and insects. Whether it is to alert other jays of danger or to frighten away other birds, they are also known to vocally mimic hawks and birds of prey. Feeders and bird baths are common places to see them.
10. STELLER’S JAY
The Steller’s Jay is closely related to the Blue Jay, and can be found mostly in the western sections of the nation as well as in Canada. Blue Jays are slowly advancing west, and have been known to interbreed, resulting in a hybrid bird. They are the only two kinds of jays with crests. They’re known for robbing nests, much like the Blue Jay. They may store peanuts and big seeds in a cache, which they may access at feeders on a regular basis and enjoy.
11. GREEN JAY
The Green Jay is a gorgeous bird that may only be found in the southernmost tip of Texas, although it is most commonly seen in Central and South America. Seeds, fruit, insects, and tiny vertebrates are among the foods they eat. They can be found in wooded regions and thickets, where they nest in trees.
In North America, there are nine different oriole species, with yellow/orange plumage being the most common. Orioles are well-known for their fondness of fruits and sweet delicacies, in addition to their beautiful hues. When food is scarce, they enjoy sliced oranges, jellies, and have been known to visit hummingbird feeders. Since we already have a lot of birds to see, I am just listing a few of my favorites for this article.
12. BALTIMORE ORIOLE
Since its colors matched Lord Baltimore of England’s coat of arms, the Baltimore Oriole was originally named for him in eastern North America. Orioles are nectar-eating birds who prefer sweet fruit. You may place halves of oranges in the trees and around your property to attract them, as well as grape jelly if you provide it to them. Several oriole species are attracted to planting fruit trees and shrubs around your yard.
13. BULLOCK’S ORIOLE
Bullock’s Orioles, like other orioles, have a broad range throughout much of the western United States. They devour fruit, but also insects and mealworms, and adore sweet things. They may be attracted to your yard if you offer a combination of jelly and water in a dish or oriole feeder. They create gourd-shaped nests that dangle from tree branches, which they build in open woodlands.
14. HOODED ORIOLE
The Hooded Oriole is found in the southwestern United States, particularly California, Nevada, and Arizona, and is also known as the palm-leaf oriole because of their tendency to build nests in palm trees. While their vibrant hues may attract attention if you look closely enough, they share the same love of sweets as other orioles and are recognized for being inconspicuous birds.
15. SCOTT’S ORIOLE
The dry desert areas of the southwest states are home to the Scott’s Oriole. For a lot of things, this oriole relies on the yucca plant. The yucca blooms provide them with nectar, and they discover insects on the plant and construct hanging nests. As far as orioles go, they are quite rare, and they seldom congregate in groups.
The Barn Swallow, the most common of the swallows found in North America, is one of seven types that are native to the continent. Swallows eat insects, hence they don’t visit feeders, and mealworms have been known to work for some people. You may see them in your yard, especially in old woodpecker holes and birdhouses, since they are cavity nesters.
16. VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW
When they’re capturing insects in mid-flight, these little swallows are famed for their aerial acrobatic abilities. They have white underbodies with green and violet hues, as their name implies. They may be found from western Canada to Alaska, across the western half of North America. They prefer to hunt for bugs near water since they enjoy living near rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.
17. BARN SWALLOW
Barns, garages, carports, underbridges, and other man-made constructions are all used by the Barn Swallow to build its nests. They don’t like birdfeeders and eat insects like other swallows do. By providing nesting opportunities for them in outbuildings, such as a barn, or nesting boxes, you may attract them to your yard. In North America, barn swallows can be found practically anywhere, from the Yukon to the Gulf of Mexico. Much of Canada and the United States are affected.
18. TREE SWALLOW
The Tree Swallow may be found across North America at various times of the year, and it is another swallow with a fairly broad range. If you want to attract them to your yard, they feed on insects, fruits, and berries and will use nest boxes. The name “tree swallow” comes from their natural tendency to nest in tree cavities. They may be seen in huge flocks during migrations.
Scarlet, summer, western, flame-colored, and hepatic tanagers are the five species found in North America. On this list, I’ve included Scarlet Tanagers, Summer Tanaggers, and Western Tanaggers. The males have vibrant red, orange, or yellow colors, while the females range from duller greens and yellows to duller browns.
19. SCARLET TANAGER
You may see the bright scarlet plumage of the male Scarlet Tanagers, with black wings and tails. The females have dark wings and are more green and yellow in color. They eat insects and berries and are mainly found in the eastern United States. They build their nests high in the trees, sometimes 50 feet or higher. In most cases, you’ll only see them in the woods, and not often in your yard.
20. WESTERN TANAGER
The Western Tanager is a yellow-bodied bird with an orange and red head. Its range extends across much of western North America, as you might expect. While they don’t typically eat seeds, they may check out your yard if you have fruit-bearing trees or plants. They don’t frequently check out bird feeders. Western Tanagers may also be attracted by a birdbath or perhaps a small garden pond with moving water.
21. SUMMER TANAGER
It is mostly found in the United States’ southeast and southwest regions. Like other tanagers, they prefer to eat insects like bees and wasps, although they may also eat berries and fruit in your yard. Males are scarlet, while females are yellowish. In their range, they may frequently be seen hanging out in the treetops of open woodlands. Your feeders may be enticed by placing out orange slices.
Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, and Black-Headed Grosbeak are the five most common species of grosbecks in North America. In addition, there are a few uncommon species of grosbeaks in the United States: pine, yellow, and crimson-collared. The colorful appearance of grosbeaks is distinctive. Their enormous and muscular beaks (which gave them their name) are something they all have in common, as is the fact that they use them to open huge nuts and seeds.
22. ROSE BREASTED GROSBEAK
The male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak is easily recognized if you encounter one, with a rose-red patch on his chest that is common across the eastern United States. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, and safflower seeds are frequently found at bird feeders. The nests are built by both sexes, and the female will take turns incubating up to five eggs with the male.
23. EVENING GROSBEAK
Although they are only common in northern parts of the US and into Canada, the Evening Grosbeak has a declining range across most of North America. Yellow, white, and black with a yellow patch over the eyes and white on the wings, Male Evening Grosbeaks are a variety of grosbeak. They don’t frequent feeders, but they do eat bird seed and may appear in large numbers from time to time since they fly in flocks.
24. BLUE GROSBEAK
Blue Grosbeaks are found across much of the southern United States. They’re extending their range north as well. The Lazuli Bunting, which is also on this list, seems to be the Blue Grosbeak’s closest relative based on genetic research. They like nesting in bushes and will visit feeders for seeds, which accompany their mainly insectivorous diet.
25. PINE GROSBEAK
Although they are only found in a few scattered locations in the northwest section of the lower 48 states, they are more common further north into Canada and even Alaska. The males’ plumage is a bright red and pink that stands out among the flock. These will love black sunflower seeds at feeders if you live in one of the places where they may be found.
Buntings are a diverse group of birds found across the United States. In the United States, an additional seven Asian species have been seen on occasion. Smart birders have learned to identify them. The painted bunting comes to mind when thinking about several of these 9 native species.
26. PAINTED BUNTING
Throughout the year, different times of the year, you may see The Painting Bunting in Florida, Texas, and a few other southern states. With its blue, green, yellow, and red feathers, this one is one of the most colorful birds on this list in my opinion. They are frequently taken and sold illegally as pets in Mexico and other countries because of their flashy colors. If you live in their range, painted buntings will eat seed and visit feeders.
27. INDIGO BUNTING
All of the middle and eastern United States are home to the Indigo Bunting. With thistle, nyjer, or even mealworms, you might attempt to attract them to feeders around mid-summer. These birds allegedly travel by the stars and move in huge flocks at night. In regions where their ranges overlap, the Indigo Bunting and the Lazuli Bunting occasionally interbreed.
28. LAZULI BUNTING
Much of the western United States is home to the Lazuli Bunting. The males are distinguished by their dazzling blue feathers. They’re often spotted eating seeds, insects, and berries at bird feeders. White proso millet, sunflower seeds, or nyjer thistle seeds are all excellent options for attracting them to your yard.
Warblers are divided into two families, old world and new world warblers, in North America. There are 54 species of warblers. The majority of warblers are bright colorful birds. I chose a few of my favorites rather than adding all of them.
29. NORTHERN PARULA
In the eastern half of the nation, the Northern Parula is a recently discovered new world warbler. They feed mostly on insects, so they don’t go to bird feeders. However, they’ll eat fruits and berries from time to time. You should have a lot of trees, bushes, and shrubbery in your yard if you want to entice them there. The female will build her nest as high as 100 feet from the ground and breed and nest in dense, mature woods, making them difficult to see.
30. AMERICAN REDSTART
From Canada to Central and South America, the American Redstart may be found, but in some western states of the United States, they are missing. Males have some brilliant flashes of yellow and orange, which distinguishes them from the rest of the black race. In late summer, they are known to eat berries and fruit, but primarily insects. They will not eat seed, so do not feeders for seed. Instead, plant Berry bushes around your yard.
31. YELLOW WARBLER
The Yellow Warbler is a widespread species that can be found across North and Central America, and it is a tiny bird. The males are bright yellow, while the females look very similar to the males. They eat nearly exclusively insects and prefer to live and nest in thickets and small trees, similar to other warblers. Their nests are at least 10 feet above the ground, and they may go much higher.
32. CERULEAN WARBLER
The Cerulean Warblers, a sky blue male and a green blue female, have a narrow range in the eastern United States. They migrate into southern states and Central America, and breed mostly in the northeastern states. Little insectivorous songbirds that prefer to live in the upper levels of mature woods, these warblers are also tiny. With a dwindling population, the Cerulean Warbler is considered uncommon.
33. PRAIRIE WARBLER
The Prairie Warbler may be found across much of the eastern United States. It also reached the Caribbean islands. The black streaks around the eyes and down their sides distinguish these little guys from other yellow-colored warblers. They eat little insects and dwell in localities with small shrubbery and open plains. While hunting insects and while going about their daily activities, the Prairie Warbler is also known for wagging its tail constantly.
34. PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
The Prothonotary Warbler is one of the few warblers that may utilize a nest box if you provide one, owing to its vivid yellow plumage. This allows you to set up a mating pair in your yard. Because of this, they are often referred to as the swamp warbler because they prefer nesting in standing dead trees in wetlands and swampy wooded areas.
There are at least 20 distinct species of woodpeckers in North America, including sapsuckers and flickers, and an article we did on them has 17 of them. In terms of color, woodpeckers aren’t particularly known for their flamboyant plumage, but their dots and stripes may be quite intricate. I’ve included a few items I believe are noteworthy on the list.
35. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER
The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, which is not often seen at feeders, eats tree sap as its major food source. While drilling for sap, they also consume insects and spiders from the trees. The male also has a yellow belly, which is characteristic of the species. They cover most of the United States, from central to eastern. In addition to much of Canada,
36. NORTHERN FLICKER
Compared to some of the other birds, the Northern Flicker isn’t as brightly colored. They are one of the most colorful birds in North America, according to birders, and they have some very unique markings. They are easily identifiable due to their bigger size, speckled breast, banded back, and multicolored head. Their wings and tail have a little added color, which is normally only visible while flying, and it’s hidden on the underside.
They may be found across North America and have a very broad range. The eastern part of the United States The underwing of the flickers is yellow in the west and red in the east. While southern woodpeckers don’t visit feeders as frequently as other species, they may come if you provide suet cakes.
37. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
During the winter, this fella can frequently be found at suet feeders. They migrate into the more northern central states for breeding during the winter, spending most of their time in eastern states. They’re not particularly colorful, but the male’s flame red head makes them stand out and delight to find. Because the population is dwindling and they are no longer seen as often as they were in the past.
In North America, there are up to 23 distinct hummingbird species. If you can catch them being still long enough to actually see, hummingbirds are the smallest family of birds in all of North America. I planned to make all three of these birds hummingbirds, as well as learn more about when to expect them at feeders in this article.
38. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD
In North America’s eastern and central regions, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is extremely common. The males’ ruby red throats make them quite vivid, and they are the first ones I expect to see at my feeders. If you’re in their territory, fill up your hummingbird feeder with our simple no-boil hummingbird nectar recipe and they’ll come.
39. COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD
Just a few places in the United States, Baja California, and coastal districts of west Mexico are home to Costa’s. If you can find a male, his neck area is gorgeous purple, and he’s very attractive. They may be enticed to your yard with particular nectar producing flowers, such as honeysuckle, and will also devour hummingbird nectar from a feeder.
40. ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is a rare species found only in the Pacific west, where it may be found alongside the Costa’s Hummingbird. Males with pinkish red throats and heads may be seen at feeders when nectar is provided, and they are frequently visible. During mating season, the males are reported to do aerial acrobatics to attract the females.