Red birds are a fascinating group of birds that are known for their bright and vibrant plumage. These birds are easily distinguishable by their red feathers, which make them stand out among other avian species.
Red feathers are not about camouflage, but rather about communication. Brilliant colors convey the message that a male bird is fit and healthy enough to grow flashy plumage and to deal with the attention from predators that might result.
This, in turn, attracts mates and warns away potential competitors. There are several bird species fully or partially covered with feathers in varying shades of red. In this article, we will explore 10 types of red birds, their characteristics, and habitats.
10 Types Of Red Birds
The Northern Cardinal is a medium-sized songbird that is known for its bright red plumage and distinctive crest. Both males and females have a pointed crest of feathers on their head, but only the male is red. The female is a dull brown or olive color with dull red on her wings and tail.
The Northern Cardinal is about 8-9 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9.8-12.2 inches, and weighs between 1.5-1.7 oz. They have a short, very thick bill and often sit with a hunched-over posture and with the tail pointed straight down.
Northern Cardinals are non-migratory birds and can be found throughout eastern and central North America from southern Canada into parts of Mexico and Central America. They live in the same place year-round and are often found in dense tangles.
The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird. They’re a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off.
The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a medium-sized American songbird that belongs to the cardinal family. The species’ plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family, although the Piranga species lacks the thick conical bill that many cardinals possess.
The male Scarlet Tanager is among the most stunning birds in an eastern forest in summer, with blood-red bodies set off by jet-black wings and tail. The female is yellow below and olive above, with olive-gray wings and tail.
Scarlet Tanagers are medium-sized songbirds with fairly stocky proportions. They have thick, rounded bills suitable both for catching insects and eating fruit. The head is fairly large, and the tail is relatively short.
Scarlet Tanagers can range in length from 16 to 19 cm (6.3 to 7.5 in) and from 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 in) in wingspan. The call of the Scarlet Tanager is an immediately distinctive chip-burr or chip-churr, which is very different from the pit-i-tuck of the Summer Tanager and the softer, rolled pri-tic or prit-i-tic of Western Tanager.
Scarlet Tanagers breed in large stretches of deciduous forest, especially with oaks, across eastern North America. They can occur, with varying degrees of success, in young successional woodlands and occasionally in extensive plantings of shade trees in suburban areas, parks, and cemeteries.
During late summer and fall migration, Scarlet Tanagers often join mixed flocks of other songbirds to feed.
The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus obscurus) is a small passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family found throughout South America and southern North America. Here are some key characteristics of the Vermilion Flycatcher:
– The males have bright red crowns, chests, and underparts, with brownish wings and tails. Females lack the vivid red coloration and can be hard to identify—they may be confused for the Say’s phoebe.
– The vermilion flycatcher’s song is a pit pit pit pidddrrrreeedrr, which is variable and important in establishing a territory.
– Riparian habitats and semi-open environments are preferred. As aerial insectivores, they catch their prey while flying.
– Their several months-long molt begins in summer.
– The Vermilion Flycatcher is a small bird, measuring 13–14 cm (5.1–5.5 in) from tip to tail, around 7.8 cm (3.1 in) from wingtip to body, with a mass between 11 and 14 g (0.39 and 0.49 oz). Wingspan ranges from 24 to 25 cm (9.4 to 9.8 in).
– Males are bright red, with contrasting dark brown plumage. Females are drab and have a peach-colored belly with a dark gray upperside. The reddish color varies but can be vermilion, scarlet, or orangish.
The Vermilion Flycatcher is a beautiful bird that is often found in arid and semi-arid habitats. It is a striking exception among the generally drab Tyrannidae due to its vermilion-red coloration.
The House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a small bird in the finch family that is native to western North America but has been introduced to the eastern half of the continent and Hawaii. Here are some key characteristics of the House Finch:
– Small-bodied finch with a relatively large beak and somewhat long, flat head.
– Short wings, making the tail seem long by comparison.
– Males have red heads, breasts, and rumps, but not on their brown backs or wings.
– Females have blurrier streaks and grayer undersides than males.
– Common in human-created habitats, including buildings, lawns, small conifers, and urban centers.
– In rural areas, they can also be found around barns and stables.
– In their native range in the West, they live in natural habitats including dry desert, desert grassland, chaparral, oak savannah, streamsides, and open coniferous forests at elevations below 6,000 feet.
– Highly social birds that are rarely seen alone outside of the breeding season and may form flocks as large as several hundred birds.
– Feed mainly on the ground or at feeders or fruiting trees.
– Nest in a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees as well as on cactus and rock ledges.
– During courtship, males sometimes feed females in a display that begins with the female gently pecking at his bill and fluttering her wings.
The House Finch is a common and widespread bird that is often seen at backyard feeders. They are easy to spot and have more to show the more you look.
The Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) is a medium-sized American songbird that is now classified in the cardinal family. Here are some key characteristics of the Summer Tanager:
– Medium-sized, chunky songbird with a large head and a stout, pointed bill.
– Adult males are completely red, while immature males are dull yellow-olive with blotchy patches of red.
– Females are variable in color, ranging from pale dull yellow to brighter orange.
– Breeds in mature forests, favoring mixed deciduous and pine in the southeastern U.S. and riparian corridors in the western U.S. and northern Mexico.
– Extensive winter range from Mexico to Bolivia, where it can be found in any wooded area.
– Forages in open woodlands, particularly of oaks and other deciduous trees, where they are usually in the mid-canopy and above.
– The Summer Tanager is a bee and wasp specialist, but also feeds on other insects, spiders, and small fruits.
– Darts out from a perch to snatch a bee or wasp in mid-air, then subdues the insect by beating it against a branch.
– Rips into wasp nests to eat the larvae inside.
– Migrates during the night, with eastern populations making the long flight directly across the Gulf of Mexico.
The Summer Tanager is a beautiful bird that can be hard to see in the tops of leafy green trees. They are best found by listening for their distinctive, muttering pit-ti-tuck call note and robin-like song.
The Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) is a large member of the true finch family, Fringillidae. It is the only species in the genus Pinicola and is found in coniferous woods across Alaska, the western mountains of the United States, Canada, and in subarctic Fennoscandia and across the Palearctic to Siberia. Here are some key characteristics of the Pine Grosbeak:
– Large, plump finch with a short, cone-shaped bill and a long, slightly forked tail.
– Adult males are pink overall with two white wingbars and pale gray highlights.
– Females and immature males are grayish-olive with yellowish underparts and a yellowish bill.
– Breeds in open coniferous forests and winters in a variety of wooded habitats, especially around fruiting trees including crabapple and mountain ash.
– Often found in deciduous trees (especially fruiting trees such as mountain-ash or crabapple), also in groves of pines and other conifers.
– Forages mostly up in trees and shrubs, feeding on buds, seeds, and fruits.
– Tends to be very methodical in feeding, moving about slowly in trees.
– Except during the nesting season, often forages in small flocks.
– The female lays 3-4 eggs in a twig nest lined with lichen, moss, and grass. The nest is built close to the ground. The female incubates the eggs for 13-14 days. The male brings the female food while she is incubating the eggs. Both the male and the female feed the chicks. The chicks fledge when they are about two weeks old, but they may still be fed by their parents for several weeks after leaving the nest.
The Pine Grosbeak is a beautiful bird that is often found in the northern forests of North America. They are a delight to watch as they move slowly and methodically through the trees, feeding on buds, seeds, and fruits.
The Red Warbler (Cardellina rubra) is a small passerine bird that belongs to the New World warbler family Parulidae. Here are some key characteristics of the Red Warbler:
– Small, active bird with strikingly red plumage and a silver or dark gray auricular patch.
– Measures 12.5–13.5 cm (4.9–5.3 in) in length and weighs from 7.6 to 8.7 g (0.27 to 0.31 oz).
– As an adult, it is red overall, with either a white or dark gray (depending on the subspecies) auricular patch on each side of its head. Its wings and tail are slightly darker, dusky red, and edged in pinkish-red. Its legs are a dull red-brown, and its thin bill is pinkish-gray with a dark tip.
– Endemic to the highlands of Mexico, north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
– Favors humid conifer forest, pine-oak forest, and adjacent brushy areas.
– Gleans primarily in understory shrubs at low to middle levels, moving slowly and deliberately through more open areas of the forest.
– The Red Warbler is an insectivore that feeds on insects and spiders.
– Has several common calls, including a high, thin tsii and a stronger pseet. Its song is a mix of short trills and richer warbles, interspersed with high-pitched chips.
– Tends to sing only during bright morning hours during the breeding season. It does not sing – and even its calling frequency decreases – in cloudy weather.
The Red Warbler is a beautiful bird that is endemic to the highlands of Mexico. It is easily identified by its strikingly red plumage and silver or dark gray auricular patch.
The Hepatic Tanager (Piranga flava) is a medium-sized American songbird that is now classified in the cardinal family. Here are some key characteristics of the Hepatic Tanager:
– Large, stocky tanager with a thick, conical bill.
– Males are red with a dusky wash on the upperparts and sides, especially on northern populations.
– Females are muted yellowish with a dusky wash on the upperparts and sides.
– Breeds in mountain forests of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America.
– Favors pine and pine-oak forests and partially migratory.
– Resident from Costa Rica to northern and western South America in highland forest edges.
– Forages in pairs or small groups, often in the mid-story and canopy of trees.
– Feeds on insects, spiders, and fruit.
– Builds a cup-shaped nest in a tree or shrub, usually 3-10 feet above the ground.
– The female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for 12-14 days. The chicks fledge after 10-12 days.
The Hepatic Tanager is a beautiful bird that is fairly common in summer among the pines and oaks of the southwestern United States. They are often found foraging in pairs or small groups and can be identified by their red plumage with a dusky wash on the upperparts and sides.
The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) is a species of bird in the cardinal family, Cardinalidae, that is native to North America. Here are some key characteristics of the Painted Bunting:
– Sparrow-sized bird, about 5.5 inches in length.
– Adult males are almost too colorful, with a jarring combination of rich blue head, bright red underparts, and green back.
– Females are less brilliantly colored, with dark greenish upperparts and yellow-green underparts.
– Favors semi-open areas with dense low growth at all seasons.
– Breeds around thickets, hedgerows, woodland clearings and edges, and undergrowth of open woods.
– Winters in similar habitats in Florida, plus areas of scrub and second growth in the tropics.
– Painted Buntings eat seeds, particularly after the breeding season is over, starting in midsummer.
– Males are involved in vocal exchanges lasting for 30 seconds or more, which serves as a means for self-advertisement and/or territory defense during the mating season when the males become highly territorial.
– Young male buntings tend to wander until their own breeding territory can be established.
– Painted Buntings are nocturnal, short to medium distant migrants. Fall migration runs from the end of July to mid-October, and the return trip in spring begins early April and lasts until mid-May.
The Painted Bunting is one of the most colorful birds in North America and is a delight to watch. They are often found in semi-open areas with dense low growth and can be identified by their bright plumage.
The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a large wading bird that is known for its pink plumage and distinctive spoon-shaped bill. Here are some key characteristics of the Roseate Spoonbill:
– Medium to large-sized wading bird with a wingspan of 50 inches (127 cm) and a height of 32 inches (81 cm).
– The bird’s pink coloration is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigments found in the crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates that it eats.
– The upper neck and back are colored white, while the wings and feathers underneath display a rosy pink color.
– The long, flat bill is spoon-shaped, which allows the bird to sift easily through mud and shallow water to find prey.
– Found in marsh-like areas, mangroves, and shallow fresh or coastal waters in the southeastern United States, coastal Texas, and southwestern Louisiana.
– Breeds in thick vegetation above water, often in mangroves, laying two to five brown-speckled white eggs.
– Feeds on small fish, crustaceans, insects, and bits of plants, which it scoops up from shallow water using its spoon-shaped bill.
– Forages in groups, often with other wading birds such as egrets and ibises.
– Courtship displays include ritualized exchanges of nest material, dancing, and clapping.
– The Roseate Spoonbill was nearly hunted to extinction during the 1800s due to the popularity of its striking pink feathers on women’s hats. The bird has since recolonized areas along the Gulf Coast and slowly recovered.
The Roseate Spoonbill is a beautiful bird that is easily identified by its pink plumage and distinctive spoon-shaped bill. It is a resident breeder in both South and North America and can be found in marsh-like areas, mangroves, and shallow fresh or coastal waters.
1. What are the 10 types of red birds?
The 10 types of red birds are Northern Cardinal, Scarlet Tanager, Vermilion Flycatcher, House Finch, Summer Tanager, Pine Grosbeak, Red Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Painted Bunting, and Roseate Spoonbill.
2. What do red birds symbolize?
Seeing a red bird often represents a good omen. This is because of the symbolic meanings associated with this color. Seeing a red bird could mean that a situation has changed for the better or that there is still hope. Other meanings are change is coming, good luck, and prosperity.
3. What kind of red birds are there besides cardinals?
There are many red birds besides cardinals. Some of them are Scarlet Tanagers, Hepatic Tanagers, Summer Tanagers, Pine Grosbeak, and the Vermilion Flycatcher.
4. Where can I find red birds?
Red birds can be found throughout the world, in all types of habitats. They can be found in dry prairie lands or deep in pine forests. Some species of birds have both females and males with these brightly colored feathers. For most species of red birds, however, the male is brightly colored while the female is more sedate.
5. What do red birds eat?
Red birds eat a variety of foods, depending on the species. Some eat insects, spiders, and fruit, while others eat seeds and nuts. The Roseate Spoonbill, for example, eats small fish, crustaceans, insects, and bits of plants, which it scoops up from shallow water using its spoon-shaped bill.
6. Are red birds threatened?
Many birds, including red-colored birds, are threatened by a growing number of factors such as habitat loss, climate change, and pollution. However, some species, such as the Northern Cardinal and House Finch, have adapted well to human-altered environments and are thriving.