Common Backyard Birds of America (with pictures!)

If you’re anything like us, you love the delightful array of bird types across the country.

There are so many different types of birds, it can be bewildering to keep track of them all. So we’ve put together a list of different types of songbirds commonly found in backyards across North America.

This list of common birds with pictures has been compiled from various authoritative sources listed in the footnotes.

We’ve also included important facts like:

  • What do these birds look like?
  • What range do these birds inhabit?
  • What do these birds eat?

List of Common Birds

Mourning Dove

Frequency: year-around: 35%, winter: 29%, summer: 40%

Description: They have a size of about 12 inches from beak to tail, slightly smaller than the common city pigeon. They have pale brown to pale pink bodies, while the wings and tail are darker in color. They have edges on the side of the tail. The legs are short, the tail is long in size, and the head is small and round.

Range: The mourning dove is found in almost all lower 48 states of the United States and can also be seen in Mexico. Some of them can also be seen in northern areas but only in winter; however, mostly, they are found in semi-open areas such as woods, farmlands, and urban areas.

Food Preferences: They love to eat seeds and are attracted by black oil sunflower seeds in trays or platform feeders.

Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal

Frequency: Year around: 34%, winter: 32%, summer: 31%

Description: They have the same size as Red-winged Blackbirds. They have a long tail, plump body, wispy crest, and short conical pink beak. Body color is bright red with a black face; females have a more grayish tinge.

Range: They can be found in shrubby forests of the eastern United States to Taxes. They can also be seen from Arizona to south Mexico year-round.

Food Preferences: Black oil sunflower seeds, berries, nuts, and seed mix in a hopper or tray feeder is the best way to attract them.

American Robin

American Robin

Frequency: Year-round: 33%, winter: 21%, Summer: 44%

Description: They are smaller than Mourning Doves, about 10 inches from beak to tail. The shape is plump with a long tail, while the beak is straight and curved at the tip. The upper parts of the body are gray to brown, and the chest is rusty orange in color.

Range: Mostly found in semi-open lands and migratory breeds migrate to 48 states of America from Alaska and Canada. They are located in the United States, Central America, and Mexico.

Food Preferences: Worms, Fruits, Berries in a tray feeder or on the ground. 

American Crow

Frequency: year-round: 32%, winter 31%, summer: 29%

Description: It has a small and short tail, thick neck, large head, long legs, and long thick black beak. It is glossy black and has a size of 17 inches.

Range: Open areas of the lower 48 states of America (Except southwest desert) and moves to southern Canada in summer.

Food Preferences: Insects, grains, small mammals, carrion.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Frequency: Year-round: 28%, winter 24%, summer;24%

Description: They are fluffy with large crested heads, ample tails, long legs, and long black beaks. The upperparts are blue, while the lowers ones are white with a black neck collar. White patches are present on the wings.

Range: All the areas of the eastern half of America in winter and southern Canada in summer.

Food Preferences: They are aggressive feeders and omnivores in nature. You can attract them with peanuts in tray feeders.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Frequency: Year-round: 25%, winter: 19%, summer: 29%

Description: It has a round head, a long round tail, and a short conical beak. The color is gray to brown on the upper parts while black on the lowers. Head pattern is complicated and varies on streaking from different angles.

Range: Native to western Canada, western US, southern Alaska, and the northeastern US. It moves to mid-Canada and the northern US from lower states in summer. Love to live near shrubby and shady areas.

Food Preferences: Seeds and Insects in tray and hopper feeder.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Wing Blackbird

Frequency: year-round: 25%, winter: 12%, summer: 32%

Description: it has a long-rounded tail, straight, sharply pointed conical beak, flathead, and potbelly. The body color is glossy black with red patches and a yellow border on the wings.

Ranges: In summer, they can be found in Alaska and Canada while present throughout US and Mexico year-round. However, they mostly live in cattail marshes and semi-open areas.

Food Preferences: Feed on seeds and insects from the ground.

European Starling

European Starling

Frequency: year-round: 25%, winter: 23%, summer: 22%

Description: Short square-ended tail, long legs, sharply pointed long beaks, and a large stocky head are typical features. They have grayish-brown color, but they change with white spots in spring.

Ranges: Native of Europe to Pakistan and North Africa. In summer can be found in Canada and Alaska while a resident of Southern Canada to northern Mexico.

Food Preferences: Feet are weak, so discourage them from your yard. They primarily eat insects.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch (Male)

Frequency: year-round: 24%, winter: 20%, summer: 27%

Description: Small in size, about 5 inches long, with a large head and short tail with a short conical pink beak. In winter, they are pale grayish-yellow and tan-brown wings and tails. In summer, males are bright yellow while females are dull olive body color.

Ranges: Found throughout the year in the lower 48 states of the US. They move to Canada in summer and to the southern Mexico border in winter.

Food Preferences: Love to eat in a thistle feeder. They mainly eat weed seeds, thistle seeds, sunflower seeds, and Niger seeds.

House Finch

House Finch

Frequency: year-round: 23%, winter: 23%, summer: 21%

Description: A little larger than goldfinches with medium-long notched tail, round head, and short conical beak. They are brown and gray with pale streaks on the underparts. Males have red to orange crest.

Ranges: Native of western US and Mexico but now can be found in all states of US. Mostly live in rural areas and towns but rare in plain states and southern Florida.

Food Preferences: Sunflower seeds in tube feeders.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Frequency: year-round: 23%, winter: 24%, summer: 17%

Description: It has the same size as a White-crowned Sparrow with a short, stiff tail, large stocky head, and short chisel-shaped beak. It’s a solid black color with white stripes on the head, white spots on the wings, white outer lining of the tail, and white underparts. Males have red spots on the back of their heads.

Ranges: They love to live near water, mostly in deciduous trees and willows. It can be found throughout the coastal areas of Canada, Alaska, and the southern US but is absent in the southwest desert.

Food Preferences: Insects, fruits, sunflower seeds, and suet from the suet feeder.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Frequency: year-round: 20%, winter: 12%, summer: 32%

Description: It has a size in between a Starling and American Robin with a short tail, large head, strong short legs, and long Chisel-shaped beak. The body is pale gray with thin black and white bars on the back and wings. Males have red napes that extend forward on the crown.

Ranges: Mostly found in forests of oak, hickory, and pine. It can be found in the eastern Rocky Mountains in the lower 48 states. They range from eastward Florida to extreme southern Canada.

Food Preferences: Insects, nuts, peanuts from the tray feeder, and suet from the suet feeder.

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

Frequency: year-round: 19%, winter: 19%, summer: 19%

Description: Size is the same as a house finch with a medium tail, short legs, short neck, barrel chest, large head, and short conical beak. Both males and females have a gray and brown color. However, males have black masks while females have a pale line from the back of the eye.

Ranges: They are native to the Middle East but can be found worldwide. They have the same typical migrating pattern as the other American birds have. Mostly found on farms and cities.

Food Preferences: Grain, seeds, and insects are their common feed. They can eat from all types of feeders except the tube feeders.

Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee

Frequency: year-round: 19%, winter: 18%, summer: 15%

Description: They have the size of American Goldfinches with a large round head, bulky body, straight short beak, and round-tipped long tail. They have a black cap and bib with a whitish lower face, a grayish upper body, and a buffy lower body. There are white edges present on wing feathers

Ranges: Deciduous forests of northern US, southern Canada, and most of Alaska.

Food Preferences: Berries, Insects, sunflower seeds, and suet from the tray, tube, and hopper feeders.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Frequency: year-round: 18%, winter: 19%, summer: 14%

Description: They have a long tail, large head, long legs, short compressed black beak, and round body size of a House Finch.

Ranges: Deciduous forests of Eastern and Southeastern US.

Food Preferences: Insects, Sunflower seeds, seed mix in tray or hopper feeder.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-Eyed Junco

Frequency: year-round: 17%, winter: 29%, summer: 6%

Description: About the size of a house finch with a long-squared tail, short neck, round head & body, and pointed short pink beak. Eastern Juncos have a dark gray body with a white belly, while western birds have brown upper and pink side parts with a jet-black hood.

Ranges: In breeding season, they can be seen in Canada, Alaska, and the western US, while in Winters, they migrate to coniferous spaced bushes of southern Canada, the lower 48-states, and northern Mexico.

Food Preferences: Seeds and Insects in tray or hopper feeders.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Frequency: year-round: 17%, winter: 18%, summer: 13%

Description: Has the length of a chickadee with a large head, short legs & tail, and straight thin beak. The color is blue-gray above and white below with rusty tail-tipped wings and a black cap.

Ranges: Forests of Oak and pine of the US, southern Canada, and central Mexico.

Food Preferences: Insects, sunflower seeds, nuts, and suet in tray and hopper feeders.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Frequency: year-round: 17%, winter: 4%, summer: 15%

Description: These birds have a large head, short tail, small legs, thin, slightly curved beak, and the size of the Mourning Dove. The color is brown with black bars on the back and pinkish black spots on the underparts. Other parts’ color varies according to the area of the bird.

Ranges: In summer, migrates to Canada and Alaska from lower-48 US states, southern Canada, Mexico, and middle America.

Food Preferences: Ants, beetles, sunflowers seeds, and suet in tray feeders.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Frequency: year-round: 16%, winter: 16%, summer: 15%

Description: The length of the body is the same as an American Robin with a slender shape, long legs & tail, and a slender, slightly curved beak. Body Color is gray with white patches on the wings and tail.

Ranges: They are found in semi-open areas of eastern & western US, West Indies, and southern Mexico. They move a little bit north in the breeding season.

Food Preferences: Berries, fruit, insects, resins, and suet feeders.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Frequency: year-round: 15%, winter: 15%, summer: 13%

Description: They are smaller than Goldfinches and have a flat head, short neck, long tail, round body, and thin, pointed, slightly curved beak. The body is rusty brown with black bars on the tail and wings with buffy underparts.

Ranges: Thick bushy areas of southeastern US and migrates to northern regions of winters.

Food Preferences: Insects, spiders, and suet feeder.

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Frequency: year-round: 15%, winter: 4%, summer: 21%

Description: About the size of a Mourning Dove and has a flat crown, long legs, flat crown, keel-shaped tail, pointed long beak. The color is glossy black, and hints of green and bronze are present on the head.

Ranges: Agricultural areas of southeastern US and migrates to northern regions in summer.

Food Preferences: Grain, Corn, acorns, small fish, and amphibian. Prefer tube feeders.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Frequency: year-round: 17%, winter: 14%, summer: 4%

Description: Larger than Goldfinches with short tails and pointed beaks. Gray plumage with yellow rump, whitetail, and pale-cream lower parts changes to blue-gray plumage in the breeding season.

Ranges: Open areas of coastal and southern US and move to coniferous forests of Canada and Alaska.

Food Preferences: Insects, fruits, waxy berries, and suet feeders.

Ring-billed Gull

Frequency: year-round: 12%, winter: 16%, summer: 6%

Description: Size is about 17 inches with a wingspan of 48 inches. They have a round head, pot belly, square tail, thin pointed wings, and beaks. Color is white with silver back and wings and black ringed yellow beak.

Ranges: Lives in the inland US and southern Canada and move to agricultural areas of the south and the coastal regions in winter.

Food Preferences: Scavengers and don’t visit bird feeders.

Barn Swallow

Frequency: year-round: 11%, winter: 0%, summer: 24%

Description: They have a short neck, triangular, hooked beak, short legs, long body, long wings, long forked tail, and the size of a house finch. Body-color is blue from the upper side and pinkish-orange from below.

Ranges: Live and breed in the northern hemisphere and move to the southern hemisphere in winters.

Food Preferences: Flies, Insects, bees, and beetles.

Gray Catbird

Frequency: year-round: 11%, winter: 2%, summer: 19%

Description: They have the size of a Northern Cardinal with a round head, pointed beak, and long tail. The color is gray with a black cap and tail.

Ranges: Breeds in the eastern and central US woodlands and moves to the extreme south of the US in winters.

Food Preferences: Berries, insects, and suet.

Common Yellowthroat

Frequency: year-round: 10%, winter: 2%, summer: 19%

Description: The size is the same as a chickadee with a round head, slender pointed beak, round-tip long tail, and fatty body. Olive upperparts with yellow lower body and males have a black mask.

Ranges: Live and breed in marshy areas of lower 48-states while moving to the extreme US in winters.

Food Preferences: Eat insects, so don’t visit feeders.

Steller’s Jay

Frequency: year-round: 26%

Description: Black-masked, crested head with a blue body, long tail, and long legs.

Ranges: Coniferous and deciduous forests of southwestern US and Mexico.

Food Preferences: Seeds, berries, nuts, eggs, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet from hopper and platform feeder.

Black-billed Magpie

Frequency: year-round: 28%

Description: They are crow-sized with blue-green flashes on the black body and white patches on the outer wings. They have a round pointed beak with a diamond-shaped tail and heavy beaks.

Ranges: Lives in meadows, grasslands, and plains of western US.

Food Preferences: Sunflower seeds, Peanuts, millet, suet, and corn from ground and platform feeders.

House Wren

Frequency: year-round: 15%, summer: 21%

Description: The body is small and compact with a curved beak, flathead, and short wings. Body-color is subdued brown with darker tail and wings; eyebrows are pale.

Ranges: They live in trees and shrubs of eastern deciduous forests and western coniferous forests.

Food Preferences: Love to feed insects. Use a nesting box to attract them.

Red-Eyed Vireo

Frequency: year-round: 6%, summer: 22%

Description: They have a long stocky body, angular head, strong long-tipped beak, thick neck, and short tail. Slightly smaller than a tufted titmouse in size. They have olive-green upper parts and white lower parts; eyebrows are white bordered with a blackish line.

Ranges: Lives in eastern forests and moves to Amazon basin in fall

Food Preferences: Seeds, fruits, and insects.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Frequency: year-round: 12%

Description: They have a large head, stocky body, long pointed beak, shaggy crest, short legs, and square-tipped medium-length tail. They have a blue-gray back while the belly is white with a blue breast band.

Ranges: Found across streams and shorelines of North America while moving to the southern region in the non-breeding season.

Food Preferences: Attracted by ponds or goldfish.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Frequency: year-round: 11%, winter: 12%, summer: %

Description: size is two-thirds of an American Robin with a round head, large eyes, long wings, a small straight beak, and small tail and legs. Color is vivid black at the back and wings and rusty at the throat and breast.

Ranges: Live in semi-open areas of the middle eastern US while moving to the upper region in the breeding season.

Food Preferences: Mealworms in tray feeders.

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

Frequency: summer: 20%

Description: They are similar to finch but a little larger. The color is blue on the head, with a different pattern of colors.

Ranges: Live in semi-open areas and scattered shrubs or trees of southcentral US and move to southern Mexico and Central America.

Food Preferences: Seeds feeders in midsummer.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Frequency: year-round: 15%

Description: About the size of a crow with a long beak, curved neck, round head, small tail, and large legs. The body is black with a red crest and white stripes from the nostrils to under the wings.

Ranges: In dead trees of central US all around the year.

Food Preferences: Sunflower seeds, insects, peanuts, and suet from suet feeders.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

Frequency: year-round: 17%

Description: Have a stocky body, round beak, large head, and broad short tail. The body color is red with black wings and tail.

Ranges: Found in deciduous forests of eastern US and moves to Mexico and South American states in winter.

Food Preferences: Berries in tray feeders.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Frequency: year-round: 6%

Description: Small size with short wings, broad tail, and long downcurved beak. Body color is golden-green with gray-white underparts.

Ranges: Lives in open areas and have the same migrating pattern as Scarlet Tanagers.

Food Preferences: Nectar from nectar feeder.

Baltimore Oriole

Frequency: year-round: 24%

Description: They have a sturdy body with a thick neck, long legs, thick-based pointed beaks, and a short tail. Males have flame-orange color while females have yellow-orange color.

Ranges: Lives on the top of trees and have the same migrating pattern as the above two.

Food Preferences: Fruits in tray feeders. Likes Suet and Nectar too.