The tropical and subtropical environments of Florida make it a great place to go if you want to see birds. The coastline and abundant water attract birds by the millions. Red birds are some of the easiest birds to recognize. In the tangled thickets that are oh-so-common in Florida, red feathers stand out much more quickly than other colors. In this article we focus on 8 red birds in Florida.
8 Red Birds in Florida
Take a look at this list of red birds that live in Florida, and you’ll be ready to identify the red birds that cross your path.
1. Northern Cardinal
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Common to the woodlands, meadows, and fields of the eastern United States and most of the Great Plains, the Northern Cardinal is unmistakable. Males are bright red all over with a black face mask and mohawk-like crest. Females on the other hand, are a warm tawny brown. Spot them throughout all of Florida. They love heavy thickets, which are plentiful in the state.
During the breeding season, consider screening your windows. Males are notoriously aggressive and they often mistake their own reflections in windowpanes as an opponent and try to fight them.
Northern Cardinals eat most types of birdseed and are bound to be a regular visitor to your backyard feeder. Their favorite is black oil sunflower seeds.
2. Red-headed Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Look for the Red-headed Woodpecker year-round everywhere but the southernmost tip of Florida. It can be found in a variety of habitats, from swamp to agricultural field to forest. The best way to identify one is by the adult’s bright red head. Rather than the black and white dots and stripes that most woodpeckers have on their backs, this woodpecker has a color-block body with large solid sections of black and white.
Red-headed Woodpeckers have unique behavior compared to other woodpeckers. They hide nuts in crevices in trees, eat fruits, visit feeders, and even store live insects until later.
3. Purple Finch
Scientific name: Haemorhous purpureus
Spot the Purple Finch in the fall and winter of Florida’s northern panhandle. These cold-adapted finches breed in Canada during the spring and summer, then migrate south to the eastern United States and Great Plains where they spend the winters.
If you live in northern Florida, you may have some pine trees in your yard. Pines, a type of evergreen conifer, are prime habitat for Purple Finches. Even if you’re not near any conifers, offering black oil sunflower seeds is a great alternative.
Like most songbirds, only the male has brightly-colored feathers. They bear close resemblance to the next bird on the list, the more common House Finch. However they are much more of a raspberry red than the brick red of the House Finch. They also have much more red color and it extends further down their belly, wings and back.
4. House Finch
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
The House Finch is a common sight in the panhandle of northern Florida. This seed-eating finch was originally native to only the western United States, but human introduction has seen it thrive in the East.
Males have a red-flocked head and breast, while females are a dusky brown-gray with white accents. They enjoy hanging out in large flocks near human-made structures.
House Finches eat a diet of seeds, which they select by foraging on the ground. You can attract them to your feeders by providing sunflower seeds, nyjer seed and mixed seed. These finches love to spread the word and bring their friends. Once a single House Finch eats at your feeder, he’ll probably show up in a flock the next time.
5. Scarlet Tanager
Scientific name: Piranga olivacea
This bright red and black songbird is a treat to see as it migrates through Florida on its migratory path. Only Scarlet Tanager males are red, and not permanently. They generally molt before migrating south from Kentucky, Minnesota, and New York, but it’s possible that you might see some residual red feathers or late molters.
Once they’ve molted, they’re a lemony-green color. This blends in very well to Floridian foliage as well as the jungles of South America.
Attract Scarlet Tanagers to your yard by planting berry bushes. These insect eaters maintain a broad palate by feasting on brightly-colored berries.
6. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
The Red-bellied Woodpecker has red feathers on its head and belly. Although the scarlet mohawk is often the first clue you’ve spotted one of these woodpeckers, they also have a dusky red belly that often remains hidden against whatever they are clinging to.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers feast on insects they glean from pecking at the bark of trees. They can actually be enticed to visit bird feeders, especially in colder weather, by offering suet.
The dense foliage in Florida can be beneficial to this species. If you have an area of dead trees, snags, or dense brush, consider putting out peanuts, suet or sunflower seeds. They may even nest in tree cavities!
7. Painted Bunting
Scientific name: Passerina ciris
Painted Buntings are like a fruit sampler come to life. Draped in the brightest of colors – indigo, scarlet, and lime green – they are reminiscent of a garden full of ripe fruit.
Painted Buntings can be spotted in both summer and winter in Florida, albeit in different places. Look for them in the winter in areas south of Fort Myers throughout the peninsula. Remember that they probably won’t be red. Outside of the breeding season, males molt into a lime-green shade.
In the spring and summer, a small eastern population nests in the coastline north of Melbourne. If you live outside of these boundaries, don’t worry. Painted Buntings migrate in the fall and spring over the whole of the state.
8. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is one of the only hummingbirds that makes its home in the eastern half of North America. You can attract them to your yard with a traditional hummingbird feeder as well as nectar-producing flowers.
Spot this bird in the spring and summer in Florida in areas north of Tampa on both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. If you live along the coast and south of Tampa, you may be lucky enough to harbor some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the winter months. Most of the population winters in southern Mexico and Central America, but a small group stays in southern Florida.
Only males have the characteristic red throat patch. It shines like a ruby in the sun and is easy to identify. Females are green and white.