13 Types of Red Birds (with Photos)

Aside from the well-known cardinal, you may not be able to think of many other types of red birds. North America actually has many birds that sport fiery red plumage, from backyard songbirds to birds who spend their time wading through wetlands.

13 Types of Red Birds 

We hope you enjoy getting to know some of the brightest and boldest colored birds in North America with these 13 types of red birds. 

1. Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal

Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Length: 8.75 in 
Weight: 1.6 oz 
Wingspan: 12 in 

The Northern Cardinal is probably the most well-known red bird in North America, despite the fact that they only range from the Eastern United States to the Southwest and the Rockies. 

The male Northern Cardinal’s cheerful bright red plumage, coupled with his loud and melodic chirping, is sure to attract attention. Females aren’t quite as brightly colored, but they still have tinges of red in their brownish feathers. 

Cardinals are great birds to attract to your bird feeders. They are seed-eaters and will thrive on sunflower seeds. If you live in an area with thick foliage, you may be able to see them nesting. During breeding season, it’s likely you’ll hear the common “chip” of the male as he guards his territory. 


2. Scarlet Tanager 

scarlet tanager
source: Kelly Colgan Azar | CC BY-ND 2.0 | flickr

Scientific name: Piranga olivacea 
Length: 7 in 
Weight: 0.98 oz 
Wingspan: 11.5 in 

Native to the Eastern United States, Scarlet Tanagers are impossible to miss when they stand out from a green forest background. Like Northern Cardinals, only male Scarlet Tanagers have the bright red and black coloring that makes them stand out. Females are instead a yellow-green that blends in better with foliage. 

After breeding season, males molt their scarlet feathers and replace them with green ones, like females. They then migrate south into Western South America and the Andes mountain range. 


3. Vermillion Flycatcher 

vermillion flycatcher
Image: RonaldPlett | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Pyrocephalus rubinus 
Length: 6 in 
Weight: 0.51 oz 
Wingspan: 10 in 

The Vermillion Flycatcher may be small, but he packs a punch! This tiny insect-eating bird has glorious red head and body. Both males and females have red feathers, but the male is most easily recognized. Females have a small pinkish patch on their lower belly and the underside of their tail. 

Vermillion flycatchers are native to desert habitats. They can be seen primarily in Mexico, but some populations venture north along the Gulf Coast and into Southern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California. 


4. House Finch

Male House Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 5.7 in 
Weight: 0.74 oz 
Wingspan: 10 in 

Ubiquitous across the whole United States, the House Finch is a common visitor to backyard feeders throughout the year. These sweet finches are known for their simple songs and their easily-recognizable red and brown plumage. 

Only males have the trademark red head and neck, while females are brown and white streaked. They are similar looking to the Purple Finch, but as the name suggest, the Purple Finch has much more of a raspberry color and the House Finch is distinctly red. They like to build nests around human-constructed buildings. 


5. Summer Tanager 

summer tanager
Image: RonaldPlett | pixabay.com

Scientific name: Piranga rubra 
Length: 7.75 in 
Weight: 1 oz 
Wingspan: 12 in 

The Summer Tanager is similar to the Scarlet Tanager, but there are a few key differences that make it easy to tell apart. First, the Summer Tanager is larger than its scarlet cousin. Second,  males have entirely red wings with only a little dusky black at the tips of the feathers. Third, females are entirely yellow-green or yellow with hints of dusky red. 

Find Summer Tanagers across the eastern United States south of the Great Lakes, and in the western United States in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. 


6. Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak (Image: dfaulder | CC BY 2.0 | flickr)

Scientific name: Pinicola enucleator
Length: 9 in
Weight: 2 oz 
Wingspan: 14.5 in 

The Pine Grosbeak prefers the cooler habitats of Canada and the northern Rocky Mountains. It makes its home among forests consisting of spruce and fir trees, fitting its name. If you live up north, you may see them congregate in bushes looking for berries or fruit. 

Only adult males have the iconic red and gray coloring. Females have a yellowish head and back instead of the red males have. 


7. Red Warbler

Red Warbler | image by sam may via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Cardellina rubra
Length: 12.5-13.5 in

The striking Red Warbler can only be found in the highland areas of southern and western Mexico. They prefer forests of pine, fir and oak. Adults are red all over, with a silvery white cheek patch. Females are slightly paler than males. 


8. Scarlet Ibis 

Scarlet Ibis perched on a branch
Scarlet Ibis

Scientific name: Eudocimus ruber
Length: 25 in 
Weight: 2 lb 
Wingspan: 38 in 

Originally native to South America, the Scarlet Ibis is practically the Northern Cardinal of waterbirds. Entirely red with only a little black on its wingtips, the Scarlet Ibis can be seen foraging for invertebrates or shellfish in the mud of marshes or even on wet lawns! 

Scarlet Ibises only call while flying, and they are unlikely to visit feeders. They have been spotted as northwards as southern Florida. 

Some Scarlet ibises have interbred with White ibis populations, leading to a hybrid ibis that is a bright pink color. 


9. ‘I’iwi (Scarlet Honeycreeper)

image: Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith | Flickr | CC 2.0

Scientific name: Drepanis coccinea

This red honeycreeper is only found on the islands of Hawaii. While Hawaii isn’t technically in North America, we are including it here since it is part of the United States. Adults are a scarlet red with black wings, a black tail, and a pink hooked bill. 

The long and curved bill of the ‘I’iwi is used reach the nectar inside of flowers. They are considered “altitudinal migrants” because they travel to higher elevations throughout the year, following the bloom of native flowers.


10. Painted Bunting

Scientific name: Passerina ciris
Length: 4.7-5.1 in
Weight: 0.5-0.7 oz

With the many colors of the Painted Bunting, it’s hard to say it really belongs to one color group. However it’s mainly red body earns it a spot on this list. Females are a bright greenish-yellow, while the males sport the multicolored plumage that includes a red throat, belly and back. 

They spend winters in Mexico and Central America. They enter the U.S. for the breeding season in two main locations. The western population can be found in the mid-south, including northern Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and western Mississippi. The second breeding area, or eastern population, is along the southeastern coastal regions of northern Florida, Georgia, and the Carolina’s. 


11. Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Cardinalis sinuatus
Length: 8.3 in 
Weight: 0.8-1.5 oz 

Between their body shape, head crest and red coloring, you may think Pyrrhuloxias look like a cardinal dipped in gray paint. They are in fact very closely related to the Northern Cardinal. You can consider them their southwestern cousin, since you’ll find these birds in the northern half of Mexico, western Texas, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico and the Baja Peninsula. 

Both males and females have gray bodies with bright red on their crests, wings and tail. Males have red across their face and in a stripe all the way down the front of their body. Territorial during breeding season, they gather together in friendly flocks during winter. 


12. Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Piranga flava
Length: 8.0 in 
Weight: 1.3 oz 
Wingspan: 12.5 in

While females are yellow, adult males red overall with some gray on the back and around the eye. Hepatic Tanagers eat mainly insects and spiders that they catch by moving slowly through the branches of trees.

In North America, they can be found in the mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico in the summer, and Mexico year round. However they have an even larger range, and can be found in both Central America and South America. 


13. Apapane 

Apapane | image by Alan Schmierer via Flickr

Scientific name: Himatione sanguinea
Length: 5.1 in 
Weight: 0.56-0.51 oz 

Like the ‘I’iwi, the ‘Apapane is also a type of Hawaiian honeycreeper only found on the islands. In fact, they are the most common honeycreeper and found on all of the main islands. Their bill is thin with a slight downward curve, which they use to drink the nectar from flowers. They come into contact with so many flowers during their day-to-day search for food that they are considered important pollinators. 

Adults are a bright crimson red with a pale rump and black on their wings. 


Types of Pink Birds

Since pink is just a paler shade of red, we thought we would give honorable mention to two birds that many of you might be familiar with.

1. Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbills

Scientific name: Platalea ajaja
Length: 32 in 
Weight: 3.3 lb 
Wingspan: 50 in 

One of several birds on this list that live in primarily coastal or marshy areas, the Roseate Spoonbill lands on the pinker side of the red spectrum. The beautiful gradient of its feathers fades from a deep pink at the tops of its wings down to a light pink at the wingtips. 

Roseate Spoonbills live on the southern coast of the United States along the Gulf of Mexico. Recognize them based on their pink color and their spoon-shaped bill. 


2. Flamingo

American Flamingos | image by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Platalea ajaja
Length: 32 in 
Weight: 3.3 lb 
Wingspan: 50 in 

There are actually four separate species of flamingo. The American Flamingo, also known as the Caribbean flamingo, is the only type that is naturally found in North America. While many of us view the flamingo as a symbol of Florida, there are very few parts of Florida where you will find them as that is as far north as they travel. These areas tend to be the Keys and far southern Florida including the Everglades. 

Flamingos are pink all over, and the hue can vary from pale pink to deep salmon. They are able to use the carotenoids found in foods, such as brine shrimp, to give their feathers their pink color. 

About Mary Richardson

Mary is an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, and amateur birdwatcher that enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.