11 Types Of RED BIRDS In Florida (ID Guide With Photos)

Did you see a red bird in your backyard in Florida? In that case you’ll probably want to know what species you saw.

To help you identify the bird you saw, we’ll cover all the types of red birds that can be seen in Florida.

We’ll show you the birds of Florida that are either entirely or partially red, and will also cover where you can expect to find them.

The red birds of Florida

What are the types of red birds in Florida?

The 11 types of red birds that can be seen in Florida are:

  • Northern Cardinal
  • House Finch
  • Summer Tanager
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Vermilion Flycatcher
  • Painted Bunting
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Two of these birds in Florida are entirely red (the Northern Cardinal and Summer Tanager),  while the others are partially red (more on that below).

Now let’s dive into the details, and take a closer look at each of these species in order to get the full scoop:

Northern Cardinal

Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis

Photo of Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most common red birds in Florida, and perhaps the most well known red bird in North America.

Male Northern Cardinals are bright crimson all over, with a slightly darker color on their back and wing feathers.

In addition, their face has a black mask extending from the bill to the throat.

Female Northern Cardinals are not quite as colorful as males, and have a more buff-brown body color, although they also have a bright red bill. 

Northern Cardinals are common birds throughout Florida, and can be seen year round in gardens, small forests, and parks.

During the winter months it doesn’t defend its territory, and sometimes gathers in flocks of up to 25 individuals that feed together.

This red bird is a regular visitor at bird feeders, and you can attract it with black oil sunflower seeds or white millet.

House Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus

Photo of House Finch

The House Finch is a common red bird in north Florida, wher it is regularly found in settled areas, ranging from small towns to large metropolitan centers.

Adult male House Finches can be identified by the bright red feathers on the head and upper breast, although in some cases they are slightly more orange or yellowish in color.

The females are more drab, and have grayish streaks on a brown background.

This red bird  was originally a western bird, and it wasn’t until the 1940s that this bird was discovered in New York and other places on the east coast of the US.

The eastern House Finch population began to grow in the 1950s and 60s, and by the year 2000, it had expanded so far west that it connected with the original western population.

The House Finch is entirely herbivorous, and feeds on seeds, buds, and fruits.

If you set up a bird feeder in your backyard, you can expect House Finches to be among the first red birds to visit it.  

The House Finch is found in Florida all year round. And while it is not a migratory bird, it does move to areas with more food supply outside of the breeding season.

Summer Tanager

Scientific name: Piranga rubra

Photo of Summer Tanager

The Summer Tanager is a beautiful and alluring songbird of Florida with a peaked crown.

Adult male Summer Tanagers are entirely bright red, although they have slightly darker feathers on their wings.

It can be hard to observe Summer Tanagers, since they like to forage high in the treetops of deciduous and mixed forests.

In contrast to males, females and immatures are buff yellow, although they sometimes have a few patches of orange. 

The Summer Tanager is a summer visitor and breeding species in Florida, and can be seen here from May through August. 

While there are many Tanager species in the world, most of these are tropical, and the Summer Tanager is the only one of these that breeds in Florida. 

This red bird is strictly migratory, and leaves Florida in the fall to spends the cold season in Mexico and Central America

Scarlet Tanager

Scientific name: Piranga olivacea

Photo of Scarlet Tanager

The Scarlet Tanager is a red bird with a tropical appearance, due to the bright scarlet plumage of the males, which contrasts with their coal-black wings and tail feathers.

But unlike the startling bright red color of the male, the female has a more drab olive yellow appearance. 

The Scarlet Tanager is a summer visitor to Florida, and spends its winter in Central and South America.

This red bird loves warm temperatures, and thus arrives late in spring, and leaves early in fall. During spring and fall, Scarlet Tanagers from Canada can be seen passing through Florida.

Both sexes sing a similar song in order to mark and defend their territory from other birds. 

Vermilion Flycatcher

Scientific name: Pyrocephalus obscurus

Photo of Vermilion Flycatcher adult male

The Vermilion Flycatcher is one of the most beautiful red birds that can be seen in Florida.

Adult males have a bright crimson underside, throat, and crown, while the rest of their body is dark brown.

Females and immatures, on the other hand, are grayish brown on top, and pale underparts. 

It is a strict migratory bird, with most Vermilion Flycatchers migrating to Central America to spend the winter, with only a handful of individuals remaining in Florida during the cold season.

A great thing about this red bird is that it isn’t very shy towards, and usually can be easily observed on exposed perches.

The preferred habitat of the Vermilion Flycatcher is open woodland and parks in areas close to water.

Painted Bunting

Scientific name: Passerina ciris

Photo of Painted Bunting adult male

The Painted Bunting is a beautiful small songbird with a very colorful plumage.

Adult males have a bright red chest, throat, belly, and rump, contrasting with a dark blue hood. Their backs and the wings are yellowish green.

Females and immature birds are pale green on top, with buff yellow underparts. 

During the months of May through September, the Painted Bunting may be encountered breeding in Florida.

It is a migratory bird, with most individuals wintering in Central America, except for a few birds that spend the winter in southern Florida.

The secretive nature of the Painted Bunting makes it hard to observe, notwithstanding the bright colors of the male. 

Its preferred habitat are clearings and margins of dense forests in areas close to water.

Similar to other buntings, it feeds mostly on seeds, except for the breeding season, when insects form an important part of its diet.

You can attract this red bird to your bird feeder with sunflower seeds or millet. 

Red-headed Woodpecker

Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Photo of Red-headed Woodpecker

The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of the few non-dimorphic woodpeckers, which means that males and females look alike.

Red-headed Woodpeckers have an all-red head with a solid black back. They also have a white chest, rump and belly, as well as black wings and tail. The bill and legs are gray.

In Florida, no other woodpecker has an all red head. In comparison, the Pileated Woodpecker has a head that is mostly black.

This bird favors open forests or forests with plenty of dead or rotten limbs. It may use the same nest cavity for multiple years in a succession, in contrast to other woodpeckers that only use them once or for a small period of time.

It used to be the most common woodpecker in many parts of the country, but the population has unfortunately declined by more than 90 percent, and this bird is now a rare sight.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus

Photo of Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Red-bellied Woodpecker has a black-and-white “Zebra” pattern on its back, as well as a white rump.

Its red crown goes all the way down to the base of the neck. Both sexes look similar, although the female has a partially gray crown.

This woodpecker favors shady woodlands, forest edges and backyards in Florida with old trees.

It excavates holes in rotting wood to locate beetles, centipedes, spiders, and other creatures.

During winter, this bird stores berries and acorns in tree crevices and cracks. Every year, this bird excavates a new nest in the same tree, below the previous one.

While it is named for the reddish tinge on its belly, this can be hard to see unless you get a close up view.

Fortunately, this beautiful bird is steadily expanding its range across the whole country, and is one of the most common woodpeckers in Florida.

Pileated Woodpecker

Scientific name: Dryocopus pileatus

Photo of Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is a large, crow sized woodpecker that has a bright red crest and forehead, as well as a red mustache in males.

The rest of this bird’s body is mostly black, although the white front edges of the wings flash brightly during flight. 

The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in Florida, and is a very shy bird that is mostly found in extensive tracts of woodland. 

In order to find insects to eat, the Pileated Woodpecker drills oval holes in tree trunks that may be up to several feet long.

You can find large wood chips lying on the ground around its feeding trees, which is a tell-tale sign that Pileated Woodpeckers have been at work.

Carpenter ants are its favorite snack, and it feeds its nestlings regurgitated insects. The young woodpeckers leave the nest with pretty much the same appearance as adults.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Scientific name: Pheucticus ludovicianus

Photo of Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is easily identifiable due to its distinct markings and its large beak.

During the summer, adult males have a scarlet red chest, which contrasts with their jet black hood and back, and their black wings have white wing bars

Adult females and immatures, on the other hand, have streaked brown plumage that is lighter on the underside than on the back. They also have a white eyebrow stripe and white wingbar.

This red bird can be seen in Florida on passage, as it is a migratory bird that migrates to Central America to spend the winter months.

Similar to other Crossbill species, it specializes in feeding on the seeds of pine cones.

What are the most common red birds of Florida?

The most common red birds in Florida are Northern Cardinals. They thrive close to humans, and can be seen in backyards, gardens, and parks. They are year round residents in the sunshine state, and regular visitors at bird feeders.

What red headed birds can you see in Florida?

There are four types of red headed birds in Florida:

  • House Finch
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker

The most common red headed bird in Florida is the House Finch. Keep in mind though that only males have a red head, while females are gray brown.

The most stunning red headed bird in Florida is the Red-headed Woodpecker, but unfortunately these birds have become quite rare over the past decades.

What small red birds are found in Florida?

The small red birds that can be regularly seen in Florida are most often House Finches, which are common statewide. Males can be readily identified by their reddish head, upper chest, and back

However, during the winter you can also encounter two other small birds in Florida that are red: the Purple Finch and the Common Redpoll. Both of these are scarce winter visitors in Florida.