9 Types Of RED BIRDS In Texas (ID Guide With Photos)

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

Identifying red birds that you can see in Texas is not as easy as you might think, since there are 9 different types of red bird species in Texas.

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

Red birds found in Texas

We’ll show you the birds that are entirely red, as well as the birds that are only partially red, and will also cover where you can expect to find them.

What red birds are found in Texas?

The 9 types of red birds found in Texas are:

  • Northern Cardinal
  • House Finch
  • Summer Tanager
  • Vermilion Flycatcher
  • Painted Bunting
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Two of these red birds are entirely red (the Northern Cardinal and Summer Tanager), two are mostly red (the Vermilion Flycatcher and Painted Bunting), while the other five 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 the most well known red bird found in Texas.

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

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

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

The Northern Cardinal is a common backyard bird throughout Texas, 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.

Northern Cardinal song:

(Source: Paul Goltz, XC470302, www.xeno-canto.org/470302)

House Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus

Photo of House Finch

The House Finch is the most common red-colored bird found in Texas, and is mostly 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 lack any red coloration, and instead have grayish streaks on a brown background.

The House Finch was originally a western bird, and it wasn’t until the 1940s that this red-colored 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 birds to visit it.  

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

House Finch sound:

(Source: Thomas Magarian, XC531574, www.xeno-canto.org/531574)

Summer Tanager

Scientific name: Piranga rubra

Photo of Summer Tanager

The Summer Tanager is a beautiful and alluring songbird with a peaked (as opposed to rounded) 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 immature birds are buff yellow, although they sometimes have a few patches of pale red. 

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

It is a strict migratory bird and spends the rest of its year in Mexico and Central America

Summer Tanager song:

(Source: Ron Overholtz, XC559000, www.xeno-canto.org/559000)

Vermilion Flycatcher

Scientific name: Pyrocephalus obscurus

Photo of Vermilion Flycatcher adult male

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

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

Females and immature birds, 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 North America during the cold season.

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

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

Vermilion Flycatcher song:

(Source: Jerome Fisher, XC569695, www.xeno-canto.org/569695)

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 seen breeding in the southeastern part of the state.

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, this red and blue bird feeds mostly on seeds, except for the breeding season, when insects form an important part of its diet.

Painted Bunting song:

(Source: Terry Davis, XC277612, www.xeno-canto.org/277612)

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 Texas, no other woodpecker has an all red head. Only the Pileated Woodpecker has a head that is mostly black and somewhat red.

The Red-headed Woodpecker 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 the Red-headed Woodpecker is now a rare sight.

Red-headed Woodpecker sound:

(Source: Matt Wistrand, XC698853, www.xeno-canto.org/698853)

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.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker favors shady woodlands, forest edges and backyards 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, the Red-bellied Woodpecker excavates a new nest below the previous one in the same tree.

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 red headed bird is steadily expanding its range across the whole country, and is the most common woodpecker in eastern Texas.

Red-bellied Woodpecker sound:

(Source: Bruce Lagerquist, XC713255, www.xeno-canto.org/713255)

Pileated Woodpecker

Scientific name: Dryocopus pileatus

Photo of Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is a large bird in Texas with a bright red crest and forehead, as well as a red mustache in males.

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

The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in Texas, 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.

Pileated Woodpecker sound:

(Source: Larry Joseph, XC634533, www.xeno-canto.org/634533)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Scientific name: Archilochus colubris

Photo of Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the smallest bird in Texas.

The male has a black throat that reflects flashes of ruby red when it catches the sunlight.

Similar to other Hummingbirds, this bird can fly straight up, down, or backwards, and can also hover in mid air, with its wings generating a humming sound like a tiny generator. 

Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures that breathe up to 250 times per minute and have a heartbeat of over 1,200 times per minute. 

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is attracted to gardens and backyards that have tubular flowers that produce a lot of nectar.

In addition to flower nectar, it also feeds on insects. It is a long-distance migratory bird, and spends its winter in Central America.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird sound:

(Source: Christopher McPherson, XC691886, www.xeno-canto.org/691886)

What are the most common red birds in Texas?

The most common red birds in Texas are House Finches. They thrive close to humans, and can be seen in most backyards, gardens, and parks.

After the House Finch, the most common red birds in eastern Texas are Northern Cardinals. They are year round residents in deciduous, coniferous, and mixed woodland.

In southwestern Texas, Vermilion Flycatchers are common in some areas close to wetlands.

What red headed birds can you see in Texas?

There are four types of red headed birds in Texas:

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

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

What birds are black and red in Texas?

There are four types of birds in Texas that are black and red:

  • Summer Tanager
  • Vermilion Flycatcher
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbirds are the most common red and black birds found in Texas. Males are almost entirely black, but also have a patch of bright red on their shoulders. 

In contrast, male Northern Cardinals are almost entirely red, except for a black face.

What small birds in Texas are red?

Small red birds found in Texas are most often House Finches, which are very 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 red birds in the state: the Purple Finch and the Common Redpoll. Both of these are scarce winter visitors in Texas.

How do you attract these birds to your yard?

The top 5 things you can do to attract red birds to your yard are as follows:

  • Set up a feeder with sunflower seeds or a seed mix
  • Set up a bird bath
  • Plant shrubs to provide nesting opportunities
  • Plant native fruiting plants
  • In order to attract fruit-eating birds, offer apples or berries at your feeder

Observing birds at a bird feeder can be one of the most fun ways to practice bird watching from the comfort of your own home.