The Birds of Colorado That All Bird Enthusiasts Will Want to Know About

Colorado birds are beautiful!

Over 400 species of birds live in Colorado, which isn’t surprising given its diverse landscape of desert, river canyons, and striking snow-topped mountains. 

Many birds thrive here and if you visit this state you won’t have to travel far before you spot some amazing birds. 

About The Birds Of Colorado

Naturally, Colorado is not just a paradise for birds but it’s also a paradise for bird watchers too.

In fact, all you need to get started is a pair of binoculars and a field guide.

There are many bird-watching trails that cover a variety of areas and terrines. Some are open to all abilities while others are only for the most experienced of trekkers. 

What are the Colorado Birds?


The Colorado birds refer to the different birds that you can find in this state. 

With an area of 269,837 km² and many different landscape areas, it’s easy to see why many different species of birds live here. 

In fact, there are so many different birds here that you could spend months bird-spotting and still not manage to see all the different types of species. 

See Also: 25 Beautiful Birds From Around The World

Which Kind of Birds Live in Colorado?

Whether you’re bird spotting from your backyard or planing on a trek to find more elusive birds, Colorado is the place to be for all your birding needs.

Some of the different types of birds that can be found here are woodpeckers, hummingbirds, blackbirds, finches, raptors, thrushes, warblers, yellow birds, gulls, magpies, bluebirds and swallows. 

Commonly Found Colorado Bird Species

Northern Flicker (Colaptes Auratus)

The Northern Flicker has the scientific name Colaptes Auratus, they’re recognizable by their spotted and striped markings, including a red spot on their heads.

Unlike other types of woodpecker, they don’t peck on trees to find their lunch.

Instead, they peck on the ground and feed on the insects they find. 

The White-Breasted Nuthatch has the scientific name Sitta Carolinensis, they’re adorable little birds who don’t stay still for long. 

They’re known for jamming their nuts and acorns into the bark of trees and then bashing it with their bill to hatch the seeds. 

The More Elusive Birds of Colorado

The Northern Goshawk has the scientific name Accipiter Gentilis, and is a large hawk with a fierce expression and red eyes. 

They inhabit lowland pine forests and can sometimes be spotted on the Arkansas River Valley trail. 

Gunnison Sage Grouse has the scientific name Centrocercus Minimus, and is one of the rarest birds in North America. 

They have elaborate mating rituals, where the males perform a strutting display to try and impress the females. Only a few males our chosen to be breeding partners. 

The State Bird

So, what exactly is the state bird of Colorado and why was it chosen? 

The Official State Bird of Colorado

The Lark Bunting has the scientific name Calamospiza Melanocorys, and has been the official state bird of Colorado since 1931.

These medium-sized songbirds make Colorado their home every year between April and September. 

They build their nests on the ground under grassy areas and also in shrubs. They love to sing and do so in short whistles and tweets. 

History of the State Bird

The reason the Lark Bunting was designated Colorado’s official state bird is that they’re known for performing a spectacular courtship flight.

Some of the Common Birds of Colorado

Which are some of the most common birds in Colorado and what are they known for?

American Crow

This stocky bird has all-black plumage, a stout bill, and a fan-shaped tail. From beak to tail they measure between 16-20 inches. 

The males are larger than the females and they commonly make the call “CaaW! CaaW!

Brewer’s Blackbird

This medium-sized blackbird often builds its nests close to water and reside in colonies. 

They can catch flies while in flight, which is useful for when they get hungry on the go. 

Brown-Headed Cowbird

These small migratory birds spend the warmer months in Colorado. 

They don’t raise their own young, instead they sneakily lay their young in the nests of other birds. 

European Starling

These boisterous and loud birds like to travel in large groups that include other starlings, blackbirds and grackles. 

They are commonly found in towns and the countryside. They find food by swooping down and probing lawns, fields and sidewalks. 

Bullock’s Oriole

Male Bullock’s Oriole at Atascadero Lake

These small birds are named after the English naturalist William Bullock. 

The males are easily distinguishable by their predominantly bright orange plumage, while the females are mostly white. 

They forage in trees and shrubs and feed off insects, berries and nectar. 

Common Grackle

This large bird like to travel in big groups.

They’re sneaky birds that like to steal food from other birds. 

They eat insects, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds, grains, mice and sometimes even smaller birds. 

Great-Tailed Grackle

This medium sized bird is native to North and South America. 

The males have a distinctive call and are known for they impressive vocalization skills. 

They have a varied diet that includes larvae, insects, lizards, nestlings, eggs, fruit and grains. 

Red-Winged Blackbird

This bird is found in North and Central America and gets its name because the males have distinct red shoulder patches on their overwise black feathers.

They mainly feed on seeds and insects and their call is similar to a high slurred whistle. 

This bird faces many threats from predators, such as foxes, snakes, magpies, ravens, crows and raccoons. 

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

This medium sized blackbird has the misfortune of having a call that sounds similar to the grating of a rusty hinge. 

The adult male is black with a mainly yellow head and breast while the female is mainly brown with a dull yellow throat and breast. 

They forage for food in marshes, on the ground, and in fields.They’re capable of catching insects mid-flight and they often feed in flocks. 

Lifestyle and Health 

What do the birds of Colorado eat? How active are they? And what major diseases affect them?


Most of the birds found in Colorado love seeds, berries, insects and nectar.

If you live here, then leaving a bird feeder in your garden will help them out as well as encouraging them to nest here. 

A bird bath will also attract feathered visitors to your garden while supplying them with much needed water. 

Physical Activity

Most birds are active during sunrise, this is because insects and other prey are most active them. 

We all know that the early bird catches the worm, which is why most birds don’t opt for lie-ins. 

Lots of birds species in Colorado nest and forage for food in large groups. They don’t like to stay still for long but do take perch breaks to regain their energy. 

There’s safety in numbers and with many preys about, especially for the smaller birds, sticking together gives them more of a chance of survival. 

Major Disease Issues

Birds carry diseases which can then be spread via feeding stations and by their droppings. 

The 4 most common bird diseases in North America are salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis, and avian pox. 

Recently Colorado saw the return of “New Duck Disease,” which is a bacterial infection that affects ducks and geese.


Colorado is renowned for its different bird species and many bird-watchers come from afar to spot them.

Number of Bird Species Found in Colorado

With over 400 species of birds found in Colorado, you can expect to see many different types of birds just by taking a short walk. 

Other Physical Characteristics

There are many different birds in Colorado al with varying sizes, weight, and other distinguishing traits. 


The largest hummingbird in Colorado is the Blue-Throated Hummingbird and can be as big as 4.9 inches. 

One of the smaller hummingbirds is Anna’s Hummingbird which can grow to 4 inches big.

The Ancient Murrelet is a small seabird with a black head and dark gray wings. 

The Anhinga is a large, dark waterbird that is sometimes mistaken for a raptor by its soaring flying movements. 


The Gyrfalcon is a large northern falcon with 3 color morphs: dark, white and gray. It weighs 1.4kgs.

The Zone-Tailed Hawk weights up to 940grammes and likes deep, rough and rocky wooded areas.

FAQs- The Short Answers

Do you still have lots of questions about the birds of Colorado? Read on to discover the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding this vast array of birds. 

Question 1 – What Kind of Birds are in Colorado?

When it comes to birds Colorado pretty much has them all.

It’s a prime location to spot hummingbirds, owls, ducks, geese, bluebirds, cranes and tanagers. 

Some of the most common birds found there are the Downy Woodpecker and the Western Scrub Jay.

A rare find is the elusive Greater Sage-Grouse.

Question 2 – What is the Most Common Bird in Colorado?

Rosy-Finches are common birds to spot in the winter months. 

There are also many blackbirds, orioles, and hummingbirds about. 

Question 3 – What Birds Stay in Colorado for the Winter?

Birds that feed off seeds and insects don’t need to migrate as nectar-feeding birds do. 

Some species that stay put during the colder months are chickadees, siskins, juncos, grosbeaks, finches, jays, and nuthatches. 

Question 4 – What Owls are Found in Colorado?

There are 14 different species of owl found in Colorado. 

The largest and most common owl found here is the Great-Horned Owl. The Barn Owl, Burrowing Owl, Screech-Owls and Northern Pygmy-Owl.  

Question 5 – What Birds of Prey Live in Colorado?

There are many birds of prey that inhabit Colorado.

The American Kestral is recognized for its rusty-colored plumage and known to hover.

The Bald Eagle is large, striking and has blackish plumage and a white head. 

The Turkey Vulture is a backish bird that loves soaring across the landscapes. They have slightly narrower wings to other vultures and they sway from side-to-side when flying. 

Question 6 – How Many Bird Trails are there?

Colorado is packed full of amazing bird trails. Some of the best ones to go on are the Snow Goose Trail which is fantastic for spotting water birds such as cranes, sandpipers and gulls. 

For the more advanced hikers Pike’s Peak is 21.3 miles of altering terrine, beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. 

Greater Prairie Chicken Trail

The Greater Prairie Chicken Trail is a good place to try and spot the rare Greater-Prairie Chicken, the male of which is known for its impressive dance display to try and woe the females.  

Question 7 – Are There Wild Peacocks in Colorado?

Even though peacocks aren’t native to Colorado, it isn’t uncommon to see Brace Peafowl in North Boulder. 

Question 8 – During the Winter Months in Colorado, Where Do the Birds go?

Most species of birds that stay during the winter roost with other birds to keep warm, while Nuthatches seek out old unused woodpecker holes.

If you live in cold-winter climates then putting a birdfeeder out can really help non-migrating birds. Putting a birdhouse up can also provide crucial shelter for these birds.

These birds are adaptable creatures who aren’t going to let a bit of cold weather stop them from thriving. 

An Overview to the Birds of Colorado

I hope that you now know everything you need to know about the birds of Colorado. 

These fascinating birds come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and have different habitats and calls.

 As different as they are, the one thing they have in common is that they all chose to make Colorado their home. 

If you ever get to visit then you’re in for a biarticular treat, as there truly are some fascinating birds there. 

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.