15 Small Birds With Red Head

Bird-watching can be a thrilling experience, especially when you spot a small bird with an eye-catching red head! Did you know that there are 17 different species of birds with partial or entirely red heads?

This blog post will act as your go-to guide, showcasing the 15 most common small birds with red heads, their habitats and behavior.

Let’s discover these fascinating feathered friends together.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 15 small bird species with red heads that you can find in North America, including the House Finch, Northern Cardinal, and Red-headed Woodpecker.
  • Birds get their red heads from carotenoids in the food they eat. The more carotenoids they consume, the brighter red their heads become.
  • To spot these red – headed birds, look for small birds with vibrant colors in your backyard or local park. Use binoculars to observe their features and listen for their distinct calls and songs.
  • You can attract red – headed birds to your backyard by providing a variety of bird feeders with different types of seeds, planting native trees and shrubs that produce fruits and berries, creating a birdbath or water feature, placing nesting boxes or birdhouses, avoiding pesticides and herbicides, and keeping your yard free from clutter.


What Makes a Bird’s Head Red?

Birds get red heads from foods they eat. The food has things called carotenoids that give the bird its color. Carotenoids help birds stay healthy and look nice to other birds. More carotenoids mean a more bright red head.

This bright color helps in many ways. It can show how strong or healthy the bird is, which is good for getting a mate. It can also scare off other birds if needed! Birds with less colorful heads may be less lucky when finding mates or dealing with angry birds.

15 Variety of Small Birds with Red Heads

Here are 15 small birds with red heads that you can find in North America.

House Finch

The House Finch is small but stands out with its red head. You can often see this bird in any part of the United States. It loves to visit backyards and eat from feeders. This bright bird is one of the most common red-headed birds spotted at these feeders.

Its vibrant color makes it easy to spot among other birds.

Purple Finch

The Purple Finch is a plump bird with a head that can be orange to pink. Males have these color heads while females usually have brown ones. This bird species is larger than some other finch types.

These birds love seeds but they also eat insects and fruits sometimes. Their bright heads make them easy to see when you are out bird watching.

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a small bird with a red head that is often seen in backyards. It has a crest on its head and a short beak. The male Northern Cardinal is bright red all over, while the female has some reddish color on her wings and tail.

They are known for their beautiful song and can be found in gardens, parks, and forests across the United States. The Northern Cardinal is one of the most recognizable birds with a red head and is a favorite among birdwatchers.

Red-headed Woodpecker

The Red-headed Woodpecker is a small bird with a distinct red head and black and white feathers. It is one of the 15 bird species that have a red head. This woodpecker can be found in North America, particularly in open woodlands, parks, and forests.

Its diet consists mainly of insects, fruits, seeds, and nuts. The Red-headed Woodpecker also has a unique behavior of storing food in tree cavities for later consumption. If you want to spot this striking bird, look for it on dead trees or utility poles where it often drums to mark its territory or communicate with other woodpeckers.

Vermilion Flycatcher

The Vermilion Flycatcher is a beautiful bird with a bright red head and a matching red underbelly. Its scientific name is Pyrocephalus rubinus. This bird can be found in specific regions, such as Arizona and New Mexico in the United States.

Despite its stunning appearance, the Vermilion Flycatcher is not considered a threatened species and is actually fairly common.

Western Tanager

The Western Tanager is one of the 15 small birds with red heads. It is a tanager bird that eats mostly insects and migrates to Middle America for the winter. You can commonly find it in deciduous woods in the eastern United States.

The Western Tanager has distinctive features, including its bright red headyellow body, and black wings. It builds nests using twigs and grasses, usually on tree branches. This bird’s migration patterns vary depending on the season, with some individuals staying year-round in their breeding range while others migrate to warmer areas during winter.

Red-breasted Sapsucker

The Red-breasted Sapsucker is a kind of woodpecker that has a red head. It builds nests and raises its babies in the springtime. During the winter, it flies south to places like Mexico, Central America, and South America.

The Red-breasted Sapsucker can be found in the Midwest and southern states of the US when it’s breeding season.

Pine Grosbeak

The Pine Grosbeak is a large finch species that can be commonly seen at backyard feeders. The males of this bird have red coloring on their heads, while the females have yellow coloring.

It is associated with 15 different small birds with red heads, including the Pileated Woodpecker which has a red crest. This plump finch species adds a vibrant splash of color to any backyard birdwatching experience.

Summer Tanager

The Summer Tanager is a small bird with a red head that is part of the tanager family. It is one of the 15 different species of small birds with red heads. These tanagers are known for their vibrant plumage and insect-eating habits.

During the summer months, they can be found breeding in North America, particularly in southern parts such as Texas and Florida. However, when winter comes, these birds migrate to Middle America for warmer weather.

They prefer wooded areas and can often be seen perching on branches or catching insects in mid-air. The Summer Tanager is closely related to the Scarlet Tanager, another red-headed bird found in deciduous woods in the eastern United States.

Scarlet Tanager

The Scarlet Tanager is a small bird with a red head that can be found in deciduous woods in the eastern United States. It is one of the 15 varieties of small birds with red heads mentioned in this blog.

The Scarlet Tanager belongs to a group of birds called tanagers, which eat mostly insects and migrate to Middle America for the winter. This bird is commonly seen in forests with lots of trees that lose their leaves during autumn.

With its vibrant red head, it stands out among other birds in its habitat.

Red Crossbill

The Red Crossbill is a small bird with a red head that is often seen at backyard feeders. It is one of the 15 varieties of birds mentioned in this content. The Red Crossbill gets its name from its unique crossed bill, which it uses to pry open pine cones and extract the seeds inside.

This specialized beak allows it to access food sources that other birds cannot reach. The Red Crossbill has a distinctive call and can be found in coniferous forests across North America.

Its red head adds a splash of color to its overall brown plumage, making it easily recognizable among other birds.

Cassin’s Finch

Cassin’s Finch is a small bird with a red head. It is one of the 15 varieties mentioned in this article. The color of its red head can be different shades, ranging from orange to pink.

Cassin’s Finch is known for its distinctive song and can be found in western parts of North America. This bird prefers coniferous forests and mountainous areas as its habitat. If you want to spot Cassin’s Finch, look out for their bright red heads while hiking or birdwatching in these regions.

Acorn Woodpecker

The Acorn Woodpecker is a large woodpecker that stands out with its striking black and white feathers and bright red head. This unique bird is not only known for its vibrant appearance, but also for its interesting behavior.

As the name suggests, the Acorn Woodpecker has a special affinity for acorns. They have an incredible habit of storing these acorns in tree cavities, creating what is known as “granaries”.

These granaries are used to store food during times of scarcity, attracting other bird species who are also in search of food. It’s fascinating to observe this cooperative behavior among different birds who come together thanks to the Acorn Woodpecker’s clever storage practices.

In addition to their role as gatherers and providers of food, the Acorn Woodpecker also plays an important part in maintaining healthy ecosystems. By creating holes in trees while searching for insects or excavating nest cavities, they contribute to the creation of habitat for other small animals such as squirrels and owls.

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a small bird that is part of a group of 15 different varieties with red heads. Despite its tiny size, it has a distinctive red spot on the back of its head.

This woodpecker can often be seen hopping up and down tree trunks in search of insects and tree sap. It is also known to visit backyard feeders, making it a familiar sight for many birdwatchers.

During the spring breeding season, the Downy Woodpecker raises its young in the North before migrating south for the winter.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird is a small bird that is commonly seen in California. However, it has also expanded its range to include Oregon and Arizona in recent years. These hummingbirds have a varied diet, feeding on flower nectar and insects that they catch while flying or glean from plants.

They can sometimes be territorial and take over hummingbird feeders, but smaller species like Rufous and Allen’s Hummingbirds can still stand up to them. One interesting fact about male Anna’s Hummingbirds is that they are known for their long, buzzy insect-like refrain that they start singing from an exposed perch during the spring season.

It’s worth noting that Anna’s Hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird regularly found in the eastern United States.

How to Spot these Red-headed Birds

To spot these red-headed birds, look for the following signs:


  • Look for small birds with red heads in your backyard or local park.
  • Observe their behavior, such as hopping or flying from branch to branch.
  • Listen for their distinct calls and songs, which can vary depending on the species.
  • Notice their size and shape, as some red – headed birds may be smaller or larger than others.
  • Pay attention to their coloration – male red-headed birds often have more vibrant colors compared to females.
  • Use binoculars to get a closer look at their features, like the specific patterns on their feathers.


How to Attract Red-headed Birds to Your Backyard

Want to attract red-headed birds to your backyard? Here’s how:


  • Provide a variety of bird feeders with different types of seeds, including sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds.
  • Plant native trees and shrubs that produce fruits and berries, which are a favorite food for many red-headed birds.
  • Create a birdbath or water feature where birds can drink and bathe. Make sure to clean it regularly and keep it filled with fresh water.
  • Place nesting boxes or birdhouses in your yard. Red-headed birds like woodpeckers and finches often use cavities for nesting.
  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your yard. These chemicals can be harmful to birds and their food sources.
  • Keep your yard free from clutter, such as fallen branches or piles of leaves, which can attract predators.



In conclusion, there are many small birds with red heads that you can find in your backyard or out in nature. From finches to woodpeckers and tanagers, these colorful birds add beauty and excitement to any birdwatching experience.

With a little knowledge and some patience, you’ll be able to spot and attract these red-headed birds for your enjoyment. So grab your binoculars and start exploring the wonderful world of these vibrant feathered friends!


1. What are some small birds with red heads?

Some small birds with red heads include the House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Scarlet Tanager.

2. Are all small birds with red heads the same species?

No, there are different species of small birds that have red heads. Each species has its own unique characteristics and behaviors.

3. Where can I find these small birds with red heads?

You can find these small birds in various habitats such as forests, gardens, parks, and even urban areas depending on their specific preferences for food and shelter.

4. What do these small birds with red heads eat?

The diet of these small birds with red heads may vary but often includes seeds, fruits, insects, nectar or a combination of these food sources based on their species-specific feeding habits.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

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.