10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (2023)

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (1)

Red Birds are easy to spot with the flash of bright color but do you know your Finch from your Tanager?

There are 10 species of red birds in Arkansas that have been spotted. Of these 8 species are recognized on state checklists as regularly occurring and an additional 2 species are considered rare or accidental.

This guide will help you identify the species of red birds in Arkansas according to avibase. Some of these birds migrate and some remain all year.

You can print out a freebird identification worksheet for Arkansas to help you identify all birds that visit your backyard.

The most common red bird in both summer and winter in Arkansas is the Northern Cardinal. The Summer Tanager is more commonly seen in summer and several species are only spotted in summer in Arkansas. Keep reading to find out which ones.

10 Red Birds in Arkansas:

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. House Finch
  3. Summer Tanager
  4. Purple Finch
  5. Painted Bunting
  6. Scarlet Tanager
  7. Red Crossbill
  8. Common Redpoll
  9. Pine Grosbeak
  10. White-winged Crossbill

10 Red Birds in Arkansas:

1. Northern Cardinal

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (2)

Northern Cardinals are very common in Arkansas all year.

The bright red male Northern Cardinal is a bird with a red head, body, and tail, with black around their faces. They are an incredible sight, especially against a white winter background. The females are also showy with their brown coloring, sharp brown crest, red highlights, and red beaks.

  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz (42-48 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in (25-31 cm)

Northern Cardinals are found in eastern and southern states and will sometimes attack their reflection during breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories.

You can attract more Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo.

They will feed on large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food scattered on the ground.

2. House Finch

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House Finches are common red birds in Arkansas, especially during summer.

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House Finches are another bird with a red head and breast in the males and brown-streaked coloring in the females.

  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)

Originally only in western states, it was introduced to the eastern states and has done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.

They can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders. They can be found in noisy groups that are hard to miss.

You can attract more House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.

3. Summer Tanager

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (4)

Summer Tanagers can be seen in Arkansas all year but they are more common in the summer between April and October.

Summer Tanager males are bright red birds and females are yellow.

  • Piranga rubra
  • Length: 6.7 in (17 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1 oz (30 g)

They breed in southern and eastern states before heading to Central and South America for winter.

They are forest songbirds found in open woodlands and feed on bees and wasps in mid-flight. They catch them and kill them by beating them against a branch and rubbing the stinger off before eating them.

You can attract more Summer Tanagers to your backyard with berry bushes and fruit trees.

4. Purple Finch

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (5)

Purple Finches can only be spotted in Arkansas during winter.

Purple Finches look very similar to House Finch with the reddish-purple head and breast with more brown on the back and wings.

  • Length: 4.7-6.3 in (12-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-32 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-10.2 in (22-26 cm)

They breed in Canada and overwinter in eastern states but can be found all year in the north-east are Pacific coast.

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You can spot them in evergreen forests feeding on seeds but also buds, nectar and berries.

They readily come to feeders for black oil sunflower seeds.

5. Painted Bunting

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Painted Bunting though not very common, can be spotted during summer in Arkansas.

Painted Bunting males are a brightly colored patchwork of color with mostly red coloring underneath and with bright blue heads, green wings, and backs. Females are bright yellow-green.

  • Passerina ciris
  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-0.7 oz (13-19 g)

Painted Bunting breed in a few states, in the south-central and some coastal areas in the Southeast US, before migrating at night to Central America, southern Florida, and some Caribbean islands.

You can find Painted Bunting in semi-open habitats, mainly foraging for seeds and insects in the breeding season.

To attract painted Bunting to your yard, try adding low, dense vegetation and feeders filled with white millet or black oil sunflower seeds.

6. Scarlet Tanager

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (7)

Just like the Painted Bunting, Scarlet Tanagers can be spotted in Arkansas during summer.

Scarlet Tanagers are bright red birds with black wings and tails. Females are yellow with darker wings and tails.

  • Piranga olivacea
  • Length: 6.3-6.7 in (16-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (23-38 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm)

They breed in eastern forests in summer before migrating to South America.

Scarlet Tanagers can be hard to spot as they stay high in the forest canopy.

You can attract more Scarlet Tanagers by planting berry plants such as blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, juneberries, serviceberries, mulberries, strawberries and chokeberries.

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7. Red Crossbill

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Red Crossbills are very rare but some have been seen in the northwest of Arkansas.

Red Crossbill males are red birds with darker wings and tails. Females are yellow and brown.

They can be found year-round in northern and western states and winter in eastern states.

They feed on conifer seeds and forage in flocks from tree to tree, even breaking unopened cones with their powerful beaks. As well as coniferous forests, they can be found along roadsides consuming grit in the mornings.

8. Common Redpoll

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Common Redpolls are very rare but have been spotted a few times near Ozark National Forest in the northwest of Arkansas during winter.

Common Redpolls have red foreheads, pinky breasts, and brown and white over the rest of their bodies.

  • Acanthis flammea
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

They can be found in winter in northern states and less frequently in central states.

In winter, they will sometimes tunnel into the snow to stay warm during the night. They can eat up to 42% of their body mass every day and can store up to 2 grams of seeds in a stretchy park of their esophagus.

They can be found in weedy fields or feeding on catkins in trees, but they will also come to feeders for small seeds such as nyjer seeds or thistle.

9. Pine Grosbeak

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (10)

Pine Grosbeaks are considered accidental species. According to records, it has only been spotted in Arkansas four times.

Pine Grosbeaks are a species of finch. The males are red birds with gray on the wings and tail and two white wingbars. Females are gray with dull orange heads and rumps. They are large for finches and relatively slow.

  • Pinicola enucleator
  • Length: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
  • Wingspan: 13.0 in (33 cm)

Pine Grosbeaks are mostly found in Canada, but some can be spotted along the US border, the mountainous west and the Sierra Nevada in California.

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They live in forests of pine, spruce and fir, feeding on seeds, fruit and buds from these trees. They will also eat some insects in the summer.

You can attract Pine Grosbeaks to black oil sunflower seed feeders or suet feeders.

10. White-winged Crossbill

10 Red Birds in Arkansas – Picture and ID Guide - Bird Advisors (11)

Another red bird considered as an accidental species in Arkansas is the White-winged Crossbills. They have been spotted a very few times near Little Rock.

White-winged Crossbills are finches with heavy crossed beaks. Males are red birds with black wings and tails and two white wingbars. Females are yellow and brown and with two white wing bars.

  • Loxia leucoptera
  • Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-0.9 oz (24-26 g)
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11.0 in (26-28 cm)

White-winged Crossbills live in forests in Canada, Alaska and sometimes northern US states when cone crops are poor further north. They can be found in spruce forests feeding on seeds.

Unusually these birds breed at any time of year as long as there is enough food.

They can often be heard in large flocks.

How Frequently Red birds are Spotted in Arkansas in Summer and Winter

Checklists for the state are a great resource to find out which birds are commonly spotted here. These lists show which red birds are most commonly recorded on checklists for Arkansas on ebird in summer and winter.

Common Red Birds in Arkansas in Summer:

Northern Cardinal 67%
Summer Tanager 25%
House Finch 21%
Painted Bunting 6%
Scarlet Tanager 4%
Purple Finch <0.1%
Red Crossbill <0.1%

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Common Red Birds in Arkansas in Winter:

Northern Cardinal 60%
House Finch 22%
Purple Finch 8%
Summer Tanager 0.2%
Red Crossbill 0.1%
Common Redpoll <0.1%

FAQs

What are the little GREY birds that look like Cardinals? ›

Pyrrhuloxia. Pyrrhuloxia birds look like cardinals; in fact, they are sometimes called the desert cardinal. This species an be found in the Southwest and has the same impressive crest as the northern cardinal. The coloring is a bit different, though: Male pyrrhuloxias are mostly gray with red accents.

Are Cardinals native in Arkansas? ›

Range in Arkansas: Northern Cardinals are year-round residents throughout Arkansas. Identification: Size: Cardinals are a bit smaller than American Robins, about the same size as Red-winged Blackbirds. Shape: Plump body with fairly long full tail.

What bird is red with a blue head? ›

Painted Bunting Photos and Videos

Stocky, finchlike bird with a stubby, thick, seed-eating bill. Adult males are unmistakable with their brilliant blue head, green back, red rump and red belly.

What kind of cardinals are in Arkansas? ›

The northern cardinal may be one of the most easily recognized birds in the Natural State. And, the male's brilliant red plumage can cheer up a backyard even on the dreariest winter days.

What red birds symbolize? ›

Red birds symbolize passion, courage, war, violence, health, well-being, culture, and tradition. Although there are many red birds with many different symbols, they all have one thing in common: their bold and passionate nature.

What bird looks like a cardinal but isn t? ›

Cardinal look-alike bird species are pyrrhuloxia, scarlet tanagers, vermilion flycatchers, phainopeplas, summer tanagers, and more. These birds have similarities, but they have differences too.

What birds are red like a cardinal? ›

Breeding male Scarlet Tanagers are brilliant red like adult male Northern Cardinals, but they have black wings and a black tail.

What bird is red and gray? ›

Overall, Pyrrhuloxias are gray or gray-brown birds with prominent flashes of red. Males are crisp gray with a red face and crest, a red stripe running down the breast, and a reddish tail. Females are buffy gray, with less red than males. Both sexes have yellowish bills and reddish highlights in the wings.

Do cardinals sing year-round? ›

They prefer thick underbrush for nesting. Cardinals have been expanding their range northward. Both male and female cardinals sing almost year-round. Common calls include "cheer cheer cheer", "whit-chew whit-chew whit-chew" and "purty purty purty".

What is the most common duck in Arkansas? ›

Mallard. Easily the most common duck in the state, Mallards are dabbling ducks that are extremely popular for hunting.

What birds chirp at night in Arkansas? ›

Mockingbirds chirp late into the night as you drift off to sleep.

What kind of bird looks like a sparrow but has a red head? ›

If you catch any glimpses of red, then you can be fairly sure you've just seen a House Finch. The males of this species have red faces, breasts, and rumps. By contrast, House Sparrow males have gray heads, whitish cheeks, and a black bib under the chin.

What bird is bright red with black wings? ›

Basic Description. Male Scarlet Tanagers are among the most blindingly gorgeous birds in an eastern forest in summer, with blood-red bodies set off by jet-black wings and tail.

What is the name of a small red bird? ›

There are several small red birds, that are not cardinals, including: Hepatic Tanager. House Finch. Pine Grosbeak.

Are there grouse in Arkansas? ›

Pheasants, grouse, and allies

Phasianidae consists of the pheasants and their allies including the partridges, grouse, turkeys and old world quail.

Can Ravens be found in Arkansas? ›

Common ravens, immortalized by Edgar Allen Poe and vice versa, occur in the northern parts of the northern states, across the Canadian forests, through Alaska, down the eastern and western mountains, and through Siberia and Europe, but not in Arkansas.

Are Catbirds in Arkansas? ›

Gray Catbirds from both populations passed through the Rocky Mountains eastward before heading south towards their overwintering locations in northeastern Mexico and Texas. Stopover sites during fall migration occurred primarily in Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

What attracts cardinals to your yard? ›

Natural fruits that attract these birds include blueberry bushes, mulberry trees, and other dark-colored berries. Bird seeds that have been known to attract Cardinals include black oil sunflower, cracked corn, suet, Nyjer® seed, mealworms, peanuts, safflower, striped sunflower, and sunflower hearts and chips.

What does it mean when God sends cardinals? ›

Some claim a cardinal represents the blood of Christ. Others believe loved ones who've passed on to the afterlife send cardinals as signs. Depending on which interpretation they subscribe to, if a Christian sees a cardinal after recently losing a loved one, they may take it as a reassuring sign that they're at peace.

What does it mean when you see multiple cardinals? ›

If you see two cardinals together, you will probably take notice as they really are a lovely sight, and this is exactly what they represent. They are encouraging you to pay more attention to the world around you, to appreciate everything you have in your life.

What is the difference in a red bird and a cardinal? ›

As it relates to red birds, the primary difference between a red bird and the male cardinal is the crown. The male cardinal is the only red bird with raised crown feathers that stands full and tall. Another difference between a red bird and the male cardinal is their size.

What does a scarlet tanager look like? ›

Measurements. In spring and summer, adult males are an unmistakable, brilliant red with black wings and tails. Females and fall immatures are olive-yellow with darker olive wings and tails. After breeding, adult males molt to female-like plumage, but with black wings and tail.

Is it rare to see a scarlet tanager? ›

Despite their bright coloring, sightings of this bird are a rarity. This is primarily because they are found only in the upper canopy of trees where they spend their time moving slowly in search of food. Besides being rarely seen, they are also rarely heard.

What does the female red bird look like? ›

Females are pale brown overall with warm reddish tinges in the wings, tail, and crest. They have the same black face and red-orange bill. Northern Cardinals tend to sit low in shrubs and trees or forage on or near the ground, often in pairs.

Are cardinals good luck? ›

Many people believe the sighting of a cardinal can be a sign of good luck, loyalty, or even a spiritual message. Native American lore states if a cardinal is seen, it is believed that individual will have good luck within 12 days of the sighting. Cardinals are incredibly loyal creatures.

How many birds are red? ›

There are 25 birds in the United States that are considered “red.” For the purpose of this article, I include primarily red and partially red birds. Fortunately, many species of RED birds visit bird feeders, so you have a chance of attracting them to your yard.

Do cardinals mate for life? ›

Cardinals are monogamous birds that pair up for a year or longer, although some couples mate for life. During courtship, males prove their strength by finding seeds for the female and feeding them to her one at a time, from his beak to hers. This courtship display looks a lot like kissing.

What does it mean when a House Finch visits you? ›

A finch encounter may also act as a reminder to follow your joy wherever it may take you. Finches flutter through the sky proclaiming their joy through song. Encountering a finch may be a reminder to seek out the paths in your life that fill you with a sense of freedom, opportunity, and happiness.

What bird looks like a cardinal but is yellow? ›

Basically, it will look like a red cardinal except with yellow feathers. Another yellow bird you might see in a backyard is the American goldfinch.

What types of birds are in Arkansas? ›

Birds of Arkansas - 424 species
Yellow-headed Blackbird (S)Bobolink (S)Eastern Meadowlark (S)
Baltimore Oriole (S)*Scott's Oriole (P)Red-winged Blackbird (S)
Brown-headed Cowbird (S)Rusty Blackbird (S)Brewer's Blackbird (S)
Common Grackle (S)Great-tailed Grackle (P)
1 more row

Are there summer tanagers in Arkansas? ›

Summer Tanagers (Piranga rubra) typically breed in the southern United States and winter in Central and South America (Robinson 2012). They are common in Arkansas as migrants and nest during summer throughout the state (James and Neal 1986).

Are there Orioles in Arkansas? ›

Baltimore Orioles are the most commonly seen oriole in Arkansas. And luckily, these birds are relatively easy to attract to your bird feeders, as long as you use the foods they enjoy eating.

What kind of cranes are in Arkansas? ›

Cranes
  • Sandhill crane, Antigone canadensis.
  • Whooping crane, Grus americana (Ex)

What birds chirp at night in Arkansas? ›

Mockingbirds chirp late into the night as you drift off to sleep.

Are there Roadrunners in Arkansas? ›

We have roadrunners in Arkansas? Many associate this bird with the hot, shrubby desert southwest, but we do have year round residents in the state—mainly in western and central Arkansas. Look for them in open country with patches of shrubs or small trees and lightly urbanized areas.

Do we have storks in Arkansas? ›

Arkansas wetlands attract large flocks of wading birds in late summer, often including Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills.

Is it rare to see a scarlet tanager? ›

Despite their bright coloring, sightings of this bird are a rarity. This is primarily because they are found only in the upper canopy of trees where they spend their time moving slowly in search of food. Besides being rarely seen, they are also rarely heard.

What does a red tanager bird look like? ›

Adult male Summer Tanagers are entirely bright red. Females and immature males are bright yellow-green—yellower on the head and underparts and slightly greener on the back and wings. The bill is pale. Molting immature males can be patchy yellow and red.

Is there a difference between a red bird and a cardinal? ›

As it relates to red birds, the primary difference between a red bird and the male cardinal is the crown. The male cardinal is the only red bird with raised crown feathers that stands full and tall. Another difference between a red bird and the male cardinal is their size.

Why do orioles stop coming to feeders? ›

The cause for there sudden disappearence is that while they are nesting and feeding young, the diet changes to add protein so that the young birds grow healthy. This means they are hunting insects instead of visiting your feeders.

Where is the Oriole migration now? ›

From early April to late May, flocks arrive in eastern and central North America to breed from Louisiana through central Canada. They start to leave as early as July for wintering grounds in Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, and the northern tip of South America.

Where are the Oriole birds now? ›

The U.S. range of Scott's orioles is mainly limited to the Southwest, while the spot-breasted oriole is found in only a small portion of Florida and coastal Mexico. Altamira orioles and Audubon's orioles are found only in a small part of southern Texas and south into Mexico.

What is the most common duck in Arkansas? ›

Mallard. Easily the most common duck in the state, Mallards are dabbling ducks that are extremely popular for hunting.

Are there falcons in Arkansas? ›

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) Peregrine Falcons can be found everywhere in Arkansas, and are actually located on every continent except Antarctica. Because of their fondness of nesting on the sides of tall buildings, these falcons are common in cities where they can become quite the local celebrities!

Can Ravens be found in Arkansas? ›

Common ravens, immortalized by Edgar Allen Poe and vice versa, occur in the northern parts of the northern states, across the Canadian forests, through Alaska, down the eastern and western mountains, and through Siberia and Europe, but not in Arkansas.

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