The 34 Most Common Birds in the United States Ranked by Sightings Data

Get ready to discover the top 34 most common birds in the United States! This fascinating article ranks these birds based on actual sightings data, making it a reliable guide for bird enthusiasts. Whether you’re a casual observer or a seasoned birder, this comprehensive list will help you identify the feathered friends that frequently visit yards and neighborhoods. From the enchanting Mourning Dove to the majestic Blue Jay, each bird is accompanied by stunning photos, habitat information, and behavioral insights. Plus, you’ll also find seasonal lists for both winter and summer. So grab your binoculars, bird food, and bird bath, because it’s time to embark on a journey through the avian wonders of America.

H2: Winter Common Birds

During the winter months, when temperatures drop and snow covers the ground, many bird species migrate to warmer regions. However, there are still several bird species that can be commonly seen in your backyard or local parks during this time. These winter common birds bring life and color to the cold and dreary season.

H3: Mourning Dove

One of the most common birds you are likely to see during winter is the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura). These graceful birds are known for their gentle cooing sounds and their soft, muted plumage. Mourning Doves are often found perched on tree branches or utility wires, and they are frequent visitors to bird feeders. They primarily feed on seeds, especially those of grasses and weeds, making a bird feeder stocked with seeds an irresistible treat for them.

H3: Dark-eyed Junco

Another bird that is frequently spotted during the winter months is the Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis). These small sparrows are known for their distinctive gray plumage and white bellies. They are ground-feeding birds and can often be seen searching for food on the forest floor or in yards with leaf litter. Dark-eyed Juncos have a varied diet, feeding on seeds, insects, and even small fruits.

H3: American Goldfinch

The vibrant yellow plumage of the American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) brings a burst of color to winter landscapes. While they may not be as prominent during the winter months compared to their bright summer appearance, American Goldfinches can still be found in many areas. These birds are often seen feeding on the seeds of various plants, such as thistles and sunflowers. Providing a bird feeder with nyjer (thistle) seed can help attract American Goldfinches to your backyard.

H3: European Starling

The European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is another bird species commonly seen during the winter. These birds are known for their iridescent black plumage, adorned with specks of white during the winter months. European Starlings are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas, farmland, and woodlands. They are omnivorous feeders, consuming a wide range of foods, including fruits, insects, and seeds.

H3: Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is a small and compact bird that can be seen year-round, but it becomes more prominent during the winter months. With its black and white plumage and a touch of red on the back of its head, the Downy Woodpecker is easily recognizable. These woodpeckers can often be found drumming on tree trunks, searching for insects hiding beneath the bark. They also enjoy feeding on suet and seeds, making a well-stocked bird feeder a popular destination for them.

H3: House Finch

The House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a bird that can be seen throughout the year, but they are particularly prevalent during the winter months. These finches have a mix of red, brown, and gray plumage, with males exhibiting brighter red coloring. House Finches are commonly found in urban areas, making use of human-built structures such as buildings and bird feeders. They have a varied diet, feeding on seeds, fruits, and small insects.

H2: Summer Common Birds

As the winter months fade away and spring arrives, a whole new set of common birds start to make their presence known. The warmer temperatures and longer days bring a burst of activity and a symphony of bird songs to our yards and parks. Here are some of the most common bird species you are likely to encounter during the summer.

H3: American Robin

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a familiar bird species that is closely associated with the arrival of spring and the onset of warmer weather. These birds are known for their vibrant orange underparts, dark gray upperparts, and distinct white eye rings. American Robins are excellent singers and can often be heard melodiously trilling from treetops. They primarily feed on earthworms, insects, and berries.

H3: Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a striking bird with its brilliant red plumage, crest, and distinctive black mask. These birds are often found in woodland edges, gardens, and suburban areas. The males are especially vibrant, while the females have a more subdued but still beautiful appearance. Northern Cardinals have a diverse diet, including seeds, fruits, insects, and even snails.

H3: House Sparrow

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a small and adaptable bird that thrives in both urban and rural environments. These birds have a brown plumage with streaks of black on their wings and tail. Male House Sparrows have a gray cap on their heads, while females have a pale brown coloring. House Sparrows are opportunistic feeders, consuming a wide range of foods, including seeds, grains, fruits, and insects.

H3: Red-winged Blackbird

The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a common sight in wetland areas and marshes during the summer months. Male Red-winged Blackbirds are easily recognizable with their glossy black plumage and bright red shoulder patches (called epaulets). Females have a more understated appearance, with dark brown feathers streaked with lighter shades. These birds primarily feed on insects, spiders, seeds, and fruits.

H3: Blue Jay

The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a striking bird with its blue feathers, prominent crest, and white underparts. These birds are often found in woodlands, parks, and residential areas, where they can be seen hopping from tree to tree with their distinctive calls. Blue Jays are omnivorous birds, consuming a variety of foods, including insects, nuts, seeds, and even small vertebrates.

H3: Purple Martin

The Purple Martin (Progne subis) is a species of swallow known for its glossy, dark purple plumage and graceful flight. These birds are highly sociable and often nest in large colonies, occupying specially designed houses put up by humans. Purple Martins primarily feed on insects, including dragonflies, butterflies, and beetles.

The 34 Most Common Birds in the United States Ranked by Sightings Data

H2: Year-round Common Birds

While some bird species migrate to escape the harsh winter or take advantage of favorable breeding grounds during the summer, there are several birds that can be observed throughout the year. These year-round common birds are often found in a variety of habitats, from urban areas to natural landscapes.

H3: American Crow

The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large and intelligent bird that is native to North America. These birds are entirely black, with a distinctive cawing call. American Crows are highly adaptable and can be found in a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, parks, and urban areas. They have a diverse diet, feeding on anything from insects and small animals to fruits and carrion.

H3: Mourning Dove

As mentioned earlier, the Mourning Dove is a bird species that can be seen year-round. Their gentle cooing sounds are a common background noise in many neighborhoods. Mourning Doves prefer open habitats with a mix of trees and open areas, making suburban areas and gardens ideal for them. In addition to seeds, they also feed on fruits and insects.

H3: Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal, known for its vibrant red plumage, can be seen throughout the year. These birds are territorial and can often be spotted in wooded areas, parks, and gardens. Providing a bird feeder with a mixture of seeds can help attract Northern Cardinals, as they are fond of sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and millet.

H3: American Robin

The American Robin, known for its orange underparts and melodious song, is another bird that can be observed year-round. These birds are often found in open woodlands, parks, and yards, where they feed on insects and earthworms. They are known for their habit of running and stopping abruptly to locate prey on the ground.

H3: Blue Jay

Blue Jays are another bird species that can be found year-round in many parts of North America. Their striking blue plumage and energetic behavior make them a delight to observe. They are often found in mixed woodlands and suburban areas, where they search for acorns, nuts, insects, and even small vertebrates.

H3: House Sparrow

Lastly, the House Sparrow, with its brown plumage and bustling nature, can be observed throughout the year. These small birds are highly adaptable and frequently seen in urban environments, where they build their nests in buildings and search for food in gardens and parks. House Sparrows have a diverse diet, feeding on seeds, grains, and insects.

H2: Habitat and Range

Birds can be found in a wide range of habitats, each with its own set of bird species that thrive in those conditions. Understanding the unique characteristics of these habitats and the bird species that inhabit them can enhance our appreciation and knowledge of the avian world.

H3: Deciduous Forest Bird Species

Deciduous forests are characterized by trees that lose their leaves during the winter months. These habitats provide shelter and food for a variety of bird species. Some common bird species found in deciduous forests include the American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, and many more. These birds are often attracted to the abundance of insects, fruits, and seeds found in these woodlands.

H3: Grassland Bird Species

Grasslands, with their open vistas and grassy meadows, are home to a unique set of bird species. Birds that thrive in grassland habitats include the Bobolink, Meadowlark, Lark Sparrow, and Grasshopper Sparrow, among others. These birds rely on the tall grasses for cover and feed on the many insects that inhabit these habitats.

H3: Wetland Bird Species

Wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, and bogs, are teeming with life and provide important habitats for many bird species. The Wetland Bird Species include the Great Blue Heron, Mallard, Wood Duck, Red-winged Blackbird, and many more. These birds rely on the wetland ecosystems for nesting, feeding, and migration stopover points.

H3: Coastal Bird Species

Coastal habitats, including sandy beaches, rocky shores, and saltwater marshes, are home to a myriad of bird species. Coastal bird species include the Osprey, Sanderling, Piping Plover, Willet, and various species of gulls and terns. These birds take advantage of the rich food sources found in the ocean and estuaries and are adapted to the challenges of living near the coast.

H3: Urban Bird Species

Urban areas, with their buildings, parks, and gardens, provide a unique habitat for bird species that have adapted to the presence of humans. Some common urban bird species include the House Sparrow, European Starling, Rock Pigeon, and Peregrine Falcon. These birds have learned to take advantage of the resources provided by urban environments, such as nesting in buildings and feeding on human-generated food sources.

The 34 Most Common Birds in the United States Ranked by Sightings Data

H2: Behavior and Food Preferences

Birds exhibit a wide range of behaviors and have diverse food preferences based on their species and habitat. Understanding these behaviors and food preferences can help bird watchers and enthusiasts attract specific bird species to their yards and provide the appropriate food sources.

H3: Seed Eaters

Many bird species have adapted to feed primarily on seeds. These seed-eating birds have specialized beaks that allow them to crack open the tough outer shells of seeds. Examples of seed-eating birds include the American Goldfinch, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, and several species of sparrows. Providing a variety of seeds, such as sunflower seeds and millet, can attract these birds to your backyard bird feeders.

H3: Insect Eaters

Insects form a fundamental part of the diet for many bird species, especially during the breeding season when protein-rich food sources are crucial for raising their young. Birds that primarily feed on insects include the Eastern Bluebird, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, and various species of warblers. Attracting insect-eating birds to your yard can be achieved by providing a water source, such as a bird bath, and planting native plants that attract insects.

H3: Fruit Eaters

Some bird species have a preference for fruits and berries as their primary food source. These fruit-eating birds play an essential role in seed dispersal, as they consume fruits and excrete the seeds in different locations. Examples of fruit-eating birds include the Cedar Waxwing, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, and various species of thrushes. Providing berry-bearing shrubs and fruit trees in your yard can attract these birds and provide them with a valuable food source.

H3: Nectar Eaters

Nectar is the primary food source for birds that have adapted to feed on flower nectar. These birds have specialized beaks and tongues that allow them to access the nectar hidden within flowers. Hummingbirds are the most well-known nectar-eating birds, but others include orioles and certain species of woodpeckers. Attracting nectar-eating birds can be achieved by planting nectar-rich flowers and providing hummingbird feeders filled with a solution of sugar and water.

H3: Carrion Eaters

Carrion-eating birds play an essential role in ecosystems by scavenging on dead animals. These birds help to clean up the environment and prevent the spread of disease. Examples of carrion-eating birds include the American Crow, Turkey Vulture, and Black Vulture. While attracting these birds to your yard may not be desirable, understanding their role in nature is important for overall ecosystem health.

H2: Mourning Dove

H3: Identification

The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a medium-sized bird with a length of approximately 9-13 inches and a wingspan of 17-18 inches. It has a plump body with a small head and a long, tapered tail. The plumage of the Mourning Dove is primarily gray-brown, with a lighter underbelly. It has a small black spot on its cheek, and its wings display black spots and white-edged feathers that create a distinctive pattern during flight.

H3: Habitat and Range

Mourning Doves can be found throughout North America, from southern Canada to Mexico. They are highly adaptable birds that inhabit a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, open fields, farmlands, parks, and suburban areas. Mourning Doves prefer habitats that provide access to food sources, such as seeds and grains, as well as areas with open perches for sunning and resting.

H3: Behavior and Food Preferences

Mourning Doves are often seen perched on utility wires, tree branches, or feeding on the ground. They are primarily seed-eaters, and their diet consists mainly of grass and weed seeds. Mourning Doves have a unique feeding behavior where they swallow seeds whole, then store them in their crop (an expanded part of the esophagus) to be digested later. They also feed on small fruits and insects, particularly during the breeding season.

H3: Photo Gallery

Insert photo gallery of Mourning Doves

The 34 Most Common Birds in the United States Ranked by Sightings Data

H2: Northern Cardinal

H3: Identification

The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a medium-sized songbird with a distinctive appearance. Male Northern Cardinals have striking red plumage on their crest, chest, and body, with black patches around their eyes and on their throat. Females, on the other hand, have a more muted appearance, with primarily gray-brown plumage and touches of red on their wings and tail. Both males and females have a prominent crest and a stout, orange-colored beak.

H3: Habitat and Range

Northern Cardinals are native to North America and can be found across the eastern and southeastern United States, as well as parts of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They inhabit a variety of habitats, including woodlands, forest edges, parks, gardens, and suburban areas. Northern Cardinals are non-migratory birds, meaning they stay in their territories year-round.

H3: Behavior and Food Preferences

Northern Cardinals are known for their distinctive melodic song, which is often described as a series of clear, whistled notes. They are highly territorial birds and can be seen defending their territory against other Cardinals and other bird species. Northern Cardinals primarily feed on seeds, but they also consume fruits, insects, and even snails. Providing a bird feeder with a variety of seeds, especially sunflower seeds and safflower seeds, can attract these beautiful birds to your yard.

H3: Photo Gallery

Insert photo gallery of Northern Cardinals

H2: American Robin

H3: Identification

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a medium-sized bird with a plump body, long legs, and a distinctive red-orange breast. It has a grayish-black back, a white belly, and dark feathers on its head. American Robins have a white eye ring and a yellow bill. Juvenile robins have a speckled appearance, with pale spots on their chests.

H3: Habitat and Range

American Robins are found throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico. They inhabit a variety of habitats, including woodlands, parks, gardens, and lawns. During the breeding season, they can also be found in open fields and meadows. American Robins are migratory birds, with individuals from northern regions migrating south for the winter.

H3: Behavior and Food Preferences

American Robins are known for their melodious song, which is often one of the first signs of spring. They are also known for their habit of running and stopping abruptly to locate prey on the ground. American Robins primarily feed on earthworms and insects, such as beetles, caterpillars, and grubs. They also eat berries and fruits, especially during the summer months when these food sources are abundant.

H3: Photo Gallery

Insert photo gallery of American Robins

The 34 Most Common Birds in the United States Ranked by Sightings Data

H2: American Crow

H3: Identification

The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large, all-black bird with a length of approximately 16-21 inches and a wingspan of 33-39 inches. It has a stout and sturdy build, with a strong bill and long legs. American Crows have a distinctive cawing call and are highly intelligent birds. They can often be seen in groups or pairs, flying in a straight line or perched on tree branches.

H3: Habitat and Range

American Crows are native to North America and can be found throughout the continent, from coast to coast. They inhabit a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, forests, parks, and urban areas. American Crows are adaptable birds and can thrive in both natural and human-altered environments.

H3: Behavior and Food Preferences

American Crows are highly social and often seen in large groups, called murders. They are highly intelligent birds, known for their problem-solving abilities and tool usage. American Crows have a diverse diet, feeding on a variety of foods, including insects, carrion, fruits, seeds, and even small animals. Their scavenging behavior helps keep ecosystems clean and prevents the spread of disease.

H3: Photo Gallery

Insert photo gallery of American Crows

H2: Blue Jay

H3: Identification

The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a striking bird with its vibrant blue plumage, white underparts, and black markings around its face. It has a prominent crest on its head, which it can raise or lower depending on its mood. Blue Jays have a sturdy build, with a length of approximately 9-12 inches and a wingspan of 13-17 inches. They are known for their loud calls and mimicry abilities.

H3: Habitat and Range

Blue Jays are native to eastern and central North America. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, parks, gardens, and residential areas. Blue Jays are highly adaptable birds and are known to visit bird feeders in search of nuts, seeds, and suet. They are year-round residents in their range.

H3: Behavior and Food Preferences

Blue Jays are highly vocal birds and have a variety of calls, including their distinctive jay! jay! call. They are omnivorous birds, feeding on a wide range of foods, including insects, nuts, seeds, fruits, and even small vertebrates. Blue Jays are also known to cache food, storing it for later consumption. Their caching behavior helps them survive during times of food scarcity.

H3: Photo Gallery

Insert photo gallery of Blue Jays

In conclusion, understanding the common birds of different seasons, their habitats, behavior, and food preferences provides a fascinating insight into the avian world. By creating bird-friendly habitats in our yards, we can attract and support a diverse range of bird species, bringing joy and wonder to our surroundings. Whether it’s the gentle cooing of a Mourning Dove on a winter morning or the lively melodies of a Northern Cardinal in the summer, these common birds enrich our lives and remind us of the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

The 34 Most Common Birds in the United States Ranked by Sightings Data

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