Birds with red heads are a diverse and fascinating group of avian species found across North America. Their distinctive red plumage makes them easily recognizable and a delight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. In this post, we will explore some of the most notable birds with red heads, their scientific names, and where they can be found.
1. Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
The Northern Cardinal is one of the most iconic and beloved birds in North America. The males boast striking red plumage on their heads, chests, and tails, while the females have a more subdued reddish hue. These birds are highly adaptable and can be found in a wide range of habitats, from woodlands and gardens to urban backyards.
2. Red-Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a captivating species known for its striking black and white plumage, complemented by a vibrant all-red head. These woodpeckers can be found in woodlots and pine forests, where they use their strong bills to forage for insects and acorns.
3. Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in North America and features a small patch of red on the back of its head. These delightful birds are commonly found in forested areas and even in urban environments, where they feed on insects and tree sap.
4. Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America, boasting a striking black and white striped body and a bright red crest on its head. These impressive birds inhabit mature forests, where they create large holes in trees while searching for insects.
5. Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
Known for their clown-like appearance, Acorn Woodpeckers have black and white faces and a conspicuous patch of red on their heads. They are commonly found in oak forests in the western states, where they are known for their unique habit of storing acorns in tree cavities.
6. Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
The Vermilion Flycatcher is a small and striking bird with bright red or orange plumage on its body and top of the head. These birds are mainly found in desert states, where they use their aerial acrobatics to catch flying insects.
7. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is a tiny and mesmerizing bird with bright green wings and a vibrant red throat. These enchanting creatures are common in eastern North America, where they feed on nectar from flowers using their specialized long beaks.
8. Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)
With their brilliant red bodies and contrasting black wings, Scarlet Tanagers are a sight to behold. These birds are found along the East Coast of the United States and can be spotted as far north as Canada during their breeding season.
9. Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)
The Summer Tanager is mostly red in color and easily distinguishable in the Eastern and Southern United States. These birds primarily feed on bees, wasps, and other insects, making them important predators for controlling insect populations.
10. Redheads (Aythya americana)
Not to be confused with the Red-Headed Woodpecker, Redheads are a duck species with brownish-red heads. They can be found in mid-west prairies during the summer and migrate to the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico in winter.
11. Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
Part of the finch family, Red Crossbills have predominantly red bodies and heads with blackish-red wings. They are well-adapted to feeding on conifer seeds, using their unique crossed bill tips to extract the seeds from pine cones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Birds With Red Heads
Q1: What are some birds with red heads found in North America?
A1: North America is home to several bird species with red heads, including:
- Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
- Red-Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
- Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
- Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
- Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
- Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
- Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
- Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)
- Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)
- Redheads (Aythya americana)
- Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
Q2: Where can I find Northern Cardinals?
A2: Northern Cardinals are widespread across North America and can be found in various habitats, including woodlands, gardens, parks, and urban areas. They are commonly seen in the eastern and central regions of the United States, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada.
Q3: What makes the Pileated Woodpecker unique?
A3: The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America and stands out with its striking black and white striped body and a bright red crest on its head. It is known for its loud drumming sound and its ability to create large holes in trees while foraging for insects.
Q4: Are Red-Headed Woodpeckers endangered?
A4: Red-Headed Woodpeckers are considered a species of least concern in terms of conservation status. However, they have experienced some decline in their populations due to habitat loss and changes in forest ecosystems.
Q5: Where can I spot Scarlet Tanagers?
A5: Scarlet Tanagers can be found along the East Coast of the United States during their breeding season. They are also known to venture as far north as Canada during this time. Look for them in deciduous forests with a mix of mature trees.
Q6: What is the distinctive behavior of Acorn Woodpeckers?
A6: Acorn Woodpeckers are known for their unique habit of storing acorns in tree cavities. They create “granaries” by drilling holes in trees and storing acorns inside, which serve as a reliable food source during winter months.
Q7: How can I attract hummingbirds like the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird to my garden?
A7: To attract Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and other hummingbird species, you can provide them with nectar feeders filled with a mixture of four parts water and one part white granulated sugar (no need for food coloring). Additionally, planting nectar-rich flowers like trumpet vine, bee balm, and salvia can also draw them to your garden.
Q8: Are Red Crossbills permanent residents in their habitats?
A8: Red Crossbills are known for their nomadic behavior and can move great distances in search of food. They are primarily found in coniferous forests where they feed on conifer seeds. Their movements are often influenced by seed availability in different areas.
Q9: Are Redheads migratory birds?
A9: Yes, Redheads are migratory ducks. They breed in mid-west prairies during the summer and migrate to coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico during the winter.
Q10: Are birds with red heads commonly seen in urban areas?
A10: Yes, some birds with red heads, such as the Northern Cardinal and Downy Woodpecker, are well-adapted to urban environments and are commonly seen in gardens, parks, and backyards, providing delightful sights for city dwellers and birdwatchers alike.