19 Beautiful Small Birds with Red Heads

Birds come in all shapes and sizes, and some of the most charming birds are the small birds with fiery red heads. These little feathered beauties may be small in stature, but their vibrant red crowns make them stand out like bright jewels in the natural world. In this blog post, we’ll embark on a journey to explore the world of these small birds with red heads. We’ll uncover what makes them special. So, if you’ve ever been intrigued by these tiny treasures or are simply curious about the colorful birds, then join us as we explore these small birds with red heads.

List of Small Birds with Red Heads

House finch

  • Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Life span: Up to 11 years
  • Size: 12-15 cm (4.7-5.9 in)
  • Weight: 16-27 g
  • Origin: North America

Appearance: House Finches are small, plump birds with a conical bill. Males typically have bright red plumage on their heads, throats, and chests, while females are brown-streaked with a more subdued coloration. However, the coloration of males can vary from orange to yellow due to diet and genetics.

Habitat: House Finches are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas, suburbs, gardens, and agricultural fields.

Behavior: These finches are seed eaters and are often seen at bird feeders, particularly those offering sunflower seeds. They also eat insects, especially during the breeding season.

Range: House Finches are native to western North America but have expanded their range widely due to human activities. They are now found throughout much of North America.

Cassin’s finch

birds with red breast

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Haemorhous cassinii
  • Life span: Up to 8 years
  • Size: 15 cm (5.9 in)
  • Weight: 19-23 g
  • Origin: North America

Appearance: Cassin’s Finches are medium-sized finches with a conical bill. Males have a bright red crown, throat, and chest, which distinguishes them from other similar finch species. Females are streaked with brown and lack the vibrant red plumage.

Habitat: They primarily inhabit coniferous forests, particularly in mountainous regions of western North America.

Behavior: Cassin’s Finches feed on a variety of seeds, berries, and insects. They are often seen foraging in trees and shrubs.

Range: These finches are primarily found in the western United States and parts of Canada.

Purple finch

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Haemorhous purpureus
  • Life span: Up to 7 years
  • Size: 14 cm (5.5 in)
  • Weight: 20-25 g
  • Origin: North America

Appearance: Purple Finches are medium-sized finches with males displaying bright raspberry-red plumage on their heads, throats, and chests. The coloration of females is more subdued, featuring streaked brown plumage.

Habitat: They prefer a variety of forested habitats, including coniferous and mixed woodlands.

Behavior: Purple Finches are primarily seed eaters, feeding on a variety of seeds, fruits, and buds. They also consume insects, especially during the breeding season.

Range: Purple Finches are found across North America, with their range extending from southern Canada to parts of the United States.

Northern cardinals

birds with red breast

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Life span: Up to 15 years
  • Size: 21 cm (8.3 in)
  • Weight: 33-65 g
  • Origin: Eastern and Central North America

Appearance: Northern Cardinals are medium-sized birds with bright red plumage, crest feathers on their heads, and a distinctive black mask around their eyes. Females have a more subdued brownish-red coloration.

Habitat: They are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, gardens, and urban areas.

Behavior: Northern Cardinals are primarily seed eaters, but they also consume insects, fruits, and berries. They are known for their melodious and varied songs, which are often heard during the breeding season.

Range: Northern Cardinals are native to eastern and central North America, from Canada to Mexico, and have been introduced to Hawaii and parts of the southwestern United States.

Scarlet tanager 

birds with red breast

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Piranga olivacea
  • Life span: Up to 10 years
  • Size: 18 cm (7.1 in)
  • Weight: 22-28 g
  • Origin: North, Central, and South America

Appearance: Scarlet Tanagers are medium-sized songbirds with striking plumage. Adult males have bright scarlet red bodies with black wings and tails, while females are yellow-green with darker wings and tails.

Habitat: They primarily inhabit deciduous and mixed woodlands, especially in mature forests.

Behavior: Scarlet Tanagers primarily feed on insects, catching them in mid-air or picking them from leaves and branches. They also eat fruit, especially during migration.

Range: Scarlet Tanagers breed in eastern North America and migrate to Central and South America for the winter. Their striking red plumage makes them a sought-after bird for birdwatchers during their brief breeding season.

Pine Grosbeak

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Pinicola enucleator
  • Life span: Up to 10 years
  • Size: 22-24 cm (8.7-9.4 in)
  • Weight: 40-80 g
  • Origin: Northern North America and Eurasia

Appearance: Pine Grosbeaks are medium-sized finches with a thick, conical bill. Males have a rosy-red plumage on their heads, backs, and chests, while females and juveniles are more grayish or olive-brown.

Habitat: They are typically found in northern coniferous forests, particularly in spruce and pine forests.

Behavior: Pine Grosbeaks primarily feed on seeds, especially those from conifer trees like pine and spruce. They also eat berries and occasionally insects.

Range: Pine Grosbeaks have a circumpolar distribution, breeding in northern parts of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Red crossbill

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Loxia curvirostra
  • Life span: Up to 10 years
  • Size: 15 cm (5.9 in)
  • Weight: 26-39 g
  • Origin: North America and Europe

Appearance: Red Crossbills are small to medium-sized finches with a unique crossed bill adapted for extracting seeds from conifer cones. They vary in coloration but are typically red or orange in North America, with males being brighter than females.

Habitat: They are often found in coniferous forests, particularly in areas with spruce, pine, and fir trees.

Behavior: Red Crossbills are specialized seed eaters, using their crossed bill to pry open conifer cones and extract the seeds. Their diet is highly dependent on the availability of cone crops.

Range: Red Crossbills have a widespread distribution and can be found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their populations can vary greatly based on local cone crop abundance.

Common Redpolls

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
  • Life span: 2 to 3 years
  • Size: 4.5 and 5.5 in
  • Weight: 12 and 16 grams
  • Origin: southern Canada and the northern states

Appearance: Common Redpolls are small finches with streaked brownish-gray plumage. They have a red forehead, black chin, and a small, conical bill.

Habitat: They inhabit a variety of habitats, including open woodlands, birch groves, and tundra, especially during the winter months.

Behavior: Common Redpolls primarily feed on seeds, especially those from birch and alder trees. They are known for their social behavior and often forage in flocks.

Range: Common Redpolls breed in the northern parts of North America and Eurasia and migrate south during the winter, often appearing in northern parts of the United States and Europe.

Certainly! Here are detailed descriptions of each of the four bird species you mentioned:

Anna’s Hummingbirds

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Calypte anna
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years in the wild
  • Weight: 3.5 to 6 grams
  • Size: 9 to 11 cm (3.5 to 4.3 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 to 13 cm (4.7 to 5.1 inches)
  • Origin: Found on the western coast of North America, from southern Alaska to Baja California

Appearance: Anna’s Hummingbirds are small, iridescent birds with vibrant coloring. Males have a shimmering pink-red crown and throat (gorget), while females have a more subdued coloration with green and gray feathers.

Habitat: They are commonly found in a variety of habitats, including coastal areas, gardens, and parks, often near flowering plants where they feed on nectar.

Behavior: These hummingbirds are known for their agility in flight, hovering in front of flowers to feed on nectar and capturing small insects in mid-air. They are year-round residents in many parts of their range, thanks to their ability to withstand colder temperatures.

Range: Anna’s Hummingbirds are native to the western coast of North America, from southern Alaska to Baja California.

Red-faced Warbler 

Appearance: Red-faced Warblers are small songbirds with striking plumage. They have a bright red face, throat, and upper breast, which contrasts with their gray crown and nape. The rest of their body is gray with white underparts.

Habitat: These warblers primarily inhabit coniferous and mixed forests in mountainous regions, particularly in southwestern North America.

Behavior: Red-faced Warblers feed on insects and spiders by gleaning them from leaves and branches. They are often seen foraging in the canopy and understory of forests.

Range: Their range includes the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, particularly in the high-altitude forests of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Certainly! Here are detailed descriptions of the three bird species you mentioned:

Red-crested Cardinal

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Paroaria coronata
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years
  • Size: Approximately 17-20 centimeters (6.7-7.9 inches)
  • Origin: South America (native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay)

Appearance: The Red-crested Cardinal is a striking bird with a bright red crest on its head, which is its most distinctive feature. It has a white face, throat, and underparts, with a black mask extending from the eyes to the nape of the neck. The wings and tail are grayish, and the bill is stout and red.

Habitat: These cardinals are native to South America and are often found in open habitats such as grasslands, savannas, and urban areas.

Behavior: Red-crested Cardinals are omnivorous, feeding on a diet that includes seeds, insects, fruits, and nectar. They are known for their melodious songs and are often heard singing from prominent perches.

Range: Their range includes parts of South America, particularly in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

Painted Finch

  • Scientific name: Emblema pictum
  • Lifespan: Typically 5-7 years
  • Size: Small finch; around 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length
  • Origin: Native to Australia

The Painted Finch is native to Australia and is admired for its beauty. Adult males exhibit a brownish upper body, red head, and black flanks with white spots. They also have red patches on the belly and rump. Females are duller, with red plumage concentrated on their cheeks and belly. They grow to about 4.7 inches in length.

Habitat & more: Painted finches require access to fresh water sources such as streams or ponds and plenty of grasses and shrubs for nesting and feeding. They primarily consume seeds but also eat insects during the breeding season to provide protein for their young. Ample food sources year-round are essential for their population’s health.

Vermilion Flycatcher Male

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Pyrocephalus rubinus
  • Life span: Up to 8 years
  • Size: 13 cm (5.1 in)
  • Weight: 8-12 g
  • Origin: North, Central, and South America

Appearance: The Vermilion Flycatcher is a small, striking bird with bright vermilion plumage, especially in males. Males have brilliant red plumage, while females are more subdued, with a pale grayish-brown body and some reddish coloring on the wings and tail. Their bills are black and slightly curved.

Habitat: These flycatchers can be found in a range of habitats, including open woodlands, grasslands, riparian areas, and desert regions.

Behavior: Vermilion Flycatchers primarily feed on insects, catching them in mid-air during aerial foraging. They are known for their sallying behavior, where they dart out from a perch to capture flying insects.

Range: Their range includes parts of the Americas, from the southwestern United States through Mexico and Central America to South America.

Western Tanager:

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Piranga ludoviciana
  • Lifespan: 6-10 years
  • Size: 16-18 centimeters (6.3-7.1 inches)
  • Origin: North America

Appearance: Western Tanagers are medium-sized songbirds with striking plumage. Adult males have a bright yellow body with a reddish-orange head and a small black eyepatch. Females are more subdued, with olive-green upperparts and yellow underparts.

Habitat: They are often found in coniferous and mixed woodlands, particularly in mountainous regions during the breeding season.

Behavior: Western Tanagers primarily feed on insects, capturing them in the foliage or by flycatching. They also eat fruits and berries during the summer.

Range: Western Tanagers breed in western North America and parts of Canada and migrate to Mexico and Central America for the winter.

Red-headed Finch

  • Scientific name: Amadina erythrocephala
  • Lifespan: Typically 5-7 years
  • Size: Small finch; around 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length
  • Origin: Native to sub-Saharan Africa

The Red-headed Finch also known as the Paradise Finch, is a small and colorful bird species found in southern Africa, particularly in regions such as South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Adult Red-headed Finches have a striking appearance with bright red plumage on their heads and throats, a black face mask, and brownish-gray bodies.

These finches are often found in a variety of open habitats, including grasslands, savannas, and agricultural areas. They primarily feed on a diet of seeds, grasses, and small invertebrates.

Red-headed Finches are appreciated for their vibrant colors, especially the males during the breeding season when their red plumage is most intense. They are often seen in flocks, and their cheerful and musical calls are a characteristic sound in their habitat. They are a charismatic and popular bird species in southern Africa.

Red-headed Quelea

  • Scientific name: Quelea erythrops
  • Lifespan: Typically 2-4 years
  • Size: Small weaver bird; around 4.5-5 inches (11-13 cm) in length
  • Origin: Native to parts of Africa

The Red-headed Quelea is a bird found in sub-Saharan Africa, characterized by its bright red head and neck and brown body. It is known for its flocking behavior and is often seen in small groups. Females have brown streaked backs and a pale underbelly. These birds are adaptable and can be found in various habitats, especially large grassy areas like savannas or fields. They are social birds that live in flocks and feed on seeds, grains, and insects during the breeding season when protein intake is crucial for young chick development.

Pyrrhuloxia 

birds with red breast

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Cardinalis sinuatus
  • Life span: Up to 10 years
  • Size: 20-23 cm (7.9-9.1 in)
  • Weight: 42-50 g
  • Origin: Southwestern United States and Mexico

The Pyrrhuloxia is a member of the Cardinal family, often known as Desert Cardinals, and lives in the sweltering deserts of Southwest America.

With its spruce grey and red feathers, this bird appears just as stylish even if it does not have fully red plumage like the cardinal. It may be distinguished from northern cardinals by its robust yellow beak and taller, more beautiful crest of feathers.

These musical desert birds are strong because of the hard climate and become more aggressive during the mating season. However, during the winter, when they congregate in big flocks, sometimes numbering up to 1,000, they become highly social, setting aside their differences.

Flame-colored Tanager

  • Scientific name: Piranga bidentata
  • Lifespan: Typically 2-5 years
  • Size: Approximately 6-7 inches (15-18 cm)
  • Origin: Native to Central and South America

Residing in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America, the flame-colored tanager occasionally makes appearances in the United States.*

The male of this species is a striking vision in red, complemented by black wings adorned with white spots. Females, too, exhibit captivating beauty with olive-green and yellow underparts contrasting against black wings.

These insectivorous birds primarily feast on ants and other small insects, rendering them crucial in maintaining the ecological balance of the rainforest. Their vivid plumage makes them a sought-after subject for both bird enthusiasts and photographers alike.

White-winged Tanager

  • Scientific name: Piranga leucoptera
  • Lifespan: Typically 2-5 years
  • Size: Approximately 6-7 inches (15-18 cm)
  • Origin: Native to Central and South America

A member of the tanager family, the white-winged tanager is a resplendent bird that finds solace in coffee plantations and pine forests throughout Central and South America.

Easily recognizable by its dramatic black and white wings and tail, this avian beauty juxtaposes these stark colors with a brilliant red body. Female white-winged tanagers possess a different color palette, featuring yellow and greenish hues overall, while their wings and tails mimic the striking plumage of their male counterparts.

Additionally, they sport a distinctive black mask encircling their eyes and a robust white bill.

These birds engage in a diet composed of insects and fruits, often mingling with mixed flocks of other avian species. They lead an active lifestyle, constantly hopping from branch to branch in their quest for sustenance, and their repertoire includes various calls.

Red-capped Cardinals

  • Scientific name: Paroaria gularis
  • Lifespan: Typically around 3 to 5 years.
  • Wingspan: Information not readily available.
  • Native to: South America, especially in northern regions.

The red-capped cardinal, a South American avian species, is celebrated for its striking crimson head plumage. It commonly resides in woodlands, gardens, and parks, making it a cherished sight for bird watchers and photographers.

As members of the songbird family, both males and females share a similar appearance characterized by a vivid red head, black upperparts, and white underparts. Their striking red eyes further accentuate their allure. Immature red-capped cardinals exhibit duller hues with brown heads.

These birds construct their nests near swamps, mangroves, or other water bodies, although some can also be found in parks and urban settings.

Masked Cardinals


Endemic to the regions of Venezuela and Colombia, the masked cardinal is a truly striking bird displaying a vibrant blend of three distinct colors.

Adult masked cardinals sport a black eye mask, a fiery redhead, black upperparts, and a pristine white underside. These avian wonders are relatively small, measuring a modest 9-10 inches in length. Juvenile-masked cardinals present a gray-brown hue on their upperparts and a paler tone below.

These birds are predominantly active during daylight hours, although they may also be observed at dawn and dusk. Their diet primarily consists of flying insects and seeds, supplemented by the occasional indulgence in berries and fruits. Within the ecosystem, masked cardinals play an essential role by aiding in the control of insect populations.

Yellow-Billed Cardinals

  • Scientific name: Paroaria capitata
  • Lifespan: Information not readily available.
  • Wingspan: Information not readily available.
  • Native to: South America, particularly in countries like Brazil and Argentina.

The vibrant yellow-billed cardinal is a distinctive bird inhabiting the Hawaiian islands. These black and white birds with red heads are easily identifiable by their bright red head feathers, yellow bills, white collars and underparts, and black upperparts.

Yellow-billed cardinals primarily reside in woodland areas, where their diet consists of a combination of insects and seeds. These birds are highly social creatures and are often observed in flocks of up to 100 individuals. Yellow-billed cardinals maintain monogamous partnerships, with both the male and female taking turns incubating their eggs.

In conclusion, the avian world offers a stunning array of colors and species for avid birdwatchers to explore. From woodpeckers to cardinals and myzomela birds, there’s a diverse range of black and white birds with red heads to discover not only in the United States but also in various parts of the world.

Final Thoughts on Small Birds with Red Heads

As we conclude our journey through the avian world, we’ve celebrated the delightful charms of small birds with fiery red heads. These tiny treasures, with their vibrant plumage, remind us that beauty often comes in the smallest of packages.

Throughout our exploration, we’ve uncovered the unique features, habitats, and behaviors of these birds, gaining a deeper appreciation for their role in the natural world. These small birds with red heads are a testament to the captivating diversity and wonder of nature.

List of Small Birds with Red Heads

  • House Finch
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Purple Finch
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Western Tanager
  • Pine Grosbeak
  • Red Crossbill
  • Common Redpoll
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Red-faced Warbler
  • Vermilion flycatcher
  • Scarlet tanager
  • Western tanager
  • Yellow-Billed Cardinals
  • Masked Cardinals
  • Red-capped Cardinals
  • White-winged Tanager
  • Flame-colored Tanager
I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
Posts created 744

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top