Brown Birds With Red Heads

7 Brown Birds With Red Heads (With Pictures & Guide)

Have you ever wondered about brown birds with red heads? What is it about these avian creatures that make them so intriguing? In this comprehensive ID guide, we will delve into the world of small brown birds with red heads and unravel the secrets behind their distinctive appearance birds, including the red crossbill and the northern cardinal, exhibit remarkable adaptability to their environments.

From the vibrant hues of their plumage to their captivating behavior and preferred habitats, these birds are a fascinating study of nature’s wonders. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply curious about the avian world, join us as we explore the enchanting realm of brown birds with redheads.

  • Discover the unique characteristics and physical features of brown birds with red heads.
  • Learn about the fascinating behaviors and habits of these avian creatures.
  • Explore the preferred habitats and range of these captivating birds, including the common habitats of the purple finch and the red-headed woodpecker.
  • Gain insights into the significance and possible evolutionary reasons behind their red heads.
  • Expand your knowledge of specific species, including the Common RedpollAcorn WoodpeckerWestern TanagerPyrrhuloxiaHouse Finch, a species of birds notable for their vibrant red feathers., Vermilion Flycatcher, and Red-faced Warbler.

1. Common Redpoll 

Exploring Common Redpoll

The red-headed woodpecker is recognized for its bright red patch, distinguishing it from other species. Common Redpoll is a notable brown bird with a redhead, ranking at #15 on our list of birds with redheads. This small finch, often mistaken for the more common purple finch or the northern cardinal, is known for its distinctive appearance and fascinating behaviors that set it apart from other red-headed birds.

Physical Features:

  • The Common Redpoll measures approximately 5.5 to 6 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9 to 10 inches.
  • It has a brownish body and a bright red cap on top of its head, which contrasts beautifully against its black bib.
  • The red head of the Common Redpoll is more subtle compared to other red-headed birds on our list, but it is still a defining feature of this species.

Habitat and Migratory Patterns:

The Common Redpoll is a migratory bird that breeds in the Arctic regions of North America, including Alaska and Canada. During the winter, it, along with the northern cardinal, can be found in northern regions of the United States.

Their preferred habitats of these small brown birds with red heads include open coniferous and mixed forests, as well as shrubby tundra. They are often seen in flocks, foraging for food in trees and shrubs, and can also be attracted to backyard feeders.

Interesting Facts:

  1. The Common Redpoll has a specialized beak that allows it to extract seeds from the cones of trees such as spruce, pine, and birch.
  2. During winter, its diet mainly consists of seeds, but it will also feed on insects and berries during the breeding season.
  3. The male Common Redpoll has a beautiful song that is often described as a cheerful jumble of trills and warbles.

Table: Comparison of Common Redpoll with Other Red-headed Birds

BirdPhysical FeaturesHabitatMigratory PatternsMain Food Source
Common RedpollBrown body, red cap, black bibArctic regions, coniferous forests, shrubby tundraMigratory, breeds in the Arctic, winters in northern USSeeds, insects, berries, and acorns, are favored by many birds such as the purple finch and the red-headed woodpecker.
Acorn WoodpeckerBlack body, white face, red crownIn Western North America, oak forestsNon-migratory, resident throughout the yearAcorns, insects
Western TanagerYellow body, black wings, redheadWestern North America, coniferous forestsMigratory, breeds in North America, winters in South AmericaInsects, fruits

As seen in the table above, the Common Redpoll has a unique combination of physical features, habitat, migratory patterns, and food sources that distinguish it from other red-headed birds.

2. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

Get ready to be amazed by the Acorn Woodpecker, a fascinating brown bird with a vibrant red head and breast. This unique species is known for its distinctive appearance and captivating behaviors. Let’s delve into the details and explore the world of the acorn woodpecker together.

Feeding Habits

The acorn woodpecker has a diverse and specialized diet that primarily consists of acorns. They are known for their remarkable ability to store thousands of acorns in “granary” trees, creating a reliable food source, especially during the winter months. In addition to acorns, they also feed on insects, fruits, and tree sap.

Social Behavior

The acorn woodpeckers, comparable in social structure to the purple finch, are highly social birds, often living in large family groups. They exhibit cooperative breeding, with multiple adults helping to raise the young. Their breeding system is unique, involving a dominant breeding pair and several non-breeding “helpers” who assist with nesting duties.

Habitat and Distribution

The acorn woodpecker is mainly found in oak woodlands and mixed conifer forests of western North America. This species can be spotted in California, Oregon, Arizona, and parts of Mexico. They prefer areas with abundant oak trees, as this is where they find their primary food source, acorns, much like the Pileated Woodpecker.

Spotting the Acorn Woodpecker

If you’re interested in observing the acorn woodpeckers in the wild, look for them in oak-dominated forests, wooded parks, or even urban areas with mature trees. They can often be seen excavating tree cavities or creating their unique “granaries”, where they store acorns.

SizeApproximately 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) in length
ColorationBlack and white body with a vibrant red crown and throat
Distinctive MarksWhite eyes, black face, and a white patch on the lower back
BehaviorActive and noisy, frequently heard vocalizing with distinctive calls and rattling sounds

The acorn woodpecker is truly a unique and captivating bird with its striking redhead and intriguing behaviors. Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or just beginning your journey, encountering an acorn woodpecker in the wild is an experience you won’t soon forget.

3. Western Tanager

Western Tanager

When it comes to visually stunning avian species, the Western Tanager tops the list. This beautiful brown bird captures attention with its vibrant plumage and striking redhead. From its unique appearance to its fascinating behaviors, there’s much to discover about this captivating species.

Plumage and Physical Features:

The Western Tanager features a rich combination of colors that set it apart from other birds. Its body is predominantly brown, with bright yellow underparts and striking black wings. The most eye-catching feature is its reddish-orange head, which adds a pop of color to its overall appearance. Adult males boast the most vibrant redheads, while females and juveniles exhibit a softer yellowish hue.

Breeding Habits and Migratory Patterns:

During the breeding season, Western Tanagers can be found across western North America, from the Pacific Coast to the Rocky Mountains. They prefer coniferous forests and open woodlands as their nesting habitats. These birds are neotropical migrants, meaning they journey to Mexico and Central America to spend the winter months. Their vibrant plumage and melodic song make them a delight to encounter during the spring and summer months.

Habitat and Feeding Behavior:

Western Tanagers have a diverse habitat range as they traverse their migratory journey. They are commonly observed in a variety of forested areas, including montane forests, aspen groves, and mixed coniferous forests. These birds primarily feed on insects and fruits, using their pointed beaks to capture their prey. During the breeding season, they consume caterpillars and other small invertebrates to supply their growing chicks with sufficient protein.

SpeciesPrimary HabitsPreferred Habitat
Western TanagerFeeds on insects and fruits, much like the diet of the sparrow and the northern cardinal.Coniferous forests, open woodlands

Interesting Behaviors:

Aside from their vibrant appearance, Western Tanagers exhibit fascinating behaviors that make them stand out in the avian world. During courtship displays, males perform aerial acrobatics and sing melodic songs to attract females. These birds also display a unique foraging behavior known as “gleaning,” where they hover briefly to snatch insects from foliage before resuming their flight.

The Western Tanager is a true gem among brown birds with red heads. Its stunning appearance, breeding habits, preferred habitats, and interesting behaviors make it a species worth admiring and protecting.

4. Pyrrhuloxia


The Pyrrhuloxia, also known as the Desert Cardinal, is an intriguing brown bird with a vibrant redhead. Its unique appearance and adaptations to desert life make it a true gem of the desert ecosystem.

One fascinating adaptation of the Pyrrhuloxia is its ability to thrive in arid environments. Unlike many other birds, it has a specialized beak that allows it to crack open tough desert seeds. This adaptation ensures a reliable food source even in harsh desert conditions.

Another interesting aspect of Pyrrhuloxia’s behavior is its territorial defense. These birds are known for fiercely protecting their nesting areas and foraging territories. They will defend their space vigorously, even against larger predators.

One of the most noteworthy characteristics of the Pyrrhuloxia is its vocalizations. The male Pyrrhuloxia sings a beautiful and melodic song, often compared to the sound of a whistling kettle. These vocalizations serve various purposes, including attracting mates and maintaining territory boundaries.

To summarize, the Pyrrhuloxia is a distinctive brown bird with a redhead, perfectly adapted to life in the desert. Its beak, territorial defense, delightful vocalizations, and distinctive redhead and breast make it a truly remarkable species.

Pyrrhuloxia at a Glance

Scientific NameCardinalis sinuatus
SizeApproximately 8 inches long
HabitatDesert scrub, arid grasslands, and thorny shrublands
DietSeeds, fruits, insects, and occasionally small reptiles or nestling birds
RangeSouthwestern United States and Northern Mexico
Conservation Status: The purple finch, a common bird, is currently listed as Least Concern (IUCN): The status of the northern cardinal reflects its widespread presence across many regions..Least Concern (IUCN)

5. House Finch

House Finch

The House Finch is a beloved and familiar bird species that can be found in many backyards across the United States. With its charming brown plumage and vibrant redhead, this avian beauty is a treat to behold.

When it comes to behavior, House Finches are known for their social nature. They often gather in flocks and can be seen feeding together at bird feeders or foraging for seeds and berries. Their cheerful chirping and melodious songs contribute to a delightful ambiance in any garden.

To attract House Finches to your feeders, consider offering a variety of foods such as black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, or millet. Providing fresh water, vegetation for cover, and nesting materials like twigs and grass can also create an inviting environment for these feathered visitors.

House Finches primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and insects. They have a specialized beak that allows them to crack open seeds with ease. This adaptability in their diet has contributed to their successful colonization of urban and suburban areas.

In terms of nesting habits, House Finches typically build cup-shaped nests in a variety of locations, including trees, shrubs, or even man-made structures such as hanging planters or eaves. Both male and female House Finches are involved in the nest-building process.

“The House Finch is a wonderful addition to any backyard. Its vibrant colors and cheerful songs bring joy and beauty to the environment.”

In conclusion, the House Finch is a common yet captivating brown bird with a redhead. Its social behavior, diverse diet, and adaptable nesting habits make it a delightful species to observe in your backyard. By providing the right food, water, and shelter, you can create a welcoming haven for House Finches and enjoy their lively presence year-round.

6. Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

The Vermilion Flycatcher are elegant brown birds with stunning bright red heads. This vibrant bird is known for its graceful flight and eye-catching appearance, making it a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Vermilion Flycatcher is its unique hunting techniques, similar to those employed by the Pileated Woodpecker. Unlike many other birds that swoop down from the sky to catch their prey, this clever bird prefers to perch on a branch or wire and wait for insects to pass by. With lightning-fast reflexes, it darts out in mid-air to snatch its meal, displaying impressive agility and precision.

When it comes to breeding, the Vermilion Flycatcher exhibits interesting habits. Males perform elaborate courtship displays, including flashes of their red crest, which involve singing and fluttering their wings to attract a mate. Once a pair has formed, they construct a nest together using delicate materials such as twigs, grass, and feathers. The female then lays a clutch of eggs, and both parents take turns incubating them until they hatch.

The Vermilion Flycatcher can be found in various habitats, including open woodlands, grasslands, and desert scrub. It is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America, home to various species of birds, including some with red feathers. During the winter months, some individuals migrate to warmer regions, while others remain in their breeding grounds year-round.

Facts about the Vermilion Flycatcher:

  • The male Vermilion Flycatcher boasts a vibrant redhead, while the female has a more subdued plumage.
  • These birds primarily feed on insects, such as flies, bees, and beetles.
  • Despite their small size, Vermilion Flycatchers are known for their loud and distinctive calls.
  • They are highly territorial and will vigorously defend their nesting sites from intruders.
Common NameScientific NameHabitatDistribution
Vermilion FlycatcherPyrocephalus obscurusOpen woodlands, grasslands, desert scrubSouthwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America

7. Red-faced Warbler

Red-faced Warbler

The Red-faced Warbler is a true treasure among brown birds, captivating birdwatchers with its stunning redhead and melodious songs. This rare species, ranked at #9 on our list, is a delight to encounter in its natural habitat and is one of the 25 birds with redheads that are celebrated for their beauty. Here’s what you need to know about this elusive bird:

Elusive Nature

The Red-faced Warbler is known for its elusive nature, often staying hidden among the dense vegetation of coniferous forests. It prefers to keep to the higher elevations, making it even more challenging to spot. Patience and a keen eye are key when searching for this magnificent bird.

Migratory Patterns

The Red-faced Warbler is a long-distance migrator, spending its summers breeding in the high-altitude mountain ranges of western North America, including the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre Occidental. During the winter months, it migrates to Mexico, particularly the pine and oak forests of the Sierra Madre Oriental where various species of birds with red on the head can be found.


The Red-faced Warbler has specific habitat preferences, being most commonly found in dense coniferous forests with an understory of mixed shrubs and foliage. It favors areas with a reliable water source, such as near mountain streams or waterfalls. These habitats provide the perfect combination of food sources and nesting locations for the species.

Songs and Vocalizations

One of the most remarkable features of the Red-faced Warbler is its beautiful songs and vocalizations. The male warblers, known for their red spot on the head, sing a series of musical notes, often described as a sweet and melodic trill. Their songs contribute to the symphony of sounds in their mountain habitats, echoing through the forests and captivating all who hear them.

Stay tuned as we continue our exploration of the top 15 brown birds with redheads in the next section.

Exploring Other Brown Birds with Red Heads: Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-crested Cardinal, and More.

As we come to the end of our comprehensive ID guide, let’s take a closer look at some other fascinating brown birds with striking redheads. These avian species showcase the diversity and beauty found in nature.

The Downy Woodpecker, known for its small size and distinctive black and white plumage, features a touch of red on its head. This tiny woodpecker can be found across North America and is known for its drumming behavior and foraging habits on tree bark.

Next, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is a larger species of bird with a broad geographic range stretching from the eastern United States to Central America. Despite its misleading name, this woodpecker displays a red crown and nape, making it a stunning addition to any birdwatcher’s list.

The Red-crested Cardinal adds a splash of vibrant red to its brown plumage, making it truly unforgettable. Native to South America, this charismatic bird with its distinctive tufted crest and vibrant red feathers can be found in open habitats, showcasing its striking colors to all who cross its path.

1. What birds are brown with red heads?

The bird you are describing is likely the House Finch. With its distinct brown body and vibrant redhead, it’s a common sight in many regions. Its cheerful chirping often fills gardens and urban spaces alike.

2. What bird has a red crown?

The bird with a red crown is often the male House Finch. During mating season, the males display a striking red plumage on their heads, serving as an eye-catching feature to attract potential mates.

3. What is a small brown bird with a red throat and head?

This description matches the appearance of the male House Finch during breeding season. While predominantly brown, its head and throat are adorned with a beautiful shade of red, adding a dash of color to its overall appearance.

4. What kind of bird has a red patch on its head?

The bird displaying a red patch on its head is likely the House Finch. This patch, particularly prominent in males, serves as a distinctive feature aiding in species recognition and mate selection during the breeding season.

5. What is a basic little brown bird?

The small brown bird you’re referring to is possibly the House Sparrow. While not all House Sparrows exhibit red markings, some males may have hints of red on their heads during certain times of the year. These birds are commonly found in urban areas, often congregating near human settlements.

John William

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