Red Birds in Michigan

11 Types Of Red Birds in Michigan (With Pictures)

Did you know that Michigan is home to a diverse array of red birds? From the iconic Northern Cardinal to the stunning Scarlet Tanager, these vibrant feathered creatures grace our skies and forests with their striking hues. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the world of red birds in Michigan, introducing you to 11 different species that call this great state home.

Here are the main points:

  • Michigan is home to a variety of red birds, adding vibrant colors to our landscapes.
  • The Northern Cardinal is the most recognizable and beloved red bird in Michigan.
  • Michigan is also home to two species of red finches – the Purple Finch and House Finch.
  • The Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager bring a tropical flair to Michigan summers.
  • Winter in Michigan is adorned with red birds like the Red Crossbill and Common Redpoll.

Northern Cardinal – Michigan’s Beloved Red Bird

The Northern Cardinal is perhaps the most recognizable and beloved red bird in Michigan. With its vibrant red plumage, distinctive crest, and melodic song, the Northern Cardinal is a common sight in backyards across the state.

Known scientifically as Cardinalis cardinalis, this stunning bird brings a pop of color to Michigan’s outdoor spaces. The male Northern Cardinal boasts a bright red body, black mask, and a prominent crest, while the female sports a more subtle combination of brown and red tones.

“The Northern Cardinal’s brilliant red feathers have captured the hearts of bird enthusiasts for generations.”

Not only is the Northern Cardinal a delight to the eyes, but it also serenades us with its beautiful song. Its rich, whistling melodies can be heard throughout the year, adding a touch of nature’s music to our surroundings.

Northern Cardinal

Michigan provides an ideal habitat for the Northern Cardinal, with its diverse landscapes ranging from forests to suburban areas. These birds are resourceful and adaptable, making them a common sight in backyard bird feeders and gardens.

Spotting a Northern Cardinal in Michigan is a rewarding experience that allows you to appreciate nature’s vibrant colors up close. To increase your chances of seeing these beautiful birds, consider providing them with food sources such as sunflower seeds, cracked corn, or suet. Creating a bird-friendly environment with trees, shrubs, and water sources can also attract them to your backyard.

Best Places to Spot Northern Cardinals in Michigan:

  • 1. Warren Dunes State Park
  • 2. Kensington Metropark
  • 3. Tawas Point State Park
  • 4. Belle Isle Park
  • 5. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Fun Fact:

The Northern Cardinal was designated as the official state bird of seven states, including Michigan. In addition, it is the mascot for several sports teams, symbolizing strength, beauty, and loyalty.

SpeciesScientific NameAppearanceHabitatPreferred Food
Northern CardinalCardinalis cardinalisVibrant red plumage, black mask, crestForests, suburban areas, gardens, backyardsSunflower seeds, cracked corn, suet

Purple Finch and House Finch – Michigan’s Finest Reds

In the colorful world of red birds in Michigan, two species of finches stand out with their beautiful shades of red – the Purple Finch and House Finch. While both birds share similar hues, they possess distinctive characteristics and habitats that make them unique in their own right.

purple finch

The Purple Finch, scientifically known as Haemorhous purpureus, showcases a vibrant red plumage that is slightly darker and richer than that of the House Finch. Its coloration includes a splash of rosy pink on the breast, blending seamlessly into the reddish-brown wings and tail. This finch is known for its melodious songs and can often be heard perched on treetops or in shrubby areas.

House Finch

The House Finch, or Haemorhous mexicanus, displays a charming mix of red, brown, and gray feathers. Males wear a striking raspberry-red crown and upper body, contrasting with streaks of brown and white on their belly. Female House Finches exhibit a softer color palette with muted red tones. These social birds are commonly found in urban and suburban areas, often frequenting backyard feeders and gardens.

To attract both the Purple Finch and House Finch to your own backyard, provide a welcoming environment with suitable food and shelter. Offer a variety of seeds such as sunflower, nyjer, and millet in bird feeders. Additionally, planting native shrubs, trees, and providing fresh water sources can encourage these finches to visit regularly. Observing these delightful red birds in your own backyard can be a rewarding experience for any bird enthusiast.

Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager – Michigan’s Tropical Reds

Scarlet Tanager

The forests of Michigan may not seem like tropical havens, but they are home to two stunning red birds that embody the vibrant colors of the tropics – the Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager. Despite their exotic appearance, these birds can be spotted right here in the Great Lakes state.

The Scarlet Tanager is known for its brilliant red plumage, contrasting with its black wings. The male Scarlet Tanager dons its vibrant red feathers during the breeding season, creating a striking sight against the green backdrop of the Michigan forests. The female Scarlet Tanager, however, sports a more subdued olive-yellow plumage.

Summer Tanager

The Summer Tanager, on the other hand, boasts an all-over reddish hue in both males and females. Its rich red feathers make it stand out even among the lush foliage of Michigan’s forests. These tanagers can be spotted during their summer migration, with Michigan being one of their preferred stopover locations.

Did You Know? The Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager are not closely related, despite their similar appearances. They belong to different genera within the tanager family.

Both the Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager are neotropic migrants, meaning they spend the winter months in the tropical regions of Central and South America before embarking on their long journey to Michigan for the breeding season. Their vibrant red plumage helps them blend into the tropical forests they call home during the winter months.

If you’re eager to catch a glimpse of these tropical red birds in Michigan, there are a few key spots to visit. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Huron-Manistee National Forests, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are all known for their diverse bird populations and can provide excellent opportunities for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for the Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager among the treetops.

So, next time you find yourself in the forests of Michigan during the summer months, keep an ear out for their melodic songs and a keen eye on the treetops for flashes of red. The Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager are sure to add a touch of tropical beauty to your birdwatching experience.

CharacteristicScarlet TanagerSummer Tanager
Main Plumage ColorBrilliant red with black wings (males)
Olive-yellow plumage (females)
Breeding SeasonMay to AugustMay to August
Migratory PatternNeotropic migrant: winters in Central and South America, breeds in MichiganNeotropic migrant: winters in Central and South America, breeds in Michigan
Preferred HabitatDeciduous and mixed forestsDeciduous and mixed forests

Red Crossbill and Common Redpoll – Michigan’s Winter Reds

As winter blankets the state of Michigan in a pristine layer of snow, two red birds brave the cold and capture our attention with their vibrant plumage. Meet the Red Crossbill and Common Redpoll – two species that have adapted remarkably to survive the harsh winters of Michigan. Let’s explore the unique characteristics of these winter reds and where you can spot them during the snowy months.

Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) is a fascinating bird with a distinctive crossed bill that is specially designed to extract seeds from conifer cones. Their unique bill shape allows them to pry open tightly closed cones, making them expert foragers in coniferous forests. In Michigan, you can find Red Crossbills throughout the state, but they are most abundant in the northern regions where coniferous forests dominate the landscape. Keep an eye out for their quick and agile movements as they search for pine, spruce, and fir cones during the winter.

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) is a small finch-like bird that visits Michigan during the winter months. These adorable birds are known for their streaky brown plumage with splashes of red on their crowns and breasts. Common Redpolls have a unique adaptation that allows them to survive in freezing temperatures – their feathers become fluffed up to create a layer of insulating air. These resilient birds can often be found in flocks, feeding on birch catkins and other small seeds. Look for them in open woodlands, fields, and areas with birch trees.

To increase your chances of spotting these winter reds, head to locations with abundant coniferous forests and dense stands of birch trees. State parks such as Tahquamenon Falls, Porcupine Mountains, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are great places to start your search. Don’t forget to bring binoculars and dress warmly to fully enjoy these unique bird-watching experiences in the Michigan winter wonderland.

Whether you’re an avid birder or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, the Red Crossbill and Common Redpoll will surely captivate you with their resilience and striking red feathers. So bundle up, embrace the winter chill, and embark on an adventure to witness the magnificence of Michigan’s winter reds.

White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Red-headed Woodpecker – Michigan’s Other Red Beauties

Michigan is not only home to the iconic Northern Cardinal and the Scarlet Tanager but also to four other stunning red bird species. Let’s explore the unique characteristics and habitats of the White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Red-headed Woodpecker.

White-winged Crossbill

The White-winged Crossbill is known for its distinct crossed bill, which assists in feeding on coniferous tree cones. Found in Michigan’s northern forests, this fascinating bird showcases its red plumage while maneuvering gracefully among the treetops.

Pine Grosbeak

The Pine Grosbeak, another red beauty in Michigan, is a large finch species that adds a splash of color to the boreal forests. With its vibrant red body and grayish head, the Pine Grosbeak is a delight to behold, especially during the winter months.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a migratory bird that graces Michigan with its presence during the warm months. Both male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks flaunt striking red plumage on their chests, making them a sought-after sight for bird enthusiasts across the state.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Lastly, the Red-headed Woodpecker stands out with its vibrant red head, contrasting beautifully with its black and white body. These woodpeckers can be found in Michigan’s open woodlands and parks, tapping on tree trunks while hunting for insects.

If you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, keep an eye out for the White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Red-headed Woodpecker during your adventures in Michigan. These remarkable red birds are sure to captivate your senses and leave a lasting impression.

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Mya Bambrick

I am a lifelong bird lover and nature enthusiast. I admire birds for their beauty, diversity, and intelligence. Birding is more than a hobby for me; it is a way of life. Therefore, I created this website to provide better and quality information about bird species. You know there are many bird species in the world right now. I started a path to introduce you to birds one by one.

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