South Carolina is home to many colorful birds. This article provides identification guides and photos of 13 green birds that you can find in South Carolina.
Before we dive in, first, let me highlight how I selected birds in this list. If a bird has at least a faint green tinge on the body, especially on the back, I have included them here. And also note that you will not find any bird that is entirely green, in South Carolina.
In addition to the 13 green birds listed, I have included 4 additional birds that have green only on their heads at the end.
- 1 – Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- 2 – Green Heron
- 3 – Acadian Flycatcher
- 4 – Tennessee Warbler
- 5 – Worm-eating Warbler
- 6 – Black-throated Green Warbler
- 7 – Pine Warbler
- 8 – Ovenbird
- 9 – Red-eyed Vireo
- 10 – Philadelphia Vireo
- 11 – Painted Bunting
- 12 – Common Yellowthroat
- 13 – Northern Parula
- Birds That Have Green Only on Their Heads
- Summary of Information on Green Birds of South Carolina
1 – Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Quick Identification Guide of Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Size: Tiny bird, about 3-3.5 inches in length
- Body color: Green upperparts and white underparts, with males having a ruby-red throat patch and females having a plain white throat
- Bill: Long, thin and curved, about an inch in length
- Legs and feet: Thin and relatively short, with sharp claws used for perching and maneuvering
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a small but striking bird species native to eastern North America, including South Carolin.
They are commonly found in gardens, forests, and wetlands, feeding on nectar from flowers as well as occasionally on small insects and spiders.
With their vibrant plumage and impressive aerial acrobatics, they are a popular species for bird enthusiasts to watch.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be seen in South Carolina from March to September during their breeding season, and can often be found near areas with abundant nectar sources such as flowering plants and hummingbird feeders.
These adaptable birds are a fascinating and beloved species that add color and liveliness to any natural setting.
2 – Green Heron
Quick Identification Guide of Green Heron
- Size: Medium-sized bird, about 16-18 inches in length with a wingspan of 26-27 inches
- Body color: Dark greenish-blue on the back and wings, chestnut-colored neck and underparts, and a glossy greenish-black cap
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns: A distinctive shaggy crest of feathers on the head, white chin and throat, and a long, sharp bill
- Legs and feet: Yellowish-green legs that are relatively short and sturdy, with long toes that are used to grip branches and prey
The Green Heron (Butorides virescens) is a striking and relatively small water bird species found throughout North and Central America, including South Carolina.
The green color on the body is not that obvious due to the iridescence phenomenon. But if you are able to observe it closely you can see the green tinge on the upper body.
They are typically found near water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and wetlands, where they hunt for fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals (larger water insects).
Green Herons are skilled hunters, using their sharp bills and long toes to snatch prey from the water or from branches overhanging the water’s surface.
In South Carolina, they can be seen in the spring and summer during their breeding season, and are often spotted perched on branches or logs near the water’s edge.
With their distinctive plumage and impressive hunting skills, Green Herons are a fascinating and impressive species to observe in their natural habitat.
3 – Acadian Flycatcher
Quick Identification Guide of Acadian Flycatcher
- Size: Small bird, about 5.5-6 inches in length with a wingspan of 8-9 inches
- Body color: Olive-green upperparts, yellowish underparts, and a distinctive white eye ring, black legs, and flesh color beak.
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns: Two whitish wing bars and a relatively long, flat-topped head with a short bill
- Legs and feet: Short and relatively weak, with sharp claws for perching
The Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) is a small but distinctive bird species native to the eastern United States, including South Carolina.
They are typically found in deciduous forests and wooded areas near streams, where they hunt for insects and other small invertebrates.
Acadian Flycatchers are a relatively plain species, but can be identified by their unique eye ring and distinctive head shape.
They are known for their distinctive “pit-see” call, which can be heard throughout their breeding range.
In South Carolina, they can be seen from April to September during their breeding season, and are often spotted perched on branches in the understory of wooded areas.
With their subtle but distinctive plumage and distinctive vocalizations, Acadian Flycatchers are a fascinating and important species in forest ecosystems.
4 – Tennessee Warbler
Quick Identification Guide of Tennessee Warbler
- Size: Small bird, about 4.5-5 inches in length with a wingspan of 7-8 inches
- Body color: Olive-green upperparts and yellowish underparts, with a gray head and distinctive white eye ring, black legs.
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns: Dark gray wings with two white wing bars and a yellow undertail coverts
- Bill: Black, short and pointed, ideal for catching insects
- Legs and feet: Relatively short and sturdy, with sharp claws for perching
The Tennessee Warbler (Leiothlypis peregrina) is a small but distinctive bird species that breeds in the boreal forests of Canada and the northern United States, and migrates south to Central and South America during the winter months.
They are occasional visitors to South Carolina during their fall migration, typically passing through the state from late August to early October.
Tennessee Warblers are known for their distinctive plumage, with a gray head and distinctive white eye ring, as well as their unique vocalizations.
They feed primarily on insects, and can often be seen flitting through trees and shrubs in search of their next meal.
With their unique appearance and fascinating migration patterns, the Tennessee Warbler is a must-see for any birdwatcher lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them in South Carolina.
5 – Worm-eating Warbler
Quick Identification Guide of Worm-eating Warbler
- Size: Small bird, about 4.5-5 inches in length with a wingspan of 7-8 inches
- Body color: Brownish-olive upperparts and buffy underparts, with thin dark streaks on the breast and flanks
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns: Bold white eye stripe and a distinctive buffy crown stripe, which gives the bird a “spectacled” appearance
- Bill: Thin and pointed, ideal for probing into crevices to find insects
- Legs and feet: Relatively long and sturdy, with sharp claws for perching, flesh color.
The Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) is a small but distinctive bird species that breeds in the eastern United States, primarily in the Appalachian Mountains and surrounding regions.
They are primarily insectivorous, and are known for their unique foraging behavior – they use their thin, pointed bill to probe into crevices in trees and rocks in search of insects and other invertebrates.
Worm-eating Warblers typically prefer dense forests with plenty of undergrowth and leaf litter, and can often be found in deciduous forests, especially those dominated by oaks and hickories.
They are migratory, wintering in Central America and northern South America. In South Carolina, they are typically seen during their spring and fall migrations, and can be found in areas such as Congaree National Park and other wooded areas with suitable habitat.
6 – Black-throated Green Warbler
Quick Identification Guide of Black-throated Green Warbler
- Size: small songbird, about 4.5-5 inches long with a wingspan of 7.5-8 inches.
- Body Color: males have black throat and upperparts with bright yellow face, sides, and underparts. Females have duller olive-green upperparts and yellow underparts.
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns: males have a distinct black mask through the eye and cheek, while females have a white eye-ring.
- Bill: short, pointed, and dark.
- Legs and feet: dark and sturdy.
The Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) is a small, colorful songbird that is a common breeding bird in the eastern United States, including South Carolina.
The green color is on the upper body but with more towards yellowish and olive tones. During the breeding season, these warblers can be found in deciduous and mixed forests with a dense understory.
They are also known to inhabit coniferous forests during migration.
The Black-throated Green Warbler is primarily insectivorous and feeds on a variety of insects and spiders.
They are known for their distinctive song, which is a high-pitched buzzy trill that rises and falls in pitch. These warblers are a delight to observe as they flit through the tree canopy, flashing their bright yellow and black plumage.
In South Carolina, these birds can be spotted during the breeding season in areas such as Congaree National Park, Francis Marion National Forest, and the Sumter National Forest.
7 – Pine Warbler
Quick Identification Guide of Pine Warbler
- Size: Pine Warblers are small birds, measuring about 5.5 to 7 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 9 to 10 inches.
- Body Color: Pine Warblers have a bright yellow body with greenish-gray wings and back. Males have brighter yellow plumage than females.
- Unique Distinguishable Colors or Patterns of Other Body Parts: They have a distinctive white eyering and two white wing bars.
- Bill: The bill of a Pine Warbler is thin and pointed, about the same length as the head.
- Legs and Feet: They have short legs and strong feet for perching on tree branches.
Pine Warblers (Setophaga pinus) are common residents in the pine forests of the southeastern United States.
They are primarily found in coniferous forests but can also be seen in mixed forests with pine trees.
They feed on insects, spiders, and occasionally seeds. During the breeding season, they build nests in pine trees, where the female lays 3-4 eggs.
Pine Warblers can be seen and heard singing their sweet, musical song in South Carolina from late winter to early summer.
Look and listen for them in the treetops of pine forests, where they are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
8 – Ovenbird
Quick Identification Guide of Ovenbird
- Size: 5.5-6 inches in length, with a wingspan of 7-8 inches.
- Body color: Brownish olive green on the back, with a rusty crown and a white eye-ring. The underparts are white with dark streaks on the breast and flanks.
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns of other body parts: The rusty crown is a distinctive feature of this species.
- Bill: Thin and pointed, about the same length as the head.
- Legs and feet: Pinkish-brown legs and feet.
- Both male and female have similar plumage.
The Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) is a small songbird that is primarily found in deciduous forests of eastern North America during the breeding season.
It is named after its unique, oven-shaped nest that is built on the ground among the leaf litter.
The Ovenbird’s diet consists of insects and other small invertebrates that it finds on the forest floor.
In South Carolina, it can be found in wooded areas throughout the state, particularly in the coastal plain and piedmont regions during the migration.
Despite being a common bird in many areas, the Ovenbird can be difficult to spot due to its tendency to stay low to the ground and blend in with the leaf litter.
Its loud, distinctive song, which sounds like “teacher, teacher, teacher”, is a helpful tool for locating this species.
9 – Red-eyed Vireo
Quick Identification Guide of Red-eyed Vireo
- Size: 5.5-6.5 inches
- Body color: Grayish-olive green on the back, white on the underside
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns of other body parts: Dark crown, white eyebrow stripe, black eye line, and red iris
- Bill: Short and stout
- Legs and feet: Dark
- Male and female have similar plumage.
The Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) is a small passerine bird that is known for its melodious and repetitive song, which can be heard in woodlands and forests throughout South Carolina during the breeding season.
This species breeds across much of North America, from southern Canada to northern Florida, and winters in Central and South America.
Red-eyed Vireos prefer to inhabit deciduous and mixed forests and can be found at all levels of the canopy.
They feed on insects, spiders, and occasionally fruits, foraging by gleaning from leaves and twigs or catching insects in mid-air.
Although common throughout much of its range, the Red-eyed Vireo can be difficult to spot due to its preference for the canopy and its tendency to blend in with the leaves. However, its distinctive song and prominent red eye color can make it easier to identify.
10 – Philadelphia Vireo
Quick Identification Guide of Philadelphia Vireo
- Small songbird, measures 4.7-5.9 inches (12-15 cm) in length and weighs about 0.3-0.4 oz (8-12 g).
- Olive-green upperparts and wings, with yellowish-green wash on sides and undertail coverts.
- White underparts with a yellowish wash on the flanks and breast.
- Distinguished by its yellowish spectacles around the eyes, contrasting with a grayish crown and nape.
- Short, thick bill and dark-colored legs and feet.
The Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) is a rare migratory songbird that breeds in the boreal forests of Canada and the northeastern United States.
They prefer to inhabit mature forests and are often found in the mid-story or canopy. During migration, they can be seen in deciduous and mixed forests, as well as parks and gardens.
Their diet consists of insects, including caterpillars, beetles, and spiders, which they glean from leaves and twigs.
In South Carolina, they are seen mainly during migration, particularly in the fall, and are most commonly found in the coastal plain and piedmont regions.
Due to their rarity, they are considered a prized sighting for birdwatchers.
11 – Painted Bunting
Quick Identification Guide of Painted Bunting
- Size: Approximately 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length.
- Body color: Males have a bright blue head, green back and wings, and a red breast and belly. Females are greenish-yellow overall, with a light eye-ring and a streaky breast.
- Bill: Short and conical, with a slightly curved tip.
- Legs and feet: Dark gray or blackish.
- Unique distinguishable colors or patterns of other body parts: The male’s bright colors and unique combination of blue, green, and red make it easy to identify. The female’s greenish-yellow overall coloration and streaky breast are also distinctive.
Painted Buntings (Passerina ciris) are found primarily in the southeastern United States, including South Carolina, during the breeding season.
They prefer shrubby habitats such as brushy fields, thickets, and edges of woodlands.
In South Carolina, they can be found primarily in the coastal plain and lower piedmont regions.
Painted Buntings primarily feed on seeds and insects, with seeds making up the majority of their diet outside of the breeding season.
These birds are highly sought after by birdwatchers for their striking appearance and can be seen in the spring and summer months in South Carolina.
However, they are also highly prized by the pet trade and have suffered from habitat loss and trapping.
12 – Common Yellowthroat
Quick Identification Guide of Common Yellowthroat
- Size: 4.5-5.5 inches in length
- Body Color: Males have a distinctive black mask over their face, olive-green upperparts, and bright yellow underparts. Females lack the black mask and have a duller olive-green color on the upperparts.
- Bill: Short and pointed.
- Legs and Feet: Blackish-gray.
- Unique Distinguishing Feature: Males have a black mask that extends from their eyes to their bill.
The Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) is a small songbird native to North America, commonly found in marshy or wetland habitats.
Both male and female birds have distinctive markings that make them easy to identify. The males have a black mask that extends from their eyes to their bill, while their upperparts are an olive-green color and their underparts are bright yellow.
Females lack the black mask and have a duller olive-green color on the upperparts. They have a short and pointed bill and blackish-gray legs and feet.
The Common Yellowthroat is a migratory bird and can be seen in South Carolina during the spring and summer months, where it prefers to reside in marshes, wetlands, and other similar habitats.
Its diet consists mainly of insects and small invertebrates.
13 – Northern Parula
Quick Identification Guide of Northern Parula
- Small, warbler-sized bird (11 cm in length, weighing 6-8 g)
- Blue-gray upperparts with a greenish-yellow patch on the back
- White underparts with a yellow throat and breast
- Black streaks on the sides of the breast, forming a necklace-like pattern
- Short, thin bill, slightly curved downwards
- Thin, black legs and feet
- Male and female have similar plumage, but females may have more intense green coloring on the back.
The Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) is a small, colorful songbird that breeds in the northern forests of North America, including South Carolina.
Its preferred habitats include deciduous and mixed forests, especially those near water sources.
During migration, it can also be found in a variety of wooded habitats, such as parks and gardens.
The Northern Parula feeds mainly on insects, which it captures by hopping and flitting among the branches and leaves of trees.
In South Carolina, this species can be seen during the breeding season in the Upstate and Piedmont regions, as well as along the coast during migration.
Look for its distinctive blue-gray and yellow-green plumage, and listen for its high-pitched, trilling song.
Overall, the Northern Parula is a charming little bird that adds a splash of color to the forests and woodlands of South Carolina.
Birds That Have Green Only on Their Heads
Quick Identification Guide of Northern Shoveler
- Medium-sized duck (48-59 cm in length, weighing 400-900 g)
- Large, spatula-shaped bill, wider at the tip than at the base
- Distinctive, iridescent green head with a white crescent-shaped patch behind the bill
- Brownish-gray body with black and white markings on the wings
- Long, slender legs set far back on the body
- Male has a brighter green head and a rusty-red belly, while the female has a mottled brown body and a duller green head.
The Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) is a striking duck with a unique bill that sets it apart from other dabbling ducks.
It is a migratory species that breeds in the northern parts of North America and winters in the southern parts, including South Carolina.
It prefers to inhabit shallow wetlands, such as marshes, ponds, and flooded fields, where it feeds on aquatic vegetation, seeds, and invertebrates.
Look for its distinctive bill, which it uses to filter food from the water, and its striking green head and white crescent patch.
In South Carolina, the Northern Shoveler can be seen during the winter months in a variety of wetland habitats.
Overall, the Northern Shoveler is a fascinating bird with a distinctive appearance and feeding behavior.
It is a common sight in wetlands throughout North America and a welcome addition to any birdwatcher’s list.
Quick Identification Guide of Mallard
- Medium-sized duck (50-65 cm in length, weighing 0.7-1.4 kg)
- Male has a distinctive green head, white neck ring, chestnut breast, grayish-brown body, and black rear end
- Female has a mottled brown body with an orange bill and a darker crown
- Both sexes have a blue patch on the upper wings
- Bill is broad and yellow, with a black tip
- Legs and feet are orange or yellow
The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is one of the most widespread and familiar ducks in North America.
It is a migratory species that breeds in the northern parts of the continent and winters in the southern parts, including South Carolina.
It inhabits a variety of wetland habitats, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers, as well as urban parks and gardens.
Mallards feed on a variety of foods, including seeds, aquatic plants, and invertebrates. Look for the male’s distinctive green head and chestnut breast, as well as the female’s mottled brown body and orange bill.
Overall, the Mallard is a common and easily recognizable duck that can be found in a variety of habitats throughout North America.
It is a popular game bird and is often kept in captivity for ornamental purposes.
In South Carolina, Mallards can be seen throughout the year in a variety of wetland and urban habitats.
Quick Identification Guide of Wood Duck
- Medium-sized duck (47-54 cm in length, weighing 500-700 g)
- Male has a distinctive iridescent green head with white stripes, red eyes, and a chestnut breast
- Body is a mix of green, brown, and black with white markings on the wings
- Female has a grayish-brown head with a white teardrop-shaped eye patch and a mottled brown body
- Both sexes have a distinctive crested head and a long, narrow bill
- Legs and feet are grayish-blue or brown
The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is a stunningly beautiful duck that can be found in wetland habitats throughout much of North America.
It is a migratory species that breeds in the eastern parts of the continent and winters in the southern parts, including South Carolina.
It prefers to inhabit wooded swamps, ponds, and marshes, where it feeds on aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates.
Look for the male’s iridescent green head and chestnut breast, as well as the female’s teardrop-shaped eye patch.
Overall, the Wood Duck is a popular game bird and is often kept in captivity for ornamental purposes.
It is an important species for wetland conservation, as it is sensitive to habitat loss and degradation.
In South Carolina, Wood Ducks can be seen throughout the year in a variety of wetland habitats, particularly those with forested edges or adjacent to wooded areas.
Quick Identification Guide of Green-winged Teal
- Small dabbling duck (33-41 cm in length, weighing 230-450 g)
- Male has a distinctive chestnut head with a metallic green patch on the side and a vertical white stripe in front of the eye, as well as a grayish body with black speckles
- Female is mottled brown with a pale patch around the bill
- Both sexes have a small bill and a green patch on the speculum (wing feathers)
- Legs and feet are grayish-blue
The Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) is a common and widespread duck species that breeds in the northern parts of North America and winters in the southern parts, including South Carolina.
It prefers to inhabit shallow wetlands, ponds, and marshes, where it feeds on a variety of plant matter, seeds, and invertebrates.
Look for the male’s distinctive chestnut head and green patch, as well as the female’s mottled brown plumage.
In South Carolina, Green-winged Teals can be seen during the winter months in a variety of wetland habitats, particularly those with shallow water and abundant vegetation.
They often associate with other dabbling ducks and can be found in large flocks. Green-winged Teals are important game birds and are also a key species for wetland conservation, as they are highly dependent on wetland habitats.
Summary of Information on Green Birds of South Carolina
|Green Bird||Place and time of the year to see them in South Carolina||Length||Wingspan||Food|
|Ruby-throated Hummingbird||During breeding season from March to September||3 – 3.3 inches||3.1 – 4.3 inches||Nectar and small insects and rarely on tree sap.|
|Green Heron||During breeding season from March to June||16 – 18 inches||26 – 27 inches||Fish, amphibians and large aquatic invertebrates|
|Acadian Flycatcher||During April to September||5 – 5.6 inches||8 – 9 inches||Insects and insect larvae|
|Tennessee Warbler||During early migration from August to early October||4.5 – 5 inches||7 – 8 inches||Insects|
|Worm-eating Warbler||During early migration from August to early October||4.5 – 5 inches||7 – 8 inches||Arthropods, spiders, and slugs|
|Black-throated Green Warbler||During breeding from May to August||4.5 – 5 inches||7.5 – 8 inches||Insects|
|Pine Warbler||Late winter to early summer||5.5 – 7 inches||9 – 10 inches||Arthropods|
|Ovenbird||During migration August to September||5.5 – 6 inches||7 – 8 inches||Invertebrates at the forest floor|
|Red-eyed Vireo||During breeding from May-early September||5.5 – 6.5 inches||9.1 – 9.8 inches||insects, spiders, and occasionally fruits|
|Philadelphia Vireo||Rare encounter only during migration||4.7 – 5.9 inches||7.5 – 8.3 inches||Insects|
|Painted Bunting||During breeding from May to August||5.5 inches||Not available||Mainly grass seeds|
|Common Yellowthroat||Year round||4.5 – 5.5 inches||5.9 – 7.5 inches||Insects and spiders|
|Northern Parula||During breeding from April to August||4.5 inches||6.3 – 7.1 inches||Mostly insect and spiders but in winter berries,seed and nectar|
|Northern Shoveler||During winter months||19 – 23.5 in ches||27.2 – 33.1 inches||Invertebrates, seeds and aquatic plant parts|
|Mallard||Throughout the year||19.5 – 25.5 inches||32.3 – 37.4 inches||Invertebrates, seeds and aquatic plant parts|
|Wood Duck||Throughout the year||18.5 – 21 inches||26.0 – 28.7 inches||Seeds, fruits, and aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates|
|Green-winged Teal||during the winter months||13 – 16 inches||20.5 – 23.2 inches||Seeds of sedges, grasses, and aquatic vegetation; aquatic insects|
Now it is time to explore!
Green birds can perfectly blend with greenery in nature. So, sometimes it may be tricky to spot some green birds listed above. But, I am sure you can tick off many of them in your next birding adventure in South Carolina.
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