15 Red Birds in Florida [Photo and ID Guide]




Red birds in Florida

If you are a bird enthusiast and are planning to visit Florida, you are in for a treat! The Sunshine State is home to a diverse range of avian species, thanks to its unique climate and geographical location. 

Among the many fascinating birds found in Florida, the red ones are a sight to behold. With their vibrant feathers and distinctive calls, they are hard to miss amidst the lush greenery of Florida’s forests and wetlands. 

In this article, you can get photos and identification guides of 9 amazing red birds and 6 other birds with unique red features that you can spot in Florida. So grab your binoculars and get ready to explore the colorful world of Florida’s red birds!

1 – Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal - Male bird is red in bird.
Northern Cardinal

Quick Identification Guide of Northern Cardinal

  • Size: Approximately 8-9 inches long with a wingspan of 10-12 inches.
  • Body color: The male is bright red with a black mask around the eyes and a short crest on his head. The female is mostly pale brown with a crest, wings, and tail tinged with red.
  • Bill: Both sexes have a thick, bright orange bill.
  • Legs and feet: Grayish-brown legs with strong, sharp claws that allow them to perch on branches and twigs. 

Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are birds that you can often see in your backyard or garden if you live in the central and the eastern United States. They like to hang out in open woodlands, shrubs, and areas with lots of bushes near water sources.

Male Northern Cardinals are very protective of their territory during the breeding season. They’ll fight off other males and sometimes even attack their own reflection in mirrors or windows, thinking it’s an intruder.

These birds eat a variety of things, like seeds, fruits, and insects. 

If you live in Florida, you can see the Northern Cardinals all year round. You might spot them at bird feeders, in parks, or even in suburban areas.

2 – Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill - red and pink bird
Roseate Spoonbill

Quick Identification Guide of Roseate Spoonbill

  • Size: The Roseate Spoonbill measures around 27.9-33.9 inches (71-86 cm) in length and has a wingspan of 47.2-51.2 inches (120-133 cm).
  • Body Color: The plumage of the Roseate Spoonbill is a vibrant pink with a white underbelly.
  • Unique Distinguishable Colors or Patterns of Other Body Parts: The bird has distinctive crimson red eyes, and a bald greenish-yellow patch of skin around its eyes. The head is unfeathered and the neck is long.
  • Bill: The spoon-shaped bill is flat and wide, with a black base and a grayish tip.
  • Legs and Feet: The legs and feet are a dark reddish-pink color.
  • Male or Female: Both male and female Roseate Spoonbills have similar plumage and coloration.

The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), also known as “Flame bird”, is a unique and striking bird found in the wetlands of North and South America, including Florida. 

It is commonly seen in marshes, swamps, and mangroves, where it feeds on crustaceans, fish, and insects. These birds are known for their pink plumage and spoon-shaped bills, which they use to sweep through shallow waters to catch their prey. 

During breeding season, their bright pink feathers deepen in color, making them a stunning sight to behold. 

The Roseate Spoonbill can be spotted in southern parts of Florida year-round, with the best time for observation being in the winter months when they congregate in large flocks. 

They can commonly be found in locations such as coastal wetlands. So, if you’re a bird lover looking to spot this unique bird in the wild, be sure to plan a visit to the southern coastal belt during your next trip to Florida!

3 – Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager - male bird is red
Summer Tanager

Quick Identification Guide of Summer Tanager

  • Size: Medium-sized songbird of 7-8 inches in length
  • Body color: Males are bright red; females are yellowish-olive to olive-gray
  • Bill: Short, stout blunt-tipped bills
  • Legs and feet: Grayish-black

The Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) is a really cool bird that you can find in the southeastern United States. It’s the only bird in North America that’s completely red!

The males are super easy to spot with their bright red feathers. But the females are a little less flashy, with yellowish-olive or olive-gray coloring.

These birds hang out in many different places, like open woodlands, the edges of forests, and parks with big, old trees. They mostly stay up on the tops of the trees.

Summer Tanagers are really good at catching bees and wasps while they’re flying. They mostly eat bugs and fruit.

If you live in Florida, you can see Summer Tanagers from April to October. They’re in the northern part of the state during that time, especially during the breeding season. During the migratory period more tend to occur in the southmost parts of the state. 

4 – Scarlet  Tanager 

Scarlet Tanager - a red headed bird
Scarlet Tanager

Quick Identification Guide of Scarlet Tanager

  • Size: 6-7 inches in length, wingspan is about 9.8-11.4 inches.
  • Body color: Males have bright red plumage with black wings and tails during breeding and olive-yellow plumage with black wings and tails during non-breeding. Females look similar to non-breeding males but with dark olive-green wings and tails.
  • Bill: Short and stout.
  • Legs and feet: Dark gray.

The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a really pretty bird that lives in the eastern part of the United States. Males are bright red during the breeding season. So they’re easy to spot, but the females are more yellow-green.

These birds like to hang out in lots of different places, like forests with lots of trees that lose their leaves in the fall. 

They’re hard to see because they stay up high in the trees and don’t like it when their habitats get broken up into smaller pieces (habitat fragmentation).

Scarlet Tanagers mostly eat insects and fruit.

In Florida, you might see these birds during the migratory season. They can be seen in all regions of the state. But you might also spot them near the coast when they’re flying to a new place.

5 – Purple Finch

Purple Finch - Male Purple Finch has a red head
Purple Finch

Quick Identification Guide of Purple Finch

  • Size: 5-6 inches in length, wing span is about 8.7-10.2 inches. 
  • Body color: Males are raspberry-red on the head, breast, and back; brown wings and tail; females are brownish-gray with heavy streaking on the breast and belly.
  • Bill: Short, conical, and powerful bill.
  • Legs and feet: Brownish-gray.

The Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) is a small bird that looks like a sparrow and lives in North America. They are birds that live in the eastern United States only during the winter. 

Unfortunately, their numbers are decreasing because House Finches (female of House Finch may be confused with Purple Finch females) have spread to the eastern part of the country since the 1950s.

You can find Purple Finches living in different places like forests with lots of trees and even suburban areas. But, they can be difficult to spot in the trees because they usually stay up high. 

However, you can attract them to your backyard with seeds. They mostly eat seeds and fruits.

If you’re in Florida during the winter, you might see some Purple Finches if you travel further north of the state.

6 – House Finch

House Finch - Male bird has a red head and breast.
House Finch

Quick Identification Guide of House Finch

  • Size: 5-6 inches in length, wingspan is from 7.9-9.8 inches.
  • Body color: Males are red on the head, breast, and rump; brown-streaked back and wings; females are grayish-brown with heavy streaking on the breast and belly.
  • Bill: Short and conical, grayish brown.
  • Legs and feet: Grayish-brown.

House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) are small birds that look similar to sparrows, and they’re native to North America. They originally came from the western United States and have since spread to the eastern states.

House Finches are often seen in residential areas and are common in urban and suburban areas, as well as in parks and gardens. They mainly eat seeds and fruits. 

In Florida, you can see House Finches all year long but only in the northern parts of the state.

These birds are popular with bird lovers and people who enjoy watching birds in their backyard. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky to identify the females as there are similar looking other finches that also live together. They’re fun to watch as they fly around gardens and bird feeders. 

7 – Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher - a red headed bird (a bird with red head)
Vermilion Flycatcher

Quick Identification Guide of Vermilion Flycatcher

  • Size: Small bird, about 5.5 inches in length.
  • Body color: Male has a bright red head, throat, and breast; female has a duller brownish head and whitish breast with a grayish-brown back and wings.
  • Bill: Long, thin, and black.
  • Legs and feet: Black.

The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is a small but striking bird with a bright red head, throat, and breast in males, and a more subdued brownish coloration in females. 

This bird can be found in the southern parts of the United States, Mexico, and South America, preferring open areas with scattered trees, brush, and grasslands. 

It feeds on insects, especially flying insects like flies and dragonflies, which it catches in mid-air. 

In Florida, the Vermilion Flycatcher can be seen during the winter months along the west coast and southern parts of the state.

Keep an eye out for these striking birds perched on low branches or fence posts, waiting for their next meal to fly by.

8 – American Robin

Quick Identification Guide of American Robin

American Robin
American Robin
  • Size: Medium-sized bird with a length of 8-11 inches and a wingspan of 12-16 inches.
  • Body color: Overall grayish-brown with a rusty-red breast and white underbelly.
  • Bill: Straight and pointed, yellow.
  • Legs and feet: Thin and black.
  • Both males and females have rusty-red breasts.

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a well-known bird throughout North America, with a range that extends from Alaska to Mexico. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, parks, and suburban areas. 

American Robins primarily feed on insects, earthworms, and berries. And they are often seen foraging on lawns or in garden areas. During the breeding season, they build nests in trees or shrubs and lay a clutch of pale blue eggs.

Despite their name, American Robins are not closely related to European robins and are instead a member of the thrush family.

They are a common sight in Florida in migratory season and can be seen year-round at the far north of the state.

9 – Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting - a brightly colored beautiful bird.
Painted Bunting – a brightly colored beautiful bird.

Quick Identification Guide of Painted Bunting

  • Size: Small, about 5-6 inches long
  • Body Color: Males are brightly colored, with a blue head, green back, and red belly. Females are duller, with a greenish-yellow head and back, and a yellowish belly. 
  • Unique Distinguishable Colors or Patterns: Males have a distinctive ring patch of red around their eyes, and a bright red rump.
  • Bill: Short and conical, with a grayish color.
  • Legs and Feet: Grayish or flesh-colored.

The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) is a small, brightly colored bird that is native to the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. 

They prefer habitats with dense shrubs, such as brushy areas, hedgerows, and woodland edges. Painted Buntings are primarily seed-eaters, but also feed on insects during the breeding season. 

In Florida, they can be seen during the migratory season from December to throughout the state, particularly in the lowcountry areas. They migrate south for the winter, but some may overwinter along the coast in Florida. 

Seeing a Painted Bunting is a treat for any birdwatcher, and they are certainly a species worth seeking out.

Birds with unique red features in Florida 

In addition to above mentioned red birds, I have included the following birds to this list since they are popular for their unique red features. 

10 – Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret - male reddish egret has a red head and neck
Reddish Egret

Quick Identification Guide of Reddish Egret

  • Size: 26-33 inches
  • Body color: Gray-blue with a reddish neck and rusty-colored head crest
  • Unique distinguishable colors or patterns of other body parts: The wings are two-toned, with the upper part being a slate-blue color and the lower part being a reddish-brown. The legs are blue-gray, and the feet are a bright pink color.
  • Bill: Long, thin, and dark in color, with a slight downward curve
  • Legs and feet: Long, slender, and blue-gray in color
  • Both males and females have a reddish neck and rusty-colored head crest.

The Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) is a striking bird with a unique appearance, found primarily in the Gulf Coast region of the United States. This wading bird is a medium-sized member of the heron family, with a gray-blue body, reddish neck, and a distinctive rusty-colored head crest. 

What sets the Reddish Egret apart from other herons is their lively hunting style – they dash through shallow water, flapping their wings and jumping in the air to catch fish.

Reddish Egrets are found in coastal areas, salt marshes, and mangrove swamps throughout the Gulf Coast region of the United States, including Florida. 

They feed primarily on fish, but will also eat crustaceans and amphibians. In Florida, Reddish Egrets can be seen year-round, but their populations increase during the breeding season from March to July. 

The best places to spot them are in shallow bays, lagoons, and estuaries, where they can be seen hunting for fish in the shallow waters. Pesticides, Degradation of Habitat due to human activities direct this bird to near threatened category in IUCN red list. 

They are a unique and fascinating bird to observe, and a must-see for any bird-watching enthusiast visiting Florida.

11 – Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker - Both male and female birds have red heads.
Red-headed Woodpecker

Quick Identification Guide of Red-headed Woodpecker

  • Size: 7.5 to 9 inches long with a wingspan of 16 to 17 inches
  • Body color: Adults (both sexes) have a striking black and white body plumage with a bright red head and neck. Juveniles have similar black and white body plumage, but the head and neck are a duller red.
  • Unique distinguishable colors or patterns: Bold, black and white striped back and wings with white underparts. In flight, it shows a prominent white patch on the wings.
  • Bill: Stout and pointed bill that is shorter than the head.
  • Legs and feet: Short, strong legs and feet with two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward

The Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) is a medium-sized bird native to North America. Its black, white, and bright red feathers make it easy to spot. This bird is common in the eastern parts of the United States.

Red-headed Woodpeckers live in open habitats, such as woodlands, orchards, and farmland. They have a distinctive flight pattern, with a prominent white patch on their wings.

These birds have unique feeding habits and are often seen catching insects mid-air or storing nuts and acorns in tree cavities for later. 

Unfortunately, their numbers have been decreasing in recent years due to habitat loss and fragmentation. It’s important to protect their habitats and conserve this beautiful bird.

In Florida, you can see Red-headed Woodpeckers all year round in all regions of the state except for the far south.

12 – Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker - Both male and female birds have a red head. Additionally, males have a red stripe on their cheek.
Pileated Woodpecker

Quick Identification Guide of Pileated Woodpecker

  • Size: Large woodpecker. Approximately 16-19 inches in length and 26-30 inches in wingspan.
  • Body color: Mostly black with white stripes on the face and neck, a large red crest on the head, and white underwings. Males and females both have red crests on the head. But only males have a red stripe on the cheek.
  • Bill: Long, chisel-like bill for drilling into wood
  • Legs and feet: black legs, and feet.

The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a stunning bird that is native to North America and can be found all across the United States and Canada, including Florida. They usually inhabit mature forests with large trees for nesting and foraging.

The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America and can be easily recognized by their bright red crest on their head, black and white striped face and neck, and their long, chisel-like bill. 

They feed primarily on insects found in dead or dying trees, as well as fruits and nuts.

Although they are large, Pileated Woodpeckers are often heard before they are seen, thanks to their loud, distinctive call. 

They play an essential role in the forest ecosystem, controlling insect populations and creating nesting sites for other species of birds and mammals.

If you’re in Florida, keep an eye and ear out for these magnificent birds as they can be spotted year-round in all regions.

13- Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker - Only male birds have red crown and nape both. Females only have red in their napes.
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Quick Identification Guide of Red-bellied Woodpecker

  • Size: Approximately 9-10 inches long, with a wingspan of 13-17 inches.
  • Body color: Mostly black and white, with a red patch on the nape of the neck and a red wash on the belly (more prominent in males). Only males have a red crown.
  • Distinguishable colors or patterns: Black and white striped back and wings, white underparts, and a black and white striped face with a white eye ring.
  • Bill: Strong and chisel-like for drilling into wood, approximately 1-1.5 inches long.
  • Legs and feet: Gray-black, with two toes facing forward and two facing backward for better gripping on trees.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a common species of woodpecker found in the eastern half of North America including Florida. 

They can be found in a variety of habitats, including deciduous forests, wooded suburbs, and parks. 

They are omnivorous, feeding on insects, nuts, fruits, and seeds. And they can often be seen foraging on tree trunks and branches. 

The red wash on their bellies can be difficult to see in some lighting conditions, but their distinctive black and white striped back and wings, along with their red nape and eye-ring, make them easy to identify. 

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are also known for their loud, rolling call, which can often be heard before they are seen.

You can see them throughout Florida year-round. 

14- Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - a green bird with red throat
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Quick Identification Guide of Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Size: 7.5-9 cm (3-3.5 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 10-12 cm (4-5 inches)
  • Body color: Metallic green on the upperparts, white on the underparts, and a ruby-red throat patch on males (females lack the ruby-red throat)
  • Unique distinguishable colors or patterns of other body parts: The wings are short and pointed, with a dark stripe on the underside. The tail is forked and dark in color. The bill is thin and straight, and the legs and feet are small and dark.
  • Males have a ruby-red throat patch, while females lack it.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a small, vibrant bird that is native to North America. This tiny bird has a metallic green upper body, white underparts, and a distinctive ruby-red throat patch on males. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are known for their high-speed flight and the unique humming sound created by their rapid wing movements. 

They are the only species of hummingbird found in the eastern United States, with their breeding range extending from the southeastern United States up to Canada.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds prefer open woodland habitats and can often be found near gardens and flowering plants, where they feed on nectar and insects. 

They migrate to southern coastal areas of Florida during the winter months, where they can be seen at backyard feeders, gardens, and parks. 

In Florida, you can see them from early April through late October during breeding in the northern parts of the state, with peak migration occurring in late August and early September. 

To attract these tiny birds to your backyard, hang a feeder filled with sugar water or plant nectar-producing flowers such as bee balm, cardinal flower, or trumpet vine. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a true gem of the bird world and a delight to observe.

15- Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - male Rose-breasted Grosbeak has a reddish breast
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Quick Identification Guide of Rose-breasted Grosbeak

  • Size: 7-9 inches (18-22 cm) in length, with a wingspan of 11-13 inches (28-32 cm).
  • Body color: Males have black upperparts, white underparts, and a distinctive rose-red breast patch. Females have brown upperparts, buff underparts, and heavy streaking on the breast.
  • Unique distinguishable colors or patterns of other body parts: The wings are black with white patches, and the tail is black with white tips. The bill is thick and conical, and the legs and feet are stout.
  • Male or female: Males have a rose-red breast patch, while females have heavy streaking on the breast.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is a strikingly beautiful songbird that is found in North America. This bird is known for its distinctive rose-red breast patch on males, and heavy streaking on the breast of females. 

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a summer resident in the eastern half of the United States, with its breeding range extending from the Great Lakes region down to the southeastern United States. 

During the breeding season, they prefer deciduous forests, woodland edges, and open country with scattered trees. Also, they are commonly found in parks and gardens, especially those with large trees.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks primarily feed on seeds, insects, and fruits. 

In Florida, they are seen during their migration period which is from April to May, when they pass through the state en route to their breeding grounds. 

They can also be seen again in September and October during their return migration south to Central and South America. 

To attract these birds to your backyard, provide a mix of sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and fruits such as oranges and apples. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a delightful bird to observe, and a treat to see during its migration through Florida.

Summary of Information about Red Birds in Florida!

The following table summarizes the best times of the year and the best regions in Florida to see each above-listed bird (refer ebird for actual sighting data).

In addition, you can refer to this table to get information on these birds such as the length, wingspan, and food preferences as well.

Red BirdsPlace and time of the year to see them in FloridaLengthWingspanFood
Northern CardinalAll regions – year-roundabout 8-9.5 inchesabout 10-12 inchesOmnivores – Seeds, berries, fruits, leaf buds,  insects
Roseate SpoonbillSouthern region – year-roundabout 28 – 34 inchesAbout 47.2 – 51.2 inchesCrustaceans, fish, and insects
Summer TanagerSouth Florida – MigrationOther regions – breeding seasonabout 7-8 inchesabout 11-12 inchesOmnivores – Mainly insects (popular as bee and wasp eaters), and at times, berries and fruits
Scarlet TanagerAll regions – migrationabout 6-7 inchesabout 9.5-11.5 inchesOmnivores – Mainly insects, and at times, berries and fruits
Purple FinchNorthwest Florida – non-breeding seasonabout 4.5-6.5 inchesabout 8-10 inchesOmnivores – Mainly insects, seeds, and berries
House FinchNorthwest and central parts of Florida – year-roundabout 5-6 inchesabout 8-10 inchesHerbivore – Seeds, berries, fruits
Vermilion FlycatcherWest and southern coast – non-breedingabout 6 inchesabout 9-10 inchesFlying insects – flies, grasshoppers, and beetles (mostly insectivores)
American RobinNorthwest region – year-roundOther regions – non-breedingabout 8-11 inchesabout 12-16 inchesOmnivores – Seeds, berries, frutis, leaf buds,  insects
Painted BuntingSouthern regions – non breeding. East coast – breeding, Other regions – migrationabout 5-6 inchesabout 8-10 inchesOmnivores – Mostly eat seeds, when breeding for short period of time, eat insects
Reddish EgretCentral, south, and east coast – year-roundNorthcentral and northwest coast – migrationabout 27.6 – 31.5 inchesabout 45.3-46.5 inchesPrimarily on fish, crustaceans, and amphibians
Red-headed WoodpeckerAll regions – year-round (rare in South Florida)about 7.5-9.5 inchesabout 16.5 inchesOmnivores – Insects, spiders, earthworms, nuts, seeds, berries
Pileated WoodpeckerAll regions – year-roundabout 15-19.5 inchesabout 26-29.5 inchesOmnivores – Carpenter ants, termites, flies, nuts and fruits. 
Red-bellied WoodpeckerAll regions – year-roundabout 9.5 inchesabout 13-16.5 inchesOmnivores – Arboreal arthropods, invertebrates, nuts, seeds, berries. 
Ruby-throated HummingbirdSouthern coastline – non-breedingOther regions – breedingabout 2.8-3.5 inchesabout 3.1-4.3 inchesFloral nectar and small insects
Rose-breasted GrosbeakAll regions – during migrationabout 7.1-8.3 inchesabout 11.4-13.0 inchesOmnivores – insects, wild fruit and seeds

Let’s explore!

Well, that concludes the list – 15 amazing red birds that you can see in the beautiful state of Florida! So, what’s next?

Grab your binoculars, and head out into the great outdoors – Florida’s red birds are waiting to be discovered! Happy birding!

Before you leave, have a peek at the following articles to add more amazing birds to your checklist: