Small birds in Alabama

31 Small Birds in Alabama: Our Wonderful Spotters’ Guide

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What makes Alabama such a brilliant birdwatching location for birders of all experience levels? A major reason is how easily you can find at least 30 small birds with little to no effort.

This state has a diverse geography that’s welcoming to a variety of bird species. They enjoy rolling, dipping valleys paired with seemingly endless flat prairies.

They’ll also have plenty of rich, wet swamps and a slew of manmade lakes and reservoirs. When you think about it, Alabama is a paradise for birds and the people who love them!

I’ll round up 31 small bird species in Alabama (as well as pretty small bird species) so you can create an accurate checklist. This hefty list will help you spot them by appearance, their favorite seasons, and their preferred feeding habits.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Spinus tristis
  • Length: 11 cm to 14 cm
  • Weight: 11 grams to 20 grams
  • Wingspan: 19 cm to 22 cm

American goldfinches usually show up during winter, but northern Alabama sees small populations remain year-round.

The American goldfinch has the distinction of being the smallest in the true finch family. Male goldfinches have rich yellow bodies, black and white barred wings, and a black cap.

Female goldfinches are more subdued with light yellow-gray coloration and no black cap. Here’s a tip: males look similar to females outside the breeding season.

These charming finches aren’t shy and regularly visit backyards, parks, fields, gardens, and suburban areas. They love to eat at bird feeders and are particularly fond of sunflower and thistle seeds.

American Robin

American Robin
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Turdus migratorius
  • Length: 23 cm to 28 cm
  • Weight: 59 grams to 94 grams
  • Wingspan: 31 cm to 41 cm

The American robin is common throughout Alabama during spring, fall, and winter, but is rarer during the summer. However, they show up in the Tennessee Valley all year long.

This beautiful bird is immediately distinctive for their vivid reddish-orange breast, gray body, and white rump. They have a thin yellow beak and a thin streak of white around their eyes.

The American robin is active and sprightly, often digging around in fields, lawns, shrubby areas, and parks for food. They eat a variety of foods ranging from insects to fruits, though they’re very fond of earthworms and grubs.

Here’s a tip: try attracting them to your backyard with a hopper feeder or a fly-thru feeder. Since they don’t eat seeds, attract them with mealworms or freshly diced apples.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Hirundo rustica
  • Length: 17 cm to 19 cm
  • Weight: 16 grams to 22 grams
  • Wingspan: 32 cm to 35 cm

Barn swallows are common in Alabama during spring, summer, and fall in Alabama’s inland regions. They show up during winter in the southern portion of the state.

The barn swallow is an iconic bird with their long, swooping wings, bold blue-gray coloration, red face, and white belly. They have dark patches over their eyes and a dainty, short beak.

Males have more vivid coloring than females and have longer tails. Both birds have a lovely, swooping wing shape.

These birds earned their name for their love of farmland and agricultural fields. However, they also like to explore open meadows and shrubby areas. They’re fond of insects such as crickets, dragonflies, and moths.

If you want to attract barn swallows to your backyard, skip the bird feeders and leave the door open to an outbuilding (such as a storage shed). They love to build their nests in little dark corners.

Brown-Headed Cowbird

Brown-Headed Cowbird
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Molothrus ater
  • Length: 16 cm to 22 cm
  • Weight: 30 grams to 60 grams
  • Wingspan: 36 cm

Brown-headed cowbirds are common throughout Alabama during all seasons.

The brown-headed cowbird is a dark and subdued bird, with the adult males boasting a chocolate brown head on a shiny black body. At a distance, they look a little similar to a crow (but have shorter beaks).

Females are paler with light gray-brown bodies with slightly darker wings.

It’s unsurprising how the brown-headed cowbird earned its name – these stocky, dark birds are fond of pastures, open fields, and orchards. They’re also not shy around humans and will easily be found in parks or neighborhoods.

These birds are big fans of insects and are frequently on the ground foraging, though they also eat seeds. Since these birds are known to spread a variety of diseases, you can keep them away from your feeder by avoiding platform trays – they’re too heavy for tube feeders.

Brown-Headed Nuthatch

Brown-Headed Nuthatch
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Sitta pusilla
  • Length: 9 cm to 11 cm
  • Weight: 10 grams to 12 grams
  • Wingspan: 16 cm to 18 cm

The brown-headed nuthatch is common throughout Alabama during all seasons but is particularly common in the Tennessee Valley.

This dainty little songbird has a light gray-blue body with a white chest and throat. Their characteristic brown head wraps around their eyes like a little mask.

They have a noticeably thin, needle-like beak. Males and females look quite similar to one another.

Brown-headed nuthatches are remarkably clever birds, sometimes using twigs or pine needles to dig out insects. They also love to swing by backyard bird feeders for an easy meal, so stock up on suet or sunflower seeds.

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadees
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Poecile carolinensis
  • Length: 11 cm to 13 cm
  • Weight: 9 grams to 12 grams
  • Wingspan: 15 cm to 20 cm

The Carolina chickadee is extremely common throughout Alabama in all seasons.

I’m a huge fan of chickadees’ beautiful coloration and tiny size. Carolina chickadees have a light gray body, white belly, and characteristic black cap and ‘bib’.

They’re small, round, and have tiny gray beaks. Males and females are extremely similar to one another.

These darling birds love to eat insects and seeds, often foraging in forests or shrubby fields. You can attract them to your backyard with hopper or house bird feeders with sunflower seeds or raisins.

Their name comes from their distinctive chika-dee-dee-dee birdcall pattern.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus
  • Length: 12 cm to 14 cm
  • Weight: 18 grams to 23 grams
  • Wingspan: 29 cm

Carolina wrens are quite common throughout Alabama during all seasons.

The Carolina wren is a sleek and unassuming bird, boasting a narrow body with cinnamon-brown coloration. They have white barring on their wings, a white belly, and a long, needle-like beak.

These birds are strict fans of insects, often hunting for grasshoppers, beetles, and millipedes. However, they occasionally switch to snails or berries when their usual food supply runs low.

Not only are Carolina wrens not shy, but they actually feel more comfortable around humans since predators stay away from populated areas. You can attract Carolina wrens to your backyard with bird fountains or brush piles to help insects gather.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Bombycilla cedrorum
  • Length: 15 cm to 18 cm
  • Weight: 28 grams
  • Wingspan: 22 cm to 30 cm

Cedar waxwings are seen throughout Alabama during fall, winter, and early spring, but are scarce in summer.

The Cedar waxwing is a hypnotically beautiful bird with buttery smooth coloration. Their body has a soft color pattern shifting from gray-brown to yellow with black and white wings.

They boast a black eye mask and a cherry-red patch on their lower wings. Males and females look very similar.

Cedar waxwings will eat berries all year long, but sometimes add insects to their diet during spring. They have a varied call of whistles, cheeps, and long, buzzy trills.

Try attracting these birds to your bird feeders with mealworms or finely diced apple slices.

Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Chaetura pelagica
  • Length: 12 cm to 15 cm
  • Weight: 17 grams to 30 grams
  • Wingspan: 27 cm to 30 cm

Chimney swifts are common throughout Alabama during spring, summer, and fall. They’re scarce during the winter months due to migration.

The chimney swift is somehow both subtle and striking with its sleek wings, round face, and smoky gray coloration. Their silhouette is so iconic, that you can easily recognize them at a distance.

Males and females look similar, though the males are slightly larger in size. These birds tend to let out twittering calls with the occasional chip-chip-chip pattern.

These fascinating birds prefer to eat on the wing, devouring beetles, dragonflies, moths, bees, and even fleas. Unlike most birds on this list, the chimney swift is unable to perch – they instead cling to surfaces like a sticker.

Since these birds don’t eat seeds or fruit, they’re not likely to visit a bird feeder. They’re more likely to show up in your chimney to lay their eggs, hence the name!

You can build a chimney swift tower to keep them safe and give them a place to raise their young.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Spizella passerina
  • Length: 12 cm to 15 cm
  • Weight: 11 grams to 17 grams
  • Wingspan: 21 cm

Chipping sparrows are common throughout most of Alabama all year round but are rare during the summer in the southern portion.

These adorable, tiny sparrows are a classic sight in forested areas, shrubby fields, and suburban locations. Males during breeding season have white bellies, brown and black barred wings, and a reddish-brown cap.

Females are more subdued with gray-brown coloring and no brown cap. Males look similar to females during non-breeding season.

These delightful little birds have an incredibly varied sparrow song, letting loose complex twitters, trills, and sprinkler-like chr-chr-chr-chr-chrs. These birds prefer to eat seeds but will switch to insects and the occasional spider once breeding season starts.

You can easily attract chipping sparrows to your backyard by filling a tube feeder with seeds.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Sialia sialis
  • Length: 16 cm to 21 cm
  • Weight: 27 grams to 34 grams
  • Wingspan: 25 cm to 32 cm

Eastern bluebirds show up year-round throughout Alabama and are one of the easiest small birds to spot in the wild.

This dashing bird instantly clear where they got its name. Males are sleek little birds with lovely sky-blue bodies, reddish-brown chests, and white bellies.

Females have similar coloration but with a gray-blue body and a creamy tan chest.

Eastern bluebirds are comfortable eating a variety of foods such as insects, berries, and seeds. They’re also known to eat snails and spiders.

They have a faint, wispy call with repetitive twhee-twhee-twhee patterns and plenty of warbles. You’ll easily spot them by appearance or by their call in their favorite environments – orchards, farmlands, and forest edges.

If you’re a homebody like me, try attracting them to your backyard with an open feeder stocked with fresh berries.

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Tyrannus tyrannus
  • Length: 19 cm to 23 cm
  • Weight: 33 grams to 55 grams
  • Wingspan: 33 cm to 38 cm

Eastern kingbirds are common throughout Alabama during spring, fall, and summer, but are scarce during the winter.

The eastern kingbird may seem visually simple to some, but I find them rather stately. Males have a smooth gray-brown body with a bright white stomach and long beak.

Males and females look pretty similar, but you’ll notice males are larger and have a subtle headcrest.

These agile birds are known to hunt on the wing, hunting flying insects for most of their food and switching to berries during the winter. They’re most common in open fields and shrubby areas, though they will sometimes roost in trees.

While these birds aren’t fond of feeders, there are other ways to attract them. Try planting berry bushes in your backyard to give them an easy food supply and protection from predators.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  • Length: 17 cm to 23 cm
  • Weight: 32 grams to 53 grams
  • Wingspan: 20 cm to 30 cm

The eastern towhee shows up throughout Alabama during all seasons.

The eastern towhee boasts some truly stunning coloration. Males have a sooty black head, chocolate brown sides, and a flecked white belly and rump.

Females have a similar patchwork pattern but with a chocolate brown head, cinnamon brown sides, and a patchy white stomach.

The eastern towhee prefers to forage along the ground for all sorts of food, such as berries, insects, seeds, vegetable matter, and even lizards. They enjoy shrubby areas and forested locations with dense undergrowth containing plenty of food.

These beautiful birds have a distinctive pattern of chwee-chr-chee-chee-chee. They’re more likely to visit bird feeders located in shrubby and overgrown areas – they like to dig for fallen seeds.

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Setophaga citrina
  • Length: 13 cm
  • Weight: 9 grams to 12 grams
  • Wingspan: 17 cm

Hooded warblers show up throughout Alabama during spring, fall, and summer, but are scarce in winter.

What a whimsical bird! The hooded warbler is impossible to miss with their iconic yellow face patch, black hood, olive wings, and vivid yellow belly.

Females look very similar to males but lack the black hood. Both males and females have thin, dainty beaks and pointed wingtips.

The hooded warbler is a fan of insects, often sticking to shrubby and overgrown locations where food is plentiful. Their name harkens to their lilting and sweet call of chweeta-chweeta.

Backyard birders may be disappointed by the hooded warblers’ lack of interest in feeders, but don’t despair. Planting extra shrubs or trees in your backyard will make your home more inviting to these striking yellow birds.

House Finch

House Finch
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Length: 12 cm to 15 cm
  • Weight: 21 grams
  • Wingspan: 20 to 25 cm

The house finch is common throughout Alabama during all seasons, though a little more common in the inland region.

The house finch is one of the most common birds in the United States, easily recognizable by both call and appearance. Males have a distinctive red flush along their faces with a brown body and thick conical beak.

Females look similar to males in size and appearance but lack the red flushing. Their stomachs are more heavily streaked with cream and gray.

A major reason why house finches are so adaptable is due to their territorial nature and varied diet – these birds eat a variety of seeds and berries (and very occasionally insects). They’re known to shoo other birds from bird feeders, so your mileage may vary if you want them around or not!

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Passerina cyanea
  • Length: 11 cm to 15 cm
  • Weight: 14 grams to 15 grams
  • Wingspan: 18 cm to 23 cm

Indigo buntings are common throughout Alabama during spring, fall, and summer, but are scarce during winter in the south.

The male Indigo Bunting looks like a shimmering jewel, boasting breathtaking teal and green feathers. Their beaks are a bright white and their wings have soft gray barring.

Female Indigo Buntings look completely different with their light cinnamon brown bodies, dark barred wings, and light gray beaks. However, males will have a similar coloration to females once the breeding season ends.

These stunning birds are flexible in their feeding habits, sometimes foraging on the ground or exploring in the trees. They usually eat a mixture of insects, seeds, and berries.

You can attract a few to your backyard by stocking up on fresh blueberries, elderberries, and strawberries.

Killdeer

Killdeers
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Charadrius vociferus
  • Length: 20 cm to 28 cm
  • Weight: 72 grams to 121 grams
  • Wingspan: 59 cm to 63 cm

Killdeers are common throughout Alabama during all seasons.

These interestingly named birds have coloration that reminds me of a slapdash ink drawing. Both males and females have white heads with rings of black around their faces and necks.

They have soft brown wings with bright white stomachs and a characteristic ‘frowning’ beak that droops downward.

Killdeers earned their name due to their call literally sounding like kill-deer kill-deer or kill-dee kill-dee. They constantly forage along the ground for caterpillars, spiders, and earthworms.

However, their diet is diverse enough to include snails and crawfish. These birds don’t visit feeders, but you can find them scrounging around coastlines or urban areas like lawns and fields.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Setophaga magnolia
  • Length: 11 cm to 13 cm
  • Weight: 6 grams to 15 grams
  • Wingspan: 16 cm to 20 cm

Magnolia Warblers are common during the fall, but less common in spring and summer.

Magnolia Warblers are zesty birds, with males boasting a dark gray body and bright yellow stomach flecked with gray. They have faintly barred wings and a short, thin beak.

Females look similar to males but have lighter flecking on their stomachs and thinner wing bars.

When you want to spot a Magnolia Warbler, look for coniferous forests or shrubby areas. They spend much of their time hunting for insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and butterflies.

These birds don’t usually swing by feeders, but you can make your backyard more enticing by planting shrubs and trees.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Length: 21 cm to 24 cm
  • Weight: 33 grams to 65 grams
  • Wingspan: 25 cm to 31 cm

Northern Cardinals are common throughout Alabama during all seasons.

When you want to glimpse an iconic bird, the Northern Cardinal is one of the easiest to find. Males are stunning with their tomato red plumage, thick red beak, and black face mask.

Females are no slouch, either, with a golden brown body, red beak, and blushing tail.

One of the most striking features of both cardinals is their tall, pointy crest. I always thought they looked like an autumn leaf that sprang to life.

Northern Cardinals have a lovely call that sounds like wheat-wheat-wheat. This call sometimes shifts into metallic chirping or cheeer-cheeer patterns.

These lovely birds usually prefer to eat grains and ripe fruit, though they sometimes eat snails, beetles, or cicadas. Try attracting them to your feeder with sunflower seeds or oats.

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Setophaga palmarum
  • Length: 12 cm to 14 cm
  • Weight: 8 grams to 14 grams
  • Wingspan: 20 cm to 21 cm

Palm Warblers are common in southern Alabama during spring, fall, and winter. They’re more scarce during winter in the Tennessee Valley.

These birds may be dainty, but they stand out quite easily due to their bright plumage. Palm warblers have bright yellow bodies with dusty olive wings and a streaked belly.

Males and females look similar, with both sexes becoming more olive outside of the breeding season. However, females tend to have more white along their rump.

These plump songbirds are quite fond of wet and shrubby areas such as bogs and fields, spending much of their time foraging for insects or berries. Despite their small size, you can spot them at a distance due to their distinctive bobbing tail.

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Setophaga pinus
  • Length: 12 cm to 14 cm
  • Weight: 12 grams
  • Wingspan: 22 cm

Pine warblers are common throughout Alabama during all seasons.

The pine warbler looks similar to the palm warbler but with more uniformly yellow coloring and less olive along their heads. They also have two distinctive white wing bars.

Female pine warblers are also more gray and white. They can be confused for winter birds due to how well they blend in with snow.

These tiny birds are fond of dense forests where they can quickly hide from predators or forage along the ground for insects, seeds, or berries. They’re rather fond of nesting and relaxing in pine trees, a major contributor to their name.

If you want to increase your chances of attracting pine warblers, stock up on fresh seeds or suet during the winter.

Purple Martin

Purple Martin
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Progne subis
  • Length: 19 cm to 20 cm
  • Weight: 45 grams to 60 grams
  • Wingspan: 39 cm to 41 cm

The purple martin is fairly common throughout Alabama during spring, fall, and summer. They’re much rarer during winter in the southern portion of the state.

Male purple martins may seem like a small crow at a distance, but look closer and you’ll immediately notice a few differences. They have iridescent purple or black-blue feathers, a short beak, and a forked tail.

Female purple martins are jewel-like in their coloration – they have light gray-blue wings, a gray-blue face, and a cream belly. She also has a long, forked tail.

These graceful birds prefer to hunt insects on the wing, favoring beetles, moths, butterflies, crane flies, and bees. They tend to travel in very large flocks, sometimes numbering in the thousands.

Try to spot these birds near farms, small towns, or open country. These environments are ideal for their hunting habits and tendency to swarm in groups.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Melanerpes carolinus
  • Length: 22 cm to 26 cm
  • Weight: 56 grams to 91 grams
  • Wingspan: 38 cm to 46 cm

Red-bellied woodpeckers are common in Alabama during all seasons.

I’ve always thought this bird looked like an abstract art exhibit. Males have a bright red head, white body, and zebra-like black and white stripes on their wings.

Females look similar to males but with patchier red along the head. Both males and females have a little red on their lower stomachs, hence the name.

Red-bellied woodpeckers aren’t picky eaters and will devour insects, seeds, berries, and nuts. You can spot one on the open trail easily due to their habit of drilling holes into the sides of trees.

Birders with a love for hiking should check out deciduous forests to spot these beautiful birds in the wild. If you need a starting point, check out Kimbell Lake – this forested trail regularly sees red-bellied woodpeckers as well as several other species.

Red-Headed Woodpecker

The red-headed woodpecker
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
  • Length: 19 cm to 25 cm
  • Weight: 56 grams to 97 grams
  • Wingspan: 42 cm

Red-headed woodpeckers show up throughout Alabama and are common during spring, fall, and summer. They’re less common in winter.

This bold bird is easy to recognize – just look at where they got their name! Both adult males and females have cherry red heads, dark gray wings, and white stomachs.

They have large white markings on their lower wings and a long, gray bill for drilling into trees.

The red-headed woodpecker eats quite a few different things, ranging from seeds to insects to even the occasional small mammal. Sometimes they’ll snatch the eggs of other birds for an easy meal.

Red-headed woodpeckers are quite common on the edges of forests, around orchards, and within tree groves. These birds don’t often show up at bird feeders but may swing by during the winter if you stay stocked on suet.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeak
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Pheucticus ludovicianus
  • Length: 18 cm to 22 cm
  • Weight: 35 grams to 65 grams
  • Wingspan: 29 cm to 33 cm

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are most common during spring and fall in Alabama. However, they sometimes crop up during winter in the south.

The male rose-breasted grosbeak is a showstopper with his tuxedo-like markings. He has a black body, white belly, white patches, and a characteristic cherry red breast.

Female rose-breasted grosbeaks look completely different with white bellies, brown wings, and white wing bars. While they look similar to sparrows, they have the characteristic conical beak of grosbeaks.

These fancy little birds enjoy deciduous forests as well as forest edges and parks. They eat a mixture of insects, berries, and seeds – they’ll also eat a little nectar during spring.

If you fancy going on a scenic walk in the park, you’ll likely find these birds chasing after flying insects. You can also attract them to your backyard with black oil sunflower seeds.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 7 cm to 9 cm
  • Weight: 2 grams to 6 grams
  • Wingspan: 8 cm to 11 cm

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are quite common during spring, summer, and fall throughout Alabama. They’re rarer in the winter in the southern portion of the state.

Who isn’t delighted at the sight of a twinkling little hummingbird? Males have an emerald green body with a white belly and a throat that can look red in some lighting, and black in others.

Females look similar to males but lack the red throat and a longer bill.

These birds really make you realize the inspiration that went into classic fairytales. These tiny birds love to flutter around flowers to drink nectar, though they occasionally eat spiders and small insects.

Backyard bird feeders will have plenty to enjoy with the aid of a classic hummingbird feeder. You can whip up fresh batches of sugar water to attract little flocks to your window or porch!

Sanderling

Sanderling
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Calidris alba
  • Length: 18 cm to 20 cm
  • Weight: 40 grams to 100 grams
  • Wingspan: 35 cm

Sanderlings are fairly common during spring, fall, and winter in Alabama’s Gulf Coast region. The rest of the state sees small populations of these birds during spring and summer.

These dainty little birds are a common sight around bodies of water. Males and females both have dusty gray wings, white bellies, and long black beaks.

Two of their most distinctive features are their long black legs and hunched-over posture. During the breeding season, both sexes will develop heavily speckled brown and white plumage.

These little wading birds regularly eat their fill of tiny crabs, plankton, and dead organic matter that washes up to the shore. Flocks of these adorable, busy little birds are a must-have on your checklist if you like long walks on the beach.

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Tyrannus forficatus
  • Length: 38 cm
  • Weight: 43 grams
  • Wingspan: 15 cm

These birds have sporadic appearances throughout Alabama. They’re seen occasionally in the Gulf Region during summer but are rare throughout the state during the rest of the seasons.

What a sight! The scissor-tailed flycatcher cuts a striking figure with their snow-white body, chocolate brown wings, and very long forked tail.

Males and females look similar, but males boast much longer tails. They almost look like they have a ribbon trailing behind them.

These slender, long-tailed birds generally prefer to feed and relax in shrubby fields, open country, and farmland. They earned their name due to their dedicated hunting of insects such as dragonflies and grasshoppers.

Scissor-tailed flycatchers have a dynamic call with few patterns, alternating between chittering, tweeting, and brief cluck sounds.

Snowy Plover

Snowy Plover
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Charadrius nivosus
  • Length: 15 cm to 17 cm
  • Weight: 40 grams to 43 grams
  • Wingspan: 34 cm to 43 cm

Snowy plovers are most common in the Gulf Coast region and have varying populations throughout the year.

What a cute little bird! Snowy plovers are tiny shorebirds with light gray-brown wings, white stomachs, and needle-like black beaks.

During breeding season, males will develop black spots on their forehead, cheeks, and along the side of their neck.

These birds work hard to peck and prod at the ground to unearth various crustaceans and worms. They also sometimes eat flying insects and their larvae.

Snowy plovers are clever birds who will sometimes pretend to have a broken wing to distract predators from their young. Swing by Alabama’s sandy beaches to glimpse these birds in their natural habitat.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted titmouse
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Baeolophus bicolor
  • Length: 14 cm to 16 cm
  • Weight: 17 grams to 26 grams
  • Wingspan: 20 cm to 26 cm

The tufted titmouse is common throughout Alabama during all seasons.

If you’re a photographer, you can’t afford to miss a snapshot of this charming little songbird. Both males and females have light gray-blue bodies, white bellies, and a dusting of cinnamon brown along their sides.

They earned their name due to the little tufts of feathers that stick out of their forehead.

These types of birds enjoy a wide variety of habitats such as deciduous forests or well-tended parks. They have a distinctive call that sounds like they’re saying peter-peter-peter in rapid succession.

The seed-loving tufted titmouse regularly visits backyard bird feeders, so stock up on sunflower seeds during summer and spring. Switch to a treat of suet in the winter to give them an energy boost.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanagers
Image Credit: Depositphotos.
  • Species Name: Piranga rubra
  • Length: 17 cm
  • Weight: 29 grams
  • Wingspan: 28 cm to 30 cm

Summer tanagers are common throughout Alabama during spring, summer, and fall. They’re more rare during winter.

Last but certainly not least, we have the vibrant summer tanager. Males are a bloom of tomato red with long bodies and forked tails with a more rounded edge.

Females are a dusty yellow with olive-brown wing bars and a pale beak.

These birds are easiest to spot in woodland areas, whether within a forest or along forest edges. They eat a mixture of insects and berries, often snatching their food while in mid-flight.

These birds require a different food platter if you want to attract them to your backyard. Stock up on a mixture of raisins and mealworms to attract them during migration.

Alabama Is Bursting With Fascinating Small Bird Species

Whether you’re starting out as a birder or have years of experience, Alabama has enough variety to keep you busy for a long time. Even better, most of the species on this list are common throughout the state.

Need a tip before getting started? Make sure to time your visit as carefully as possible – picking the right season and preferred habitat of the birds you want to see will narrow down your search immensely.

Want to learn more about different bird species you can spot in Alabama? Check out the following articles to improve your birdwatching game:

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