With a diverse landscape of rolling hills leading into long coastlines, Connecticut is one of the loveliest birding spots. There are 15 small bird species you can spot here if you’re in the area.
Small bird species may not have the power of birds of prey or the mystique of birds of paradise, but they’re filled with charm. Their lovely voices and delightful plumage make them must-see species for countless birders.
I’ll make it easy for you to spot all sorts of small bird species in the Nutmeg State. Below is a brisk guide detailing common backyard birds by details like behavior, appearance, birdsong, or diet.
I’ll also sprinkle in backyard birding tips and a few birdwatching hotspots so you can have a successful birdwatching session!
- Species Name: Baeolophus bicolor
- Length: 14 cm to 16 cm
- Weight: 17 grams to 26 grams
- Wingspan: 20 cm to 26 cm
These charming birds are found year-round throughout the state and are a common sight.
Who doesn’t love the sight of these fairy-like birds? Tufted titmice have a light gray-blue body with a white belly, cinnamon-brown sides, and a tiny black beak.
Their most notable physical feature is their little feathered tuft that sticks out like flyaway hair. Males and females look very similar, though males are a little larger.
These popular birds usually prefer to hang around deciduous forests and mixed forests, though they’ll also visit a well-tended garden or backyard. They’re diverse foragers who will eat a mixture of insects, seeds, fruits, and berries – they’re just as likely to eat upside down from branches as they are to peck along the ground.
You can easily attract tufted titmice to your backyard feeder with classics like sunflower seeds or peanuts. You’ll increase their visits with suet during Connecticut’s famously heavy winters.
- Species Name: Passer domesticus
- Length: 16 cm
- Weight: 24 grams to 39 grams
- Wingspan: 19 cm to 25 cm
The house sparrow is a very widespread bird and is easily found in Connecticut year-round.
You knew the house sparrow would show up on this list! This hardy bird is often known by its male, a songbird with a dark brown back, white belly, black beak, and black throat.
The female house sparrow is quite different, boasting light gray-brown feathers, a yellow beak, and very faint streaks along her head.
It’s a shorter list to say where the house sparrow isn’t comfortable – while they’re not fond of dense forest, they’ll show up just about anywhere. Meadows, backyards, urban environments, forest edges, and roadsides are common hangouts for house sparrows.
While house sparrows usually prefer weed seeds and grains, they’ll sometimes switch to berries and snails when the time calls for it.
You can easily attract these common birds to your backyard feeder with fresh cherries or a handful of commercial bird seed.
- Species Name: Melospiza melodia
- Length: 11 cm to 18 cm
- Weight: 22 grams
- Wingspan: 18 cm to 25 cm
The song sparrow is also quite common in Connecticut and is seen throughout the state year-round.
It’s time to test your sparrow knowledge! The song sparrow has some visual similarities to the house sparrow but is distinguished by a lighter brown body covered in flecks.
Unlike the house sparrow, the song sparrow has no dark throat. They also have a rounder body and lighter beaks.
The song sparrow is a little pickier with its preferred environment, enjoying salt marshes and shrubby fields with plenty of water. Alongside seeds and insects, they’ll sometimes enjoy plucking out crustaceans like bits of crab or shrimp.
These birds earned their name for their brilliant, complex sparrow song. They let out crisp, clear trills, repetitive patterns, and dynamic switches – one bird can let loose dozens of different songs.
Try attracting a group of song sparrows to your backyard with fresh berries or a well-tended birdbath.
- Species Name: Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Length: 15 cm to 16 cm
- Weight: 25 grams to 28 grams
- Wingspan: 21 cm to 24 cm
The white-crowned sparrow usually shows up in Connecticut during migration, but small populations may linger in the southern portion of the state during non-breeding season.
The white-crowned sparrow is a little easier to spot at a distance than house and song sparrows. For starters, both males and females have a light gray stomach and speckled brown and white wings.
Their white and black head and yellow beak are the most notable features to look for when birding.
These birds are quite flexible and will switch up their preferred habitats depending on the season. They often flit about shrubby fields and meadows in the warmer months, then frequently visit backyards during the winter months.
Expect to see white-crowned sparrows foraging along the ground for seeds and insects. If you want to do some backyard birding, invite them over with some fresh sunflower seeds.
- Species Name: Zonotrichia albicollis
- Length: 15 cm to 19 cm
- Weight: 22 grams to 32 grams
- Wingspan: 23 cm
White-throated sparrows are common birds in Connecticut and show up year-round.
Last but not least, we have the quirky white-throated sparrow. While they have a similar brown, black, and white streaked body like other sparrows, they have one major distinguishing feature.
The white-throated sparrow boasts two yellow eyebrows, giving them a rather adorable expression. Interestingly enough, males and females can sometimes look like each other, so watch their behavior to determine their sex.
These birds prefer to forage along the ground for seeds, insects, and berries. They’re more likely to visit your backyard if you scatter millet or black oil sunflower seed along the ground, especially near shrubs or bushes.
- Species Name: Poecile atricapillus
- Length: 12 cm to 15 cm
- Weight: 9 grams to 14 grams
- Wingspan: 16 cm to 21 cm
The black-capped chickadee is a common sight throughout Connecticut year-round.
I’m always delighted when I see these cute little songbirds outside my window. The black-capped chickadee has beautiful coloring — they have a light gray-blue body, a white body, white streaked wings, a black cap, and a black throat.
Males and females look very similar, so don’t feel bad if you get them confused. Males are a little longer and larger than females, but it’ll be hard to tell unless you’re observing a flock.
Black-capped chickadees earned their name for their chicka-dee-dee-dee call.
These darling birds switch up their diet depending on the season – they love insects in the summer but usually eat seeds or berries in the winter. You’ll be just as likely to see them in forests as you are to see them in parks or your backyard.
This social bird is a delight to watch for their pleasant song and tendency to mingle with other birds. Try attracting black-capped chickadees with sunflower or suet cages (they love the latter during the winter).
- Species Name: Troglodytes aedon
- Length: 11 cm to 13 cm
- Weight: 10 grams to 12 grams
- Wingspan: 15 cm
These fast, curious little birds are a common sight during breeding season in Connecticut, but very scarce any other time of the year.
The round little house wren is a delight to watch for their non-stop foraging and swift movements. Both males and females have a light brown body, barred wings, a needle-like beak, and a stiff tail that sometimes sticks up like a flag.
House wrens are insectivores, though they’ll sometimes switch to spiders and snails. The wren song is one of the most dynamic birdcalls around — listen closely to hear them let loose impressive warbles, twitters, and chirps.
While house wrens are active, they can be a shy bird. If you want to attract them, don’t stock up your seed feeders – leave large brush piles in your backyard instead.
- Species Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus
- Length: 12 cm to 14 cm
- Weight: 18 grams to 23 grams
- Wingspan: 29 cm
The Carolina wren is more common than its house wren counterpart, seen year-round throughout Connecticut.
While the Carolina wren may seem similar to the house wren in its body shape, it has very different coloration. These little birds are a reddish brown with a distinctive white eyebrow.
As is common with wrens, males and females look very similar. Even experts have a hard time telling them apart (here’s a hint: males are much more vocal!).
These active birds enjoy digging through shrubby fields, swamps, and farmland. They’re sometimes spotted in overgrown parks and along the edges of forests.
If you want to attract a few to your backyard, stock up on sunflower seeds, mealworms, or suet. They’re more likely to visit backyard feeders during winter to store up on fat.
- Species Name: Haemorhous mexicanus
- Length: 12 cm to 15 cm
- Weight: 16 grams to 27 grams
- Wingspan: 20 cm to 25 cm
The house finch is a widespread bird and is frequently seen throughout the state year-round.
The house finch is a staple just about everywhere in the United States and Connecticut is no different. The male house finch has a gray-brown body, streaked wings, a pale beak, and a blushing red head.
The female house finch is a dusty gray-brown with heavy streaking, a gray-brown head, and a similarly pale beak. At a glance, you may think she’s a sparrow – however, her beak will be larger and thicker.
House finches are big fans of weed seeds, though they sometimes eat berries and grains. You’ll easily see them in urban environments such as backyards, parks, and even metro areas.
They’re quick to find backyard bird feeders and claim them as a go-to source of food, so stock up on nyjer if you want to attract them. Just be mindful that they’re very territorial and may scare off other bird species.
If you want to learn more about rarer finches in Connecticut, check out our list here.
- Species Name: Spinus tristis
- Length: 11 cm to 14 cm
- Weight: 19 cm to 22 cm
- Wingspan: 11 grams to 20 grams
American goldfinches are a common sight in Connecticut and show up year-round.
The American goldfinch is a welcome sight for casual and passionate birders alike. Male American goldfinches are showstoppers with their lemon-yellow feathers, black and white wings, and bright orange beak.
During breeding season, they have a distinctive black cap. Outside of breeding season, they lose this cap and develop a more olive or brownish coloration – looking just like females!
American goldfinches have a sweet and lilting song with chweet-chweet-chweet patterns or long trills.
They frequently eat weed seeds, preferring to spend their time in meadows, plains, and orchards where there’s plenty of food supply.
These yellow birds love to visit feeders stocked with nyjer and sunflower seeds – they’ll often bring their friends to share the love.
- Species Name: Spinus pinus
- Length: 11 cm to 14 cm
- Weight: 12 grams to 18 grams
- Wingspan: 18 cm to 22 cm
These migratory birds usually show up in Connecticut during non-breeding season, then promptly head north when it’s time to mate.
The little pine siskin is a charming fellow that looks like a sparrow to the beginner bird watcher. Unlike sparrows, they have more heavily streaked bodies, very tiny beaks, and a tendency toward yellow or olive-green-tinged wings.
Unsurprisingly, these birds enjoy frequenting forests and shrubby meadows. They spend much of their time foraging for plant matter, seeds, and the occasional insect.
I’ve always enjoyed their energetic and happy birdcall, often sounding like an excited tzweeeee.
Pine siskins are quick to visit a feeder if you keep it regularly stocked with black oil sunflower seeds.
- Species Name: Junco hyemalis
- Length: 14 cm to 16 cm
- Weight: 18 grams to 30 grams
- Wingspan: 18 cm to 25 cm
These distinctive birds usually show up during non-breeding season in Connecticut, though small populations will stay year-round.
You won’t have a hard time identifying this notable bird. The dark-eyed junco has smoky gray coloring with rounded heads, a bright belly, and an even brighter pink beak.
Females are even lighter and more evenly colored. The dark-eyed junco has a few interesting variations such as the pink-sided dark-eyed junco and the gray-headed dark-eyed junco – their names will give you a good idea of what they look like!
These round little birds usually prefer forests during breeding season, but switch to spacious fields, meadows, and backyards during the rest of the year. They generally eat seeds and are commonly found pecking along the ground.
Want to attract a few to your backyard feeder? Skip the tube feeders and scatter millet or hulled sunflower seeds on the ground instead.
- Species Name: Dryobates pubescens
- Length: 14 cm to 18 cm
- Weight: 20 grams to 33 grams
- Wingspan: 25 cm to 31 cm
This stunning bird is a common sight in Connecticut and shows up year-round.
If you enjoy photography, put this bird down on your next snapshot expedition. The male downy woodpecker dazzles with his black and white plumage, white belly, white head streaks, and bold red head spot.
The female downy woodpecker looks very similar to the male but with no red spot. They both have short tail feathers and a short, sharp beak.
These birds enjoy spending their time in dense, deciduous forests where they can drum away for insects or new roosting spots. However, they also eat the occasional berry or seed.
You can easily attract these birds to your backyard with suet, peanut butter, or a handful of peanuts (particularly in the winter). If you enjoy attracting hummingbirds, they may even enjoy some of their sugar water.
- Species Name: Sitta canadensis
- Length: 11 cm
- Weight: 9 grams to 10 grams
- Wingspan: 8 cm
The red-breasted nuthatch shows up throughout the state year-round but is usually present during non-breeding season in the southern portion.
The red-breasted nuthatch is one of the most dashing birds that’ll pop up in front of you. The male red-breasted nuthatch has a light gray body with a dark head, white head streaks, a cinnamon brown belly, and a pointed beak.
Females look very similar to the males but with lighter and patchier plumage.
The red-breasted nuthatch has a very interesting birdcall that sounds more like an off-key squeak toy or horn. It’s a nasally and high-pitched sound with a distinctive eeehn-eeehn pattern.
These birds will switch their diets depending on the season – they prefer insects during the summer and then eat an abundance of seeds during the winter.
If you want to attract them, follow their dietary patterns – they’ll happily visit bird feeders if you practice good timing. Leave a handful of sunflower seeds or a treat of suet once it gets cold.
- Species Name: Sitta carolinensis
- Length: 13 cm to 15 cm
- Weight: 18 grams to 30 grams
- Wingspan: 20 cm to 27 cm
The white-breasted nuthatch is plentiful in Connecticut and shows up around the state year-round.
Last but certainly not least, we have the lovely white-breasted nuthatch to add to your Connecticut birding portfolio. Males have a sleek, gray-blue body, a white stomach and face, streaked wings, and a bold black crown.
Females look very similar to the males, but with a blue-gray crown instead of black.
You’ll find these compact birds roaming in a variety of environments such as deciduous forests, the edge of forests, orchards, gardens, and parks. They eat a variety of insects and seeds, are particularly fond of caterpillars, and will sometimes break open acorns.
These birds are some of the best to attract to your feeder since they enjoy flying in mixed flocks with other species (such as tufted titmice!). Stock up on suet and sunflower seeds to make your backyard irresistible.
Connecticut Is Rich With Regular Small Bird Species
Connecticut is a great choice for beginner birdwatchers since most of these small bird species show up year-round. Even the rarer ones usually stick around for a full season or two.
Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars or a high-quality camera so you can spot subtle details like a reddish patch or thin white markings.
Curious to learn more about other bird species in Connecticut? Check out the following guides: