Birds In New York: 25 Species You’ll See In This State

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The Empire State, or New York State, is famous for its elegant restaurants, flashy Broadway performances, and several buildings and structures that resemble nothing else in this world. 

It’s also a paradise for birders because there are about 494 bird species that you can watch and study if you’re spending time in New York. 

61% of New York State is forested, and there are 24 areas listed as national parks, so there are plenty of places you can go if you’re interested in studying the birds in New York. So keep on reading to learn more about New York’s birds. 

Red Birds in New York

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

  • Scientific Name: Piranga Rubra
  • Length: About 6.7 inches
  • Weight: About 1 ounce
  • Wingspan: About 11.8 inches

The Summer Tanager is a medium-sized songbird with a slightly large head. While female birds are either bright yellow or green, the male birds are entirely bright red. 

This bird usually sits still on high tree branches or flies to catch insects midair. After catching insects, the Summer Tanager beats its prey against a limb to ensure that it’s dead. 

It usually feeds on bees and wasps but also feeds on other bugs like grasshoppers and beetles. It also eats fruits like blackberries, mulberries, and bananas. So, it might visit your backyard from time to time if you grow berries.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

  • Scientific Name: Cardinalis Cardinalis
  • Length: Between 8.3 and 9.1 inches
  • Weight: Between 1.9 and 2.29 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 9.8 and 12.2 inches

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most abundant and beloved birds in New York. The male bird has a red body with a black mask surrounding the bill and a wispy crest, while the female bird is pale brown with some red tinges. 

Unlike other songbirds, female Northern Cardinals can sing just like the male birds. It eats fruits, seeds, and some bugs like spiders, moths, butterflies, and spiders. 

You can attract a breeding pair to your backyard by keeping undergrowth or filling your bird feeding station with black oil sunflower seeds. 

House Finch

House Finch

  • Scientific Name: Haemorhous Mexicanus
  • Length: Between 5 and 6 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.6 and 0.9 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 8 and 10 inches

Birders can find the House Finch in suburban gardens in Brooklyn and breeds in Prospect Park. Male birds are rosy red, while the females are grayish-brown. 

The brightness of the bird’s plumage differs throughout different stages of life and is affected by the bird’s diet. 

The House Finch feeds on different parts of plants, including the fruit, bud, and seeds. It prefers to eat plums, figs, cherries, and apricots and will visit your backyard feeding station if you fill it with black oil sunflower or safflower seeds. 

Blue Birds in New York

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

  • Scientific Name: Sialia Sialis
  • Length: Between 6.3 and 8.3 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.95 and 1.2 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 9.8 and 12.6 inches

The male Eastern Bluebird has deep blue feathers on its back with a brick-red or rusty chest. The female bird is grayish with blue wings and tail. 

This beautiful bird catches insects on the ground and feeds on caterpillars, beetles, spiders, and grasshoppers. It usually perches erect on telephone wires and lower branches to scan the environment for prey. 

A breeding pair will use a nest box if you set it up in your backyard. The Eastern Bluebird also uses the holes excavated by woodpeckers. If you want to attract this bird to your backyard, you need to fill a bird feeder with mealworms

Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal

  • Scientific Name: Spatula discors
  • Length: About 16 inches
  • Weight: About 13 ounces
  • Wingspan: About 23 inches

The Blue-Winged Teal can be found in the shallow ponds and prairies of New York. It has a distinctive teal patch on the shoulders that gives the bird its name but it is only seen when it is flying. The bird is buff-colored and has a deep blue head. 

This migratory bird can travel for long distances and usually socializes with other dabbling ducks. It feeds on aquatic insects and vegetation and usually looks for a concealed spot to rest away from curious eyes. 

Females usually feed on protein-rich animal matter, especially during the breeding season. In winter, the bird feeds on seeds. 

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

  • Scientific Name: Cyanocitta Cristata
  • Length: Between 9 and 12 inches
  • Weight: Between 2.5 and 3.5 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 13 and 17 inches

The Blue Jay is a sizeable crested songbird with various blue and black plumage shades on its body and ample tail, which contrast with its white underpants. 

It’s one of the easiest birds to find in New York, although it’s not always a welcomed guest in backyards because of its aggressive behavior. 

This bird has a diverse diet and can feed on seeds, nuts, insects, and dead and injured invertebrates, but its favorite food is acorns. It usually holds a seed or nut with its feet then pecks it open. 

The Blue Jay can be found in several areas and doesn’t mind living near cities and towns. It prefers tray and hopper feeders and will visit your backyard if you keep a continuous supply of peanuts and suet. 

Green Birds in New York

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus Calliope
  • Length: Between 2.8 and 3.9 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.071 and 0.106 oz
  • Wingspan: About 4.3 inches

The Calliope Hummingbird is one of the smallest breeding birds found in the US. You can usually find it in the meadows of New York and around open forests. It has a hunched posture which makes it appear even smaller than it really is. 

Male and female birds both have greenish upperparts, but the male has a deeper green vest. The bird forages low to the ground and feeds on the nectar of flowering plants. It also catches insects while they’re flying in the air. 

The male Calliope Hummingbird dances in the air and performs a U-style dive to attract the female’s attention. Adding flowers to your backyard and setting up a hummingbird feeder will attract this small bird. 

Green-Tailed Towhee

Green-Tailed Towhee

  • Scientific Name: Pipilo Chlorurus
  • Length: About 7.25 inches
  • Weight: About 1 ounce
  • Wingspan: About 11 inches

The Green-Tailed Towhee has a grayish body with an olive green tail and a bright rufous crown. This bird prefers to live in shrubby areas and can be challenging to see. However, you can pay attention to its song to locate it. 

If a female Green-tailed Towhee is attacked, it leaves the nest and runs across the ground with its tail raised like a chipmunk to confuse the predator. 

Like other towhees and sparrows, the Green-tailed Towhee practices the double-scratch technique to find ground-dwelling insects. It feeds on seeds and insects like caterpillars, moths, bees, wasps, and flies. 

Orange Birds in New York

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus Rufus
  • Length: Between 2.8 and 3.5 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.071 and 0.176 ounces
  • Wingspan: About 4.3 inches

Despite its small size, the Rufous Hummingbird is highly aggressive and restless. Male birds have bright orange backs and bellies, while the females are orange-green. 

This bird is known to attack and defeat bigger hummingbirds. It needs to eat regularly to maintain its high energy level and stays inactive at night to conserve its energy. 

Although this bird spends most of its time on the move, it will visit your backyard regularly if you grow hummingbird flowers or set up a hummingbird feeder. It gets needed proteins from gnats and flies caught in the air or aphids found in plants. 

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

  • Scientific Name: Pyrocephalus Obscurus
  • Length: Between 5.1 and 5.5 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.39 and 0.49 ounces
  • Wingspan: About 3.1 inches

The male Vermilion Flycatcher has bright orange plumage with dark brown wings and tail. Female birds are pale grayish-brown with some tinges of orange on the breast. 

This bird spends most of its time perching on branches or fences. It usually watches insects and catches them while flying in the air, and then the bird returns to the same spot. 

The Vermilion Flycatcher is easy to spot in its open habitat. When it catches large prey like a grasshopper, the bird flies back to the perch and hits it against a branch to soften it before eating it. It also feeds on honeybees, crickets, and beetles. 

American Robin

American Robin

  • Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius
  • Length: Between 9 and 11 inches
  • Weight: About 2.7 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 12 and 16 inches

You can see the American Robin in any urban area of Manhattan. It’s a common bird, and its arrival usually announces the beginning of spring. 

The American Robin is known for its bright orange chest and happy song. It has a gray-brown upper body, and the females have paler heads than the males. Both sexes have brown tails.

This familiar bird often comes to bird feeders, and you might be able to see it in your backyard stalking earthworms in the summer and spring. It also feeds on fruits like chokecherries and sumac fruits. In addition, it sometimes tries to feed on fruits that have bugs in them. 

Yellow Birds in New York

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

  • Scientific Name: Spinus Tristis
  • Length: Between 4.3 and 5.5 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.39 and 0.71 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 7.5 and 8.7 inches

This small bird is easy to spot, thanks to its acrobatic flying moves. It has a bright yellow body with a black forehead and black wings with a white wing bar. Female birds are pale, with yellow underneath and olive above. 

The American Goldfinch attaches to weeds and seed socks. You can also see it flying over the open areas and weedy fields in New York like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Prospect Park, and Green-Wood Cemetery. 

This bird mainly feeds on seeds and different types of grass. You can also attract it to your backyard by filling a bird feeder with sunflower seeds and nyjer. 

Dickcissel

Dickcissel

  • Scientific Name: Spiza Americana
  • Length: Between 5.5 and 6.3 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.9 and 1.4 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 9.8 and 10.2 inches

The Dickcissel is a small bird with a full chest and a thick bill. Adult male birds are grayish with yellow chests and faces, while female birds are a bit duller and lack the black throat that can be seen on the body of the male bird. 

You can find the Dickcissel perching on the stalks and branches of the trees found in Inwood Hill Park. It also hops and forages for seeds on the ground. 

This bird feeds on seeds and insects during the breeding season, including grasshoppers, termites, flies, and caterpillars. Male birds can shell seeds faster than female birds. 

Other Birds To Watch For in New York

Osprey

Osprey

  • Scientific Name: Pandion Haliaetus
  • Length: Between 19.5 and 26 inches
  • Weight: Between 2 and 4 pounds and 10 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 50 and 71 inches

The Osprey is a unique raptor in the US, known for diving underwater to catch live fish. It can be found in New York State along the Adirondack Mountains and on Long Island, hunting along the coastline and above rivers and lakes.

The bird has brown upperparts and white underparts. The wings look almost white from below, with a dark patch around the wrists. Ospreys usually hover over shallow water before diving feet first to grab their prey. It’s well worth an extended bird watching outing to spot one of these birds in action. 

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

  • Scientific Name: Passerina Ciris
  • Length: Between 4.7 and 5.5 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.46 and 0.67 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 8.3 and 9.1 inches

The Painted Bunting is usually found in the southeastern parts of New York. The female and immature birds are green, while the male birds are brightly colored, showing a vivid fusion of red, green, blue, and yellow. 

During the migration season, the Painted Bunting usually forages in the dense cover and forms flocks with other seed-feeding songbirds. 

The Painted Bunting eats insects like grasshoppers, spiders, snails, wasps, and flies during the breeding season. It’s known to dive into spiderwebs to catch tangled invertebrates. 

American Purple Gallinule

American Purple Gallinule

  • Scientific Name: Porphyrio Martinicus
  • Length: Between 10 and 15 inches
  • Weight: Between 5 and 10.8 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 20 and 24 inches

The American Purple Gallinule breeds around the freshwater wetlands and marshes of New York. It has greenish wings and back with a bright purple head. It uses its long yellow legs to walk among aquatic vegetation. 

If you have a small pond in your backyard, you might be able to attract this bird. It eats more plants than animals and usually feeds on the seeds of aquatic plants and weeds. It also feeds on beetles, bees, worms, and snails. It might even feed on small fish, as well as the eggs and nestlings of other birds. 

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific Name: Archilochus Colubris
  • Length: Between 2.8 and 3.5 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.071 and 0.212 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 3.1 and 4.3 inches

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird has an emerald green body with white or gray underpants. The male bird has an iridescent red throat that looks dark in low light conditions. Female birds are bluish-green. 

Bird watchers can usually find the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in New York in April and May. You can attract this hummingbird to your backyard by planting tubular flowers. You can also set up up a hummingbird feeder and fill it with your homemade nectar. 

This bird also feeds on insects like gnats, mosquitos, fruit flies, and small bees. While it’s hovering, the bird’s wings can beat up to 80 times per minute. 

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

  • Scientific Name: Baeolophus Bicolor
  • Length: Between 5.5 and 6.3 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.6 and 0.9 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 7.9 and 10.2 inches

This gray bird is an all-year resident at Prospect Park. It has a silvery gray plumage with a black patch above the bill, white breast, and a long gray tail. The Tufted Titmouse has big black eyes and an echoing song that makes it easy to notice. 

In the summer, the Tufted Titmouse feeds on insects like treehoppers, beetles, ants, as well as snails. It also feeds on nuts and berries. 

This bird accepts nest boxes, so you can attract a pair to your backyard by setting up a nest box before the breeding season. It also feeds at bird feeders if you fill them with suet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. It usually travels with other birds. 

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

  • Scientific Name: Buteo Jamaicensis
  • Length: Between 17.7 and 25.6 inches
  • Weight: Between 24.3 and 51.5 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 44.9 and 52.4 inches  

The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the most spotted raptors in New York, soaring over Fifth Avenue or hunting in Washington Square Park. 

It’s a brown bird with a paler plumage towards the bottom parts. The tail is very noticeable, showing pale yellow and cinnamon feathers. 

The Red-tailed Hawk hunts in the morning and keeps its eye on the prey until it’s time to catch it. It feeds on small mammals and rodents like mice and moles. It also feeds on blackbirds and starlings. Luckily, it rarely attacks cats or dogs in backyards. 

Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee

  • Scientific Name: Poecile Atricapillus
  • Length: Between 4.7 and 5.9 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.32 and 0.49 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 6.3 and 8.3 inches

The Black-Capped Chickadee can be found in open deciduous forests and cottonwood groves in New York. It’s one of the most adaptable birds and can be easily seen in parks, backyards, and around people. 

The Chickadee is a tiny bird with a big head, and the bib and cap are jet black. The rest of the body is soft gray, while the cheeks are white. 

This acrobatic bird is known for its flying style and will usually grab a seed from the bird feeder to eat it elsewhere. It associates with other songbirds and gets attracted to birders who make pishing sounds

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

  • Scientific Name: Bubo Virginianus
  • Length: Between 17 and 25 inches 
  • Weight: Between 32 and 88 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 3 feet and 5 feet

The Great Horned Owl is usually found where the Red-tailed Hawk lives; Prospect Park and Alley Pond Park in Queens. 

The Great Horned Owl has a mottled grayish-brown body and a reddish face. It doesn’t have horns, but the ear tufts make it look more fearful. For a birder, the ear tufts allow you to identify it quickly. 

The Great Horned Owl is known to target prey bigger than the owl itself. It usually crushes the game or stabs it. It feeds on mammals, birds, rodents, and fish. 

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

  • Scientific Name: Agelaius Phoeniceus
  • Length: Between 6.7 and 9.1 inches
  • Weight: Between 1.1 and 2.7 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 12.2 and 15.8 inches

The Red-Winged Blackbird is easy to find in New York as it breeds in Floyd Bennett Field, Prospect Park, and Marine Park, in addition to the marshy areas in Brooklyn. 

The male birds have shiny black bodies with yellow and red shoulder patches, while the female birds have brownish-streaked bodies. It usually engages in fights to defend its territory. A single male bird can have up to 15 female mates. 

The male birds usually show or hide their colorful patches based on how confident they feel. It feeds on insects and seeds in the summer, and you can attract these birds to your backyard by spreading seeds on the ground.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

  • Scientific Name: Zenaida Macroura
  • Length: About 12 inches
  • Weight: Between 4 and 6 ounces
  • Wingspan: About 17.7 inches

The Mourning Dove is easy to spot all year long in New York, as its range extends from the Adirondack Mountains to the tip of Montauk Point. It usually perches on telephone lines and forages on the ground in overgrown fields for seeds. 

This bird has a pale brownish-buffy tan plumage with black spots to provide the best camouflage. You can attract this bird to your backyard by spreading millet on the ground or filling your platform feeder with seeds. 

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

  • Scientific Name: Dryobates Pubescens
  • Length: Between 5.5 and 7.1 inches
  • Weight: Between 0.71 and 1.16 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 9.8 and 12.2 inches

Bird watchers can find the Downy Woodpecker all year round in the urban parks, forest edges, and open woodlands of New York. 

It’s one of the smallest woodpeckers and has a black body with a white belly and white spots on the wings. it has a black tail with white outer tail feathers. Male birds have a red patch that grows on top of their checkered heads. They use their stiff tail to balance while clinging to trees.

This bird excavates for beetle larvae. It also feeds on caterpillars, ants, and other pests. It sometimes eats vegetables, acorns, grains, and wild berries. You can attract this bird to your backyard if you have a suet feeder. 

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush

  • Scientific Name: Hylocichla Mustelina
  • Length: Between 7.1 and 8.5 inches
  • Weight: Between 1.7 and 2.5 ounces
  • Wingspan: Between 12 and 16 inches

The Wood Thrush has warm reddish-brown upperparts with spotted white underpants. This bird hops on the ground looking for insects and produces a distinctive call like a machine gun. The Wood Thrush is usually easier to hear than see.

This bird feeds on invertebrates and bugs that live in the leaf litter. It also feeds on fruits like pokeweed, elderberry, and blueberry. The Wood Thrush rarely comes to bird feeders, but you can find it if you choose to visit the mature deciduous woods.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking for the perfect birding spot in New York, you might want to start with Central Park because it’s home to more than 200 bird species. 

Nevertheless, there are many other types of birds you can find in the state’s parks and mature forests, so grab your birdwatching gear, and you will see these fantastic creatures. 

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