Whether you’re a resident of the Great State of Texas or you’re simply visiting the area on a bird-watching expedition, there are some beautiful birds to be seen all over the State.
But, if you’ve spotted a red-feathered bird flitting around that you’ve never seen before, you’ll need some help identifying it.
That’s what you’ll find here. Below, we’ll take a look at some red birds you can find in Texas.
We’ll talk about their identifying features, natural habitat, feeding habits, and also how you can attract some of these brightly-colored beauties into your own backyard.
Although not very common in Texas, the Cassin’s Finch is one of the few birds spotted in the State during the winter.
Most easily identified by their red crown, Cassin’s Finches also have a red bread, white underparts, and brown upperparts with markings that aren’t dissimilar to a Sparrow.
Size-wise, this red bird measures around 6-inches in length and has an average wingspan of 10-inches.
Quite secretive birds, you’re most likely to spot a Cassin’s Finch in their preferred habitat of mountainous forests.
Here, they peck around for seeds and use their specially-evolved beaks to get into the small crevices of pinecones.
Come winter when food starts to become a little scarcer, you can encourage the Cassin’s Finch into your garden by filling your bird feeders with seeds.
They are particularly fond of nyjer seed and, if you have any fruiting bushes, you’ll also stand a good chance of seeing this colorful little bird in your garden.
Like many birds, the coloring of the Hepatic Tanager differs between sexes.
Males are mostly bright red aside from a light brown patch on either cheek, and brown-gray upperparts.
Female Hepatic Tanagers have the same light brown and gray markings, but are bright yellow instead of red.
Another bird that is pretty rare in Texas, the Hepatic Tanager is most abundant in the West of the State during the summer months.
Most sightings are reported in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, so if you want to cross this bird off your bird watching list you may have to go for a hike!
Come winter, the Hepatic Tanager migrates south and sets up home in Central America, South American, and Texas. Whatever the season, this bird always sticks to the same habitat; mountain ranges rich with pine or oak woodlands.
The Hepatic Tanager feeds almost exclusively on insects during the summer, although they will also happily peck away at seeds, berries, and fruits.
This incredibly colored bird is one of Texas’ most common sightings. The Painted Bunting is brightly colored with a patchwork of red underparts, yellow wings, blue tail, and bright blue head.
The female is a little duller in color and, instead of red underparts, sports bright yellow plumage.
The Painted Bunting is most abundant during the spring and summer as it busies itself with nest making and insect hunting.
As soon as fall rolls round, this red bird heads further south towards Florida, Central America, and some Caribbean Islands.
However, some may remain in Texas all year round if the temperatures aren’t too cold.
You’re most likely to spot a Painted Bunting in semi-open woodlands where they can hunt for insects and also find plenty of seeds to feed on.
You can also attract this super colorful bird to your garden by ensuring your feeders are well stocked with sunflower seeds or white millet.
Another of Texas’ most common red birds, the Northern Cardinal is really easy to identify.
It has a bright red breast, head, and crest, a slightly-duller red tail, and wings.
It also has a bright red beak that stands out against its black face mask.
As well as being famous for their red coloring, the Northern Cardinal is famous for being incredibly territorial.
They can be found in multiple habitats all year-round including woodlands, parks, and backyards.
If they feel their territory is threatened by another bird, they’ll launch an immediate attack. They’re so territorial that there have even been reports of Northern Cardinals attacking their own reflections!
If you’d like to attract this red bird into your garden, place peanut hearts and sunflower seeds on your bird table and your feeders.
These offerings are almost guaranteed to draw them in.
The Vermillion Flycatcher is one of Texas’ non-migratory species, meaning that it can be spotted all year round. It’s quite easy to identify as well, thanks to its bright red breast, underparts, and head.
It also has a brown tail, brown wings, and a brown neck that loops into an eye mask. The female Vermilion Flycatcher is duller in color and is mostly brown and gray, aside from a light red belly.
As you may have guessed from their name, the Vermillion Flycatcher is an insectivorous bird. It has also chosen its habitat in line with its diet, living in desert landscapes where insects are plentiful.
Here, they perch on exposed branches pecking at insects and also hunt on the wing, snatching bugs straight out of the air.
Most commonly spotted in Southern Texas, particularly in Big Bend National Park, the Flame-Colored Tanager is one of the State’s fair-weather visitors.
It comes to Texas between March and August for the breeding season and, as soon as temperatures start to drop, it takes to the skies and heads South to Central America and Texas.
The Flame-Colored Tanager can be identified by its orange-red underparts, breast, and head.
Its upperparts and wings are dark brown and marked with white. They also measure around 7-inches in length and weigh about 1.5 ounces.
Their usual habitat is woodland where they find plenty of insects and berries to feed on.
The Pyrrhuloxia is another of Texas’ most common birds and they can be found in the State all year round, particularly in the South.
The male’s bright red face, chest, and underparts can be identified. The rest of its body is covered with light gray feathers.
Female Pyrrhuloxias have the same markings, but are much duller in color.
Much like the Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia are incredibly territorial. This behavior really only manifests during the breeding season, though.
During winter, huge flocks of Pyrrhuloxia gather together for safety – sometimes as many as 1000 birds strong.
It’s quite easy to attract the Pyrrhuloxia to your backyard with an offering of seeds, as this is what their diet mainly consists of.
They do also eat insects, but sunflower seeds in particular, seem to be their favorite meal.
While Red Crossbills are rare across the entire State, it’s not uncommon to spot one in the West of Texas.
Identifiable by their bright red underparts, breast, and head, the Red Crossbill also sports a black beak that crosses over at the end. This is where their name “Crossbill” comes from.
This beak may look a little strange, but it’s been specially evolved to break open pinecones and get to the seeds in the center.
This specific feeding habit means that you’re most likely to spot a Red Crossbill in coniferous forests, but you may see one in your garden if you have plenty of conifer trees.
Unlike many of Texas’ visiting birds, the Purple Finch comes to the State during fall and winter.
They usually start arriving around October and won’t leave until March or April, whereupon they will head to the Pacific Coast to breed.
Their purple head and breast make them quite easy to mistake for the House Finch, however, they sport more brown coloring on the back and wings.
There is a difference in size between the two as well, with the Purple Finch measuring around 5-inches in length and with an average wingspan of 9-inches.
You’re most likely to spot a Purple Finch in their preferred habitat of evergreen forests, where they forage for seeds and berries.
You can entice them into your garden quite easily though, especially when the weather is cold, by filling your feeders with black sunflower seeds.
The Summer Tanager is a spring and summer visitor to Texas, breeding and feeding in the State before heading South to Central and South America for fall and winter.
Their bright coloring makes them quite easy to identify, with bright red all over their body with the exception of some black streaks on their wings.
The female Summer Tanager isn’t red at all, however, and sports bright yellow plumage instead.
This colorful songbird can be spotted living in open woodlands where there are plenty of bees and wasps for them to feed on.
They also have a very clever feeding technique, holding the insect in their bill and beating them against a branch until their stinger has been rubbed off.
Much like its pure-red cousin, the White-Winged Crossbill is one of Texas’ rarer red birds.
In fact, there have only been a couple of sightings in the last 10 years in the Houston and San Antonio areas, and even then, they were thought to be “accidental visitors”.
Nevertheless, they are a red bird that you might find in Texas if you look hard enough!
You’re most likely to spot one in a spruce forest where it can use its namesake crossbill to prise open pinecones and get to the seeds within.
They’re quite easily identified as well, with red breasts and head, black and white wings, and, of course, that famous bill that crosses over at the tip.
Year-round Texas residents, the House Finch is a pretty common bird in the State.
It can be identified by its red breast and head, along with the brown and white-streaked feathers that cover the rest of its body.
There is a lot of difference between males and females, although the female House Finch has a duller red coloring.
The House Finch isn’t particularly fussy when it comes to setting up home, and is happy to live in forests, farms, parks, and backyards.
They also live in large groups, meaning that you’re more likely to hear a group of them before you spot one!
Since they are so happy in different locations, it’s quite easy to attract them into your backyard.
You stand a better chance of doing so by providing sunflower or nyjer seeds for them to feed on, particularly during the winter when they need as much food as possible.
Most abundant in the East of Texas, the Scarlet Tanager is one of the easiest birds on our list to identify.
The male is covered with bright red feathers, with the only exception being the wings and tail which are jet black. The female, despite the name, isn’t red at all. Instead, she is covered with yellow feathers.
Winter visitors that arrive from the middle of August, the Scarlet Tanager sets up home high in the forest canopy.
This can make them a little harder to spot but, with a pair of powerful binoculars, you shouldn’t have too much issue spotting their bright red plumage.
The majority of their diet is made up of fruits and berries and, while they don’t tend to stray too far from their forest home, it is possible to entice the Scarlet Tanger into your garden.
All you need to do is make sure you’ve got plenty of fruit bushes.
Although considered fairly rare in Texas, the Common Redpoll has been spotted year after year in the North of the State.
They are also resident to North Texas, and can be identified by their red breasts and forehead along with brown and white feathers that cover the rest of their bodies.
Despite its small size of 5-inches, the Common Redpoll is a hungry little bird!
During winter, it can eat up to 42% of its body mass each day, and it has a specially evolved pouch in its esophagus that is designed to hold up to 2 grams of seeds.
They’re also very clever and, during the winter, they’ll often tunnel down into the snow to keep themselves warm overnight.
There you have it – a list of red birds you can spot flying around in Texas.
Some are much easier to spot than others, and you may even see one swinging from your garden bird feeders.
Others, on the other hand, you’ll have to take a special trip to see. One thing’s for certain, though; these are some of the most beautiful birds you’ll ever see.