Avian species exist in a variety of colors, some dull and neutral, others bold and flashy. It is their plumage color and pattern that many people use to identify different species. Birds themselves also identify conspecifics using plumage, as well as distinguishing different sexes.
Among the plethora of bird species that exist, many of them are adorned with bright red chests. This list highlights 24 different birds that have red chests.
- List of Birds with Red Chests
- List of Birds with a Red Chest and Head
- List of Black Birds with Red Chests
List of Birds with Red Chests
Some species, such as the northern cardinal and hepatic tanager boast plumage that is entirely red. Others, such as the painted redstart and scarlet robin display a red breast that stands out from the rest of their feathers.
It’s not just feathers that can be red, but also the gular pouch as seen in the frigate bird. This species inflates its pouch, emphasizing its red coloration.
Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius
The American robin is so-called due to their distinctive red breast, present in both males and females. During the breeding season, males flaunt their red breasts in order to settle disputes over territories. The rest of their feathers are a brown-grey color, except the detail which is white.
They average around 10 inches long. Their diet consists of fruit and berries alongside small invertebrates, for which they forage on the ground. They build cup-shaped nests in various habitats including woodland, farmland, and urban areas. They are distributed throughout North and Central America, from Canada to Northern Mexico.
Scientific Name: Pheucticus ludovicianus
Male rose-breasted grosbeak’s upper feathers are black and under feathers are white, which is contrasted by their vibrant red chest. Females on the other hand have a dark brown back and a lighter brown chest, lacking the red. Both sexes have a chunky bill, ideal for eating seeds and nuts.
The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak can often be seen visiting bird feeders. These birds are foliage gleaners, plucking insects from the forest grounds where they live. They build flimsy nests in trees. Rose-breasted grosbeaks range from North to South America.
Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Male northern cardinals boast bright red plumage and a red bill. They have a mask of black feathers over their face. On the other hand, females have grey-brown feathers but still possess a red bill. Males have a red crest on top of their heads that is raised when they are agitated and lowered during rest.
These birds live in open woodland habitats and feast mainly on seeds, grains, and fruits. They forage on the ground using their cone-shaped beak. Northern cardinals build cup-shaped nests that are hidden away in the shrubbery. They are distributed in the eastern parts of North America.
Scientific Name: Cardinalis sinuatus
Both male and female pyrrhuloxia have grey plumage and a stubby, cone-shaped, yellow bill. Females have red feathers on their crests, wing tips, and tail tips. Males have an additional red mask and belly.
These songbirds feed primarily on seeds but will also consume insects, which they forage for amongst the foliage. Females construct cup-shaped nests in dense shrubbery. Pyrrhuloxia lives in desert regions, inhabiting cactus gardens, dry grasslands, and scrub. They are a non-migratory species and are residents in North America.
Scientific Name: Euptilotis neoxenus
The eared quetzal, also known as the eared trogon, is a passerine bird and is around 13 to 14 inches in length. Both sexes have iridescent green feathers on their back and tail feathers that are dark blue and glossy.
The undertail feathers are white. Females have grey heads and breasts whilst males have black heads and bright red underbelly. They use their grey bill to pluck fruit and insect prey from foliage whilst hovering.
These birds nest in tree cavities, often recycling old holes from previous birds. They live high up in forests of pine, oak, and conifers along the Northwest of Mexico.
Scientific Name: Trogon elegans
Elegant trogons were previously known as coppery-tailed trogons. Female elegant trogons have mainly gray-brown plumage with a white upper belly and white stripe next to the eye. They also have a red underbelly. Males on the other hand boast a metallic, deep green head and back.
They have a white stripe along the upper chest followed by a bright red breast and belly. Males puff out their red breasts to look threatening to other males. These birds are omnivores and feast on both insect and plant matter.
Elegant Trogons are flycatchers, meaning they peck at insects whilst in flight. They nest in woodlands and forests, using holes excavated by previous avian owners. They range from Guatemala to New Mexico.
Scientific Name: Passerina ciris
Male and female passerine crises show great sexual dimorphism. Females’ plumage is entirely yellow-green and they have a pale gray bill. Males, on the other hand, boast a multitude of colors.
Painted Bunting has a bright blue head, green-yellow back, gray-blue tail, and a bold red rump, chest, and belly. Their diet is made up mainly of seeds although they will also feast on insects. They forage along the ground in semi-open habitats that are scattered with vegetation. These birds are native to North America.
Scientific Name: Fregata magnificens
Frigate birds are very large seabirds, reaching up to 50 inches in length. They have a deeply forked tail, long, angular wings, and a narrow, hooked bill. Their plumage is mostly black, but females have white patches on their heads, chest, and belly.
Males boast a bright red chest and gular pouch, which they inflate during the mating season to attract females. Their diet is primarily fish although they will consume any aquatic organisms they can grab as they skim over the surface of the water. They are distributed along the warm coasts of the tropics.
Scientific Name: Piranga rubra
Male and female summer tanagers display great color variation in their plumage. Females are primarily yellow-green in color, whereas males boast a bright red plumage. They feast on fruits and invertebrates, although favor bees and wasps, which they glean from the surrounding foliage. These birds reside in open woodland habitats and migrate from North America to South America.
List of Birds with a Red Chest and Head
Scientific Name: Myzomela sanguinolenta
The scarlet myzomela is also called the scarlet honeyeater and is a sexually dimorphic species. Females have brown-gray plumage whilst males have a black back, white underparts, and vibrant red breasts.
These species are arboreal foragers, feeding on flowering trees. They use their long bill to probe into flowers and obtain nectar. They will also consume insects. These birds range along the east coast of Australia.
Scientific Name: Pyrocephalus obscurus
Vermilion flycatchers vary in coloration between both sexes. Females’ upper parts are brown and they have white breasts with a red-orange underbelly. On the other hand, males have dark brown wings, tails, and mask whilst their crown, chest, and belly is bright red in color.
As suggested by their name, these birds forage by perching on branches and waiting for flying insects to catch in midair. They live in open, shrubby habitats ranging from parts of North to South America.
Scientific Name: Sphyrapicus ruber
Red-breasted sapsuckers have a white belly with black bars and a black back with white bars. Their head and upper chest are bright red. They are named sapsuckers due to their forging behavior. They use their beak to drill holes into trees and suck up the sap inside using their brush-tipped tongues. They also consume insects and fruits. These species inhabit dense woodlands along the Western Coast of America.
Scientific Name: Haemorhous cassinii
Females Cassin’s finches have brown upper parts and a white belly dabbled with brown streaks. Alternatively, the male has a virtually unstreaked belly and a bright red crown with a rosy pink face and chest. They are a ground foraging species, consuming mostly seeds but also invertebrates. These birds breed throughout the conifer belts along the Western range of America.
Scientific Name: Carpodacus erythrinus
The common rosefinch is also called the scarlet rosefinch. Females are buff-brown overall but males have a distinct scarlet red, breast, and rump. Both sexes have a shallowly forked tail and a stout, conical bill. These birds feed on small invertebrates, buds, and seeds that they forage for in woodlands located near water sources. The common rosefinch breeds across Northern Asia and Central Europe.
Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Female house finches have an overall buff-brown plumage with a white and brown streaking pattern along the belly. Males on the other hand boast a bright red head and upper chest and back. The red color is derived from their diet of berries and fruit, meaning it can range in intensity.
The House Finch is ground forage but can also often be seen on bird feeders. They build their cup-shaped nests in cavities. House finches frequent both urban and suburban habitats across North America.
Scientific Name: Haemorhous purpureus
Male purple finches are much more visually striking than their female counterparts. Males possess a raspberry red head, breast, and back whilst the rest of their plumage is brown. Conversely, females have brown upperparts and white underparts, coated with dark brown streaks.
These birds forage for seeds, berries, and insects among trees and bushes. They populate coniferous or mixed forests and are frequently seen at feeders in search of sunflower seeds. Their range extends across Canada and Southern America.
Scientific Name: Himatione sanguine
The apapane is a species of honeycreeper. They boast an overall bright crimson plumage adorned with a white abdomen and undertail. They possess a slender black beak that is curved downwards, making it perfectly adapted for their nectar-rich diet. These birds use their tongues to extract nectar from flowers and also glean insects from trees in the canopy. Apapane birds are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and live in the canopies of ʻōhiʻa trees.
Scientific Name: Pinicola enucleator
Pine grosbeaks have a dark grey tail that is long and forked, dark grey wings adorned with white bars, and a stubby bill. Females are green-yellow on their heads and rump and grey down their backs and underparts.
Males have a rosy-red head, chest, and back. These birds hop along branches or the ground, picking at fresh buds and seeds. Pine grosbeaks reside in the boreal forests of North America and Northern Eurasia.
Scientific Name: Piranga flava
This species of songbird is sexually dimorphic. The female hepatic tanager is yellow-green in color whilst the male boasts a bright red plumage. Both sexes are brightest on their crown and throat and have gray flanks and a stout, conical bill. These birds are omnivores, feeding on a mix of insects and fruit which they forage for in the foliage of trees.
Populations that live in South America reside in various habitats, from open woodlands to scrubs. Hepatic tanagers that live in North America favor pine-oak forests in mountainous regions.
List of Black Birds with Red Chests
Scientific Name: Myioborus pictus
This species of warbler boasts a very contrasting plumage. Their upper parts are black and they have white stripes along their wings and tails. Males fan their black and white tails during courtship. Both sexes have vibrant scarlet-red bellies. These birds live in open oak woodlands at heights of 8,200 feet, but they nest on the ground.
A painted Redstart nest is hidden away in crevices or foliage on the woodland floor. They hop along tree branches, startling insects which they then consume. They inhabit the Southwest of America.
Scientific Name: Piranga olivacea
The scarlet tanager is a sexually dimorphic species. Females have yellow-green plumage with darker-toned wings and tails, whilst males have deep red plumage with black wings and tail tips. Their chunky bills are ideal for catching insects to fuel their mainly insectivorous diet, although they will also consume fruits. These birds breed in the deciduous forests of Northeast America.
List of Small Birds with Red Chests
Scientific Name: Petroica boodang
The scarlet robin exhibits contrasting plumages in both sexes. Females have brown plumage and orange-red chests. Males follow this color pattern except are more vibrant, possessing a black plumage and bright red chest. These birds are insectivores, foraging along the ground for prey. They are endemic to Australia, inhabiting eucalyptus woodland.
Scientific Name: Acanthis flammea
Also known as the mealy redpoll, this finch has brown and black striped upper parts, a white belly, and a bright red forehead. Male common redpolls also have a pale red chest. They feed mainly on seeds which they forage for in colonies. Common redpolls inhabit open woodlands, fields, and backyards. Their range extends through Eurasia, North America, Greenland, and Iceland.
Scientific Name: Loxia leucoptere
Also called the two-barred crossbill, males and females are sexually dimorphic. Females have yellow-brown plumage whilst males are mainly red with black wings. Both sexes have two white bars on their wings, hence their name. They feast on seeds found on both the trees and the ground. White-winged crossbills reside in coniferous forests across North America.
You may also like to read Birds With Long Legs