21 Popular Birds With Red Eyes (With Photos)

Birds With Red Eyes

We’ve heard of many animals and birds whose eyes change their natural at night and turn red or yellow. It is common for birds to suffer from red-eye infections as well. But how many of you know of birds who have eyes that are permanently red in color? It might come as a surprise, but there are many birds who have naturally red eyes. In this article, we will take a look at 21 birds who have red eyes.



Grebes are a family of diving birds living in freshwater that has 22 extant species. Out of all these species, the following 5 have red eyes.


1. Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe at Woolston Eyes NR | Duck decoys, Birds, Animals

Scientific name – Podiceps cristatus
Length – 46-51 centimeters (18-20 inches)
Weight – 0.9-1.5 kilograms
Wingspan – 59-73 centimeters (23-29 inches)
Lifespan – 10-15 years
Diet – Carnivore, Piscivore, Insectivore

The Great Crested Grebes are grebes that are distinguishable because of the black crest atop their head and around their necks.

They are found across Asia, Europe, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, New Zealand, Australia, and parts of eastern and southern Africa.

They have a white face and body, with dark brown wings and plumage, and slightly pink bills. Known for being excellent divers, they catch their prey underwater.


2. Horned Grebe

Identification of Horned Grebe

Scientific name – Podiceps auratus
Length – 31-38 centimeters
Weight – about 300-570 grams
Wingspan – 55-74 centimeters
Lifespan – 10 years
Diet – Carnivore, Piscivore

The Horned Grebes are also known by the name of “Slavonian Grebe”. They have two sub-species: the Eurasian subspecies with a breeding range extending from western China to Greenland, and the North American subspecies breeding across Canada and the United States.

They have a black-and-white basic plumage that turns red-and-black during the breeding season. These grebes are often confused with the Black-Necked Grebes.


3. Clark’s Grebe

Clark's Grebe Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name – Aechmophorus clarkii
Length – 55-75 centimeters (21.7-29.5 inches)
Weight – about 718 grams to 1.6 kilograms
Wingspan – 81-82 centimeters (31.9-32.3 inches)
Lifespan – 10-12 years
Diet – Carnivore, Piscivore, Insectivore

Up to 1985, Clark’s Grebes were considered to be the same as the Western Grebes, keeping in mind all the similarities the two have. These migratory aquatic birds are found in Nevada, California, Arizona, and in central Mexico.

During winter, they migrate to the Pacific Coast. These birds have yellow bills that are slightly upturned, a long neck, and whitish bodies. Their plumage is dark-grey in color. The males have a slight crest on their heads, which distinguishes them from the females.


4. Western Grebe

Western Grebe Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name – Aechmophorus occidentalis
Length – 55-75 centimeters (21.7-29.5 inches)
Weight – about 718 grams to 1.6 kilograms
Wingspan – 81-82 centimeters (31.9-32.3 inches)
Lifespan – 10 years
Diet – Carnivore, Piscivore, Insectivore

The Western Grebes are also known by folk names such as “Swan Grebes” or “dabchick”. In size, weight, and wingspan, these birds are similar to Clark’s Grebes.

However, their bills distinguish them from the latter; Western Grebes have greenish-yellow bills in place of the bright yellow bills of Clark’s Grebes.


5. Black-Necked Grebe

Black-necked grebe - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Podiceps nigricollis
Length – 28-34 centimeters (11-13 inches)
Weight – about 260-450 kilograms
Wingspan – 57-59 centimeters
Lifespan – 7 years
Diet – Carnivore, Piscivore

The Black-necked Grebes or Eared Grebes were discovered by the German ornithologist, Christian Ludwig Brehm in 1831. These birds are somewhat similar to the Horned Grebes in appearance, with the exception of their steeper forehead.

They have a unique ochre-colored breeding plumage which extends over their ears. During the non-breeding season, their plumage and flanks turn greyish-white. Their red eyes remain the same throughout the year. 


Other red-eyed birds

6. American Coot

American Coot | Audubon Field Guide

Scientific name – Fulica americana
Length – 39-42 centimeters (15-16 inches)
Weight – about 600-700 grams
Wingspan – 58-63 centimeters (23-25 inches)
Lifespan – 15-20 years
Diet – Omnivore

The American Coots are distant relatives of ducks, belonging to the family of rails. While they might look similar to ducks at first glance, there are several differences between the two.

They have scaled, toed legs that help them to walk on dry land, unlike the webbed feet of ducks. They have short, thick, white-colored bills with a dark body that has a bluish hue all over.

These migratory birds are found all over North America, and are also called “pouldeau” or “mud hen”.


7. Rosy-Billed Pochard

Rosy-billed Pochard Page

Scientific name – Netta peposaca
Length – 56 centimeters (22 inches)
Weight – 1-1.2 kilograms
Lifespan – 5-15 years
Diet – Herbivore

The Rosy-Billed Pochards are diving ducks who are also known as “Rosybill”. These birds are native to South America, and is found in southern Brazil, Uruguay, central Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay.

During the winter season, they migrate to southern Bolivia. They have rosy-red bills, with black spots at the edge. Their body is overall black with their wings streaked with white.


8. Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee | Audubon Field Guide

Scientific name – Pipilo maculatus
Length – 17-21 centimeters (18-20 inches)
Weight – about 33 to 48 grams
Wingspan – 10.5 inches
Lifespan – 11 years
Diet – Insectivore

The Spotted Towhees are passerine birds belonging to the family New World Sparrow. They have an archaic name of “Oregon towhee”. These birds inhabit dry upland trees and breeds all over north-western North America.

They’re also found in wetland and riparian forests, found in Oregon, Utah, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and southern British Columbia.

They’re roughly the size of a robin and have a fan-shaped tail. Their head and neck are black, with white underparts, brown sides, and black wings with white streaks. 


9. Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk | Audubon Field Guide

Scientific name – Accipiter cooperii
Length – 35-46 centimeters (14-18 inches)
Weight – about 330-680 grams
Wingspan – 62-90 centimeters (24-35 inches)
Lifespan – 12 years
Diet – Carnivore

The Cooper’s Hawks are birds of prey native to North America belonging to the family of True Hawks. These birds are relatively smaller hawks and prefer to live in densely wooded areas across southern Canada and Mexico.

Their species was named by the French ornithologist and zoologist, Charles Lucien Bonaparte in honor of William Cooper, his friend, and ornithologist.


10. Killdeer

Killdeer Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name – Charadrius vociferus
Length – 20-28 centimeters (7.9-11 inches)
Weight – about 71 to 121 grams
Wingspan – 59-63 centimeters (23-25 inches)
Lifespan – 10 years
Diet – Insectivore

Killdeers are large plovers found all over the Americas discovered by the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus in 1758. These birds are the largest members of the ringed-plovers.

Their heads have patches of black and white, with brown upperparts with reddish fringes. Their bellies and underparts are white. They breed in open fields and otherwise live in coastal wetlands and beaches.


11. Red-Eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name– Viero olivaceus
Length – 13-14 centimeters (5.1-5.5 inches)
Weight – about 14 to 15 grams
Lifespan – up to 10 years
Diet – Omnivore

The Red-Eyed Vireos are small American songbirds who look similar to Warblers in appearance but are not closely related to them.

On their head is a grey crown tinged with black, with their olive-green upperparts and white underparts. They have small eyes with bloodred irises. These birds inhabit the deciduous forests of America.


12. Wood Duck

Wood duck - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Aix sponsa
Length – 47-54 centimeters (19-21 inches)
Weight – about 680 grams
Wingspan – 66-73 centimeters (26-29 inches)
Lifespan – 15 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

Also known as Carolina Ducks, the Wood Ducks are the most colorful waterfowl in North America. These medium-sized perching ducks have red eyes and multi-colored plumage.

The plumage of the males is brighter than those of their female counterparts. Both sexes have crested heads, but only the females have a whitish throat and white eye-ring.


13. Cinnamon Teal

Identification of Cinnamon Teal | Duck identification, Bird identification, Dabbling duck

Scientific name – Anas Cyanoptera
Length – 36-43 centimeters (14.2-26.9 inches)
Weight – about 280-500 grams
Wingspan – 22 inches
Lifespan – 10 years
Diet – Omnivore

The Cinnamon Teals are small dabbling ducks found most often in South and North America. They live in ponds, lakes, wetlands, and marshes, and prefer to eat plants.

However, if there is a shortage of food, they can also eat insects and other small animals. They have red eyes, black bills, and cinnamon-colored body. Their upperparts are a darker shade of brown. The females have a mottled body and grey bills.


14. Black Rail

Black Rail - St. Johns - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Scientific name – Laterallus jamaicensis
Length – 10-15 centimeters
Weight – about 29-39 grams
Wingspan – 22-28 centimeters
Lifespan – 2.4 years
Diet – Omnivore

The Black Rails are small, mouse-sized members of the family of rails. Their population is scattered around the Caribbean, the Pacific region of South America, and North America (Florida and California). They have a small, black body, with a short bill and legs. Their bodies are speckled all over.


15. White-Winged Dove

White-winged Dove Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name – Zenaida asiatica
Length – 29 centimeters (11 inches)
Weight – about 150 grams
Wingspan – 19 inches
Lifespan – 21 years
Diet – Omnivore, Insectivore

The White-winged Doves are plump birds with small heads and long, thin beaks. This species evolved in South America but is found all over America today.

You can find them all over Central America, south-western United States, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. From a fair distance, they might appear to be grey, but on a closer look, they have a light-brown body with the underparts in a lighter shade.


16. Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee - eBird

Scientific name – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Length – 17-23 centimeters
Weight – about 32 to 53 grams
Wingspan – 20-30 centimeters
Lifespan – 12 years
Diet – Omnivore

The Eastern Towhees belong to the family of the New World Sparrow. Their species were first discovered by Carl Linnaeus in 1785. Praised for their striking appearance, they have a blackhead, back, and tail, rufous sides, and white belly. They are commonly found in eastern North America.


17. Common Loon

Common Loon | Audubon Field Guide

Scientific name – Gavia Immer
Length – 66-91 centimeters (26-36 inches)
Weight – 2.2-7 kilograms
Wingspan – 136 centimeters (54 inches)
Lifespan – 9-15 years
Diet – Carnivore, Piscivore

Also known as the “Great Northern Diver”, the Common Loons are a large member of the diver family of birds. They are found all over America and are placed under the Least Concern List by the IUCN.

They have an overall brownish color with a dark neck and head marked with dark grey. However, in the breeding season, they acquire a blueish, greenish, or blackish sheen all over their upperparts.


18. Canvasback

Canvasback | Audubon Field Guide

Scientific name – Aythya valisineria
Length – 48-56 centimeters
Weight – about 800 grams to 1.6 kilograms
Wingspan – 79-89 centimeters (31-35 inches)
Lifespan – 16 years
Diet – Omnivore

Among all the diving ducks found in North America, the Canvasbacks are by far the largest. They were first discovered by Alexander Wilson, a Scottish-American naturalist in 1814.

They are as big in size as a Mallard, but have a more compact body. The males have a chestnut-red head, grey back, black rump and breast, and a brownish tail.

The females, on the other hand, have a dark brown head and neck, with their body acquiring a lighter shade of brown. Both sexes have black beaks.


19. White-Tailed Kite

Scientific name – Elanus leucurus
Length – 35-43 centimeters (14-17 inches)
Weight – about 250-380 grams
Wingspan – 88-102 centimeters (35-40 inches)
Lifespan – 6 years
Diet – Carnivore

The White-tailed Kites are small birds of prey found across North and South America. These birds were first discovered by Loius Jean Pierre Vieillot, a French ornithologist in 1818.

Judging by their color, you can easily find them to be similar to the gulls. But when you take their body shape and flight into consideration, you will find them closely resembling falcons.

They have white underparts and grey upperparts and wings. Their irises are red in color with a dark greyish rim around it, and a small, curved grey beak.


20. Red-Breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name – Mergus serrator
Length – 51-62 centimeters (20-24 inches)
Weight – about 800 grams to 1.3 kilograms
Wingspan – 70-86 centimeters (28-34 inches)
Lifespan – 1-8 years
Diet – Carnivore

The Red-breasted Mersangers are diving ducks belonging to the family of the sawbills. Their species was first discovered by the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus.

They have a distinguished spiky crest on their heads. The males have a green sheen all over their back and wings. The females, on the other hand, have a dull grey body.

They live in lakes and rivers during the nesting season and migrate to the coastal waters, bays, and estuaries during winters.


21. Asian Koel

Asian Koel - eBird

Scientific name – Eudynamys scolopaceus
Length – 39-46 centimeters (15-18 inches)
Weight – about 190-327 grams
Lifespan – 12-15 years
Diet – Omnivore

Belonging to the cuckoo family, the Asian Koel is found across China, India, and Southeast Asia. These birds are close relatives of the Pacific Koels and Black-billed Koels and are brood parasites like them.

However, the one thing that sets them apart from the rest of the cuckoo species is their frugivore nature. They have red eyes, a long tail, and beaks curved at the edges.

While the males have an entirely jet-black body, the females are brown with rufous streaks all over their bodies and wings.


To sum it up

Red eyes, whether on animals or birds, look far more remarkable than any other color. The next time you encounter a red-eyed bird, you will have no trouble in identifying it.