The warm and pleasant weather that is found in the state of Florida throughout the year, is appealing not only to humans but also to the members of the animal and bird kingdom. Birds, of varying shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns, find their home in this state. There are 7 types of red birds that are found in Florida, and we will learn about each one of them in this article.
The Red Crossbills are one of the six medium-sized songbirds belonging to the genus of Crossbills (Loxia), closely related to the Parrot and Scottish Crossbills.
Description: Red Crossbills are sexually dimorphic birds, wherein the males have a brick-red hue spreading all over their bodies with their wings and tail covered in a darker shade. The females, on the other hand, have a much duller body in comparison, that is covered in yellow, brown, or olive-brown, with a paler underside streaked heavily with thin, brown streaks.
The irises of both sexes are black, while their legs are pale grey. The bills of Red Crossbills are their most prominent feature, and are also used to set them apart from other red birds. These bills are crossed at the edge and help them in removing the conifer cone scales to extract the seed within.
Habitat and range: The Red Crossbills are widespread birds that are found in Europe, Asia, as well as in North America. For nesting, the first preference of these birds is the spruce forests. However, a small population of their species has also been witnessed to nest in the forests of pine and douglas-fir.
Additional information: Red Crossbills are highly social birds that socialize not only within their population but also mingle with other Crossbill species. Such gatherings are seen more often outside of their breeding season.
The Scarlet Tanagers are medium-sized songbirds belonging to the family of the cardinals that are endemic to America.
Description: Out of all the four species of “piranga”, the Scarlet Tanagers are by far the smallest birds. They have a pale, stout bill with a smooth texture.
These birds display sexual dimorphism, wherein the body of the breeding males is covered in a rich shade of crimson-red with black wings and tail. The females, on the other hand, have olive upperparts and pale-yellow underparts.
Their wings are darker with olive-yellow undertones. During winters, the males turn yellowish as well, with their wings and tail remaining the same as before.
Habitat and range: Scarlet Tanagers make their nest in the deciduous forests. These birds are mostly found in the western half of North America throughout the year. However, in the winters, they migrate to the foothills of the Andes as well as to Amazonia.
Additional information: The Scarlet Tanagers were initially placed in the family of Tanagers, as their name suggests. However, very recently, these birds, along with all the members of that genus, have been moved into the family of the cardinals (Cardinalidae) due to their similar plumage and vocalization.
The Vermilion Flycatchers are small passerine birds belonging to the family of the Tyrant Flycatchers. These birds are the brightest members of their family and are, thus, easily distinguished from the rest of the Tyrant Flycatchers.
Description: Vermilion Flycatchers are sexually dimorphic birds. The males are the brighter sex, with their body color ranging from orange to vermilion and their plumage covered with dark brown.
On the other hand, the females have dull, peach-colored undersides coupled with pale grey upperparts. They also have a grey crown, with grayish ear coverts, wings, and tail. The juveniles of both sexes take after the females.
Habitat and range: Vermilion Flycatchers have a wide range of habitat and can be found in scattered parts of Central America, southwestern US, north-western and central regions of South America, and Mexico.
While their northern populations are permanent inhabitants, the ones that live in the south travel as far as the Brazilian Amazon in the winters.
Commonly known by the names of “red cardinal” or simply “redbird”, the Northern Cardinals are small-sized songbirds that are widespread in the Americas.
Description: Northern Cardinals are sexually dimorphic birds wherein the males are larger and more brightly-colored than their female counterparts. The body of the males is covered in a rich crimson shade, except for a black mask that extends to their throat. The bright crimson that covers their breast gets darker on their back and wings.
The females, on the other hand, have a dull, tan-yellow body with a greyish-brown tone spreading over their wings and a slight reddish on their crest and tail feathers. The juveniles adopt the coloration of their mothers.
Habitat and range: The Northern Cardinals are found in abundance in the eastern regions of the United States, from Maine and Minnesota to the Texas-Mexico border in the south, in the southern portions of Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick in Canada, all the way to the Cape Breton Island.
Although they have been named “tanager”, the Summer Tanagers, along with the rest of the members of the Tanager family, now belong to the family of the Cardinals.
Description: Summer Tanagers are sexually dimorphic birds wherein the males are brighter in appearance than their female counterparts. The males have a rosy red body, a consequence of their diet.
Due to their color, these birds are often confused with the similar-looking Hepatic Tanagers. However, the latter possesses a darker bill which acts as a distinguishing factor between the two.
The females have olive upperparts and orangish underparts, with their wings and tail being olive-brown in color.
Habitat and range: During the breeding season, the Summer Tanagers prefer to build their nest in oak trees, and inhabit the open wooded areas in the United States. However, in the winters, these migratory birds travel south towards Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.
The Red-headed Woodpeckers are medium-sized woodpeckers that are often confused with their relative, the Red-bellied Woodpeckers, due to both the birds having red-colored heads.
Description: The Red-headed Woodpeckers are brightly-colored birds whose body consists of red, black, and white. Their head and neck are covered with a rich shade of crimson, with black upperparts and white underparts. They have grey bills that are of medium length. Both sexes appear to be alike, forgoing any sexual dimorphism.
Habitat and range: Red-headed Woodpeckers inhabit the open country regions in temperate North America, southern Canada, and the east-central parts of the United States. These birds often tend to catch the flying insects and store all the nuts or berries they can find throughout the day in their nests.
Additional information: The Red-headed Woodpeckers were long considered to be an Endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It was only in 2018 that they were moved to the Least Concern List.
The House Finches are moderate-sized members of the Finch family that are endemic to the western regions of North America. These birds belong to the sub-family of the Cardueline Finches.
Description: House Finches are mostly brown in color and display very little sexual dimorphism. Their wings are shaded in deep grey, ending in a brown, square-tipped tail. Although these birds are streaked all over, the streaking on their underparts is heavier in comparison to their upperparts, most prominently visible on their flanks.
The male House Finches might change their color depending on their diet as well as the seasons. In most cases, they acquire a reddish shade on their head, neck, and shoulder. You can also notice this color seeping into their breast and belly occasionally.
Habitat and range: You can easily notice the House Finches breeding in the urban and suburban areas all across North America. Whereas in southern Canada and Mexico, they inhabit semi-open areas as well. These birds are non-migratory in nature, except for their northern and eastern populations that migrate to the south during winters.
Additional information: The House Finches have an unusual courtship ritual of touching bills with their female partners during the breeding season.
Conclusion: Red Birds in Florida
The 7 species of red-colored birds found in Florida include woodpeckers, tanagers, cardinals, finches, and crossbills. They are mostly small-to-medium in size, with distinct feeding, nest, and migrating habits. The next time you encounter a red-colored bird flying above your backyard, you will know exactly which one it is.