A-z - Animals

8 red-breasted birds

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Birds come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Big or small, long or short, bright or dark, there is a huge variety of birds in all kinds. Some birds have bright blue, green, purple or pink plumage. People usually recognize the most brightly colored birds by their plumage, such as flamingos or scarlet macaws. That said, birds often rely on these colorful feathers to identify each other. Different species have different plumage, which helps birds spot members of the same species. Also, males and females often look different so they can identify each other. Among the many bird species, you can find specific groups of birds that share common characteristics. These red-breasted birds have bright red feathers on their fronts. Can you name some birds with red breasts?

If not, don't worry because we've got you covered. In this article we will introduce 8 different species of red breasted birds. We'll examine where these birds live and some of their common behaviors. We will also explain how to distinguish them from other birds with red breasts. Without further ado, let's explore the world of the red-breasted bird.

#8: Scarlet Robin

red-breasted bird scarlet robin
Male scarlet robins have scarlet feathers on their chests.

© iStock.com/phototrip

The scarlet robin is a small songbird in the Songbird family. Like members of its family, the scarlet robin is restricted to Oceania. Scarlet robins live off the coast of southern Australia and throughout Tasmania. They usually like to nest in eucalyptus forests, but you can also find them in bushland and urban areas. Scarlet robins range in size from 4.7 inches to 5.3 inches and have bulbous heads. For their diet, they mainly subsist on insects and spiders, which they catch on the ground. Scarlet robins are known to be very territorial and will fiercely protect their nest from other birds and other robins. They get their name from the plumage of the males because of the scarlet breasts of these red-breasted birds. As for the rest of their plumage, their heads, backs, and tails are black, while their bellies, foreheads, and underparts are white.

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#7: Rose-Breasted Waxbill

A rose-breasted waxbill sings while sitting on a tree stump.
The rose-breasted waxbill is also known as the cut-throat bird because of the V-shaped red patch on its chest.

©Mark W. Holdren/Shutterstock.com

The rose-breasted waxbill, also known as the cutthroat bird, is a member of the red finch family. In summer, they are found throughout southern Canada and the eastern United States. Meanwhile, they winter in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. You'll usually find rose-breasted waxbills living in open woodland areas such as forests, parks, or gardens. Typically, they are between 7.1 and 8.7 inches long and have a wingspan of 11 to 13 inches. Their diet consists mainly of flying insects, although they also eat seeds and berries. Compared with most songbirds, the rose-breasted wax-billed bird has a fairly long lifespan, with the oldest known specimen living to be 24 years old. Their common name and nickname comes from the V-shaped rose-red path on the male's chest. Males also have black heads, backs, tails, and wings, while their underbelly is white.

#6: Painted Redstart

Redbreasted Bird: Painted Redstart
The red breasts of painted redstarts contrast with their black and white plumage.

© Frode Jacobsen/Shutterstock.com

Sometimes called the painted white-tailed robin, the painted redstart is a member of the New World warbler family. Most painted redstarts live in the mountains of the Central American interior, especially near streams and forested canyons. They are quite large in size compared to most warblers, with an average specimen length between 5.1 and 5.9 inches. When hunting, they hop along tree branches, spreading their wings and tail to fend off insects. Unlike most songbirds, these birds nest on the ground, and both males and females sing frequently, especially during courtship. Even more rarely, both females and males have the same plumage. Their backs, heads, tails and wings are glossy black with white stripes on the wings. At the same time, their abdomens are bright red, which contrasts with the rest of their bodies. The name "painted" really suits these red-breasted birds.

#5: Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion flycatcher perched on a twig
The male vermilion flycatcher has a bright red breast and crown.

© iStock.com/jsdeoliv

The vermilion flycatcher belongs to the family Tyrant Flycatcher and is a typical representative of red-breasted birds. The vermilion flycatcher lives year-round in the southern United States, Mexico, Central and northwestern South America. On average, they are 5.1 to 5.5 inches long, with males having a pointy crown. Like other flycatchers, they prey on insects in mid-air, primarily feeding on flies, grasshoppers, beetles, and bees. They tend to live solitary lives and rarely gather in small groups of a few individuals outside of the breeding season. The other half of their name refers to the bright vermilion plumage worn by the males of the species. Males have red crests, necks, chests, and underparts, while their backs and wings are brownish-gray. Females, on the other hand, lack red plumage and look inconspicuous and difficult to identify.

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#4: Red Breasted Juicer

Red-breasted bird: Red-breasted juicer
The red-breasted sap-sucker is named for its red breast and habit of sucking sap.


The red-breasted sucker belongs to the woodpecker genus Sphyrapicus, which belongs to the woodpecker family Woodpecker family. These red-breasted birds live in the forests of Canada, the United States, and the west coast of Baja California. As the name suggests, sap suckers burrow holes in old trees in order to enjoy the sap inside. After drilling a hole, they use their long, hairy tongues to suck the juice inside. In addition, they eat seeds, berries, and insects that are attracted to the sap holes they dug with their beaks. They also beat their beaks to make sounds, which they use to mark territory and attract mates. As their name suggests, male rubids have red chests and red heads. Meanwhile, the rest of their plumage is black on the back and white on the belly and underparts.

#3: Toxic Heat

Birds That Look Like Cardinals: Pyyrhuloxia
Pyrrhuloxias are red-breasted birds that are often confused with northern cardinals.

©iStock.com/Dee CarpenterPhotography

pyrhuloxia, a member of the cardinalidae family of cardinalidae, is another entry on our list of red-breasted birds. These cardinal-looking birds are often confused with the northern cardinal, hence its nickname, the "desert cardinal." They are found in arid regions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. Their preferred habitats include dense scrub and mesquite. Most pyrhuloxias are about 8.3 inches long, with short, stocky bills and tall crests. Pyrrhuloxias eat seeds and fruit with their powerful beaks, though they also eat a wide variety of insects. In fact, cotton farmers love pyrrhuloxias because they often eat pests that feed on cotton plants, such as weevils. The plumage of the male bird is mostly grayish brown. That is, they have a deep red crest, face, and chest, as well as red stripes on their tails and wings.

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#2: Painted Bunting

Birds With Red Breasts: Painted Bunting
The painted bunting is one of the most colorful songbirds in North America, with a bright red breast.

© iStock.com/passion4nature

Bunting is another red-breasted bird and one of the most colorful songbirds in North America. During the summer, they breed in woodlands and shrublands near water in the eastern and southern United States. In winter, they migrate to the borders of tropical forests in southern Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. Generally, they are 4.7 to 5.5 inches long and have a wingspan between 8.3 and 9.1 inches. When feeding, they hop on the ground and eat seeds and insects such as spiders, snails, grasshoppers and caterpillars. After 1 year of age, males develop brightly colored plumage consisting of a blue head, green back, red breast and lower body. Although usually shy and secretive, male buntings can be very aggressive and may even kill each other in battle. Although the IUCN lists them as a species of least concern, their numbers are declining.

#1: American Robin

American robin perched on a branch
The male American robin is one of the most recognizable red-breasted birds.

© iStock.com/PhotosByMSA

Of all the birds with red breasts, the American robin is arguably the most recognizable. It is a member of the thrush family Turdidae and is one of the most common birds in North America. Depending on the time of year, they can be found throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Their preferred habitats include open woodlands, cultivated landscapes such as farmlands and parks, and urban areas. These blue-egg-laying birds primarily eat fruit and berries, but also eat large amounts of insects. Most robins are 9.1 to 11 inches long with a wingspan between 12 and 16 inches. The male's head is gray-black, the back and wings are gray-brown, and the chest and underparts are red. Because of its widespread distribution and fondness for singing, it is often featured in songs, books and films, and is a part of both traditional and modern stories and legends.


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American robin flying from tree
American robin flying from tree

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