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21 Small Brown Birds You Might See

Did you spot a small brown bird? Look at these photos of brown birds found across North America to help you identify what species you saw!

house wrenCourtesy Linda Jones

House Wren

Birds & Blooms reader Linda Jones shared this adorable brown bird photo of house wrens in summertime. Discover 25 small yellow birds you should know.

house sparrowCourtesy Nola Williams

House Sparrow

“While swimming in a pool during vacation, I had noticed there were many birds hopping around, chirping and drinking the pool water. Unfortunately, I’m unable to collect the beautiful songs of this house sparrow through a picture, but a male enjoying the sun is just as good. Although they are extremely common and dull colored, they are my favorite bird species to capture in a new light,” says Nola Williams. Meet 17 types of sparrow birds that you should know.

brown bird, chipping sparrowCourtesy Janice Poole

Chipping Sparrow

“I saw this tiny chipping sparrow on a feeder on my deck this spring. I just love this little bird,” says Janice Poole. If you love brown bird photos, don’t miss 15  photos of small orange birds.

Bnbbyc17 Stuart Allison 2Courtesy Stuart Allison

Song Sparrow

“I snapped this little fellow just as he landed on a redbud tree branch with breakfast in beak early one spring morning. Song sparrows are such a conspicuous part of spring. When you come upon one boldly standing on his high perch pouring out his song it makes all the colors of spring seen brighter,” says Stuart Allison. We found 11 gorgeous green birds that you might see.

09 Marsension Bbon18Courtesy Mar Sension

Carolina Wren

Mar Sension says, “Suet, sunflower seeds, peanut hearts and mealworms are a few Carolina wren favorites.” If you go birding, you might see these black and white birds.

brown thrasher, brown birdCourtesy Saundra Schuler

Brown Thrasher

Birds & Blooms reader Saundra Schuler shared this stunning photo of a brown thrasher. Learn more about thrasher birds.

Bnbbyc19 Nancy Tully 1Courtesy Nancy Tully

Pine Siskin

“This past winter, I was thrilled to have a large flock of pine siskins stay by my feeders daily. I had out eight feeders, but my favorite was this pine cone feeder. I added shelled sunflower seeds which seemed to keep them coming,” says Nancy Tully. Learn about 10 white birds that birders should know.

cedar waxwingCourtesy Deborah Bryk

Cedar Waxwing

“I love looking at these birds. There are so many colors in a cedar waxwing. The yellow wing tips and black face mask make the the bird stand out to me. If you see a profile of one of them, the spiked hair is fantastic! You can always find them around any berry bush,” says Deborah Bryk.

brown headed nuthatchCourtesy Steve Shattles

Brown-Headed Nuthatch

Steve Shattles spotted a brown-headed nuthatch checking out a water source on a hot summer day in West Columbia, South Carolina. Get to know the gravity-defying nuthatch bird family.

sparrow picturesCourtesy Karen White

Fox Sparrow

“This uncommon fox sparrow made a brief appearance during a rain storm this past winter. He posed on our jasmine vine just for a moment, but long enough for a nice picture. They are quite elusive, so I was thrilled!” says Karen White.

wood thrushCourtesy Liz Tabb

Wood Thrush

“I captured this wood thrush in my sister’s woods, where she lives not far from me. It had been serenading her in the evenings for some time, but despite her efforts; she could never quite see it clearly,” says Liz Tabb.

253973852 1 Ashley Jenkins Bnb Bypc2020Courtesy Ashley Jenkins

White-Throated Sparrow

“I enjoy taking walks during all seasons but winter is especially fun for me. I usually hang around thick underbrush hoping to catch sight of whatever may be foraging for food. It just so happened I came across this white-throated sparrow. As you can see he was working on some berries he had found. I love hearing their sweet call in winter and early spring. ‘Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.’ These pictures will change how you look at sparrows.

brown bird, cowbirdCourtesy Clifford Riegler

Brown-Headed Cowbird

A beautiful black bird with a brown head, the first appearance for this guy in our backyard. I did not realize what a nuisance the cowbird is,” says Clifford Riegle.

hermit thrush, songbirdsCourtesy Lisa Spangenberg

Hermit Thrush

“This little hermit thrush was in my woods earlier this spring. It was early May morning when I saw this brown bird foraging on the ground. The thrush didn’t seem to care that I was there and was able to get several pictures. He even perched on this branch and sang for me for several minutes. The quiet spring morning and his sweet song was just too beautiful for words,” says Lisa Spangenberg. After you admire these brown bird photos, check out 20 photos of blue colored birds.

eastern phoebe Barbara DivisCourtesy Barbara Davis

Eastern Phoebe

“This is a photo of an eastern phoebe. We seem to have a lot of them near us in Pennsylvania. They made a nest on top of my spotlight by my back door and have had two sets of babies so far,” says Barbara Divis. Don’t miss 15 adorable baby owl pictures.

ovenbirdCourtesy Jeffrey Boland


“Spring migration had brought several new visitors to our yard during my first year of birding. I was just about to dismiss what I thought was another house sparrow until I zoomed in and was treated to this adorable ovenbird among some new crabapple buds. It’s become my favorite photo of the season and it makes me smile every time I see it,” says Jeffrey Boland. Look for these stunning warblers in spring.

mourning dovesCourtesy Lisa Mason

Mourning Dove

Meet Mr. and Mrs. mourning dove. I captured this image during the springtime breeding season. They were busy getting to know each other,” says Lisa Mason.

bewick's wrenCourtesy Michelle Summers

Bewick’s Wren

“This is a pair of Bewick’s wrens who used the open end of this post for their nest one year. The previous year, Carolina chickadees used this spot. I love the birds and put a good deal of effort into providing water, food and nesting facilities for them,” says Michelle Summers.

white-crowned sparrow, juvenile, adultCourtesy Jennifer Brohl

White-Crowned Sparrow

“I just loved the way this adorable pair of white-crowned sparrows patiently waited for me to get this shot, almost as if they were posing for me,” says Jennifer Brohl.

kildeer birdCourtesy Ronald Clark


Birds & Blooms reader Ronald Clark shared this photo of a killdeer. Quiz: How many shorebirds can you identify?

brown bird, sandpiperCourtesy Carol Fisher

Spotted Sandpiper

“Walking along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, I heard a bird making a lot of racket. As I neared I saw the spotted sandpiper along the shore and wading in the water. He didn’t seem to mind me being near and it was fun to see it duck it’s head under water for bugs,” says Carol Fisher.

Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her gardens. She is also a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.