9 Small Red Bird Species You Might See

Updated: Sep. 07, 2022

If you see a small red bird in your backyard, you might think it's a cardinal. But take another look, because other birds have red feathers.

northern cardinal
Courtesy Rex Thompson

Northern Cardinal

“I finally got all my gear together and was able to catch a cardinal (commonly known as a red bird) posing in the backyard this summer,” says Birds & Blooms reader Rex Thompson. Don’t miss 25 stunning cardinal bird pictures.

vermilion flycatcher
Courtesy Joseph Mandy

Vermilion Flycatcher

“I went camping at Garner State Park in Texas with my wife and stepson. Saturday afternoon was windy but beautiful, and suddenly this vermilion flycatcher appeared. Looking through the binocular lens, I couldn’t believe my eyes. What a stunning bird!” says Joseph Mandy. Check out 25 small yellow birds you should know.

scarlet tanager
Courtesy Victoria Martel

Scarlet Tanager

“I’ve always had a love for birds, but I just recently took up birding during quarantine. I took this shot of a male scarlet tanager over Memorial Day weekend, near my parents log home in northern Michigan. The small red bird only appeared for about 15 seconds before disappearing into the woods,” says Victoria Martel. Psst—these photos of blue colored birds are breathtaking!

summer tanager
Courtesy Stacey Aldridge

Summer Tanager

“I have had a love for birds ever since i can remember. My quest in capturing this photo of a male summer tanager in breeding plumage started last year to no avail. This year i found the perfect opportunity and took this shot,” says Stacey Aldridge.

red bird, purple finch
Courtesy Sarah Meisner

Purple Finch

Even with its beautiful raspberry tones, the adult male purple finch can be a challenge to identify. This red bird is often confused with the house finch.

252622586 1 Frank Rodin Bnb Bypc2020
Courtesy Frank Rodin

Red-Headed Woodpecker

“I took this photograph of a red-headed woodpecker in the Spring near my home in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. These beautiful black, white and red birds have made a comeback in my area after a decades long absence. I could spend all day photographing them,” says Frank Rodin. Check out 11 gorgeous green birds that you might see.

red bird, common redpoll
Courtesy Erik Huebler

Common Redpoll

“I photographed this common redpoll bird during February 2018, which was an irruption year. I went through 300 pounds of nyjer thistle seed in that month alone. It was amazing to watch!” says Erik Huebler. If you love red bird pictures, don’t miss 20 super pretty pictures of finches.

274943882 1 Bernadette Banville Bnb Bypc 2021
Courtesy Bernadette Banville

Red and White-Winged Crossbills

Swan Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island has always been a hotspot year-round for birds. On my way to the entrance I noticed more cars than usual, so I just continued to my usual spot, the pond. I heard this strange peeping sound similar to American goldfinches so I stopped and looked up. The first few photos I took looked like female goldfinches but then a pink/red bird showed up. I showed a guy my photos and his eyes lit up. I guess I was the super birder for that day finding the white-winged crossbills,” says Bernadette Banville.

how to attract birds, Bnbugc Bradley Peschong, red bird
Courtesy Bradley Peschong

House Finch

Bradley Peschong shared this photo of a adorable male house finch in the snow. Next, learn how to identify small brown birds you might see.