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17 Most Common Types of Birds in Pennsylvania (With Photos)

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Pennsylvania, also known as the Keystone State, has a good mixture of city life and wide open spaces. Despite large cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburg, the state is home to many rolling hills, mountains, forests, and valleys.

Seven images of beautiful birds.

Its name comes from the Latin word “Sylvania,” which means woodland.

The natural, wooded parts of PA make it easy for hundreds of bird species to live and thrive in the state. Today, we’ll talk about the 17 most common types of birds in Pennsylvania.

How Many Species of Birds Are in PA?

According to the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (PORC), there are currently 435 recognized bird species in the state of Pennsylvania. This list was most recently updated in July 2020 and includes common, uncommon, rare, accidental, and extinct bird species.

What Is the Native Bird of Pennsylvania?

The official state bird of Pennsylvania is the Ruffed Grouse. The Ruffed Grouse is a specific type of bird that comes from the Grouse family, which is native to North America. This bird, also known as a partridge, is a hardy bird that thrives during the winter months.

Most Common Birds of Pennsylvania

Although there are over 400 bird species in PA, we can quickly learn a little bit about some of the most common birds in the state. Here are 17 of the most common bird types in Pennsylvania:

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. Blue Jay
  3. American Goldfinch
  4. Song Sparrow
  5. Mourning Dove
  6. American Robin
  7. Downy Woodpecker
  8. Scott’s Oriole
  9. Snow Goose
  10. Red-winged Blackbird
  11. Western Tanager
  12. American Woodcock
  13. Trumpeter Swan
  14. House Finch
  15. American Crow
  16. Gray Catbird
  17. European Starling

We’ll take a look at some identifying characteristics of each of these PA bird species. If you live in the area, you may be able to recognize a few of them in your backyard.

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1. Northern Cardinal

A beautiful Northern Cardinal perched on a tree branch.

The Northern Cardinal is a bird that most people recognize by its bright red feathers. Although only the males are brightly colored, it is their distinguishing feature.

Cardinals are prevalent in Pennsylvania and thrive in habitats like woodland edges, thickets, and suburban areas. The male bird can protect his nests, mate, and territory aggressively.

2. Blue Jay

A beautiful Blue Jay perched on a thin branch.

Another bird species known for its brilliant color, the Blue Jay is a large songbird with blue, black, and white plumage. Blue Jays are known for being quite intelligent. They appreciate family bonds and display many social traits.

Blue Jays are also known for having loud, noisy calls.

3. American Goldfinch

A beautiful American Goldfinch perched on a tree branch.

The American Goldfinch tops off the perfect trio of bold-colored birds to start our PA list. You can recognize this species by its brilliant yellow feathers accompanied by black wings and a black forehead.

Male Goldfinches become a brighter yellow when mating, while non-breeding males are mainly brown with yellow heads.

4. Song Sparrow

A cute Song Sparrow perched on a wooden board.

If you’re looking for a species with a beautiful song, the Song Sparrow is it. Though this small bird looks average from the outside, it boasts a loud, beautiful call composed of three or four notes.

Male Song Sparrows can sing up to 24 variations of their notes – songs that the females find endearing. You can commonly find Song Sparrows in PA backyards. Note their white bellies and brown flecks.

5. Mourning Dove

A cute Mourning Dove perched on a wooden fence.

Another bird common in Pennsylvania is the Mourning Dove. Appearance-wise, Mourning Doves look very similar to any average dove, sporting smooth feathers and a long, thin tail.

Though some simply like to appreciate the bird’s song, it is the most widespread game bird in North America.

6. American Robin

A beautiful American Robin perched on a metal fence.

The American Robin is a classic staple in American ornithology. Not only can you find it in open woodlands in Pennsylvania, but you can probably spot one on the front lawn of every suburban home in America.

Robins have red-orange breasts surrounded by gray-brown feathers. They have a typical orange beak and a lovely, welcoming song.

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7. Downy Woodpecker

A cute Downy Woodpecker perched on a wooden log.

Downy Woodpeckers are not only common in PA; they’re also prevalent throughout North America. Most people can identify a Downy Woodpecker before they see it, and that’s because of the loud banging noise they make when they peck into tree trunks for food.

Male Downy Woodpeckers have black wings with white dots, white breasts, and a black and white head. They are distinguishable from females by the bright red nap on the back of their heads.

8. Scott’s Oriole

A cute Scott’s Oriole perched on a tree.

Though another bird with bright yellow and black coloring, the Scott’s Oriole is not to be confused with the Goldfinch. The Oriole boasts a lemon-yellow breast, but its head, wings, and back are all black.

The Scott’s Oriole feeds mainly on insects and floral nectar. It often travels and forages in family groups in the foothills of PA mountains and deserts.

9. Snow Goose

Two Snow Gooses on a meadow.

Unlike the average backyard PA bird, the Snow Goose is a member of the ducks and geese family. It’s a larger, migratory bird known for its long, slender neck and massive white wings.

You can see Snow Geese in Pennsylvania during their migration period, which happens during the winter. Their paths generally cross the eastern side of the state.

10. Red-winged Blackbird

A beautiful Red-winged Blackbird perched on a wooden board.

The Red-winged Blackbird is a small, stocky species of bird with males and females that couldn’t look more different.

The male bird is black from head to tail, minus its shoulder, boasting a bold red and yellow patch. The female has a broader back and is brown with a yellowish face.

These birds love being near fresh and saltwater marshes.

11. Western Tanager

A beautiful Western Tanager perched on a tree branch.

The Western Tanager is one of the more beautiful birds in Pennsylvania. Its black tail and wings pose a stark difference to its bright-yellow body that fades into an orange-red head.

The stable population enjoys mixed forest settings, particularly during the breeding season.

12. American Woodcock

A cute American Woodcock walking on the ground in a forest.

Many of the neighborhood PA birds have similar body shapes, but the American Woodcock is unique in its own right. The bird has short legs, a fluffy body, and a very long, thin beak. But the bird is small – about the size of a Robin.

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Woodcocks have excellent natural camouflage as their feathers are several shades of brown, black, and gray.

13. Trumpeter Swan

A majestic Trumpeter Swan spreads its wings in the water.

One of the most majestic birds you can find in PA is the Trumpeter Swan. This large, white bird features a long, curving neck and a stark, black beak.

It spends much of its time floating in the water, using the length of its neck to find vegetation beneath the surface for food.

14. House Finch

A beautiful House Finch perched on an old branch.

The House Finch is a part of the true Finch family and is a very small bird that often weighs less than one ounce. While both the males and females have light brown feathers sprinkled with shades of white and dark brown, only the males have red accents around their heads.

This gorgeous color is even bolder and brighter when the males feed on berries and bright-colored fruit.

15. American Crow

A beautiful American Crow perched on a tree.

American Crows are not the most beloved of PA birds, but they are one of the most prevalent. This species is known for its all-black feathers, accompanied by its haunting caw. Crows only become darker in color as they age, too.

16. Gray Catbird

A cute Gray Catbirdperched on a thin branch.

The Gray Catbird is a fairly uninteresting bird, as its body shape resembles many other common species like robins. It has a gray body with a long tail that has a splash of orange under it.

But what is fascinating about this bird is that its call closely resembles the mewing of a cat – hence its name.

17. European Starling

A beautiful European Starling perched on a branch.

The European Starling is another stunning PA bird that makes quite the impression. Its black feathers are sleek and glossy, but they feature a metallic sheen that turns them into a rainbow of colors.

They also have the unique ability to mimic up to 20 other species of birds’ calls.

Final Thoughts

You probably already knew about Pennsylvania’s rolling farmlands and famous sites of American history, but now you can say you know a little bit about its wildlife.

These birds of Pennsylvania are very common and come with beautiful sounds and colors. See which ones you recognize in your backyard!

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1 thought on “17 Most Common Types of Birds in Pennsylvania (With Photos)”

  1. I did not see tufted titmouse or chickadee on this list which I have all the time at my feeder. Sometimes I also see towhees, hummingbirds in summer, nuthatches, Baltimore orioles, red breasted grosbeaks & house wrens & Carolina wrens.

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