Many beautiful birds are soaring through the earth’s sapphire skies, but few can compare in majesty, power, and intensity to red birds. These crimson-colored creatures belong to a class of their own, wowing bird lovers and amateurs alike with their bright feathers and fiery personalities.
Can’t get enough red birds in real life? Not to fear! Here are 21 stunning red birds from around the world. Enjoy this avian world tour, seeing feathery friends from tanagers to ducks.
1. Northern Cardinal
First up on our list is the Northern cardinal. This bird is synonymous with the color red, even its name, derived from the color of the robes worn by cardinals in the Catholic Church. Or, if you wanted a less ecclesiastical hint, you could tell from its alternate name, the redbird.
2. Scarlet Tanager
Despite its name, this brilliant red songbird belongs to the cardinal family, and it fits right in, given its feathers’ brilliant, watercolor-like coloring. Remember, though, that only the male scarlet tanagers are red. Females sport pleasant green-yellow feathers.
3. Scarlet Macaw
The scarlet macaw is the most colorful bird on our list thus far, sporting a beautiful coat of crimson, sapphire, and gold plumage. Its habitat extends across Latin America, though unfortunately, the species is suffering rapid rates of habitat loss, putting this beautiful bird’s fate in jeopardy.
4. Summer Tanager
Another radiant red bird is the summer tanager, which is aptly named. Its feathers look just like the color of a shining July sunset, especially when the red-colored male sits alongside the golden-colored female. The bird is a migratory species, summering in North American oak trees and flying south to Central and South American trees.
5. Vermilion Flycatcher
Another aptly named bird is the vermilion flycatcher, which gives a visual one-two punch. Its bodacious red tummy is covered by a jacket of black feathers. True to its name, the flycatcher loves to feast on flies, though it’s also known to indulge in grasshoppers and beetles.
6. White-Winged Crossbill
The white-winged crossbill, also called the two-barred crossbill, is a red-feathered bird in the finch family. Along with its scarlet body, this crossbill has a set of wings that defy its name, being primarily black and flecked with streaks of white. No matter what you call it, though, it’s a downright beautiful bird.
7. Pine Grosbeak
The next lovely avian on our list is the pine grosbeak, another member of the finch family. Unlike many other birds on this list, which have brighter red feathers, the pine grosbeak has feathers of a deep jewel tone. It’s a delightful sight to see sailing through snow-blanketed forests in northern Europe and North America.
8. Red-Crested Cardinal
The red-crested cardinal isn’t the first bird on this list to be only partially red, but it has one of the most striking color contrasts. With its high crest pointing skyward and its beaming vermilion head emerging in a chevron pattern from its gray-and-white coat, it’s a uniquely stunning bird.
9. Common Rosefinch
The common rosefinch is another jewel-toned bird with a coat of feathers strikingly akin to a ruby. It’s a gift to the world, then, that the rosefinch is so common. Ornithologists and casual bird lovers alike can find the common rosefinch throughout its northern European breeding grounds and in its South Asian habitats.
10. Hepatic Tanager
The hepatic tanager doesn’t have the prettiest origin for its name. Hepatic means “relating to the liver,” meaning this bird is named for its similarity to an internal organ. But the tanager doesn’t let that get it down because its black-flecked-red feathers are an elegant sight that brings honor to its vestigial name.
11. Desert Cardinal
Now, the desert cardinal (also known by the incredibly cool name Pyrrhuloxia, which pairs the words “pyrrhic,” meaning red-orange, and “loxos,” meaning oblique) is not an entirely red bird. It deserves a pass because its gray plumage pairs perfectly with the flaming red streak that travels from its crest down its stomach. This applies to males; female desert cardinals are powder blue.
12. Flame-Colored Tanager
The flame-colored tanager is another aptly named tanager, with this one’s moniker denoting its explosive red body. These feathers strike quite a nice contrast with their black-and-white wings and tail feathers, which illuminate the flaming red. You can find this bird across narrow flight paths in coastal Central America.
13. Red-Breasted Sapsucker
Woodpeckers are some of the most visually exciting creatures in the avian class, and the delightful red-breasted sapsucker is no exception. When it isn’t feeding–which it does by using its hard beak to drill holes in trees, eat sap, and consume the insects inside it–the red-breasted sapsucker is busy drawing gazes with its ruby red crest.
14. House Finch
The house finch is related to the rosefinch, which is evident in the jewel-toned red they display in their chests and plumage. True to its name, the house finch is incredibly common, with a year-round range in the entirety of the continental US and Hawaii.
15. Australian King Parrot
Returning to the tropics brings us the next bird on our list, the incomparable and aptly named Australian king parrot. All Australian king parrots, which inhabit the continent’s east coast, bear a good bit of red, with varying amounts of emerald green and sapphire blue. Some individuals, however, can have melanin deficiencies, resulting in orange or yellow feathers.
16. Crimson Rosella
Another delightful tropical bird is the crimson rosella, so named for its radiant saturated reds. What makes this bird stand out is its fashionable contrast: like any true color theorist, the crimson rosella pairs its red feathers with gleaming blue feathers and touches of magma-like red.
17. Papuan King Parrot
The Papuan king parrot has a remarkably beautiful eye, with a combination of orange and black that stands out from any crowd. But don’t look too long, because if you do, you’ll miss the delightful contrast between its bright red body and verdant wings.
18. Scarlet Ibis
Native to the Caribbean and Northern Atlantic Coasts of South America, the scarlet ibis is a bird of paradise if there ever was one. It uses its hook-like bill to dig underneath soft mud for scarabs, ground beetles, and water bugs. However, it’s a diet of shrimp, more than anything else, which gives these birds their distinctive shade of red.
19. Cinnamon Teal
The cinnamon teal is the only duck on this list, but it’s earned its place. True to its name, the duck has a head and body of a burnished red-brown color, which takes on a radiant shine as the duck swims in its watery home. Female cinnamon teals are a tad less colorful, but their gray-and-white color scheme is plenty beautiful.
20. Ringed Kingfisher
It’s hard to have any list of stunning birds without including a kingfisher, and this article is no exception. The ringed kingfisher boasts a bronze-red chest contrasting its steel blue wings and gleaming white collar. It isn’t as luminous as some of its kingfisher cousins, but it’s at home on any list of beautiful red birds.
21. Roseate Spoonbill
The final entry on our list is the roseate spoonbill, a red-pink bird that is part of the ibis family. It’s hard not to be entranced by this delightful bird, which (like the scarlet ibis and the American flamingo) draws its color from the chemical compounds in its shrimp-heavy diet.
Now you are acquainted with the beautiful red birds on this list, but there are many more to discover. Maybe it’s time for you to go out and find them!