Red is an attention-grabbing color associated with energy, passion, and love. Seeing a bird that has a red-colored neck can inspire action, energy, passion, and power in you.
The list of birds with red necks includes red-necked woodpeckers, red-necked phalaropes, red-necked grebes, several types of parrots like the Eclectus and eastern rosella, red-necked grebes, and many others.
Some of these birds can be seen in the USA, like the red-necked phalarope, red-throated loon, and the beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird.
Here are 16 examples of birds with reds on their necks, together with their photos and some interesting facts.
Birds With Red Necks
Scientific name: Podiceps grisegena
Lifespan: 6 years
Wingspan: 30-33 in
Neck Color: Chestnut-red
Found In: North America, Europe, and Asia
This migratory aquatic bird has a red neck plumage, black cap, and contrasting pale grey face during the breeding season.
Like all grebes, the red-necked grebe is a good swimmer and an even better diver. To avoid danger, this bird will dive rather than fly.
Vocal and aggressive during the breeding season, when the winter comes, it becomes a lot quieter.
Red-necked grebe feeds on fish, crustaceans, and insects and will often dive to catch food.
An interesting characteristic of this bird is the “feather-eating” – the red-necked grebe will swallow its feathers that remain in the bird’s stomach and occasionally feed them to its young.
Around early spring, when these birds start migrating, you might spot them on larger lakes in Canada and the northern US states.
These birds breed in shallow freshwater lakes, bays of larger lakes, marshes, and other inland bodies of water, so those are the habitats you should be visiting.
They have an elaborate mating performance that includes head-shaking, a head-lowered “cat” display, parallel rushes in an upright position, and mutual presentations of green weeds. This all ends up with a “penguin” dance where pair members raise their bodies upright and get breast to breast with one another.
Scientific name: Fregata minor
Lifespan: up to 40 years
Wingspan: 80-90 in
Neck Color: Bright red
Found In: Coasts of America, the Caribbean Sea, and Cape Verde
The great frigatebirds are large seabirds with bright red necks, black plumage, long, slender wings, and deeply forked tails. The tail may appear pointed when folded.
Male great frigatebirds are smaller than females.
They are well-known for their red throat “gular” sacs, which they inflate like red balloons to attract females. As part of the courtship ritual, they will inflate their red sacs, clatter their beaks, wave heads and wings, and call to females while flying overhead.
Great frigatebirds are seasonally monogamous.
They are also migratory and have the highest ratio of wing area to body mass and the lowest wing loading of any bird.
These black birds with red necks are rather cheeky and will often steal fish and other food from other seabirds.
Scientific name: Campephilus rubricollis
Neck Color: Deep red
Found In: South America
These large rainforest woodpeckers are mostly found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
Males and females have deep red necks, heads, and underparts. The back and wings are black, and the beak is pale grayish-white.
They are often found in pairs and family groups, at large dead trunks within the forest.
Red-necked woodpeckers are omnivores that feed in trees, consuming larvae of large beetles and moths, and some fruit.
Scientific name: Cephalopterus glabricollis
Lifespan: 12-20 years
Neck Color: Scarlet red
Found In: Costa Rica and Panama
The bare-necked umbrellabird is a large bird with an unusual plumage found in the forests of Costa Rica and Panama.
Listed as endangered, these birds are unmistakable. Both sexes are with a large stocky body, a hefty beak, a short tail, and wide, long wings.
Males have a stunning Mohican-like crest on their heads and beaks, and scarlet-colored bare necks and throats. Females are smaller than males and have smaller crests with no bare skin on the throat. Females also resemble purple-throated fruitcrows a bit.
Bare-necked umbrellabirds are omnivorous and feed on fruits, berries, and some lizards, frogs, insects, and larvae.
Scientific name: Querula purpurata
Neck Color: Wine red
Found In: Central and South America
Purple-throated fruitcrow is a large black bird with a wine-red color of the neck that can be found in humid lowland forests of Central and South America. There, it feeds mainly on insects and fruit.
Purple-throated fruitcrows have a wine-colored throat extending to the side of the neck that can be puffed out expressively. They can also be identified by their short wide pointed grayish bills, black eyes, gray legs, and strong calls.
Purple-throated fruitcrows are often found around other larger birds (falcons, caciques, and oropendolas) and will always travel in groups of 3-6 individuals.
To seduce females, males will flare out their brilliant throat feathers, shake their tails back and forth, and make piercing calls.
Scientific name: Phalaropus lobatus
Lifespan: up to 5 years
Wingspan: 15 in
Neck Color: Cinnamon red
Found In: Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia
This tiny grayish shorebird with a needle-thin yellow bill is known for spinning frantically on the water to stir up small invertebrates.
Females have brighter plumage colors than males. Females have white throats, reddish stripes on their necks, and buffy stripes on their backs. Males have duller orange-red colors. Breeding birds are easy to spot due to their white cheeks and black crowns.
Red-necked phalaropes are usually found in small flocks, with their numbers increasing during fall migration. They breed in the Arctic grounds.
One 2019 study examining migration routes discovered that red-necked phalaropes split into two populations: one breeding in the north-eastern North Atlantic will migrate over 6,000 miles to the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean; the other one breeding in Fennoscandia and Russia will migrate about 3,700 miles to the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean.
Females are known to get into big fights over the males they want to mate with. After females lay the eggs, males will incubate them and raise the chicks; females take no part in that activity and will go and find another mate.
If you live in the western parts of the USA, you might be able to spot these small birds with red necks as they migrate north to their breeding grounds.
Scientific name: Sturnella militaris
Neck Color: Bright red and black
Found In: South America
Often associated with open country, moist grasslands, pasture, and cultivation, the red-breasted meadowlark is a small bird native to Costa Rica.
Males are easy to recognize by their black plumage, crimson red throats, breasts, upper bellies, and shoulders. Females are brown mottled and streaked.
Red-breasted meadowlarks are gregarious birds that forage on the ground and mainly eat insects and some seeds, including rice. They can be found in flocks of up to 100 individuals, occasionally even more.
To identify red-breasted meadowlarks in nature, you should listen for several metallic chips followed by a dissonant buzz.
Southern Ground Hornbill
Scientific name: Bucorvus leadbeateri
Lifespan: 40-50 years
Wingspan: 4 ft
Neck Color: Black and bright red
Found In: Southern Africa
The southern ground hornbill is the largest species of hornbill in the world. This enormous bird has a distinctively large, down-curved beak it uses to catch small animals it finds in the grasses and shrubs.
Adult males have black plumage and vivid red patches of bare skin on the face and throat. Females have blue coloration on their throats.
Although they can fly, southern ground hornbills, as the name suggests, will spend most of their time on the ground.
In the early morning, the song of this bird can be heard from miles away, with pairs singing in a duet with a deep-bass booming “oooh..oooh..ooh-oh” sounds.
In the wild, these big predatory birds hunt rodents, snakes, lizards, frogs, bird eggs, nestling birds, and insects.
Scientific name: Compsothraupis loricata
Neck Color: Bright red
Found In: Northeast Brazil
This small passerine bird is endemic to eastern Brazil. Scarlet-throated tanagers are glossy black birds with bright red throats that are absent in females.
They are one of the largest species of tanagers that can be typically seen in pairs or groups of up to 8 individuals. Scarlet-throated tanagers will often perch on branches high in trees.
Conspicuous and rather slow-moving, they mostly feed on insects. Scarlet-throated tanagers like to hide their nests, usually deep in vegetation or abandoned woodpecker’s holes.
Scientific name: Gavia stellata
Lifespan: up to 23 years
Wingspan: 36-47 in
Neck Color: Gray and rusty red
Found In: North America, Europe, and Asia
The most widely distributed species of the loon family, the red-throated loon is a migratory aquatic bird found in the northern hemisphere. Considered among the most graceful of all loons, it is easy to identify by the long gray and red neck, a thin daggerlike beak, and long, pointed wings.
Red-throated loon will often hold its dark beak upward while swimming and got its name from the distinctive reddish throat patch it develops during the breeding season.
It is among the finest fish hunters in North America, but will also eat some amphibians, invertebrates, and plants.
Red-throated loons are monogamous birds that form long-term bonds, and both partners will help build the nest, incubate the eggs, and take care of the young. Unlike other loons, red-throated ones do not carry their young on their backs.
In the USA, you can see them during winter south along the Pacific coast to southern California and along the Gulf Coast and Florida.
Scientific name: Myzomela rosenbergii
Neck Color: Scarlet red
Found In: New Guinea
These small honeyeaters are one of the most interesting birds with red necks that are native to New Guinea.
Often found in montane forests, males are hard to miss with their jet-black hoods, bellies, wings, tails, and bright red breasts, backs, rumps, and collars. Females are smaller and mainly brown.
Red-collared myzomelas have a diet mainly consisting of nectar, some small arthropods, and small fruits.
These birds with red rings around their necks are active, aggressive, and conspicuous bids. They can be often seen in pairs or groups of up to 12 individuals, occasionally even more.
Red-collared myzomelas are also often noisy and can be identified by their high-pitched “tuweeist” or shorter “tswi” or “tsi” calls during flight.
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in
Neck Color: Sparkling iridescent red
Found In: North and Central America
The ruby-throated hummingbird is one of the most common hummingbirds found east of the Mississippi River in the USA. During winter, this beautiful bird with a brilliant iridescent red throat can be seen in Florida; during summer it breeds in Canada and some parts of the eastern United States.
The species is sexually dimorphic which means that there is a distinct difference between males and females. You will identify males by the metallic green upperparts, grayish-white underparts, black wings, and a gorget (throat patch) of iridescent ruby red. Their tails are forked.
Females are larger than males, have slightly shorter beaks, and have white throats.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds move very quickly, around 25 mph, and will beat their wing over 50 times per second.
They only have about 940 feathers on average which is the smallest number of any bird. These birds are mostly solitary, except during the breeding season which lasts a few days.
To attract these hummingbirds with red necks to your backyard, you can set up hummingbird feeders or plant tubular flowers. They are quite bold and might even feed at hanging plants and feeders on your porch or next to your windows.
Scientific name: Spinus cucullata
Lifespan: 4 years in the wild
Neck Color: Rich vermilion red
Found In: South America
Once common in the foothills of northern Venezuela, sightings of this small endangered finch are now extremely rare. Red siskin males have red and black plumage while the females have a bit duller color and are mostly salmon-pink and gray.
Red siskins are easy to spot by the deep, rich vermilion red color of the neck, breast, belly, and undertail coverts.
They are very social birds that have high-pitched chitters and sharp chi–tit calls. Red siskins have a diet consisting of fruit, flower buds, grass seeds, and herbaceous plants.
They are as endangered by the IUCN Red List and nationally critically endangered in Venezuela.
Scientific name: Neochmia phaeton
Lifespan: 5-6 years
Neck Color: Bright red and gray
Found In: Northern Australia and New Guinea
These elegant birds have bright-colored red necks with shades of gray. Crimson finches are known for their distinctively bright crimson coats, as the name suggests, long tails, and aggression.
Nicknamed “blood finches” and “killer finches”, these small birds will attack birds of the same species as well as different species. Due to such a reputation and a slightly higher price, people do not commonly keep them as pets.
Crimson finches are monogamous and prefer habitats with tall, dense grasses. They feed on seeds and some insects.
Scientific name: Eclectus roratus
Lifespan: 30-50 years
Wingspan: 8-10 in
Neck Color: Bright red in females
Found In: Solomon Islands, Indonesia, New Guinea, northeastern Australia, and the Moluccas
This small parrot is native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeastern Australia, and the Maluku Islands. Males have mostly green, red, and blue plumage, while females have purple chests and tails, and bright red heads and necks.
Because of those differences, until the 20th century, people considered them to be separate species.
A healthy male Eclectus parrot will have a bright orange beak – this means that the bird is in good condition.
Read More: 30+ birds that have orange-colored bills
They are shy birds that are active during the day and spend most of their time collecting food, eating, and resting.
Eclectus parrots are great at mimicking human speech and can produce various sounds, including tones, coos, whistles, and laughs.
Scientific name: Platycercus eximius
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Wingspan: 6-7 in
Neck Color: Striking red
Found In: Southeastern Australia and Tasmania
These medium-sized colorful parrots are native to southeastern Australia and Tasmania.
When it comes to appearance, they have distinctive white cheek patches, red heads, necks, and breasts. Upperparts are yellowish and greenish, underparts are yellow, shoulders are bright blue, and the undertail is red.
Eastern rosellas can be seen in lightly wooded country, open forests, woodlands, gardens, bushlands, and parks.
They are omnivores that feed on the ground, in trees, and in shrubs. Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, flowers, buds, nectar, and insects.
This concludes our list of birds with red necks.
There are plenty of examples of such.
Some are small, like the Eclectus parrot, crimson finch, and ruby-throated hummingbird, while others are rather big, like the great frigatebird, southern ground hornbill, and the Purple-throated fruitcrow.
Either way, next time you see any of these birds in person, you should be able to recognize them with ease!