25 North Texas Birds (Photos And Fun Facts)

Living in North Texas and saw some birds but are not sure which ones they were?

Texas is known for its wildlife, and according to the Texas Bird Records Committee (TBRC), there are over 650 species of birds there. 

Examples of birds of North Texas include the turkey vulture, house sparrow, American robin, bald eagle, blue jay, American goldfinch, mallard, and many others.

Songbirds like the painted and indigo bunting, eastern bluebird, eastern kingbird, and barn swallow, raptors like the bald eagle, golden eagle, turkey vulture, and great horned owl, and waterfowl like the bufflehead, lesser scaup, and mallard are common in North Texas.

Some of these birds, like the blue jay and the great horned owl, can be seen year-round in the state, while others, like the painted bunting and the bald eagle, will only spend summers there.

North Texas Birds

Painted Bunting

painted bunting

Scientific name: Passerina ciris
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Wingspan: 8-9 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

Often referred to as “nonpareil,” or “unrivaled,” painted buntings are one of the most colorful and beautiful birds of North America.

You will recognize males by their stunning blue head color, red underparts, and green backs. Females usually have bright yellow-green colors

Painted buntings are incredible blue-headed birds that can be found in different parts of Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, and Louisiana.

In North Texas, they can be seen from spring to fall. Look for them around open woodlands, parks, and brushy fields with scattered trees, from April until October. 

Although painted buntings are common in the state, you might have trouble finding them there since they like to stay in deep brush. The best time to see and hear them would be early in the morning when the males usually sing.

They might look cute and colorful, but painted buntings are aggressive birds. They are very territorial and will attack other males of their species.

Painted buntings are omnivores that mostly feed on seeds and insects.

A group of painted buntings is known as a “mural” and a “palette”. Certainly suits their name!


Indigo Bunting

blue indigo bunting

Scientific name: Passerina cyanea
Lifespan: 10 years
Wingspan: 7-9 in
Found In: North, Central, and East Texas

This small seed-eating bird can be seen in North Texas during summer. Indigo bunting is common in open woodlands, brushy fields, and parks of the state.

Somewhere around September and November, these birds will leave Tx and migrate south, to Mexico, South, and Central America. They will travel during the night and use stars as navigation. 

Indigo buntings are also known as blue buntings.

You can identify adult males by their vibrant blue plumage during summer, with slightly richer blue colors on their heads. During the winter months, they become brown. Females are brown year-round. 

Males are sometimes mistaken for blue grosbeaks; however, blue grossbeaks are larger, have thicker bills, and have slightly different plumage colors.

Indigo buntings are territorial birds and omnivores that feed on insects, seeds, and berries. 

Because of their bright blue color, many people consider indigo buntings to symbolize wisdom and spiritual realization. 

These birds usually mate for life; occasionally, they may switch partners within a single breeding season. 


Eastern Kingbird

eastern kingbird

Scientific name: Tyrannus tyrannus
Lifespan: up to 11 years
Wingspan: 13-15 in
Found In: North and Eastern Texas

Eastern kingbird is common and easy to spot in northern parts of Texas during summer. 

You will recognize it by the gray-black upperparts, white underbelly, and pointed wings.

Eastern kingbirds’ habitats include open areas, pasture edges, and parks. They will often perch on wires, watch for large insects, and make quick flights to snatch them. 

Eastern kingbirds also feed on berries and fruit, mainly during winter.

They are long-distance migrants that spend winter in South America, primarily western Amazonia.

Eastern kingbirds are very aggressive and if another bird enters their territory, even a larger one, it will attack fiercely. Neither hawks nor crows are safe from them.

If you go searching for these conspicuous birds, listen for the high-pitched “kit-kit” and “dzee-dzee” calls.


Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet

Scientific name: Regulus calendula
Lifespan: up to 5 years
Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

Ruby-crowned kinglets are often hard to spot during summer when they live high in tall conifers. During winter, however, ruby-crowned kinglets will often flit low in woods and thickets.

These stunning green birds can be seen in North Texas around fall in parks, woodlands, and brushy areas. Ruby-crowned kinglets winter in the state and depart for the north by early May. 

In case you live in this part of the state, mid-September to early May is the best time to go looking for these birds. 

They are one of the smallest songbirds in North America and can be identified by their olive-green plumage with two white wing bars and white eye-rings. 

Male ruby-crowned kinglets also have red crown patches, which are usually concealed. 

Ruby-crowned kinglets build cup-shaped nests and have the largest clutch of any North American passerine for its size. A female may lay up to 12 eggs and that entire clutch can weigh as much as the female herself. 

These birds are omnivores that mainly feed on insects, some fruits, and seeds.


Eastern Bluebird

eastern bluebird

Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Lifespan: 6-10 years
Wingspan: 9-12 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The Eastern bluebird is the state bird of Missouri and New York. 

In North Texas, this marvelous blue bird can be seen year-round although some populations might only spend winters there.

It breeds from mid-February to late July in the state so this would be the best time to go looking for the eastern bluebird. Search around open woodlands, parks, and old fields.

Look for a small bird with a bright blue head and upperparts, rust-colored throat and chest, and a white belly. The big rounded head, large eyes, and alert posture are also features of the eastern kingbird.

This small North American migratory thrush is the most widespread of the three bluebird species.

Similar to its relative, the mountain bluebird, the eastern bluebird is a cavity nester that also loves nest boxes.

Eastern bluebirds are very social birds that can live in flocks with over 100 individuals and can be very territorial. 

To attract a female, a male bluebird will sing over 1,000 songs per hour; it sings without opening its beak wide. 

These birds are omnivores that mostly feed on insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, caterpillars, and some fruit.


House Sparrow

house sparrow

Scientific name: Passer domesticus
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Wingspan: 9 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The house sparrow is a small brightly colored bird, with a gray head, white cheeks, a black bib, and a reddish-brown neck. It is a common backyard bird of North Texas that can be seen throughout the year.

It has a very shallow tail with a very small split. 

House sparrows are the most widely distributed wild birds; the oldest recorded captive house sparrow lived 23 years. 

They feed on grains and seeds, discarded food, and insects.


Dark-eyed Junco

dark eyed junco

Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
Lifespan: 3-11 years
Wingspan: 9.2 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The dark-eyed junco is a medium-sized sparrow with a rounded head, a short bill, and a fairly long tail. This bird can be seen in North Texas during winter. Look for a bird that is black-brown above, has a dark head, a white belly, and a pale bill. 

The dark-eyed junco is often found around woodlands, brushy fields, parks, and thickets. 

It is one of the most common birds in North America and will often forage while hopping and running on the ground. 

These rosy-billed birds have the nickname “snowbirds” because they’re commonly sighted in winter throughout North America. 

Dark-eyed juncos mostly feed on seeds, but also insects in summer.

They are one of our 25+ black and white birds that can be also seen in Colorado.


American Goldfinch

american goldfinch

Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Lifespan: 3-6 years
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The American goldfinch is the state bird of New Jersey, Iowa, and Washington. it is a small migratory bird with a small head, long wings, and a short, notched tail. 

This beautiful North Texas bird is common around open woodlands, backyards, and parks during winter. American goldfinch arrives in the state in the fall (around October) and stays until May. It will then move north to breed.

Listen for its winter calls that sound like “per chi cor ree.” It also likes to visit bird feeders.

The American goldfinch is named “wild canary” for its bright yellow plumage in the spring and summer. 

During the winter months, males get an olive color while the females become dull yellow-brown. 

Male and female American goldfinches have a colorful carotenoid-based orange bill during the breeding season; the bill serves as an indicator of the overall health of the bird. The more saturated with orange a bill is, the higher the testosterone levels are in that specific bird. 

American goldfinches molt twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer. 


Common Starling

common starling

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Wingspan: 12-17 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The common starling is also known as the European starling. The bird is native to Europe but got introduced to other places, including North America, where the common starling is now designated as invasive species.

This medium-sized passerine bird is common around woodlands, parks, backyards, and urban areas of North Texas. It can be seen year-round in the state, especially in areas where people live.

This stocky black-green bird has white dots on its plumage, a short tail, triangular wings, and a long, pointed beak. 

At a distance, the common starling looks black; in winter their plumage becomes dark brown with brilliant white spots. 

These birds are very loud and social that can live in huge flocks; winter roosts can include from a few thousand to several million birds. 

Common starlings are omnivores feeding on berries, fruits, and seeds, but also on insects, spiders, snails, earthworms, and other invertebrates. 


Northern Cardinal

male northern cardinal bird with orange beak

Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Lifespan: 3 years 
Wingspan: 10-12 in 
Found In: Throughout Texas

These medium-sized songbirds are common throughout the year in North Texas. Look for them around woodlands, brushy fields, parks, and backyards.

Northern cardinals are also known as redbirds and are easily identified by their prominent crest and short, very thick, and vibrant orange beaks. 

Male and female cardinals have the same feathered head crests but still look different – males are completely red and have reddish beaks, while females are pale brown with clear orange beaks. 

They got their red color from carotenoids in their food; if not enough of this pigment-triggering food is available, they become brownish. 

Northern cardinals are omnivores and feed on seeds, fruit, and insects. 

If you live in North Texas, you can easily attract northern cardinals to your bird feeder, especially if you add some sunflower seeds. 

In case you notice male cardinals with baldness problems – it’s a sign they’re in the middle of a late summer molt. 

These birds are extremely territorial and aggressive – northern cardinals will often try to ferociously attack their reflections in the mirrors and windows. They are also monogamous and mate for life.

Northern cardinals are one of many songbirds found in Florida.


Blue Jay

blue jay

Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Lifespan: 7 years
Wingspan: 13-17 in
Found In: North, Central, and Eastern Texas

Blue jays are commonly found in parks, forests, and woodlands of North Texas. They are rather large and nonmigratory birds that can be seen in the state year-round.

You will identify them by a mix of black, blue, and white plumage above, white or light gray plumage below, and by bright blue wings with white spots. 

Males and females look the same. 

Although not a state bird in any US state, the blue jay is the mascot of a Major League Baseball team called the Toronto Blue Jays. 

This songbird is highly intelligent and can use tools and imitate the sounds of predators. Blue jays will often mimic hawk sounds when approaching a feeding site to drive away other birds.

They are very noisy birds that mate for life and work together to build a nest for their young. 

When the female is sitting on the eggs, the male will feed and take care of her. 

Blue jays are omnivores that mostly feed on seeds, berries, nuts, and occasionally insects. They will also store food and use it at another time.

Read More: 25+ examples of birds of Central Florida


Bald Eagle

bald eagle's eyes and sharp beak

Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Lifespan: 20-30 years in the wild
Wingspan: 70.8-90.5 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

Bald eagles are the largest birds of prey found in North Texas. Although some populations might be seen year-round in the state, bald eagles are more common in winter. 

Look for them arriving in the fall and migrating out in March – bald eagles breed in the state from October through February.

They build the largest nests of any North American bird that can be up to 13 ft deep and 8.2 ft wide.

You will recognize bald eagles by their commanding presence, white heads and tails, brown color, and bright yellow bills. These magnificent raptors are hard to miss as they soar through the air with their 7.5-foot-wide wingspan. 

After recovering from 75 pairs in 1970, bald eagles are now doing very well in the state and are a common sight around lakes, rivers, and wetlands of Texas. 

Some estimates claim that there are around 300 pairs of bald eagles in the state in total. 

They are carnivores and opportunistic feeders that mostly consume fish, which they snatch from the water. 

Bald eagles are also on our list of birds that can be seen in Western Washington.


Golden Eagle

golden eagle

Scientific name: Aquila chrysaetos
Lifespan: up to 30 years
Wingspan: 70.8-90.1 in
Found In: Central and North Texas

North Texas is lucky to see one of North America’s largest eagle species, the golden eagle. This enormous bird can be seen throughout the year in the most northern parts of the state. It breeds in Texas from early February to November.

As you move south, you will find golden eagles spending winter in those parts, from early October to mid-March.

Golden eagles are one of the largest, fastest, and most agile birds of prey in North America. 

They can be identified by their overall dark brown plumage and the lighter golden-brown color of their napes.

Their agility and speed together with powerful feet and large, sharp talons allow golden eagles to hunt rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, and other animals like prairie dogs.


Turkey Vulture

turkey vulture

Scientific name: Cathartes aura
Lifespan: 16 years in the wild
Wingspan: 63–72 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

This North Texas bird is the largest vulture found in the state and can be seen in northern parts during summer. 

Since the carcass freezes during winter in the northern part of its range, a turkey vulture will migrate into the southern parts of the United States and into South America.

The turkey vulture is also known as the turkey buzzard (or just buzzard) and got its original name due to its resemblance to a wild turkey.

They are a familiar sight in the Texas sky; you will recognize turkey vultures by their bald heads, dark plumage, and long, broad wings. 

These birds have an impressive wingspan of around 67.5 in and are bigger than other raptors, except eagles and condors. 

Some wildlife experts estimate a population of over 18 million birds. 

If you decide to go after turkey vultures, look for them in the open areas including mixed farmland, forest, and rangeland. 

They are gregarious birds that roost in large community groups with several hundred individuals. You might be able to spot them sitting in trees on the sides of roads waiting for their next meal.

Turkey vultures might be big and look scary, but they do a great service across the US by removing dead animals and preventing the transmission of any diseases those dead animals could have carried.

They can eat and digest carcasses tainted with anthrax, tuberculosis, and rabies, without getting sick because of their extremely strong stomach acids.


Great Horned Owl

great horned owl

Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
Lifespan: 15-25 years
Wingspan: 35.8-60.2 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The great horned owl is the largest owl in the state and can be seen throughout the year in North Texas. It measures almost two feet in length and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds. 

The great horned owl is also the largest North American owl and can be found in mountains, grasslands, conifer forests, deserts, chaparrals, and many other habitats. 

It has the most diverse diet of all North American raptors.

It is a very aggressive hunter that preys on rabbits, hares, rats, mice, voles, other small mammals, larger mid-sized mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. 

It might occasionally even attack larger prey, including raptors such as ospreys, Peregrine falcons, prairie falcons, and other owls. 

The great horned owl relies on its acute hearing and excellent eyesight to locate the prey. It will then fly in near silence to catch the unsuspecting animal by surprise.

In case you see a great horned owl in person, you will notice long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow eyes, and a deep hooting call. It has a gray-brown plumage with a mottled pattern and a white patch at the throat. 

Great horned owls are monogamous birds and may stay together for over five years, sometimes even for a lifetime.


Killdeer

killdeer

Scientific name: Charadrius vociferus
Lifespan: up to 11 years
Wingspan: 18-25 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

Killdeer is a large plover that has a slender body, large, round head, large eyes, and a short bill.  

You can see this shorebird without going to the beach, often around lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots in North Texas. It is commonly found throughout the year in the state.

You will recognize the killdeer by its brown plumage above, white bellow, and slender wings with conspicuous white wing stripes at their base. Notice the bold white wing stripes at the base of the flight feathers.

It is a master of distraction that might fake a ‘broken-wing‘ where it flutters along the ground in a show of injury, to distract predators from its nest.

Killdeer is an omnivore that feeds on insects, including beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, fly larvae, spiders, earthworms, centipedes, crayfish, snails, and some seeds.

These conspicuous birds got their name from the loud piercing calls that sound a little like “kill-deer, kill-deer”.


Belted Kingfisher

belted kingfisher

Scientific name: Megaceryle alcyon
Lifespan: 6-14 years
Wingspan: 19-23 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The belted kingfisher is a large, conspicuous water kingfisher that is native to North America. 

It has a large head, a shaggy crest on the top and back of the head, and a straight, thick, pointed beak. The upper plumage is blue-gray while the underparts are white. 

Belted kingfishers are very territorial and males will often chase intruders away.

If you go looking for belter kingfishers, visit rivers, ponds, streams, and lakes. These birds can be seen the whole year in northern parts of Texas.

You will often hear them before you see them – listen for their distinct and loud rattling or chattering call. 

Belted Kingfishers have two fused toes which can also help distinguish these blue-winged birds from others. 

They are carnivores that dive to catch fish and crayfish with their heavy beaks. They will also eat mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and lizards. 

Belted kingfishers can’t digest bones and will regurgitate the undigested pieces as pellets, similar to owls.


Bufflehead

bufflehead

Scientific name: Bucephala albeola
Lifespan: 2.5 years
Wingspan: 22 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

This small sea duck has a white body, black back, glossy black-green head, and a large white patch at the back of the head. 

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas holds the record for the largest number of buffleheads of any state with around 4,300 of these birds seen there during winter. 

In North Texas, buffleheads are common from November through March.

Some of these beautiful white birds might even end up in Hawaii as part of their migration. 

You will find them spending half the time underwater while foraging. Look for birds with a gray bill and pink legs and feet. 

Buffleheads are monogamous birds, staying with the same partner for many years. 

They are omnivorous and feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and some plants.


Mallard

mallards

Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Wingspan: 32-37.4 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

Mallard is a large duck and the ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds. 

You will find it near shallow ponds and lakes in northern parts of Texas throughout the year. 

They are easy to recognize as males have dark green heads and white collars while females and juveniles have a mottled brown plumage with orange bills with brown spots. 

Females make a duck-like quack, males do not. Instead, males produce deeper, raspier one and two-note calls or rattling sounds by rubbing their bills against their flight feathers. 

A male mallard is called a drake and the female is a hen. 

These North Texas birds fly fast and swim well – they have a 3 ft wide wingspan and can reach a top speed of 70 mph! 

Mallards are omnivorous and eat plants and small fish, insects, frogs, and fish eggs.


Lesser Scaup

lesser scaup
ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific name: Aythya affinis
Lifespan: up to 18 years
Wingspan: 27-31 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The lesser scaup is a small North American diving duck. During summer this black and white bird can be seen in Northern Colorado

When the winter comes, it will migrate into Texas, among other states. 

Look for black and white plumage, iridescent black head (green or purple in the right light), white sides, black rump, and black and white barred back. 

Lesser scaups also have bluish beaks and yellow eyes. 

If you live in Northern Texas, look for large flocks of birds around lakes, ponds, and rivers from late fall to early spring. 

Lesser scaups are the most widespread species of diving ducks in North America, with an estimated population of slightly under 4 million.


Barn Swallow

barn swallow

Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
Lifespan: 4 years
Wingspan: 12.5-13.5 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

Barn swallows are the most widespread species of swallow in the world. They will move from their North American breeding ground around early fall and migrate to Central and South America. 

If you live in northern Texas, look for barn swallows during the summer months. They are common in open areas, parks, and fields; barn swallows will often nest on the eaves of buildings.

You will identify them by their blue heads and wings, rusty-orange throats and foreheads, and pale orange chests and undersides. They also have long, slender, and deeply forked tails that are a little less prominent in females.

The legend says that barn swallows stole fire from the gods and gave it to people. Gods became so angry that they threw a firebrand at the bird, burning its middle tail feathers.

Barn swallows are one of the largest swallow species found in Maryland and one of many blue birds found in Pennsylvania.


American Robin

american robin

Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Lifespan: 2 years
Wingspan: 12-16 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

This migratory songbird is a common sight on lawns, backyards, and open woodlands of Northern Texas year-round.

The American robin is a beautiful bird with a blackish head, dark gray upperparts, and bright rust-colored breast. It also has a short beak that has a bright color, mostly orange-yellowish, and a gray tip. 

Look for it among large flocks of birds, sometimes up to 10,000 individuals. 

The American robin is the state bird for Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. 

American robins are omnivores and will also eat earthworms, caterpillars, and insects.


Northern Mockingbird

northern mockingbird

Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
Lifespan: up to 8 years
Wingspan: 12-15 in
Found In: Throughout Texas

The northern mockingbird is a state bird of Texas. In northern parts of the state, this bird is common year-round. Look for northern mockingbirds in open areas, old fields, and roadsides; they will often perch on wires. 

These extremely aggressive birds are easy to spot by their gray plumage with whitish underparts and a long tail. In case you see one while it’s flying, notice the large white patches on the black wings and tail. 

The Latin name of this bird translates to “many-tongued mimic;” a northern mockingbird can imitate chirps of up to 35 species and learn over 200 different songs in its lifetime. 

They can imitate sounds of rusty hinges, whistling, cackling hens, and dogs barking so well that you couldn’t tell a difference even with an electronic analysis.

It is the only species out of 16 with the name “mockingbird” that is native to the United States. 

Northern mockingbirds are very territorial and very good at breeding – scientists once recorded a female that managed to lay 27 eggs in a single season! 

They are omnivores that feed on fruit, seeds, berries, and small insects.

Northern mockingbirds are also one of our 25+ examples of Southern California birds.


Red-headed Woodpecker

red-headed woodpecker

Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Lifespan: 10-12 years in the wild
Wingspan: 14-17 in
Found In: North, Central, and East Texas

This medium-sized woodpecker is common around parks and woodlands of North Texas throughout the year.

The red-headed woodpecker is a conspicuous bird with a black back, white wing patches and underparts, and a brilliant red head.

To catch the insects, the red-headed woodpecker will hammer at the tree bark, catch them in flight, or hunt for them on the ground. It is an omnivore that also feeds on seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and occasionally small rodents.

Red-headed woodpeckers are one of the four species of North American woodpeckers that store food by covering it with wood or bark. They will stuff it in tree cavities, crevices, and under tree bark.

These woodpeckers are also common in East Tennessee.


Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker

Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
Lifespan: up to 11 years
Wingspan: 10-12 in 
Found In: Northern, Central, and Eastern Texas

Downy woodpeckers can be seen around backyard feeders, parks, and woodlots of the northernmost parts of Texas year-round.

To identify the smallest species of woodpeckers in nature, notice the black color of the upperparts and wings, white backs, throats, and bellies, and white spottings on the wings of downy woodpeckers. 

You can also see one white bar above and below the eyes. Adult males have red patches on the back of their heads. 

They can hit the tree bark over 10 times per second and have special feathers around their nostrils to save them from breathing in wood chips. 

Downy woodpeckers are omnivores that mostly feed on insects, beetle larvae, ants, and caterpillars, but also berries, acorns, and grains. 

Look for them around bird feeders, they will often eat suet and black oil sunflower seeds and occasionally drink from hummingbird feeders. 

Downy woodpeckers are monogamous and the pair will together prepare a nest in the tree. The female will then lay from 3 to 8 eggs.

Read More: 25+ examples of birds of Central Texas


Summary

This concludes our list of birds in North Texas. 

Examples of North Texas birds include the beautiful painted bunting, the migratory barn swallow, the enormous bald and golden eagle, the small ruby-crowned kinglets, and many others.

Next time you see any of these birds in person, you should be able to recognize them with ease!

And if you enjoyed our article, here are our other popular reads on birds: 22+ examples of birds that have blue color on their wings and 25+ North California birds.

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