20 Small Birds In Michigan (Photos, Facts, And Size Comparison!)

If you’re looking for help to identify small birds in Michigan, this will be the best article you read today. 

In this post, you will find photos, identification info, calls, songs, size information, and all the fun information you need. 

Examples of small birds in Michigan birds include the downy woodpecker, brown creeper, cerulean warbler, marsh wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, northern parula, common yellowthroat, and many others. 

The smallest bird in Michigan is the ruby-throated hummingbird with a wingspan of 3.1-4.3 inches, length of 2.8-3.6 inches, and a weight of just 0.07-0.2 ounces!

Here are all 20 of them.

Small Birds In Michigan

BirdWingspanLengthMass
Downy Woodpecker9.8-12.2 in 5.5-7.1 in0.7-1.16 oz
Eastern Phoebe10.2-11 in5.5-6.7 in 0.6-0.7 oz
Red-breasted Nuthatch8.5 in4.5 in0.35 oz
Black-capped Chickadee6.3–8.3 in 4.7–5.9 in0.32–0.49 oz
Boreal Chickadee8.25 in5–5.5 in 0.35 oz
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher7.1–7.9 in 5.1–5.9 in0.3–0.6 oz
Brown Creeper6.7–7.9 in 4.7–5.5 in 0.2–0.3 oz
Cerulean Warbler7.9 in4.3 in0.28–0.35 oz
Common Yellowthroat5.9–7.5 in4.3–5.1 in0.3 oz
LeConte’s sparrow 7.1 in 4.7 in0.4-0.6 oz
Northern Parula6.3-7.1 in 4.3-4.9 in 0.18-0.39 oz
Ruby-crowned Kinglet6.3-7.1 in 3.5-4.3 in0.2-0.4 oz
Golden-crowned Kinglet6.3-7.1 in 3.1-4.3 in0.14-0.28 oz
Marsh Wren5.5-7 in3.9–5.5 in 0.3–0.5 oz
White-Eyed Vireo6.7 in 4.3-5.1 in 0.3-0.5 oz
Blue-gray gnatcatcher6.3 in3.9–5.1 in 0.18–0.25 oz
Winter Wren4.7–6.3 in 3.1–4.7 in0.3–0.4 oz
House Wren5.9 in4.3-5.1 in 0.35-0.42 oz
Sedge Wren4.7-5.5 in3.9-4.7 in 0.25-0.35 oz
Ruby-throated Hummingbird3.1-4.3 in 2.8-3.5 in 0.071-0.21 oz
Small Birds In Michigan – Size Comparison

Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker
  • Scientific Name: Picoides pubescens 
  • Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in
  • Length: 5.5-7.1 in
  • Weight: 0.7-1.16 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Downy woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker species in Michigan and entire North America.

They measure as little as 5.5 inches in length and weigh as little as 0.7 oz.

Identify downy woodpeckers by their black upperparts and wings, white backs, throats, bellies, and white spottings on the wings. 

They also have one white bar above and below the eyes; adult males have red patches on the back of their heads. 

Downy woodpeckers are permanent residents of Michigan and can be seen in forests, parks, and gardens throughout the year.

Their most common call is a short “pik” and they also make rattle-calls. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They have special feathers around their nostrils to save them from breathing in wood chips. 

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

Attract these tiny woodpeckers to your backyard by adding suet and black oil sunflower seeds to your feeder. 

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


Eastern Phoebe 

eastern phoebe
  • Scientific Name: Sayornis phoebe
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11 in
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in 
  • Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Eastern phoebes are small migratory songbirds with medium-long tails and conspicuous heads. 

They span from 10 to 11 inches across the wings and can weigh as little as 0.6 oz. 

Identify eastern phoebes by their gray upperparts, light underparts, and two buff bars on each wing. 

Eastern phoebes are breeding residents of Michigan and can be seen there from spring to fall, statewide.

They breed from April to July and can be commonly found in woods, suburbs, parks, and water. 

Around September/October, these tiny members of the flycatcher family will migrate to winter in southern Gulf Coast states and southernmost Atlantic Coast states. 

Eastern phoebes got their name from the two-noted “fee-bee” song; listen for their sharp “chip” calls. 

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

They like to sit upright and will often pump (wag) their tail after landing. 

Eastern phoebes tend to avoid open areas and prefer spots under trees, brushy areas, and overhangs. 

These birds will use mud, grass, and moss to build their nests and will attach them to the sides of limestone outcroppings or under rock ledges. 

They usually have two broods per year, and each clutch will have 2-6 eggs. 

Eastern phoebes are omnivores and feed on insects and some fruits.


Red-breasted Nuthatch 

red-breasted nuthatch
  • Scientific Name: Sitta canadensis 
  • Wingspan: 8.5 in
  • Length: 4.5 in 
  • Weight: 0.35 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Red-breasted nuthatches are the smallest nuthatch species found in Michigan.

These tiny birds measure as little as 4.5 inches long, span 8.5 inches across the wings, and weigh 0.35 ounces.

Identify red-breasted nuthatches by their blue-gray upperparts, cinnamon-orange underparts, white throats, and black stripes over the eyes. 

They also have straight gray beaks, long toes and claws, white supercilium (eyebrow), and black crowns. 

Red-breasted nuthatches are permanent residents of Michigan and can be seen there year-round; some populations in the southern parts of the Lower Peninsula may only winter there.

The song of red-breasted nuthatches consists of a slowly repeated series of clear and rising notes that sound like “een-een-een“.

These very small songbirds can be also recognized by their high-pitched, nasal, and weak “yank-yank” call. 

Source: National Park Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Unlike their cousins, white-breasted nuthatches who prefer living in deciduous forests, red-breasted nuthatches can be mainly seen in coniferous woods and mountains of Michigan.

They feed on insects and seeds, especially from conifers. 

Red-breasted nuthatches will hoard excess food by wedging nuts into the bark and then hammering them in with their beaks.


Black-capped Chickadee 

black-capped chickadee
  • Scientific Name: Poecile atricapillus 
  • Wingspan: 6.3–8.3 in
  • Length: 4.7–5.9 in
  • Weight: 0.32–0.49 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Black-capped chickadees are one of the most beloved songbirds of Michigan.

These small backyard birds have short necks, large heads, and buffy flanks.

Identify black-capped chickadees by their gray upperparts, white underparts, black caps and bibs, and white cheeks.

Black-capped chickadees are permanent residents of Michigan and can be seen there throughout the year, around woodlands, forests, and gardens.

They breed from April to early August and have one clutch of 5-10 white eggs with brownish spots.

Pairs are usually monogamous and may remain together for several breeding seasons. In the early spring, the male will even feed the female.

As the name suggests, black-capped chickadees got their name for the black caps on their heads and the distinctive “chickadee-dee-dee” calls. If you hear more “dee” notes, that means the bird is giving you a warning call.

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Their song is a simple and clear two-note whistle that sounds like “fee-bee“.

Black-capped chickadees are the state birds of Massachusetts and Maine in the US and the provincial birds of New Brunswick in Canada. 

They are also one of the more useful birds in the orchard and forest as they eat different pests, including insect eggs, larvae, weevils, lice, sawflies, and also some snails, slugs, and spiders.

These nonmigratory songbirds might visit your backyard.

Attract black-capped chickadees to your feeder by adding sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, peanut butter, and mealworms, and enjoy their inquisitive behavior and friendly demeanor.


Boreal Chickadee 

Boreal chickadee
  • Scientific Name: Poecile hudsonicus
  • Wingspan: 8.25 in  
  • Length: 4.9–5.5 in
  • Weight: 0.25–0.44 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Upper Peninsula 

Boreal chickadees are the smallest chickadee species found in Michigan. 

They are 4.9-5.7 inches long and weigh as little as 0.25 ounces; their wingspan is around 8.25 inches. 

Identify boreal chickadees by their gray-brown upperparts, white underparts, brown flanks, brown caps, and gray wings and tails. 

Boreal chickadees are permanent residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and can be seen there year-round. 

They inhabit boreal forests and breed from early May until August. 

Pairs mate for life, nest in tree holes, and lay 5-7 white eggs with red spots. 

Boreal chickadees’ most common call is a raspy “tschick-a-dee-dee” but they might also make some low garblings, short chirps, and squeals. 

They forage in small flocks on conifer branches, feeding on insects and conifer seeds; they will also store different foods in trees for winter. 

This behavior is known as caching and includes caching insect larvae and some spruce seeds.


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Source: ALAN SCHMIERER from southeast AZ, USA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
  • Scientific Name: Empidonax flaviventris
  • Wingspan: 7.1–7.9 in
  • Length: 5.1–5.9 in 
  • Weight: 0.3–0.6 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Upper and Northern Lower Peninsula

Yellow-bellied flycatchers are small flycatchers with short tails and small beaks. 

They measure 5.1-5.9 inches long, span 7.1-7.9 inches across the wings, and weigh as little as 0.3 ounces – this makes them one of the smaller birds of Michigan.

Identify yellow-bellied flycatchers by their green upperparts, yellow underparts, black wings with white bars, and white/yellow eye rings. 

Yellow-bellied flycatchers are breeding residents of the Upper and northern parts of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

They breed in boreal coniferous forests, bogs, swamps, and peatlands and then migrate to winter in southern Mexico and Central America. 

Yellow-bellied flycatchers have a rough song that resembles “tse-berk” while their call is a rising whistled “tu-wee“. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As the name suggests, these small birds in Michigan love to perch on trees and fly out and catch insects in the air. They are omnivores and also feed on seeds and berries. 


Brown Creeper 

brown creeper
  • Scientific Name: Certhia americana
  • Wingspan: 6.7–7.9 in 
  • Length: 4.7–5.5 in 
  • Weight: 0.2–0.3 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Brown creepers are extremely small songbirds and the only members of the treecreeper family called Certhiidae found in the USA.

They are so small that they can weigh as little as 0.2 ounces! 

Identify brown creepers by their brown upperparts with light spots, white underparts, thin slightly downcurved beaks, and broad stripes over the eye (supercilium). 

Such plumage camouflages these tiny birds well and makes them look like a piece of bark from distance.

Brown creepers are permanent residents found throughout Michigan; some populations in the southernmost parts of the Lower Peninsula might only winter there. 

Only the males sing and the song consists of high, thin notes that sound like “pee-pee-willow-wee“. Brown creepers’ call is a high-pitched “swee“. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They breed in coniferous forests, typically starting in April, and lay 3-7 eggs that both parents raise. 

They are omnivores that mainly feed on insects, spiders, and seeds. 

Attract brown creepers to your backyard by adding seeds and suet to your feeder.


Cerulean Warbler 

cerulean warbler
Source: DiaGraphic, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (edited)
  • Scientific Name: Setophaga cerulea
  • Wingspan: 7.9 in 
  • Length: 4.3 in 
  • Weight: 0.28–0.35 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Lower Peninsula

Cerulean warblers are small songbirds that breed in eastern North America.

They are one of the smallest species of wood-warblers and measure about 4.3 inches in length, weigh 0.28–0.35 ounces, and have a wingspan of just 7.9 inches!

Identify male cerulean warblers by blue and white upperparts, black necklaces across the breasts, and black streaks on the backs and flanks; females are blue-green above, yellow underneath, and have distinct pale supercilium (eyebrow) above the eyes. 

These tiny warblers might be difficult to spot since they forage, sing, nest, and roost high in the canopy of mature forests. 

Cerulean warblers are breeding residents of southern parts of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and can be seen there from sprint to fall.

They breed in hardwood forests of the state and when the winter comes, they migrate south to wintering grounds in Andean mountain forests, in countries ranging from Colombia south to Bolivia. 

Cerulean warblers have one of the longest migrations of any small migratory bird and can travel almost 2,500 miles from breeding to nonbreeding grounds. 

Listen for the song of cerulean warblers, a buzzed accelerating “zray-zray-zree” and their main call, a buzzy “zzee“. They are very vocal and can also imitate the songs of other birds. 

Source: Taylor SturmCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The population of these migrant songbirds is declining and they are now considered threatened. 

Cerulean warblers are insectivores (carnivores) that primarily feed on insects such as flies, beetles, weevils, and caterpillars.


Common Yellowthroat 

common yellowthroat
  • Scientific Name: Geothlypis trichas
  • Wingspan: 5.9–7.5 in
  • Length: 4.3–5.1 in 
  • Weight: 0.3 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Common yellowthroats are small songbirds with rounded heads and medium-long, slightly rounded tails. 

They have a smaller wingspan than cerulean warblers and measure 5.9-7.5 inches across the wings.

Identify common yellowthroats by their brown plumage, black facial masks, and yellow throats and undertails; females have no masks.

Common yellowthroats are breeding residents found statewide in Michigan from May to September, around marshes, prairies, forests, and backyards.

Towards the end of fall, they will migrate to winter in the southern US and South America.

The song of common yellowthroats is a loud “twichety-twichety-twichety-twich,” while their call is a soft “jip.” 

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

They are also known as yellow bandits and will spend much of their time darting low in dense thickets and fields, catching small insects and spiders.

Common yellowthroats love to nest around low areas of vegetation. They will build a cup-shaped nest and lay 3–5 eggs with both parents feeding the chicks.

They are also one of our several examples of songbirds found in Minnesota.


Northern Parula 

northern parula
  • Scientific Name: Setophaga americana
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in 
  • Length: 4.3-4.9 in 
  • Weight: 0.18-0.39 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula

Northern parulas are very small birds with short tails and thin, pointy beaks. 

They are one of the smallest North American migratory warblers; shorter than common yellowthroats, and measure 0.1 inches less than them, on average. 

Identify northern parulas by their blue-gray upperparts, olive-green backs, yellow underparts, broken white eye arcs, and yellowish beaks and feet. 

Northern parulas are acrobatic songbirds that are common during summer in forests and suburbs of the entire Upper Peninsula and northernmost parts of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. 

They have two different songs: one is a rising buzzy trill that ends on a sharp note while the other has distinct pauses in between bouts of the trill. They also emit a sharp “chip” call.

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Northern parulas are monogamous warblers with rare cases of polygamy. 

They are omnivores that consume insects, spiders, and some berries.


LeConte’s sparrow 

LeConte's sparrow
Source: ALAN SCHMIERER from southeast AZ, USA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
  • Scientific Name: Ammospiza leconteii
  • Wingspan: 7.1 in
  • Length: 4.7 in 
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Upper Peninsula

LeConte’s sparrows are one of the smallest New World sparrows found in Michigan and entire North America. 

They measure just 4.7 inches in length, weigh as little as 0.4 oz, and span 7.1 inches across the wings! 

Identify LeConte’s sparrows by yellow-orange faces, silvery cheeks, spotted grayish napes, white bellies, and wings with black streaks. 

They were discovered by an American ornithologist John James Audubon who named the species after his friend, doctor LeConte. 

LeConte’s sparrows are breeding residents of the Upper Peninsula and can be seen there from spring to fall. They inhabit fields, prairies, marshy edges, and meadows with grasses and sedges.

Since they tend to stay rather hidden, the best way to identify them is by vocalizations.

Male LeConte’s sparrows have a buzzy song that ends with a short chirp and is described as “tika-zzzzz-tik“. The call is a short “tsip“. 

These tiny birds are omnivores and mainly feed on insects and spiders during summer and seeds during winter. 

They begin breeding around the end of April, have a clutch of 2-6 whiteish eggs with brown dots, and the females are the ones to incubate the eggs. 

Brown-headed cowbirds will often lay eggs in their nests for these sparrows to raise (brood parasitism).


Ruby-crowned Kinglet 

ruby crowned kinglet
  • Scientific Name: Regulus calendula
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in 
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in 
  • Weight: 0.2-0.4 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Upper Peninsula

Ruby-crowned kinglets are extremely small songbirds.

They are one of the shortest birds in Michigan with an average length of 3.9 inches and a weight of just 0.3 ounces.

Identify ruby-crowned kinglets by their olive-green colors and two white wing bars and white eye-rings. Males also have red crown patches, which are usually concealed. 

Ruby-crowned kinglets are breeding residents of the Upper Peninsula and can be seen there from spring to fall.

They breed in coniferous forests, from May to August, and then migrate to winter in the southern United States and Mexico.

Despite their miniature size, they make very loud and complex sounds. 

Ruby-crowned kinglets’ song lasts around 5 seconds and has three parts: high pitched “zee-zee” notes, low “turr” trills, and repeated “tee-da-leet” phrase. Their call is a harsh, fast, two-parted scold. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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


Golden-crowned Kinglet 

Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Scientific Name: Regulus satrapa
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in 
  • Length: 3.1-4.3 in 
  • Weight: 0.14-0.28 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Golden-crowned kinglets are one of the smallest passerines (perching birds) found in North America. 

Compared to the related ruby-crowned kinglets, the golden-crowned kinglets are smaller, shorter, and almost 2 times lighter. 

Identify golden-crowned kinglets by their olive-gray upperparts, white underparts, thin beaks, short tails, white wing bars, black stripes over their eyes, and yellow crowns on top of their heads. 

Golden-crowned kinglets are breeding residents in Upper Peninsula, permanent residents in the Northern Lower Peninsula, and non-breeding residents in its central and southern parts.

They can be seen around forests and gardens, often in mixed flocks with other songbirds in different wooded habitats. 

Look for them around small groups of pine, cedar, and cypress trees.

Golden-crowned kinglets are active foragers in trees and shrubs; their diet consists of insects, insect eggs, and spiders. 

They are noted for their remarkable ability to survive cold weather and temperatures as low as -40°F.

Golden-crowned kinglets’ song consists of a series of very high-pitched “tsee” notes.

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Marsh Wren 

marsh wren
  • Scientific Name: Cistothorus palustris
  • Wingspan: 5.5-7 in
  • Length: 3.9–5.5 in
  • Weight: 0.3–0.5 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Marsh wrens are tiny North American songbirds. 

Identify them by their brown upperparts, black backs with white stripes, light brown bellies and flanks, and white throats and breasts. 

Marsh wrens are breeding residents found throughout Michigan, usually from April to September. 

They breed in marshes with tall vegetations from May to July and have a clutch of 3-10 eggs that females incubate. 

After that, they migrate to Southern US and Mexico. 

Marsh wrens are carnivorous and have a diet consisting of insects, spiders, and snails. 

Identify them by the song of males consisting of rapid series of gurgling and buzzy trills. They also use alarm calls that sound like “chit” and different nasal calls when flying.

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


White-Eyed Vireo 

white-eyed vireo
Source: nate steiner, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Vireo griseus
  • Wingspan: 6.7 in 
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in 
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz 
  • Range In Michigan: Southern parts of Michigan

White-eyed vireos are extremely small songbirds that were named after their white irises.

Identify white-eyed vireos by their olive-green upperparts, white underparts, yellow foreheads, green sides, gray necks, and dark wings.

White-eyed vireos are breeding residents of Michigan found in woodlands and brushy forest undergrowths of its southernmost parts.

These shy birds love to stay in tree understory and out of sight but will sing the whole day to let you know they are there.

White-eyed vireos have a song that consists of rapid 6-7 notes that start and end with a sharp “chick“. They also have several calls, including short “zips” and harsh “mews“.

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

They are omnivores that mainly feed on insects during summer and add berries to their diets when the winter comes. 

They have an interesting way of bathing: white-eyed vireos will rub their bodies against wet leaves in the morning.

They are one of many native birds of Florida; check the full list here.


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 

blue gray gnatcatcher
  • Scientific Name: Polioptila caerulea
  • Wingspan: 6.3 in
  • Length: 3.9–5.1 in 
  • Weight: 0.18–0.25 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Lower Peninsula

Blue-gray gnatcatchers are very small songbirds native to North America.

When the breeding season comes, males will develop dark, V-shaped “eyebrow markings” that make them look like they are constantly annoyed. 

Identify male blue-gray gnatcatchers by the pale blue-gray heads and upperparts and white underparts. Females are less blue, while juveniles are greenish-gray. If you look closer, you will notice a white ring around the eyes.

Blue-gray gnatcatchers are breeding residents of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and can be commonly seen around open woods, oaks, pines, thickets, and urban areas of the state, from spring to fall.

They nest in trees and both partners participate in construction. 

Blue-gray gnatcatchers will use grass, weeds, plant fibers, and strips of bark as the basic material and spider web to bind it all together.

After breeding in open deciduous woods and shrublands, they migrate to winter in Southern USA, Mexico, Central America, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands.

Listen for their “szpree-zpree-spreeeeey-spree-spre-sprzrreeeee” songs and high-pitched, nasal calls that sound like “zkreee-zkreee-zkreee.”

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Blue-gray gnatcatchers are monogamous and stay with their partners for life. Males can be particularly aggressive and will chase larger birds away from feeding areas or their nesting territory. 


Winter Wren 

winter wren
  • Scientific Name: Troglodytes hiemalis
  • Wingspan: 4.7–6.3 in 
  • Length: 3.1–4.7 in
  • Weight: 0.3–0.4 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Winter wrens are tiny, short-tailed wrens with a very strong voice. 

Their scientific name “troglodytes” comes from the Greek word meaning “cave dweller” and refers to the birds’ habit of using cavities to roost and entering different crevices while hunting spiders.

Identify winter wrens by rufous-brown upperparts, grayish underparts, and brown barrings on the wings, tails, and bellies. 

Winter wrens are breeding residents of Michigan and can be seen in most parts of the state; in the south, they might be only seen as they move through.

They breed in coniferous forests and lay 5-8 whitish eggs. They then migrate to spend the winter in Southeastern Canada and Eastern US. 

Winter wrens are omnivorous and have a diet consisting of insects and spiders; during winter, they will also consume some seeds.

Identify male winter wrens by their beautiful bubbly song that lasts around 10 seconds and consists of various bell-like notes. Their call is a dry low “chimp“.

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


House Wren 

house wren
  • Scientific Name: Troglodytes aedon
  • Wingspan: 5.9 in 
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in 
  • Weight: 0.35-0.42 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

House wrens are common small backyard birds that were named after their tendency to nest around human homes. 

They measure as little as 4.3 inches in length and can weigh less than 0.4 ounces.

These tiny songbirds have flat heads, curved beaks, pinkish or gray legs, and short tails that are usually held cocked. 

Identify house wrens also by their brown upperparts, grayish underparts, and barrings on the wings and tails.

House wrens are breeding residents of Michigan and can be seen from spring to fall around forests, fields, and gardens of the state.

They are known for their rush-and-jumble songs. House wrens will often make different harsh sounds: churrs, chatters, rattles, and scolds. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to attract house wrens to your yard, all you need to do is to add a birdhouse; they rarely visit bird feeders and prefer hunting insects.

There are 32 subspecies of house wrens in total. 

Among other places, these birds are also common in Northern California, Central Florida, and Northeast Ohio.


Sedge Wren 

sedge wren
Source: Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Cistothorus stellaris
  • Wingspan: 4.7-5.5 in 
  • Length: 3.9-4.7 in
  • Weight: 0.25-0.35 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Sedge wrens are one of the smallest birds found in Michigan. 

They can measure as little as 3.9 inches in length and weigh under 0.3 ounces!

These miniature and secretive perching birds love to forage low in vegetation or on the ground, which might make them difficult to spot. 

Identify sedge wrens by their streaky black, white, gray, and brown upperparts, pale buff underparts, and light brown eyebrows. 

Sedge wrens are breeding residents of Michigan and can be seen there from spring to fall, arriving around April and leaving around September.

Similar to other wrens, males will build several nests; a female will choose one, line it with vegetation, and lay the eggs there.

They inhabit meadows and wet grasslands during their breeding season; they migrate to spend winters in southern parts of the USA, ranging from Texas to Virginia. 

Male sedge wrens have a simple song that consists of several sharp notes and ends with a trill; the most common call is a sharp “tchap“. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They are ground foragers and mainly feed on spiders and insects, including moths, flies, and grasshoppers. 


Ruby-throated Hummingbird 

ruby-throated hummingbird
  • Scientific Name: Archilochus colubris
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in 
  • Length: 2.8-3.5 in 
  • Weight: 0.071-0.21 oz
  • Range In Michigan: Throughout Michigan

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the smallest birds in Michigan.

They can measure as little as 2.8 inches in length, span 3.1 inches across the wings, and weigh as little as 0.07 ounces which is less than a penny!

Identify male ruby-throated hummingbirds by their metallic emerald 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. 

They also have long and narrow beaks that are perfect for sipping nectar from deep inside flowers; the beaks are black and take almost ¼ of their entire body length!

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are breeding residents of Michigan and can be seen in the state from spring to fall. Look for them from May to September.

First to arrive will be males, one or two weeks before the females, from late April to May. They remain in the state until September before moving south to winter in Central America, Mexico, and Florida.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds have several calls: they make squeaky “chirps” to warn others when entering their territory and quick “tik-tik” sounds with wings when courting females.

Source: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

They also move very quickly, around 25 mph, and will beat their wing over 50 times per second.

These birds are mostly solitary, except during the rather short breeding season.

Attract these incredible birds with orange-red necks to your backyard by setting up hummingbird feeders or planting tubular flowers. They are quite bold and might even feed at hanging plants and feeders on your porch or next to your windows!


Summary

This concludes our list of small birds in Michigan. 

Examples include several types of wrens, hummingbirds, kinglets, woodpeckers, flycatchers, 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: List of smallest birds found in Texas

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