Top 33 Backyard Birds In Arizona (Free ID Chart)

Backyard Birds Arizona ID Chart

Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Arizona?

Well, this guide will help you to find out how to identify these birds by sight and sound and what time of year you can spot them in Arizona. Also, get a free ID chart to print with the most common backyard birds in Arizona.

White-winged Doves, Lesser Goldfinch, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are more common birds in summer in Arizona, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Anna’s Hummingbirds are more common birds in winter in Arizona.

Backyard birds in Arizona all year: House Finch, Mourning Dove, Lesser Goldfinch, Gila Woodpecker, Verdin, Northern Mockingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Abert’s Towhee, Say’s Phoebe, Great-tailed Grackle, Black Phoebe, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, House Sparrow, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Northern Flicker, Northern Cardinal, European Starling, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, American Robin, Western Bluebird
Backyard birds in Arizona in summer:
White-winged Dove, Brown-headed Cowbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Yellow Warbler
Backyard birds in Arizona in winter: White-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Dark-eyed Junco

These are the most common backyard birds in Arizona that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists submitted by bird watchers on ebird.

This article gives you identification information and photos to help you identify and attract more of the common backyard birds that you can spot in Arizona.

Facts About Birds in Arizona

The Cactus Wren is the state bird of Arizona.  This bird was chosen in 1931 after a campaign by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.  The Cactus Wren is only found in desert areas and builds an interesting football-shaped nest with a tunnel entrance.

There are 561 species of bird recorded in Arizona, according to ebird.  Some of the highlight birds in Arizona include Elegant Trogon, Magnificent Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Red Crossbill, Great Blue Heron, Greater Roadrunner, Great Egret, Pyrrhuloxia, Neotropic Cormorant, Green-winged Teal, Northern Harrier, Snowy Egret, Belted Kingfisher, Osprey, Great Horned Owl, Wild Turkey, Montezuma Quail, White-faced Ibis, Whiskered Screech-Owl, Hepatic Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Califonia Condor, Western Tanagers.

The biggest bird in Arizona is the California Condor, with a wingspan of up to 8 feet (3 m).  These immense black birds have white under the wings and a naked red head.

The smallest bird in Arizona is the Calliope Hummingbird which is only about 3 in long, but they can travel long distances from Canada to southern Mexico.

The most common bird in Arizona is the House Finch, which is seen in 46% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird throughout the year.

Arizona has 3 national parks, 6 national forests, 9 national wildlife refuges, and 31 state parks that offer excellent bird watching opportunities if you want to get out and watch birds in their natural environment.

Read to the end of this article to find out more about the other birds you may be able to spot if you go out birding in Arizona and how to attract and identify birds.

Free Printable Backyard Birds Worksheet for Arizona

These free bird identification ID charts have all the common backyard birds in Arizona at different times of the year. So when you want to do some backyard birding, these handy guides have pictures and space to either tick off the types of birds you have seen or keep a tally of the total number of birds.

Backyard Bird Identification Worksheet Arizona page 1
Backyard Bird Identification Worksheet Arizona page 2
Backyard Bird Identification Worksheet Arizona page 3

33 Common Backyard Birds In Arizona

1. House Finch

House Finches are residents of Arizona all year. They do not migrate and appear in 44% of summer checklists and 47% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

House Finches males have a red head and breast, and the rest of their bodies are mainly brown-streaked. Females are brown-streaked all over. 

  • Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)

Originally only in western US states, House Finches were introduced to eastern US states and have done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.

They can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders in noisy groups that are hard to miss.

House Finch Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC653352. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/653352.

House Finch Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC612573. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/612573.

Attract House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.

There are a surprising number of finches in Arizona that you can get to know.

2. White-winged Dove

White-winged dove

White-winged Doves are more commonly spotted in Arizona during the breeding season from March to September. However, some also remain in the south of the state all year. They appear in 44% of summer checklists and 7% of winter checklists.

White-winged Doves are pale gray-brown with a black line on the cheek and a white stripe on the edge of the closed wing, which is striking to see on the middle of their dark wing in flight. Males and females look the same.

  • Zenaida asiatica
  • Weight: 4.4-6.6 oz (125-187 g)
  • Wingspan: 18.9-22.8 in (48-58 cm)

White-winged Doves breed along the southern border with Mexico and are resident in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies.  Those to the north of the range may move south towards the Gulf Coast or into Mexico for winter.

You can find White-winged Doves in deserts, dense, thorny forests, woodlands, and suburban areas. Their diet is mostly grain, fruits, and large seeds, and they forage on the ground.

White-winged Dove Call:

Richard E. Webster, XC660907. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/660907.

Attract White-winged Doves to your yard with sunflower, corn, safflower, and milo on platform feeders. Also, plant native berry-producing shrubs.

3. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are spotted during the breeding season in northern Arizona and all year in the south of the state. They are recorded in 47% of summer checklists and 44% of winter checklists.

Mourning Doves are graceful small-headed birds with plump bodies and long tails. They are a soft brown color with black spots on the wings. Males are slightly heavier than females.

  • Zenaida macroura
  • Length: 9.1-13.4 in (23-34 cm)
  • Weight: 3.0 -6.0 oz (96-170 g)
  • Wingspan: 17.7 in (45 cm)

Mourning Doves are common over all of the lower 48 all year but may migrate after breeding from the north of the Midwest and southern Canada.

Mourning Doves can be seen perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and backyards. They can also be found in open areas or woodland edges.

Mourning Dove call:

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC613539. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/613539.

Attract Mourning Doves to your backyard by scattering millet on the ground or platform feeders. They will also eat black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.

4. Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch male

Lesser Goldfinches spend the breeding season in northern Arizona, but they also remain in the south of the state all year. They are recorded in 31% of summer checklists and 26% of winter checklists for the state.

Lesser Goldfinches are tiny bright yellow and black songbirds with long pointed wings and short notched tails. Females have olive backs and are more dull yellow underneath.

  • Spinus psaltria
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-11.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm)

Lesser Goldfinches live in the southwestern US states and the West Coast all year, but those that breed in the interior of western US states migrate for winter.

Lesser Goldfinches can be found in large flocks in open habitats, including thickets, weedy fields, forest clearings, parks, and gardens. They forage for seeds, especially sunflower seeds, but also fruits from elderberry, coffeeberry, and buds from cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and alders.

Lesser Goldfinch call/Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC428720. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/428720.

Attract Lesser Goldfinches to your yard with sunflower seeds and nyjer in tube feeders or platform feeders.

5. Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpeckers are spotted all year in Arizona and are mostly seen in the south of the state. They appear in 27% of summer checklists and 40% of winter checklists.

Gila Woodpeckers are barred black-and-white woodpeckers of the arid desert.  They have tan heads, and the males have a red crown patch.

  • Length: 8.7-9.4 in (22-24 cm)
  • Weight: 1.8-2.8 oz (51-79 g)
  • Wingspan: 15.8-16.5 in (40-42 cm)

They are resident in the arid deserts of the southwestern U.S, Northwest Mexico, and southern Baja California. They can often be seen and heard on a cool morning in their desert environment, often on top of a saguaro cactus.

Gila Woodpeckers feed on insects, small invertebrates, and berries.  Usually foraging in cacti and dead vegetation and sometimes foraging on the ground for earthworms. They build their nests in excavated cavities in a saguaro cactus.

To attract Gila Woodpeckers try suet feeders and tube or platform feeders with corn, fruit, and nuts.

6. White-crowned Sparrow

white-crowned sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows are winter birds in Arizona and occur in 37% of these checklists. They are usually spotted from September to May, but a few stay all year, and they appear in 4% of summer checklists.

White-crowned Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails, small bills, and bold black and white stripes on their heads.

  • Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm)

White-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south to the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. However, some may remain along the Pacific Coast and the mountainous west all year.

You can find White-crowned Sparrows in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges,  and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.

White-crowned Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC678159. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/678159.

Attract White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds, and they will also eat seeds that other birds drop at feeders.

7. Verdin

verdin

Verdins are residents of Arizona all year and are mostly spotted in the west and south of the state. They are recorded in 24% of summer checklists and 33% of winter checklists.

Verdins are tiny desert birds with a small yellow head, grayish on the back and paler on the underside.  They have small chestnut patches on the shoulder and long tails.

  • Auriparus flaviceps
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-8 g)

Verdins are resident in southwestern US states and Mexico.

You can find Verdins in desert scrub and along the steep-sided gullies, known as arroyos, with trees and shrubs such as acacias, juniper, hackberry, willows, and oaks. 

Their diet is insects and spiders, such as caterpillars, wasps, bees, and some fruit such as palm fruit, hackberry, and mesquite. They may also drink nectar from flowers.

Verdins’ Song:

Paul Marvin, XC703927. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/703927.

Attract Verdins to your yard with hummingbird feeders and flowering shrubs and any fruit-bearing native trees or shrubs, such as acacia or juniper.

8. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are mainly spotted in Arizona during winter and occur in 33% of checklists at this time.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings.

Females may be slightly brown, and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.

  • Setophaga coronata
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers breed predominantly in Canada and parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains.

During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in southern and southwestern US states and the Pacific Coast and into Mexico and Central America.

You can find Yellow-rumped Warblers in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they eat mostly insects and on migration, and in winter, they eat mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle. 

Yellow-rumped Warbler Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC602699. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/602699.

Attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.

9. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are usually spotted in Arizona during winter from October to April. They occur in 28% of checklists at this time.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are small songbirds that are olive-green, and the males have a brilliant red crown that is usually flat, so hard to see.

  • Corthylio calendula
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)

Ruby-crowned Kinglets breed in Canada and the mountainous west before migrating to southern and southwestern US states and Mexico for the winter. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be hard to spot as they are fast-moving quiet birds that flit around in the foliage of lower branches and shrubs and trees looking for spiders and insects.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC628827. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/628827.

Attract Ruby-crowned Kinglets with suet or platform feeders with hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.

10. Brown-headed Cowbird

brown headed cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbirds are frequently spotted in Arizona during summer and appear in 21% of checklists at this time. They are mainly here from April to September, but a few stay all year.

Males Brown-headed Cowbirds are larger than females, with black-bodies, brown heads, and short tails. Female Brown-headed Cowbirds are brown all over with slight streaking.

  • Molothrus ater
  • Length: 76.3-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.8 oz (42-50 g)
  • Wingspan: 14.2 in (36 cm)

Brown-headed Cowbirds remain all year in eastern US states, southern US states, and along the Pacific Coast. However, those that breed in northern and western US states and Canada migrate south for winter.

Brown-headed Cowbird Song:

Bobby Wilcox, XC645459. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/645459.

They are often considered a nuisance because they are parasite birds that destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds so they can lay their eggs in the nest and have the bird foster their chicks.

11. Black-chinned Hummingbird

black chinned hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird male
Black chinned hummingbird female
Black-chinned Hummingbird Female (credit: Gary Leavens)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds spend the breeding season in Arizona and are mainly seen from February to mid-November. They appear in 20% of summer checklists.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on the back and grayish-white underneath.  The males have a black throat with a thin iridescent purple base, and the females have a pale throat and white tips on the tail feathers.

  • Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states and migrate to western Mexico and the Gulf Coast in the winter. They eat nectar, small insects, and spiders, and their tongues can lick 13-17 times per second when feeding on nectar.

12. Northern Mockingbird

Northern mockingbird for identification

Northern Mockingbirds spend the breeding season in northern Arizona, but they are also spotted all year in the south of the state. They are recorded in 19% of summer and winter checklists.

Northern Mockingbirds are medium-sized songbirds with small heads and long tails. They are a gray-brown color and slightly paler on the underside than their back, and they have two white wingbars visible in flight.

  • Mimus polyglottos
  • Length: 8.3-10.2 in (21-26 cm)
  • Weight: 1.6-2.0 oz (45-58 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-13.8 in (31-35 cm)

Northern Mockingbirds do not migrate and can be spotted across the lower 48 and southern Canada.

They are usually seen alone or in pairs and aggressively defend their territory. A male mockingbird can learn around 200 songs in its life, copying other birds’ songs, and they can sing all through the day and into the night.

Northern Mockingbird Call/Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC654864. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/654864.

Attract more Northern Mockingbirds to your backyard by planting fruiting trees or bushes, including hawthorns, mulberries, and blackberry brambles. They don’t often visit feeders, but they will come to open lawn areas.

13. Anna’s Hummingbird

annas hummingbird male

Anna’s Hummingbirds are spotted all year in Arizona, but they are more common during the spring and fall migration. They appear in 17% of summer checklists and 28% of winter checklists.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are tiny birds that are mostly green and gray. The male’s head and throat are iridescent reddish-pink, but the female’s throat is grayish with bits of red spotting.

  • Calypte anna
  • Length: 3.9 in (10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (3-6 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.7 in (12 cm)

Unusually Anna’s Hummingbirds do not migrate, and they are the most common hummingbird along the Pacific Coast.

You can find Anna’s Hummingbirds near large colorful blossoms during the spring, and they readily visit hummingbird feeders that you can fill with homemade hummingbird nectar.

They make a dramatic dive display during courtship as the males climb up to 130 feet into the air before diving back to the ground with a burst of noise from their tail feathers.

Anna’s Hummingbird Call:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC501895. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/501895.

Attract Anna’s Hummingbirds to your backyard with nectar feeders and lots of colorful plants.

If you get a buzz out of hummingbirds, then check out all the hummingbirds in Arizona and when is best to spot them.

14. Abert’s Towhee

Abert's Towhee

Abert’s Towhees are spotted in Arizona all year. They do not migrate and appear in 16% of summer checklists and 24% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

Abert’s Towhees are large grayish-brown sparrows, about the size of a robin, with rusty colors under their tail.

  • Melozone aberti
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in (21.2-23.1 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz (42.5-54.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 10.4-11.6 in (26.5-29.5 cm)

They are found on the ground in dry habitats in dense undergrowth by desert streams and riverbeds in a very small area, predominantly in southwestern Arizona.

Abert’s Towhees forage for insects such as beetles, ants, caterpillars, cicadas, and grasshoppers. They will also eat some seeds, especially grasses, in winter.

Abert’s Towhees sounds: Male Abert’s Towhees’ song often starts with a few short notes and then speeds up.

Credit: Ross Gallardy, XC297494. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/297494.

Attract Abert’s Towhees to your yard by adding a water feature such as a birdbath and adding native plants. They will also visit ground feeders for seed.

15. Say’s Phoebe

Say's Phoebe

Say’s Phoebes spend summer in northern Arizona, but they are also spotted in the south of the state all year. However, they are most common during winter, from October to January. They appear in 10% of summer checklists and 20% of winter checklists for the state.

Say’s Phoebes are slender, long-tailed flycatchers that are brownish-gray above and with a cinnamon belly, gray breast, and blackish tail.

  • Sayornis saya
  • Length: 6.7 in (17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-0.8 oz (21-22 g)

Say’s Phoebes breed in Alaska, northwestern Canada, and the northern U.S before migrating south to southwestern states and Mexico.  Those in southern states remain all year.

You can find Say’s Phoebes in open country, including badlands, canyons, and desert borders.

Say’s Phoebe’s are flycatchers, and their diet is mostly insects such as beetles, crickets, bees, and flies. They often nest on buildings and can be seen perched on fence posts and around buildings or in their nests under an eave.

Say’s Phoebes’ song:

Paul Marvin, XC719936. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/719936.

Attract Say’s Phoebes to your yard by putting up a nest box or a shelf attached to a building to encourage nesting and plant native trees and shrubs.

16. Great-tailed Grackle

Great tailed Grackle
Male
Female

Great-tailed Grackles have been spotted in Arizona all year and appear in 20% of summer checklists and 21% of winter checklists.

Great-tailed Grackles are long slender blackbirds with impressive long tapered tails in the males. Males are iridescent black with piercing yellow eyes. Females are also long-legged and slender but are dark brown on the back and lighter brown underneath, with more slender tails.

  • Quiscalus mexicanus
  • Length: 15.0-18.1 in (38-46 cm)
  • Weight: 3.7-6.7 oz (105-190 g)
  • Wingspan: 18.9-22.8 in (48-58 cm)

Great-tailed Grackles can be found in the West and Midwest in agricultural and urban areas, generally where humans are.

Great-tailed Grackles’ diet is grains, seeds, and fruit, as well as insects and other animals such as worms, beetles, spiders, bees, slugs, and snails. They will also sometimes eat small mammals and lizards as well as eggs and nestlings.

Great-tailed Grackle sounds: They have a fantastic array of whistles, shrieks, and rattles.

Alán Palacios, XC679958. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/679958.

Great-tailed Grackles may be seen strutting across your lawn and can be attracted to seed dropping from feeders above. They will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and millet on platform feeders or large hopper feeders.

17. Black Phoebe

black phoebe

Black Phoebes are spotted in Arizona during the breeding season, but some remain in the south of the state all year. They occur in 9% of summer checklists and 20% of winter checklists.

Black Phoebes are small, plump flycatchers that are black on the back, head, and chest and white underneath. They can look gray in some light.

  • Sayornis nigricans
  • Length: 6.3 in (16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz (15-22 g)

Black Phoebes are mostly resident across Southwestern States, Mexico, and Central America. Some in the north of this range may migrate south after breeding.

You can usually find Black Phoebes near water, such as coastal areas, rivers, lakes, or ponds. They perch above the ground and wait for insects or arthropods to come along, such as beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, flies, bees, and spiders.

Black Phoebes’ song:

Paul Marvin, XC486800. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/486800.

Attract Black Phoebes to your yard by adding water features and native plants to attract insects. They may also build a nest under the eaves if there is a source of mud nearby to build their nest out of.

18. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark eyed junco for identification

Dark-eyed Juncos are frequently seen during winter in Arizona and are recorded in 19% of checklists at this time. They are mainly spotted from October to March, but some can be spotted all year and occur in 5% of summer checklists.

Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows that are different colors depending on the state. They are generally slate-colored in the east and black, white, and brown in the west.

  • Junco hyemalis
  • Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)

Dark-eyed Juncos remain resident all year in northeastern and western US states and the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to the United States.

They can be found in open and partially wooded areas, often on the ground, and are common across the continent. 

Dark-eyed Junco Song:

Credit: Bobby Wilcox, XC667170. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/667170.

Attract Dark-eyed Juncos to backyard feeders with a variety of seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Platform feeders or scattered on the ground is best.

19. White-breasted Nuthatch

White breasted nuthatch for identification

White-breasted Nuthatches are residents of Arizona all year. They do not migrate and are spotted in 17% of summer checklists and 10% of winter checklists for the state.

White-breasted Nuthatches are active little birds that are gray-blue on the back and white on the face and belly, with a black cap. They will often have a chestnut color on the lower belly and under the tail.

  • Sitta carolinensis
  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in (20-27 cm)

White-breasted Nuthatches live all year in the US and southern Canada.

You can find White-breasted Nuthatches in deciduous forests, woodland edges, parks, and yards with trees or at feeders. They mainly eat insects, including beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, ants, and also spiders.

White-breasted Nuthatches also eat seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorns, sunflower seeds, and sometimes corn crops. They jam large nuts and acorns into tree bark and then whack them with their bills to open or ‘hatch’ them to get the seed out.

White-breasted Nutcracker Call:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC560678. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/560678.

Attract White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with sunflower seeds and peanuts on tube feeders or suet feeders.

20. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers are common in Arizona all year. They are recorded in 14% of summer checklists and 18% of winter checklists for the state.

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers are small with a black and white ladder pattern on their backs and a checkered pattern on their wings. They are whiteish-gray underneath with faint black markings. Males have a red crown, and females have a black crown.

  • Length: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-1.7 oz (21-48 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.0 in (33 cm)

Deserts and thorn forests, across dry southern states from California to Texas, up to southeastern Colorado, and down through Mexico are the usual habitats of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers. Ladder-backed Woodpeckers do not migrate.

Mainly feeding on insect larvae and some adult insects such as ants and caterpillars and occasionally Ladder-backed Woodpeckers will also eat cactus fruit.

Where to spot Ladder-backed Woodpeckers:

Early morning in February and March is the best time to spot Ladder-backed Woodpeckers as they are out defending their territories in preparation for breeding. Look for them in dry areas with Joshua trees, Juniper, willow, or honey mesquite.

How to attract more Ladder-backed Woodpeckers to your yard:

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers love mealworms, and they will also visit black oil sunflower seed feeders and eat peanut butter.

21. House Sparrow

House sparrow for identification

House Sparrows are an introduced species in Arizona that can be spotted here all year. They do not migrate and occur in 20% of both summer and winter checklists for the state.

The House Sparrow is another introduced species that has done very well and is now one of the most common birds. They have gray and brown heads and white cheeks. Their backs are black and brown, and their bellies are gray.

  • Passer domesticus
  • Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz (27-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)

House Sparrows live in the US and Southern Canada all year.

You can find them near houses and buildings, and they can be pretty tame, and they may even eat out of your hand.

House Sparrows eat mostly grain and seed as well as discarded food. They can be considered a pest because they are non-native, but they are found in backyards even if you do not feed them.

House Sparrow Song:

Credit: Olivier SWIFT, XC697951. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/697951.

Attract House Sparrows to your backyard feeders with most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.

Sparrows are known as LBJs (Little brown jobs) but if you want to know more, check out this guide to sparrows in Arizona.

22. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian collared dove

Eurasian Collared-Doves do not migrate and are residents of Arizona all year. They appear in 16% of summer and winter checklists for the state.

Eurasian-collard Doves are light brownish-gray, with white patches in the tail, and look very similar to Mourning Doves, but with a black half collar at the nape of the neck. They are also larger and with a square tail rather than pointed.

  • Streptopelia decaocto
  • Length: 11.4-11.8 in (29-30 cm)
  • Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz (140-180 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.8 in (35 cm)

Eurasian Collared-Doves are an introduced species that only arrived in the 1980s but now live across most of the United States.

You can find Eurasian Collared-Doves in most areas, including rural and suburban and they eat a wide variety of seeds and grain but also eat some berries and insects.

Eurasian Collared-Dove song:

Manuel Grosselet, XC722058. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/722058.

23. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers are commonly spotted in Arizona during winter, but some can also be spotted in the state all year. They are recorded in 11% of summer checklists and 17% of winter checklists.

Northern Flickers are large brown woodpeckers with black spots and a white patch on their rump in flight, plus a red nape of the neck in the males. 

Northern Flickers have red or yellow flashes in the wings and tail depending on where they originate. Red-shafted birds live in the west, and yellow-shafted birds live in the east.

  • Colaptes auratus
  • Length: 11.0-12.2 in (28-31 cm)
  • Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz (110-160 g)
  • Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in (42-51 cm)

Northern Flickers can be spotted across the US all year and in Canada during summer. Those that breed in Canada migrate south for the winter.

Northern Flickers mainly eat ants, beetles, fruits, and seeds, and they can often be seen on the ground digging with their curved bill.

Northern flicker Call:

Credit: Thomas Ryder Payne, XC636252. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/636252.

Attract Northern Flickers to your backyard with suet.

Some woodpeckers are more easily recognized than others, but with this guide, you can identify all the woodpeckers in Arizona.

24. Northern Cardinal

Northern cardinal male and female for identification

Northern Cardinals are spotted all year in Arizona, mostly in the south of the state. They appear in 16% of summer checklists and 14% of winter checklists.

The bright red male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is an incredible sight, especially against a white winter background. They also have red crests and beaks.

Females are also a little showy with their brown coloring, sharp brown crest, red highlights, and red beaks.

  • Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz (42-48 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in (25-31 cm)

Northern Cardinals live in the Eastern half of the US and some states in the south as far west as Arizona.

You can find Northern Cardinals in dense vegetation foraging for seeds, fruit, and insects. Northern Cardinals will sometimes attack their own reflection during the breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories.

Northern Cardinal Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC618942. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/618942.

Northern Cardinal Call:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC618945. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/618945.

Attract Northern Cardinals to your backyard with feeders full of sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo. They will feed from large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food scattered on the ground.

There are lots of other red birds in Arizona that you can spot.

25. European Starling

European Starlings are considered introduced species in Arizona and can be seen in the state all year. They appear in 10% of checklists in summer and 16% of checklists in winter submitted by bird watchers for the state.

European Starlings are not native but are now one of the most numerous songbirds. They are stocky black birds with iridescent purple, green, and blue tones. 

  • Sturnus vulgaris
  • Length: 7.9-9.1 in (20-23 cm)
  • Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz (60-96 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

European Starlings live in all of North America, except the north of Canada and Alaska.

They are considered a pest by some due to their aggressive behavior. These birds fly in large, noisy flocks and can be seen perched in groups on the top of trees or flying over fields.

European Starling Calls:

Credit: Lars Edenius, XC657601. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/657601.

Starlings predominantly eat insects, including beetles, flies and caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders. However, they also eat fruit, including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds.

Attract European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.

Blackbirds are a vast family of birds that have numerous family members, so why don’t you get to know all the blackbirds in Arizona?

26. Red-winged Blackbird

Red winged blackbird for identification

Red-winged blackbirds live in Arizona all year. They appear in 12% of summer checklists and 13% of winter checklists for the state.

Red-winged blackbirds are very common and easy to identify with the all-black coloring except for the reddish-orange wing patches. Females are rather dull in comparison with streaky brown color.

  • Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Length: 6.7-9.1 in (17-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz (32-77 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

Red-winged Blackbirds remain all year in the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. Those that breed in Canada and some northern US states migrate south for the winter.

They can often be spotted sitting on telephone wires, and the males will fiercely defend their territories in the breeding season, even attacking people that get too close to their nests. In winter, they roost in large numbers into the millions.

Red-winged Blackbird Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC629168. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/629168.

Red-winged Blackbird Calls:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC669258. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/669258.

Attract Red-winged blackbirds to your backyard with mixed grain and seeds spread on the ground. They will also feed from large tube feeders or platform feeders.

27. Song Sparrow

Song sparrow for identification

Song Sparrows can be spotted in Arizona all year, but their numbers increase in winter with more migrating in from northern breeding grounds.

They are most common here from mid-September to May and are recorded in 14% of winter and 9% of summer checklists.

Song sparrows are not as remarkable looking as other backyard birds, but these predominantly brown-streaked birds use their almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer.

  • Melospiza melodia
  • Length: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)

Song Sparrow live all year in the northern US states. Those that breed in Canada migrate to southern US states for winter.

They can be found in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on a low shrub singing. They are often found at backyard feeders.

Song Sparrows eat a wide variety of insects and plants, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They will also eat buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.

Song Sparrow Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC692182. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/692182.

Song Sparrow Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC683210. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/683210.

Attract Song Sparrows to your backyard feeders by putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

28. Broad-billed hummingbird

broad billed hummingbird male
Male
broad billed hummingbird female
Female

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are usually spotted in Arizona during summer from March to October, but some stay in the south of the state all year. They appear in 15% of summer checklists and 4% of winter checklists.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are brilliantly colored, even among hummingbirds. The males are rich metallic green all over with a blue throat that extends down the breast. Females have a pale belly, and both males and females have red beaks that are black-tipped and wide near their heads.

  • Length: 3.1 – 3.9 in (8-10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.1 oz (3-4 g)

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are resident all year in central Mexico and the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Some birds migrate north into mountain canyons in southern Arizona and New Mexico for breeding, and a few remain all year near the Mexican border.

Canyon streams and mountain meadows provide the ideal foraging areas for Broad-billed Hummingbirds, but they will also visit backyard feeders. Nests are built quite low to the ground at about 3 feet near streams.

29. Black-chinned Hummingbird

black chinned hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird male
Black chinned hummingbird female
Black-chinned Hummingbird Female (credit: Gary Leavens)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds spend the breeding season in Arizona and are mainly spotted from February to mid-November. They are recorded in 20% of summer checklists.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on the back and grayish-white underneath.  The males have a black throat with a thin iridescent purple base, and the females have a pale throat and white tips on the tail feathers.

  • Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states and migrate to western Mexico and the Gulf Coast in the winter. They eat nectar, small insects, and spiders, and their tongues can lick 13-17 times per second when feeding on nectar.

30. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow

Chipping Sparrows can be seen in Arizona all year. They spend the breeding season in the north of the state and are recorded in 5% of summer checklists. However, they can be spotted in winter in the south of the state and occur in 10% of winter checklists.

Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds with a grayish belly and brown and black-streaked back, with a rusty crown and black eye line. In winter, the colors are more subdued.

  • Spizella passerina
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)

Chipping Sparrows spend their summer breeding in the US and Canada before flying to Mexico and Florida for winter. Some remain all year in the southern states.

You can find Chipping Sparrows in small flocks on open ground and will come to backyards for many kinds of birdseed.

Chipping Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC611297. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/611297.

Attract Chipping Sparrows to your backyard with seeds or cracked corn on open feeders such as hoppers or platforms.

31. American Robin

American Robin for identification

American Robins are seen all year in Arizona, but they are usually spotted from April to July. They occur in 13% of summer checklists and 6% of winter checklists for the state.

American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and backs with red or orange breasts. They tend to roost in trees in winter, so you are more likely to see them in your backyard from spring.

  • Turdus migratorius
  • Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz (77-85 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

American Robins are residents in the lower 48 and the coast of Western Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and inland Alaska move south for the winter.

American Robins can be found in many habitats, from woodlands, forests, mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. They eat earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.

American Robin Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC656426. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/656426.

American Robin Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC698509. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/698509.

Attract American Robins to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground. Also, try planting some native plants that produce berries, such as juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood.

32. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler

Yellow Warblers are spotted in Arizona from March to October and occur in up to 14% of summer checklists.

Yellow Warblers are small bright yellow birds with a yellow-green back, and the males have chestnut streaks on the breast.

  • Setophaga petechia
  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Yellow Warblers migrate a long distance to breed in Canada and the US, except for southeastern states, before heading back into Central and South America for winter. However, they can be seen during migration in southeastern US states.

You can find Yellow Warblers along streams and wetlands in thickets and along the edges of fields foraging for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.

Song

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC662546. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/662546.

Attract Yellow Warblers to your backyard with suet, oranges, peanut butter, and plants with berries. Also, plant native plants that attract insects without pesticides or being too tidy! Also, try birdbaths with fountains near secluded thickets to provide protection.

There are so many yellow birds in Arizona that you will spot, especially in spring.

33. Western Bluebird

western bluebird

Western Bluebirds are often spotted during winter in Arizona, but some also hang around all year. They occur in 6% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists for the state.

Western Bluebirds are blue birds with orange chests. They are very social small stocky thrushes that are shiny blue on the back and rust-orange on the breast and across the upper back in the males. 

Females are not so bright, and instead, they are a dull buff-gray, with pale orange on the breast and blue tints to the wings and tail.

  • Sialia mexicana
  • Length: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz (24-31 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-13.4 in (29-34 cm)

Western Bluebirds are found in western US states and do not usually migrate. However, some birds in the far northwest may migrate south or to lower elevations.

You can find Western Bluebirds in woodlands rather than open areas, and they are readily found in areas that have dead trees, such as burned forests and logged areas.

In summer Western Bluebirds cat insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and ants, as well as spiders and snails or other ground-dwelling insects. In winter, Western Bluebirds eat fruit such as elderberry, grapes, mistletoe, raspberries, blackberries, sumac, and juniper.

Western Bluebird songs:

Paul Marvin, XC571075. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/571075.

Attract Western Bluebirds to your yard by offering mealworms in summer and put up a nest box. Also, plant berry plants such as elderberry, raspberries, and juniper.

Common Backyard Birds In Arizona At Different Times Of Year

The birds listed above are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists on ebird, and the data is a combination of birds most commonly spotted in Arizona in summer (June and July), winter (December and January), and throughout the year.

Birds that are not often seen at feeders or backyards were removed to give you the birds in Arizona you are most likely to see from home.

This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Arizona, these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.

The birds that are attracted to backyards in Arizona change throughout the year.  The lists below show the backyard birds most commonly seen at different times of the year in Arizona.

Notable differences show that White-winged Doves, Lesser Goldfinch, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are more common in summer, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Anna’s Hummingbirds are more common in winter in Arizona.

Common birds in Arizona all year

House Finch 46%
Mourning Dove 45%
Gila Woodpecker 34%
Lesser Goldfinch 31%
Verdin 30%
Anna’s Hummingbird 24%
White-crowned Sparrow 23%
Yellow-rumped Warbler 23%
White-winged Dove 22%
Great-tailed Grackle 21%

Summer birds Arizona

Mourning Dove 46%
House Finch 43%
White-winged Dove 42%
Lesser Goldfinch 31%
Gila Woodpecker 26%
Verdin 25%
Brown-headed Cowbird 20%
Black-chinned Hummingbird 20%
Northern Mockingbird 19%
Great-tailed Grackle 19%

Winter birds Arizona

House Finch 46%
Mourning Dove 42%
Gila Woodpecker 40%
White-crowned Sparrow 38%
Verdin 35%
Yellow-rumped Warbler 34%
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 31%
Anna’s Hummingbird 26%
Abert’s Towhee 24%
Say’s Phoebe 23%

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Arizona

A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds

  1.  Tube Feeders can be filled with different types of birdseed and depending on the seed different birds will be attracted. Black oil sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.
  2. Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
  3. Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
  4. Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
  5. Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
  6. Hummingbird feeders attract these tiny fascinating birds but they also attract other birds too.

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard in Arizona

If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Arizona, there are some tips that

  1. Provide bird feeders for different types of birds to get the most species to visit your yard.
  2. Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream.  Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
  3.  Grow native plants that will provide food and shelter. Plants, trees, and shrubs that provide fruit, berries, and nuts. Blackberries, wild grasses, elderberries, serviceberries, Oaks, Beeches, Cherries, sumacs, hemlocks, Purple Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Buttonbush, and Dogwoods.
  4. Let your grass grow long to provide cover and seeds.
  5. Leave a brush pile to provide food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds.
  6. Don’t use pesticides and herbicides as these may be toxic to birds and prevent the natural foraging opportunities for insects and seeds that birds will seek in your yard.
  7. Set up nest boxes to attract breeding birds and ensure they are cleaned every year.

How to Identify Birds in Arizona

Here are some tips to help you identify birds:

  1. Size – Size is the easiest thing to notice about a bird.  Birds are often measured in inches or centimeters in guide books.  It’s best to take a note of the bird in terms of small, medium, or large to be able to look for it later. A small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is about the size of a pigeon and a large bird is the size of a goose.
  2. Shape – Take note of the silhouette of the bird and jot it down or draw the outline.  Look at tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape.
  3. Color pattern – Take a note of the main color of the head, back, belly, and wings, and tail for the main color and then any secondary colors or patterns. Also take note of any patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights.
  4. Behavior – Are they on the ground or high up in the trees. Are they in flocks or on their own?  Can you spot what they are eating?
  5. Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
  6. Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon

Birds to Spot if Out Birding in Arizona

If you go out Birding in Arizona, these are other birds that you may be able to spot:

  1. Gambel’s Quail
  2. Turkey Vulture
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Killdeer
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Cooper’s Hawk
  7. American Kestrel
  8. Mallard
  9. Pied-billed Grebe
  10. Northern Shoveler
  11. Greater Roadrunner
  12. Great Egret
  13. Pyrrhuloxia
  14. Neotropic Cormorant
  15. Green-winged Teal
  16. Loggerhead Shrike
  17. Northern Harrier
  18. Canada Goose
  19. Least Sandpiper
  20. Green Heron
  21. Black-necked Stilt
  22. Snowy Egret
  23. Belted Kingfisher
  24. Osprey
  25. Great Horned Owl
  26. American Avocet
  27. Wild Turkey
  28. Elegant Trogen
  29. Montezuma Quail
  30. White-faced Ibis
  31. Whiskered Screech-Owl
  32. Hepatic Tanager
  33. Flame-colored Tanager
  34. Golden Eagle
  35. Bald Eagle