Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Arizona? Do you need help identifying common backyard birds in Arizona?
There is a great joy in putting up bird feeders and watching what comes to visit but it gets better if you know who they are. Well, now you can find out what are the most common birds in Arizona that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
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.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding in Arizona then read on to find out how to identify birds and how to attract more birds to your yard.
Also, get free bird printable worksheets with pictures for Arizona to help you identify and keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
Top 27 backyard birds in Arizona
- House Finch
- White-winged Dove
- Mourning Dove
- Lesser Goldfinch
- Gila Woodpecker
- White-crowned Sparrow
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- Black-chinned Hummingbird
- Northern Mockingbird
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Abert’s Towhee
- Say’s Phoebe
- Great-tailed Grackle
- Black Phoebe
- Dark-eyed Junco
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Western Tanager
- House Sparrow
- Eurasian Collared-Dove
- Northern Flicker
- Northern Cardinal
- European starling
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Song Sparrow
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 all the way 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 identify birds.
Top 28 backyard birds in Arizona
1. House Finch
House Finches have a red head and breast in the males and brown-streaked coloring in the females. Originally only in western states it was introduced to the eastern states and has done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.
House Finches can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders. They can be found in noisy groups that are hard to miss. They feed on seeds, buds and fruit including thistle, cactus, cherries, apricots, plums, strawberries, blackberries and figs.
You can attract more House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.
2. White-winged Dove
White-winged Doves are pale brown with a black line on the cheek and a white stripe on the edge of the closed wing, which is striking on the middle of a dark wing in flight.
Found along the border with Mexico and into 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.
White-winged Doves live in deserts, dense, thorny forests, woodlands, and suburban areas. Their diet is mostly grain and also fruits and large seeds and are found foraging on the ground.
To attract more White-winged Doves to your yard try sunflower, corn, safflower, and milo on platform feeders. Also, plant native berry-producing shrubs.
3. Mourning Dove
Mourning Doves are graceful small-headed birds, plump bodies and long tails. They are a soft brown with black spots on the wings.
They can be seen perching on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and backyards. Mourning Doves can be found in open areas or on the edge of woodland.
Mourning Doves are common over all of the lower 48 all year but may migrate after breeding from the far north.
You can attract more Mourning Doves to your backyard by scattering millet on the ground or on platform feeders. They will also eat black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.
4. Lesser Goldfinch
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.
Residents in the far southwest, with those to the north of their range breeding then migrating further south.
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.
You can attract more Lesser Goldfinches to your yard with sunflower seeds and nyjer in tube feeders or platform feeders.
5. Gila Woodpecker
Gila Woodpeckers are barred black-and-white woodpeckers of the arid desert. They have tan heads and the males have a red crown patch.
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 Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails and small bills and bold black and white stripes on their heads.
They breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south other much of the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. Some may remain all year over a small area along the Pacific Coast and west.
White-crowned Sparrows can be found in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges, and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.
You can attract more White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds and many types of seeds that are dropped by other birds at the feeders.
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.
Verdins can be found in desert scrub and along the steep-sided gullies, known as arroyos, with trees and shrubs such as acacias, juniper, hackberry, willows, and oaks. They are residents along the southern border and into Mexico.
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.
To attract more Verdins to your yard try hummingbird feeders and flowering shrubs and any fruit baring native trees or shrubs they enjoy such as acacia or juniper.
8. Yellow-rumped Warbler
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.
After breeding predominantly in Canada Yellow-rumped Warblers migrate in large numbers south across most of southern and central states and the Pacific Coast and throughout Mexico and Central America.
They feed mostly on insects in the summer, including caterpillars, beetles, gnats, and also spiders. in winter they feed on and fruit such as bayberry and wax myrtle.
You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.
9. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
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, but really great if you do.
They breed across Canada and the western mountains before migrating to southern and southwestern states and Mexico for the winter. They can also be seen during migration when they are widespread.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be hard to spot and they are fast-moving quiet birds that flit around in the foliage of lower branches and of shrubs and trees looking for spiders and insects.
They come to suet feeders or platform feeders for hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.
10. Brown-headed Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird males are black-bodied and brown-headed Blackbirds with short tails and thick heads. Females are brown all over with slight streaking.
They are often considered a nuisance as they destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds so that they can lay their eggs in the nest and have the bird foster their chicks.
They breed in much of the noth and west of North America before heading further south but remain all year in the Eastern and Southern states and Pacific Coast.
11. Black-chinned Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on the back and grayish-white underneath. The males have a black throat with a thin iridescent base and the females have a pale throat.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed in eastern states and migrate to western Mexico 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.
They can often be seen sitting at the top of dead trees on tiny bare branches and often return to a favorite perch. They can be found along canyons and rivers in the Southwest or by shady oaks in the Gulf Coast.
To attract more Black-chinned Hummingbirds to your yard make Nectar made with sugar and water in Hummingbird feeders and native trumpet flowers in red and orange.
12. Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbirds are medium-sized songbirds with a small head and long tail. They are a gray-brown color and slightly paler on the underside compared to the back. They have two white wingbars visible in flight.
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.
They don’t often visit feeders but will come to open lawn areas. To attract more Northern Mockingbirds try planting fruiting trees or bushes, including hawthorns, mulberries, and blackberry brambles.
13. Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbirds are tiny birds that are mostly green and gray. The male’s head and throat are iridescent reddish-pink the female’s throat is grayish with bits of red spotting.
Unusually Anna’s Hummingbirds do not migrate and are the most common hummingbird along the Pacific Coast. 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.
They can be found near large colorful blossoms during the spring and readily visit hummingbirds feeders that you can fill with homemade hummingbird food and they may visit feeders all year.
14. Abert's Towhee
Abert’s Towhees are large grayish-brown sparrows, about the size of a robin, with rusty colors under the tail. 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.
To attract Abert’s Towhees to your yard try adding a water feature such as a birdbath and add native plants. They will also visit ground feeders for seed.
15. Say's Phoebe
Say’s Phoebes are slender, long-tailed flycatchers that are brownish-gray above and with a cinnamon belly, gray breast, and blackish tail.
Dry open country including badlands, canyons, and desert borders are the usual habitat of Say’s Phoebes. These birds 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.
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 the nest under an eave.
To attract more Say’s Phoebes to your yard put 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 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 and about half the size of the males.
They can be found in the west and mid-west 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 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 Phoebes are small, plump flycatchers that are black on the back, head, and chest and white underneath. They are mostly resident across southwestern states, Mexico and Central America but some in the north of their range may migrate south after breeding.
Black Phoebes can usually be found 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.
To attract Black Phoebes to your yard try 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 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.
They can be found in open and partially wooded areas often on the ground and are common across the continent. Some remain resident all year in the west and in the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to much of the United States.
You can attract more 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 are best.
19. White-breasted Nuthatch
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.
They can be found 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.
You can attract more White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with sunflower seeds and peanuts on tube feeders or suet feeders.
20. Western Tanager
Western Tanagers have a flaming orange-red head, yellow body, and black wings. they can be found all over western states breeding towards the north and then migrating south for winter.
They live in open conifer forests but stay hidden in the canopy, despite their bright coloring. The red coloring probably comes from eating insects that produce a pigment that the Western Tanagers cannot produce themselves.
You can attract Western Tanagers with dried fruit, cut oranges, and other fruits from bird feeders.
21. House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is another introduced species that has done very well and is now one of the most common birds. Brown and black on the back and gray underneath with white on the cheeks in the males. Females are a softer brown color.
House Sparrows are found near houses and buildings and can be quite tame so will eat out of your hand. They can be considered a pest as they are non-native but will be found in backyards even if you do not feed them.
You can attract more House Sparrows to your backyard feeders with most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.
22. Eurasian Collared-Dove
Eurasian Collared-Doves are an introduced species that only arrived in the 1980s but are now across most of the country. They 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.
Preferring areas near people where seeds are plentiful, such as backyard feeders and farms, they are not found in heavy forest. Eurasian Collared’Doves predominantly eat a wide variety of seeds and grain but also will eat some berries and insects.
You can attract more Eurasian-Collared-Doves to your backyard with millet, oats, cracked corn, and Black oil sunflower seeds or hulled sunflower seeds on ground feeders, but they may also visit platform or hopper feeders.
23. Northern Flicker
Northern Flickers are large woodpeckers, between the size of a robin and a crow, with brownish coloring and black spots, bars, and crescents and red on the nape. The undersides of tail and wing feathers are bright yellow in eastern birds and red in western birds.
They can be found on the ground looking for ants and beetles in woods or forest edges. Those that breed in Canada or Alaska migrate to southern states but otherwise, they can be found all year over the lower 48.
You can attract more Northern Flickers to your backyard feeders with suet and black oil sunflower seeds.
24. Northern Cardinal
The bright red male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is a great sight, especially against a white winter background. The females are also a little showy with their brown coloring, sharp brown crest, red highlights, and red beaks.
Northern Cardinals will sometimes attack their own reflection during breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories.
You can attract more Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo.
They will feed from large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food scattered on the ground.
25. European starling
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.
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 in flocks.
Starlings eat predominantly insects including beetles, flies and caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders. They also eat fruit including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, and blackberries, as well as grains and seeds.
You can attract more European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.
26. Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged blackbirds are very common and easy to identify with the all-black coloring except for the bright red and yellow shoulder patches. The females are rather dull in comparison with brown streaky coloring.
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 nests. In winter they roost in large numbers into the millions.
To attract more Red-winged blackbirds to your backyard try mixed grain and seeds spread on the ground. They will also feed on large tube feeders or platform feeders.
27. Song Sparrow
Song sparrows are not as remarkable as other backyard birds but these predominantly brown-streaked birds use their almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer.
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.
You can attract more song sparrows to your backyard feeders by putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.
Free Printable Backyard Birds Worksheet for California
These free bird identification worksheets for 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.
Common Birds in Arizona in Different Seasons
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 frequently 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 in 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 that are 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.
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Arizona
A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds
- 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.
- Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
- Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
- 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
- Provide bird feeders for different types of birds to get the most species to visit your yard.
- Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream. Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
- 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.
- Let your grass grow long to provide cover and seeds.
- Leave a brush pile to provide food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
- 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:
- Gambel’s Quail
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Great Blue Heron
- Cooper’s Hawk
- American Kestrel
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Northern Shoveler
- Greater Roadrunner
- Great Egret
- Neotropic Cormorant
- Green-winged Teal
- Loggerhead Shrike
- Northern Harrier
- Canada Goose
- Least Sandpiper
- Green Heron
- Black-necked Stilt
- Snowy Egret
- Belted Kingfisher
- Great Horned Owl
- American Avocet
- Wild Turkey
- Elegant Trogen
- Montezuma Quail
- White-faced Ibis
- Whiskered Screech-Owl
- Hepatic Tanager
- Flame-colored Tanager
- Golden Eagle
- Bald Eagle