Do you need help with bird identification in Arkansas for birds that visit your backyard? Get ID information, pictures, and printable worksheets to help with these birds of Arkansas identification.
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 and learn to identify birds in your backyard. Well, now you can find out the most common birds in Arkansas that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding, then read on to find out how to identify birds in Arkansas and how to attract more birds to your yard.
Also, get free bird printables of backyard birds of Arkansas with pictures to help you with Arkansas bird identification and keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
28 common backyard birds in Arkansas
- Northern Cardinal
- Blue Jay
- Carolina Chickadee
- White-throated Sparrow
- Mourning Dove
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Carolina Wren
- American Crow
- Tufted Titmouse
- Northern Mockingbird
- Indigo Bunting
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- American Robin
- American Goldfinch
- House Sparrow
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Eastern Bluebird
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- European Starling
- Eastern Phoebe
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- House Finch
- Northern Flicker
- Common Grackle
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Pileated Woodpecker
These are the most common backyard birds in Arkansas that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists on ebird, and the data is a combination of backyard birds most commonly spotted in Arkansas in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January).
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Arkansas, these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.
These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Arkansas 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.
The 28 most common birds in Arkansas
1. 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 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.
There are more red birds in Arkansas that you can spot.
2. Blue Jay
Blue Jays are common songbirds with a blue upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides. When available, they are noisy birds that travel in family groups eating acorns and can migrate in large flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast.
They can be found in forests, mainly near oak, as they eat acorns. They can also be found in backyards near feeders. As well as acorns, they eat insects, nuts and seeds, and grain. They may also take eggs from nests or take nestlings.
To attract more Blue Jays to your backyard, try peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet, but they prefer these on tray feeders or hopper feeders on a post. They will also enjoy a birdbath.
3. Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadees are tiny birds with large heads, black cap and neck, white cheeks and belly, and soft gray back, wings, and tail.
They are visually very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, and they interbreed where their range overlaps. They can be found in forested areas, parks, and backyards.
You can attract more Carolina Chickadees to your backyard feeders with Black oil sunflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, suet feeders, or peanuts. They will feed on most types of feeders, including tube feeders, suet cages, or platform feeders. They will also nest in nest boxes or nest tubes.
4. White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrows have a distinctive black and white striped head, bright white throat, and yellow between the eye and bill. Their backs are brown, and underneath is gray.
They are migratory birds, breeding mainly in Canada before heading south in winter to eastern and southern states and California. You can find White-throated Sparrows on the ground in woods and along the edges, often in large flocks.
You can attract White-throated Sparrows to your backyard feeders with millet and black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders.
5. 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 foraging 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.
6. 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. They breed in Canada and migrate south to all states, resident in the west and far northwest.
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.
7. Carolina Wren
Carolina Wrens are shy birds that are dark brown on top and light brown underneath. They have a white eyebrow stripe and upright tail, and loud teakettle song.
They can be found in woods or thickly vegetated areas, overgrown farmyards, and suburban areas and they will visit backyard feeders. Carolina Wren eats mostly insects and spiders, including caterpillars, moths, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.
You can attract more Carolina Wrens to your backyard feeders with suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, or peanut hearts in large tube feeders or on platform feeders. They may also nest in nest boxes, especially if you leave brush piles.
8. American Crow
American crows are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound. They are common birds that can be found in most habitats, including treetops, woods, fields, beaches, or towns.
They eat most things and usually feed on the ground, eating earthworms, insects, seeds, and fruit. They also eat fish, young turtles, mussels, and clams and will even eat eggs and nestlings of many species of birds. In winter, American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows to sleep in communal roosts.
You can attract more American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts but can become a nuisance as attracted by garbage or pet food if left out.
9. Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse is gray on the back and white underneath with a cute gray crest and large eyes that often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.
They can be assertive over smaller birds and are found in woodlands, parks, and at backyard feeders. They eat mostly insects in summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants, and wasps, as well as spiders and snails. They will also eat seeds, nuts, and berries and will hoard shelled seeds.
You can attract Tufted Titmice to your backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts on tube feeders or suet cages. They will also eat from platform feeders. You can also try putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair.
10. Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbirds are medium-sized songbirds with small heads and long tails. 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.
Usually, they stay residents in southern and eastern states. However, they may migrate from the north of their range.
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.
11. Indigo Bunting
Indigo Buntings are small birds, with the males being bright blue with streaks of black in the wings and tail, females are brown.
They migrate far from breeding grounds in eastern States to winter grounds in Florida, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Indigo Buntings can be found in weedy fields and shrubby areas foraging for seeds and insects. You can attract more to your backyard with small seeds such as nyjer and thistle.
12. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a pale red belly that can be difficult to spot, with a red cap and nape and black-and-white stripped back. They are a similar size as a Hairy Woodpecker at around 9 inches.
In spring and summer, they make a loud call and are found in woods and forests, especially with deadwood in eastern states. Red-bellied Woodpeckers eat mainly insects and spiders, but they will also eat acorns, nuts and pine cones, and some seeds and fruits.
You can attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers with suet feeders, and they will sometimes feed from hummingbird feeders.
13. Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are small birds that are common at backyard feeders. They are often mixed in with other birds, such as chickadees and nuthatches. They have black and white coloring with a red patch at the back of their heads. They look similar to the Hairy Woodpecker.
To attract more Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard, try suet feeders, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders.
14. American Robin
American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and back 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.
They eat sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. They may even eat mealworms out of your hand.
Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground.
15. American Goldfinch
American Goldfinches are popular birds with the males bright yellow and black coloring in spring. The females are duller brown, as are males in winter.
Before migrating to southern states, American Goldfinches breed in far northern states and Canada. They remain all year in the rest of the US.
They can be found in weedy fields and overgrown areas foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They are also common in suburbs, parks, and backyards.
Try planting thistles and milkweed to attract more American Goldfinches to your backyard. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed.
16. House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is another introduced species that has done very well and is now one of the most common birds. They are found near houses and buildings and can be quite tame, so they may 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.
17. 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 streaky brown color.
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.
18. Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds are small thrushes with big, rounded heads, large eyes, and big bellies.
The males are deep blue on the back and a reddish color underneath. Females are grayer above with some blue in the wings and tail and a less vivid orange-brown breast.
They live in meadows and can be spotted perched on wires and posts or low branches looking for insects. They are resident over most of their range in eastern states but may migrate south for winter from the far north.
You can attract more Eastern Bluebirds to your backyard by offering mealworms and nest boxes if your yard is fairly open and spacious.
19. 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 north and west of North America before heading further south but remain all year in the Eastern and Southern states and Pacific Coast.
20. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are bright green on the back and crown, with a gray-white underside and the males have an iridescent red throat.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are green on the back and white underneath with brownish crowns and sides.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. They then migrate further south to Central America.
To attract more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, try setting up hummingbird feeders with a mix of sugar and water. Also, plant tubular flowers that are red or orange.
21. 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.
Starlings eat predominantly insects, including beetles, flies, and caterpillars, earthworms, but also spiders. They also eat fruit, including cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and grains and seeds.
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.
You can attract more European Starlings to your backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cracked corn, and peanuts.
22. Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebes are plump songbirds that are grayish-brown on the back and whitish underneath and with a darker head.
Eastern Phoebes are migratory birds, breeding across northeastern and central states and into Canada before migrating to the southeast and Mexico for winter. Some birds may remain all year towards the south of their range.
Eastern Phoebes tend to be found alone, rather than in pairs or flocks, in quiet woodland wagging their tails from low perches.
As they are flycatchers, flying insects make up the most of their diet but they will also eat spiders and other insects, small fruit and seeds. They often nest on bridges and barns or houses, making a nest out of mud and grass.
To attract more Eastern Phoebes to your backyard try putting up a nest box or native plants that produce berries.
23. 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.
24. 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.
They 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.
25. 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.
Those that breed in Canada or Alaska migrate to southern states, but otherwise, they can be found all year over the lower 48. They can be found on the ground looking for ants and beetles in woods or forest edges.
You can attract more Northern Flickers to your backyard feeders with suet and black oil sunflower seeds.
26. Common Grackle
The Common Grackle is a blackbird that is taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird and with glossy iridescent bodies.
They eat many crops but mostly corn and gather in noisy groups high up in trees. They will also eat garbage and so can be a nuisance.
Their habitat is varied and includes open woodlands, marshes, parks, and fields. They may gather in their millions in winter to forage and roost, mixed in with other species of blackbird.
The Common Grackle is resident all year in much of the east and all southeastern states but migrate south after breeding in the far north and to the west of their range.
You can attract more Common Grackles to your backyard with mixed grain and seed sprinkled on the ground or on platform feeders.
27. 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, they migrate in large numbers south across most of southern and central North America and the Pacific Coast, and throughout Mexico and Central America.
You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.
28. Pileated Woodpecker
The Pileated Woodpecker is the biggest Woodpecker in North America, and with its’ flaming-red triangular crest, it is very striking.
It is one of the biggest woodpeckers being nearly the size of a crow. It is mostly black with a white stripe, and when flying, the white underside of the wings can be seen. Males have an additional red stripe on the cheek.
They live all year in Eastern US states, across Canada, and into Northwestern US states.
Pileated Woodpeckers mostly eat carpenter ants from dead trees and fallen logs, but they also eat beetle larvae, termites, and other insects as well as fruit and nuts such as blackberries, sumac berries, dogwood, and elderberry. They make a loud shrill, whinnying call and deep, loud drumming.
Dead trees are used for nesting sites for Pileated Woodpeckers, and they usually make a new one each year, so the old nest site is often used by other species of birds. They usually lay 3-5 white eggs.
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds toYour Backyard
A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds in Arkansas to your backyard.
- 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 Arkansas
If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Arkansas, there are some tips:
- 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 Arkansas
Here are some more tips to help you identify birds in Arkansas, whether you choose to go out birding or stay home bird watching in Arkansas:
- 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.