Home Bird watching tips Top 20 Backyard Birds in Kansas (Free Picture ID Printable)

Top 20 Backyard Birds in Kansas (Free Picture ID Printable)

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western meadowlark

Do you need help with bird identification in Kansas for birds that visit your backyard? Get ID information, pictures, and printable worksheets to help with these birds of Kansas 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 what are the most common birds in Kansas 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 Kansas and how to attract more birds to your yard.

Also, get free bird printables of backyard birds of Kansas with pictures to help you with Kansas bird identification and to keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.

Top 20 backyard birds in Kansas

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. Mourning Dove
  3. American Robin
  4. Red-winged Blackbird
  5. Blue Jay
  6. Dark-eyed Junco
  7. American Crow
  8. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  9. Black-capped Chickadee
  10. Carolina Wren
  11. Tufted Titmouse
  12. House Finch
  13. Common Grackle
  14. Downy Woodpecker
  15. White-breasted Nuthatch
  16. Northern Flicker
  17. Western Meadowlark
  18. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  19. Eastern Phoebe
  20. American Goldfinch

These are the backyard birds most often seen in Kansas 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 birds most frequently spotted in Kansas in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January). 

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

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

The Western Meadowlark is the state bird of Kansas.  It is seen in 8% of state birding checklists, which half as often as the Eastern Meadowlark. School children chose the Western Meadowlark to represent Kansas as the state bird in 1925.

There are 456 species of bird recorded in Kansas according to ebird. Kansas is in a great location if you chose to go out birding due to its central location and is an important stopover point for migrating birds.  

Kansas has 26 state parks that offer great bird watching opportunities from the eastern woodlands or prairie grasslands in the west.  Central Kansas has Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge wetlands.

Read to the end of this article to find out more about the top birding locations in Kansas and how to identify birds.

Common Birds at Different Times of Year in Kansas

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

Notable differences show that Mourning Doves and American Robins are more common in summer and Dark-eyed Juncos and 3 species of woodpecker are more common in winter.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Northern Flickers will more often visit suet feeders in winter.

Common birds in Kansas all year

Northern Cardinal 47.6%
Mourning Dove 41.4%
American Robin 41.3%
Blue Jay 38.9%
American Crow 33.5%
European Starling 32.2%
Red-bellied Woodpecker 32.1%
Black-capped Chickadee 31.5%
American Goldfinch 29.2%
Red-winged Blackbird 29.1%

Summer birds Kansas

Mourning Dove 61.4%
Northern Cardinal 49.2%
American Robin 43.9%
Red-winged Blackbird 39.4%
Blue Jay 36.4%
Common Grackle 34.9%
Barn Swallow 34.3%
Brown-headed Cowbird 31%
House Sparrow 30.7%
European Starling 29.2%

Winter birds Kansas

Dark-eyed Junco 58.5%
Northern Cardinal 45.8%
American Crow 38.6%
Red-bellied Woodpecker 35.9%
Black-capped Chickadee 35.7%
Blue Jay 35.4%
Downy Woodpecker 33.7%
Northern Flicker 32.1%
European Starling 30.5%
American Robin 30.2%

Top 20 backyard birds in Kansas

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 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.

Northern cardinal male and female for identification

2. Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are 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.

You can attract more Mouring 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.

Mourning Dove

3. American Robin

American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms.  They have black heads and back with red or orange breast.  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. Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground

American Robin for identification

4. 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.

Red winged blackbird for identification

5. Blue Jay

Blue Jays are common songbirds with a blue upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides.  They are noisy birds that travel in family groups eating acorns when available.

They enjoy peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet but prefer these on tray feeders or hopper feeders on a post.  They will also enjoy a birdbath.

Blue Jay for identification

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.

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.

Dark eyed junco for identification

7. 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.

You can attract more American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts.

American Crow for identification

8. 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 make a loud call in spring and summer and are found in woods and forests, especially with deadwood.

You can attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers with suet feeders and they will sometimes feed from hummingbird feeders.

Red-bellied woodpecker

9. Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a cute bird with a big round head and tiny body. These birds will happily feed at backyard feeders and will investigate everything including you! 

They have black-caps and beak, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail.  

To attract more Black-capped Chickadees try suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter. They will even feed from your hand.

Black-capped Chickadee

10. 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 and will visit backyard feeders.

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.

Carolina Wren

11. 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.

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.

Tufted titmouse

12. 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.

You can attract more House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyger seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.

house finch male

13. 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.

You can attract more Common Grackles to your backyard with most mixed grain and seed, sprinkled on the ground or on platform feeders.

Common grackle

14. 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.

Downy woodpecker for identification

15. 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 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.

White breasted nuthatch for identification

16. 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.

You can attract more Northern Flickers to your backyard feeders with suet and black oil sunflower seeds.

Northern Flicker

17. Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks are small grassland birds, about the size of a Robin, that are yellow underneath and heavily patterned in brown, black, and buff on the back. A black ‘V’ shape is across the chest, which changes to gray in winter.

They are resident over much of the western states but breed and then migrate south from far northern states and Canada.

They are members of the blackbird family and can often be found foraging for grain and weed seeds in open grasslands, meadows, fields, and meadows.

You can attract more Western Meadowlarks to your yard with hulled sunflower seeds and cracked corn scattered on the ground.

western meadowlark

18. 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.

yellow rumped warbler

19. Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes are plump songbirds that are grayish-brown on the back and whitish underneath and with a darker head.

They are migratory birds, breeding across north-eastern states and into Canada before migrating to south-eastern states for winter.

They tend to be found alone, rather than in pairs or flocks, in quiet woodland wagging their tails from low perches.  They often nest on bridges and barns or houses, making a nest out of mud and grass. They can be attracted to your backyard with a nest box.

eastern phoebe

20. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches are popular birds with the males bright yellow and black coloring in spring.  The females are more dull brown as are males in winter.

They breed in Canada and northern two-thirds of the united states and resident year round across central states and appear for winter in southern states.

To attract more American Goldfinches to your backyard try planting thistles and milkweed.  They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed.

American Goldfinch for identification

Free Printable Kansas Birds Identification Worksheets

These free bird identification in Kansas worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Kansas at different times of the year.

So when you want to do some backyard birding these handy bird printables 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 Birds Identification Worksheet Kansas Page 1
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Kansas Page 2
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Kansas Page 3

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Kansas

variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds in Kansas to your backyard

  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 Kansas

If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Kansas there are some tips:

  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 Kansas

  1. Here are some more tips to help you identify birds in Kansas, whether you chose to go out birding or stay home bird watching in Kansas:

    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

Best Birding Sites in Kansas

If you decide to venture out and go birding in Kansas these are the top sites that give great bird watching opportunities in Kansas:

  1. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is an important wetland site for migrating and wintering waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds. It also provides nesting grounds for both waterbirds and land birds. The endangered Whooping Crane can be found here.
  2. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is a 20,000-acre state-owned area of marsh and an additional 8,000 acres owned by the Nature Conservancy that is renowned for migratory shorebirds.
  3. Shawnee Misson Park is a 1,600-acre park in Kansas City that 260 species of birds can be spotted in this suburban environment so you don’t need to leave the city to get out birding.
  4. Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area attracts waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds of up to 260 species.
  5. Cimarron National Grasslands is 170 square miles of prairie land where you can spot Scaled Quail, the rare Moutain Plover, Long-billed Curlew, and Burrowing Owls. 

Birds to Spot if Out Birding

If you go out Birding in Kansas there are other birds that are common to spot:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Great Blue Heron
  4. Turkey Vulture
  5. Mallard
  6. Killdeer
  7. Red-billed Gull
  8. Blue-winged Teal
  9. Northern Shoveler
  10. Double-crested Cormorant
  11. American Kestrel
  12. Pied-billed Grebe
  13. Bald Eagle
  14. Northern Harrier
  15. Belted Kingfisher
  16. American White Pelican
  17. Sandhill Crane
  18. Short-eared Owl
  19. Snow Goose
  20. Whooping Crane

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