Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Texas? Do you need help identifying common backyard birds in Texas?
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 Texas that visit feeders or hop across your lawn.
So if you’re ready to do some backyard birding in Texas then read on to find out how to identify birds and how to attract more birds to your yard.
Also, get free printable backyard bird worksheets with pictures for Texas to help you identify and keep track of the birds that visit your backyard.
Top 28 backyard birds in Texas
- Northern Cardinal
- Northern Mockingbird
- Mourning Dove
- White-winged Dove
- Great-tailed Grackle
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- House Sparrow
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Eastern Phoebe
- Barn Swallow
- Blue Jay
- Carolina Wren
- Carolina Chickadee
- House Finch
- Orange-crowned Warbler
- Red-winged Blackbird
- American Goldfinch
- Painted Bunting
- European Starling
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- American Crow
- Western Kingbird
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- American Robin
- Downy Woodpecker
- Eastern Bluebird
- Summer Tanager
- Tufted Titmouse
These are the backyard birds most often seen in Texas 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 Texas in summer, winter, and throughout the year.
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Texas these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.
Mourning Doves, White-winged Doves are more common birds in Texas in summer and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Eastern Phoebes are more common birds in winter in Texas.
The Mockingbird is the state bird of Texas. This bird was chosen in 1927 as it is common all year throughout Texas.
There are 673 species of bird recorded in Texas according to ebird. Some of the highlight birds in Texas include Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Snowy Egret, Golden-fronter Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Neotropic Cormorant, Crested Caracara, White Ibis, Belted Kingfisher, Little Blue Heron, Osprey, American White pelican, Tricolored Heron, Great Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Burrowing Owl, Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Whooping Crane, Vermilion Flycatcher and Painted Bunting.
The biggest bird in Texas is the Bald Eagle, with a wingspan of up to 8 feet (2.5 m) for the females, this white-headed national bird symbol of the United States is a powerful bird of prey.
The smallest bird in Texas 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 Texas is the Northern Cardinal, which is seen in 48% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird throughout the year.
Texas has 2 national parks, 4 national forests, 19 national wildlife refuges, 2 national grasslands, and 80 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 Texas and how to attract and identify birds.
Top 28 backyard birds in Texas
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.
2. 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.
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.
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.
Mourning Doves are more commonly seen in summer in Texas.
4. 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.
White-winged Doves are more commonly seen in summer in Texas.
5. 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.
6. 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, but also parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains. During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in the South, Southwest, and Pacific Coast as well as into Mexico and Central America.
Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found 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 mostly fruit including bayberry and wax myrtle.
You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.
Yellow-rumped Warblers spend the winter in Texas and are commonly seen at backyard feeders.
7. 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 will eat out of your hand.
House Sparrows can be found in most busy areas, especially around cities, towns, farms, or anywhere there are people. They eat mostly grain and seed as well as discarded food. 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.
8. 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.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets spend the winter in Texas and they start to arrive between September and October and migrate north in April.
9. 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 the north-eastern 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 majority 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.
10. Barn Swallow
Barn Swallows are small birds with a deep-blue back, wings and tail, and reddish-brown underneath and across the face. The tail has long outer feathers that give a deep fork.
They breed over most of North America before heading to Central and South America. They can be found flying over meadows, farms, and fields looking for insects and usually build mud nests on man-made structures such as in barns.
You can attract more Barn Swallows by putting up nest boxes or cups and may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.
11. Blue Jay
Blue Jays are common large 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. Mostly resident but may migrate from the far northwest of US and can migrate in large flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast.
They can be found in forests, but especially 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
Carolina Chickadees 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 and feed on insects, spiders, and seeds
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 n nest boxes or nest tubes.
14. 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 and 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.
15. Orange-crowned Warbler
Orange-crowned Warblers are not as brightly colored as other warblers with their yellow-olive coloring, which is more yellow on the Pacific Coast. The orange crown is rarely seen.
Breeding in Canada and western states before migrating to the southern U.S and Mexico. Orange-crowned Warblers can also be seen during migration across all states but are more common in the west.
Orange-crowned Warblers can be found in shrubs and low vegetation and breed in open woodland. Their diet consists mainly of insects and spiders such as spiders, caterpillars, and flies. They will also eat fruit, berries, and seeds and regularly visit backyard feeders.
To attract more Orange-crowned Warblers to your yard try suet and peanut butter or hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar.
Orange-crowned Warblers are another winter visitor to Texas and take advantage of the mild weather.
16. 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.
17. 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.
American Goldfinches breed in far northern states and Canada before migrating to southern states, they remain all year in the rest of the U.S. 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.
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.
18. Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting males are a brightly colored patchwork of color with bright blue heads, green wings, and backs, and with red rumps and bellies. Females are bright yellow-green.
They breed in a few states, in the south-central and along with some coastal areas in the Southeast U.S, before migrating at night to Central America, southern Florida, and some Caribbean islands.
You can find Painted Bunting in semi-open habitats foraging mostly for seeds but also insects in the breeding season.
To attract painted Bunting to your yard try adding low dense vegetation and feeders filled with seed such as white millet or black oil sunflower seeds.
Painted Bunting spend the summer in Texas breeding.
19. 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.
20. 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. Their 2-inch long tongue is great for grabbing prey from deep crevices.
They make a loud call in spring and summer and are found in woods and forests, especially those with deadwood. They eat mostly insects and spiders but also nuts and seeds, such as acorns, pine cones, and fruit such as grapes, oranges, hackberries, and mangoes.
You can attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers with suet feeders but also peanuts, sunflower seeds, and fruit and they will sometimes feed from hummingbird feeders.
21. 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.
American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows in winter 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.
22. Western Kingbird
Western Kingbirds are large flycatchers with yellow bellies, whitish chests, gray heads, grayish-brown wings, and a darker tail.
They breed over all of western North America and are a familiar sight in summer before migrating to Mexico and Central America, some may overwinter in the south of Florida.
They live in open habitats and are often found perched on fences and utility lines waiting for insects to fly by before catching them in mid-flight. They can often be found near the edge of woodlands so they can nest in the trees and forage in the open. They also nest in human-made structures.
You can attract more Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and planting elderberry or hawthorn, which they will also eat the fruit from.
Western Kingbirds spend the summer in Texas breeding before migrating south.
23. 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.
24. American Robin
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.
American Robins can be found in many habitats, from woodlands, forests, and mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. They eat earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.
You can attract more American Robins to your yard 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.
25. 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 but smaller.
Downy woodpeckers can be found in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards and eat mainly insects beetle larvae, but also berries, acorns, and grains.
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.
26. 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.
27. Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager males are bright red all over, with the females being yellow. They breed in southern and eastern states before heading to Central and South America for winter.
They are forest songbirds and can be found in open woodlands and feed on bees and wasps in mid-flight. They catch them and kill them by beating them against a branch and rubs the stinger off before eating them.
You can attract more Summer Tanagers to your backyard with berry bushes and fruit trees.
28. 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.
Tufted Titmice 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.
Free Printable Backyard Birds picture ID for Texas
These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in Texas 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 Texas in Winter or Summer
The birds that are attracted to backyards in Texas change throughout the year. The lists below show the backyard birds that are most commonly seen at different times of the year in Texas.
Mourning Doves, White-winged Doves are more common in summer and Northern Mockingbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Eastern Phoebes are more common birds in winter in Texas.
These are the backyard birds most often seen in Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas you are most likely to see from home.
This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Texas these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.
Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Texas
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 Texas
If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Texas 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 Texas
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 Texas
If you go out Birding in Texas these are other birds that you may be able to spot:
- Turkey Vulture
- Great Egret
- Great Blue Heron
- Black Vulture
- Snowy Egret
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Golden-fronter Woodpecker
- American Kestrel
- Loggerhead Shrike
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Northern Shoveler
- Neotropic Cormorant
- Crested Caracara
- White Ibis
- Belted Kingfisher
- Cattle Egret
- Little Blue Heron
- Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
- American White pelican
- Tricolored Heron
- Northern Harrier
- Great Heron
- Roseate Spoonbill
- Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
- Harris Hawk
- Burrowing Owl
- Lesser Prairie-Chicken
- Whooping Crane
- Vermilion Flycatcher