Top 32 Backyard Birds in Texas (Free ID Chart)

Backyard Birds Texas ID Chart

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

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

Mourning Doves, White-winged Doves are more common backyard birds in Texas in summer and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Eastern Phoebes are more common backyard birds in winter in Texas.

Backyard birds in Texas all year: Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Great-tailed Grackle, House Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, House Finch, Red-winged Blackbird, European Starling, Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Crow, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Tufted Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch
Backyard birds in Texas in summer:
Barn Swallow, Painted Bunting, Western Kingbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Backyard birds in Texas in winter: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned Warbler, American Goldfinch, American Robin, Chipping Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing

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

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

Bird Facts for 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 is the Calliope Hummingbird which is only about 3 in long, but they can travel long distances from Canada to southern Mexico. There are other species of hummingbirds in Texas.

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.

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.

Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Texas Page 1
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Texas Page 2
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet Texas Page 3

The 32 common backyard birds in Texas

1. Northern Cardinal

Northern cardinal male and female for identification

Northern Cardinals are the most frequently spotted birds in Texas all year. They are recorded in 54% of summer checklists and 48% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

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

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

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

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

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

Northern Cardinal Song:

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

Northern Cardinal Call:

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

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

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

2. Northern Mockingbird

Northern mockingbird for identification

Northern Mockingbirds are residents of Texas all year. They are spotted in 52% of summer checklists and 41% of winter checklists for the state.

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

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

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

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

Northern Mockingbird Call/Song:

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

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

3. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are residents of Texas all year, but they are most common from May to September. They occur in 44% of summer checklists and 28% of winter checklists.

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

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

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

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

Mourning Dove call:

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

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

4. White-winged Dove

White-winged dove

White-winged Doves are spotted in Texas more during summer from April to September, but they are also residents of the state all year. They are recorded in 38% of summer checklists and 23% of winter checklists.

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

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

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

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

White-winged Dove Call:

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

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

5. Great-tailed Grackle

Great tailed Grackle
Male
Female

Great-tailed Grackles live in Texas all year but are mainly spotted from March to July. They appear in 33% of summer checklists and 23% of winter checklists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are winter birds in Texas that are mainly spotted from September to May. They are recorded in 34% of winter checklists submitted by the bird watchers for the state.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yellow-rumped Warbler Song:

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

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

7. House Sparrow

House sparrow for identification

House Sparrows are an introduced species in Texas that can be spotted here all year. They do not migrate and occur in 29% of summer checklists and 21% of winter checklists submitted by the bird watchers for the state.

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

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

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

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

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

House Sparrow Song:

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

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

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

8. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets spend winter in Texas and occur in 27% of checklists at this time. They arrive in August and remain until May, but September to April are the best months to spot them.

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

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

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

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

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Song:

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

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

9. Eastern Phoebe

eastern phoebe

Eastern Phoebes are spotted all year in Texas but are more often seen during winter, from October to March, in the south of the state. They appear in 11% of summer checklists and 25% of winter checklists.

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

  • Sayornis phoebe
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (16-21 g)
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11.0 in (26-28 cm)

Eastern Phoebes are migratory birds, breeding across northeastern and central US states and into Canada before migrating to southeastern US states and Mexico for winter. Some birds may remain all year towards the south of their range. 

Eastern Phoebes tend to be found alone in quiet woodland, wagging their tails from low perches rather than in pairs or flocks. 

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.

Eastern Phoebe Song:

Credit: Eric DeFonso, XC370485. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/370485.

Attract Eastern Phoebes to your backyard by putting up a nest box or native plants that produce berries.

10. Barn Swallow

barn swallow

Barn Swallows are mainly spotted in Texas from mid-February to November. They are recorded in 29% of summer checklists for the state.

Barn Swallows are small birds with a deep-blue back, wings and tail, and reddish-brown underneath and across the face. Their tail has long outer feathers that give a deep fork. The dark color of their back can make them look black-and-white.

  • Hirundo rustica
  • Length: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (17-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in (29-32 cm)

Barn Swallows breed in Canada and the US  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.

Song

Paul Marvin, XC452059. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/452059.

Attract Barn Swallows by putting up nest boxes or cups, and they may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.

11. Blue Jay

Blue Jays are spotted all year in Texas, especially in the east of the state. They are recorded in 27% of summer checklists and 24% of winter checklists.

Blue Jays are common large songbirds with a blue upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides. 

  • Cyanocitta cristata
  • Length: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)
  • Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz (70-100 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in (34-43 cm)

Blue Jays live in eastern US states and Southern Canada all year. Some birds will migrate west for winter but not very frequently.

They are noisy birds that travel in family groups eating acorns when available. 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.

Blue Jay Call:

Greg Irving, XC691957. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/691957.

Blue Jays are large birds and prefer to fly in, grab a peanut or sunflower seed and take it away to feed. They prefer platform or tray feeders to make it easy to make a quick exit.

Attract Blue Jays to your backyard with peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet. They prefer these on open tray feeders or hopper feeders on a post. They will also enjoy a birdbath.

12. Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wrens do not migrate and are frequently spotted in Texas all year. They appear in 27% of summer checklists and 24% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

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 a loud ‘teakettle‘ song.

  • Thryothorus ludovicianus
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz (18-22 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4 in (29 cm)

Carolina Wrens are residents all year across eastern and southeastern US States.

You can find them in woods or thickly vegetated areas, and they will visit backyard feeders.

Carolina Wren Song:

Bobby Wilcox, XC616879. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/616879.

Attract Carolina Wrens to your backyard feeders with suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, or peanut hearts in large tube feeders or on platform feeders.

Wrens are often overlooked for more flash birds, but take the time to get to know the sight and sounds of wrens in Texas.

13. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadees are spotted all year in Texas, mainly in the east of the state. They do not migrate and occur in 27% of summer and winter checklists.

Carolina Chickadees are tiny birds with large heads, black caps and necks, white cheeks and bellies, and soft gray backs, wings, and tails.

They are visually very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, and they interbreed where their range overlaps.

  • Poecile carolinensis
  • Length: 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm)

Carolina Chickadees can be found in forested areas, parks, and backyards in eastern and southeastern US states all year.

Carolina Chickadee Song:

Credit: Brian Hendrix, XC572217. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/572217.

Attract 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.

14. House Finch

House Finches are residents of Texas all year. They do not migrate and appear in around 21% of summer checklists and 15% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

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

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

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

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

House Finch Song:

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

House Finch Call:

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

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

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

15. Orange-crowned Warbler

orange-crowned-warbler

Orange-crowned Warblers are mainly spotted in Texas from September until mid-May and are recorded in 21% of winter checklists.

Orange-crowned Warblers are not as brightly colored as other warblers with their yellow-olive coloring. They are more yellow on the Pacific Coast, and the orange crown is rarely seen.

  • Leiothlypis celata
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)

Orange-crowned Warblers breed in Canada and western US states before migrating to the Pacific, East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Mexico. However, Orange-crowned Warblers can also be seen during migration across all states.

You can find Orange-crowned Warblers in shrubs and low vegetation, and they breed in open woodland.

Orange-crowned Warblers eat mainly insects, spiders, caterpillars, and flies. However, they will also eat fruit, berries, and seeds and regularly visit backyard feeders.

Orange-crowned Warbler Song:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC671865. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/671865.

Attract more Orange-crowned Warblers to your yard with suet and peanut butter or hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar.

16. Red-winged Blackbird

Red winged blackbird for identification

Red-winged blackbirds are found in Texas all year and appear in 20% of checklists in summer and 22% of checklists in winter submitted by bird watchers for the state.

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

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

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

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

Red-winged Blackbird Song:

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

Red-winged Blackbird Calls:

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

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

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

17. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch for identification

American Goldfinches are spotted in Texas during winter, and some stay in the north of the state all year. They are recorded in 19% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

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.

  • Spinus tristis
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

American Goldfinches can be found in most of North America and are usually resident all year. However, those that breed in Canada and the Midwest migrate to southern US States for winter.

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.

American Goldfinch Song:

Attract American Goldfinches to your backyard by planting thistles and milkweed. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed.

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

18. Painted Bunting

painted bunting

Painted Buntings are frequently spotted in Texas during the breeding season and appear in 21% of checklists at this time. They are usually seen here from April to October.

Painted Bunting males are a brightly colored patchwork of color with mostly red coloring underneath and with bright blue heads, green wings, and backs. Females are bright yellow-green.

  • Passerina ciris
  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5-0.7 oz (13-19 g)

Painted Buntings breed in a few US states, in the south-central and some coastal areas in southeastern states. They migrate at night to Central America, southern Florida, and some Caribbean islands.

You can find Painted Bunting in semi-open habitats, mainly foraging for seeds and insects in the breeding season.

Painted Bunting Song:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC564624. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/564624.

Attract Painted Bunting to your backyard with lots of their favorite seeds, such as white millet or black oil sunflower seeds, and dense vegetation for them to hide under.

19. European Starling

European Starlings are an introduced species in Texas that can be seen in the state all year. They appear in 22% of checklists in summer and 19% of checklists in winter.

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

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

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

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

European Starling Calls:

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

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

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

20. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be found in northern and eastern Texas year-round. They are spotted in 17% of summer and winter checklists for the state.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be mistaken for Red-headed Woodpeckers as they have red caps, but they are much smaller than the Red-headed Woodpecker. Female Red-bellied Woodpeckers lack the red cap and only have red at the back of their heads.

They also have a very pale red belly that can be hard to spot, but they do have the typical woodpecker black and white markings over their backs.

  • Melanerpes carolinus
  • Length: 9.4 in (24 cm)
  • Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz (56-91 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in (33-42 cm)

Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be found in eastern US states, and they do not migrate.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers eat insects, spiders, seeds from grasses, fruit, and nuts. They will also sometimes eat nestlings. They nest in dead trees and may use the same nest year after year. They lay 4-5 white eggs on a bed of wood chips.

The tongue of the Red-bellied Woodpecker sticks out 2 inches past the beak and is barbed at the tip, along with sticky spit. This helps catch prey from deep crevices.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Call:

Credit: William Whitehead, XC473321. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/473321.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers can often be seen at bird feeders, especially if you live near wooded areas. They make a distinctive loud rolling call which means you will often hear them before you see them.

21. American Crow

American Crow for identification

American Crows can be seen in Texas all year but are most common during fall, from September to December. They appear in 16% of summer checklists and 19% of winter checklists.

American crows are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound.

  • Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Length: 15.8-20.9 in (40-53 cm)
  • Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz (316-620 g)
  • Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in (85-100 cm)

American Crows are residents all year in most of the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast in Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and the northern Midwest migrate south for winter.

They are common birds 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 noisy communal roosts.

American Crow Call:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC569711. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/569711.

Attract American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts, but they can become a nuisance as they are attracted by garbage or pet food if left out.

22. Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds are large flycatchers with yellow bellies, whitish chests, gray heads, grayish-brown wings, and black tails with white edges.

  • Tyrannus verticalis
  • Length: 7.9-9.4 in (20-24 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz (37-46 g)
  • Wingspan: 15.0-16.1 in (38-41 cm)

Western Kingbirds breed in summer in western US states, the plains area, and into Canada. They migrate to Mexico and Central America, but some may overwinter in the south of Florida.

You can find Western Kingbirds in open habitats, and they are often found perched on fences and utility lines, waiting for insects to fly by before catching them in mid-flight.

Western Kingbird call:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC552239. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/552239.

Nests of Western Kingbirds are usually built in trees or shrubs, but they also nest in human-made buildings or posts. The nest is made by the female from twigs, grass, and plant material woven into a cup.

They lay up to seven eggs which take two or nearly three weeks to hatch, and the same again for the young to leave the nest.

Attract Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and planting elderberry or hawthorn, from which they will also eat the fruit.

Fun Fact: Western Kingbird parents will feed their young for a further three weeks after they leave the nest.

23. Brown-headed Cowbird

brown headed cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbirds are frequently spotted in Texas during summer, from March to July, and appear in 17% of checklists at this time. However, some stay in the state all year and appear in 5% of winter checklists.

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

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

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

Brown-headed Cowbird Song:

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

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

24. American Robin

American Robin for identification

American Robins are more commonly spotted in Texas during winter from November to March, but some remain in the north of the state all year. They appear in 7% of summer checklists and 17% of winter checklists.

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

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

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

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

American Robin Song:

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

American Robin Call:

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

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

25. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker for identification in Massachusetts MA

Downy Woodpeckers are found all year in Texas, mainly in the north and east of the state. They are spotted in around 13% of summer and winter checklists.

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.

  • Dryobates pubescens
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz (21-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

Downy Woodpeckers do not migrate and can be spotted in most states and provinces, except the north of Canada.

You can find Downy woodpeckers in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards, and they eat mainly insects and beetle larvae but also berries, acorns, and grains.

Downy Woodpecker Call:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC601009. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/601009.

Attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard with their favorite treat of suet, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders.

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

26. Eastern Bluebird

Eastern bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds are spotted all year in Texas, but their numbers increase from October to March. They are recorded in 10% of summer checklists and 12% of winter checklists for the state.

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.

  • Sialia sialis
  • Length: 6.3-8.3 in (16-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.0-1.1 oz (28-32 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-12.6 in (25-32 cm)

They live all year in southeastern US states, but those that breed in the northern US and southern Canada migrate south.

You can find Eastern bluebirds in meadows, and they can often be spotted perched on wires and posts or low branches, looking for insects.

Eastern Bluebird Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC601010. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/601010.

Attract Eastern Bluebirds to your backyard by offering mealworms and nest boxes if your yard is pretty open and spacious.

27. Tufted Titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Tufted Titmouses are residents of Texas all year and are mostly spotted in the east of the state. They appear in 10% of summer and winter checklists.

Tufted Titmouses are gray on the back and white underneath with a cute gray crest and large eyes. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.

  • Baeolophus bicolor
  • Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (18-26 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-10.2 in (20-26 cm)

Tufted Titmouses live in eastern and southeastern US states all year

You can find Tufted Titmouses in woodlands, parks, and backyard feeders, and they can be assertive over smaller birds, pushing in to get to the food first.

Tufted Titmouses 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.

Tufted Titmouse Song:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC627685. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/627685.

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.

28. Black-chinned Hummingbird

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

Black-chinned Hummingbirds spend the breeding season in Texas and occur in 13% of summer checklists. They are mainly spotted from March to October.

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

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed in Texas, and some may remain all year on the Gulf Coast.

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

Black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states and migrate to western Mexico and the Gulf Coast in the winter.

They eat nectar, small insects, and spiders, and their tongues can lick 13-17 times per second when feeding on nectar.

29. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow

Chipping Sparrows are mainly spotted in Texas during winter, but some remain here all year. They are recorded in 3% of summer checklists and 12% of winter checklists.

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

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

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

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

Chipping Sparrow Song:

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

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

30. Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch male

Lesser Goldfinches are spotted in Texas all year, but their numbers increase during the breeding season from May to September. They are recorded in 10% of summer checklists and 6% of winter checklists for the state.

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

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

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

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

Lesser Goldfinch call/Song:

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

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

31. Cedar Waxwing

cedar waxwing

Cedar Waxwings are mainly seen in Texas during winter and occur in 12% of checklists at this time. They are usually spotted in the state from November until May.

Cedar Waxwings are elegant social birds that are pale brown on the head, chest, and crest, which fades to gray on the back, wings, and tail.

Their belly is pale yellow and bright yellow towards the tail. They have a narrow black mask over their eyes and bright red on the wingtips.

  • Bombycilla cedrorum
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)

Cedar Waxwings remain all year in the northern half of the US. Those that breed in Canada migrate to the southern half of the US for winter.

They make a high-pitched call and can be found in berry bushes, woodlands, and streams.

Cedar Waxwing Call:

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC512254. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/512254.

Attract Cedar Waxwings to your backyard by planting native trees and shrubs with small fruit such as serviceberry, dogwood, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn. You can also try fruit on platform feeders.

32. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby throated hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are spotted during the breeding season in Texas, but their numbers increase during the spring and fall migration. They are recorded in 7% of summer checklists and up to 28% of checklists during migration.

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 lack the red throat, but they are green on the back and white underneath with brownish crowns and sides.

  • Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g)
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in (8-11 cm)

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. They migrate south over the Gulf of Mexico or through Texas to Central America for winter.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds start arriving in the far south in February, and they may not arrive in northern states and Canada until May for breeding. They begin to migrate south in August and September.

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be aggressive in their defense of flowers and feeders, and they do not stick around long after mating and may migrate by early August.

These tiny birds zip from one nectar source to the next or catch insects in midair or from spider webs. They occasionally stop on a small twig, but their legs are so short they cannot walk, only shuffle along a perch.

In summer, flowering gardens or woodland edges are the best places to find them when out. They are also common in towns, especially at nectar feeders.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Wingbeat/Call:

Credit: Patrick Turgeon, XC139835. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/139835.

Attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard with homemade nectar, and you can even attract hummingbirds with shade-loving plants or glorious hanging plants.

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

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.

Summer birds Texas

Northern Mockingbird 53%
Northern Cardinal 52%
Mourning Dove 47%
White-winged Dove 39%
Great-tailed Grackle 33%
House Sparrow 31%
Barn Swallow 29%
Carolina Wren 26%
Blue Jay 26%
Carolina Chickadee 25%

Winter birds Texas

Northern Cardinal 46%
Northern Mockingbird 43%
Yellow-rumped Warbler 38%
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 32%
Eastern Phoebe 30%
Mourning Dove 28%
Carolina Chickadee 26%
Great-tailed Grackle 24%
Carolina Wren 24%
Orange-crowned Warbler 24%

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Texas

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

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

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard in Texas

If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Texas 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 Texas

Here are some tips to help you identify birds:

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

Birds to Spot if Out Birding in Texas

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

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Great Egret
  3. Great Blue Heron
  4. Black Vulture
  5. Killdeer
  6. Snowy Egret
  7. Double-crested Cormorant
  8. Golden-fronter Woodpecker
  9. American Kestrel
  10. Loggerhead Shrike
  11. Red-shouldered Hawk
  12. Northern Shoveler
  13. Neotropic Cormorant
  14. Crested Caracara
  15. White Ibis
  16. Belted Kingfisher
  17. Cattle Egret
  18. Little Blue Heron
  19. Osprey
  20. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  21. American White pelican
  22. Tricolored Heron
  23. Northern Harrier
  24. Great Heron
  25. Roseate Spoonbill
  26. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  27. Harris Hawk
  28. Burrowing Owl
  29. Lesser Prairie-Chicken
  30. Whooping Crane
  31. Vermilion Flycatcher