Need help identifying the red birds found in Delaware? This guide will show you all the red birds that can be spotted and help with identification.
There are 10 species of red birds in Delaware that have been spotted. Of these 8 species are recognized on state checklists as regularly occurring, and an additional 2 species are considered rare or accidental.
This guide will help you identify the species of red birds in Delaware according to avibase. Some of these birds migrate, and some remain all year.
You can print out a free bird identification worksheet for Delaware to help you identify all birds that visit your backyard.
The Northern Cardinal is the most common red bird in both summer and winter in Delaware. The Scarlet Tanager is more commonly seen in summer, and several species are only spotted in winter in Delaware.
So read on to find out when is the best time to spot all these red birds in Delaware.
10 Red Birds in Delaware:
- Northern Cardinal
- House Finch
- Scarlet Tanager
- Purple Finch
- Summer Tanager
- Red Crossbill
- Painted Bunting
- Common Redpoll
- White-winged Crossbill
- Pine Grosbeak
10 Red Birds in Delaware:
1. Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinals are common birds in Delaware all year.
The bright red male Northern Cardinal is a bird with a red head, body, and tail, with black around their faces. They are an incredible sight, especially against a white winter background. The females are also showy with their brown coloring, sharp brown crest, red highlights, and red beaks.
- 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 are found in eastern and southern states and will sometimes attack their reflection during breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories.
You can attract more Northern Cardinals to backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo.
They will feed on large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food scattered on the ground.
2. House Finch
House Finches are fun red birds that can be spotted in Delaware all year.
House Finches are another bird with a red head and breast in the males and brown-streaked coloring in the females.
- 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 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 nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.
3. Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanagers are not very common in Delaware, but you can spot them here during summer.
Scarlet Tanagers are bright red birds with black wings and tails. Females are yellow with darker wings and tails.
- Piranga olivacea
- Length: 6.3-6.7 in (16-17 cm)
- Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (23-38 g)
- Wingspan: 9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm)
They breed in eastern forests in summer before migrating to South America.
Scarlet Tanagers can be hard to spot as they stay high in the forest canopy.
You can attract more Scarlet Tanagers by planting berry plants such as blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, juneberries, serviceberries, mulberries, strawberries, and chokeberries.
4. Purple Finch
Purple Finches are rare birds that can only be spotted during winter in Delaware.
Purple Finches look very similar to House Finch with the reddish-purple head and breast with more brown on the back and wings.
- Length: 4.7-6.3 in (12-16 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-32 g)
- Wingspan: 8.7-10.2 in (22-26 cm)
They breed in Canada and overwinter in eastern states but can be found all year in the north-east are Pacific coast.
You can spot them in evergreen forests feeding on seeds and buds, nectar, and berries.
They readily come to feeders for black oil sunflower seeds.
5. Summer Tanager
These beautiful Summer Tanagers can be hard to spot in Delaware, and they have only been seen here between May and October.
Summer Tanager males are bright red birds, and females are yellow.
- Piranga rubra
- Length: 6.7 in (17 cm)
- Weight: 1.1 oz (30 g)
They breed in southern and eastern states before heading to Central and South America for winter.
They are forest songbirds 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 rubbing the stinger off before eating them.
You can attract more Summer Tanagers to your backyard with berry bushes and fruit trees.
6. Red Crossbill
Red Crossbills are very rare in Delaware. However, they have been spotted a few times, mainly along the state’s coast during winter.
Red Crossbill males are red birds with darker wings and tails. Females are yellow and brown.
They can be found year-round in northern and western states and winter in eastern states.
They feed on conifer seeds and forage in flocks from tree to tree, even breaking unopened cones with their powerful beaks. As well as coniferous forests, they can be found along roadsides consuming grit in the mornings.
7. Painted Bunting
Painted Buntings are considered an accidental species in Delaware, but they are spotted here in the winter, mainly in the eastern part of the state.
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 Bunting breed in a few states, in the south-central and some coastal areas in the Southeast US, before migrating 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.
To attract painted Bunting to your yard, try adding low, dense vegetation, and feeders filled with white millet or black oil sunflower seeds.
8. Common Redpoll
Although very rare in Delaware, Common Redpolls have been spotted here during winter.
Common Redpolls have red foreheads, pinky breasts, and brown and white over the rest of their bodies.
- Acanthis flammea
- Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
They can be found in winter in northern states and less frequently in central states.
In winter, they will sometimes tunnel into the snow to stay warm during the night. They can eat up to 42% of their body mass every day and store up to 2 grams of seeds in a stretchy part of their esophagus.
They can be found in weedy fields or feeding on catkins in trees, but they will also come to feeders for small seeds such as nyjer seeds or thistle.
9. White-winged Crossbill
White-winged Crossbills are very rare red birds in Delaware. They have only been spotted very few times along the state’s coast during winter.
White-winged Crossbills are finches with heavy crossed beaks. Males are red birds with black wings and tails and two white wingbars. Females are yellow and brown and with two white wing bars.
- Loxia leucoptera
- Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
- Weight: 0.8-0.9 oz (24-26 g)
- Wingspan: 10.2-11.0 in (26-28 cm)
White-winged Crossbills live in forests in Canada, Alaska, and sometimes Northern US states when cone crops are poor further north. They can be found in spruce forests feeding on seeds.
Unusually, these birds breed at any time of year as long as there is enough food.
They can often be heard in large flocks.
10. Pine Grosbeak
Pine Grosbeaks are extremely rare birds to see in Delaware, but they have been accepted by the Delaware Ornithological Society, with some recorded sightings in the state.
Pine Grosbeaks are a species of finch. The males are red birds with gray on the wings and tail and two white wingbars. Females are gray with dull orange heads and rumps. They are large for finches and relatively slow.
- Pinicola enucleator
- Length: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
- Wingspan: 13.0 in (33 cm)
Pine Grosbeaks are mostly found in Canada, but some can be spotted along the US border, the mountainous west, and the Sierra Nevada in California.
They live in forests of pine, spruce, and fir, feeding on seeds, fruit, and buds from these trees. They will also eat some insects in the summer.
You can attract Pine Grosbeaks to black oil sunflower seed feeders or suet feeders.
How Frequently Red birds are Spotted in Delaware in Summer and Winter
Checklists for the state are a great resource to find out which birds are commonly spotted here. These lists show which red birds are most commonly recorded on checklists for Delaware on ebird in summer and winter.
Common Red Birds in Delaware in Summer:
Northern Cardinal 54%
House Finch 24%
Scarlet Tanager 9%
Summer Tanager 2%
Purple Finch 0.2%
Red Crossbill <0.1%
Painted Bunting <0.1%
White-winged Crossbill <0.1%
Common Red Birds in Delaware in Winter:
Northern Cardinal 44%
House Finch 27%
Purple Finch 1.4%
Common Redpoll 0.2%
Red Crossbill 0.2%
Painted Bunting 0.2%
White-winged Crossbill <0.1%
Summer Tanager <0.1%