7 Red Birds in Mississippi – Picture and ID Guide

Purple Finch

Red birds brighten up your day, so make sure you know all the red birds you can spot.

There are 7 species of red birds in Mississippi that have been spotted. Of these, 6 species are recognized on state checklists as regularly occurring, and one is considered rare or accidental.

This guide will help you identify the species of red birds in Mississippi according to avibase. Some of these birds migrate, and some remain all year.

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You can print out a free bird identification worksheet for Mississippi 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 Mississippi. The Summer Tanager is more commonly seen in summer, while the Purple Finch is more commonly spotted in winter in Mississippi. Continue reading to find out more about these red birds.

7 Red Birds in Mississippi

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. House Finch
  3. Summer Tanager
  4. Purple Finch
  5. Scarlet Tanager
  6. Painted Bunting
  7. Red Crossbill

7 Red Birds in Mississippi:

1. Northern Cardinal

northern cardinal

Northern Cardinals are very common in Mississippi all year.

The bright red male Northern Cardinal is a bird with a red head, body, and tail, and 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 finch male

House Finches are fun red birds that can be spotted all year in Mississippi.

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. Summer Tanager

summer tanager

Summer Tanagers are seen all year in Mississippi, but they are more common between April and November.

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.

4. Purple Finch

Purple Finch

Purple Finches are not very common in Mississippi, but they can be spotted here during winter.

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. Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet tanager

Scarlet Tanagers are rare in Mississippi, but they have been spotted between April and November in the state.

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.

6. Painted Bunting

Although not very common, Painted Buntings can be spotted all year, mostly in the western part of Mississippi.

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.

7. Red Crossbill

red crossbill

Red Crossbills are considered an accidental or rare species in Mississippi, but they were spotted near Sardis Lake.

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.

How Frequently Red birds are Spotted in Mississippi 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 Mississippi on ebird in summer and winter.

Common Red Birds in Mississippi in Summer:

Northern Cardinal 59.8%
House Finch 18.9%
Summer Tanager 18.5%
Painted Bunting 2.8%
Scarlet Tanager 1.7%
Purple Finch <0.1%

Common Red Birds in Mississippi in Winter:

Northern Cardinal 51.7%
House Finch 16.9%
Purple Finch 6.8%
Painted Bunting 0.3%
Summer Tanager 0.1%
Red Crossbill <0.1%