15 Common Feeder Birds You Should Know

types of woodpeckers

Common feeder birds are fascinating creatures that many people enjoy watching on a regular basis, as they are easy to observe and provide colorful entertainment to our lives. Many feeder birds are also common and widespread, so even if you live in an urban or suburban area, chances are you’ll be able to see them without traveling too far from home.

When people think of birds and bird feeders, it’s usually the rare and exotic birds that come to mind, such as exotic parrots or tropical hummingbirds.
While birds can be difficult to identify, some species are much easier than others, and one of the easiest groups to identify are the common feeder birds or birds that eat at bird feeders around your home.

Here’s the lowdown on 15 of the most popular common feeder birds found around the world, so get ready to learn about some new feathered friends!

What are common feeder birds?

Common feeder birds are types of birds that are very common and easy to attract with seed or birdfeeders on your property. These include black-capped chickadees, titmice, house finches, cardinals, mourning doves, white-throated sparrows, and many more.

Chickadees and sparrows will perch on the edge of the feeder waiting for a large kernel to fall in order to eat it off the floor or bark.

Common feeder birds types

Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

The Carolina chickadee is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, especially those with oak and hickory trees. It has a wintering range from the Great Lakes region of eastern North America south to Florida and west to Louisiana.

Some Carolina chickadees may migrate as far as Mexico. These birds have a distinctive call that sounds like chick-a dee.

Tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

Tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

Tufted titmice are medium-sized brown birds that can easily be identified by the tufts of feathers on their head. They are found mostly in eastern and central North America, but their range is gradually expanding westward. Tufted titmice eat a variety of foods including insects, berries, nuts, seeds, and small vertebrates such as nestling birds and small mammals.

Although they tend to feed on the ground, they may also feed in shrubs or trees. Like other species of titmouse, they have been known to hoard food items to store for later use during winter months when food becomes scarce.

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American tree sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)

common feeder birds

The American tree sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) is a songbird of North America. They are grayish brown in color with a red stripe on their head and also have white streaks on their sides.

The tree sparrow feeds mainly on seeds, usually taken from the ground or while hopping through grasses and weeds, though they will also eat insects or small invertebrates. The tree sparrows nest either low in bushes or on the ground. They typically lay 4-6 eggs which hatch after 11 days. Males sing during courtship to attract females.

Black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia)

Black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia)

Known for their nimble feet and aerial acrobatics, black-billed magpies are also fun to watch from a feeder. Watch as these cheerful birds tiptoe across the ground, then vault straight up into the air with a laugh before sweeping back down to earth for more exploration.

Whether you choose to keep them in your yard or observe them at your local park, this is one bird that’s sure to put a smile on your face!

Black-crested titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus)

Black-crested titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus)

The black-crested titmouse, also known as Mexican titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus) is a small, round-headed bird with distinctive black crests over its eyes. It inhabits mature forests in the northern region of its range, generally below 1500 meters in elevation.

These birds are very social and form large flocks during the winter months when they enter agricultural areas in search of food and water. They feed on insects, spiders, berries, and seeds. Their natural predators include hawks, owls, and coyotes.

Brewer’s blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

Brewer's blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

The Brewer’s blackbird is also known as the common blackbird, and it has a range that extends throughout North America. Males in breeding plumage are glossy blue-black on the back with a purple sheen above and pink on their chest.

They are olive below with brown streaks and have a dark head with a bright red patch at the back of the crown. Females look similar to males, but they have grayish brown or greenish yellow instead of purple sheen above. Their heads are also not as colorful with patches being less pronounced. Other than these slight differences, both sexes look identical.

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Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

The Northern Cardinal is a common feeder bird in the United States and their common food source are seeds, nuts, corn, and suet. Cardinals can be found as far north as Alaska, Canada, Southern Mexico, and some of the Caribbean Islands. They were introduced to California and have been spreading ever since.

They will generally eat anything that’s put out for them. Cardinals often have a red head with an orange body; they have a crest on top of their head which they raise during courtship displays.

Red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

common feeder birds

The red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a common bird that can be found in North America, Central America, and South America. Its name comes from the reddish markings on its belly.

The red-bellied woodpecker prefers to live in mature forests but it will also nest in urban parks and gardens as long as there are suitable trees. It has an average length of 14 inches, weighs around 5 ounces, and lives up to 18 years old.

The diet of the red-bellied woodpecker includes insects, spiders, seeds, fruits, and nuts. These birds spend most of their time foraging in trees for food and nesting materials. They have large chisel-like bills for boring into tree bark or breaking apart large pieces of wood so they can extract grubs or other insects inside.

American goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

common feeder birds

In North America, the American goldfinch is the most prevalent in backyard feeders and is the most likely to be seen across Canada, Mexico, and the United States. These birds are less colorful than other finches with a striped forehead of yellow and orange feathers. One thing that makes these birds unique from other finches is their diet.

They mainly eat seeds like thistle seed, which can cause your yard to turn into a mini minefield if they’re not excluded from your garden. The good news? Their seeds are usually very nutritious, but you’ll need to provide fresh water and suet cakes or fruit for them in winter when natural food sources become scarce. They will also visit birdfeeders with sunflower seeds or safflower.

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White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

common feeder birds

The white-breasted nuthatch is a tree-dwelling bird with many habits. While these birds can be found in a variety of habitats, they are frequently seen as year-round residents of North America’s Appalachian Mountains and Rocky Mountain regions. They enjoy feeding on the seeds from cones, nuts, and fruits in their environment.

They also eat insects like aphids and beetles which provide vital protein to their diet. Their ability to turn their head nearly 180 degrees gives them an advantage when looking for food sources.

Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna)

common feeder birds

When you think of birds that come to feeders, the most popular names might be blackbirds, blue jays, cardinals, and goldfinches. But other common feeder birds are mourning doves, pigeons, sparrows, and juncos. Anna’s hummingbird is a member of this group.

The smallest bird in North America, it is not uncommon for these tiny creatures to fly 10 miles or more every day to find food sources. They prefer flowers as a source of nectar but will also feed on insects and other small invertebrates if they can’t find flowers.

Eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

The Eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) is a small, seed-eating bird. They are often seen hopping on the ground. Like other birds in the Pipilo genus, this species sports a long and pointy bill, making it look similar to other drab-colored songbirds that live in a brushy habitat like trees and shrubs.

Eastern towhees have streaked back feathers with dark centers outlined by light edges that fade into a striped appearance. It has yellow underparts. It has a grayish head with a black eyestripe, reddish crown, and throat patch bordered by white lines. The Eastern towhee’s song consists of high-pitched notes followed by two or three lower-pitched ones.

Downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

The Downy Woodpecker is a beautiful, medium-sized bird native to North America. They are about five inches long and have a buff-colored back with black barring on the wings and white bars on the underside. Males have red patches on their head during the breeding season that looks almost like hair.

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Downy Woodpeckers feed mainly on invertebrates found on trees including bark beetles, termites, ants, or caterpillars. When they make a hole in tree bark, they often remove wood chips around the opening to expose more insects. A single bird can drill up to six holes per day in search of food.

Downy Woodpeckers also enjoy suet cakes mixed with fruits such as apples or oranges placed out for them at feeding stations.

American robin (Turdus migratorius)

common feeder birds

The American robin is a relatively small bird that can easily be identified by its bright red breast, white belly, and black head and back. These colorful markings are very distinct in both summer and winter plumage, making the robin easy to identify. Although it’s native to North America, this species has been introduced to many other parts of the world. Robins feed on insects, fruit, worms, and even earthworms when available.

Band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)

common feeder birds

The Band-tailed pigeon is a species of bird found in western North America. They can be identified by their pale gray head and neck, black breast, and brown wings. The Band-tailed Pigeon is typically seen in pairs or small groups. Though they may be seen near water, they are primarily terrestrial birds.

They feed on grains, seeds, fruit, and small invertebrates. These beautiful birds can often be found around backyard feeders; hence the name Common Feeder Bird. Their flight pattern consists of low flapping followed by short glides with occasional soaring to higher altitudes.

In breeding season, males will puff out their feathers while strutting around females as part of courtship displays. A Band-tailed Pigeon can have a life span of up to 12 years.