Vermilion Flycatcher

8 Birds That Are Red And Black (Explained)

Have you ever looked up into the sky and noticed a bird that is red and black? Birds like this are beautiful to look at.

They can also be very elusive, but if you live in North America, then there’s a good chance that you’ve seen one of these birds before.

This article will provide information on eight of the most beautiful birds in North America that are red and black so that you can identify them next time they fly by your window or land on your feeder.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager
Image by TheBirdBird from Pixabay

The scarlet tanager is a medium-sized bird native to North America. This bird has a fire red plumage with black wings and a bill that is bone-white.  It was named for its intense coloration, which looks like it has been colored in with red paint or dye. 

They are most often found in the eastern United States but also range as far west as Colorado and New Mexico. These birds typically live in deciduous forests that have oak trees or large wooded areas near water sources such as rivers, streams, ponds, or lakes. ​​​​​​​

The Scarlet Tanager has a distinctive song that consists of a series of whistles or trills which have been described as sounding like “pretty, tinkling bells.” The sound makes this colorful bird easy to identify ​​​​​​​for bird watchers.

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Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher
Image by Ely Penner from Pixabay

The Vermilion Flycatcher is a tyrant flycatcher in the family Tyrannidae. The species has a vibrant red plumage with black wings and tail, black bill, and dark legs.

Vermilion Flycatchers can be found in forests and shrublands throughout most of the eastern United States, from Maine to Florida and westward as far as Texas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Arkansas

Their range includes some areas outside the U.S., such as Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. They forage by perching on an open branch or low tree limbs to watch for insects. 

In the wild, these birds eat insects such as spiders, ants, beetles, flies, and caterpillars which they find on leaves or branches of trees.  They are very agile in the air and will swoop down to catch insects on the ground. The male will usually make more displays than the female during courtship season.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal
Image by TheBirdBird from Pixabay

A Northern Cardinal is a small bird, measuring around 9 inches long. They are known for their beautiful bright red feathers and their unique crest on the head that can be seen from above.

The male has a black mask over his face while the female does not have this marking. The Northern Cardinal lives in North America, living as far north as Canada and south to Mexico​​​​​​​. 

This bird usually lives in deciduous forests, but can also be found in parks and gardens, as well as open woodlands or thickets. It prefers to nest near streams or creeks in tall trees or bushes, often near water. 

Northern Cardinals are very social birds, and the male and female usually travel together during migration.

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Pileated Woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is the largest of all North American woodpeckers. The male and female both are black with red markings on their heads and necks.

Their bill can be up to three inches long, which helps them in obtaining food from deep holes in trees.  This bird’s diet consists primarily of ants, beetle larvae, bees, wasps, and yellow jackets, and other insects.

The size of its bill allows it to access a wider variety of food sources than most other birds. It also has a very large head that accounts for about 20% of its total body length! 

The pileated woodpeckers’ habitat is usually deciduous forests with mature trees or mixed pine-oak forests near water sources. ​​​​​​​

Tricolored Blackbird

The Tricolored Blackbird is a passerine bird of the coastal areas of the Pacific coast of North America. It has a shiny black plumage with a red shoulder patch that has a fine white border.

The species ranges from British Columbia, Canada to Baja California in Mexico.​​​​​​​ This common species forages on or near water as well as on land, eating mostly insects and spiders with some berries and seeds thrown in now and​​​​​​​ then.

as a shiny black plumage with a red shoulder patch that has a fine white border. These birds are quite active and can be seen in groups flying about or feeding on small insects along the water’s edge.

They will often roost communally at night, nesting mainly in cavities such as those created by tree trunks rotting at the base, or occasionally constructing their own.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Image by stephmcblack from Pixabay

The Red-winged Blackbird is a species of bird in the Icteridae family native to North America. They have glossy black feathers with red and yellow on their wings, and can be found from the East Coast, west of the Appalachian Mountains, to the Great Plains and as far north as Alaska.

This species breeds mainly in marshes with dense stands of cattails or bulrushes in eastern Canada and the northern United States; more rarely it may breed further south near large wetlands or along major rivers like the Mississippi River.

They are omnivores that eat seeds, grains, insects, and spiders as well as frogs and lizards when they have the opportunity to catch them.​​​​​​​ 

They are typically found in wetland habitats, such as marshes, streamsides, riversides, ponds, and lakeshores​​​​​​​. The birds migrate to Central America for the winter where they nest near lakes or rivers.​​​​​​​

Crimson-collared Tanager

The Crimson-collared Tanager is a small songbird from Mexico and Central America. Its length ranges between 9 inches to 10 inches and is mostly black with crimson red feathers around its collar, breast, and lower back and a black mask.

The female has more vibrant colors than the male in order to attract the male when the mating season comes around during spring. It is primarily found in the lowland forest understory, though it can also be seen in some open habitats such as mangroves. 

It lives in the canopies of humid forests or dense brushy habitats with large trees, often near water sources such as rivers or streams, where it forages mainly on insects such crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and beetles.

Masked Crimson Tanager

Masked Crimson Tanager
Image by Geschenkpanda from Pixabay

A masked crimson tanager is a small bird measuring 7″ inches in length that can be found in Central America, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. . It has a unique black mask, wings, cloak, tail, and belly, and brilliant red in all the other areas.  

The Masked Crimson Tanager has a large appetite for insects, so it often visits fruiting trees to eat berries or collect insects that are attracted to the tree’s sap.  

It’s usually found at higher elevations, but occasionally can be seen at lower altitudes. They are highly active birds and are constantly on the move looking for food.


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