Man taking photo of bird

20 Most Common Backyard Birds In Texas (Explained)

Bird watching can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life, all ages, from all parts of the world, but mostly in Texas. The reason being, that bird watching is one of its most popular activities in the United States and bird watchers from all over the world come to observe and enjoy the various species of birds that can be found here.

Texas is a large state in the South Central Region of our nation. It is the second most populous U.S. State by both population and area. It is also one of the top ten states that attracts the most tourists. Many bird species can be found all throughout the state. 

Most Common Backyard Birds In Texas

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is easy to spot during the day. They generally don’t flit about and are usually found sitting on trees in leafy areas, looking at things. However, it’s the nighttime movement that really excites them.

They’re very common foraging throughout the night, feeding on many types of insects. With a reliable source of sunflower seeds handy, you can easily attract a great variety of birds into your backyard.

  • Frequency: 48.23%
  • Color: Mostly red with a black mask on the face, short pink bill
  • Habitat:  woodlands, gardens, parks, backyards, and wetlands
  • Range: USA, Canada, Mexico
  • Size: 8.2 – 9.3″ inches
  • Weight: 33 – 65 grams
  • Diet: Fruits, berries, and insects (grasshoppers, beetles, snails, cicadas)
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Genus: Cardinalis

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Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird,  is the only mockingbird found in North America. This small bird is usually a frequent visitor, but Northern Mockingbird’s can only move south during extremely harsh winter weather. In spring and early summer, these birds are mostly seen near roadways or in fields where food is gathered.

During fall and winter, they are less frequent visitors. These small birds prefer to live in fields, marshes, and wooded areas where they hunt, catch insects, eat berries, and roost. 

  • Frequency: 46.19%
  • Color: Gray upper with white underparts. Black and white wing bars.
  • Habitat: Forested areas, parks, and gardens
  • Range:  Southeastern Canada, USA, Northern Mexico, Cayman Islands, Greater Antilles
  • Size: 8.0 – 11″ inches long
  • Weight: 40 – 58 grams
  • Diet: Berries, fruits, seeds, arthropods, earthworms, and occasionally lizards
  • Family: Mimidae
  • Genus: Mimus

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The Mourning Dove is an eastern member of the dove’s family, Columbidae. The bird is sometimes called the American mourning dove, or the rain dove, and is known by various other names, such as turtle Dove, or the Carolina pecking dove.

It is probably the most common and easiest to find the bird in the area. A pair of binoculars is often enough to record the beauty of a mourning dove’s arrayed plumage. When seen from a distance, the bird’s head bobbing and twirling as it flits around is an amazing sight.

  • Frequency: 37.37%
  • Color: Light gray-brown and lighter and pinkish below. The wings have black spots.
  • Habitat: Open habitats, urban areas, farms, prairie, grassland, wooded area
  • Range:  USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Greater Antilles
  • Size: 12″ inches length
  • Weight: 112 – 170 grams
  • Diet:  Rapeseed, corn, millet, safflower, sunflower seeds, pokeberry, sesame, and wheat.
  • Family: Columbidae
  • Genus: Zenaida

Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed grackle
Image by DEZALB from Pixabay

The Great-tailed grackle is a diverse bird with a wide range of habitats across the Americas, including Central and South America, Caribbean, Central and Western Africa, and Southeast Asia, the great-tailed grackles feed on a variety of foods. Their diet includes ants, spiders, mites, worms, and leeches. They also consume berries, suet, berries, wheat and fruits, leaf buds, and berries. 

Nests are located in fields, brushlands, fields near crop fields, riparian forests, thickets, marshes, along rivers, ditches, etc., and these birds spend most of their time during the day roosting or building their nests. 

  • Frequency: 29.86%
  • Color: Iridescent black with a purple-bluish sheen on the head and upper body
  • Habitat:  Urban settings, wetlands, pastures, chaparral and mangroves.
  • Range: North America, South America, Central America
  • Size: 15 – 18″ inches
  • Weight: 203 – 265 grams
  • Diet:  Seeds and insects (butterflies, dragonflies, moths, frogs, worms, spider, snails, carrion, flies.)
  •  Family: Icteridae
  • Genus: Quiscalus

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove
Photo by Trac Vu on Unsplash

The white-winged dove has long been one of North America’s most popular birds. Unlike most doves, the white-winged doves’ primary means of nesting is in caves. They will also nest in rock crevices, inside and under trees, on ledges, in houses, and hollow trees, in all areas where there are places for them to build their nests.

They will eat just about anything, so the diet of the female will consist mostly of seeds, grains, and fruits. However, they will also eat any small insects that are around. 

  • Frequency: 29.84%
  • Color: Brownish-gray on top and gray below, with a white wing patch that looks like a brilliant white crescent
  • Habitat: Scrub, woodlands, desert, urban, and cultivated areas.
  • Range:  Texas, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Size: 11″ inches length
  • Weight: 150 grams
  • Diet:   Variety of seeds, grains, and fruits.
  • Family: Columbidae
  • Genus: Zenaida

Blue Jay

Blue Jay
Image by nickfish03 from Pixabay

The Blue Jay is a medium-sized passerine bird among the family Corvidae, indigenous to eastern North America. It lives throughout most of the mid-continental US; however, populations can also be seasonal.

Resident populations can also be found in several Texas and Mexico. They are also present in parts of British Columbia, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

  • Frequency: 25.61%
  • Color: Blue crest on the head, wings, back, and tail, and has a white face and belly
  • Habitat: Deciduous and mixed forests, mixed woodlands, backyards, parks
  • Range: Southern Canada,  Eastern and Central United States, Florida and Texas
  • Size: 8 – 12″ inches
  • Weight: 70 – 100 grams
  • Diet:  Nuts, seeds, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Genus: Cyanocitta

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Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

The Carolina Wren is an uncommon species of wren, which is primarily a resident in the southern half of the United States of America east of the extreme north of Labrador, Canada, and along the Gulf of Mexico. 

There are no known migratory paths for the Carolina wrens, but during late winter and early spring, they take flight for northern areas where they feed on wood-like leafed trees, and in the southern parts they feed on evergreen shrubs and plants. During the time of nesting male Carolina wrens choose a sheltered location such as a clearing in a tree trunk, tall plant.

  • Frequency: 24.91%
  • Color: Black cap and throat with white cheeks. Light gray wings, back, and tail.
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, suburbs, parks, backyards
  • Range:  USA ( Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Kansas)
  • Size: 4.5 – 5.1″ inches long
  • Weight: 9 – 12 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, berries, seeds 
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus:  Poecile

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

The Carolina Chickadee is an uncommon little passerine bird among the tit species of the genus Parus. The Carolina Chickadee is an adaptable and spirited bird, highly valued by nature and bird lovers for their unique breeding methods, high reproductive capacity and colorful,  winter flocks.

They are a difficult species to get to, but extremely popular to bird feeders, so you will want to make sure you have one hanging in your backyard.

  • Frequency: 24.86%
  • Color: Black cap and throat with white cheeks. Light gray wings, back, and tail.
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, suburbs, parks, backyards
  • Range:  USA ( Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Kansas)
  • Size: 4.5 – 5.1″ inches long
  • Weight: 9 – 12 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, berries, seeds 
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus:  Poecile

House Sparrow

House Sparrow
Image by Anders Mejlvang from Pixabay

The house sparrow is an extremely common bird of the swallow family, found in all parts of North America. It is a fairly small, nimble little bird with a typical average length of just 5.5 – 7.1 inches and a weight of just 24 grams. 

The House Sparrow is particularly active during the spring and early summer, when they feed on nectar and take up shelter in tree branches and old wallsop piles. In late summer and fall, they are more sedentary and feed less, spending more time on the trees and along the edges of trees.

  • Frequency: 23.71%
  • Color:  Gray head marking, a reddish-brown back, and gray underparts
  • Habitat: Urban centers, suburban areas, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand
  • Size: 5.5 – 7.1″ inches in length
  • Weight: 25 – 39 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, beetles, caterpillars, aphids,, grasshoppers, crustaceans, earthworms, vertebrates
  • Family: Passeridea
  • Genus: Passer

Related Post: How to Attract Sparrows to your Backyard

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo by Kieran Wood on Unsplash

The Red-winged blackbirds are species of bird found in Central America, from the southwestern tip of Mexico southward to Northern Argentina. Although there are not as many occurrences of this species in the United States compared to their occurrence in Central America, they are still a common visitor to bird feeders.

The most common site for the red-winged blackbird, is along roads, docks, and in bird feeders and marshes. 

  • Frequency: 22.09%
  • Color: All black with red patches on shoulder and a yellow wing bar
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests, conifers, roadside, rivers, backyards, parks
  • Range: North America, Central America
  • Size: 6.7 – 7.1″ inches length
  • Weight: 41.5 – 65 grams
  • Diet:  Seeds and insects (butterflies, dragonflies, moths, frogs, worms, spider, snails, carrion, flies.)
  •  Family: Icteridae
  • Genus: Agelaius

European Starling

The European Starling,  is a medium-sized passerine bird from the Sturnidae family, Sturnidae. You can spot them nesting in fields, on lawns, along roads and railways. They feed on a wide variety of foods including suet, berries, fruit, seeds, young seedlings, insects, and other birds.

They prefer to roosts along coastal areas or along roads and railways, so see them feeding this way if you get the chance. Also watch for European starlings during winter, as they may come down from high cliffs to roost there.

  • Frequency: 21.26%
  • Color:  Black with glossy iridescence plumage
  • Habitat: Forests, woodlands, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: North America, Europe, Africa, India, Middle East, China
  • Size: 7 – 9″ inches long
  • Weight: 60 – 100 grams
  • Diet:  Insects (ants, beetles, invertebrates), fruits, seeds, berries
  • Family: Sturnidae
  • Genus: Sturnus

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The eastern Phoebe’s food sources tend to be limited to small berries, suet, nuts, blossoms, and nectar. The Eastern Phoebe takes up residence in thickets and woodlands. The most common habitat is rocky cliffs and low-lying swampy areas.

They prefer open, forested areas in thickets and woodlands. They also appear in grasslands and scrub. They are not very vocal, but do make some flushing sounds to attract mates. 

  • Frequency: 19.97%
  • Color: Gray-brown upper, gray breast and underbody, white throat
  • Habitat: Farmland, parks, and gardens
  • Range: Southern USA and Mexico
  • Size: 5.5 – 6.7″ inches long
  • Weight: 16 – 21 grams
  • Diet:  Insects and berries
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Genus: Sayornis

Killdeer

Killdeer
Photo by Lloyd Blunk on Unsplash

Killdeer is a large plover that ranges from eight to eleven inches in length. Like all killdeer species, Killa have distinct, colorful, patterning. The best time to feed Killdeer is in the morning after the sun has risen. Although killdeer prefer a dry and cool climate, they will feed on almost any food source available.

They can be found in marshes, meadows, fields, meadow edges, river banks, along the coast, along the coastlines, and in parks. Common killdeer feeds on insects, although other invertebrates and seeds are eaten. Most shorebirds feed near the water, so it is not uncommon to see killdeer and shorebirds feeding together.

  • Frequency: 19.21%
  • Color: Brownish color on top and white below. Has a white chest with two black bands,  brown face is marked with black and white patches.
  • Habitat: Marshes, meadows, fields, meadow edges, river banks, coastlines, and in parks.
  • Range: USA, Southern Canada and Mexico
  • Size: 7.9″ – 11″ inches long
  • Weight: 72 – 121 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, invertebrates and seeds,
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Genus: Sayornis

American Crow

American Crow
Image by Jasmin Sessler from Pixabay

The American Crow is extremely common passerine bird species in the families Corvidae and Cimicidae of North America. It is a very common, sometimes seen, bird found across much of North America. 

In the southern states, where the American Crow spends much of its life, the birds are generally seen in open areas of marshes and backyards, roosting in large numbers around June and July. At this time the male crows often move their nests to safe ground, away from other more aggressive male birds. In addition to its home area, the birds also roosts during the winter.

  • Frequency: 17.93%
  • Color: Black
  • Habitat: Open country, farms, parks, woodlands, towns, cities
  • Range: Canada, USA, Mexico
  • Size: 16 – 21″ inches
  • Weight: 315 -620 grams
  • Diet: invertebrates, carrion, seeds, eggs fish, grains, mice, frogs, and other small animals. 
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Genus: Corvis

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Image by edbo23 from Pixabay

The yellow-rumped warbler has long been common North American songbird species. These birds are commonly found in open areas, forested swamps, meadows, and cliffsides. During the winter migratory seasons they spend most of their time migrating to warmer climates.

They prefer deciduous forests, because the trees do not lose their leaves through the winter months. If you see one during the breeding season, you are sure to find at least one or more. They are very common, in southern states like Texas and Louisiana, and in the eastern parts of Florida. 

  • Frequency: 17.83%
  • Color: Yellow patches on the crown,flanks, rump & blackish-blue streaks on the back, breast and wings
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests and thickets, roadside, grasslands, backyards
  • Range:  U.SA, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
  • Size: 4.7 – 5.9″ inches
  • Weight: 10 – 18 grams
  • Diet:  grasshoppers, gnats, aphids,caterpillars, wasps, beetles, spiders, berries, 
  • Family: Parulidae
  • Genus: Setophaga

Related Post: How to Attract Warblers to you Yard?

House Finch

House Finch
Image by mlmclaren from Pixabay

The house finch is a member of the fringillidae family. They are extremely common birds with nearly 25% of the entire wild population being house finches.  They are well-known for their colorful markings and their adaptability to a variety of living conditions, making them a favorite among bird lovers.

They are commonly found on islands in Hawaii and on the Western North America along with some parts of Texas, Mexico, and Central America. The house finch diet consists mostly of Aphids, grains, seeds, berries, nettle, dandelion, and sunflowers.

  • Frequency: 16.73%
  • Color:  Reddish face and upper breast, brown streaks on back, belly, and tail.
  • Habitat: urban and suburban areas, backyards, edges, yards, and parks
  • Range: Canada, USA, Mexico
  • Size: 5 – 6″ inches
  • Weight: 16 – 27 grams
  • Diet:  Aphids, grains, seeds, berries, nettle, dandelion, sunflower
  • Family: Fringillidae
  • Genus: Haemorhous

Related Post: How to Attract House Finch to Your Yard?

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The red-bellied woodpecker,  is a mid-sized cavity bird of the genus Melanerpes that occurs in North America. It breeds primarily in the eastern part of the United States, mostly in the central to southern parts of Oregon and California, and as far east as Alaska and western Washington. 

The life cycle of the red-bellied woodpecker can be quite erratic, sometimes arriving back to the nesting place later than usual. A period of intense activity followed by a rest period of a few days may be seen in late spring or early summer. 

  • Frequency: 16.63%
  • Color: Gray on body and face and underparts. Black and white pattern on wings, back, and tail.
  • Habitat: Forests, backyards
  • Range: Southern Canada,  Eastern United States, Florida 
  • Size: 9 – 10.6″ inches long
  • Weight: 56 -91 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, tree frogs, eggs of small birds, oozing sap, and small fish.
  • Family: Picidae
  • Genus: Melanerpes

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Image by Manoj Ayer from Pixabay

The Barn Swallow is probably the most common species of swallow in existence. It’s a very distinctive, gorgeous-looking passerine swallow with a long, strongly forked tail and blue upperparts. It’s common in North America, Africa, Europe, and Australia. When disturbed or frightened, it stands on its hind legs and raises its head high, looking quite intimidating. This is an important factor in its conservation status.

Barn Swallows is not only found near water, but they also tend to build elaborate and colorful nests in trees. The Barn Swallow prefers to build their nests near the water but will eat nearly anything including insects, aphids, and flying ants.

  • Frequency: 15.97%
  • Color: Has a blue back, wings, and tail, and reddish-brown underparts. Cinnamon-colored forehead.
  • Habitat: Open country with low vegetation, pasture, farmland and meadows, near water sources.
  • Range: North and South America, South Africa, Europe and Australia.
  • Size: 6.5 – 7.5″ long
  • Weight: 16 – 22 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, aphids, and flying ants.
  • Family: Hirundinidae
  • Genus: Hirundo 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

The ruby-crowned kinglet is a small passerine bird often found throughout North America from the southwestern states to the Canadian border. It is part of the kinglet family. The bird has gray-black plumage with two black wings and a white eye ring. The male has a large red band, which is often hidden, on the crown.

The female has a black throat, breast feathers, and white belly.This small bird is one of the smallest songbird in the world, weighing only about 5 grams. Its olive-green body reflects the sun’s light and produces a slight yellow glow in the underwing. The kinglet is a migratory bird, and its range extends from Canada to Mexico. 

  • Frequency: 15.72%
  • Color: Olive-green body, with a prominent white eyering and white wingbar.
  • Habitat: Coniferous forests across Canada, Alaska, New England and the western United States
  • Range: North America, Mexico
  • Size: 3.5 – 4.3″ long
  • Weight: 5 – 10 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, fruits and seeds.
  • Family: Regulidae
  • Genus: Regulus

Black-crested Titmouse

The Black-Crested Titmouse has a unique characteristic of having a yellowish throat and head with gray upperparts and an orange mid-body. Titmice are common in deciduous woods and shrubbery but are particularly abundant in fields and wooded areas during the wintertime.

They breed in all parts of the world and are particularly common in the southern United States, along the Mississippi River and in the Southern part of Ohio. In addition, they are also found in Canada, Mexico, and Arkansas. Titmice breed readily in all shade trees, but prefer the west and southwest. They nest in wooded areas, beneath fences, and in houses and decks. 

  • Frequency: 13.66%
  • Color: Rust colored flanks, gray upperparts, and a white belly.
  • Habitat: USA and Mexico
  • Range: Southern Texas, Oklahoma, and east-central Mexico.
  • Size: 5.5 – 6.0″ long
  • Weight: 21 grams
  • Diet:  Insects, fruits and seeds.
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus: Baeolophus

These common backyard birds all have a frequency of less than 13% year-round

  • White-eyed Vireo 13.10% Frequency
  • Downy Woodpecker 12.31%
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 12.13%.
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker 12.08%
  • Double-crested Cormorant 12.02%
  • Pied-billed Grebe 11.98%
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 11.91%
  • Orange-crowned Warbler 11.50%
  • Eastern Bluebird 11.24%
  • Loggerhead Shrike 11.16%
  • American Kestrel 11.15%
  • Rock Pigeon 11.01%
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 10.80%
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker 10.73%
  • American Robin 10.63%
  • Bewick’s Wren 9.82%
  • Blue-winged Teal 9.68%
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove 9.54%
  • Tufted Titmouse 9.40%
  • Savannah Sparrow 9.02%
  • Cedar Waxwing 8.37%
  • Purple Martin 8.34%
  • Chipping Sparrow 8.32%
  • Lesser Goldfinch 8.29%
  • American Goldfinch 8.14%
  • Belted Kingfisher 7.74%
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow 7.63%
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird 7.61%
  • Inca Dove 7.47%
  • Chimney Swift 7.25%
  • Eastern Meadowlark 6.99%
  • Great Kiskadee 6.70%
  • Common Grackle 6.66%
  • Painted Bunting 6.54%
  • Least Sandpiper 6.38%
  • Common Yellowthroat 6.26%
  • White-crowned Sparrow 6.25%
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird 6.14%
  • Greater Yellowlegs 6.12%
  • Spotted Sandpiper 5.77%
  • White-throated Sparrow 5.74%
  • Summer Tanager 5.70%
  • Lark Sparrow 5.53%
  • House Wren 5.49%
  • Green Jay 5.28%
  • Indigo Bunting 5.09%