Florida is an amazing place. With so many different forms of animal life and such a diverse environment for Nature to express itself, you never know just what you might see. Today we are going to explore the subject of popular backyard birds of Florida. We’ll let you know some of the diverse species which you can see and how to increase your chances of making them regular visitors to your yard. Prepare yourself to be amazed!
3 Categories – 196 Birds
While this is a small number of birds in comparison to many states, Florida is famous for birdwatching and there are species that you simply cannot see anywhere else. Florida is a recreation and retirement state and as such, it has one of the largest bird watching populations around. We’ve collected a list of some of the more common and even some rare birds for you to look for if you live in this state. As there are too many to mention, we will list them as follows:
- Year-round Resident birds
- Birds of Spring, Summer, and Early Fall
- Fall and Winter Birds
We’ll give you the information needed to recognize them and advise you what these birds like to eat. The rest is going to be up to you. With a bit of patience and a comfortable place to lay out, you can read your favorite book and in time, see some of Nature’s most amazing winged wonders. Without further ado, let’s talk about the birds!
Florida’s Year-round Resident Birds
Florida has a nice, comfortable climate. There is a reason that people retire here. With it’s beautiful coasts and marshes, there really is no other state quite like it. Today we are going to explore some of the birds which you might find sharing your living space, who can give you a little enchantment if you are a lover of nature. Here are some birds that live year-round in Florida, just like you!
- Tufted Titmouse
- Palm Warbler
- Northern Mockingbird
- Carolina Wren
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
Coloration and Markings: This bird has a white underbelly and breast with hints of gray. The upper body is a mixture of silver, gray, and blue and this bird has a medium-sized tail. There are also peach colorations just under the wings. Facially, this bird has a blue crest, a short, stout bluish bill with a slight curve and a black square just above it.
Size: This bird measures 5.5 – 6.3 inches in length and has a wingspan of 7.9 to 10.2 inches.
Habitat: Fond of evergreens and deciduous forests, typically at a level below 2000 feet in elevation, these birds are also quite fond of gardens and feeders.
Diet: This bird will eat Suet and Peanuts but if you really want to get it’s attention then load your feeder with Sunflower Seeds. The Tufted Titmouse LOVES them.
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Coloration and Markings: Palm Warblers have yellow breast and underbellies flecked with spots of brown and on top they are a mixture of olive and brown with black lines highlighting the wings. They have short tails and facially they long, straight beaks, yellow chine and a yellow stripe over the eye, with olive and brown behind the eye and a thin, rust-colored cap.
Size: These are small birds, measuring in at 4.7 – 5.5 inches with wingspans of 7.9 to 8.3 inches from wingtip to wingtip.
Habitat: These birds love forest edges, shrubs, fields, and fences. They are also fond of Evergreen trees.
Diet: These birds love Suet and birdbaths. A little water and some insect-substitute will go a long way.
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Coloration and Markings: White of breast with smatterings of gray in the mix, their upper bodies are gray or gray and brown with black segmenting in the wings. They have long tails and facially you will notice they have white chins and lower face with gray or gray and brown on top. They have short, slightly curved black bills and a black stripe which goes from bill to the front of the eye.
Size: These birds measure 8.3 – 10.2 inches with a wingspan of 12.2 to 13.8 inches.
Habitat: When they aren’t at the forest’s edge these birds are quite civilized, spending most of their time in parks, backyards, and the suburbs. Natural mimics, if you hear a number of different things outside but there is just one suspicious bird present, you might have a Mockingbird.
Diet: These birds don’t like feeders but they do like gardens. Berry vines such as Blackberry or just having fruit trees can attract the Northern Mockingbird to your backyard.
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Coloration and Markings: The Carolina Wren has a breast and lower belly that is a a light orange with wings and back of reddish-brown and white that creates a light striped pattern when seen up close. They have short tails, often flitted up and facially they have a white chin, a white splotch on the cheek, and a white stripe over the eye and a grayish stripe beneath it. The top of the head is the same color as the upper body and they have long, thin, slightly-curved bills.
Size: Carolina Wrens measure in at 4.7 – 5.5 inches in length and have wingspans of approximately 11.4 inches.
Habitat: Fond of the deep woods, bushes, and backyards, these birds are shy but they will visit your feeder if they feel safe.
Diet: These birds love Suet. You can also line boxes with straw or shavings and they might use them for winter shelter.
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata
Coloration and Markings: These birds have gray wings with white splotches towards the middle and gray tails with black tips. Their underbelly is white but the breast only has some white in the center, with black and gray surrounding it on both sides. Some bright yellow splotches are under the wing on both sides and the rear/’rump’ is also bright yellow. Females will have some brown on the body instead of gray and in winter both sexes will be brown but still with the telltale bright yellow showing on the rump. Facially, these birds have a bright yellow chin and throat area and a thin, bright yellow cap on top.
Size: These Warblers measure in at 4.7 – 5.5 inches in length with wingspans of 7.5 to 9.1 inches.
Habitat: Fond of Shrubs, Coniferous forests, and even Coastal vegetation, these birds are also no strangers to parks and backyards.
Diet: You can lure these tiny beauties with a few additions to your feeder. They love peanut butter, raisins, suet, and sunflower seeds.
Florida’s Birds of Spring, Summer, and Early Fall
These birds come to Florida at one of the best times. Nothing quite compares with a Florida Spring or Summer. They are beautiful, comfortable, and lure people from all over the world to visit. So get yourself a yummy Cuban sandwich, break out that lawn chair, and lay out with a good book. Nature has a few things to show you and the season is optimal. Florida’s birds of Spring, Summer, and early Fall to look in your leisure time are as follows:
- Florida Scrub Jay
- Spot Breasted Oriole
- Painted Bunting
- Smooth-Billed Ani
- Eastern Towhee
Florida Scrub Jay – Aphelocoma coerulescens
Coloration and Markings: These birds have a white breast and underbelly with white backs. Two thirds of their wings are a striking bright blue with the other third being white. They have blue tails and faciallythey have a white chin and throat and a white crown with some blue mixed in. From the back of the eye almost to the back of the neck is gray, with a blue ‘mantle’ draped over the next and extending slightly onto the breast. They have stout, small bills with a slight curve.
Size: Approximately Robin-sized, these birds measure 9.1 – 11 inches in length with wingspans of 13 to 14.2 inches.
Habitat: These birds are fairly rare, preferring strands of oak scrub and sandy, open areas.
Diet: Nuts are your best bet with this bird. They like peanuts and might just be lured in if you mix some with your feeder.
Spot Breasted Oriole – Icterus pectoralis
Coloration and Markings: These birds have bright orange bellies and orange breasts, with black mized into the orange on the upper breast. Their wings are orange towards the shoulders and become black for the majority of the wings, with white towards the center. They have black backs and short tails and facially they have orange heads with a black ‘mask’ on the eyes, black throat, and long, slighty curved black bills.
Size: Spot Breasted Orioles are 8.4 – 9.4 inches from tip to tail with a wingspan of 12.5 to 14.5 inches.
Habitat: These birds are fond of parks, gardens, and the suburbs.
Diet: Fruits are this birds food of choice. Blackberry vines or fruiting trees in your garden should attract them, alternately you can hang orange halves or put berries into your feeder. They are also fond of nectar so sugar water works as a lure as well.
Painted Bunting – Passerina ciris
Coloration and Markings: One of the most colorful birds you’ll ever see, the Painted Bunting has a red breast and underbelly, Bright and lime-green wings with black tips, and long red and gray tails. Facially, these birds have deep blue heads with red throats and short, strong gray bills that exhibit a noticeable curve.
Size: Painted Buntings are tiny birds, measuring in at 4.7 to 5.1 inches in length and with a wingspan of 8 to 8.5 inches.
Habitat: These birds love woodland edges, brush, and dense weeds.
Diet: These colorful birds love all seeds. Black Oil Sunflower seeds should definitely get their attention.
Smooth-Billed Ani – Crotophaga ani
Coloration and Markings: Like the American Crow, these birds are completely glossy black from head to tail. Their tails are quite long and fan out when the bird is in flight. Facially, they have very distinctive and powerful, rounded bills that look almost parrot-like.
Size: These are big birds, measuring in at 11.8 – 14.2 inches in length with wingspans of 17to 18 inches.
Habitat: These birds love lowlands and wetlands and are most often seen hopping on the ground. They are also fond of dense shrubs.
Diet: These birds are omnivores, so mealworms or fruit in the feeder will both be met with enthusiasm. This is a very rare bird so if one comes to your feeder be sure to keep it happy!
Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Coloration and Markings: The Eastern Towhee has a medium-orange breast and belly with white outlining, The upper body, by contrast, is blavk and gray like ash with white highlights on the wings and its tiny tail. Facially, has a small black crest and a shot, stout bill. Females look the same but they are brown where the males are dark, sooty ash.
Size: These birds measure in at 6.8 – 8.2 inches in length and have wingspans of 7.9 to 11 inches.
Habitat: These birds love the forest edge as well as thickets and brush.
Diet: Sunflower seeds and dried fruits might attract this bird to your feeder.
Florida’s Fall and Winter Birds
The dedicated birds who love Florida aren’t going to let a little temperature drop spoil their fun. You can see them when it’s cold, lure them into your backyard, and make winter for both you and the bird more pleasant. Watch for these little beauties when things start to get chilly:
- Eastern Phoebe
- Hermit Thrush
- Winter Wren
- Brown Creeper
- Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe
Coloration and Markings: These birds have white breasts with off-white to gray around the edges. They have medium sized gray tails and gray wings with white accents. They have soot colored heads and long, straight black bills.
Size: Eastern Phoebes measure in at 5.5 – 6.7 inches with wingspans of 10.2 to 11 inches.
Habitat: Woodland edges, parks, and backyards, these birds are comfortable around people.
Diet: You can attract these birds more with a nesting box than food. They are shy about feeders but have been reported to come to a feeder for dried mealworms.
Hermit Thrush – Catharus guttatus
Coloration and Markings: These birds have a white breast with black spotting all over it. Their upper bodies are a light brown and they have a long, reddish-brown tail. Facially, these birds have a white and black spotted chin and throat and short, sharp bills. They have a white outline around the eye as well.
Size: These birds measure 5.5 – 7.1 inches in length and have wingspans of approximately 9.8 to 11.4 inches.
Habitat: The Hermit Thrush is fond of the forest’s edge and backyard gardens.
Diet: While these birds do not like feeders, you can lure them in if you plant berry bushes or vines.
Winter Wren – Troglodytes hiemalis
Coloration and Markings: This small, rounded bird if a light brown with white accents throughout the body markings. The breast is a lighter brown, almost tan, and they have short, often raised tails. Facially, these birds have a lighter brown V-shaped marking that extends over and under the eye, lightening over the eye to give this bird an ‘eyebrow’. These birds have long, thin bills brown and black bills.
Size: These birds are tiny, measuring in at 3.1 – 4.7 inches and with wingspans of 4.7 to 6.3 inches.
Habitat: These birds love Evergreen and Deciduous forests but they are poor flyers, you are more likely to see them hopping on the ground or exploring logs and fallen trees for yummy insects.
Diet: Like many Florida birds, thesebirds are keen on berries or hanging orange halves.
Brown Creeper – Certhia americana
Coloration and Markings: These birds have white underbelly and breast and brown upper bodies streaked with white. They have medius-sized brown tails. Facially, there is more white than brown on the tops of their heads and they have a white streak over the eye. They have long, thin beaks that are noticeably curved.
Size: Brown Creepers measure in at 4.7 – 5.5 inches in length with wingspans of 6.7 to 7.9 inches.
Habitat: These birds loved Deciduous and Evergreen forests.
Diet: These birds love insects in the wild but you can lure them to your feeder with the addition of Peanut Butter, Suet, Pine seeds, Black Oil Sunflower, and Suet.
Golden-crowned Kinglet – Regulus satrapa
Coloration and Markings: These birds are gray of breast and underbelly and they have olive-colored wings, with black accents and thin, white wingbars. Facially, these birds have a gray face, with a black cheek-stripe, a black mask, and a bright yellow-orange crest that is underlined with a black stripe. They have short, triangular black bills.
Size: These birds are tiny, measuring 3.1 – 4.3 inches in length with a wingspan of 5.5 to 7.1 inches.
Habitat: These birds are fond of coniferous and deciduous forests, as well as swamps and even the suburbs.
Diet: Fruit and seeds are best, try dried berries and Black Oil Sunflower.
Supporting cast (Other Backyard Birds of Florida that might pay you a visit)
We’ve listed the stars but it’s not a movie without the supporting cast. We’ve compiled a list of a few birds who might just make an appearance and who you will surely appreciate. Florida is a cornucopia of life and many tropical birds nest here that you can’t see anywhere else. See if you can spot and mark off the following avian wonders:
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
- Common Grackle
- Northern Cardinal
- Gray Catbird
- Purple Gallinule
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Coloration and Markings: These birds are blue and gray of wing, with short, black tails and a white breast and underbelly. Facially, these birds have a white throat and chin, all the way up to their short, sharp black bills, with blue upper heads and a black eyebrow stripe that makes the bird look angry.
Size: These birds measure in at 3.9 – 4.3 inches with wingspans of approximately 6.3 inches.
Habitat: These birds like woodland edges and are particularly fond of deciduous forests.
Diet: These birds will eat Suet until it is gone.
Boat-Tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
Coloration and Markings: These birds are tall and skinny, with blue black coloration all over their bodies. This Grackle has a distinctive V-shaped tail that separates them from other Grackles. Facially, they have long, thin bills with a slight curve. Females are brown, by contrast, and both genders sometimes have distinctive, bright yellow eyes. That you will only see on this variety of Grackle.
Size: These are tall birds, measuring in at 10.2 – 14.6 inches with wingspans of 15.3 to 19.7 inches.
Habitat: These birds are fond of the coast but you can find them just about anywhere in Florida.
Diet: These birds love Sorghum, Millet, Corn, and Black Oil Sunflower seeds.
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Coloration and Markings: Male Cardinals are red all over, while the females will be light brown with red highlights. They have long tails and facially they have a distinctive black mask over the eyes and extending below on the throat.Simple but striking, thisbird has inspired many to become bird watchers.
Size: This bird measures in at 8.3 – 9.1 inches and they have wingspans of 9.8 to 12.2 inches.
Habitat: These birds love the forest’s edge and backyards equally. They love to visit feeders.
Diet: These birds will eat just about anything in your feeder but they are particularly fond of Black Oil Sunflower seeds.
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Coloration and Markings: These birds are a slate-gray all over, with long tails which are black underneath and bear a cinnamon patch close to the rump. Facially, these birds have gray faces with black caps and medium-sized bills with a slight curve.
Size: These birds measure in at 8.3 – 9.4 inches and they have wingspans of 8.7 to 11.8 inches.
Habitat: These birds love thickets and shrubs.
Diet: These birds love fruit, so growing blackberries and fruiting trees in your garden can lure them into a visit. Dried berries in your feeder can also go a long way with Catbirds.
Purple Gallinule – Porphyrio martinicus
Coloration and Markings: This bird looks like a cross between a roadrunner and a duck. These Marsh birds have a purple breast, belly, and head, as well as short tails and long, yellow legs. Facially, They have a blue cap on the forward portion of their heads, with purple faces and necks, and candy-corn bills.
Size: These are big birds, measuring 13 – 14.6 inches from head to tail and they have large wingspans of approximately 21.6 to 22.1 inches.
Habitat: These birds are attracted to water. Small ponds, big ponds, if it’s wet you might find this bird there.
Diet: Omnivores, these birds will eat just about anything but if you really want to attract them, a small pond in the backyard (especially with lilies) can work wonders.
Bonus: 5 Fantastic Florida Birds of the Wetlands and Coast!
Florida has marshes and the coast and as such, we would be remiss if we did not list some of the special birds that you can see here. The birds we are listing here can be found at the beach or deep in the woods at a marsh nearby. Alternately, if you have one of these on your list and can’t find it, then see our section of Florida birding tours. There are some birds in Florida that you cannot see anywhere else in the world. Take advantage and see Nature up close, there is nothing quite like it. We are going to skimp on their diet, as you cannot lure these birds to your backyard, but you can see them on one of Florida’s many bird watching tours!
- Brown Noddy
- Laughing Gull
- Fulvous Whistling-Duck
- Greater Flamingo
Brown Noddy – Anous stolidus
Coloration and Markings: Uniformly gray on the body, these birds also have long tails with darker, almost black markings, and facially they have white with minor gray mixing on the top half of their heads.
Size: These are large birds, measuring in at 15 – 18 inches in length with wingspans of 30 to 34 inches.
Habitat: These birds are always near the water, where they hunt and nest in nearby cliffs.
Laughing Gull – Leucophaeus atricilla
Coloration and Markings: These birds have gray wins and a small black tail. They also have a white breast and underfeathers of the tail are white as well. Facially, they have black heads and medium-sized, curved red bills. They have white, curved lines outlining the eye.
Size: These birds measure in at 15.3 – 18.1 inches in length, with large wingspans of 36.2 to 47.2 inches.
Habitat: These birds like parking lots and garbage dumps close to the coast.
Anhinga – Anhinga anhinga
Coloration and Markings: These birds are black with silver or white streaks on their wings and across their backs. They have a black crest which goes down their necks and and long tails. Facially, they have long, orange bills.
Size: These birds measure 29.5 – 37.4 inches in length with wingspans of approximately 42.9 inches.
Habitat: These birds are common to freshwater streams as well as lagoons.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck – Dendrocygna bicolor
Coloration and Markings: We can’t have a list of Florida birds without a fine duck to look for. The Fulvous Whistling Duck very much fits the category, with its caramel colored upper body. This bird has black stripes crossing over its back and the lower body is a lighter caramel with white on the underside of the tail. Facially, these birds have a gray neck ring, black on the back of the neck, and caramel faces with long, gray black bills.
Size: The male birds measure in at 17.3 – 20.1 inches in length, with the females measuring 16.5 – 19.3 inches. They have a wingspan of approximately 29 inches.
Habitat: Rice fields, marshs, lagoons, and ponds… these birds love water and you can find them all over the wetlands.
Greater Flamingo – Phoenicopterus roseus
Coloration and Markings: While plastic versions exist in many yards, the real deal is waiting in Florida for you to view.
Size: These birds measure in at 43 – 60 inches in length with wingspans of of 4.5 to 5.5 feet.
Habitat: You can spot these beautiful birds in saltwater lagoons and shallows.
Florida Bird Buffet
Florida birds are picky, you are most likely to get a lot of attention with Suet and Fruit. Still, some like seeds, so we’ve taken empirical data from our research to recommend the seed and suet combination which you need to attract Florida birds. Try loading up your feeder with the following:
- Black Oil Sunflower
- White Proso Millet
- Hanging orange halves
- Peanut butter
Florida Birding Hot Spots
If you are only visiting the state or if you are a local and just feel like getting out of the house; there are still plenty of places where you can visit to see the feathered celebrities of Florida. We’ve collected trails located at the various compass points so that you can find a location which is close to you. Be sure to get plenty of pictures because this is a trip you will want to remember!
- Northern hotspot – New Rose Creek
- Eastern hotspot – Indian River North
- Southern hotspot – Lake Lizzie Conservation area
- Western hotspot – Teco Auburndale Trail
- Central hotspot – Ecotone Trail
Detailed descriptions of each location as well as information regarding visiting and what birds you can see at these locations may be found at https://www.alltrails.com/explore/us/florida/lake-alfred?a=birding
Bonus: Florida Birdwatching Tours!
Florida has a number of tours to help you see some of the rarer birds. If you are visiting or just happen to be a local who wants to see more birds, then you should see some of thee tours. Check out the following:
- She Flew – She Flew offers a tour that gives you a chance to identify up to 180 species!
Give it a Google if you are a serious bird watcher, it is well worth your time.
- Eagle-eye tours – Want to see a Spoonbill? These folks can take you to many obscure placesin Florida to see the most exotic of birds. It is a trip that is well worth your while.
- Birding Pal – The folks can show you a painted bunting and a roseate spoonbill, among many other birds. This is something to consider.
Google these bird tours and you can see some amazing things.