Whether you live in Louisiana or you are visiting for a holiday, there is one thing that you need to know – it is a great birding destination.
From small backyard birds to large raptors, the state is home to hundreds of flying creatures that are a delight to watch.
It is a struggle for many people to identify birds in Louisiana. Many of them may look alike. Plus, there are variations in males and females, making it more challenging to name some birds.
Level up your knowledge of birds in The Pelican State. Read on as we list some of the species you will find in Louisiana.
- The Most Common Birds Of Louisiana
- 1. Blue Jay
- 2. House Sparrow
- 3. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
- 4. Mourning Dove
- 5. Northern Cardinal
- 6. American Goldfinch
- 7. Downy Woodpecker
- 8. House Finch
- 9. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
- 10. Carolina Chickadee
- 11. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
- 12. Northern Mockingbird
- 13. Carolina Wren
- 14. Eastern Bluebird
- 15. Red-Winged Blackbird
- 16. Eastern Kingbird
- 17. Tufted Titmice
- 18. Barn Swallow
- 19. European Starling
- 20. Cedar Waxwing
- 21. American Robin
- 22. Northern Flicker
- 23. Brown-Headed Cowbird
- 24. Common Grackle
- 25. Indigo Bunting
- Watch This!
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Most Common Birds Of Louisiana
1. Blue Jay
One of the most common backyard birds in Louisiana, the blue jay is a year-round resident in the state.
With their colorful bodies, these birds are unmistakable. They have a blue crest, white underbody, and black and blue backs.
Aside from their vibrant plumage, another easy way to identify blue jays is to listen to their calls. They are noisy songbirds. They can imitate the screams of red-shouldered hawks.
The blue jay is an omnivorous bird. It can raid and empty bird feeders in an instant. They like eating sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts.
Fun Fact: A blue jay is not actually blue. The color is a result of light scattering, which will trick your eyes.
2. House Sparrow
A small bird with a thick and fat belly, the house sparrow has an average length of 5.9 to 6.7 inches and a wingspan of 7.5 to 9.8 inches.
Males have a rufous neck, black bib, white cheeks, and pale gray heads. On the other hand, females are duller, with most being buffy or pale brown throughout their bodies.
Seeing house sparrows in Louisiana is easy since they are in the state year-round. You can find them even in places with people and buildings, as well as grasslands, woodlands, and forests.
Grains and seeds make the majority of the diet of a house sparrow. They also feed on oats, corn, and wheat. They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, even if most people do not want them near their properties.
House sparrows are invasive species. They are considered pests, and hence, it is legal to trap and kill them in humane ways.
3. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
With its name, you might expect that the red belly is its most prominent physical feature. However, such is often pale and can be covered by white feathers, making its identification a bit of a challenge.
More so, the red-bellied woodpecker has black and white stripes at the back, giving it a zebra-like pattern. Its rump, chest, and neck are white.
If you want to see red-bellied woodpeckers in Louisiana, look for them in forests and woodlands, specifically those with hickory, oak, and pines. You will often see them hitching on tree trunks and branches.
The red-bellied woodpecker is omnivorous. It likes eating insects. In some seasons, they prefer plant materials, including nuts and acorns. You can attract them in backyards with suet feeders, especially in the winter.
4. Mourning Dove
Mourning doves are small birds with long tails and plump bodies. The color is a soft brown with prominent black spots on the wings. During the breeding season, mourning doves are known for their social display. They fly in a tight formation in a group of three, with one bird flying after the other.
Attract mourning doves to your backyard by scattering seeds on platform feeders or on the ground. Having dense trees and shrubs will also help in providing these birds with nesting sites.
When you see a mourning dove on the ground, it is most probably not eating. Instead, it is gathering food for later consumption.
Curious about where the mourning dove got its name? It is a reference to its sad cooing sound, which is reminiscent of mourning.
5. Northern Cardinal
A list of the most common backyard birds in Louisiana is incomplete without a mention of the northern cardinal.
Males are instantly recognizable because of their bright red bodies. Female northern cardinals, on the other hand, are often duller. They are olive or brown. These birds are also known for having a black mask.
Attracting northern cardinals is possible when you have bird feeders with milo, suet, peanut hearts, and sunflower seeds. For the best chances of luring them into your backyard, install large platform or tube feeders.
It is common to see a northern cardinal attacking a reflection of itself, especially in glass windows. This is done to defend its territory, thinking that another bird is a threat.
6. American Goldfinch
American goldfinches are some of the most beautiful birds that can come to backyard feeders in Louisiana. Their vibrant colors will add life to your garden.
In the spring and summer, the American goldfinch has bright yellow feathers, which stand out amidst their black-tipped wings. Males are also recognizable with the black cap on their heads. They also have white markings on the rump. Females are dull brown.
You will see American goldfinches throughout the year in northern Louisiana. However, in the southern and central parts, they are winter birds.
Your best chance of attracting them is through a thistle feeder. Although, they can also come to a bird feeding station with sunflower chips. This bird can also eat insects and berries.
7. Downy Woodpecker
One of the most popular backyard birds in Louisiana, the downy woodpecker is small with a short bill. It has black wings and white spots on its back. Plus, the bird has a white belly and white outer tail feathers. You can distinguish males with their red back spot, which you cannot see in females.
Attracting downy woodpeckers is easy. They will come to hummingbird feeders with sugar water. Adding a suet bird feeder can also help to lure them. Black oil sunflower seeds are also favorites of these birds.
8. House Finch
While they are native to the west, house finches are now seen around the United States, including Louisiana. Identifying these birds can be challenging because they look almost like purple finches. Adult males are rosy red around the face with a conspicuous red rump when flying. On the other hand, adult females are grayish brown.
These backyard birds are known for being gregarious feeders. If they are not in bird feeders, you can find them on the ground searching for food.
The house finch is a social bird. It is known for being a frequent visitor to human settlements. They are a common sight around parks, backyards, and buildings.
9. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
The most common hummingbird in North America, ruby-throated hummingbirds flock to Louisiana in the warm summer months. Once it gets cooler, they start their migration to Mexico. With their bright golden-green or emerald crown and back, ruby-throated hummingbirds are pretty.
Males are distinguished by the iridescent red throat, which is most vibrant when there is good lighting. In-flight, ruby-throated hummingbirds are straight and agile. They can stop, hover, and adjust position instantly.
They have excellent control. They won’t just visit any bird feeder in the state, either. Instead, your best chances of attracting them would be in nectar feeders.
10. Carolina Chickadee
The Carolina chickadee is a small bird that is recognizable because of its black cap. It has a long gray tail. The wings and back are soft gray. Meanwhile, the cheek is white. Visually, it is reminiscent of a black-capped chickadee.
If you want Carolina chickadees to visit your backyards, provide their favorite foods, including black oil sunflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, and peanuts. They will feed on a tube feeder, suet cage, or platform feeder.
In the breeding season, Carolina chickadees are often part of feeding flocks. Despite this, they maintain space from other birds when they are feeding.
Some of the most common habitats of these birds in Louisiana are mixed and deciduous woods and river groves. They are also present in suburban parks and yards, especially those with large trees.
11. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
A small songbird, the ruby-crowned kinglet has an olive-green body. Despite its name, only males have a red crown, but it is flat and difficult to spot from afar. These are also fast-moving and quiet birds. They can be a struggle to identify in their natural habitats.
They flit around thick foliage, so they stay hidden most of the time. Nonetheless, they will visit bird feeders with hulled sunflower seeds, mealworms, and peanut hearts. The ruby-crowned kinglet will also eat small berries and fruits.
In the summer, they prefer mountain conifers. Come winter, they love brushy patches and chaparral. They also visit garden landscapes.
12. Northern Mockingbird
The northern mockingbird is a medium-sized songbird with a long tail and small head. It has gray-brown upperparts, but the sides are paler compared to the back. When flying, their two white wing bars are visible.
These birds prefer being on their own or as a pair but not in groups. They are fierce defenders of their territories.
Northern mockingbirds are not frequent visitors of bird feeders. However, they are a usual sight in lawns, especially those with mulberries and hawthorns, among other fruiting bushes and trees.
Typical of mockingbirds, Northern mockingbirds are known for mimicking the songs of other birds. Males can learn more than 200 songs throughout their lifetime.
13. Carolina Wren
Brown on top and light brown under the body, Carolina wrens are brighter than other wrens. They are also easily identified by their upright tail and white eyebrow stripe.
To attract Carolina wrens in the backyard, install large platform or tube feeders and put peanut hearts, hulled sunflower seeds, or suet. They also eat small insects, including flies, caterpillars, and spiders. Small fruits and berries are also favorites. During winter, this bird loves taking shelter in nest boxes with dried grass.
Being shy birds, spotting a Carolina wren can be challenging. Nonetheless, despite its size, it has a loud and piercing song.
14. Eastern Bluebird
True to its name, the eastern bluebird is royal blue on the top while the chest is reddish-orange. The colors are the same for both sexes, but the main difference is that females are duller. With their beautiful colors, they are some of the most popular targets for bird watching in Louisiana.
Some of the most common places where you can see eastern bluebirds in the Pelican State are golf courses, parks, cemeteries, backyards, fields, and meadows. While they do not visit bird feeders often, they can come when you offer them mealworms.
In the wild, the natural habitats of eastern bluebirds include open countries with scattered trees, roadsides, farms, forest clearings, and open pinewoods.
15. Red-Winged Blackbird
With its name, you will already have an idea of what the bird looks like. It has glossy black wings with red patches and yellow borders. The bill is black and sharply pointed while the tail is medium.
Red-winged blackbirds are not picky eaters. They will consume almost anything they find, including worms, frogs, spiders, snails, dragonflies, butterflies, and moths.
Males are known for making cheery and loud noises, especially when they are breeding. They also do so to warn intruders and defend their territories.
These blackbirds are also known for their habit of gathering in large flocks along with starlings when they are feeding.
If you want to see a red-winged blackbird, some of the best places to check out are fresh and saltwater marshes, as well as old fields, dry meadows, and golf courses.
16. Eastern Kingbird
One of the largest flycatchers in the country, the eastern kingbird grows at a length of up to 9.1 inches with its wings spanning 15 inches. In terms of color, the eastern kingbird is black above and white under the body with dark gray feathers. Its head is darker than the color of the back and wings. The black tail, meanwhile, has a prominent white tip.
It is common to see eastern kingbirds perching on the top of utility lines and fences. When flying, they are shallow with a raised head and rowing wingbeats. They also make metallic calls. They thrive in open habitats, including grasslands, yards, fields, and pastures. In the winter, they move to the forests of South America.
17. Tufted Titmice
A small songbird native to North America, the tufted titmouse looks like a northern cardinal. They have gray wings and a black patch above the beak. The upper body is silver-gray with a lighter shade in the under-body.
The tufted titmouse is a year-round resident in Louisiana. It will visit backyard feeders, especially those with black sunflower and mixed seeds. Insects form up to 2/3 of their diet, including true bugs, wasps, bees, and beetles. It can also eat spiders and snails.
These are vocal birds, regardless of the season. They will make repeated songs with two-note whistles. Their calls become harsher when they are harassing their predators.
18. Barn Swallow
The barn swallow is a small but agile bird. It has a metallic dark blue back, tail, and wings. The underparts are creamy beige. Meanwhile, the forehead and throat are rust or light brown. Juveniles and females are paler compared to adult males.
One of the most unique behaviors of barn swallows is that they feed on the wings. They use the latter to snag insects from the water or ground at a height of up to 100 feet. When flying, they make straight patterns with fluid wingbeats. They can also execute quick turns and tight dives.
Barn swallows have adaptable habitats, so you can find them in many locations in Louisiana. Some of their favorites are roadway edges, meadows, marshes, coastal waters, parks, and fields.
19. European Starling
In the 1890s, about 100 European starlings were released in New York. Since then, the population grew, and they are now among the most common birds in North America, including Louisiana. The European starling is about the size of an American robin. The length ranges from 7.9 to 9.1 inches. Meanwhile, when it spreads its wings, the maximum span is 15.8 inches.
The shiny black plumage is one of the defining physical characteristics of European starlings. They also have hints of dark blue and black in their feathers. A lot of people do not like seeing European starlings in their backyards because they are considered invasive species. They eat almost anything and can scare small backyard birds.
20. Cedar Waxwing
A sleek medium-sized bird with a short neck, wide bill, and large head, the cedar waxwing is one of the most beautiful birds you will find in Louisiana.
The brown plumage of the passerine bird complements its shiny silky gray body with yellow-green markings. It also has a black mask that covers the entire face. The bird is also known for the flat crest lying on the top of the head.
These winter birds are known for being social, so you will find them in flocks throughout the year. You will also find them coursing in waters catching insects to eat or perching on the top of trees hunting for prey.
21. American Robin
The most prominent physical feature of the American robin is its white throat. It also has white splotches surrounding the eyes. Meanwhile, the breast is a rusty red with a dark back and head. Both sexes look almost alike, with the main appearance being that the females are paler.
Even if American robins are common in Louisiana and North America, it is rare for them to visit bird feeders because they do not eat seeds. Their diet consists mainly of invertebrates, such as snails, insects, and worms.
American robins have varied habitats, which include tundra and forests. They are also comfortable when there are people around.
22. Northern Flicker
While the northern flicker is mostly brown, it has bright colors under its tails and wings, which are visible only when they are flying. You can also identify these birds through the black spots on their bellies.
There are two main varieties of northern flickers. In Louisiana, the yellow-shafted is more common.
Most flickers like spending their time on trees. Northern flickers, however, are different because they love being on the ground.
It is seldom that northern flickers will visit backyard feeders. In most cases, they will find their own food. However, you can attract them if you have a bird bath.
23. Brown-Headed Cowbird
Like the other birds on this list, the name is a clue on what it looks like. It has a dark brown head. Meanwhile, it is a cowbird because it follows cows and goes through their waste as they hunt for insects to eat.
Insects and seeds form most of the diet of brown-headed cowbirds, especially in the winter. They can also eat millipedes and spiders.
When it is foraging, brown-headed cowbirds spend most of their time walking on the ground.
24. Common Grackle
A member of the blackbird family, the common grackle has a glossy iridescent body. It has white eyes with a tiny black spot. They also have black underparts and wings, as well as a shiny neck and long tail.
The common grackle is omnivorous and a frequent visitor to bird feeders. It can eat almost anything, such as worms, mice, eggs, frogs, berries, insects, seeds, and grains. They can fight with other birds when snatching the food.
25. Indigo Bunting
If you are into bird photography, the indigo bunting will make an excellent subject. It may be small, but it has bright colors that make it a visual treat. Males are deep blue while females often look paler and have dark brown upperparts.
However, it can be challenging to spot because they are more active at night. They can see through the darkness.
Aside from the vibrant colors of these birds, they are also well-loved for their bouncy songs. Their whistles are most prominent in the spring and summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many species of birds are in Louisiana?
According to Audubon Louisiana, the state is home to approximately 470 bird species. It has diverse habitats, making it home to various birds, including blue jays, house sparrows, northern cardinals, house finches, downy woodpeckers, European starlings, Carolina wrens, and barn swallows.
What is the state bird of Louisiana?
The state bird of Louisiana is the brown pelican, which was formally recognized on July 7, 1996. No other state has the brown pelican as its state bird. The bird is brown-gray with a yellow head and white neck. The color of their heads makes them stand out when they are in Louisiana waterways.
Read Also: Birds in Alabama
From dense forests to coastal zones, Louisiana is gifted with diverse natural habitats that make it a great place for birdwatching. Even in residential backyards and city parks, you will find an assortment of flying creatures. You can even attract birds to private properties with the right feeders.
Are there other birds of Louisiana that you would like to add to the list? Leave a comment below and let us know anything we missed.