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Florida Backyard Birds: How To Spot Them & Their 20 Types

South Florida birds poster

Last Updated: May 17, 2022

Bird watching, like movie production, is location sensitive. But if you reside in Florida, the best location might just be your backyard! Because Florida is famous for housing over 500 exotic birds.

However…

Nothing beats an exciting backyard birding adventure with coconut patties, drinks, and knowledge of the creatures hovering in your yard. 

This article is the hub of information to help you discover Florida backyard birds. You’ll also learn the minutiae of attracting them to your backyard. 

But if you want to try out a birding spot, you should know the following:

Birding In Florida

Florida sits along the Atlantic flyway. So, it boasts productive ecosystems suitable for several birds. 

If the world had birding headquarters, Florida would be one of them. With its location, an influx of migratory birds visits the state. 

Some of the best birding spots in Florida include the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, Everglades National Park, Merritt Island, etc. 

So, grab a binocular, find the season's best bird viewing spot, and prepare for the best experience!

Besides visiting unique habitats to watch birds, some birds of South Florida may visit your backyards to snack. The birds in Florida also offer captivating birding views.

20 Common Birds In Florida

Here are some of your Florida-winged backyard buddies:

1. Mourning Doves

Chances are mourning doves birds descend on telephone wires close to your home or at the pavement in your yard a couple of times. 

Not surprising.

The mourning dove is one of the backyard birds in Florida. It has a long pointed tail that’s unlike other North American doves. The long tail extends from a plum body supported by short legs. 

It also has a tiny beak with which it feeds off the ground. Mourning dove matures to 23-34cm length matched with 45 cm wingspan. The muted brown and light gray color is easily identifiable. 

You would sure catch this bird perching on fields, parks, and bare grounds in your yard. Their strong wingbeats influence their fast flights of 88km/h past objects or people. 

To attract this species, you can throw some millet, cracked corn, or shelled sunflower seed on the ground in your yard. You have better chances if you reside in South Florida!

2. Blue Jay

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

It’s hard to miss a blue jay. 

They have stunning plumage. Besides their striking colors, they are one of the assertive native birds of Florida. 

The blue jay’s level of intelligence transcends most birds. It’s famous for mimicking hawks' shrieks to scare off other birds while approaching a feeder. 

Genius plan; I must confess. 

Interestingly, they make quick dashes for feeders and store up to 5 seeds on their gular pouch at once. 

They're omnivores; hence, they'll gladly chomp seeds and eggs snatched during frequent nest raids. 

Fun fact about the blue jay: it isn’t blue. In fact, its blue pigment is rare. 

But due to the feathers' inner structure, the lights on the feathers are distorted, making them seem blue. You can attract these enthralling creatures with acorns, peanuts, or sunflower seeds.

3. Northern Cardinal

Northern cardinals are showy creatures. The males sport a conspicuous bright red plumage while the females are brown with warm red accents and notable crests.

A northern cardinal against a white backyard in winter is spectacular. They have a penchant for dense tangles that keeps them out of sight. 

However, their happy chip tones pierce the morning in summer. Male northern cardinals aggressively protect their breeding territory by attacking any perceived intruder– including their mirror reflection. 

Cardinals aren’t migratory;  they are year-round Florida residents. All you need to attract these birds is peanut hearts, sorghum, sunflower seeds, and millet in a large tube bird feeder, platform feeder, or floor patches.

4. Palm Warbler

This migratory bird struts into Florida during winter. In this season, Palm Warbler has traces of yellow around their tail– a telltale of the bright summer color.  

Spring ushers in their bright yellow belly and a rusty red cap.  

Although their wintery image is dull compared to their summer appearance, it's still a sight to behold. 

Some behavioral patterns distinguish them from other warblers.

They forage and nest at the base of a tree on the ground. So, you’re more likely to run into a Palm Warbler parading the floor in your yard. 

Also, their tails often flicker as they move. They feast on insects and enjoy seeds as well. Planting native plants to breed insects is the best invitation to offer a Palm Warbler.

Fun Fact: If they visit your backyard, make the most of your watch by offering them no waste bird seed to invite them back again!

5. Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird is iconic in Florida because it’s the state bird. Famous for being vocal, this bird frequents Florida backyards. 

Male Northern Mockingbirds can learn up to 200 songs in their lifetime. Hence, if you've heard a bird mimicking about 10 songs belonging to other bird species, you probably have a Mockingbird visiting. Sometimes their songs mirror a car alarm!

Its head sits perfectly on a medium-sized grayish-brown color body. The long tail shares a similar color, but the underside takes a paler shade. In-flight, they display two white wing bars. 

The Northern Mockingbird is aggressive. It doesn’t hesitate to protect itself from threats like cats and hawks -- even people. 

These birds hardly visit feeders, but they are fond of open lawns. Planting trees like blackberry brambles, hawthorns, etc., might invite them.

You could still lure them, though, to take food from a bird feeder once you know how to attract birds to your bird feeder. It's not easy initially but you will get the hang of it soon!

6. American Robin

Robins are necessary staples in North America. 

But…

It’s rare in the south. While it’s the harbingers of spring up north, Florida residents happen on them after their migration in winter.

The American Robin is attractive with its warm orange underparts complemented with gray-brown plumage. It has a white stain at the lower part of its underparts which extends to its tail's underside. The males have dark heads – a sharp contrast against the gray-brown color. 

These industrious creatures roost in trees during winter in flocks.  Robins parade lawns and backyards in spring and summer scavenging for earthworms. 

If you see one, offer it some seeds, and it might feed off your hands! Serve sunflower seeds, berries, peanut hearts, suets, or mealworms on plummet feeders to attract them to your backyard.

Fun Fact: You could save them the trouble of searching for earthworms or from feeding off your hand by building them a heavy duty bird feeder pole instead. Place bird food inside and voila! Enjoy the scene!

7. Tufted Titmouse

Small but assertive. Those two words best describe the Tufted Titmouse. 

With its gray back and white underside, it's one of the common birds in Florida with soft hues. Its eyes are large, and it boasts an admirable gray crest. 

If you take a walk in through woodland, the odds of hearing its high-pitched peter-peter song are high. Although it forages with other similar species, this bird’s mohawk sticks out like a sore thumb. 

Tufted Titmouse resides in Florida all year round. It has the habit of hoarding food– mostly seeds– in winter and fall. 

Although it lives in nests, It doesn’t excavate its nest cavity. But it camps in old nests crafted by woodpeckers. It also relies on natural holes edged in deadwood. 

Interestingly, Titmouse lines the inner cup of its nest with hair. These hairs were picked from live animals, or sometimes humans. 

Its summer diet includes insects like ants, spiders, caterpillars, and snails. During winter, however, the bird would feast instead on sunflower seeds, berries, suits, peanuts, etc. 

Set up a nest box ahead of the breeding season to attract mating Tufted Titmouse to your backyard. However, platform backyard feeders with their favorite seeds also prove magnetic.

8. Red Bellied Woodpecker

One thing is for sure: the Red Bellied Woodpecker has a visible redhead, but the red belly is inconspicuous— it is more on the pinkish-red side. 

However, this is still called the Red Bellied Woodpecker-- different species from the Red Headed Woodpecker.

This bird is one of the birds of South Florida.  Like other North American Woodpeckers, this species has black and white striped backs. 

Its 9 inches body length is medium, while the wingspan is less than 18 inches. 

This Woodpecker dines on insects, fruits, seeds, and on rare occasions nestling birds. I like to call it acrobats because its stunts during flights peg it as one. 

Red Bellied woodpeckers gouge their nests in the dead limb of a tree or a dead tree. 

The male starts carving a nest. And if he gets lucky, he attracts a female to help complete the task. 

You may be lucky enough to attract both males and females with suet feeders and hummingbird feeders. So long as you fill it with fruits, peanuts, and sunflower seeds will do the trick for birders.

9. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

If backyard birds were categorized based on sizes, Downy Woodpeckers would fall within the smallest range. 

Belonging to the Woodpeckers' species, this bird is as miniature as they come. The diminutive nature is more of an advantage.

You may catch a Downy Woodpecker foraging on a tiny twig in your backyard. Trust me; it’s a magical sight. 

Their size isn’t the only distinctive feature.

Most woodpeckers have patches of red; the Downy Woodpecker might just be the black sheep. Although the males have a patch of red staining their heads, back and white is the dominant hue. There are notable back bands at the bill and the eye extending to the back of its head. 

Downies have a white underside and a back lined with white.  

This species is a cutie at 7 inches and about a foot wingspan. 

Bugs and beetles rank as the favorite dish, followed by berries, seeds, and other insects. And it has no issue accessing deep crevices for food. 

Although it nests in hardwood off the ground, it’ll consider visiting your backyard if you offer a bird feeder loaded with suets.

10. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee is one of the tiny types of birds in Florida. It’s hard to miss with their black bibs, black cap, and their whitish puffy underside. 

Its cheeks are stark white, while the back and wings are blackish gray colors. You may sight this tiny bird feeding flocks with other small species. 

The Chickadee alights on trees in forested areas, in parks, or it could stop by your backyard. This North American bird feeds on peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, suets feeders, and nyjer seeds. 

Carolina Chickadee isn't picky with backyard feeders. It feeds on plummet feeders, tube feeders, or suet cages. You can also house it in nest boxes or tubes next whenever it visits your backyard.

11. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch wears striking colors in spring and summer like some bird species. 

Winter, however, strips off the catchy attractiveness replacing it with a drab brown color. 

However, the vibrant yellow color of male American Goldfinch always attracts a second look. Maybe, a fourth and a fifth. 

This Florida bird’s yellow back blends with a blackhead and a black feather laced with white. The females also wear a white color but in a darker shade.

American Goldfinch birds are vivacious. Their flight is usually accompanied by a cry that somewhat sounds like: Po- ta-to-chip

Yea, no kidding.

Their preferred habitat is weedy fields. And their nests often sit in tall shrubs. Attracting them to your backyard requires some sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds. You may also plant sunflowers or coneflowers to improve the chances.

12. Florida Scrub-jay

Keenly sorted by birders, this bird is a favorite. 

It's named after Florida because it’s the only species particular to the sunshine state. The peculiarity extends to its habitat. Florida Scrub-Jay is a bird species that can only survive in a scrubby, and sandy habitat.

With development, its starved habitat declines. Hence, Scrub-Jays are currently sporty— even in Florida. And like its cousin, Blue Jay, it’s bluish on the wings with gray patches. It has a blue head and tail, but the underparts match the gray back. 

This bird feeds off the ground, scrambling for food. Being omnivorous, it relishes insects. 

If you happen to have a scrubby yard, this bird may grace your backyard. Alternatively, it would suffice to have bird feeders providing peanuts, sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, etc. 

If you sight this species, drown in its sight and steal some snaps!

13. House Sparrow

As much as bullying is frowned upon, unpopular middle school kids fall victim. In this case, almost any native bird falls victim to the House Sparrow bullying. 

This invasive backyard bird species is one of the incredibly common birds in Florida. I am willing to bet a buck that you’d run into House Sparrow at least once in a week. This popularity hinged on its adaptability and ability to reside around humans.

Their chirp notes form a background tune everywhere. 

Males have a brown back with hints of black. A gray crown, white cheeks, and black bill complemented with chestnut hints by the side of their faces and necks. Females also have dark brown backs and pitches of blacks. 

They have a distinct tan line extending behind their eyes.

They drag nest cavities with other native birds. Guess what? They always win. 

Grains form a substantial part of their diet. House Sparrows have been caught nibbling on popcorns and breeds at parks.

Fill your bird feeders with Milo, cracked corn, and millet - you’d grab a House Sparrow's undivided invasive attention.

14. European Starling

This bird species is originally a native of Europe. History has it that Shakespearean enthusiasts shipped in 100 Starlings from London to the USA in 1890. They sought to complete a quest: spread all the birds mentioned in Shakespearean works to the USA.  

European Starling has since then owned USA states, including Florida-- -like a home. These non-migratory birds reside in their homes all year round. You can sight a European Starling on powerlines, in trees and yards,

At first glance, you’ll notice its prominent yellow beak. However, the feathers are uniquely attractive. They are iridescent blackish purple or purple-green. With ample lighting, it shimmers beautifully. 

Winter trades their beak with black color and plummets with freckled ones. It’s small at 7.5-8.5 inches, while the wingspan is 15 to 17 inches.

Starlings wrestle with other desirable pieces like the Purple Martin for nests. Winning isn't a problem. 

But being a gourmet is certainly a problem. They feast on bugs, livestock feeds, grains, fruits, and garbage— anything goes. 

These species are spectacular vocalists. And when you sight a few in flocks, you’d have your eyes glued. However, this doesn't make up for the havoc they could wreak on plants and business turnover. 

If you want them around your backyard, drop seeds in bird feeders. They are known to party crashers; they won't disappoint!

15. Eastern Bluebird

This bird is one of the common Florida backyard birds. At a glance, you can tell why it's called a bluebird. 

It flaunts a royal blue head and features a chestnut-colored chest and a white patched belly.  

Eastern Bluebird is a migratory North American songbird. 

While this bird isn’t common in South Florida, you’ll see it hunched on telephone wires in other parts of Florida.   

The Eastern Bluebird isn't big on bird feeders, but if it contains mealworms, it’s up for it. But a birdhouse may entice mating pairs.

16. Red-Wing Black Bird

Red-wing Blackbirds are stay-at-home North American natives. The males sport black backs tainted with flashy yellow and red epaulets. Females have brownish colors dotted with yellow. 

It’s a small bird. But its aggression challenges gigantic birds– including hawks. When it’s time to defend a territory, this bird is fearless. 

It hangs out in wet habitats and perches on plants flashing colors while its songs pierce the atmosphere. 

The polygenic nature accounts for its multiple mating partners. Hence, the slightly complicated behavioral pattern.

Red-wing Black Bird forage on grounds with other blackbird species. They love bugs, seeds, and fruits. You can get them into your backyard with suets bird seed.

17. Gray Catbirds

The “Gray Catbird” name originates from the dominant color and the purring-like sound songs this bird sings. 

This bird has bright gray colors, with a black tail and cap. The tail also has a reddish pattern on its underside. 

They breed across different states in the US except for the inlands and pacific coast. However, their habitats include small trees, dense scrubs, and close to forests. 

These medium-sized Florida birds will prance around your backyard if you have a fruit-filled backyard feeder to spare. 

Planting shrubs like serviceberry, dogwood, and winterberry also attract them.

18. Carolina Wren

This year-long resident of central Florida is common yet difficult to sight. Although it belongs to the Wren bird species, Carolina Wren is distinct with its reddish-brown pigment. And a unique eyeliner adding a touch of color to the eyes and neck. 

Its preferred habitats: bushes and shrubs, shrouds them from public view. It appears this species is shy or somewhat secretive. 

However, not even the deepest hidey-hole can conceal its melodious songs. To observe these species, throw out some peanuts. 

It also relishes suets, shelled sunflower seeds, and mealworms. 

The chances of getting it into your yard in summer are low because of the availability of insects in its natural habitat. But in winter, their attention is yours for the grabs.

19. American Crow

Sometimes, the word bird-brain isn't necessarily an insult -- case in point, the American Crow. This bird’s intelligence is admirable. But their pesky habits are anything but meritorious. 

Another infamous characteristic is the high-pitched songs. Often annoying. 

American Crow is all black; bill, feathers, tails. It has a reputation for having a diversified diet. From agricultural produce to snakes, fish, bugs, fruits, and seeds. 

You may find it lurking in farms, open woods, or fields. Frankly, it can survive anywhere. Hence, the frequent visit to city parks. 

It excavates its nests high in trees and shrubs. During winter, its communal roost may attract millions of American Crow bird population. 

You can invite it by sprinkling some peanuts in your backyard. Or by simply throwing out your garbage — in this case, you won't find their visit appealing.

20. Tree Swallows

A Tree Swallow is a small bird. With its blue-green colors, the males are eyeful for bird lovers. It has a white underside and gray wings. The females have brown hues. 

Swallows breed in parts of the US and Canada before migrating to Florida, the gulf coast, and Mexico. As a common backyard bird, it resides in fields, wooded swamps, and anywhere with an ample supply of insects. 

It readily camps in nest boxes. So, I can't think of a better way to host them in your yard than hanging a nest box!


frequently Asked Questions

How do I Identify a bird in my backyard?

Observe the physical features. This will help you identify the group it belongs to. The species helps you narrow options. 

Afterward, observe the behavioral patterns, their bill, colors or patterns, features, flight pattern, and size. Finally, listen out for the song or sound it makes.

Should my bird feeder be under the sun or in the shade?

Birds enjoy a vivid view of their feeding arena to sight predators ahead. Hence, a slightly sheltered but exposed position will attract birds. 

Keep your bird feeder far from fences, trees, shrubs, etc., to avoid predators like squirrels from visiting it. It might take a while for birds to discover your feeder. But you can hasten the discovery with a shimmery pan. Fill it with seeds and place it under the feeder.


Conclusion

For avid bird watchers, the backyard is nature's stage. Your beautiful feathered friends are always welcome. But you enjoy this display best when you can identify them. 

What’s a bird-watching adventure without the knowledge of what you are watching? I bet the next time you sight a Florida scrub-jay in your yard, frame the picture!

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