Birds come in many colors. Some have relatively dull plumage, while others have brightly colored plumage. Birds with bright plumage often evolve specific colors to help them attract mates. Depending on where they live, birds’ colors can also help them camouflage themselves from predators. Additionally, many birds get their color from the foods in their diet. Among those birds with colorful plumage, some birds are red. These fiery birds stand out among other striking birds due to their intense red colour. You can find red birds all over the world, although many belong to the songbird family of small birds. That said, some are also classified as parrots or waders. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 different species of red birds. Hopefully next time you’re out and about, you’ll see one of these crimson birds.
#10: Crimson Sunbird
A member of the sunbird family, the crimson sunbird fully lives up to its name. Males of these species have bright crimson breasts and backs. At the same time, their abdomens are light green and their tails are burnt yellow. The crimson sunbird is found throughout South and Southeast Asia and prefers to live in tropical forests. These tiny red 4-inch birds build dangling nests on tree branches to house their eggs. Sunbirds live primarily on the nectar they gather from flowers, and the crimson sunbird is no exception. The crimson sunbird is a fast fly and is often mistaken for a hummingbird due to its hovering ability. In addition, it eats a wide variety of insects. Sunbirds are also sometimes called spider hunters because of their habit of preying on spiders. Due to its wide distribution, the IUCN lists the crimson sunbird as a species of least concern.
#9: Crested Ibis
Scarlet ibis is a member of the ibis family of birds Ibis family. It stands out from other ibis due to its bright scarlet color, which is where it gets its name. Virtually every part of its body is scarlet, from head to toe. That said, their colors include many different shades, ranging from light to dark. To find food, they dig holes in the mud with their long, curved beaks, but they also steal food from other animals. Their red color comes from a diet of crabs, shrimp, and other red shellfish. The scarlet crested ibis is found throughout South America and the Caribbean, mainly in wetlands and coastal areas. Even outside of the breeding season, scarlet crested ibis live in large groups. Currently, the IUCN lists scarlet ibis as a species of least concern.
#8: Summer Tanager
Despite its name, the summer tanager is a songbird in the cardinalidae family of cardinalidae. It gets its name from the bright red color that covers its entire body, reminiscent of a warm summer day. Although their colors vary, male summer tanagers typically have rose-red plumage, while females are chartreuse-green. Their red color comes from their diet, which includes various berries and insects, especially bees. They are found throughout the southern United States and Mexico in the summer and throughout Central and South America in the winter. Typically, they live in heavily wooded woodland areas where they can nest. Summer tanagers are about 6.7 inches long and weigh about 1 ounce. If you encounter them outdoors, you may find that their calls sound similar to those of the American robin. At this time, the IUCN lists the summer tanager as a species of least concern.
#7: Red-Billed Flamingo
The red-billed firefinch, also known as the Senegal firefinch, is another red bird. Males have dark red plumage, but their wings look more rufous or brown than red. The female, meanwhile, appears more brown than red, but does have a patch of red feathers on her face. However, both males and females have pink beaks and yellow rings around the eyes. The red-billed firefinch belongs to the plum family finch and is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. They live in grasslands and cultivated land, often among humans. Their diet consists mainly of seeds, but they will also eat certain locally grown grains. Flamingos build a distinctive domed nest of grass in which to lay their eggs. Given their wide distribution and high numbers, the IUCN ranks them as a species of least concern.
#6: Scarlet Tanager
The scarlet tanager is another member of the cardinal family, the same as the summer tanager. It gets its name from the distinctive crimson or scarlet color the males have in summer. Although males are predominantly red, their wings and tail feathers appear black. Females, on the other hand, are yellow-green year-round. In general, scarlet tanagers are 6.3 to 7.5 inches long and weigh about 1 ounce. They are found throughout the eastern United States, Canada, and Mexico, and winter in South America. Unlike other cardinals, the scarlet tanager has a fairly thin beak. This means it eats fewer seeds than other cardinals and prefers to prey on insects. They catch insects in flight or on the ground and feed on a variety of insects including bees, wasps and spiders. Currently, the IUCN lists the scarlet tanager as a species of least concern.
#5: Red Cross Bird
The red crossbill or common crossbill is a member of the fringe family Pinchidae. Male plumage is bright red or orange, while females are usually yellow or green. That said, they can vary greatly in the wild, and their plumage contains a wide range of colors. Also, their wings appear darker brown compared to other feathers. Meanwhile, the other half of its name, crossbill, refers to the shape of its beak. The top half of the red crossbill’s beak overlaps the bottom half. This overlapping design allows the red crossbill to feed on hard conifer seeds and other fruits. The red crossbill lives primarily in the coniferous forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. Given its abundance and wide distribution, the IUCN lists the red crossbill as a species of least concern.
#4: Vermilion Flycatcher
The vermilion flycatcher is a notable example among red birds. This little bird is a member of the Tyrant Flycatidae. The first part of its name, vermilion, refers to the bright red color of the male’s chest, abdomen and crown. At the same time, the second half of its name alludes to its habit of catching flies in mid-air. Male vermilion flycatchers have brown tail and wing feathers in addition to their red plumage. Most vermillion fly traps are between 5.1 and 5.5 inches long and weigh less than 0.5 ounces. They are found in the southern United States, Mexico, and parts of South America. Besides insects, their diet includes many different grains. With a total population in the millions, the IUCN lists the vermilion flycatcher as a species of least concern.
#3: Red and Green Macaw
The red and green macaw, also known as the green-winged macaw, is a large parrot in the psittacidae family Psittacidae. The red and green macaw is named for its plumage. Its chest, head, shoulders and part of its tail feathers are bright red. At the same time, it has green and blue feathers on its wings. The red and green macaw is 35 to 37 inches long and weighs 2.3 to 3.7 pounds. They are listed as one of the most recognizable red birds due to their distinctive appearance. You can find them in the wild throughout their native range in Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Paraguay. Wild populations of the red and green macaw are declining due to habitat loss and illegal trafficking. That said, the IUCN still ranks the red-and-green macaw as a species of least concern given its abundance.
#2: Northern Cardinals
The northern cardinal goes by many other names, including cardinal, common cardinal, or simply cardinal. Like the scarlet and summer tanagers, it belongs to the cardinalidae family of cardinals. Of all the red birds, the northern cardinal is one of the most famous. You can identify males by their bright red plumage, large crest and black mask. Females, on the other hand, look more drab, although they have some red on their tails, breasts, and crests. Northern cardinals are found throughout North America. That said, they mostly live in the eastern United States and Mexico and a small area of southeastern Canada. Their preferred habitats include woodlands, wetlands, scrub and urban areas. Although they eat mostly grains, northern cardinals also subsist on some berries and insects. Although once threatened by the pet trade, it is now protected, with the IUCN listing it as a species of least concern.
#1: ‘I’ iwi
‘I’iwi is the last entry on our list of red birds. Also known as the scarlet bee, it belongs to the finch family Finch family. Although its tail and wings appear black, it has bright red feathers on its head, chest and underside. ‘I’iwi uses its long pink beak to drink nectar from flowers, which make up most of its diet. That said, it also eats a variety of arthropods. ‘i’iwis live only in the Hawaiian Islands, where they are listed as the third largest native bird. They build cup-shaped nests in tree branches out of twigs, petals and feathers. Currently, they face multiple threats due to habitat loss due to farming and planting. Deforestation destroys their homes and food sources. Therefore, IUCN lists ‘I’iwi as a Vulnerable species.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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