Indiana is home to a diverse array of bird species, with over 400 different kinds found throughout the state. Some of the most common birds seen in Indiana include cardinals, blue jays, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, robins, and mourning doves.
These birds can often be spotted in residential neighborhoods, parks, forests, and fields.
The data we’re sharing with you is accurate and comes from bird enthusiasts in Indiana. We’ll share pictures of the most popular birds seen throughout the state along with key information about each one.
Common Backyard Birds in Indiana
Blue jays are easily identifiable by their bright blue feathers and black-streaked heads. Their diet consists primarily of nuts and seeds, but they also eat insects, fruits, and occasionally other small animals. They are considered medium-sized birds, with an average length of 9-12 inches and a wingspan of 13-17 inches.
In Indiana, blue jays can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, suburban parks and gardens, and even city environments.
They are known for their intelligence and problem-solving skills, as well as their loud calls and territorial behavior. Blue jays often cache food for later consumption and have been observed using tools to obtain that cached food.
They are also known for their mimicry abilities, imitating the calls of other birds and even squirrels. Additionally, blue jays form strong bonds with mates and may stay with a partner for life.
House Finch, a common backyard bird in Indiana, can be identified by its red head and breast (males), or brown streaked body and yellow-tinged underparts (females). They primarily eat seeds and grains but also feed on insects and fruit. They are small birds, averaging about 5 to 6 inches in length.
House Finches can be found in various habitats, including urban and suburban areas, forests, and grasslands. They often build their nests on structures such as windowsills or tree branches.
In terms of behavior, House Finches are social birds, often seen in flocks or pairs. They have a melodious song and are known for their friendly disposition towards humans. They are also commonly spotted at bird feeders.
Tufted Titmouse is a small bird with a distinctive black crest on its head, gray upperparts, and white underparts. It typically eats insects, black oil sunflower seeds, and nuts. This bird can reach sizes of up to 6 inches in length and have a wingspan of 9 inches.
In Indiana, the Tufted Titmouse can be found in deciduous woodlands, gardens, and parks. It is an active and acrobatic forager, often hanging upside down to find food. This social bird can be seen in small flocks during the winter months.
The Tufted Titmouse has a distinctive “peter-peter-peter” call that can often be heard in its habitat. Overall, the Tufted Titmouse is a common and familiar backyard bird in Indiana.
Dark-eyed Junco is a small songbird with a gray body, white belly, and distinct dark eyes. They are commonly found in wooded areas and forest edges, foraging on the ground for seeds and insects.
In winter, they often form large flocks with other juncos and can be spotted at bird feeders. Their behavior includes hopping along the ground and flying low to the ground in short, fast bursts.
They build cup-shaped nests on the ground or low in shrubs and trees and lay 3-5 eggs each breeding season. This species is commonly found throughout Indiana during both the winter and summer months.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be identified by their red-tinted head and neck, black and white barred back, and white underbelly. This bird mainly eats insects and their larvae, nuts, and berries. They are medium sized woodpeckers, approximately 9 inches in length.
They can be found in deciduous forests or urban areas with mature trees. They are known for their loud calls and drumming on trees. They also build their nests in tree cavities and may use abandoned nesting sites of other birds.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers form monogamous pairs and often stay with the same mate for several years. They also have a tendency to store excess food in tree crevices for later consumption.
In Indiana, Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be commonly seen throughout the state and are year-round residents. They may also migrate slightly south during the winter months.
(Agelaius phoeniceus) Their black bodies and distinct red and yellow wing patches can be identified. They mainly feed on insects, seeds, and grains. These birds typically reach sizes of 7-9 inches in length with a wingspan of 12-16 inches. In Indiana, they can be found in wetlands, marshes, meadows, and agricultural fields. Red-winged Blackbirds are highly social and can often be seen in large groups or flocks.
They are also known for their loud and distinctive calls. Although mostly ground-dwelling, they have been known to perch on tall plants or trees. During the breeding season, males can be territorial and can often be seen displaying their bright wing patches to assert dominance.
In the winter, Red-winged Blackbirds may join mixed flocks with other blackbird species and starlings. They have also been known to migrate in large numbers, sometimes forming massive flocks that can darken the sky.
House Sparrows can be identified by their small, stocky build, dark brown and gray feathers, and black stripes on their heads. These birds primarily feed on seeds and grains but will also eat insects, especially while feeding their young.
On average, they measure about 15-18 cm in length and weigh around 25-40 grams.
In Indiana, House Sparrows can be found in urban and agricultural areas, often near human buildings and structures.
These birds are highly social and often seen in large flocks. They have a noisy and aggressive behavior, especially when competing for food or nesting sites.
House Sparrows typically build their nests in cavities or sheltered locations close to human activity. Despite being common, their population numbers have been declining in recent years due to loss of suitable habitat and competition from invasive species.
Conservation efforts for House Sparrows include protecting and creating nesting sites, controlling invasive species, and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.
(Corvus brachyrhynchos) can be identified by their all black feathers, with a glossy sheen, and distinct cawing call. Their diet consists of insects, grain, fruit, eggs, and nestlings of other birds, and small animals. They measure approximately 17-21 inches in length with a wingspan of 33-40 inches.
American Crows can be found in various habitats, including forests, fields, and urban areas. They are highly intelligent birds and have been known to use tools, solve complex problems, and even hold funerals for their fallen flock members.
Their behavior includes large communal roosts in the winter months, where they gather by the thousands, and nesting in groups called “clans” made up of 3-9 breeding pairs. In Indiana, American Crows can be found year-round and do not migrate.
American Goldfinch, also known as “Wild Canary”, is a small, finch-like bird with yellow or olive plumage and black wings with white bars. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects. They can typically be found inhabiting open woodlands, fields, and backyards.
American Goldfinches are social birds often seen in flocks, particularly during migration and winter. They can be spotted during the summer engaging in their characteristic swinging flight, where they hang from a seedhead or thistle and swing back and forth to feed.
Their cheerful songs can also often be heard during this season. In Indiana, American Goldfinches can be seen year-round, with some populations staying to breed while others migrate through the state. In the winter, flocks can often be seen visiting bird feeders.
(Turdus migratorius) can be identified by its bright orange-red breast and dark head. These birds are omnivores and feed on worms, insects, fruits, and berries.
They average about 10 inches in size and can be found in a variety of habitats such as forests, parks, and suburban areas. American Robins are highly social and can often be seen in groups or flocks.
They are also early risers and can often be heard singing at dawn. During the winter months, they will gather in large flocks and forage for food as a group.
White-breasted Nuthatch can be identified by its blue-gray back, white belly, black cap, and prominent white eyebrow stripe. These birds mainly eat insects and seeds, often clinging upside down on tree trunks to search for food.
They are small in size, measuring only 4-5 inches in length. They can be found in deciduous or mixed woodlands, typically nesting in tree cavities. Their behaviors include climbing up and down tree trunks, acrobatic foraging, and storing excess food for later use.
They are also known for their loud, nasal calls. In Indiana specifically, they can be spotted year-round in wooded areas or suburban backyards with mature trees.
House wren is a small bird, measuring about 4-5 inches in length with a wingspan of 7-8 inches. They have brown feathers on their upper body and lighter, buff-colored feathers on their underside. Their tail is short and often held upright.
In terms of diet, House Wrens mainly eat insects such as beetles and caterpillars. They may also eat berries and seeds.
These birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including farmland, backyard gardens, and wooded areas. They prefer to build their nests in small cavities such as tree holes or birdhouses.
House Wrens are known for their energetic behavior, often seen vigorously searching for food and aggressively defending their territory. They have a loud, chirpy song that they use to mark their territory as well.
Carolina Wrens, found in Indiana, are small brown and white birds with long tails and a distinct curved bill. They primarily eat insects and other invertebrates, but they also enjoy seeds and fruits.
Carolina Wrens typically measure around 5 to 6 inches in length and have a wingspan of 8 to 9 inches. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and even urban areas.
Carolina Wrens are known for their loud, energetic singing and they often build nests in sheltered areas such as tree cavities or hanging planters. They are also known for their boldness when it comes to defending their territory against intruders.
Mourning Doves, commonly found in Indiana, have a distinct gray-brown body with black spots on the wings and a long pointed tail. Their diet consists primarily of seeds and grains, which they forage for on the ground.
These birds typically measure between 11-13 inches in length and have a wingspan of around 19 inches. Mourning Doves can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, grasslands, and even urban areas.
These birds often have a graceful, fluid flying style and can reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour. In terms of behavior, mourning doves are typically non-aggressive and may form small flocks outside of breeding season.
They also have a unique mating ritual where the male will fly high in the air and then dive towards the ground before pulling back up, a behavior known as “mourning dove diving.”
Northern Flicker woodpeckers can be identified by their black and white barred backs, red under wings, and brown spotted chests. Their diet consists mainly of insects, fruits, and berries. They have an average size of 11-12 inches in length and have a wingspan of 16-20 inches.
In Indiana, Northern Flicker woodpeckers can be found in open woodlands, parks, and residential areas. They often forage on the ground and can be seen hammering on trees to find food. They may also use their long barbed tongues to gather insects from crevices in trees.
Northern Flicker woodpeckers are known to mate for life and will excavate tree cavities to build their nests. They also have a distinctive “flicker” call that can be heard during mating season or when they feel threatened.
Downy Woodpecker, a small black and white woodpecker, can be found in deciduous forests throughout Indiana. These birds have a distinctive black-and-white barred back, a black crown and neck, and a white face with a small red patch on the back of the head.
Their diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae, which they find by pecking at tree bark. They also eat seeds and nuts, particularly in the winter months.
The Downy Woodpecker is smaller than its close relative, the Hairy Woodpecker, measuring only about 6-7 inches in length with a wingspan of 9-12 inches.
In addition to their diet of insects and nuts, Downy Woodpeckers also feed on suet from bird feeders, making them a common backyard visitor.
These birds are highly active and can often be seen climbing up tree trunks as they search for food. They also have a habit of storing excess food by hiding it in crevices in tree bark or in other concealed locations.
Downy Woodpeckers typically live alone or in pairs, and are known for their loud, staccato calls. They also have a unique courtship display in which the male will give a “drumroll” on a tree trunk while facing the female, spreading his tail feathers and fluffing up his body feathers.
Song Sparrows are small, brown, and streaky birds with distinct dark spots on their chests. Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds found on or near the ground. They can typically be found in open habitats such as fields, shrublands, and suburban areas. They are known for their loud and varied songs, often given from exposed perches.
In winter, they may form small flocks and forage on the ground together. In breeding season, they establish and defend their territories with song and chasing off other birds. They build bulky cup-shaped nests on or near the ground, lined with grasses and hair.
In Indiana, Song Sparrows can be found year-round and are common breeding birds. They can also be seen during migration in spring and fall. Their population has remained stable over the past 40 years, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.
Northern Cardinals are easily identified by their bright red plumage and distinctive crested heads. In Indiana, they can often be found in wooded areas near streams or in backyard bird feeders. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects. On average, they measure approximately 9 inches in length and have a wingspan of 12 inches.
In terms of behavior, Northern Cardinals are generally solitary birds, but they can sometimes be seen in pairs or small family groups. They have a melodious song that they often use to defend their territory. During mating season, the male will perform a “snap-wing” display to attract a mate.
European Starlings, commonly found in Indiana, are easily identifiable by their iridescent black feathers with white speckles and long yellow beaks. These birds mainly feed on insects and fruit. They can range from 8-9 inches in length and have a wingspan of 17-21 inches.
European Starlings can be found in open fields, woodlands, and urban areas. In the winter, large flocks of these birds can often be seen gathering in open areas to forage for food. Their behavior is highly social and they are known for their complex vocalizations.
These adaptable birds have a high success rate in reproducing and can often out-compete native species for resources. Due to their aggressive nature, European Starlings have been labeled as an invasive species in North America.
Carolina Chickadee, a small songbird, can be easily identified by its black cap and bib, white cheeks, and gray back. These birds primarily feed on insects and seeds, often visiting backyard bird feeders. They typically grow to be 4-5 inches in length with a wingspan of 7-9 inches.
Carolina Chickadees can be found in deciduous or mixed forests, often near the edges or in clearings. These birds are highly social and can often be seen in small flocks. They have a common call of “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” and are known for their acrobatic abilities, often hanging upside down to eat from tree branches.
In Indiana, Carolina Chickadees can be found year-round in suitable habitats. They may also be seen migrating through the state during the fall and spring seasons. Overall, they are common and widespread throughout the state.
Eastern Bluebird is a small, vibrantly colored bird with a blue back, wings, and tail, and a rust-brown chest and belly.
They primarily eat insects such as beetles and grasshoppers, but will also consume fruits and berries. In Indiana, they can be found in open woodlands, meadows, fields, orchards, and residential areas with birdhouses. They are social birds and often form small flocks, but during breeding season they pair off to raise their young.
These birds also have a melodic song that they use to communicate and attract mates. Eastern Bluebirds are cavity nesters, using holes in trees or man-made nesting boxes to build their nests and raise their young.
Common Grackle, a blackbird with a long, keel-shaped tail, can be found throughout Indiana in open fields and wooded areas. These birds have iridescent purple and green plumage on their heads and necks, and yellow eyes.
Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds, which they forage for on the ground or snatch from trees and bushes.
Grackles can reach up to 12 inches in length and have a wingspan of 17-20 inches.
In addition to foraging alone or in small groups, grackles are known for their large flock behavior, often congregating in numbers up to the thousands during migratory seasons. They are also known for their loud, metallic calls.
(Pipilo erythrophthalmus) is a common bird found in Indiana. It has a black body with white underparts and reddish-brown on its back, wings, tail, and eyebrows. Its diet consists mainly of insects, seeds, and berries.
Eastern Towhees can reach lengths of 7 to 9 inches and have a wingspan of 10 to 12 inches. They inhabit forests, thickets, and brushy areas. These ground-dwelling birds are typically shy and will quickly retreat if disturbed.
However, during mating season they can become bold and even aggressive towards other towhees or intruding birds. Eastern Towhees also have a distinct song consisting of a repeated “drink-your-tea” sound. They also have a loud, rattling call when alarmed.
Pileated Woodpeckers are one of the largest woodpeckers in North America, measuring 16-19 inches in length with black plumage and a bright red crest on their heads. They have distinctive white stripes on their wings and a long bill used for excavating holes in trees to search for insects.
In Indiana, Pileated Woodpeckers can be found in mature forests and wooded areas. Their diet consists mainly of insects, such as wood-boring beetle larvae, but they also eat fruits and nuts.
Pileated Woodpeckers can often be heard drumming on trees with their bills, marking their territory or attracting mates. They create large cavities in trees for nesting, and may also use these cavities for roosting or storing food.
Pileated Woodpeckers play an important role in forest ecosystems as they help control insect populations and aid in tree health by creating holes that allow other animals access to nutritious wood and promote new growth. They also assist in seed dispersal by carrying and storing nuts and fruits, potentially planting new trees.
Red-eyed Vireo is a small songbird with olive-green upperparts and white underparts, a gray head, and red eyes.
Their diet mainly consists of insects and berries. They can be found in deciduous or mixed woodlands during the breeding season and migrate to tropical forests for the winter. These birds are known for their persistent singing and often repeat phrases over and over.
They are also known for their camouflage abilities, as they frequently hide in foliage to hunt for food or escape predators. In Indiana, Red-eyed Vireos can be found in wooded areas such as state parks or forests.
Eastern Wood-Pewee, a small gray and white bird, can be identified by its piercing “pee-a-wee” call and pointed bill. These birds primarily eat insects caught in mid-air, but also eat berries and seeds. They average around 5 to 6 inches in length with a wingspan of 9 inches.
In Indiana, Eastern Wood-Pewees can be found in deciduous forests, particularly near open areas with scattered trees for easy hunting. They perch on branches and swoop down to catch their prey, sometimes hovering before diving.
During the breeding season, they often fly back and forth in a territory display known as “sallying.” Eastern Wood-Pewees migrate south in the winter, returning to Indiana in late April or early May.
Chipping Sparrows can be identified by their brown upperparts, white underparts, and stripes on their head. They primarily eat insects and seeds. They are small in size, measuring about 5-6 inches in length.
In Indiana, Chipping Sparrows can typically be found in open woodlands or grasslands. They often build their nests in trees or shrubs.
During breeding season, Chipping Sparrows can be seen singing to attract mates and defending their territory. Outside of breeding season, they often forage for food in small flocks.
Black-capped Chickadees are small birds, typically measuring only 4-5 inches in length. They have a black cap and bib with white cheeks and a gray back and wings. Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds.
In Indiana, they can be found in deciduous or mixed woodlands as well as suburban areas with trees. These social birds often travel in small flocks and are known for their characteristic “chick-a-dee-dee” call. They also have the incredible ability to remember the location of thousands of food caches for later retrieval.
In winter, they may join mixed species flocks with other small birds such as nuthatches and titmice. During the breeding season, they often make their nests in tree cavities and may aggressively defend their territory from intruders.
Yellow-rumped Warbler is a small bird with yellow markings on its head and rump. Its diet consists of insects and berries. This bird can be found in forests, shrubs, and open woodlands throughout Indiana. It is known for its acrobatic ability to catch insects mid-air.
During the winter, large flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers can be seen feeding on berries in open areas. These birds are also known for their vocal abilities, with a variety of singing phrases often heard during the breeding season.
Red-headed Woodpecker, a medium-sized bird with a red head, black back, white underside, and a barred tail, can be found in open woodlands and forests throughout Indiana. These birds mainly eat insects, nuts, and fruits.
They use their strong beaks to drill into wood to find food or create nest holes. Red-headed Woodpeckers are known for their acrobatic behavior, often hanging upside down while foraging. They are also known for storing excess food in tree crevices or by sticking it into bark. These birds typically measure around 9-10 inches in length with a wingspan of 17-19 inches.
What are common birds in Indiana?
Some common birds in Indiana include American robins, northern cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, mourning doves, and house sparrows. Other possible sightings include bald eagles, great blue herons, wild turkeys, and various types of woodpeckers. Non-native species such as rock pigeons and house finches may also be seen throughout the state.
Birdwatching is a popular activity in Indiana, with many parks and wildlife areas providing excellent opportunities for bird viewing. The annual Indiana Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is another great opportunity for bird enthusiasts to gather and observe various species in the state.
What’s the most common bird in Indiana?
According to the Indiana Audubon Society, the most common bird in Indiana is the American Robin. Other common birds include the Northern Cardinal and the Blue Jay. Some other common backyard birds found in Indiana include Mourning Doves, House Sparrows, and Red-winged Blackbirds.
What birds are considered songbirds in Indiana?
Some of the songbirds commonly found in Indiana include Eastern bluebirds, common cardinals, American robins, Carolina wrens, and eastern towhees.
Other birds such as red-winged blackbirds and northern mockingbirds are also considered to be songbirds due to their melodic singing abilities. Additionally, numerous types of warblers, sparrows, and finches can also be found singing in Indiana’s forests and backyard bird feeders.
What birds are native to Indiana year-round?
Some common year-round native birds of Indiana include the American robin, eastern bluebird, northern cardinal, and black-capped chickadee. Other native species that may be present year-round or seasonally include woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, warblers, thrushes, and raptors such as hawks and owls.
Some non-native species, such as the house sparrow and European starling, may also be present throughout the year in Indiana.
What is the rarest bird in Indiana?
According to the Indiana Audubon Society, the rarest bird in Indiana is the Sprague’s pipit. This bird breeds primarily in the northern Great Plains and spends its winters in the grasslands of the southern United States and northern Mexico.