One of the most common birds in Kansas is the Northern Cardinal, with its bright red plumage and recognizable song. Other abundant species include American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Mourning Doves.
Kansas is also home to many waterfowl, such as Mallards and Canada Geese, which can often be seen in wetlands and rivers. The state is also a popular stopover for many migrating species, such as Sandhill Cranes and various species of warblers.
Birdwatching opportunities in Kansas include Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, and Lake Scott State Park. With its diverse habitats and abundant birdlife, Kansas is a great destination for bird enthusiasts.
Common Backyard Birds in Kansas:
Song Sparrow – Kansas birds
Song Sparrows can be identified by their streaked brown upperparts and buff underparts. They have a reddish-brown cap and a distinct dark spot in the middle of their breast.
Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds.
They are small birds, measuring about 5 to 6 inches in length.
In Kansas, Song Sparrows can be found in open areas with brushy vegetation, such as fields and wetlands.
During breeding season, these birds are territorial and can often be heard singing their loud, musical songs. They build cup-shaped nests low to the ground and typically lay 3 to 4 eggs at a time. Outside of breeding season, they may form small flocks with other sparrows.
House finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) can be identified by their brown, streaked body and red forehead and breast. These birds mainly eat seeds and grains, but will also feed on fruits and insects. They typically measure around 5-6 inches in length with a wingspan of 8-10 inches. In Kansas, they can be found in open woodlands, suburban areas, and parks.
They are social birds, often seen in small flocks or pairs. In the breeding season, males can be aggressive towards other finches and will often compete for nesting sites. Outside of the breeding season, they are known to join mixed-species flocking with other small songbirds.
American Goldfinch, also known as the Eastern Goldfinch or “Lightning Bird,” can be identified by their bright yellow feathers, black-brown wings, and white patches on their wings and tail.
They mainly feed on seeds and insects, but will also eat berries and nectar. These small birds measure around 4 to 5 inches in length and have a wingspan of 7 to 8 inches.
These Kansas birds can be found in open woodlands, meadows, and fields. They are often seen in flocks and can be heard chirping their high-pitched “per-chic-o-ree” song. During the winter months, they may gather at bird feeders. These social birds also engage in acrobatic flight displays during breeding season.
American Goldfinches mate for life and build cup-shaped nests out of plant fibers and animal hair in trees or shrubs. The female will lay a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs, which she alone incubates for 12 to 14 days before they hatch. Both parents will then take part in feeding and caring for the young.
In North America, the American Goldfinch has a widespread population and is not currently threatened or endangered. However, habitat loss and pesticides do pose a threat to their survival. By providing bird feeders and native plants in our yards, we can help support these beautiful creatures.
Downy Woodpecker, a small black and white woodpecker, can be found in wooded areas across Kansas. These birds have a distinctive black stripe running down their backs and white stripes on their heads.
Their diet consists primarily of insects and tree sap, which they can access using their strong bills for drilling into trees.
On average, Downy Woodpeckers measure about 6 inches in length and have a wingspan of 9-11 inches.
These birds create their nests by drilling holes into tree trunks or branches and lining them with wood chips.
In terms of behavior, Downy Woodpeckers are often seen clinging to trees as they search for food, but they also sometimes feed on the ground. They have a habit of storing excess food in tree crevices for later consumption.
Downy Woodpeckers are known for their drumming behavior, using their bills to rapidly tap against trees or other surfaces in order to attract mates and establish territory. They form lifelong pair bonds and often stay with their mate throughout the year.
(Corvus brachyrhynchos) can be identified by their glossy black feathers, cawing calls, and clever behavior. In Kansas, they are commonly found in open fields and forests near sources of food such as farms, garbage dumps, and parks.
They have a diverse diet including insects, grains, fruits, small animals, and even other bird’s eggs. American Crows can reach a length of 17-21 inches and have a wingspan of 33-40 inches.
They are highly social birds, often seen in large groups or family units. They have been known to use tools, solve problems, and even recognize individual humans.
House Sparrows, also known as English or domesticated sparrows, can be identified by their small size (around 5-6 inches in length), dark brown streaked tops and darker blue gray underside, and a distinct black patch on their throat.
These birds have adapted well to human environments, often found near buildings and houses where they can easily access food sources such as bird feeders, garbage, and crops. In the wild, they also eat seeds, insects, and some plants.
In Kansas, house sparrows can be found in a variety of habitats including urban areas, agricultural fields, and grasslands. These birds are highly social and often gather in large flocks. They build nests made of grass and other materials in holes or crevices, and the female will typically lay 3-6 eggs per clutch.
Red-bellied Woodpecker can be identified by its red head and belly, black wings, and white stripes on the back. They mainly eat insects, nuts, and berries. These woodpeckers are typically 9-10 inches in length and can be found in wooded areas, parks, and residential neighborhoods.
Their behavior includes climbing tree trunks to search for food and creating holes in trees for nesting. They are also known for their drumming sounds on trees and metal objects.
In Kansas, the red-bellied woodpecker can be seen year-round, but there is a higher population during the spring and summer months. These woodpeckers are common throughout the state and can often be spotted at bird feeders.
Along with foraging for food, they also engage in social behavior such as mutual preening and feeding between mates. In the winter, red-bellied woodpeckers may join flocks with other woodpecker species to search for food together.
Red-winged Blackbird, identified by its black body and distinct red and yellow shoulder patches, primarily feeds on insects, seeds, and grains. The average size of a Red-winged Blackbird is 9-10 inches in length with a wingspan of 13-17 inches. They can be found in open marshes, meadows, agricultural fields, and along rivers in Kansas.
Red-winged Blackbirds are often seen in large flocks and can be territorial, especially during the breeding season. They have a distinctive “konk-la-ree” call that can be heard throughout their habitat.
These adaptable birds can also be found in various parts of North and South America, as well as parts of Europe and Asia. They are frequently seen perched on cattails or fence posts, flying in large numbers, or engaging in aerial displays during the breeding season.
Eastern Bluebird is a small songbird with a bright blue back, rust-colored chest, and white belly. They primarily eat insects and berries. In Kansas, they can be found in open woodlands and fields. Bluebirds are known for their aerial dives and catching insects mid-flight.
They also build nests in tree cavities or man-made nest boxes. Bluebirds form monogamous pairs and both parents help in raising their young. They are also known for their melodious songs.
(Colaptes auratus) can be identified by their red-shafted wings and yellow underparts. Their diet consists primarily of insects, fruits, and nuts. Northern Flickers typically measure around 11-12 inches in length with a wingspan of 16-21 inches. They prefer open woodlands and urban areas for their habitat.
In terms of behavior, Northern Flickers are known for their habit of hammering on wood to find food. They also create nesting cavities in dead trees or telephone poles. In Kansas, these birds can commonly be seen during the spring and summer months.
Tufted Titmouse, a small bird with distinctive gray feathers and a black patch on its forehead, can commonly be found in woodlands and suburban gardens throughout Kansas.
Its diet primarily consists of insects and seeds. Tufted Titmice typically grow to be about five inches in length and have a tendency to travel in small flocks.
These birds are known for their vocal nature and will often imitate the sounds of other birds or even mechanical noises. They also have a habit of storing excess food for later consumption, known as “hoarding.”
Blue Jays, a member of the corvid family, are easily identified by their bright blue feathers and crest on top of their head. They have a varied diet including nuts, seeds, insects, and even small vertebrates.
On average, they measure around 11-12 inches in length and have a wingspan of 13-17 inches.
In Kansas, Blue Jays can be found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, parks, and suburban yards.
They are known for their intelligence and problem-solving abilities, as well as their loud calls and aggressive behavior towards other birds. Additionally, they have been observed to cache food for later consumption, a behavior also seen in squirrels.
Carolina Wrens, found in Kansas, have a round body and short tail with a rust-brown coloration on their upperparts and a pale white or buff underside. They have a long, slightly curved bill and white eyebrow stripes.
These birds primarily eat insects and other small invertebrates, but will also consume fruits and seeds.
Adult Carolina Wrens typically reach sizes of 4.5 to 5.75 inches in length and have a wingspan of 7 to 8.5 inches.
They can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, gardens, and urban areas with dense vegetation.
These birds are known for their loud and melodious songs, as well as their bold and curious behavior. They will often aggressively defend their territory from intruding birds. Carolina Wrens are also known for building large and messy nests, usually made of sticks and grasses, in tree cavities or human-made structures such as birdhouses or mailboxes.
In Kansas, these birds can be spotted year-round as they do not migrate. They may form pairs for life and will often raise multiple broods per breeding season.
Dark-eyed Junco is a small songbird with a rounded head and short, conical bill. Its upperparts are slate-gray and its underparts are white. It has a dark eye stripe and pinkish-brown legs.
In Kansas, Dark-eyed Juncos can be found in woodlands, forests, and backyard bird feeders. They mainly eat seeds and insects.
Dark-eyed Juncos typically form large flocks during the winter months and can often be seen hopping on the ground or foraging in low shrubs. They also have a distinctive, trilling song that they use to communicate with each other.
Despite their small size, Dark-eyed Juncos are known to be feisty and will vigorously defend their territory against larger birds.
(Turdus migratorius) can easily be identified by its reddish-orange breast, gray brown upperparts, and white belly. These birds primarily feed on insects and fruits, but will also eat grains and worms. They measure around 11 to 14 inches in length with a wingspan of 16 to 20 inches.
American Robins are commonly found in open habitats such as yards, parks, and fields. They can also be found in forest edges and woodland clearings.
During the breeding season, male American Robins will establish and defend their territory by singing and performing display flights. They build cup-shaped nests made of grass and mud, usually located in trees or shrubs. The female will lay and incubate a clutch of 3 to 5 eggs, with both parents participating in feeding the young.
Outside of the breeding season, American Robins often gather in large flocks to forage and roost together. They also migrate in flocks to their wintering grounds.
European Starlings, also known as common starlings, can be identified by their glossy black feathers with speckles of white. These birds are omnivores, feeding on insects, fruits, grains, and even small vertebrates. They typically range in size from 7 to 8 inches in length with a wingspan of 14 to 16 inches.
In Kansas, European Starlings can be found in open grasslands, farmland, and urban areas. They often form large flocks and can create loud noises with their chirps and calls.
These birds are also known for their mimicry abilities, able to imitate the sounds of other birds, and even household items such as car alarms.
Mourning Doves are easily identifiable by their soft, gray bodies and distinct mournful coo. They primarily feed on seeds found on the ground but will also eat insects and fruit. They typically measure around 12 inches in length with a wingspan of 18-24 inches.
Mourning Doves can be found in a variety of habitats including open fields, farmland, and suburban areas. They typically build flimsy nests in trees and shrubs and are known to have several broods each year.
Mourning Doves are social birds and can often be seen in small flocks, however, they do form pair bonds during the breeding season. These birds will also roost communally in large flocks during winter months.
These birds are skilled fliers and can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. They are also known for their long journeys during migration, with some individuals traveling up to 2000 miles each year. Mourning Doves have a unique flight pattern, with several quick wing beats followed by a graceful glide.
Northern Cardinals are easily identified by their bright red plumage and prominent crest. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects. On average, they measure about 8 to 9 inches in length and have a wingspan of 12 inches.
In Kansas, they can be commonly found in wooded areas, thickets, and gardens. Cardinals are typically social birds that live in pairs or small flocks. They are known for their loud, distinctive songs and can often be seen perched atop tall trees or shrubs.
Additionally, they have the unique behavior of “sunning,” where they spread out their feathers and tilt their bodies towards the sun. This is thought to help with feather maintenance and preening.
Black-capped Chickadees are small birds with a black cap and bib, white cheeks, gray back and wings, and a white underside. They have a stout bill designed for cracking open seeds and insects.
In Kansas, these chickadees can be found in deciduous woodlands or forests, often near shrubby undergrowth where they forage for insects and seeds.
These birds are highly social and often found in small flocks, sometimes mixed with other species such as titmice or nuthatches. They have a signature call of “chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” which they use for communication within their flock.
In addition to their typical diet of insects and seeds, chickadees will also visit bird feeders for sunflower seeds or suet. They have been known to cache food for later consumption, storing it in small crevices or under the bark.
White-breasted Nuthatch is a small songbird with a white face, upper chest and belly, grey back and wings, and black cap. They can often be seen climbing up tree trunks in search of food, which typically consists of insects and seeds.
In Kansas, White-breasted Nuthatches can be found in deciduous or mixed woodlands, but they will also sometimes inhabit suburban areas with mature trees. They are known for their acrobatic movements and loud, nasal calls.
These social birds often form small flocks during the winter months and can commonly be seen hanging upside down on tree branches as they forage for food.
White-breasted Nuthatches may also use their sturdy bills to wedge open tree bark in search of insects and to create nesting cavities. They will often reuse old woodpecker holes or use man-made birdhouses for nesting sites. Both the male and female participate in building the nest and caring for the young.
(Molothrus after) can be identified by their dark, glossy brown head and sturdy bill. They primarily eat insects and seeds. These birds are small in size, measuring approximately 7-9 inches in length.
In Kansas, they can often be found in open grasslands or agricultural fields. Brown-headed Cowbirds are known to be parasitic nesters, laying their eggs in the nests of other bird species and leaving the care of their young to the unsuspecting host. They may also form large flocks with other cowbirds and blackbirds.
The common Grackle is a medium-sized black bird with iridescent purple and green feathers, long triangular tail feathers, and yellow eyes. In Kansas, they can often be found in open areas near water sources such as marshes or wetlands. Their diet consists mainly of insects and small invertebrates, but they will also eat seeds, fruits, and even eggs and nestlings of other birds.
Grackles often form large flocks and can be known to be aggressive toward smaller birds while defending their food sources. They are also known for their loud, harsh calls and mimicry skills.
Adult Grackles can reach lengths of 11-14 inches and have wingspans of 15-17 inches.
In Kansas, Common Grackles breed during the spring and build their nests in trees or shrubs, often near water sources. Both males and females participate in building the nest and caring for the young.
The female usually lays 4-5 eggs and both parents take turns incubating them for about two weeks before they hatch. The chicks will stay with their parents for several weeks before learning to fend for themselves.
While not endangered, the population of Common Grackles has decreased slightly in recent years due to habitat loss and degradation. However, their adaptability allows them to thrive in a variety of habitats and they are currently classified as a species of least concern by the IUCN.
Baltimore Oriole – Icterus galbula
The Baltimore oriole can be identified by its bright orange and black plumage, with males being more brightly colored than females. They have a pointed bill for catching insects, which makes up a majority of their diet. They also enjoy fruits and nectar from flowers.
In size, Baltimore orioles average about 7 inches in length with a wingspan of 12 inches.
Their preferred habitat includes deciduous forests and woodlands, where they build hanging pouch nests high up in the trees.
In terms of behavior, Baltimore orioles are known for their beautiful and melodic song. They are also very territorial and will defend their nest from intruders. They are migratory birds, spending their winters in Central and South America before returning to their breeding grounds in the spring.
Purple Martin – Progne subsicola
Purple Martin – is the largest of North American swallows with a length of 7.5-9 inches and a wingspan of 15-17 inches. They have dark purple bodies with grayish heads and white underbelly.
These birds primarily feed on flying insects, caught in midair or scooped from the surface of water. They nest and roost in colonies, often using man-made structures like birdhouses. In Kansas, they can be found near rivers and lakes during the breeding season, but migrate south for winter.
In addition to their aerial acrobatics, Purple Martins are known for their cooperative breeding behavior with other individuals helping to raise young. They also have complex and varied vocalization.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo – Coccyzus americanus
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is a medium-sized bird, measuring between 10-12 inches in length. Its plumage is primarily grayish brown with white barring on its wings and tail, and a black eye stripe extending from the bill to the back of its head. However, its most distinct feature is its yellow bill.
Their diet primarily consists of caterpillars and other insects, but they have also been known to eat berries and fruits. They live in deciduous forests, woodlands, and riparian habitat areas.
This bird is known for its elusive behavior and secretive habits, often keeping to dense foliage or remaining motionless on a branch until it spots prey. Its call is a repeated, harsh “cu-cuck-oo” sound.
In Kansas, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo can be found during spring and summer migration as well as during breeding season. However, their population has been declining in recent years due to loss of habitat and insect declines. Conservation efforts to protect and preserve their habitat are important for the survival of this bird species.
Indigo Bunting – Passerina cyanea
Indigo Bunting – is a small songbird with bright blue plumage, black wings, and a chestnut colored throat. They can be commonly found in open woodland areas and grasslands in Kansas. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects. These birds are often seen perching on low shrubs or flying high in the sky in search for food.
In their breeding season, male Indigo Buntings can often be seen performing aerial displays to attract mates. They are known for their beautiful and distinct song, which they use to mark their territory and attract a mate.
Purple Finch – Haemorhous purpureus
The Purple Finch has a red-brown head and back with streaks on its sides, and pinkish underparts. Its wings have white wing bars and its tail is slightly forked.
In the wild, this bird feeds on seeds, berries, and insects. It can be found in open woodlands and backyard bird feeders.
The Purple Finch typically ranges from 4.5 to 5 inches in length and has a wingspan of 7.5 to 9 inches.
In terms of behavior, the Purple Finch tends to be solitary or found in small flocks. It sings a loud, trilling song and is known for its singing ability during the breeding season. It also has a habit of dipping or bobbing its body while feeding on bird feeders.
In Kansas, the Purple Finch can be found during the breeding season and as a winter visitor in some parts of the state. It nests in tree cavities or nest boxes, laying 4 to 6 eggs at a time. During the winter, it may form small flocks with other finch species.
Red-headed Woodpecker – Melanerpes erythrocephalus
The Red-headed Woodpecker can easily be identified by its distinct red head and neck, and white body with black wings. These birds mainly feed on insects, nuts, and fruits. They have an average size of 9-10 inches in length and a wingspan of 16-18 inches.
In Kansas, the Red-headed Woodpecker can be found in open woodlands, parklands, and farmland with scattered trees. They are known for their acrobatic behavior, often hanging upside down while foraging for food. These birds also use their strong bills to chip away at tree bark to find insects. They have been observed using tools, such as sticking twigs into crevices to extract insects.
The Red-headed Woodpecker is a cavity nester, using abandoned woodpecker holes or creating its own dead trees for nesting. They have also been known to use man-made nesting boxes. These birds are monogamous and often mate for life, with both the male and female participating in nest building and raising the young.
The Red-headed Woodpecker population has been declining due to loss of habitat and competition with introduced European Starlings for nesting sites. Conservation efforts, such as protection of dead trees and provision of nesting boxes, can help support these beautiful birds.
What kinds of birds live in Kansas?
The common and abundant bird species found in Kansas include American robins, house sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, mourning doves, barn swallows, and blue jays.
More rare sightings include bald eagles, sandhill cranes, and various species of waterfowl. Kansas is also a popular stopover for migratory birds, including various species of warblers, sparrows, and waterfowl.
Kansas is also home to the critically endangered whooping crane, with a reintroduced population nesting in the wetlands of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
What birds are in Kansas in winter?
In winter, common species in Kansas include the Eurasian Collared Dove, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, and Northern Cardinal. In summer, some of these same birds can be found along with others such as the Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Eastern Kingbird, and Barn Swallow.
Kansas is also home to a variety of waterfowl, including various duck species and American White Pelicans. Hawks, owls, and other raptors can also be spotted throughout the state. Some rarer bird sightings in Kansas include the Snowy Owl, Whooping Crane, and Roseate Spoonbill.
What are the top 10 most common birds in Kansas?
1. Northern cardinal
2. American goldfinch
3. Red-winged blackbird
4. Downy woodpecker
5. American crow
6. Mourning dove
7. Blue jay
8. House finch
9. Common grackle
10. Rock pigeon
What kind of yellow birds are in Kansas?
Some common yellow birds found in Kansas include American goldfinches, evening grosbeaks, and western meadowlarks. Less common yellow birds found in the state are painted buntings, hooded warblers, and pine warblers. It is also possible to spot rare yellow bird species in Kansas such as scarlet tanagers and Prothonotary warblers.
What kind of sparrows are in Kansas?
According to the Kansas Ornithological Society, the most commonly seen sparrow species in Kansas are house sparrows, song sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, American tree sparrows, and chipping sparrows.
Other less common or seasonal visitors include clay-colored sparrows, Lincoln’s sparrows, fox sparrows, and Harris’s sparrows. Kansas is also known as a hotspot for catching rare vagrant sparrow species from other regions.
Some of these have included Henslow’s sparrows, Le Conte’s sparrows, Vesper sparrows, and grasshopper sparrows.
Are Blue Jays common in Kansas?
The answer is yes, they can be found throughout the state. However, their populations vary in different regions and seasons.
In winter, they are more commonly found in southern and eastern parts of Kansas where there are more sources of food and shelter. In summer, they can be seen statewide as they breed and raise their young.
An avid ornithologist, zoologist and biologist with an unwavering passion for birds and wild animals.
Dr. Wilson’s journey in ornithology began in childhood and led him to obtain a Ph.D. in Ornithology from the prestigious Avian Research Institute. He has worked closely with renowned experts in the field and conducted extensive research and field studies globally.