Most Common Birds of Arizona

Below, you will find photos and key information for the most commonly seen birds in Arizona. This data has been gathered from only reliable sources and verified by an Ornithologist.

Common Backyard Birds in Arizona:

Say’s Phoebe

Say's Phoebe

They are small gray and brown birds, that can be found throughout Arizona in open woodlands and near rivers or streams. Its diet consists mainly of insects and some berries.

One identifying characteristic of the Say’s Phoebe is its repetitive “fee-bee” call, which it often makes while flying low over open areas. It also has a distinctive tail bobbing behavior while perched.

The Say’s Phoebe builds its nest on structures such as bridges, buildings, and cliffs. They typically lay three to five eggs per clutch and both parents take part in incubation and raising the young. During breeding season, they are territorial and will chase away other birds from their nesting area.

Say's Phoebe range map

Gila Woodpecker

gila woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker native to the desert regions of Arizona. It has a black and white spotted back, a red crown, and a pale underside. Its diet consists primarily of insects and cactus fruits.

Gila Woodpeckers typically inhabit saguaro cacti, mesquite trees, and palo verde trees. They create nesting holes in these trees and often use the same holes for multiple breeding seasons.

In addition to nest building, Gila Woodpeckers also practice “planting” behavior, where they peck holes in cactus stems to collect water during dry times. They have also been known to store excess food in these holes for later consumption.

Gila Woodpeckers are social birds and often live in small groups or pairs. When foraging, they can be seen flying from tree to tree or climbing up trunks and branches in search of food. They have a loud, rattling call that can sometimes be heard in the desert landscape.

Gila Woodpecker range map

RELATED: Types of Woodpeckers in Arizona (with Pictures)

Northern mockingbirds

Northern mockingbirds

Northern mockingbirds are medium-sized birds with gray plumage and white wing patches. They have long tails and a distinctive black “M” on their white wings, which can be seen in flight.

Their diet consists mainly of insects and fruits, and they are known for their impressive mimicking abilities.

In Arizona, northern mockingbirds can be found in a variety of habitats including deserts, forests, and suburban areas.

These birds are territorial and will aggressively defend their territory against intruders, including other mockingbirds and larger animals such as cats and dogs. They are also known for their elaborate courtship displays, which involve singing and flight maneuvers.

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch, also known as “spangles” or “little kings,” can be identified by their small size, yellow bodies, black wings and tail, and white wing bars. They primarily feed on seeds and insects, but will also eat nectar from flowers.

In Arizona, Lesser Goldfinches can be found in open woodlands or grasslands, often near a water source. They are known for their acrobatic flight patterns and social behavior, often seen in large flocks or mixed species flocks.

During breeding season, male Lesser Goldfinches perform elaborate courtship displays, including singing and flying high in the air before diving down towards the female. Both sexes work together to build their cup-shaped nest, made of thin twigs and grasses, often placed in a low shrub or tree.

Females will lay 2-5 eggs per clutch, with both parents taking turns incubating them for about two weeks before they hatch. The young fledge after another two weeks of care from both parents.

Lesser Goldfinch range map

RELATED: Yellow Birds In Arizona with Pictures

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves, common across North America, can be identified by their gray-brown body, long pointed tail, and distinct “coo-OO-oo” call. They feed mainly on seeds, often found on the ground or in low shrubs.

These birds are approximately 12 inches in length and can be found in a range of habitats including open fields and residential areas. In the breeding season, males can often be seen displaying with wing-flapping and cooing to attract a mate.

They typically build their nests on low branches or in bushes and lay 2 eggs at a time. Mourning Doves are generally solitary birds except during mating season.

In Arizona, they can be found year-round in the southern and central regions of the state. They may also migrate through northern Arizona during spring and fall. Overall, Mourning Doves are widespread and common throughout the state.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are small birds, measuring only about 4 inches in length. They have olive-green upperparts and pale underparts, with a distinctive red crown on their head (visible only when raised).

These birds mainly feed on insects and spiders, foraging actively through foliage or catching insects in mid-air.

These Arizona birds can be found in coniferous forests, particularly during the winter months.

They are known for their energetic behavior, constantly flitting about and constantly singing a high-pitched trill. During the breeding season, males will display their red crowns to attract mates.

Bird feeder enthusiasts may also attract birds to their yards during the winter months with a variety of bird seeds.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet range map

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows can be identified by their distinctive white and black striped crowns, brown streaked bodies, and yellowish-orange bill. They primarily eat seeds and insects, but will also feed on berries and fruit. These sparrows typically measure around six inches in length.

In Arizona, White-crowned Sparrows can be found in open woodlands, brushy fields, and suburban areas. They form large flocks during the winter months and can often be seen foraging on the ground. These birds are known for their beautiful songs, which they often sing from high perches.

During breeding season, male White-crowned Sparrows perform a “broken wing display” to attract mates and defend their territory. This behavior involves pretending to have a broken wing in order to lure potential predators or competitors away from the nest.

White-crowned Sparrow range map

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler, also known as “butter-butt” for its yellow rump patch, can be identified by its gray crown and yellow throat and breast. This bird feeds on insects, fruits, and berries. It typically measures about 4.5 inches in length with a wingspan of 8 inches.

Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found in open woodlands, shrublands, and parks in Arizona. These birds often forage in flocks and can be seen hopping along branches or flying to catch insects mid-air.

They have a loud and distinct song consisting of clear whistles. During the winter months, Yellow-rumped Warblers migrate to warmer climates.

Yellow-rumped Warbler range map

RELATED: Warblers In Arizona with Pictures

Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe is a small black bird with white underparts and a distinctive black bill. They can be found near water, often perching on branches or wires near streams and rivers. Their diet consists mainly of insects, which they catch by making short sallies from their perches.

In Arizona, Black Phoebes can be commonly seen throughout the year, but they may migrate to the southern parts of the state during colder months. They are known for their territorial behavior and will aggressively defend their nests from intruders.

Black Phoebe range map

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird is a small bird, measuring only 3-3.5 inches in length with a wingspan of 4.3-4.7 inches. It has a shiny black chin and throat, green upperparts, and pale underparts.

These birds primarily feed on nectar from flowers, using their long bills and specialized tongues to reach the nectar. They also eat small insects for protein.

In Arizona, Black-chinned Hummingbirds can be found in a variety of habitats, including desert scrub, grasslands, and riparian areas with trees or shrubs.

During the breeding season, male Black-chinned Hummingbirds perform aerial displays to attract a mate, diving and swooping with loud wing sounds. They are also aggressive protectors of their territory, chasing away other hummingbirds and even larger birds. Outside of the breeding season, they often form small flocks with other hummingbird species.

Black-chinned Hummingbird range map

House Finch

House Finch

(Haemorhous mexicanus) can be identified by their brown, streaked body and red forehead and breast. They are small songbirds, measuring about 5-6 inches in length.

In Arizona, House Finches can be found in a variety of habitats such as suburban areas, deserts, savannahs, and woodlands.

Their diet consists mainly of seeds and grains, but they also eat insects and fruits.

House Finches are social birds, often found in small flocks or pairs. They have a beautiful, cheerful song and are known for building cup-shaped nests in trees or on buildings.

House Finch range map

RELATED:All Arizona Finches with Pictures

Abert’s Towhee

Abert's Towhee

Abert’s Towhee is a large, brown bird with a black head and chest. Its white belly and rufous sides can also be easily seen in its plumage.

In Arizona, this bird can typically be found in scrub brush or desert grasslands. It forages for seeds and insects on the ground, occasionally scratching at the dirt to uncover food.

In terms of behavior, Abert’s Towhee is generally shy and solitary. It may join flocks with other towhees during migration or winter, but it typically keeps to itself. Its call is a loud, repetitive “drink your tea.”

When nesting, this bird builds a cup-shaped nest on the ground, lined with grass and other plant materials. The female typically lays three to four eggs, which she incubates for about two weeks before they hatch. Both parents take part in feeding the nestlings until they fledge at about two weeks old.

Abert's Towhee range map

Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle is a common bird found in Arizona. It can be identified by its shiny black feathers and long, stout bill. Its diet consists mainly of insects and seeds.

Great-tailed Grackle can grow up to 15 inches in length and is often found near water sources or open areas with trees for roosting. This bird is known for its loud calls and aggressive behavior towards other birds.

Additionally, Great-tailed Grackle has been known to steal food from other bird species and scavenge for scraps in urban areas.

Great-tailed Grackle range map

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove, also known as Zenaida asiatica, can be identified by its grey-brown body with white wing patches and a black spot on the shoulder. Their diet consists primarily of black oil sunflower seeds and grains, but they may also eat insects and fruit.

Their average size ranges from 11 to 13 inches in length with a wingspan of 17 to 19 inches.

In Arizona, they can typically be found in desert scrub, open woodland, and urban habitats near sources of water.

White-winged doves are solitary birds except during the breeding season, when they pair off with a mate. They build flimsy nests made of twigs in trees or shrubs, and lay 2 to 3 eggs at a time. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the young.

During non-breeding season, they may form small flocks with other doves or pigeons. They are usually seen foraging on the ground, but can also be spotted perched on telephone wires or roof tops. These birds tend to be more active in the early morning and late afternoon.

White-winged Dove range map



Verdin, or the Plain-capped Starthroat, is a small hummingbird native to Arizona. It can easily be identified by its green body, white throat patch, and red crown.

In terms of diet, the Plain-capped Starthroat mainly feeds on nectar from flowers and small insects.

On average, these birds measure about 3 inches in length and have a wingspan of 4.3 inches.

The Plain-capped Starthroat can typically be found in desert scrub and brushy areas, as well as suburban gardens.

In terms of behavior, these hummingbirds are known to be aggressive when defending their territory and will often chase other birds away. They also have a unique courtship display in which the male flies in a U-shaped pattern while singing.

Verdin range map

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird, native to Arizona, can be identified by its glossy black body and distinct brown head. They are primarily seed-eating birds but also feed on insects. On average, they measure about 7 inches in length and have a wingspan of 13 inches. These birds can be found in open grasslands or fields, near farmland or livestock, and in wooded areas.

In terms of behavior, Brown-headed Cowbirds are known to be brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other bird species and leaving the responsibility of raising their young to them. They have also been known to aggressively compete with other birds for food and nest sites.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird1

Anna’s Hummingbird, also known as Calypte anna, can be identified by its green back, gray chest, and reddish-pink crown. This species primarily feeds on nectar from flowers and insects.

In Arizona, Anna’s Hummingbirds typically measure around 3 to 4 inches in length and can be found in a variety of habitats including urban areas, deserts, and woodlands.

Like other hummingbirds, Anna’s Hummingbirds are known for their fast flight and agility in the air. They also have the ability to hover in one spot and fly backwards. During breeding season, males can often be seen performing aerial displays to attract a mate.

Hummingbird feeders are often a popular way to attract these birds to yards and gardens.

Anna's Hummingbird range map

RELATED:Hummingbirds In Arizona with Pictures

Common Raven

Common Raven1

(Corvus corax) can be found in Arizona’s forests, mountains, deserts, and urban areas. These large black birds have a distinct and loud croaking call, shaggy throat feathers, and a thick wedge-shaped tail.

In terms of diet, Common Ravens are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything – from insects and small mammals to garbage and human food scraps. They have also been known to scavenge carrion.

These birds can reach up to 24 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 45 inches.

In terms of behavior, Common Ravens are highly intelligent and social creatures. They form strong pair bonds and often mate for life. They are also known for their elaborate courtship displays and problem-solving abilities.

Fun fact: Common Ravens have been observed using tools to obtain food, such as dropping nuts on rocks to crack them open. They have even been known to hide excess food for later consumption, a behavior commonly seen in mammals but not often found in birds.

Common Raven range map


Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher, also known as the “desert mockingbird,” is a common bird found in Arizona. Its identifying characteristics include a long, decurved bill and mottled brown plumage with white streaks on its wings and tail.

This bird primarily feeds on insects and seeds, often foraging on the ground or in low shrubs.

On average, the Curve-billed Thrasher grows to be about 9-10 inches in length with a wingspan of 14 inches. They can typically be found inhabiting desert scrub and chaparral habitats.

In terms of behavior, the Curve-billed Thrasher is known for its loud, raspy song and its ability to mimic the calls of other birds. They are also known for their aggressive territorial behavior, frequently chasing away larger birds from their territory.

Curve-billed Thrasher range map

Gamble’s Quail

Gambel's Quail

Gamble’s Quail, known for their distinct black and white plumage, can primarily be found in the desert scrub of Arizona. These birds have a diet consisting of seeds, insects, and fruits.

They typically measure around 10-11 inches in size and are social animals, often seen in small groups called coveys. During breeding season, male Gamble’s Quail can be heard making a distinctive “chi-ca-go” call to attract a mate.

Their nesting habits involve scraping a shallow depression in the ground and lining it with vegetation to hide their eggs. These quail are skilled at evading predators by running and darting through dense brush. They can also rapidly take flight if necessary.

Gambel's Quail range map

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

(Agelaius phoeniceus) can be identified by its black feathers with bold red and yellow shoulder patches. These birds are primarily granivorous, meaning they feed on seeds and grains, but also eat insects, fruits, and spices. They typically measure around 9-11 inches in length and have a wingspan of 13-17 inches.

In Arizona, Red-winged Blackbirds can be found in wetlands, marshes, grasslands, and agricultural fields. They often form large flocks and are known for their distinctive calls and songs.

During breeding season, male Red-winged Blackbirds perform aerial displays to defend their territories and attract mates. They build cup-shaped nests in tall vegetation, where the female will lay 3-5 eggs. Both parents participate in incubating and feeding the young until they are ready to fledge.

Despite their relatively small size, these birds play an important role in controlling insect populations and dispersing seeds throughout their habitat. They are also a popular source of food for larger predators, such as hawks and owls.

RELATED: Types of Owls in Arizona (with Pictures)

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch is a small bird with gray upperparts and white underparts. It has a black cap, a white face, and a long black stripe on its throat. Its diet consists mainly of insects, nuts, and seeds.

In Arizona, White-breasted Nuthatches can be found in coniferous forests or wooded residential areas. They are often seen foraging on tree trunks and branches, using their strong feet to cling upside-down. They are known for storing excess food in crevices or bark, often returning later to eat it.

White-breasted Nuthatches form monogamous pairs and typically breed in the spring. Both male and female help build a nest in a tree cavity, where they will raise their young. They have a loud and distinct call that can be heard throughout the forest.

White-breasted Nuthatch range map

European Starlings

European Starling

European Starlings, also known as Common Starlings, can be easily identified by their glossy black feathers with speckles of purple and green. These birds have a varied diet including insects, fruits, and grains.

They are about 8-10 inches in size and can be found in open areas such as farmland and grasslands. In terms of behavior, European Starlings form large flocks and have loud and varied vocalizations.

They are also known for imitating the sounds of other birds. In Arizona, European Starlings can be found year-round and are considered to be pests due to their high numbers and aggressive behavior towards native bird species.

House Sparrows – Passenger domesticus

House Sparrow

The house sparrow can be easily identified by its small and stocky build, gray-brown feathers on its back, white belly, black throat, and distinctive black stripe on each cheek.

In Arizona, the house sparrow primarily eats seeds and grains, but will also eat insects and berries.

On average, the house sparrow measures about 5-6 inches in length and weighs around 1 ounce.

The house sparrow can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas, farmland, and parks.

In terms of behavior, the house sparrow is known to be aggressive toward other birds when defending its territory. It also has the ability to mimic sounds, including those of other birds. Some may consider the house sparrow to be a pest due to its tendency to nest in or near human-built structures.

House Sparrow range map

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

(Melozone fusca) can be found in Arizona’s canyon habitats, where they forage on the ground for seeds and insects. They have a distinctive rusty-brown back and black head and neck, with whitish underparts.

These birds grow to be about 9 inches in length and can often be seen hopping along the ground or perching on low shrubs. Their behavior includes raising their tail and flicking it while singing a repetitive song. In winter, they may form small flocks with other towhee species.

In addition to canyon habitats, Canyon Towhees can also be found in desert scrub and brushy areas near water sources. They breed during the spring and summer months and build cup-shaped nests in shrubs or low trees. Both the male and female help to incubate eggs and care for the young.

Canyon Towhees are common throughout Arizona and have a stable population. They can often be seen along hiking trails or in residential areas with native vegetation. By providing bird feeders with native seeds, you may attract Canyon Towhees to your yard for some delightful birdwatching.

Canyon Towhee range map

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

(Pipilo maculatus) is a medium-sized, dark brown bird with white spots on its wings and tail feathers. Its most distinct characteristic is the red patch on its eye.

This bird feeds mainly on insects and seeds, foraging on the ground or low shrubs.

In Arizona, it can be found in chaparral, oak woodlands, and riparian habitats.

Spotted Towhees are typically shy and solitary, but can sometimes be seen in pairs or small family groups during the breeding season. They create a dome-shaped nest on the ground, lined with grass and hair. Both male and female take part in building the nest and raising the young.

These birds have a loud, harsh song and will also make a distinctive “drink-your-tea” call. Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, their numbers have been declining in some parts of their range.

Spotted Towhee range map

RELATED:Red Birds In Arizona with Pictures

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren1

Cactus Wrens, the largest wren found in Arizona, have a distinct black and white striped head and chest with brown back feathers. They are primarily insectivores, but also eat fruits, seeds, and nectar.

In their natural habitat, they build nests in cacti or other dense shrubs for protection from predators.

They are known for their loud, repetitive calls and tendency to aggressively defend their territory.

Cactus Wrens can be found in the desert regions of Arizona, as well as in areas with chaparral or riparian vegetation.

They often form small flocks during the non-breeding season, but are primarily solitary during breeding season.

Cactus Wrens are year-round residents in Arizona and do not migrate.

Cactus Wren range map

Bewick’s Wren

Bewick's Wren

Bewick’s Wrens can be identified by their white eyebrow stripes, brown backs, and long tails with white outer feathers. They mainly eat insects and sometimes berries. They are small birds, measuring about 4-5 inches in length.

In Arizona, they can be found in woodlands or brushy areas near water sources. Bewick’s Wrens are known for their curious and active behavior, often foraging for food on the ground and in low shrubs. They also have a loud, varied song.

It is important to protect Bewick’s Wren habitats as development and climate change can threaten their populations. Providing bird houses and maintaining native vegetation can help support these birds in urban and rural areas.

Bewick's Wren range map

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrows can be identified by their streaked brown plumage, white belly, and distinct dark-colored central breast spot. Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds.

They typically measure around 5-6 inches in length and can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, shrublands, wetlands, and urban areas. In terms of behavior, Song Sparrows are known to be territorial and will aggressively defend their territory from other birds.

They may also engage in various courtship displays, such as singing and aerial pursuits. In Arizona, the Song Sparrow can be found year-round in areas like Tucson and Phoenix.

Elegant Trogon – Trogon elegans

Elegant Trogon

The Elegant Trogon can be identified by its bright red belly, black back and head, white stripes on the side of the face, and a long tail with white tips. This bird mainly feeds on insects and fruits found in riparian or moist forest habitats in Arizona.

This bird has an average length of about 11 inches and a wingspan of 14 inches.

In terms of behavior, Elegant Trogons are known for perching motionless on branches before diving down to catch prey. They also have a distinct call that sounds like a sharp, whistled “klee-dle-ee.”

Elegant Trogon range map

Ash-throated Flycatcher – Myiarchus cinerascens

Ash-throated Flycatcher

The Ash-throated Flycatcher can be identified by its grayish-brown upperparts, pale yellow underparts, and distinctive ash-gray throat. Its diet consists mainly of insects, which it catches in mid-air or picks off vegetation.

This bird typically grows to be about 6 inches in length with a wingspan of 8-10 inches.

In Arizona, the Ash-throated Flycatcher can be found in open woodlands and riparian areas near streams and rivers.

During the breeding season, these birds create a cup-shaped nest made of sticks and grasses, which they often place on a branch or in a shrub. They are often seen perching on exposed branches or flycatching for insects.

Other behaviors include giving a raspy “chek” call and flicking their tail up and down rapidly.

Ash-throated Flycatcher range map

What bird is common in Arizona?

The common crow, house finch, and mourning dove can all be found in the state. Other popular birds include the greater roadrunner, northern cardinal, and the vermilion flycatcher. The cactus wren is also a common sight in Arizona’s desert regions.

Bird watching is a popular pastime in Arizona, with many birding hotspots such as the Santa Rita Mountains, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and Chiricahua National Monument.

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What birds are common in Phoenix?

Some of the most commonly seen birds in Phoenix include cactus wrens, Gambel’s quail, American kestrels, Gila woodpeckers, great-tailed grackles, and Harris’s hawks. These birds can often be spotted in residential areas or desert landscapes.

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Other bird species that can be seen in the Phoenix area include northern mockingbirds, scaled quail, Anna’s hummingbirds, white-winged doves, and house finches.

Phoenix also serves as a stopover point for many migrating bird species during certain times of the year. Birdwatching opportunities in Phoenix can be found at South Mountain Park, Tres Rios Wetlands, and Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area.

What kind of birds live in the Arizona desert?

Some common bird species that can be found in the Arizona desert include cactus wrens, Gambel’s quail, Harris’s hawks, Gila woodpeckers, and roadrunners. Many migratory birds also visit the desert during certain times of year, such as Vermilion flycatchers and white-winged doves.

In addition to these more common birds, the desert also provides habitat for various raptors such as golden eagles and bald eagles, as well as rare species like the elegant trogon and hooded oriole.

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What birds are red in Arizona?

There are several red birds found in the state, including the Northern Cardinal, Summer Tanager, and Pyrrhuloxia. Other red birds that may be seen in Arizona during migration include the Red-winged Blackbird and Scarlet Tanager. It is important to note that some of these birds may appear red only during certain times of year or in certain lighting conditions.

For example, the male Northern Cardinal may appear red year-round, while the female is a duller reddish-brown color. The Summer Tanager is also often brighter red during the breeding season. To accurately identify these birds, it is important to consider their overall appearance and behavior in addition to their coloration.

Winter Birds of Arizona:

Some common winter birds in Arizona include American crows, northern cardinals, black-capped chickadees, American goldfinches, and dark-eyed juncos. Warmer southern regions of the state may also see summer birds such as roadrunners and hummingbirds stick around during the winter months.