California's Common Backyard Birds

California's Common Backyard Birds  (Part 3)

The most common birds in your backyard are listed and discussed in this article. The birds featured in this article were chosen based on data from the eBird citizen science program. As a result, it is more precise than some other identical articles on the internet. Photographs of each of the bird species are included in this article.  This article explains how to get them to come to your backyard.

In California, the following are the common backyard birds:

  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • American Robin
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Bewick's Wren
  • Northern Flicker
  • Nuttall's Woodpecker
  • Red-winged Blackbird

What is the content of this article?

  • State overview of birds and bird watching in California
  • Photos and identification of common backyard birds
  • Most common birds by season
  • California Birds and Birding in California State

California is home to around 710 different bird species, according to eBird.

The most prevalent bird is the House Finch, which is the most common bird in the state . The California Quail is the state bird of California. Check out eBird for California if you're serious about learning about the birds that call California home.   Join a local bird group if you wish to meet other people who are interested in birds in your region. Each state's list of bird-watching clubs is maintained by the American Birding Association.

Identification of Birds in California

This section describes species. These are provided to help you in identifying birds in your backyard .  Each species profile begins with a photo. Before evaluating the colour or patterns on the birds, size, shape, and bill type are used in the identification phase. When trying to identify an unknown bird, these are more reliable. Pay attention to the shape of the bird's body and tail, as well as the shape of its bill, rather than just the colour of its plumage.

How to attract each species is covered in the section on bird feeders and foods. Feeders will not attract all sorts of backyard birds. Water, on the other hand, can attract all backyard birds.

Most birds that appear in this article are found across the state and are generally year-round inhabitants. Even if a species is found throughout a large area, it only occurs in the habitat that it prefers. As a result, the exact habitat of your area has a role in the presence or absence of specific bird species.

1. Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Dark-eyed Junco

These popular birds, often known as "snowbirds," regularly come in backyards in the winter from adjacent mountain forests or more northern climes.

Range in California: Dark-eyed Juncos breed on high mountains and coastal conifers across California.


Size: About the same size as a House Finch.

Shape: Round body, short neck, round head, and a square-ended tail that is fairly lengthy.

Bill: Pink, pointy, conical, and short.

Color: Eastern birds have a darker all-gray color with a white belly. Western birds have a jet-black hood over their heads, a brown back, a white belly, and pink flanks.  Females have a paler complexion.

Habitat, range, and behavior: They breed in coniferous forests.  Avoids dense brush in favor of sparsely spaced bushes. Breeds in Canada, Alaska, and the western U.S. Winters in southern Canada and the lower 48 states of the United States, as well as in far northern Mexico. They spend a lot of time hopping around and feeding on the ground.

Food and feeder preference: Dark-eyed Juncos consume largely seeds, but insects in the summer. Feed mixed seeds in hopper or tray feeders and on the ground at backyard feeders.

2. American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American Robin

This ubiquitous backyard bird is a year-round resident in the northern half of the country and a seasonal visitor in the southern half.

Range in California: American Robins breed in the highlands and in the northern portion of the state; they winter in a variety of locations, including deserts near water and lawns.

Identification: This is a key species to compare to an unfamiliar bird.

Size: From bill tip to tail tip, this bird is 10 inches long. Approximately the same size as a Blue Jay or a Scrub-Jay. This bird is larger than the Red-winged Blackbird. 

Shape: A fat creature with a lengthy tail.

Bill: Straight and narrow, with a curved tip.

Color: Upperparts are gray-brown, with a reddish orange breast.

Habitat, range & behavior: Open forests, farmlands, urban parks, and lawns. Breeds in Alaska and Canada as a migratory bird. Inhabitant of the majority of the United States (lower 48). Winters in North America, Mexico, and Central America. Hops around your lawn hunting for food, moving his head this way and that. In the north, their caroling song is one of the first signals of spring.

Preferences for food and feeders: American R obins eat earthworms and other insects. Fruit from a tray feeder or the ground is fine. Small berries from trees and bushes can be eaten.

3. Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglotos)

Northern Mockingbird

Throughout the year, and especially at night, this backyard bird sings from exposed perches. They have an endless supply of their own unique short phrases that they repeat three times each, but they frequently intersperse other birds' songs.

Range in California: Northern Mockingbirds are year-round residents across much of California's landscape. They are not found in coniferous forests or mountains. Some birds migrate north in the summer.


Size: An American Robin's length.

Shape: Long-tailed and slender. Legs are long.

Bill: Slender, gently curved, medium length bill.

Color: Gray, darker above, with white patches on wing and tail.

Habitat, range, and behavior: They like edge settings with dispersed trees and bushes, parks, and residential areas. They can be found in the eastern and southern United States, the West Indies, and as far south as Mexico. They bravely defend their nests from invaders, such as other birds and cats.

Food and feeder preference: Insects, berries, and fruit are eaten by this bird. Grapes, raisins, and apple slices can all be used to attract mockingbirds to your feeder. They'll arrive at a suet block.

4. Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)

Bewick's Wren

This brush-loving bird may be found in your backyard hedges.

Range in California: Bewick's Wrens are year-round residents throughout most of California. They only visit the southeastern deserts during the winter.


Size: These birds are about the same size as House Finches.

Shape: They have a stocky build with a short neck, large floppy tail, and lengthy legs.

Bill: Tall, slim, and slightly curved.

Color: Different populations are grayer or browner than others. Barred brown and black tail. Underparts are a light grey color. 

Habitat, range, and behavior: These birds can be found in brushy tangles, chaparral, and backyard bushes. From southern British Columbia southward through Mexico, the Southwest, and east to Missouri, these birds can be found. Except in the spring, when they sing loudly from exposed perches, they remain hidden in deep bush.

Food and feeder preference: Bewick's Wrens eat mostly insects and invertebrates. They will come to feeders in winter for suet.

5. Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Flicker

This ant-eating woodpecker spends a lot of time hopping around and investigating your yard's ground. Many beginners are puzzled by this behavior. They know it's a woodpecker when the males drum loudly on their downspouts at dawn in the spring. 

Range in California: Northern Flickers are year-round residents throughout most of California. They exclusively live in the Central Valley during the summer. They only visit the southeastern deserts during the winter.


Size: Similar to a Mourning Dove in size. It's bigger than a robin.

Shape: Stocky with short legs, short tail, big head.

Bill: As long as his head, slim, and bent slightly.

Color: The back is brown with black bars. Pinkish underbelly with black dots. The black wing and tail feathers have vivid salmon-red (West) or yellow undersides (East) . Across the chest is a black crescent. In flying, a white rump was seen.

Habitat, range, and behaviour: Found on the borders of woodlands and in forests. A year-round dweller of extreme southern Canada, the lower 48 states, and the Mexican and Middle American mountains. In the summer, it migrates north into Canada and Alaska to reproduce. Hoping on the ground and pecking at the ground for insects is a common sighting. Males announce their territory by beating on a hollow tree branch rapidly in late spring, while the ringing of metal downspouts in the morning is much louder and carries far farther, much to the annoyance of anyone attempting to sleep inside!

Food and feeder preference: Ants and beetles are their primary food sources. Suet attracts them, and they will eat black oil sunflower seeds.

6. Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttalli)

Nuttall's Woodpecker

This woodpecker is almost exclusively found in California. They only reach Mexico a few miles south of San Diego.

Range in California: Nuttall's Woodpeckers can be found year-round in much of California, particularly below the mountains and west of the southern deserts. They're also not found in the wet northwestern coniferous coastline area.


Size: Smaller than an Acorn Woodpecker and smaller than an American Robin.

Shape: Stocky body type. The neckline is short. The tail is short and pointed. Strong feet.

Bill: A short, pointed bill that is shorter than the head.

Color: Black above with several white bars on the back and wings. Underparts are white with many black bars and spots on the sides and flanks. Tail is black with white tail feathers on the outside. Face is mostly black, with two white lines running from the eye to the bill. Male with a red hind crown.

Habitat, range, and behavior: Oak chaparral and riparian sycamore trees are places where you'll find this species. Within that ecosystem, it's common in residential areas. The range extends from northern to southern California, as well as into Mexico south of San Diego. West of deserts.

Food and Feeder preference: Nuttall's Woodpeckers like insects and acorns as food. Will come to platform feeders for sunflower seeds and nuts.

7. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Red-winged Blackbird

The marshes are the most common habitat for these noisy flocking birds. In the winter, though, they can be spotted in backyards.

Range in California: Red-winged blackbirds have a wide range in California.

Identification: This is a key species to compare to an unfamiliar bird.

Size: From bill tip to tail tip, it's about 8-3/4 inches long. Approximately the same size as a Northern Cardinal. 

Shape: Pot-bellied, with a large bill and a flat forehead. Tail average.-Bill: Long and sharp-pointed.  

Color: Males have red and yellow shoulder patches and are black in colour. Females are streaked brown and rusty.

Habitat, range, and behavior: Cattail marshes and wetlands are their summer habitat. They feed in crop fields during the winter. They can be found breeding across the majority of the North American continent. During the winter, they leave the majority of Alaska and Canada. In the summer, they live in colonies, and in the winter, they migrate in vast flocks.

Food and feeder preference: Insects are their preferred food in the summer. They eat grain and seeds throughout the winter. They visit feeders, more often in large winter flocks, and eat most seeds and suet.

Post a Comment

If you have any queries, please let us know.

Previous Post Next Post