Utah is also referred to as the ‘beehive state’, housing a variety of bird species that one can come across. While some of these are rare, some are more commonly seen, even in one’s backyard. If you want to find out more about these birds of Utah, what they look like and what some of their characteristics are, you can go through this comprehensive list of some of these birds.
These are all species that are well documented by the official committees in Utah based on their own classifications. You can find out about this briefly below.
Let’s get started!
There are 467 species that have been approved by the Utah Bird Records Committee, all of which are organized using the following abundance codes.
- Accidental (A): Unexpected sightings that are away from their usual routes
- Occasional (O): Sightings reported once in a few years if habitat permits
- Rare (R): Annual but infrequent sightings if habitat permits
- Common (C): Consistent and large numbers
- Uncommon (U): Inconsistent and small numbers
Apart from these, it is also noted whether these birds are permanent residents (P), summer residents (S), winter visitants (W) or migrants (M).
Birds of Utah
Below, you can go through some birds that you can find in Utah and what they look like along with some additional details about their behavior and tendencies. These can then help you accurately identify the birds that you spot and sight.
Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura
Size: Medium, around 12 inches in length
The mourning dove is a popular bird found in North America, sighted abundantly in Utah as well. Medium in size, these birds belong to the Columbidae family and are usually grey, tan and brown in color with both males and females having a similar appearance.
They have wide wings, a round head and a narrow but long tail. They also have black spots on their wings along with a usually straight and short beak. Their underbellies tend to be lighter in color, ranging from white to pink.
These birds have several distinct sounds for mating and attracting female birds, greeting, nesting and alarm. Often, the mating call might also end up sounding like that of an owl. These birds are commonly found in open habitats such as fields, farms, grasslands and plains, although they are regularly frequent and reside in cities as well.
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
Size: Up to 9 inches long with a wingspan of up to 17 inches
The European starling, also known as the common starling, is medium in size and a part of the Sturnidae family. These birds have a unique shiny black color, often with a silvery gloss near the neck.
Often, their coat is full of white speckles or spots that turn up in certain seasons, usually winter. Their wings are pointed with dark and light colors and patterns. Their beaks are usually yellow in color with certain basal differences depending on the sex of the bird.
Their legs are plump with pink or red colors. These birds are also quite vocal and may sound both pleasant and loud depending on the nature of their call. The European starling is commonly found in fields and marshlands but most commonly in urban regions.
Scientific Name: Zonotrichia leucophrys
Size: Around 6 inches with a wingspan of up to 9.5 inches
The white-crowned sparrow is a passerine bird species that has its origins in North America itself, hence being commonly found in Utah. This bird is known for its distinct crown characterized by black and white stripes or streaks.
These birds tend to be plump. Their faces are usually grey in color while the rest of their bodies are brown and grey, with their underbellies being grey or white in color. They also have long tails that are quite pointed in shape.
Further, they tend to have either yellow or yellowish-pink beaks that are short in size. Their legs are pink or yellow in color as well. These birds are usually sighted in brushy areas with plenty of shrubs and bushes, although they are also found in towns and cities. Interestingly, these birds tend to stay half asleep during their migration.
Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius
Size: Up to 11 inches long
The American robin is a songbird belonging to the Turdidae family. These birds are highly popular in the United States and can be abundantly sighted in various states, including Utah.
These birds have black or grey heads along with a white stripe on their necks. Their eyes are also surrounded by a white ring. Their underbellies are orange-red and white in color while their wings have an ash-grey to brown color.
Usually, their beaks are yellow with a bit of black on them which tends to become more prominent when the weather becomes colder. You can commonly find these birds in woodlands, farmlands as well as urban spaces.
Scientific Name: Pica hudsonia
Size: Up to 24 inches in length
The black-billed magpie is usually black and white in color, with black being more prominent on the head and upper body while the white is more prominent on the wings. The beak of these birds is also black in color.
Parts of the wings as well as the tail of this kind of magpie has shimmering blue and green colors. Its tail is particularly long and makes up a large portion of the size of this songbird. This tail also has several coats of feathers.
There are several differences between the males and females of this species, with the males being much heavier and longer than the females. The calls of these birds are distinct with grating and rough sounds. Commonly, you can find these birds in farmlands and open habitats that have several clusters of trees. They are also popular in the cities.
Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Size: Up to 6 inches long with a wingspan of around 10 inches
The house finch belongs to the Fringillidae family of birds. It is small to medium in size and tends to have a long and layered tail that forms a distinct square-like end.
Additionally, these birds have brown and white wings as well as a bit of brown on their heads. The rest of their bodies are usually red and orange in color, with the males having more distinct and varying colors as compared to the females that are more brown and grey in color.
The beaks are short while their legs are usually brown-black. Their calls are chirpy and swift and can be used for a range of communication signals. These birds usually inhabit urban areas as well as open fields and lands.
Scientific Name: Hirundo rustica
Size: Up to 8 inches long
Barn swallows are passerines and are widely distributed all over the world. These birds have distinct blue-black upper sections of the body including the head, parts of their wings as well as tails. The underside of these birds is usually orange in color, although this is more commonly seen in males and juveniles. Females tend to have more off-white and pale colors on their underbellies.
These birds tend to make sounds or songs that differ according to the nature of their communication or call which could be for mating, greeting or alerting others of danger. These birds usually inhabit open fields such as meadows, farms and pastures, especially those with water or streams. They also commonly perch atop wires and bars in urban regions.
Scientific Name: Cistothorus palustris
Size: Up to 6 inches long body and wingspan
The marsh wren belongs to the wren family, as the name suggests. These songbirds are also sometimes referred to as long-billed marsh wrens. In terms of appearance, these birds tend to have dark brown colors on the upper sections of their bodies that can extend from the head to the tail. The underparts of their bodies are usually light brown to orange in color with a bit of white on the neck.
The back also has a bit of black marked by stripes. Further, the song of these birds differs among males and females. These birds are mainly found in marshes and wetlands where most of their breeding and nesting takes place. Here, they also tend to have a diet that focuses on insects of different kinds as well as caterpillars.
These birds can also often be found perched in certain locations in urban areas, especially near bridges and ponds.
Scientific Name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Size: Up to 7 inches for females and 10 inches for males
The red-winged blackbird belongs to the Icteridae family. It derives its name from the fact that it has red patches on its wings. This is more common in males than in females. These red patches are usually accompanied by yellow patches right underneath as well. These red and yellow patches are attributed to carotenoid and melanin pigments.
The rest of the body of these birds is almost exclusively black, with females showing a bit of dark and light brown colors as well. Further, instead of the red markings, females tend to have pink patches on the shoulders or wings.
These birds usually inhabit wetlands, open fields, meadows and farms, sometimes also found in cities.
Scientific Name: Archilochus alexandri
Size: Less than 4 inches long
The black-chinned hummingbird is pretty small in size. It is mainly known for its black chin and head that presents a stark contrast from its otherwise lighter body. This feature is more common in males than in females. The males also have a shimmering purple band on their necks. The rest of the body is usually grey and green in color with occasional specks of black while the tail is grey-black as well.
Females are usually found without the black chin and purple band. These birds generally eat insects as well as nectar. They commonly inhabit woods, mountains, meadows, farms and other open fields. Occasionally, you might also be able to spot them in a few open spaces in cities and towns.
Scientific Name: Dryobates pubescens
Size: Up to 7 inches long with a wingspan of up to 12 inches
The downy woodpecker is quite a tiny bird as compared to other woodpeckers. This bird is black and white in color with the upper sections including the head, wings and tail being predominantly black. The underparts are mainly white in color, although the bird’s back, head and wings have several white markings on them. The head also has an orange-red mark that is unique to this species, although this is mainly found only in males and not females.
These birds produce several sounds for different kinds of communication that include bursts, drumming and rattles. These birds generally inhabit forests and woods, although they might also be found in other regions that have clusters of trees.
Scientific Name: Setophaga coronata
Size: Up to 6 inches long
The yellow-rumped warbler is mainly known for its yellow rump with parts of the wings and sometimes even the underside of the bird’s body being yellow in color. There are several differences based on the subspecies, although this yellow rump is common to them all.
The rest of the body tends to be black and white in color, with streaks and markings across the body. Slight variations in color can also occur, with some exhibiting more brown and grey colors. Sometimes, the head can also have a tinge of brown or orange. These birds mainly feed on insects and birds.
They usually inhabit woodlands while breeding and open fields, farms and urban spaces at other times.
Scientific Name: Streptopelia decaocto
Size: Up to 13 inches
The Eurasian collared dove is native, as the name suggests, to Europe and Asia but was brought to North America. It is medium in size and is referred to as a collared dove due to a black mark on its neck. These birds are grey and brown in color with a long black beak and black eyes. White markings can also be seen on certain parts of the bodies of these birds. These birds also have short black legs.
Marked differences can be found depending on the subspecies of these birds. Usually, these birds produce loud and shrill sounds to communicate with other birds of their species. These birds are usually found in woodlands, open farms, fields and anywhere with clusters of trees.
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
Size: Up to 12 inches in length
Blue jays are passerines that belong to the Corvidae family. These birds are blue and white in color with the upper parts of their bodies being varying shades of blue while their underbellies and necks are white. Some parts of their wings as well as their tails tend to have distinct black stripes or markings along with some white spots. They also have a black beak and a black marking along their neck.
Blue jays are also known for their crowns that comprise a bunch of features on their head. These feathers tend to rise up or stay low depending on the mood of these birds. Blue jays are generally found in forested regions, although you can also spot them in parks and gardens in urban locations.
Scientific Name: Spinus psaltria
Size: Up to 5 inches
The lesser goldfinch is a songbird that is quite small in size. These birds tend to have a black or green forehead, although how pronounced this is depends on the subspecies of these birds. This kind of forehead is also more prevalent in males. The rest of the body is usually yellow and black in color, with yellow being prominent on the underbellies and black being more distinct on the top and on the wings and tails.
The wings and tails also tend to have white markings on the feathers. These birds can be found in several habitats as long as there are clusters of trees. This can include coasts or inlands with sightings also possible in cities.
Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta
Size: Up to 10 inches
Western meadowlarks derive their names from the fact that they are commonly found in open fields, meadows and farms. They also tend to have a smooth and pleasant lark-like sound that they use as calls for communicating with each other. This sound has quite a distinct flow to it.
These birds have a bright yellow underbelly and a collar or V-shaped black mark near their neck. The upper parts of their bodies are brown and black in color with several stripes and markings that extend to their heads and tails.
These birds also have long and sharp beaks that are brown in color along with short legs.
Scientific Name: Athene cunicularia
Size: Up to 11 inches long, wingspan up to 24 inches
Burrowing owls are usually small in size as compared to other owls. These owls are brown and white throughout their bodies. The upper halves of their bodies are prominently brown with white spots while their underparts are white with brown spots. They also have a white head and tail with brown markings along with yellow eyes surrounded by black rings.
These owls are usually found in open fields, farms, grasslands and deserts. They usually stay awake during the day and hunt in the evenings, making them different from the typical pattern of owls.
Scientific Name: Passer domesticus
Size: Up to 6.5 inches
House sparrows belong to the Passeridae family. These birds are highly popular across the world and are usually pretty small in size. They have a circular head and predominantly brown color on their bodies.
Their upper halves are darker with black stripes and markings while their underbellies are lighter in color, bordering on grey. There are likely to be certain distinctions based on the subspecies. They are mostly known for their short and shrill calls. These sparrows commonly inhabit towns, cities and villages, commonly found around residential areas.
Scientific Name: Corthylio calendula
Size: Up to 4.5 inches in length
The ruby-crowned kinglet is extremely small in size. It is a passerine bird and belongs to the kinglet family. These birds tend to have a distinct ruby-colored crown on their heads, thus earning their name. This crown is only found in males and does not always make itself visible. Apart from this crown, the tops of their bodies tend to be grey and olive green in color while their underbellies are usually a lighter grey.
They also have stripes and markings on their wings. Their black eyes are surrounded by a grey ring and their beaks are long and black. They also produce loud and shrill sounds that differ based on the nature of their call. These birds commonly inhabit forests and mountains.
Scientific Name: Pipilo maculatus
Size: Up to 8.5 inches long, 11-inch long wingspan
The spotted towhee belongs to the Passerellidae family. These birds are quite small and have distinct colors on their bodies. The head and neck are black in color with a pointed black beak and red eyes. Their upper section is black in color with white markings that extent to the end of their tails.
Right beneath this is a reddish-brown or rufous layer that extends to their wings while their underbellies are usually white. There is not much difference in the appearance of males and females except that females are more grey and brown in color.
These birds have sharp and loud calls and usually inhabit open fields, forests and brushy regions with occasional sightings in urban areas.
We have now taken you through important details about some birds found in Utah, including the species, their descriptions, how you can identify them, the locations they usually inhabit as well as what they sound like. You can now pinpoint the next bird you spot in Utah accurately or simply enjoy the new knowledge.