State Birds Complete Guide
Each of the states of the United States has its own unique and distinct history, culture and natural beauty. With each state having its own state symbols such as flowers, flags, fruits, etc., how can birds be far behind?
Each of the 50 states of America has an official state bird that is indigenous to the state and represents the spirit of the state. And in this article, we have compiled the list of birds of each state of the U.S.
Also called northern flicker, the yellowhammer belongs to the woodpecker family and became the state bird of Alabama in 1927. The bird got its name after the gray and yellow uniforms worn by the soldiers during the Civil War.
Chosen in 1955 as the state bird by a group of school kids, the willow ptarmigan became the official state bird of Alaska in 1960. The unique feature of this largest arctic grouse of Alaska is its ability to change color from light brown during the summer to white in winter.
The cactus wren is the largest type of wren and is often seen sitting on top of spiky cacti and other types of shrubs. The cactus wren builds its nest inside the cacti, using the thorny spines as protection. The cactus wren was named the state bird of Arizona in 1931.
Renowned for its non-stop singing, the mockingbird’s unique characteristic is its ability to mimic various sounds, such as the barking of dogs, bird calls, amphibians, insects to car horns.
The male mocking bird can sing around 200 songs. Also known as the northern mockingbird, the mockingbird is also the official state bird of other states too i.e., Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Named as the state bird of California in 1931, the California quail has a plump, round body with black feather plumes on top of its head. The California quail is very quick on its feet and spends most of its time on the ground, although it may fly when it senses danger.
Named as the state bird of Colorado in 1931, the lark bunting is a type of sparrow. This migratory bird is characterized by its jet black-colored plumage found in males that turns into light gray during the winter.
Named after the robin redbreast of Europe by the early colonists, the American robin is a migratory thrush, which became the state bird of Connecticut in 1943 and is also the state bird of Michigan and Wisconsin.
Delaware—Blue Hen Chicken
While not an official breed, the name “blue hen chicken” was inspired by the nickname of soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Chosen as the state bird in 1939, the blue hen chicken is essentially bred specially for its bluish-gray colored feathers.
Generally migratory, the northern mockingbird is an all-year-round resident of Florida. Named as the state bird of Florida in 1927, the mockingbird is a fantastic mimic, which can be referred to from its Latin name, “mimus polyglottos”, which means “mimic of many tongues.”
Named Georgia’s state bird in 1970, the brown thrasher is characterized by its unique brown feathers, very long tail and intense yellow eyes. Found in thick shrubbery and thickets, the brown thrasher can be quite difficult to spot.
Endemic to the islands of Hawaii, the Nene or Hawaiian geese became the state bird in 1957. Characterized by its clawed, webbed feet that help the nene to navigate through the rocky terrain of the island, the Nene is a unique bird and is also an endangered species.
Also, the state bird of Nevada, the mountain bluebird is a small vivid-colored thrush that loves open spaces. The male mountain bluebird has distinctive rich-colored plumage, while the female bluebirds are grayish-brown colored.
Also, the state bird of North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, the stunning red cardinal was named the state bird of Illinois in 1929. Both males, as well as female birds, have red feathers and black faces.
These popular songbirds are state birds of 7 states, including Indiana. The vibrant red and black colored northern cardinals are very social birds and are quick to start their bird song anytime at all.
Also known as the wild canary or American goldfinch, the eastern goldfinch stands out, thanks to its bright yellow coloring. The male bird has a distinct yellow body with black feathers and during winter, the plumage becomes more muted like the female.
In 1937, the western meadowlark was named Kansas’ official state bird. The bright yellow-chested songbird with a black-colored V-neck has a unique call, like a flute, and is known for its beautiful song.
Native to the state of Kentucky, the bright red-colored northern cardinal was named as the official bird of the state in 1926. This beautiful songbird has been honored by many states and is also the mascot of many pro sports teams.
It’s not surprising that the brown pelican is the state bird of Louisiana, which is also known as the Pelican State. The brown pelican is a large-size aquatic bird, having a long and thick bill and an expandable pouch to store fish.
A tiny black and white-colored, bold and energetic bird, the black-capped chickadee has a unique call that can be heard all through the year. The state bird of two states, Massachusetts and Maine, the black-capped chickadee does not migrate even when the weather gets very cold in Maine.
Named as the official state bird of Maryland in 1947, the iconic Baltimore oriole, with its black head and wings and vibrant yellow-colored breast can be seen on the state flag and is also the name of Maryland’s MLB team.
Massachusetts: Black-Capped Chickadee
Sharing the status of official state bird with Maine, the little black-capped chickadee thrives in the suburban areas and forests of Massachusetts. Named as the official state bird in 1941, the black-capped chickadee hides insects and berries in coves in trees and eats them later on.
Popularly found in backyards and gardens of homes, the omnipresence of American robins in Michigan has caused them to be named as the state’s official bird. These orange-colored birds are known for their calls and songs.
Known for its moaning, echo-y calls, the common loon is a black and white bird with characteristic red eyes. These large birds have huge wingspans, stretching up to 5 feet and they are known for their incredible diving skills.
Mississippi is one of the 5 states where the northern mockingbird is the state bird. These gray-colored birds are known to be great singers and excellent mimics. This chatty bird tends to stay low to the ground, hunting for insects and sitting in shrubs looking for berries to eat.
A symbol of happiness, the eastern bluebird loves open areas and spaces like parks, orchards, etc. With their stunning coloring and musical whistle, eastern bluebirds are commonly seen in backyard birdhouses of homes. The eastern bluebird is the official state bird of both Missouri, as well as New York.
Found mostly in the western plains, the western meadowlark is the official state bird of 5 states, including Montana. This little songbird builds nests woven from grass and forages on the ground for seeds and insects.
The western meadowlark was named as the official state bird of Nebraska. Related to the blackbird, this songbird has a yellow chest with V-shaped black markings. The bird lives on insects and seeds.
Also, the official state bird of Idaho, the mountain bluebird was made the state bird of Nevada in 1967. With its vivid blue coloring, the mountain bluebird makes its nest in the holes in dirt banks and cliffs.
New Hampshire—Purple Finch
Don’t be tricked by its name, the purple finch is actually raspberry red colored. This small migratory bird has a rich singing voice. The purple finch was named the state bird of New Hampshire in 1957.
New Jersey—Eastern Goldfinch
The Eastern goldfinch or the American goldfinch with its bright yellow and black coloring was named as the official bird of New Jersey in 1935. The goldfinch loves eating dandelions, evening primrose flowers and sunflowers.
Also, known as the greater roadrunner, the roadrunner mostly spends its time on the ground. While the quick-footed bird can fly, it prefers to run and can reach speeds up to 15 mph when running after its prey such as reptiles, rodents and insects.
New York—Eastern Bluebird
The eastern bluebird, with its vivid blue- and red-colored feathers is popular because of its looks and warbling singing. This medium-size bird uses its plumage to attract females by perching on top of its nests and waving its wings.
North Carolina—Northern Cardinal
Popular for its cheerful “cheer, cheer, cheer” whistle, the northern cardinal is a songbird that sings all year round. Typically, the songs of the female bird are richer than that of the male birds.
North Dakota—Western Meadowlark
Named the state bird of North Dakota in 1947, the western meadowlark is the official state bird of 5 other states. Both the male and female birds have the same coloring with their yellow breasts, making it difficult to tell them apart.
Northern cardinals are the official state bird of Ohio along with 6 other states. The bird was named the official state bird of Ohio in 1993. Before the 19th century, this vibrant red-colored bird was not commonly seen in Ohio; however, with changes in the landscape, the cardinal population began to thrive in Ohio.
The gorgeous and graceful scissor-tailed flycatcher is most stunning when in flight, where you can see the flash of orange color against the gray and white body. The forked whale-like fin tail of the bird is what makes the flycatcher unique.
Recognized by 6 states, the western meadowlark was named as the state bird of Oregon in 1927. The yellow-, brown- and black-colored bird lives in the grasslands and feeds on crickets and grasshoppers.
The ruffed grouse is a unique-looking bird with impressive feathers, a crest, black-banded tail, overall fan shape and black ruffles on the neck. The feathers of the chicken-like bird enable it to blend into the forests.
Rhode Island—Rhode Island Red Chicken
Named as the state bird of Rhode Island in 1954, the Rhode Island Red is a domestic chicken breed with russet-colored feathers. They can lay eggs all year round and can produce up to 200-300 eggs annually.
South Carolina—Carolina Wren
The little round bird is reddish-brown and has a dark beak and long tail. The Carolina wren replaced the mockingbird as the official state bird of South Carolina in 1942.
South Dakota—Ring-Necked Pheasant
This stunning bird came to the US in the 1880s. Named as the state bird of South Dakota, the male ring-necked pheasant has beautiful, rich, iridescent feathers, a copper-colored body, emerald green head and a long tail, while the female is muted brown.
Named as the official state bird in 1933, the northern mockingbird is renowned for its mimicking abilities. However, they don’t stop at just that. Mockingbirds use their unique songs to serenade their potential mates.
The official state bird of Texas, the northern mockingbird has a feisty personality that can fight to defend its nests. However, this fighter is also a great singer with a repertoire of 200 songs and is a wonderful mimicry artist too.
Also, known as the seagull, the California gull is the state bird of Utah. The seagull became the hero bird of Utah after they ate the crickets, which were destroying the crops of the early settlers in 1948.
In 1941, this small and beautiful brown-colored songbird became the state bird of Vermont. Its fluttering, pensive song has earned the hermit thrush the moniker of “nightingale.”
The northern cardinal is the state bird of yet another state i.e., Virginia. This colorful, highly energetic bird is very resilient and can tolerate icy cold winters, as well as hot summers.
Also known as the eastern goldfinch or American goldfinch, the Willow goldfinch is the official state bird of Washington and is recognized for its agility in the sky.
West Virginia—Northern Cardinal
This popular backyard bird was named as the official state bird of West Virginia in 1949, apart from being the state bird of 6 other states.
Although the American robin was chosen as the state bird of Wisconsin in the 1920s; however, the selection became official only in 1949.
The western meadowlark became the state bird of Wyoming in 1927 and the bird is so popular that it is also the official state bird of 5 other states in America.
What Bird Lives in All 50 States?
While there is no single bird that is common to all the 50 states of North America; however, there are birds like the northern cardinal, northern mockingbird, western meadowlark, American robin, etc. that live in more than one state.
What Bird Is the Most Common State Bird?
The most common state bird is the northern cardinal that is the official state bird of 7 states including Illinois, North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.
What State Has the Turkey as the State Bird?
Turkey is the state wild game bird of 3 states i.e., Alabama, South Carolina and Massachusetts. So, now that you know the various official state birds of 50 states of the U.S., you can now plan your next bird-watching adventure and set off to the state where you want to see a particular bird.