What Birds Are Red & Black?

The red-winged blackbird is one of the most common U.S. birds.
The red-winged blackbird is one of the most common U.S. birds. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When someone goes out into the field to watch birds they may spot a species which they do not recognize. With so many birds of varied sizes, shapes and colors it can sometimes be hard to identify them all. For example, birds that are red and black in color could be a number of different species.

Red-winged Blackbird

The red-winged blackbird is a common North American species. The birds are around 9 inches in length with a wingspan of between 15 and 16 inches. They are almost completely jet black in color, with the exception of red patches at the shoulder of the wings. The birds can be found throughout the U.S. year round and migrate to Canada and Mexico at various times of the year. It is considered an abundant species, with population estimates in excess of 190 million individuals.

Red-breasted Blackbird

The red-breasted blackbird is a small, South American species. The male birds are around 7 inches in length and jet black in color, except for the stomach and neck regions, which are a pinkish-red color. Females are a duller brown color with just a hint of red on the chest. The bird is found extensively in Central and South America as well as in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a very common species with few environmental threats.

Northern Cardinal

The northern cardinal is a common North American songbird. The birds are around 9 inches in length with a 12-inch wingspan. The males are bright red in color with a black mask on its face, while the females are more brown with just hints of red plumage. They also have distinctive, pointed feathers on the tops of their heads. The species ranges from America's east coast to as far west as Texas, to southern California and down into areas of Mexico. It is a common species with stable population numbers.

Scarlet Tanager

The scarlet tanager is a migratory species that can be found from southern Canada to Central America. It is a small bird of around 6 to 7 inches long with an 11-inch wingspan. The male bird has a dark red body with black wings and tail feathers during breeding season. Outside of breeding season, both sexes are olive green in color with more brownish wings. During the summer breeding season the birds are found along America's east coast as far north as Canada. Winter migration takes the birds to Central America.

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