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Discover 21 Birds of Arizona

Cactus wren.

Are you a bird lover searching for a new destination to explore? Look no further than Arizona! This southwestern state is a birdwatcher’s paradise, boasting diverse feathered friends.

Cactus Wren

Cactus wren.

If you are looking for a bird that embodies the Southwestern deserts of Arizona, then the Cactus Wren is the one to watch out for. This noisy bird is known for its raw, scratchy noise that sounds like it’s trying to start a car, and you can hear it at all hours of the day.

Cactus Wrens are always up hopping around on the ground, fanning their tails, scolding their neighbours, or singing from the tops of cacti. They are known for their distinctive white eyebrow that sweeps to the nape of the neck.

As the largest wren in the United States, Cactus Wrens are native to the arid southwestern United States, extending to central Mexico. They are the state bird of Arizona.

Cactus Wrens are well adapted to their environment, with their diet consisting mainly of insects and spiders. This allows them to live in more extreme environments, including dry and very rocky areas, with less vegetation.

One of the most fascinating things about Cactus Wrens is their nest-building skills. They build nests the size and shape of footballs, with an entrance hole on the side. These nests are made of sticks, grass, and other materials and can be found in cacti, shrubs, and trees.

Fun Fact

While the male cactus wren feeds his first clutch of chicks, he builds a second and third nest for the next broods.

American Robin

American robin.
Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The American Robin is a common sight in Arizona and across North America. These birds are known for their warm orange breast, cheery song, and early appearance at the end of winter. They are often seen tugging earthworms from the ground on lawns and gardens.

The American Robin is a medium-sized songbird with a length of 9-11 inches and a wingspan of 12-16 inches. These birds have a grey-brown back, a rusty-red breast, and a white belly. They have a dark head with a white eye ring. Juvenile robins are speckled and lack the bright orange breast of adults.

The American Robin is a migratory bird breeds in Canada and the United States and winters in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. In Arizona, these birds can be found throughout the state, from the low desert to the high country. They are often seen in open habitats such as parks, gardens, and golf courses.

American Robins are active birds that hop and run on the ground for food. They are omnivores and eat a variety of insects, fruits, and berries. These birds are also known for their distinctive song, which is often heard in the early morning.

American Robins build cup-shaped nests made of grass, twigs, and mud. They often nest in trees, shrubs, and man-made structures such as buildings and light fixtures. Females lay 3-5 blue eggs, and both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.

Fun Fact

American robins can migrate up to 3,000 miles from Iowa to Alaska in the spring.

Steller’s Jay

These birds are native to western North America and closely related to the blue jay in eastern North America. They are also known as the long-crested mountain and pine jay.

They have a distinctive crest on their head, which they can raise and lower depending on their mood. They are about the same size as a Blue Jay, with a length of around 11 inches and a wingspan of about 16 inches.

One of the most striking features of Steller’s Jay is its beautiful blue colour. Its wings and tail feathers are a deep blue, while its head is black with an impressive blue crest. The rest of its body is a light greyish-blue colour. They also have a black mask around their eyes, which makes them look like they are wearing a bandit mask.

Steller’s Jays are known for their raucous calls, which can be heard echoing through the forest. They have many calls, including a harsh “shack-shack-shack” and a nasal “wheee-oo-wheee-oo”. They also imitate other birds and animals, including hawks and cats.

These jays are omnivores and will eat various foods, including insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They are also known to steal eggs and nestlings from other birds. Steller’s Jays are known to be intelligent and curious birds and are often attracted to bird feeders.

Fun Fact

The oldest recorded Steller’s jay was a male at least 16 years old.

Inca Dove

Inca dove.
VJAnderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are a bird enthusiast in Arizona, you might have seen the Inca Dove. This small dove is a year-round resident in the state’s southern half, and it’s a common sight in urban areas, parks, and gardens.

The Inca Dove is a small dove about the size of a sparrow. It has a plump body, a short tail, and a small head. The bird’s feathers are brownish-grey, with a scaly pattern on the wings and back. The tail feathers are edged with white, and the bird has a distinctive black spot on the neck.

The bird’s call is a soft, cooing sound similar to a mourning dove’s. However, the Inca Dove’s call is faster and more rhythmic, almost like a song.

The Inca Dove feeds on seeds, fruits, and insects in the wild. However, in urban areas, the bird is often seen feeding on birdseed or bread crumbs left out for it.

Fun Fact

Inca doves get most of the water they need from their food.

Great-tailed Grackle

great tailed grackle.
dfaulder, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These birds are a common sight throughout the state, with their distinctive long tails and iridescent black feathers.

Male Great-tailed Grackles are larger than females, with a body length of up to 18 inches and a wingspan of up to 23 inches. They have striking yellow eyes and shimmer in iridescent black and purple. Meanwhile, females are smaller, with a body length of up to 15 inches and a wingspan of up to 19 inches. They are black on top and brownish below.

Great-tailed Grackles are omnivorous and eat almost anything they can find, including insects, small animals, fruits, and seeds. They are known for their aggressive behaviour, often stealing food from other birds and even humans.

These birds are also known for their vocalizations, with various calls and songs. You may hear them making a harsh, creaky sound or a series of whistles and chatters.

Fun Fact

Great-tailed grackles have learned to remember the individual faces of researchers visiting their breeding colonies.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet.
Wildreturn, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a tiny bird with a big personality, you can’t go wrong with the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This little bird is a common sight throughout Arizona, and it’s easy to see why: with its olive-green plumage, white wing bars, and distinctive red crown (which is only visible on males), it’s a real eye-catcher.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet has a varied diet that consists mainly of small insects like beetles, flies, and caterpillars. In the winter, it will also eat some berries and seeds.

One of the most interesting things about the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is its song. Although it’s not the most musical of bird calls, it’s certainly distinctive: a series of high-pitched notes that sound like “tsee-tsee-tsee” or “seet-seet-seet”.

Fun Fact

For a small bird, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet can lay up to 12 eggs in a single nest.

Northern Flicker

Northern flicker.
Barbara Schelkle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This bird is one of the most common woodpeckers in North America and can be found throughout Arizona.

One of the most distinctive features of the Northern Flicker is its colouring. The bird has a brown back, black bars on its wings, and a spotted belly. The male also has a red patch on the back of his head.

The Northern Flicker is a ground forager, meaning it spends a lot of time on the ground searching for food. Its diet consists mainly of ants and other insects, but it also eats fruits and berries, especially in the fall and winter.

The Northern Flicker is unique because it often uses artificial structures such as telephone poles as nesting sites.

Fun Fact

One northern Flicker’s stomach was found to contain more than 5,000 ants.

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s Hawks are easily recognizable by their slate-grey backs, rusty-red breasts, and long tails with thick black bands. The females are larger than the males, with a wingspan of up to 3 feet. They have a sharp, hooked beak and bright yellow eyes.

Cooper’s Hawks prefer wooded areas, especially those near water sources. They can also be found in urban areas, where they hunt for prey in backyards and parks.

Cooper’s Hawks are agile hunters known for catching prey in mid-air. They feed on small birds, mammals, and reptiles and can be seen perched on tree branches, waiting for an opportunity to strike.

Fun Fact

Cooper’s hawks kill their prey by repeatedly squeezing them with their talons.

Common Raven

These birds are easily recognizable by their shiny black feathers, thick black bill and wedge-shaped tail. They are also known for their deep, croaking calls that can be heard from far away.

Common Ravens are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats, from deserts to forests. They are also found in many other parts of the world, including Europe and Canada. In Arizona, they occupy most major climate regions from the Arctic to low deserts.

Ravens are intelligent birds and are known for their problem-solving skills. They have been observed using tools to obtain food and even playing games with each other. They are also social birds and can often be seen in pairs or small groups.

Common Ravens are agile despite their size and can perform aerial acrobatics, such as rolling and flipping in mid-air. They are also known for their impressive flying skills and can soar for long periods without flapping their wings.

Fun Fact

The oldest known wild Common Raven was at least 22 years, 7 months old. It was banded and found again in Nova Scotia.

House Finch

House finch.
Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These birds are residents of Arizona all year. House Finch males have red heads and breasts, and the rest of their bodies are mainly streaks of brown. Females are brown-streaked all over. They are about 5.1-5.5 inches in length.

House Finches are seed-eaters, and they eat a wide variety of seeds. They are often seen at bird feeders, enjoying sunflower seeds, thistle, and millet. They also eat insects and fruit, especially during the breeding season.

Fun Fact

House finches have been known to nest in hanging baskets, so if you have any empty baskets, consider leaving them out for the House Finches to use.

House Sparrow

House sparrow.
Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you live in Arizona, you’ve probably seen the House Sparrow. These small birds are one of the most widespread and abundant songbirds in the world, and they have a simple success formula: they associate with humans.

Native to Eurasia and northern Africa, House Sparrows have succeeded in urban and farming areas worldwide, including North America, where they were first released in New York in 1851.

House Sparrows are small birds, measuring about 5.9-6.7 inches (15-17 cm) in length. They have a plump body, a short tail, and a thick bill. Male House Sparrows have a grey crown, black throat, and chestnut nape, while females are duller and lack a black throat.

Fun Fact

House Sparrows are considered an invasive species in Arizona, originally from the Middle East. They are now one of the state’s most abundant and widespread birds.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve billed thrasher.
lwolfartist, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This bird is a commonly found resident of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

One of the most distinctive features of the Curve-billed Thrasher is its downward-curved bill, which it uses to dig for insects and other prey in the desert soil. This bird is about 10-11 inches long, with a greyish-brown body and orange-yellow eyes.

Curve-billed Thrashers are known for their loud and melodious songs, which can be heard throughout the day. They are also territorial birds that mate for life and defend their nests fiercely against predators.

Fun Fact

Curve-billed thrashers will occasionally visit bird feeders. When they do, all the other birds scatter in a panic.

Gambel’s Quail

If you’re exploring the Arizona desert, you’ll likely come across Gambel’s Quail. This small ground-dwelling bird is a common sight in the region, known for its distinctive appearance and unique vocalizations.

Gambel’s Quail can be easily recognized by their plump, round bodies and short, curved crests on their heads. They have a brownish-grey colouration with white stripes and a black belly patch. Males have a black face and throat, while females have a brownish-grey face and throat.

These birds are social creatures, often found in coveys of up to 20 individuals. They are active during the early morning and late afternoon when they walk to water sources to drink and forage for food. Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, and insects.

Gambel’s Quail are known for their unique vocalizations, which include various clucking and crowing notes. These sounds are used to communicate within the covey and attract mates during the breeding season.

Fun Fact

The Gambel’s Quail are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and it is illegal to harm or harass them in any way.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird.
VJAnderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anna’s Hummingbirds are small, stocky birds with a straight bill. Adult males have a rose-pink throat and crown, while females and immature males have a greyish throat with bits of red spotting. They are mostly green and grey and have a wingspan of about 4.7 inches (12 cm).

Anna’s Hummingbirds are known for their buzzing vocalizations, which males often give while perched. They are also known for their acrobatic flight patterns, hovering mid-air and darting quickly from flower to flower. They feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, including salvia, penstemon, and fuchsia.

Anna’s Hummingbirds are found in various habitats, from coastal scrub to desert canyons. They are often seen in urban gardens and parks, as they are attracted to exotic flowers and hummingbird feeders.

Fun Fact

Anna’s Hummingbirds are named after Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli, a natural history patron and a friend of John James Audubon.


The Verdin is a slender bird with a small head, measuring about 4.5 inches in length. It has a greyish body with a yellow head and a chestnut shoulder patch, which makes it easy to spot. It is more slender and small-headed than a chickadee, and its acrobatic abilities enable it to comb the foliage of trees for insects and spiders, sometimes hanging upside down to investigate hard-to-reach places.

The Verdin’s diet consists mainly of insects, but it also supplements its diet with fruits and even nectar, which it may obtain from desert plants. This highly adaptable bird can survive in harsh desert conditions, making it a common sight in the southwestern United States.

Although the Verdin is generally solitary, it can be found in pairs during the breeding season. The female builds a small, cup-shaped nest of plant fibres, spider webs, and other materials and lays 3-6 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks until they are ready to leave the nest.

Fun Fact

Verdins love to eat nectar but will feed by cutting into the base of the flower to obtain the nectar.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow rumped warbler.
Dan Pancamo, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Yellow-rumped Warbler has a greyish-blue head, back, and wings. The throat and breast are white, and the sides are streaked with black. The bird’s most distinctive feature is its yellow rump patch, visible when the bird is in flight or perched with its tail cocked. The male and female birds look alike, but the male’s colours are generally brighter.

They are migratory birds and spend their summers breeding in the coniferous forests of the western United States, including Arizona. During the winter, they migrate to warmer areas such as Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and even suburban areas.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are active birds that flit through the trees and shrubs for insects, spiders, and berries. They are also known to hover and catch insects in mid-air. During the breeding season, they may also eat caterpillars and other larvae to feed their young.

Fact Fun

The yellow-rumped warbler’s nickname is butterbutt referring to the bright yellow patch above its tail.

Northern Cardinal

Northern cardinal.
gary_leavens, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a bird that’s easy to spot in Arizona, the Northern Cardinal is a great choice. These birds are known for their vibrant red feathers and distinctive crest on their head. They’re also the official state bird of seven eastern states in the US.

Male Northern Cardinals are a bright red colour with a black mask on their face and a larger crest on their head. Females, on the other hand, are a reddish-olive colour with a grey mask around their beaks. Both males and females have warm red accents.

One of the reasons Northern Cardinals are so popular is their distinctive whistled song. You’ll often hear them singing in the early morning or late afternoon. They also don’t migrate, so you can enjoy their presence year-round.

Despite being a popular bird, Northern Cardinals are rarely spotted in some parts of Arizona. However, they can be found in urban areas, parks, and gardens. They’re also known to visit bird feeders, so if you want to attract them to your backyard, consider putting out some sunflower seeds or safflower seeds.

Fun Fact

Male northern cardinals get their red feathers from the food they eat, which contains carotenoids. If the food is in short supply, it will be brown like the females.

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain chickadee.
Greg7 on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a birdwatcher in Arizona, you’ve probably seen the tiny and busy Mountain Chickadee flitting through the dry evergreen forests of the mountainous West. These birds are a common sight in the mountainous regions of the state.

Mountain Chickadees are tiny birds with black-and-white heads and grey over the body, darker on the back and light grey underneath. They are about 4.3-5.5 inches long and weigh around 0.4 oz. These birds are often the nucleus in mixed flocks of small birds. They hang upside down to pluck insects or seeds from cones and seemingly give their scolding chick-a-dee call to anyone who will listen.

Mountain Chickadees are non-migratory birds that live in the mountains west of the US all year. However, they may move down the mountain to lower areas in winter. They are often found in coniferous forests, and they are known to be particularly fond of ponderosa pines.

Fun Fact

Mountain chickadees are like squirrels as they will store food in the fall to eat later in the winter when food is harder to come by.

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad billed hummingbird.
Seabamirum on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This small bird is one of the most beautiful in Arizona, with its bright green back and head and deep blue throat. The male bird has a bright red bill, while the female has a dark bill with a red base.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are common in Arizona and are often found in gardens and parks. They are also known to visit hummingbird feeders, so if you set one up in your yard, you might be lucky enough to see one up close.

These birds are known for their agility and speed. They can hover in mid-air and fly backwards, which is a sight to behold. They are also very territorial and will aggressively defend their feeding and nesting areas.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds are migratory birds and spend their winters in Mexico and Central America. They return to Arizona in the spring to breed. The female builds a small cup-shaped nest out of spider webs and plant fibres, which she lines with soft materials such as feathers and plants down. She lays two white eggs, which hatch after about two weeks.

Fun Fact

Broad-billed hummingbirds consume nearly two times their body weight in nectar each day.

Rock Pigeon

Rock pigeon.
Satdeep Gill, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ve probably seen Rock Pigeons around your city or town if you live in Arizona. These birds are familiar in urban areas, where they can be found perching on buildings, bridges, and other manufactured structures.

Rock Pigeons are medium-sized birds with plump body and short necks. They have a distinctive grey-blue colouration with iridescent feathers on their necks. These birds are also known for their two bold black wing bars.

Fun Fact

The rock pigeon is a product of the European and North African species breeding with Asia varieties.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White breasted nuthatch.
Gary Irwin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a bird lover in Arizona, you’ll likely come across the White-breasted Nuthatch at some point. These small birds are common visitors to backyard bird feeders and are easily recognizable by their distinctive white cheeks and chest, along with a blue-grey back.

White-breasted Nuthatches are compact birds with no neck, a short tail, and a long, pointed bill. They forage mainly on the trunk and larger limbs of trees, climbing about and exploring all surfaces.

White-breasted Nuthatches regularly cache food items in bark crevices on their territory during fall and winter. They lay 5-9 eggs, rarely 10, which are white and spotted with reddish-brown. The female incubates the eggs and is fed on the nest by the male. The incubation period lasts 12-14 days.

These birds are fairly widespread, usually found in mature woodlands with large trees. They creep along tree trunks and branches, often upside-down. Sometimes they join mixed flocks with other songbirds.

Fun Fact

Breeding pairs will sometimes smear dead insects around their nest to deter squirrels.