Tennessee Birds

American Goldfinch
The American Goldfinch male is bright yellow in spring and summer.
Visit Cornell's All About Birds to see the male and female goldfinch and hear their song.

The male has a blue-gray breast band.   The female has a blue-gray breast band and a rust belly-band.  The kingfisher is known for its large head with feathers that go in all directions.  Visit this link to see a female belted kingfisher and to see a kingfisher dive and come up with a fish.  You may hear their "rattle" calls as they fly.

Blue Jay

Brown-headed Cowbird
Two females are pictured below.

The male is black with a brown head.  

To see a juvenile cowbird being raised by another species visit cowbird fledgling.  What species is raising the young cowbird?  Cowbirds don't raise their own young but lay their eggs in another bird's nest.   

Carolina Wren
A small brown bird with a loud song:  "tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle".  Male and female look alike.

Downy Woodpecker
 Male (only the male has red on his head).  The female looks similar without the red on the back of her head.

Female Downy Woodpecker

Eastern Bluebird
Male--bright blue bird with rust on his breast and a white belly

Eastern bluebird female, below right, feeding juvenile.  The female is blue-gray, more dull than the male but also with rust on her breast.

Great Blue Heron

House Finch
The male House Finch is red with brown streaks.  The female is brown streaked with no red.

Female House Finch below, is brown with lots of streaking.


Killdeer chick

Male is pictured.
Photo by David Roemer

Mourning Dove

Northern Cardinal
The male Northern Cardinal is bright red with orange bill and black at the base of bill.  Cardinals have a tall crest on their head.

The female cardinal is brownish with some red on her crest, wings and tail.  She also has a bright orange bill with black at the base.  Click here to see more cardinal images.

Red-bellied Woodpecker 
A medium sized woodpecker with black and white ladder pattern on the back.  The male has red on his head and nape (back of neck).  The female only has red on her nape (not on her head).  The belly skin is faintly red and seldom seen!

Tree Swallow
Tree swallows are bluish green in appearance with black wings and white throat and belly.  The male and female look alike.  They are fast fliers and capture insects in the air.

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch 

White-throated Sparrow
A sparrow that spends the winter in Tennessee and is still present in April.  It feeds on the ground and breeds in more northern states and Canada.  To learn more about this bird and hear its song visit Cornell's White-throated Sparrow.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are present in winter time in the lower elevations of the Tennessee Valley.   Many live and breed in the Smoky Mountains.


  1. Does the tufted titmouse ever have a streak of yellow at the end of its tail?

  2. The bird you are describing is likely a Cedar Waxwing. They have a brown and gray body, a crest and yellow at the tip of their tail. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cedar_Waxwing/id

  3. I live in Central Tennessee and I have some red birds with a tuft of feathers on their heads. The females are tan. They do not look like Cardinals. They are not that bright but are the same size. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Linda,
      The only eastern bird we have that is red or tan with a crest is the Northern Cardinal. It is possible that you are seeing immature birds. They may have a dark or mixed red and brown beak and seem duller in appearance until they molt into their adult plumage.

  4. I cannot identify a bird that is feeding on my suet cake. It is a little larger than a wren, has a dark head and beak, striped breast, white belly and 3 yellow spots--1 on each hip and 1 on it's back.

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  6. Its sounds like you are describing a Yellow-rumped warbler by the description, though the size may only appear larger when feathers are fluffed. Check out this species on the Cornell, All about birds website. Yellow-rumped Warblers have white bellies, stripes on their flanks with a yellow area on each side, yellow rumps (spot above their tail on back).Beautiful little birds. They also have a yellow spot on their heads but not usually visible this time of year.


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