Birds are considered some of the most brilliantly colored animals in all of the animal kingdom, and often, they can be found in a wide range of colors ranging from white or crimson, to black or vivid orange. The orange birds of North America can be found right in your backyard from different subspecies of Orioles and hummingbirds to thrushes.
Why Birds are Orange
How birds get their orange plumage can vary from species to species. Like with most species, the orange is a result of the carotenoid pigments found in their diet, in addition to the manner in which their metabolism processes these specific pigments in order to grow feathers. Did you know that the structure of feathers can have an impact on the overall hue or color? It also can be affected by how properly preened or fresh the feathers are. Plumage that’s worn may lose its color and the bird’s very posture can have an impact on how light reflects off of the feathers, changing the color instantly. Some species will also have differences in color based on geographic location, although they belong to the same subspecies. You can find shades of orange ranging from dark to neon-bright hues.
Below, you’ll find a list of the most popular orange birds found in Northern America, information concerning habitat and feeding habits, and other information concerning behavior, diet, and more. These birds are found in many different groups or in areas that are dry and sparse.
To learn more about the most eye-catching birds to sight, stop by and read my guide all about owls.
Northern Red Bishop
This bird was once referred to as the orange Bishop. This species is native to Northern Africa and a member of the Weaver family, but it has now made its home in places such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, and Miami. There have also been reports of large breeding colonies found in Texas.
The male has a very vivid burnt orange body, with a black breast, face, and crown, and brown tail feathers and wings. The female is almost sparrow-like and features a light brown color that’s striped with orange. Juvenile birds have a coloring that’s similar to the male. The females will lay four aqua blue eggs per clutch. The nests are made using groups of strong plants that have been woven into an almost hive-like structure using grass and other materials. The males are known to have multiple female mates simultaneously. These birds are commonly seen in the southern states where temperatures are warmer.
To learn more about the habits of your favorite backyard birds, click here to read my article on when do birds go to sleep.
This bird is a member of the North American thrush family. The American robin is also known to have one of the earliest arrivals to a nesting territory come spring. When it’s first spotted is often noted as the harbinger of spring.
The American Redstart
Considered one of the more common warblers, the American redstart is often found in North America. The males feature very vivid orange coloring and are very active throughout the entire day. During the hotter months of the year, these birds can be seen flying from branch to branch and exposing their large burnt orange areas on the side of the breast. The males have very large orange markings on the base of the tail feathers, wings, and breast. They have white accents on the breast with a shiny black body. Females have an olive-colored body, yellow accents on the wings, a grey head, and orange found at the base of the tail feathers and on the side of the breast.
This bird is native to Central America and Mexico and was discovered in 1940’s in Florida. This bird is easily identified by its orange body and head, and black tail, wings, and back. Females are similar in color with the exception of a light green mantle and white epaulets. Juveniles are also light green in color with orange accents found throughout the body. These birds can lay up to five light blue eggs per year. They tend to build their nests in the crown of trees. These nests are shaped like hanging baskets that are attached to the limbs like handles. The nests are made out of grasses, strings, and plant fiber. These birds are usually found in residential trees, parks, and many different types of wooded areas in the Southeast areas of Florida.
The Altamira oriole is the largest member of the oriole family, this subspecies is often found in Texas along the Rio Grande. This backyard favorite and is often attracted to types of citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. These birds are mostly dark orange in color and can easily be identified by its dark orange body and head, and the deep black mask around its eyes that extends down to its bill. Female and male birds share the same plumage, while the juvenile birds have a more olive green color on the tail and its back instead of black.
Female and males have black tail feathers and wings, with touches of orange and yellow. These birds can lay 3 pale blue eggs per clutch. They often build their nests in the crown of trees, very high up where are predators cannot reach. The nests are shaped like baskets and hang attached to limbs. These nests are made out of strings, grasses, bark from branches, and fiber from plants.
Commonly found in California and Northern Utah, this subspecies of oriole is non-migratory. Additionally, females and males mate for life. These birds prefer open woodlands and produce up to four white speckled eggs per year.
This beautiful forest dwelling large-billed bird shares many similarities with the rose-breasted grosbeak. Commonly found in Canada and the Western regions and West Central regions in America, this bird is a regular visitor to bird feeders and also loves fruit. While the male has predominantly black tail feathers, a black head, and wings, orange found around the flanks, breast, and neck, females have lighter brown plumage with an orange hue. Both males and females have white bars along the wings with accents of yellow. Females can lay up to four green eggs per clutch. Their nests are built in forests along the edges. Typically, they’ll have one brood per year.
This bird breed is typically found throughout North America, usually in the eastern parts, however, it has been found in the west as far as Alberta. It’s also one of the most widely sighted birds found north of most southern US states. It’s often confused with the bullocks oriole. The difference between the two is that the Baltimore oriole has less white feathering along the wings and has an all-black head. The female has an orange hue that’s very eye-catching especially in flight. These birds can lay up to 6 gray colored eggs. They will build their nests very high in the crown of trees. Their nests look just like woven hanging baskets and are made out of strings, bark from branches, and plant fibers that have been woven together.
This bird is often found in Central America in the northern states but it can also be found in Southwestern Canada. Like other species of orioles, the bullocks weaves its nests into the shape of a hanging basket. They are also very attracted to bird feeders, and can easily be enticed with fruit and nectar. The male has black tail feathers and black wings with a black crown. Orange is found throughout the body and back. Females feature a very light-colored orange body with white flakes and white wingtips.
The juveniles look more like the females but have brown accents on the wings. These birds can lay up to five white eggs per clutch. These birds can commonly be found in mature trees throughout wooded areas, and are usually located near water. They are often sighted in California, Southern British Columbia, and North Dakota, however, there have been reported sightings in Mexico and Texas.
Just like the Eastern species of Phoebe, the say’s is often found nesting around sheds and older homes or in any type of structure. These birds love to catch prey in the air and live off of a diet of insects. These birds are often found hovering over plants in order to pick insects from the leaves. It also enjoys living in arid and hot locations. Both the male and female appear very similar with gray backs and bodies and heads.
Burnt orange color is found on the rump and lower breast. The juveniles are very similar in appearance to the adults. These birds can lay around five white eggs and two clutches per year. Their nests are made out of mud, spider webs, weeds, and grass. Their nests are attached to structures and can also be found on bank ledges and on the sides of cliffs. These birds are known to prefer a much drier climate and don’t normally stick around water sources. They are often sighted throughout Western North America.
These birds can be found from the western side of the Rocky Mountains all the way up to Northern Alaska, but they are also commonly found in California. The bird’s vivid orange color can make them stand out at any backyard bird feeder. They can also often be found in the Eastern regions of North America during the winter.
The species is commonly found throughout the South. The orchard oriole prefers rural areas, and can also be found in parks and open Woods. These birds do not startle easily so birders can easily get up-close-and-personal without causing alarm. The males have a black tail, wings, back, and head. The scapulars and body are a burnt orange color. Juveniles and females have upper bodies that are greenish in color and accented with yellow.
The young males look like the females, however, they have a very dark bib located in the throat region. These birds tend to lay up to 6 light gray colored eggs per year. Their nests are made from strings, plant fibers, and grass and are attached to tree branches and will hang and move in the wind. They can be found in orchards, parks, and wooded areas. They have often been sighted in the northern United States and Southern Ontario.
These birds are often found in the crown of trees and prefer coniferous types of forests, roosting in Pine, Spruce, or hemlock trees. These birds are very hard to sight, so the birder will need to have some patience. The female and male are very similar in appearance. The male is orange, white, and black. Orange is found on the throat, face, and forehead, complete with a Black Crown. The female has a similar appearance, however, the males have brighter orange and yellow coloring.
The juveniles look very similar in appearance to the females. These birds can lay up to five white eggs per year. Their nest is typically built in trees on limbs located away from the trunk and they’re made out of lichen, strips of bark, and conifer needles. These birds are known to prefer old-growth forests where Spruce and Hemlocks are found. If you want to increase your chances of sighting one of these birds, I recommend using the Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars, a model that’s considered one of the best bird watching binoculars on the market.
While these are some of the most popular orange birds in Northern America, they’re not the only species you’ll find. Additionally, a bird that’s not usually orange can still have orange feathers which can be caused by a genetic mutation. While these color morphs are considered rare, they can occur in a variety of birds that have red feathers including the house finch and Scarlet tanager. Sighting orange birds is often a treat for most birders since their eye-catching coloration makes them fun to sight and watch as they hop from branch to branch or take flight.