Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will love seeing the beautiful birds in Texas. You can find everything from sea birds and waterfowl to songbirds and birds of prey while you are in The Lone Star State. Birdwatching is a seriously underrated activity that is one of the coolest things to do in Texas.
These common birds can be found in state parks, national parks, along the coast, in the plains, or in backyards. No matter what part of Texas you are in or that you plan to visit, you can find stunning birds to watch and photograph.
Let’s get started and learn about some of these incredible birds that you can see while in Texas!
25 Common Birds in Texas: Identification Guide
Northern Harrier birds in Texas can be found in many parts of the state. You can spot them in the Katy Prairie area, Anaahuac Refuge, Brazos Bend area, and in pastures, marshes, and fields along the roadside.
The adult males have broad wings that are quite long. They have a white rump patch as well as dark ends on the top of their wings. On the other hand, the females are pale below their wings with brown streaking. The females have also been known to fly with their wings held in a V shape.
Great Blue Heron
The Great Blue Heron is among the best birds in Texas. This stunning bird is the largest of the North American herons. It has long legs and a thick dagger-like beak that it uses to puncture its prey. There are a couple of birds that could be mistaken for the Great Blue Heron. Those are the Little Blue Heron and the Reddish Egret. However, these are both smaller and lack white on their head and yellow on their beaks.
Great Blue Herons stay primarily around water. They like marshes and wetlands as well as creeks and rivers. So, if you are wanting to see a Great Blue Heron while in Texas, you will want to head to the water. It’s more rare to see a Great Blue Heron nest, but your best bet would be in the trees and shrubs near the water.
Another one of the most common birds in Texas is the Green Heron. These creatures are widespread in Texas and they inhabit a range of wetlands. They particularly love the thick overgrown areas on the edges of a body of water. While Green Herons have been seen in western Texas, they are more highly spotted in central and eastern TX.
These herons are quite stocky in comparison to others. They have dagger-like bills, thick necks, a deep green color down their backs and crown, and they have striking yellow eyes. The juvenile Green Heron is more brown overall with pale stealing on their necks and spots on the wings.
Cattle Egrets are one of the birds found in Texas near the water. They are white all over with yellow bills and legs. When they have their breeding plumage, you will notice a yellowish-gold color on their heads, chest, and backs. The youth on the other hand have dark legs and bills.
While these birds do like marshes, they also like farms and the grassy areas along the highways in TX. Like other birds in Texas, the Cattle Egret stalks insects and other small animals on the ground and in grassy fields. Don’t confuse the Cattle Egret with the Great Egret. Great Egrets are much larger and their neck is considerably thinner and longer as well.
Here is where a birds of Texas identification comes in handy as the Double-Crested Cormorant can be mistaken for the Neotropic Cormorant and other birds. The Double-Crested Cormorant is a large water bird that has a long tail and neck. Breeding birds will have small tufts on the sides of their heads. You will also notice the orangey-yellow skin around their bills as well as their remarkable teal eyes.
The juvenile birds are gangly, have hooked bills, and are paler around the neck and breast. You can see these beautiful birds standing on rocks or logs near the water with their wings spread out wide to dry them after they have been swimming or looking for food. This is one of the most incredible birds in Texas!
Among the best things to do in Texas is spending time along the water. One of the coolest birds that live in Texas, the Long-Billed Curlew is one of the largest shorebirds that live in North America. This bird is arguably one of the easiest shore birds in Texas to identify.
They are known for their long legs and very long curved bill. Their bellies are a beautiful pale cinnamon color, similar to the color of dry sand. These birds use their long bills to probe into burrows and in between rocks to look for crabs, shrimp, and other small creatures to eat.
Loggerhead Shrikes are among the common Texas birds to watch for while you are in the Lone Star State. While they are common in some areas of Texas, they are uncommon in others, so you need to know where to look. They are found in nearly all of the state, but the central and southern portions of the Texas border with Mexico don’t see many Loggerhead Shrikes.
The adult Loggerhead Shrikes are chunky and have big heads. The tops of their heads are gray while the sides are black and the underneath is white. You will be able to see prominent white flashes on their wings when they are flying. These birds are generally quite aggressive to their own kind as well as other birds for most of the year.
Great Horned Owl
Texas bird identification for the Great Horned Owl is fairly simple as they have two prominent feathered tufts on the sides of their heads. They are a molted grayish-brown color with a reddish tone on their faces. They also have a small neat white patch on their throats.
The Great Horned Owl is one of the more aggressive and fearless birds in Texas. They fearlessly attack prey that is larger and heavier than they are including large dogs and even humans. They can be found from the southernmost parts of Texas to the northernmost parts.
Texas shorebirds are a lovely part of the ecosystem in the state. The Killdeer is a shorebird with long wings and tails. You can see a vivid white underbelly as well as a white and black band around the necks of the Killdeer.
The Killdeer pretend to have broken wings to distract predators away from their nests and young. They also have been known to habitually pause while walking before proceeding to bob their head up and down. These displays can also help you identify the Killdeer, one of the most stunning birds in Texas.
I love vibrantly colored birds and among the most vibrant native Texas birds is the Red-Headed Woodpecker. The birds in TX are identified by their bright red heads. They have white bellies and black backs. You can notice white tips on their black wings.
The Red-Headed Woodpecker is native to the central and eastern United States as well as Southern Canada. However, they are considered nomadic as their movements are influenced by the abundance of nuts and other food sources each year.
These Texas winter birds are beautiful birds that are exciting to spot. Like the other Texas songbirds, they are very small and have a staple song tune that they sing. You can identify these birds from the yellow on their head, face, rump, and chest. The males are brighter than the females as the females are dull and show more brown than their male counterparts.
In the winter, like many birds in Texas, the Yellow-Rumped Warbler can look a bit different. You can notice the birds appearing a paler brown during the winter months, they may also have some yellow on their sides. These birds are not always in Texas and they rarely breed here, so your best bet to see them is in the winter months.
Bewick’s Wren is one of the lovely native birds to Texas that is a beautiful medium brown wren. They have long tails that they usually hold up in the air. Their long bull is slightly curved and you can see a white eyebrow as well.
These birds in Texas are quite boisterous and very curious. While they are holding their tails up, they often move them back and forth as they stalk the tree branches and leaves for insects. The males and females build their nests together from grass, roots, and trees and put them on protected ledges or in holes in trees. They have to be careful though, as some snakes in Texas like to snack on small birds.
The Northern Mockingbird is the Texas state bird. It is a medium-sized songbird that has a long tail and is a bit more slender than a Thrush. Their wings are relatively short and broad, which makes the tail look extra long when flying.
While many birds in Texas can be found in certain regions of the state, the Northern Mockingbird can be found in nearly every region of the Lone Star State. They breed virtually everywhere in the state as well, everywhere except some far-western regions.
One of the stunning blackbirds in Texas that are pretty common is the Common Grackle. It is a migratory bird that is best spotted by its bronzy tinted feathers. While they are migratory, they can be found in most parts of Texas all year round.
Common Grackles are resourceful, great foragers, and are a huge threat to corn farmers in Texas. When you spot a Grackle, you may notice that it is hunched over the ground with its wings spread wide. It is doing this to let ants crawl on its body to help rid the bird of parasites.
Looking for some Texas hawks? One of the most impressive birds in Texas, The Red-Shouldered Hawk is a medium-sized hawk that has long wings with squarish tips to them. You will notice they have extensive reddish feathers on their underside.
The Red-Shouldered Hawk is a size somewhere between a crow and a goose. They have been known to soar over the top of wooded areas. You can also see them perched on telephone wires or tree branches. The Red-Shouldered Hawks found in the eastern United States tend to be either paler or browner in color while the ones out west have a more striking display of rust tones.
Carolina Wren is one of the smallest and most beautiful birds in TX. You can identify a Carolina Wren by its unpatterned reddish top feather and its lightly orange underside. These cute little birds have white eyebrow strips, throats, and chins.
Carolina Wrens can be found creeping around areas that are vegetated where they can scoot up and down trees in search of fruits and insects. This wren is similar to the Bewick’s Wren and the Marsh Wren but has rustier top feathers and a lightly colored underbelly as opposed to white.
The most known red birds in Texas, male Northern Cardinals are a vivid red all over with a reddish beak surrounded by black on half of the face. The females, on the other hand, are pale brown with just tinges of red on the wings, crest, and tail. The females have the same coloring on the beak and face as the male Northern Cardinals.
These beautiful birds breed in the majority of Texas landscapes. However, the far western parts of Texas see far less Northern Cardinal breeding activity. This small bird wight around 1.5 ounces and is between the size of a sparrow and a robin.
Texas hummingbirds are such a beautiful sight to see. The Black-Chinned Hummingbird has incredible metallic coloring that is amazing to see in person. The females and immature Black-Chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on their upper parts with white underneath.
The adult male Black-Chinned Hummingbird has a long black beak with a purple throat that can often look black, hence its name. They also have a small white spot behind their eyes that can be hard to see from far away. One of the most stunning birds in Texas, they have a TX breeding ground that excluded most of eastern Texas and a bit of northern Texas as well.
Red-Tailed Hawks are one of the most common Texas birds of prey. They can be identified by the rusty red color on their upper side. You may also see the adults with narrow bars on their red tails. The immature Red-Tailed Hawks can be seen with brown tails with darker horizontal bars.
The Red-Tailed Hawk is one of the birds in Texas that has breeding grounds all over The Lone Star State. They can be found from near sea level all the way to 5000 feet above sea level in varying habitats. However, there have been studies to suggest that they prefer wooded and shrubbed areas over dense forests and grasslands.
If you plan on taking some Texas day trips from one of the urban centers to the countryside, be on the lookout for a beautiful Red-Tailed Hawk as you drive around the state!
The Red-winged Blackbird is among the beautiful South Texas birds that you should keep your eye out for. As the name suggests, these black birds have red on their wings. They’re stocky birds with broad shoulders on a slender bill. The red part on the males is in the form of a shoulder patch with a small line of yellow next to it.
Like most birds in Texas, the females look quite a bit different from the males. The females, while still stocky and broad-shouldered, are not black. They have a brown appearance with streaks of white on their bodies and yellow under their beaks. The males can be seen on high perches spreading their wings while singing and calling out to females.
One of the smallest central Texas birds, the Orange-Crowned Warbler is sparrow-sized or smaller, weighing only around 0.3 ounces. These small songbirds have relatively small bills when compared to other warblers.
These amazing birds are generally a yellow-olive color overall with an orange section on top of their heads. The younger birds are grayer with a white undertail. These birds in Texas can be seen foraging on the ground for insects as they poke through leaf litter and probe bark for their next meal.
Eastern Bluebirds are among the vivi birds of north Texas. The male Eastern Bluebirds are shockingly blue and have a rusty brick color on their breast and sides. The level of blue that these birds display is dependent on sunlight. And it is often that the males will look a pale grayish brown color from far away.
The females are more gray on their top side and blue on their wings and tail. They also have a subdued orange color on their breast. Eastern Bluebirds breed mostly in eastern Texas but can be found in central and northern Texas as well. One of the most easily identified birds in Texas, the Eastern Bluebird is seen in Texas most frequently in the winter months.
Among the delightful Texas backyard birds is the iconic Blue Jay. The adults are blue on the top with white underneath. Their bold necklace bars on their tail and wings are all black. These birds in Texas are about the same size as a robin and both sexes are roughly the same size.
The Blue Jays’ breeding grounds skip most of the Texas border with Mexico but include almost every other part of the state with a large concentration in eastern Texas. While they are a constant TX resident, they do have favorite winter grounds within the state where there is an abundance of tree seeds available.
The House Finch is one of the lovely finches in Texas that you can see while you are birding. The main defining feature of the House Finch is the rosy red around the face and upper breast of the males. The females don’t have the same shocking red tone as the males.
The females are identified by their plain grayish-brown feathers that have blurry streaks. The House Finches in Texas love to hang around city parks, backyards, the edge of forested areas, and in urban areas. They are one of the birds in Texas that has a bit of variation as the males can sometimes be seen with yellow replacing the typical red.
Looking for some stunning white birds in Texas to photograph? The white feathers of the Great Egret make a beautiful contrast to the natural landscape around them. You can identify these birds by their yellowish-orange beaks and their black legs.
Don’t confuse the Great Egret with the Snowy Egret! The Snowy Egret has a black beak while the Great Egrets is yellow. The amazing Great Egrets like to wade in shallow salt and fresh water to hunt for food. They eat frogs, fish, and other small aquatic life. If you are planning to visit some of the best beaches in Texas, be on the lookout for the Great Egret in the surrounding marsh areas.
Now that you have learned about some of the most common birds in the lovely state of Texas, we hope you can get an idea of which birds you want to spot for yourself. And for those considering making a move to The Lone Star State, the birds in Texas provide excellent bird watching, so be sure to add that to your pros and cons to living in Texas list!
So, tell us, which of these birds will you be on the lookout for first?