Looking to identify birds in Florida? You have come to the right place! Florida has a variety of landscapes and ecosystems that our feathered friends love, and bird watching is one of the best things to do in Florida.
I love walking along the sandy beaches in Florida while a gentle sea breeze carrys the songs of different birds overhead. Or when I spot birds in Florida’s tropical forests. The entire state is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and we’re here to help you identify common, and rare birds that fly in the skies of Florida.
These cute and colorful birds will touch your heart with their songs and unique behaviors. So grab your bird binoculars, put on your cutest bird-watching hat, and let’s dive headfirst, like a bird, into the world of Florida birds.
Birds in Florida
First up on the Florida bird identification guide is the Sandhill Crane. This is a big bird found throughout Florida. They like to live in pastures, wide open spaces, and wetland areas. I grew up with these birds in my backyard, and used to feed them by hand! They stand tall at 4 feet with a wingspan of up to 80 inches.
These birds in Florida have gray feathers and are known for their healthy appetite and they eat almost everything. Including seeds, grain, berries, insects, worms, crayfish, and even small animals! Sandhill Cranes are non-migratory in Florida, (they live here year round) with a population of 4,000 to 5,000.
The Sandhill is one of my favorite birds in Florida, and they are very friendly!
The Brown Pelican is a funny but elegant bird to watch while you are relaxing on the beach. They are found along all the coastlines of Florida and are known for having a large dark brown body and stocky build. You can spot their long neck, and oversized peaks easily from the shores.
Brown Pelicans are spotted by their stretchy necks that they use to capture fish as they dive down fast from the air. These big birds in Florida gather in flocks throughout the year and fly low over the waves in a single file line. They begin breeding between three and five years of age and nest in large family colonies.
With their unmistakable appearance and coastal lifestyle, Brown Pelicans are remarkable, and one of the most popular Florida gulf coast birds in coastal waters along Florida beaches.
The Great Egret is one of the most beautiful, large birds in Florida. They are found in Florida’s wetlands along the coastal areas. On average they are the same size as a small child, growing to be 3 to 4 feet tall and have a wingspan of about 4 to 5 feet. The Great Egret birds have long necks and white feathers that make them stand out along the dark wetland. Great Egrets are also skilled hunters and eat fish and insects.
During the breeding season, males will grow special feathers on their backs called aigrettes. These feathers were once a popular fashion statement, but now there are conservation efforts to protect the birds and it is illegal to sell the feathers. Florida provides a safe habitat for Great Egrets in many protected areas.
The Roseate Spoonbill is unique and one of the few pink birds in Florida. They are always on the top of my list of favorite birds to see. With their pale pink feathers and flat spoon-shaped bill, it is also one of the easiest birds to spot on the Florida bird identification guide.
These birds grow to be 32 inches tall and have a wide wingspan of 50 inches. They like to feed on small fish, crustaceans, and insects using their special bills. Roseate Spoonbills love being social and are spotted in colorful groups out on the water. They can also adapt to new habitats and have moved to colder and unexpected locations like Wisconsin and Buffalo, NY.
The Anhinga, also known as the snakebird or water turkey, is one of the common Florida birds. Anhinga’s are spotted year-round and they like to live in wooded swamps, marshes, or ponds. These are such beautiful birds to see on the water.
They have slender bodies, distinctive turkey-like tails, a long neck, and a sharp pointed bill. One interesting fact about the Anhinga is its hunting technique. They swim underwater with their head and neck out, just like a snake. This is how they catch fish for lunch.
Anhinga has silver-white wings and a dark body. During breeding season the males grow black feathers with silvery-white streaks. The nesting season occurs from March to August when Anhingas build their nests in trees near water.
Florida Scrub Jay
The Florida Scrub Jay is an endangered bird that lives in Florida. You can find Scrub Jay birds in Central Florida, and even in southern areas. I like these birds a lot for their unique blue feathers.
This small bird grows to be 10 inches long has bright blue feathers, and is known for its social life. They always live in family groups and use special bird noises to communicate. Because of this, they are one of the best Florida songbirds to hear.
Unfortunately, it is sustainability is threatened because of their recent habitat loss. Conservation efforts are important to protect its habitat and help the population of scrub jays recover. To spot one of the most rare birds in Florida you will have to visit protected areas that focus on preserving scrub habitats.
American White Ibis
The American White Ibis is common and one of the most friendly birds in the Florida Keys. They are a very popular wading bird and like to live in large groups . The ibis has a white body, pinkish legs, and a long, orange-curved bill. I love the color contrast the white and orange create, I could stare at these brids all day long.
They are protected by U.S. laws and is considered an important bird in Florida. American White Ibises often gather in big flocks, roosting, playing, and eating together. They use their long bills to hunt for insects and small creatures in Florida’s different water areas.
Up next is the Northern Cardinal. These are native Florida birds, and the males are known for their beautiful bright red feathers. The females on the other hand are a muted light brown tone and have greenish feathers.
They are tiny and only grow to 9 inches. You can spot them in common places like parks, backyards, forests, and swamps. They have short but very thick bills that help them crack open seeds and fruits.
One interesting fact about Cardinal birds that live in Florida is that they fiercely defend their homes. They are known to attack their own reflections in clean windows, trust me I’ve seen it. These iconic red birds in Florida bring joy with their enchanting songs and it can be heard throughout all of Florida.
The Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are native birds to Florida and one of my favorite to see. They are medium-sized birds commonly found in forest areas. Despite its name, its red belly is hard to spot on the woodpecker.
Other than the red bellies the woodpeckers also have a shiny red head, and their black-and-white stripes and wings create a zebra-like appearance. Males have bright red foreheads and necks, while females have lighter colors.
You can hear the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers in Florida songs in swamps and wooded areas that are near rivers. However, these birds are very adaptable and can be found in other habitats as well. They use their strong beaks to peck on trees and search for insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They are one of the prettiest birds to spot out in the wild.
The Tri-colored Heron is one of the best birds in Florida and they are very graceful. They are most commonly found along the coastlines of Florida. They have slim bodies with blue-gray, purple, and white feathers, hence the name, tri-color. Their necks are long and have a solid white stripe down the center.
These herons prefer living in shallow waters. And during the bird breeding season, theses herons have buffy plumes, which is just a fancy way of saying thick, fluffy feathers. The tri-colored Heron grows to be 22 inches long with a large wingspan of 3 feet. They are incredible to see in the wild, I always take at least 10 photos!
Boat Tailed Grackle
The Boat-Tailed Grackle is a large black bird with a long tail. In fact, these long tails make up most of the Grackle’s body. They live along the waterline and these grackles are commonly seen living near neighborhoods. The males are bigger and have dark eyes and the females are always smaller.
In the photo below you can see that they also have feathers that are tinted with blues and purples which making them stand out among the other black birds in Florida. You can see these birds living in your own backyard! They are friendly birds, and love when people have bird feeders out in their yards.
The Phoebe is one of the small birds in south Florida small bird that migrates here in the winter. It has dark grayish-brown feathers on its back and a lighter-colored belly. You can easily recognize them by the white ring around their eyes.
Eastern Phoebes can be found in different places. Most commonly in forests, parks, and even suburban areas throughout South Florida. They have a special trait of sitting on branches (or phone wires) and are known for moving their tails up and down. They do this to speak with each other and catch insects in the air.
These Phoebe birds are very important to the ecosystem of Florida because they feed on insects, which helps control the overall population. When you see an Eastern Phoebe in Florida, you will also hear their pretty calls and can watch them catch insects with their fast bird moves.
The Limpkin is one of the special birds found in Florida in the wetland. They always have big bodies, very long necks, and skinny legs. Its yellow bill is long and has slight a curve in it. Their feathers are dark brown with white dots on their head and necks. They look like crane birds, but Limpkins have more flare.
Limpkins have a special diet. They only eat a specific snail known as the apple snail. They will hunt for these snails both during the day and at night. Limpkins are the only type of bird in their family, which makes them unique.
The Carolina Chickadee has to be the most fun name to say on the Birds of Florida identification guide. These chickadees are small bird species and are year-round Florida residents. They are spotted in both woodlands and in the swampy parts of Florida. But, the Carolina Chickadees are also very adaptable and are seen flying in the ‘burbs.
They have a black cap, and black chest, with gray wings and backs. Their chubby cheeks are white, and they have short necks and large heads giving them a distinctive playful look. Carolina Chickadees eat insects during the summer and then switch over to seeds and berries during the winter.
Red Shoulders Hawk
The Red-shouldered Hawk is one of the beautiful Florida hawks. They are medium-sized hawks found with a reddish-peach-ish belly with a yellow and black peak. The hawks also have dark feathers with a long tail, long skinny legs, amazing eyesight, and a large wingspan.
These hawks are seen in forests, and you can always hear distinctive whistles tone calls before you see them. Red-shouldered Hawks are very important predators in the Florida ecosystem. They are known for hunting a variety of prey. Including small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and even other species of Florida birds!
The Snowy Egret is one of the most beautiful white birds in Florida. These birds have snowy white feathers, long legs, and bright yellow feet. They are very graceful birds and live in marshes, wetlands, and coastal Florida areas. You will see them walking slowly in shallow water, searching for the next fish or frog to dine on.
The Snowy Egrets walk slowly in the water and use their yellow feet to mix up the water and sand, making it easier to catch prey. This method of hunting is called “foot paddling.”
During mating season the male Snowy Egrets will perform special dances to attract snowy egret females. The males also grow long and delicate feathers down their backs which make them even more attractive to the girls. They are one of the many native Florida birds and the prettiest.
The Palm Warbler is one of the small brown birds found in Florida. They have brownish-green feathers with hints of brown and yellow down their backs. Their heads are reddish-brown with a yellow eyebrow stripe and also have a yellow patch under their tail.
You would think they live in palm trees, but they prefer open areas and like to be low to the ground. These small birds are known for their unique behavior. They of walk on the ground while wagging their tails up and down, like a dog. Trust me it is a funny sight to see. They only migrate to Florida in the winter and go on their way to northern states in the summer.
The Ruby-Throated is the most common humming birds in Florida. They are small a bird found in Florida and known for their vibrant colors and impressive flight capabilities. The males have a bright red throats while the females sport gray-white underparts. I love seeing them hover in front of flowers, using their long, slender beaks to sip up the fresh nectar.
These tiny birds, weighing 0.11 ounces, measure 3 inches in length with a wingspan of approximately 4 inches. The Ruby-throated hummingbirds live in open woodlands and gardens during the summer seasons. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird brings a burst of color and beauty to the Florida landscape.
The Black Noddy is a medium-sized seabird with black feathers and a white head. This tern species has a square tail that is small and dark and is one of the diving birds in Florida.
Black Noddies are opportunistic feeders, primarily consuming baby goatfish, lizardfish, herring, flyingfish, and gobies. They nest in large, dense colonies and are always in tropical regions. I have seen many of these birds in the Florida keys!
The Barn Owl is a fascinating night bird known for its ghostly appearance and silent nature. Which I love! They have a lanky body, white face, chest, and belly. These Owls are a true master hunters of the night. They are medium-sized owls and have long wings with short tails.
Barn Owls have a pale color with a mix of gray on the head, back, and wings. These birds of prey primarily hunt and catch small mammals. In folklore, the Barn Owls in Florida have attracted many superstitions. These Folklores are due to its loud calls and its preference for living in places like church attics. Who doesn’t love a good folklore about creepy birds?
The Brown-headed Nuthatch is one of the small birds in North Florida. They are known for their round appearance with short tails, legs, and necks. It also has a long bill with blue-gray feathers. This tiny songbird is a skilled climber and loves to live in old pine tree trunks. These are also known for their distinct bird call that is heard from afar.
If you want to spot this particular bird in your backyard they are attracted to pine nest boxes with a 1″ hole! I have one in my back yard in Florida, that brings these beautiful birds year round.
The Peregrine Falcon is a large falcon known for its impressive speed and hunting techniques. It has a blue-grey back, a white underbelly, and a black head. The Peregrine Falcons have strong, sharp yellow talons that help them capture other birds while still in flight. They are one of the Florida birds of prey and are famous for their ability to reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour!
Peregrine Falcons are powerful and prey on other medium-sized birds. They are also known for their dramatic dives from great heights to strike their prey. If you spot one of these hawks in Florida, be sure to keep hold of your small dogs or cats, as I have heard that they pick them up and fly away with them.
The Black-crowned Night Heron is a small heron with a stocky build, thick neck, large flat head, and heavy pointed bill. These herons are famous for their feeding habits. They love to snack on small fish, crustaceans, and even insects.
They are only active during the night, and they like to hunch down motionless, waiting in trees along the water. Where they wait there and silently stalk their prey in shallow water before plunging down. Adult Black-crowned Night-Herons have a pale grayish color with a black head and back and scary red eyes. Baby black heron birds in Florida have a different appearance, with a brown and streaky look.
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow is one of the small rare birds in Florida. They are known for their unique habitat life and unfortunately, their endangered bird status. These sparrows build their nests on the ground underneath the beautiful palmetto plants. They have round heads, short tails, and a white stripe on top of the head.
Its back is tan with mottled patterns and its belly is white with light streaks. Sadly, this sparrow subspecies is critically endangered, making it a very rare bird in Florida. It can only be found in central and southern Florida. Conservation efforts are underway to protect its habitat and increase its population.