34 Black Birds With Red Heads

Black birds with red heads

Heads up, bird lovers! There are 34 black birds with red heads about to make their debut. These incredible species have been spotted in several locations across the planet, and it is not hard to see why they are so popular.

For one thing, they look like a cross between a superhero and an evil villain. The dark-colored body feathers give them the appearance of wearing a cape or cloak — and those bright red heads are just downright intimidating.

However, to really get to know these black birds with red heads, it is vital to take a closer look at each species individually. This article will walk you through some of the most notable members of this group, so read on!

34 Black Birds With Red Heads 

1. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal up close
Scientific Name:Cardinalis cardinalis
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:8.3–9.1 in (21–23 cm)
Weight:1.2–2.3 oz (33–65 g)
Wingspan:9.8–12.2 in (25–31 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 15 years

The Northern Cardinal, one of the many black birds with red heads, is probably the most beloved. In fact, it is the official bird of seven states: Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Generally, with their stunning plumage and beautiful calls, these songbirds have been attributed with various meanings over time. They’ve been said to represent love, loyalty, manifestation, and good luck.

However, beyond these common beliefs is a much more interesting story about these birds that few people know: The Northern Cardinal, especially males, gets the red pigmentation of their feathers from carotenoid-rich foods.

In short, before you worry that the Northern Cardinal you see is not as vibrant as it should be, remember that it may just not have eaten enough berries.

Male Northern Cardinals also sport a more striking red hue all the way to their crests compared to the more subdued brownish color of females.

One of the distinct personalities I noticed, specifically with male Northern Cardinals, is their high level of territoriality and aggression, especially during their mating season in spring.

In fact, while on my way to visit a friend in North Carolina and waiting for the stoplight to turn green at an intersection.

I noticed a bright red Northern Cardinal soaring through my side mirror and started attacking its own reflection. This is all part of their territorial tendencies.

2. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker perched on a tree stump
Scientific Name:Melanerpes formicivorus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:7.5–9.1 in (19–23 cm)
Weight:2.3–3.2 oz (65–90 g)
Wingspan:13.2–19.9 in (35–43 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 17 years

The Acorn Woodpecker is a medium-sized, red-headed black bird native to the United States. They are a member of the family Picidae and can be found in most woodland parts of the country.

However, what makes Acorn Woodpeckers so special, aside from the fact that they generally have clown-like appearances, is their distinctive social behaviors.

To be specific, it has been observed that these birds with a red head and a black body tend to live in large groups. They interact with each other in ways that are often seen as bizarre by humans, including the following:

  • Storing acorns in massive stockpiles, mostly on granary trees, fence posts, buildings, and automobile radiators
  • Mate-sharing
  • Infanticide
  • Cooperative social breeding

However, it is worth noting that they would not perform any of these if they did not have a good reason for executing them — namely, the need for survival.

Fun Fact: All these activities are done by Acorn Woodpeckers in just one day!

3. Black-bellied Seedcracker

Black bellied Seedcracker
Image credit: ebird.org / Pinterest
Scientific Name:Pyrenestes ostrinus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:Up to 5.9 in (15 cm)
Weight:Up to 1.1 oz (30 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Not available

The Black-bellied Seedcracker flaunts brightly-colored feathers, which are mainly a mix of black and red pigments. Aside from their appearance, these birds are also known for their excellent ability to adapt.

For instance, since Black-bellied Seedcrackers are endemic in Central Africa, they have developed a unique capability to thrive in tropical environments.

So whether it be swamps, lakes, or forests — these birds have been able to adapt their lifestyle accordingly. This has enabled them to survive in harsh domains for generations.

Interestingly, although most winged animals exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning there are clear physical distinctions between bird genders, the bill size of these black birds with a red head seems to be an exception.

For instance, the bills of male birds tend to be larger than those of females. However, in the case of the Black-bellied Seedcracker, this is not always true, as their beaks come in three sizes:

  • Mega-billed morphs
  • Large-billed morphs
  • Small-billed morphs

For this reason, one should examine other characteristics when identifying the sex of these birds.

4. Scarlet Myzomela

Scarlet Myzomela with flowers on the background
Image credit: hooptun / Instagram
Scientific Name:Myzomela sanguinolenta
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:3.5–4.3 in (9–11 cm)
Weight:0.28–0.3 oz (8–9 g)
Wingspan:Up to 7.1 in (18 cm)
Lifespan:Not available

Commonly known as the Scarlet Honeyeater, the Scarlet Myzomela is another black bird with red head that you should watch out for. If you see one, though, do not approach it; it is one of the feistiest birds in Australia.

However, their aggressive tendencies are typically directed at other flying creatures. This means it does not appreciate being housed with other species of birds and will attack them if given the opportunity.

As such, bird fanciers interested in keeping the Scarlet Myzomela should make sure they have a very large aviary for it to live in.

By doing so, these birds will be able to fly around and explore as much as they want without worrying about getting into any fights.

Exhibiting sexual dimorphism, expect the male version of these birds to have a brighter red color on their face, back, and breast. This identifies them even more as a type of red bird as well, just like Northern Cardinals.

5. Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture hanging on a log
Scientific Name:Cathartes aura
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:24.4–31.9 in (62–81 cm)
Weight:28.2–85 oz (800–2410 g)
Wingspan:63–72 in (160–183 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 30 years

Probably the largest among all the black birds with red heads on this list, the Turkey Vulture is one of the most recognizable species in the world. It is also very common to see these flocks of vultures across South America.

As scavengers by nature, Turkey Vultures are known to feed on carrion or decaying flesh, making them a crucial part of the ecosystem. Their diet mainly consists of dead animals and their droppings.

What’s more, these red-headed black birds often associate themselves with falcons and eagles as they hunt for food. They have excellent vision and can spot carcasses from a great distance away.

Having said that, keep in mind that their enormous size makes them vulnerable to predators, including other meat-eating birds, jaguars, and humans.

6. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker on a stump
Scientific Name:Hylatomus pileatus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:16–19 in (40.6–48.2 cm)
Weight:8.8–12.3 oz (250–350 g)
Wingspan:26–29.5 in (66–75 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 13 years

Crow-sized, striking, and unmistakable, the Pileated Woodpecker is a sight to behold. This bird is instantly recognizable for its plump black body, spiked red head, wide wingspan, and long tail.

In addition, Pileated Woodpeckers have a distinctive call that can be heard from quite a distance. The sound is loud, clear, and resonant, and it is often described as sounding like “wuk,” “peek,” and “cuk.”

However, unlike most other woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers do not live in flocks or colonies. Instead, they tend to be monogamous creatures that mate for life.

Additionally, it is worth noting that these birds are cavity-nesters. You will notice a pair of mating Pileated Woodpeckers building their nests together in dead trees near large bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers.

I always have an encounter with Pileated Woodpeckers whenever I visit my uncle’s house in the countryside.

I would always notice the irregular rhythm of these woodpeckers’ noisy pecking, which starts slow, then speeds off, then slows down again toward the end.

I researched this and found out that this unusual pecking specific to these breeds of woodpeckers is related to them defending their territories and attracting mates.

Fun Fact: The famous cartoon character “Woody Woodpecker” is modeled after the Pileated Woodpecker.

7. Crimson-headed Partridge

Crimson headed Partridge
Scientific Name:Haematortyx sanguiniceps
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:Up to 9.8 in (25 cm)
Weight:Up to 11.6 oz (330 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Not available

The Crimson-headed Partridge is a member of the pheasant, grouse, and turkey family. They are found in Southeast Asia, usually in grasslands or shrubby areas.

That said, nothing compares to the beauty of these birds’ plumage when seen in their natural habitat. They have bright red heads, necks, and chest feathers that contrast beautifully against their black body.

Moreover, Crimson-headed Partridges appear stocky with small domes. They look like they are wearing a red cap on their heads, or it could be mistaken for a bright red tomato.

As far as temperament goes, these birds are relatively calm and friendly toward people. They will usually let you get close enough to take some pictures before they fly away.

Even so, do take note that they can be aggressive and territorial when the breeding season approaches.

8. Red-headed Malimbe

Red headed Malimbe
Image credit: ebird.org / Pinterest
Scientific Name:Malimbus rubricollis
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:Up to 7.1 in (18 cm)
Weight:1.4–1.9 oz (40–55 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Not available

The Red-headed Malimbe is one bird with a red head and black body that you don’t want to miss. They are endemic to the woodlands of Africa and can be seen in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Congo, and Benin.

Basically, while many black birds with red heads already exist today, one fact remains: these birds are very rare. However, the good news is that they are not endangered yet; the IUCN has tagged them as “Least Concern.”

In their natural habitat, Red-headed Malimbes are not easily visible. After all, the forests of Africa can be dense and difficult to navigate. Thus, spotting one may require some patience and luck.

To add to that, Red-headed Malimbes will forage for food in mixed-species flocks. They also have no problems finding meals, as they are quite versatile in their diet: they eat fruits, seeds, nectars, insects, and small vertebrates.

9. Scarlet-banded Barbet

Scarlet banded Barbet
Image credit: gervanilikes / Pinterest
Scientific Name:Capito wallacei
Conservation Status:Vulnerable
Length:7.1–7.7 in (18–19.5 cm)
Weight:2.3–2.8 oz (65–78 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Not available

Coming up is the Scarlet-banded Barbet. These bird types have a bright red head and a body that is predominantly black. That being said, some yellows, whites, and grays can be seen on it, too.

However, beyond the colorful appearance of these species, there is a problem that needs to be addressed: they are dropping in numbers rapidly. As a matter of fact, they have been listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN due to habitat loss.

Thankfully, though, many conservation efforts are being made around the world to help save them and other endangered birds like them. Thus, if you are lucky enough to see one in nature, it is best to treat them with care.

Surprisingly, Scarlet-banded Barbets are known for their weird rattling calls as well. So, even though their songs are generally soft, they tend to make loud noises when they are excited or afraid.

10. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker looking for food
Scientific Name:Leuconotopicus villosus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:7.1–10.2 in (18–26 cm)
Weight:1.4–3.4 oz (40–95 g)
Wingspan:13–16.1 in (33–41 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 15 years old

Also a member of birds with black and white plumage, the Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized bird with a length of about 10 inches. A zebra-like pattern appears on their face and wings, along with a red spot atop their head.

However, you will notice that Hairy Woodpeckers, when compared to other birds mentioned on this list, aren’t displaying mostly black-pigmented body feathers. They are more on the whitish side instead.

Regardless of this difference in coloration, these birds are still categorized under the same group as most other black birds with red heads.

When it comes to habitat preferences, it is worth mentioning that Hairy Woodpeckers enjoy living in woodlots, suburbs, parks, and cemeteries. Still, mature groves seem to be their favorite places to live in.

11. Red-headed Woodpecker

Red headed Woodpecker perched on a thin trunk
Scientific Name:Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:8.3–8.8 in (21–25 cm)
Weight:2–3.2 oz (56–91 g)
Wingspan:13–14.6 in (33–37 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 12 years

While it may seem surprising that another woodpecker has made it onto this list, the Red-headed Woodpecker is well worth a mention. These birds are native to North America and prefer to reside in woodlands throughout their range.

Appearance-wise, a red head is the most obvious indicator that you are looking at Red-headed Woodpeckers. Meanwhile, the rest of their body is primarily white, accompanied by black patches on their wings and tail.

Further, these species have an average length of nine inches and weigh approximately three ounces.

Yet you should note that Red-headed Woodpeckers are sexually monomorphic, meaning, unlike other notable differences between male and female woodpeckers, the two genders of their kind look virtually identical.

12. Scarlet-horned Manakin

Scarlet horned Manakin
Image credit: Paulo Selke / Pinterest
Scientific Name:Ceratopipra cornuta
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:4.7–4.9 in (12–12.5 cm)
Weight:0.7–0.8 oz (19–23.5 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Up to 14 years

The Scarlet-horned Manakin is probably one of the most beautiful birds you will ever see. They look like they have been dipped in a tub of black and scarlet paints, with their bright red head and pitch-dark body plumage.

However, bear in mind that it is not uncommon to see a Scarlet-horned Manakin displaying olive-green feathers as well. These are expected in females, which are also slightly more diminutive than males.

On top of that, Scarlet-horned Manakins are generally found in the understory of tropical or subtropical forests. They live in groups of 5 to 10 birds and spend most of their time foraging for insects on the forest floor.

13. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Scarlet backed Flowerpecker
Scientific Name:Dicaeum cruentatum
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:3.1–3.5 in (8–9 cm)
Weight:0.2–0.3 oz (7–8 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Not available

The Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker is a small bird with a distinctive red marking that runs from its forehead to its tail. This is a unique feature of these species, and they are used to distinguish males from females.

In particular, though, the male Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers’ streak will appear reddish, whereas the females’ is duller. The same can be said for their overall plumage: the males are brighter in color than the females.

That said, if you have an eye for bird-keeping, it is not just their coloration that makes these birds stand out — it is also their song. These birds boast a metallic-sounding call.

However, remember that if you are interested in seeing Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers, you may have to travel to Asia.

That’s because these red-headed black birds are typically found in Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Bhutan, and Malaysia.

14. Scarlet-headed Blackbird

Scarlet headed Blackbird
Scientific Name:Amblyramphus holosericeus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:8.7–9.8 in (22–25 cm)
Weight:2.6–3 oz (75–86 g)
Wingspan:12–16 in (30.5–40.6 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 2.5 years

For bird lovers residing in southern parts of the United States, the Scarlet-headed Blackbird is a common sight. These birds can be found in wetlands, marshes, and open areas that are near water.

In addition to their bright red heads and black bodies that make them hard to ignore, Scarlet-headed Blackbirds also maintain orange-colored legs. It is as if they are wearing a pair of extremely flashy socks.

However, more than just their looks, these black birds with red heads are also known for their loud calls.

They can be heard chirping and singing throughout the day, especially during breeding season when trying to attract a mate. Some even say that their calls sound like “fee-ee-ee.”

15. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby throated Hummingbird
Scientific Name:Archilochus colubris
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:2.8–3.5 in (7–9 cm)
Weight:0.1–0.2 oz (2–6 g)
Wingspan:3.1–4.3 in (8–11 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 9 years

With half its head painted with a red hue, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird deserves a place on this list of black birds with red heads. They are also the only hummingbird type that can be seen flying in North America.

Yet apart from their unique appearance, they are also known for their ability to move their wings up to 50 times per second when hovering in front of flowers. This makes for speedy and efficient foraging.

If you are new to bird watching, you should know that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds tend to prefer solitude. In fact, they will only congregate when they are migrating or during mating seasons.

Under the right environment, these birds can reach a healthy lifespan of up to 9 years.

To get a better understanding of what makes Ruby-throated Hummingbirds truly special, watch the following clip:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Facts: they have FEET! | Animal Fact Files

16. Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak with wings tucked in
Scientific Name:Pinicola enucleator
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:9–10 in (22.9–25.4 cm)
Weight:1.8–2.8 oz (52–78 g)
Wingspan:12–13 in (30.5–33 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 9.5 years

As the largest member of the Fringillidae family, you can expect that Pine grosbeaks, besides their red head and black body, cannot be ignored. They reside in the boreal forests of Canada but also inhabit North America.

In most cases, Pine Grosbeaks will feed on seeds and buds of conifers such as pines, spruces, and birches. They will also enjoy eating insects like aphids, caterpillars, and other bugs that are found in trees.

Even so, it should be noted that fruits, including berries and crabapples, are also part of their diet when available during certain seasons. In short, they are vegetarians.

Given this fact alone, it is no wonder that these black birds with red on their head can survive in such harsh conditions; they aren’t that picky about what they eat.

17. Anna’s Hummingbird

Annas Hummingbird up close
Scientific Name:Calypte anna
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:3.5–4 in (9.1–10.2 cm)
Weight:0.1–0.2 oz (3–6 g)
Wingspan:4.5–4.8 in (11.4–12.2 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 8.5 years

As intriguing as the name Anna’s Hummingbird is, it is not nearly as fascinating as what this bird looks like.

With their long tail and beak, Anna’s Hummingbirds have an appearance that is both elegant and majestic.

To add to that, these Pacific coast-dwellers have a beautiful display of feathers that shimmer in different shades. From green and gray to black and pinkish-red, these birds are one of the most beautiful creatures in nature.

In contrast with such an exquisite appearance, though, remember that Anna’s Hummingbirds are hostile. They can be very territorial and will go after any intruder they come across.

Hence, if you spot one of these gorgeous birds in your yard or near your window, make sure to give them their space — you do not want to get attacked.

Fun Fact: Hummingbirds, like Anna’s Hummingbirds, are the only bird species that can hover in place, fly forward, backward, sideways, and even upside down!

18. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow bellied Sapsucker perched outdoors
Scientific Name:Sphyrapicus varius
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:7.1–8.7 in (18–22 cm)
Weight:1.5–1.9 oz (43–55 g)
Wingspan:13.4–15.7 in (34–40 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 7 years

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a bird that is often mistaken for the Hairy Woodpecker. However, unlike the Hairy Woodpecker, these similar-looking red-headed black birds are smaller, more lightweight, and have straighter bills.

Moreover, you will notice that the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers’ crest appears reddish, while the Hairy Woodpeckers’ crest seems more yellowish. Thus, it is easy to see why they get confused with their larger counterparts.

Still, it is worth noting that there is one thing that Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have that Hairy Woodpeckers do not: cat-like calls. So, even though both species are great drillers, their voices are quite different from one another.

19. Crimson-collared Tanager

Crimson collared Tanager
Scientific Name:Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:6.7–7.9 in (17–20 cm) 
Weight:1.2–1.7 oz (35–48 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Not available

If a villain-looking black bird with a red head is your thing, the Crimson-collared Tanager is your bird. These tropical beauties can only be found in Mexico, Central America, and the western parts of Panama.

With their prominent red eyes, crimson collar, and black-colored wings, face, and tail, these birds are one of the most striking members of their family and are highly admired for their appearance alone.

However, that’s not all they have to offer: they have some pretty notable abilities. For one, they can adapt quickly to new environments. They also don’t mind living in groups or having other species around.

Their nest is a cup-shaped structure made from materials like moss, small roots, and strips of big leaves, like banana or Heliconia. It’s usually set up halfway up a tree on forest edges.

20. Redhead Duck

Redhead in the water
Scientific Name:Aythya americana
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:16.5–21.3 in (42–54 cm)
Weight:22.2–52.9 oz (630–1500 g)
Wingspan:29.5–31.1 in (75–79 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

Undoubtedly, just by reading the Redhead Duck’s name, you can already tell why it is on this list — but if you need more proof, look no further than this bird’s brownish-red head and predominantly black body.

Still, apart from looks, Redhead Ducks are also known for their unusual habits. As diving ducks, they have been observed that they can spend most of their time underwater, which makes them very difficult birds to spot.

Having said that, these black birds with red heads often occur in large flocks, so if you manage to see one — chances are there will be many more around.

Generally, Redheads will live in freshwater lakes and ponds across the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States; however, some populations have been spotted in certain marshes in Canada.

21. Cassin’s Finch

Cassins Finch resting on a branch
Scientific Name:Haemorhous cassinii
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:5.7–6.3 in (14.5–16 cm)
Weight:0.8–1.2 oz (24–34 g)
Wingspan:9.8–10.6 in (25–27 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 7 years

Up next is another highly sexually dimorphic bird, the Cassin’s Finch. In males, you will see that the red head feathers are much brighter and more pronounced than in females, which can be a great way to tell them apart.

Besides that, you will see that their overall plumage is also different.

For instance, males have blackish-brown bodies with red highlights on their wings. Females, however, have bluish-gray bodies with brown wing feathers outlined with dull pink spots.

Cassin’s finches are usually found in mountainous coniferous forests. This means they prefer living in areas with dense tree cover where they can hide from predators or find food easily.

Fun Fact: Cassin’s Finches belong to the group of birds that lay blue eggs. Their eggs are greenish-blue in color, and there are usually 3 to 6 eggs in a clutch.

22. Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia up close
Scientific Name:Cardinalis sinuatus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:7–8.75 in (17.8–22.2 cm)
Weight:1.5–1.7 oz (42–48 g)
Wingspan:9.8–12.2 in (25–31 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 9 years

Cheerful, sturdy, and territorial, the Pyrrhuloxia is a favorite among bird watchers. With its spiky scarlet-colored crown, you can safely assume that it’s also one of the most recognizable species of red-headed songbirds.

Pyrrhuloxias and Northern Cardinals are somewhat similar in appearance. In fact, Pyrrhuloxias are sometimes even mistaken for the non-existent blue cardinal. Nonetheless, a few key differences can help you spot these two birds apart.

On the one hand, Pyrrhuloxias have a red-pigmented crest that does not extend down their nape, unlike Northern Cardinals, who have a full plumage of red feathers along their backsides.

Secondly, while Northern Cardinals have an orangey-red bill with some black markings around their nostrils, Pyrrhuloxias sport a completely yellow-pigmented one.

All in all, those who want to get a glimpse of Pyrrhuloxias should be on the lookout for these vibrant birds during springtime. This is when they tend to gather in large groups and sing their signature piercing song.

23. Western Tanager

Western Tanager perched outdoors
Scientific Name:Piranga ludoviciana
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:6.3–7.5 in (16–19 cm)
Weight:0.8–1.3 oz (24–36 g)
Wingspan:11–11.8 in (28–30 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 15 years

It is no surprise that Tanagers are among the most colorful birds on the planet; however, their Western Tanager variety, in particular, is absolutely one of the most striking among birds with black and yellow plumage.

These birds combine three colors: red, yellow, and black. They also exhibit a distinctive green-pigmented beak that adds to their allure.

That said, remember that physical appearance is not the only thing that makes Western Tanagers so unique. They are also quite clever and sociable, often living in medium to large flocks with other members of their species.

Furthermore, these winged creatures’ voices are rich and melodious, almost resembling soft rattling. In fact, some even say they sound like a giggling child.

24. Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow looking sideways
Scientific Name:Hirundo rustica
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:5.5–7 in (14–17.8 cm)
Weight:0.6–0.7 oz (17–20 g)
Wingspan:12.5–13.5 in (31.8–34.3 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 16 years

If you are looking for a muted version of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Barn Swallow should be on your list. These swallows are a common summer visitor to North America and have reddish-tawny head feathers.

Take note, though, that their wings and tail are bluish-black with a greenish sheen, whereas their underparts are whitish or buffy white with a brownish wash. In short, they present an overall pale appearance in comparison with other swallows.

Typically, Barn Swallows can be seen flying low over fields and meadows where they feed on insects. Known as one of the birds who build mud nests, they build these structures in tree cavities or old buildings, such as barns, and sometimes under bridges.

25. Little Vermilion Flycatcher

Little Vermilion Flycatcher perched on a plant
Scientific Name:Pyrocephalus nanus
Conservation Status:Vulnerable
Length:5.1–5.5 in (13–14 cm)
Weight:0.4–0.5 oz (11–14 g)
Wingspan:9.5–10 in (24.1–25.4 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 5 years

Also referred to as Darwin’s Flycatcher, the Little Vermilion Flycatcher is a small bird with a red head and black body that is endemic to Galapagos. These species are found in open woodland habitats and feed on flying bugs.

However, with them being tiny, almost reaching an average height of just five inches, they are a target for predators such as snakes, lizards, and larger birds. 

As such, it should come as no shock that they have been listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN.

It is worth noting, though, that the decline in Little Vermilion Flycatcher populations is not solely because of the above reason. Other factors include habitat loss due to human activity and climate change.

So, even though these birds might appear all red and adorable, they are currently nearing extinction. Therefore, if you see one of these little guys, admiring them from afar would be best.

26. Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill in the river bank
Scientific Name:Loxia curvirostra
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:5.5–7.5 in (14–19.1 cm)
Weight:0.8–1.6 oz (23.7–45.4 g)
Wingspan:10–12 in (25.4–30.5 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 10 years

You might be wondering why the Red Crossbill is mentioned in this list. After all, they don’t look like black birds at first glance.

However, if you closely examine the photo above, the black tint surrounding their wings and tail is visible. It also flaunts a red head, which makes it an ideal candidate for this list.

Red Crossbills fall under the category of small birds with long beaks. As their name suggests, the long tips of their upper and lower mandibles don’t meet but instead cross over each other.

Moreover, Red Crossbills are quite rare to find in nature. While they are common in some coniferous woodlands in North America, Europe, and Asia, they are usually found in small numbers throughout their range.

Fortunately, these red-headed finches are quite active during the summer months. Further, they have a habit of foraging for food in groups, which makes them easier to spot.

With that being said, it is worth noting that they may congregate with other species of finches; thus, make sure you’re looking at the right bird.

27. Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll looking backwards
Scientific Name:Acanthis flammea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:4.7–5.5 in (12–14 cm)
Weight:0.4–0.7 oz (11–20 g)
Wingspan:7.5–8.7 in (19–22 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 25 years

With its electric zapping calls and vibrant red head, the Common Redpoll is a bird that’s impossible to overlook. They are easy to identify by their bright red forehead, which contrasts with the rest of their brownish-black body.

On top of that, Common Redpolls are friendly birds that like to move in flocks and are often found on the ground eating seeds. They’re also known for their amazing ability to store food in their muscular gizzards for many days.

As if these weren’t enough, Common Redpolls are also in the same family as Cassin’s Finches, Red Crossbills, and Pine Grosbeaks — all of which have red-colored heads.

They are also one of the most common birds in Central America, so you can find them easily if you know where to look.

28. Crimson Sunbird

Crimson Sunbird
Scientific Name:Aethopyga siparaja
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:3.9–5.9 in (9.9–14.9 cm)
Weight:0.2–0.24 oz (4.5–6.8 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Up to 8 years

For anyone looking for a fluffy red-headed black bird, the Crimson Sunbird is the perfect fit. These birds have a squeaky, repetitive song that can be heard from a mile away, but they are hard to locate because they are so tiny.

Also, Crimson sunbirds typically rest high in trees and are rarely seen on the ground. With this, it is best to observe these birds in their natural habitat during the breeding season, which is March through April.

In addition, you can find them in Southeast Asia, though they live in parts of Africa and Australia as well. They are common throughout most of their range and are not considered threatened by the IUCN.

29. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red bellied Woodpecker looking upwards
Scientific Name:Melanerpes carolinus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:9–10.5 in (22.9–26.7 cm)
Weight:2–3.2 oz (56–91 g)
Wingspan:15–18.1 in (38–46 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 12 years

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is not just a common black bird with a red head; it is also classified as one of the birds with orange chests.

They are also the most adaptable woodpeckers in the United States. As a matter of fact, they can be found in almost every part of the country and range from Canada to Mexico.

In most instances, Red-bellied Woodpeckers will be cavity nesters, choosing dead or decaying trees for their nests. They primarily eat insects and berries during the summer months, switching to nuts during the winter months.

However, note that these birds are also well-known for their heightened fearlessness when it comes to defending themselves from predators. They won’t think twice about attacking an intruder if they feel threatened.

The same behavior applies when they’re protecting their young. Even though these birds only weigh about three ounces on average, they’re known for striking larger animals, such as opossums and raccoons.

30. Red-faced Warbler

Red faced Warbler perched on a branch
Scientific Name:Cardellina rubrifrons
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:Up to 5.5 in (14 cm)
Weight:0.3–0.4 oz (8–11 g)
Wingspan:Up to 8.3 in (21 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 12 years

The Red-faced Warbler is a black bird that will never lose its charm. Their glowing red head and dark-colored body are sure to catch your eye, and their sweet-sounding call is also captivating.

In general, Red-faced Warblers like to live in high-elevation coniferous forests with plenty of trees, shrubs, and bushes. In short, they prefer to nest in dense vegetation, making them harder to spot than other birds.

Moreover, these small flying creatures are regarded for their unique mating ritual. They don’t just breed with their own kind; they also choose mates from other species, resulting in hybrid offspring.

31. Wire-tailed Manakin

Wire tailed Manakin looking sideways
Scientific Name:Pipra filicauda
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:4.3–5.5 in (11–14 cm)
Weight:0.5–0.6 oz (14–17 g)
Wingspan:Not available
Lifespan:Up to 15 years

Coming up is another manakin exhibiting the red head and black body coloration: the Wire-tailed Manakin. These species can be found in the thickets and palm groves of the western Amazon basin and nearby areas.

That said, bear in mind that these birds’ beautiful plumage is only one of the many reasons it is so fascinating to look at. Not only do they have a scarlet head, but they also have an elongated tail that gives them an interesting shape.

To elaborate further, Wire-tailed Manakins aren’t just a combination of black and red, as they flaunt yellow bellies as well. Their predominantly white piercing eyes also make them stand out from the rest.

Yet, the most important thing to know about these birds is their strange courtship habits. While other birds engage in more conventional mating behavior, male Wire-tailed Manakins are more lek-breeders.

For those unfamiliar with the term lekking, it is a type of mating behavior in which males gather together in one place, display their bright plumage, sing, and dance — all in hopes of attracting mates.

32. Rosy Thrush-Tanager

Rosy Thrush Tanager on a tree branch
Scientific Name:Rhodinocichla rosea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:Up to 7.9 in (20 cm)
Weight:1.5–1.8 oz (43–52 g)
Wingspan:9.8–11.4 in (25–29 cm)
Lifespan:Not available

The Rosy Thrush-Tanager, also known as Rose-breasted Thrush-Tanager, is a species of bird that’s endemic to dense brushy woodlands in western Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Basically, they prefer habitats with plenty of thick vegetation and open spaces for foraging. They also like to stay near water sources, including rivers, sea coasts, and lakes.

Regarding appearance, Rosy Thrush-Tanagers will exhibit a black body with a pinkish-red tint from their head extending down to their breast. On the other hand, their beaks, legs, and feet are ivory-colored.

Since Rosy Thrush-Tanagers typically have a very large range, extinction is no danger for these birds at all. Still, habitat loss due to human development may pose a threat in some areas where logging occurs regularly.

33. Pale-billed Woodpecker

Pale billed Woodpecker
Scientific Name:Campephilus guatemalensis
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:13.8–15 in (35–38 cm)
Weight:7.1–9 oz (200–255 g)
Wingspan:Up to 27.6 in (70 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

If you have ever been in the woods and noticed a black bird with a uniquely-shaped red head, you may have seen a Pale-billed Woodpecker. They range from Panama to southern Mexico, foraging on bugs and seeds.

Pale-billed Woodpeckers have a striking appearance with their black feathers, white-striped backs, and bright ruby-colored crests. These birds’ bills are also distinctive — they are long and light in coloration.

With all these characteristics in mind, it is clear that these birds are not just any other type of woodpecker; they have an elegant appearance that is perfect for their habitat.

To be specific, their habitat is usually found in tropical rainforests, where they can locate plenty of food. This includes insects and plant matter found on the trunks of trees or on the ground.

Interestingly, Pale-billed Woodpeckers are also one of the longest-living birds in existence, with a maximum confirmed lifespan of 20 years.

34. Kalij Pheasant

Kalij Pheasant
Scientific Name:Lophura leucomelanos
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:19.7–31.5 in (50–80 cm)
Weight:17.6–40.6 oz (500–1150 g)
Wingspan:Up to 19.7 in (50 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 16 years

Native to Pakistan and Thailand, the Kalij Pheasant is a medium-sized bird sporting a blackish-blue body and a red head. They are commonly found in agricultural fields, munching corn, millet, rice, and wheat.

However, given that these foods aren’t easily accessible for birds like Kalij Pheasants, they will also eat insects — particularly worms — seeds, ripe fruits, common plants, and even small snakes.

In terms of behavior, these black birds with red heads are surprisingly intelligent. They also have a social system called cooperative breeding, meaning that they will assist each other in raising young ones.

Overall, Kalij Pheasants are a balance of physical beauty, intelligence, and adaptability. This gives them the capability to survive in harsh conditions.

Which bird with a red head and black body is your favorite? Drop your thoughts about the 34 black birds with red heads in the comments! Feel free to ask any questions you may have on any of these birds, as well.

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