25 Fascinating Birds in Nebraska

Nebraska is home to many species of birds that fascinate locals and bird enthusiasts worldwide. Nebraska’s unique ecosystems are home to various avian life, from shorebirds and waterfowl to songbirds and raptors. This article will overview some of the most interesting birds in Nebraska and their habitats, behaviors, and conservation efforts.

Red Birds in Nebraska

Nebraska is home to various bird species, but the red bird stands out for its vibrant color. The state has three types of red birds: the Northern Cardinal, the Red-headed Woodpecker, and the Vermilion Flycatcher. These beautiful birds play an important role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

Summer Tanager:

Summer Tanager Birds in Nebraska

The Summer Tanager, a vibrant red bird, is a rare sight in Nebraska. The Tanager’s breeding range typically lies south of the state, but occasionally they make their way northward. This sighting has excited bird enthusiasts and conservationists alike.

The male Summer Tanager is unmistakable with its bright red plumage that stands out against the green foliage of trees. The female is less striking, with yellow-green feathers on the back and head and olive-yellow on the underside. Both sexes have thick, conical bills perfect for feeding on fruits and insects.

Summer Tanagers migrate long distances from their wintering grounds in Central America to breed in North America. They prefer wooded areas near water sources such as rivers or streams, making sightings in Nebraska along these waterways a possibility.


Scientific NamePirangaRubra
Length6.7 in
Weight1.1 oz
Wingspan11-12 in

Northern Cardinal:

Birds in Nebraska

The Northern Cardinal is one of North America’s most commonly recognized birds. With its vibrant red plumage and distinctive crest, it’s difficult to miss this feathered friend. Despite being a common sight in many parts of the country, seeing a Northern Cardinal in Nebraska can be a special treat for birdwatchers.

Nebraska’s location in central North America means that it’s outside the typical range of the Northern Cardinal, which is found primarily in the eastern and southern parts of the United States. So, there have been sightings of these birds throughout Nebraska, particularly during migration seasons. The best time to spot them is winter, when they may seek food sources like backyard feeders.

If you’re hoping to glimpse a Northern Cardinal in Nebraska, watch for wooded areas near streams or rivers where they tend to make their homes.


Scientific NameCardinalisCardinalis
Length8.3-9.1 in
Weight1.5-1.7 oz
Wingspan9.8-12.2 in

Red-Headed Woodpecker:

Birds in Nebraska

The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a stunning bird species in various parts of North America, including Nebraska. These birds are easily identifiable due to their vibrant red head and neck, contrasting with the black and white feathers on the rest of their body. They are medium-sized woodpeckers whose diet primarily consists of insects, berries, nuts, and seeds.

In Nebraska, Red-Headed Woodpeckers can be spotted throughout the state’s deciduous forests, agricultural lands, parks, and golf courses. These birds’ distinctive appearance and behaviour make them easy to spot while they forage through trees or fly from one perch to another.

Despite being present in good numbers within the state’s boundaries, it is important to note that their population has decreased over the years due to habitat loss and fragmentation.


Scientific NameMelanerpesErythrocephalus
Length7.5-9.1 in
Weight2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan16.5 in

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak:

Birds in Nebraska

The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak is a stunning bird species that can be found in Nebraska. These birds are known for their vibrant colors, with males sporting bright red breasts and black and white feathers, while females have brownish-grey feathers with streaks of yellow.

During the spring migration season, from late April to early June, these birds make their way through Nebraska as they travel from Central America to their breeding grounds in Canada. During this time, birdwatchers can glimpse them in the state’s woodlands, where they prefer to nest and feed on seeds, berries, and insects.

Despite being relatively common in some areas of North America, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak has declined due to habitat loss.


Scientific NamePheucticusLudovicianus
Length7.1-8.3 in
Weight1.4-1.7 oz
Wingspan11.4-13.0 in

Scarlet Tanager:

Birds in Nebraska

The Scarlet Tanager is a stunning bird that lives mainly in the eastern part of North America, but it is rare to see one in Nebraska. The male is an easily recognizable bird with bright red plumage and black wings, while the female has a duller olive-yellow color with dark wings. These birds are generally seen during their breeding season from May through August.

Recently, however, there have been reports of Scarlet Tanagers being spotted in various parts of Nebraska. The sightings have caused excitement among birdwatchers and researchers alike since these birds are not usually found outside their natural range. It is still being determined why these birds have migrated so far westward, but some believe it could be due to climate change or habitat destruction on their usual routes.


Scientific NamePirangaOlivacea
Length6.3-6.7 in
Weight0.8-1.3 oz.
Wingspan9.8-11.4 in

Blue Birds in Nebraska:

The bluebird is an iconic bird species that can be found in Nebraska. Bluebirds are known for their stunning blue plumage and cheerful singing. They symbolize hope, joy, and optimism, and many people consider them one of the most beautiful birds in North America.


Birds in Nebraska

The Steller’sJay, a striking blue and black bird with a distinctive crest on its head, has recently been spotted in Nebraska. This is an unusual sighting as Jay is typically found in western North America. Bird enthusiasts and researchers alike are excited about this discovery as it provides new insight into the migration patterns of these birds.

According to local bird watchers, sightings of the Jay have increased over the past few years. Some speculate that changes in climate patterns may be causing these birds to venture further east than usual. Others believe they may have been introduced to the area through human intervention or accidental transport. Regardless of how they arrived here, their presence adds diversity and excitement to Nebraska’s already vibrant birding community.

Keep your eyes peeled to see these beautiful birds while exploring wooded areas throughout Nebraska.


Scientific NameCyanocittaStelleri
Length11.8-13.4 in
Weight3.5-4.9 oz
Wingspan17.3 in

Cerulean Warbler:

Birds in Nebraska

The Cerulean Warbler is a small songbird breed in the eastern United States and winters in South America. It is known for its bright blue colouration and distinctive song, which makes it a favourite among birdwatchers. This species has declined rapidly in recent years due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

In Nebraska, the Cerulean Warbler is considered a rare migrant that passes through during spring and fall migration. While they do not breed here, they can be seen in forested areas along the Platte River Valley and other riparian corridors. Bird enthusiasts are encouraged to visit these areas during peak migration to see this stunning species.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Cerulean Warbler’s breeding habitat in the eastern US, but more needs to be done to ensure their survival.


Scientific NameSetophagaCerulea
Length4.3 in
Weight0.3-0.3 oz
Wingspan7.9 in

Tricolored Heron:

Tricolored Heron-Birds in Nebraska

The Tricolored Heron is a stunning bird in Nebraska and a favorite among bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. These herons are known for their striking appearance, with blue-gray feathers on their back and wings, white feathers on their underbelly, and a distinctive stripe of rust-colored feathers that run down their necks. They are also known for their unique hunting behavior, standing motionless in shallow water before suddenly striking at prey with lightning-fast reflexes.

One of the best places to spot Tricolored Herons in Nebraska is the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center. This beautiful nature reserve has several wetlands where these herons can often wander through the water, looking for food. The center offers guided tours for visitors who want to learn more about these amazing birds and other wildlife in Nebraska’s wetlands.


Scientific NameEgretta Tricolor
Length23.6-27.6 in
Weight14.6 oz
Wingspan37.4 in

Mountain Bluebird:

Mountain Bluebird

The Mountain Bluebird is a stunning bird that has captured the hearts of many bird enthusiasts. These birds are often found in the Western United States but have been known to appear in other regions. One such region is Nebraska, where these birds can be seen during migration.

The Mountain Bluebird is easily recognizable by its vibrant blue plumage and white underbelly. This bird prefers open grasslands and meadows as habitats, making Nebraska’s prairies a perfect destination for them during their travels. Their diet consists mainly of insects and other small creatures found in these areas.

These birds are also commonly seen in New Mexico.

In recent years, there has been an increase in sightings of the Mountain Bluebird in Nebraska, bringing joy to many birdwatchers who were previously unable to see this beautiful creature up close.


Scientific NameSialiaCurrucoides
Length6.3-7.9 in
Weight1.1 oz.
Wingspan11.0-14.2 in

Barn Swallow:

Birds in Nebraska

Barn Swallows are one of the most widespread birds in the world, and they can be found in every continent except Antarctica. They are known for their distinct blue-black backs and rusty, reddish throats, which make them easy to spot. These charming birds are known for their acrobatic flight patterns, as they swoop and dive through the air with incredible speed and agility.

In Nebraska, Barn Swallows can be seen during the summer months. They typically arrive in April or May and leave by late August or early September. During this time, they build nests out of mud pellets under eaves, porches, bridges, or any other structure that offers a suitable place to raise their young. The nests provide shelter for eggs that hatch into tiny chicks that will grow rapidly under the care of both parents.


Scientific NameHirundoRustica
Length5.9-7.5 in
Weight0.6-0.7 oz
Wingspan11.4-12.6 in

Green Birds in Nebraska:

Nebraska is known for its sprawling prairies, crystal-clear skies, and diverse wildlife. Among the many species that call this state their home are green birds. With their vibrant emerald plumage, these feathered creatures are a sight to behold and have captured the hearts of birdwatchers across the country.


Birds in Nebraska

Mallards are one of the most iconic ducks in North America. These beautiful waterfowl species have been known to migrate through Nebraska during their annual journeys. Many birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts consider Nebraska an ideal spot for observing mallards.

During the fall season, mallards can be seen flying southwards from their breeding grounds in Canada towards warmer regions. They are known to stop over in many wetlands across the state, making it possible for birdwatchers and nature lovers to observe them in their natural habitats. The Platte River Valley is a trendy location where these ducks can be seen gathering en masse every year.

Mallards are not just fascinating creatures but also play an important ecological role by contributing to dispersing seeds and nutrients throughout wetland ecosystems. Mallard ducks are common in Pennsylvania, also.


Scientific NameAnasPlatyrhynchos
Length19.7-25.6 in
Weight35.3-45.9 oz.
Wingspan32.3-37.4 in

Violet-Green Swallow:

Birds in Nebraska

The Violet-Green Swallow is a small, sleek bird with iridescent green upper parts and violet-blue underparts. This beautiful swallow is a common sight in Nebraska during the summer months when it migrates from its wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. It is eagerly awaited by bird watchers who flock to Nebraska’s many parks, forests, and wetlands to glimpse this stunning creature.

While the Violet-Green Swallow can be found throughout most of the western United States during the breeding season, it prefers open woodlands and forest edges near water sources such as lakes, ponds, or streams. In Nebraska, this species can often be seen flitting about near waterways or over meadows where they feed on insects such as mosquitoes and flies. The birds are also known for their acrobatic aerial maneuvers, which make them captivating to watch.


Scientific NameTachycinetaThalassina
Length4.7 in
Weight0.5 oz
Wingspan10.6 in

Northern Shoveler:

Birds in Nebraska

The Northern Shoveler is a unique and fascinating bird species that can be found in Nebraska. These ducks are particularly known for their distinctive, spoon-shaped bills to filter food from the water. They prefer shallow wetland habitats with plenty of vegetation, which makes them especially common in the Platte River Valley.

These birds are part of the dabbling duck family, meaning that they feed on aquatic plants and animals by tipping forward into the water while keeping their feet on the surface. These ducks have a mottled brown body with white underparts and striking green-blue feathers on their wings. During the breeding season, males develop a bold green head with a white crescent behind the eye.


Scientific NameSpatula clypeata
Length17.3-20.1 in
Weight14.1-28.9 oz
Wingspan27.2-33.1 in

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird:

Birds in Nebraska

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a small, colorful bird found in Nebraska during summer. This tiny bird is known for its ability to hover in mid-air and flap its wings at an incredible rate of up to 80 times per second. With its iridescent green feathers and distinctive tail feathers that make a buzzing sound, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a sight to behold.

During migration season, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird travels from southern Mexico to as far north as Alaska. In Nebraska, these birds can be seen in mountainous and forested regions where they feed on nectar from flowers like columbine and penstemon. It’s not uncommon for these birds to visit backyard feeders filled with sugar water or other sweet liquids.


Scientific NameSelasphorusPlatycercus
Length3.1-3.5 in
Weight0.1-0.2 oz
Wingspan5.25 inches

Orange Birds in Nebraska:

Orange birds in Nebraska are a rare sight. However, these beautiful creatures can be spotted in some state regions. The orange-colored feathers on their bodies make them stand out among other birds.

Western Tanager:

Birds in Nebraska

The Western Tanager is a brightly colored bird native to the western parts of North America. These birds are known for their striking red and yellow colors, making them a favorite among bird watchers. Although rare, Western Tanager sightings have been reported in Nebraska during the breeding season, allowing bird enthusiasts to glimpse this beautiful species.

The Western Tanager is best identified by its bright red head with a golden-yellow nape and black wings with white bars. Its body feathers are olive-green, while its beak and legs are grayish-black. These striking features make spotting the Western Tanager against any background easy. During the summer breeding season, these birds can nest in coniferous forests throughout the western United States and Canada.


Scientific NamePirangaLudoviciana
Length6.3-7.5 in
Weight0.8-1.3 oz
Wingspan11.5 in

Baltimore Oriole:

The Baltimore Oriole is a bird species typically found in the eastern half of North America. However, every spring and summer, these beautiful birds make their way westward to Nebraska, where they can be seen perching on trees and feeding insects. The bright orange plumage of the male makes it one of the easiest birds to spot in Nebraska.

Despite being migratory, Baltimore Orioles are known for returning to the same nesting site year after year. They usually build their nests on branches near the tops of trees or shrubs, making them easy to observe from a distance. These birds are also known for their unique calls, which consist of short whistles and trills that can be heard from quite a distance away.

One reason Baltimore Orioles are drawn to Nebraska is its abundance of fruit-bearing plants such as mulberries and raspberries.


Scientific NameIcterus Galbula
Length6.7-7.5 in
Weight1.1-1.4 oz
Wingspan9.1-11.8 in

Bullock’s Oriole:

Birds in Nebraska

The Bullock’s Oriole is a brightly colored bird native to western North America. Typically found in desert habitats, this species has been known to venture eastward during the breeding season. In recent years, sightings of the Bullock have become more common in Nebraska, much to the delight of birdwatchers and conservationists.

One possible reason for this trend is climate change. As temperatures warm throughout the country, some species expand their ranges into new areas. Another factor may be changed in landscape management practices, such as planting more trees and shrubs that provide suitable habitats for nesting birds like the Bullock’s oriole. Whatever the cause, these sightings are exciting news for both seasoned birders and amateur enthusiasts alike.


Scientific NameIcterus Bullocky
Length6.7-7.5 in
Weight1.0-1.5 oz
Wingspan12.2 in

Yellow Birds in Nebraska:

Nebraska is home to a diverse range of bird species, and one of the most striking among them is the Yellowbird. These birds have bright yellow plumage that stands out from a considerable distance. They are found throughout the state, including in urban and rural regions.

Yellow-Headed Blackbird:

Birds in Nebraska

The Yellow-Headed Blackbird is a stunning bird species in the Great Plains of North America, including Nebraska. Their striking yellow head and chestnut-colored wings make it easy to identify them. The males are particularly striking with their bold black feathers contrasting with the bright yellow plumage on their heads.

During the breeding season, male Yellow-Headed Blackbirds gather in marshes and wetlands across Nebraska to attract mates through vocalization and dramatic flight displays. Females are attracted to males showing off their bright yellow heads, so they often puff up their chests and fan out their wings to impress potential mates.

Yellow-Headed Blackbirds play an essential role in maintaining the ecological balance of wetland ecosystems. They feed on insects that thrive in these areas, helping control populations of pests while providing food for predators such as hawks and eagles.


Scientific NameXanthocephalusXanthocephalus
Length8.3-10.2 in
Weight1.6-3.5 oz
Wingspan16.5-17.3 in

Western Meadowlark:

Birds in Nebraska

The Western Meadowlark is an iconic bird species found in the Great Plains region of North America. This bird is known for its distinctive melodic song and bright yellow breast. The Western Meadowlark is common in Nebraska – it can be spotted in fields, grasslands, and even along roadsides.

One of the unique aspects of Western Meadowlark’s behavior is its singing. The male birds sing to attract mates and defend their territory. Their songs are complex and can be heard from long distances away. Nebraska chose the Western Meadowlark as its state bird because of its beautiful song.

Despite their abundance in Nebraska, populations of Western Meadowlarks have been declining across North America due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this beloved species by preserving grassland habitats where they live and breed.


Scientific NameSturnellaNeglecta
Length6.3-10.2 in
Weight3.1-4.1 oz
Wingspan16.1 in

Scott’s Oriole:

Birds in Nebraska

Scott’s Oriole is a stunningly beautiful bird that has been sighted in Nebraska. The Scott’s Oriole is known for its bright yellow body and black wings, which make it easy to spot in the wild. This species of Oriole is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico, making it a rare sighting in Nebraska.

The Scott’s Oriole prefers to live in desert habitats with plenty of cacti and other thorny vegetation. They also feed on insects, fruit, nectar, and sap from trees. While they are not typically found in Nebraska, sightings have become more common over the past few years due to shifting migration patterns caused by climate change.

Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts flock to Nebraska yearly, hoping to glimpse this elusive bird.


Scientific NameIcterus Parisorum
Length9.1 in
Weight1.1-1.4 oz
Wingspan12.6 in

American Goldfinch:

Birds in Nebraska

The American Goldfinch is one of the most recognizable birds in North America, and it’s a common sight in Nebraska. These small, brightly colored birds are known for their vibrant yellow feathers and black wings with white markings. They’re also famous for their cheerful song, which can be heard throughout the state during summer.

In Nebraska, American Goldfinches are found in various habitats, including gardens, fields, and woodlands. They prefer areas with plenty of tall grasses and wildflowers where they can find seeds to eat. During the breeding season, male goldfinches put on an impressive display to attract mates – they sing from high perches while flapping their wings and puffing out their chests.

Despite being a common sight in Nebraska, American Goldfinches face several threats due to habitat loss and pesticide use.


Scientific NameSpinusTristis
Length4.3-5.1 in
Weight0.4-0.7 oz
Wingspan7.5-8.7 in

Other Birds in Nebraska:


Birds in Nebraska

Phainopepla, a striking bird species known for its black plumage and bright red eyes, has appeared unusual in Nebraska. This unique bird is typically found in the southwestern United States and Mexico, making this sighting rare in the Great Plains region. Birdwatchers across the state are excited about the opportunity to glimpse this elusive species.

Their visit to Nebraska is thought to be related to climate change and changing migration patterns. As temperatures continue to rise, many species are expanding their ranges or shifting their migratory patterns. For example, some birds that once overwintered exclusively in Mexico are now being spotted as far north as Canada. The appearance of these birds in Nebraska may indicate these larger ecological shifts.


Scientific NamePhainopeplaNitens
Length7.1-8.3 in
Weight0.6-1.0 oz
Wingspan10.6-11.4 in

European Starling:

Birds in Nebraska

The European Starling, a bird species introduced to the United States in 1890, has found a home in Nebraska. These birds were brought from Europe to Central Park in New York City as part of an effort to introduce all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays into the country.They quickly spread throughout the country and have become one of North America’s most common bird species.

European Starlings in Nebraska are known for their distinctive black plumage, iridescent green and purple feathers, and impressive singing ability. They can be seen throughout the state during nesting and winter when they form large flocks. While some people appreciate their beauty and song, others see them as pests due to their tendency to damage crops or compete with native bird species for resources.


Scientific NameSturnus Vulgaris
Length7.9-9.1 in
Weight2.1-3.4 oz
Wingspan12.2-15.8 in

Inca Dove:

Birds in Nebraska

The Inca Dove is a small, slender bird commonly found in the southwestern United States and throughout Central America. So, what many people need to learn is that these birds are also known to visit Nebraska during their annual migration. These beautiful birds can be seen in various parts of the state, particularly during the spring and summer months when they are most active.

One of the reasons why Inca Doves are so interesting to observe is their unique appearance. Their delicate brown feathers and distinctive black facial markings stand out against the greenery of Nebraska’s countryside. These birds have a distinct cooing call that can be heard from far away – making them easy to spot even if you don’t see them immediately.

For bird enthusiasts or nature lovers visiting Nebraska, keeping an eye out for Inca Doves may offer a fun new challenge while exploring this beautiful state.


Scientific NameColumbina Inca
Length7.1-9.1 in
Weight1.1-2.0 oz
Wingspan12-13 in

Sabine’s Gull:

Birds in Nebraska

Sabine’s Gull is a beautiful and rare bird species that can be spotted in Nebraska during the fall migration period. This stunning bird is identifiable by its striking appearance: its black hood and collar contrasting against pure white plumage and delicate wings. It is only seen sporadically throughout Nebraska, making it an exciting sighting for birdwatchers.

They breed in North America, Asia, and Europe’s Arctic regions and migrate southward to winter at sea. During this journey, it may make brief stops along inland lakes or reservoirs where food is abundant. These stops often provide opportunities for keen birdwatchers to spot these elusive birds in Nebraska.

Birding enthusiasts can increase their chances of spotting Sabine’s gull by visiting specific locations during peak migratory periods.


Scientific NameXemaSabini
Length13.4 in
Weight5.5-7.5 oz
Wingspan32-36 in

Final Thoughts about Nebraska Birds:

Nebraska is home to a variety of fascinating birds. These birds are special to watch and appreciate, from the majestic Sand Hill Crane to the quirky American Avocet. Protecting their habitats is important so they can thrive in this state. If you’re interested in birding, Nebraska has something for everyone.