Some of the birds that stand out the most are the birds with red bellies. These types of birds attract the attention of their species and humans.
A large percentage of birds with red bellies only show this color in males which may indicate it is an evolutionary trait for breeding success.
A lesser number of species also show red bellies both for males and females.
Some of the typical species with red plumage on the belly are native to North America.
Some of the most colorful birds with this color are also found in Central America either as permanent populations or as overwintering species.
From toucans to woodpeckers, there are different types of birds with red bellies.
They might only eat seeds or insects. Many have diverse diets which means they can be seen in vast habitats.
Some birds with red bellies, such as those in Hawaii, only live in remote specific habitats being a rare sight outside of their native range.
Woodlands and grasslands around the world are among the ideal habitats for birds with red bellies due to food abundance and natural shelter options.
Other species are even known to live in arid climates. This is the case of many Southern US birds with red bellies.
Here are some of the typical birds which have red bellies. They might have red bellies either in males or females or in both sexes as well as in juveniles.
Table of Contents
1. Painted Redstart
Common in Central America and Southern US states, The Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus) shows a contrasting appearance with a red belly and a black body.
Growing to a size of 4-6 inches, this is one of the larger passerine birds and a species that enter the US for breeding.
Painted Redstart is known to have similar red bellies and black bodies both in the case of males and females.
The similarities between males and females expand to their singing habits as well.
Painted Redstarts are part of a larger group of passerine birds that build nests on the ground, behind rocks, or logs.
Distribution – Central America, North America
2. Lewis’s Woodpecker
A red belly is specific to Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis). This species also has a red face and a black or black-green body.
Mostly found in Northwestern woodlands of North America, Lewis’s Woodpecker is a species that has atypical behavior among woodpeckers.
Growing to a size of 11 inches, this species has broader wings than other woodpeckers. It moves and even flies at a slower pace compared to other woodpeckers.
Lewiss’s Woodpecker is also a species that has a diverse diet that isn’t strictly tied to the insects it can find under tree bark.
This black and red woodpecker also eats other bugs and insects, many of them caught in flight.
The atypical behavior of these woodpeckers is also seen in their nest-building strategies. It’s the male Lewis’s Woodpecker that builds the nests.
Distribution – West and East of The Rocky Mountains
3. Pine Grosbeak
High color variation is specific between the sexes of The Pine Grosbeak birds (Pinicola enucleator). It’s the male that has a red belly, a red body, and a red head.
Females of the species are dominated by gray bellies and dark gray and white wings without any red sections.
This species lives in a widespread habitat around the world. Its subspecies are found in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Much of the lives of these woodpeckers are tied to woodlands, particularly to coniferous woodlands.
They can be found abundantly in Canada where they are active even in the winter.
Birds of this species show a particular interest in eating fruit in the winter.
Much of its North American range is marked by permanent populations but most of its US territories are areas where the Pine Grosbeak doesn’t breed.
Distribution – North America, Europe, Asia
4. Hepatic Tanager
Bright red bellies, bodies, and heads are specific to male Hepatic Tanagers (Piranga flava). These red birds have partially dark red wings, which are contrasted by black colors.
The Hepatic Tanager is among the species with the most vivid red coloring in males alone as females have a dark appearance.
Female Hepatic Tanagers have a yellow or mustard-yellow color both on the body and on the wings and lack any red patches as seen on males.
This species is found in different woodlands in Southern US. It lives in a habitat from California to Texas but its highest numbers are specific to Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Brazil.
Some Hepatic Tanager subspecies are partially migratory. However, these migratory species are mostly seen in Central America and not in North America.
Distribution – Southern US, Mexico, South America
5. White-winged Crossbill
A typical species in coniferous woodlands around the world, White-winged Crossbills (Loxia leucoptera) also have red bellies.
These types of birds are separated in color between the sexes.
Male White-winged Crossbills have a red belly and a red body. Contrasting black and white wings are seen on the males of the species.
Females are darker and lack red coloring. Yellow, white, and gray colors dominate the appearance of the female bird.
Only found at high elevations, these types of colorful birds eat conifer cones. They only eat conifer cones which means they are only found at high elevations.
Some of the most common places where this species can be seen in North America include Alaska and coniferous woodlands in Northern Canada.
Distribution – North America, Asia, Northern Europe
6. Elegant Trogon
A bright red belly is specific to the male Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans). This is a multicolored bird with a metallic green body and a green head.
Its belly is mostly red, with a separating white band between the chest and the neck.
Females of the species have a chestnut color with an orange beak and a black face mask.
Insects are preferred by this species which catches them when flying.
Elegant Trogons are also birds that eat fruit and may also frequently turn to specific foods in their coniferous woodlands such as pine cons.
The presence of this species in The United States is scarce. Most of its populations are found in New Mexico but they are diminishing even here.
Larger numbers of Elegant Trogons are seen in Mexico and along Central America compare to their populations in New Mexico and Texas.
Distribution – New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras
7. American Robin
A red-brown belly and chest are specific to The American Robin (Turdus migratorius). This is the North American counterpart of The European Robin and the most common type of ground bird with red bellies on the continent.
This type of bird lives around woodlands and in different other vegetated habitats where it finds invertebrates to feed on.
As a diurnal species, it can easily be spotted moving around for food during the day. American Robins flock together which means they are always more than a few birds in a given area.
This species is prevalent in North America and it is known to breed in the Northern parts of the continent.
Southern US parts as well as areas of Mexico are known overwintering grounds for The American Robin.
Distribution – US, Canada, Mexico
The male ʻApapane (Himatione sanguinea) is among the red birds with red bellies found in North America. This species is mostly found in Hawaiian tropical forests.
While it likes humid forests, this bird comes with a different appearance when it comes to male and female plumage.
Red bellies and bodies are mostly specific to males as females and juveniles have a chestnut-brown color.
At maturity, these birds may reach a maximum size of 5 inches.
Known for their long tongues, these Hawaiian birds eat insects and spiders. They are also among the common species to catch prey such as butterflies and moths in flight.
The species is also known to sing, especially in the case of males which use this trait as an advertisement towards females.
Distribution – Hawaii
A bright red color covering almost all of the body of ‘I’iwi (Drepanis coccinea) makes this bird easy to spot in its dense woodland habitats.
This species is only found in Hawaiian woodlands where it easily stands out due to its vivid coloring.
Its belly, body, and head are red while its wings have a dark blue color.
Birds of this species also have a long red curved beak which they use to efficiently drink plant nectar.
These types of birds are only found here in Hawaii but a diminishing habitat has an uncertain future for them. Almost all of the populations on the islands are now gone.
Distribution – Hawaii
10. Crimson-collared Grosbeak
A typical species with red bellies that strays into the US is the Crimson-collared Grosbeak (Rhodothraupis celaeno).
Males of this species have red bellies and dark heads and wings. Females have yellow bodies and yellow bellies, similar to juveniles of this species.
A type of bird that lives in moist woodlands, the Crimson-collared Grosbeak may be spotted in pairs or together with other species of birds.
It breeds both in Texas and Mexico. Females place their nests just above the ground, typically on vegetation.
While the birds aren’t seen in Texas every year, they are still present in high numbers around the East Mexico woodlands.
Distribution – Texas, Mexico
11. Flame-colored Tanager
A high presence in Central and South America is specific to The Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata). This species is also occasionally seen in The US, particularly around The Sonora Desert.
The bird is an active predator that eats spiders and insects, often stealing them from other birds or other species.
Male Flame-colored Tanagers have red bellies and red bodies. Females have a yellow-green color with dark green wings and they lack any red coloring.
The Flame-colored Tanager is further seen as one of the common singing birds of Mexico and Central America.
This species is expected to grow larger than other birds of its genus as it reaches a size of over 7 inches.
Distribution – The Americas
12. Eared Quetzal
A highly colorful appearance is specific to The Eared Quetzal (Euptilotis neoxenus). This bird species is found in Mexico and parts of Arizona and New Mexico.
Males of the species have red or red-orange bellies. The upper side of their chests and their bodies have a metallic green color.
The head of the male Eared Quetzal is mostly dark green.
Found in various oak and mixed oak woodlands, these birds eat seeds and fruit.
Females of the species may be seen making nests and laying eggs in the summer. They prefer oak and fir woodlands for building nests.
Various species of bugs, insects, and caterpillars are also eaten by these birds.
Distribution – Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico
13. Golden Pheasant
Male Golden Pheasants (Chrysolophus pictus) are among the larger types of birds with red bellies.
This species is native to Asia but it has been introduced and established in North America and Europe.
Some genetic variation exists between the continents but males have red bellies and tan or yellow necks, heads, and legs.
Female pheasants aren’t as colorful as they are mostly gray or appear in various shades of brown.
Growing to a size of over 40 inches, these birds are also known for their long tails and their capacity to eat a lot of grains during the day.
Unlike other pheasant species, male Golden Pheasants can also be differentiated by their distinct call which resembles metal clicking sounds.
Distribution – China, North America, United Kingdom
14. Slate-throated Redstart
Slate-throated Redstart birds (Myioborus miniatus) are either red-bellied or yellow-bellied.
This species inhabits regions of Central America and Northwestern regions of South America.
Its belly color is mostly influenced by its exact region within this range.
Slate-throated Redstart birds in the North of this distribution area have a red belly while those in the South have a yellow belly.
The body of the species is mostly black, as is its head, for the Slate-throated Redstart birds in the North. Those in the South may exhibit dark gray bodies and head plumage.
Slate-throated Redstarts have a high-pitched song and are known to eat insects.
Distribution – Central America, South America
15. Red Avadavat
A common bird with a red beak, The Read Avadavat (Amandava amandava) is also a species with a red belly.
Only the males of the species are known for their red coloring as they exhibit a red belly and a red body, alongside a red beak.
Females only have red beaks while the rest of their body is yellow. Chestnut or dark brown colors are specific to the wings of the female.
Unlike other birds with red bellies, male Red Avadavats also show white spots both on the belly and on the wings.
3 Red Avadavat subspecies are recorded. They are spread out around East and Southeast Asia.
Distribution – Pakistan, Myanmar, China
16. Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are commonly spotted in the Eastern US states as well as around Mexico.
This is a species with comprehensive red coloring in the case of males. Red bellies and red bodies are specific to this species, together with red beaks and black face masks.
Females have a gray-green color with only their beaks being red, as opposed to the more colorful males.
Most Northern Cardinals are known for eating seeds and fruit.
These birds grow to a size of up to 9 inches and are known to be adapted even in cooler climates.
Northern Cardinals may even use techniques such as shivering to stay warm in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Distribution – Eastern US, Mexico, Guatemala
17. Summer Tanager
A member of the Cardinal birds family, Summer Tanagers (Piranga rubra) are common species with red bellies.
Males are all-red, with red bellies, bodies, and heads. Their red color is bright, sometimes close to orange.
Females are yellow and olive with dark olive wings and olive bellies.
Summer Tanagers are arboreal, often not easily spotted as they live on the upper part of trees and shrubs.
This is where they catch various insects and escape predation.
Large numbers of Summer Tanagers in The US may migrate to Southern Mexico to overwinter.
Some of the most common areas of North America to spot these birds include Southern Texas and New Mexico where this species can even breed.
Distribution – Southern US, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru
18. Scarlet Tanager
North and Central American forests are the home of The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea).
Males of this species have red bellies and red bodies while females have a green or yellow-green color.
Males are contrasted by black sections across the body and the wings while females have dark olive or dark gray contrasting wings.
This species lives secretive lives on top of trees, away from humans and predators.
It may be spotted along woodland edges but the bird might fly away into woodlands whenever it spots the presence of patristic species.
Some of the typical Scarlet Tanager parasites include The Brown-headed Cowbird.
This parasitic species is known for attacking bird species and their nests, especially those in the shape of a cup.
Distribution – North America, Mexico
19. Vermilion Flycatcher
The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is a species adapted to arid and desert conditions in Southern parts of the US, Mexico, and countries in South America.
This is a species with a red belly only in the case of colorful males as females show a chestnut-gray color.
Vermilion Flycatchers are marked by the red and chestnut color combination as the wings of males are chestnut or gray.
This species is diurnal and easy to spot when looking for food in desert climates as it stands out due to its red color.
Birds of this species have complex breeding habits. For example, males try to lure in females by offering them various insects.
A common sight even outside arid terrains, particularly on grasslands, this is a type of bird that lives most of its life up on trees.
Distribution – North America, Mexico, South America
20. Australian King-Parrot
An Australian native, The Australian King-Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) is a large type of parrot found on the Eastern sides of the continent.
Both male and female parrots of the species have red bellies.
Males have a metallic green color and a purple body color backed by a red belly and a red head.
Females have dark green wings and a bright green head contrasted by a bright green upper chest and a red belly.
Juveniles of the species may resemble females more. They have a brighter green body and head but they still have a red-orange belly and a yellow-green upper chest.
Mostly feeding on seeds such as those of sunflowers, these parrots can live long lives in Australia.
They can survive up to a few decades with sufficient food in their native woodlands.
Distribution – Australia’s East Coast
21. Long-tailed Rosefinch
A recently-categorized independent species, The Long-tailed Rosefinch (Carpodacus sibiricus) has atypical contrasting coloring.
Its belly is red, pink, or salmon, while its body, wings, and head are mostly chestnut-gray.
The females of the species look exactly like males but lack the red belly coloring.
Long-tailed Rosefinch has widespread Asian distribution.
They inhabit woodlands from Siberia to Japan and further South to Kazakhstan but are absent from the Southern parts of the continent as their Southern limit is represented by China.
These birds grow to a size of 7-8 inches and are known to feed on different types of seeds.
They can be seen on bushes throughout the summer, particularly those around woodlands.
Distribution – Japan, Siberia, Mongolia, China, South Korea, North Korea
22. Crimson-backed Tanager
Crimson-backed Tanagers (Ramphocelus dimidiatus) mostly live in Northwestern South American woodlands.
Both males and females of the species exhibit red bellies. These are dark red bellies and are mostly backed by brown-red bodies.
Males of the species have a darker appearance.
They exhibit a dark red and black body and wings as well as a dark red head and a bright red belly.
Female Crimson-backed Tanagers are brighter. They show gray-to-brown wings and bodies and they also have similar head coloring, only exhibiting red plumage on the bellies.
Both male and female Crimson-backed Tanagers have short white beaks.
Females of the species are among the few birds known to lay blue eggs. They mostly deposit eggs in nests built in woodlands.
Distribution – Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador
23. Red-bellied Woodpecker
One of the most common woodpeckers with red bellies in North America is The Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus).
This is a species known for its mostly gray appearance with wings that show contrasting black and gray stripes.
The head of the species is both gray and red.
Both males and females have mostly gray bellies with only the lower bellies being red or orange.
Woodpeckers of this genus are a common sight around Eastern US woodlands, parks, and gardens.
They live in an extensive habitat but face multiple risks which lower their numbers such as deforestation.
Their reduced size also exposes them to different types of North American predators, mainly hawks.
A positive role in the ecosystem has been tied to the Red-bellied Woodpecker, much like with other types of woodpeckers.
While it also catches insects in flight, this type of woodpecker is among the few to clear out invaded ash trees of the green Emerald Ash Borer.
Distribution – Eastern United States
24. Painted Bunting
The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) gets its name from its multicolored body.
Birds of this species are seen in Southern and Southeastern US states but they fly over to Mexico to overwinter.
Once considered one of the highly-prized birds to raise in captivity, The Painted Bunting is no longer allowed in captivity.
Males of this species are multicolored. They exhibit red bellies, a blue head, and neck, and green and brown wings.
Females aren’t as colorful. They are mostly green and dark green.
Painted Bunting feeds on various seeds and grasses. It spends a considerable amount of its life on the ground.
As it has been raised in captivity, this species is well-studied. It can live to survive more than a decade.
Distribution – Southeastern US, Mexico
25. Orchard Oriole
Bright red-orange bellies are seen in male Orchard Orioles (Icterus spurius). The wings and the body of the male are dark blues.
Yellow-green coloring is specific to male Orchard Orioles, which lack the red belly colors.
This is one of the multiple types of red-belly birds seen in New York parks.
Orchard Orioles are found in Eastern and Southeastern US territories. They breed and live in North America and often migrate to Central America and Northern South America to overwinter.
The diet of these birds is complex and it comprises seeds, insects, and all types of ripe fruit they eat in the winter.
The species also has complex breeding habits. Females of the species often initiate breeding by bowing in front of males.
Distribution – Eastern US, Mexico, Colombia
26. Red-breasted Toucan
The Red-breasted Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus) is one of the most colorful birds with red bellies in South America.
A high presence in Southern and Eastern Brazil is noted for this species.
These toucans have red bellies. They also have red and yellow upper chests and black bodies and wings.
Known for their long beaks, these toucans live in existing cavities, mainly in trees. They might adjust these cavities by creating larger openings so they enter them easily.
Toucans of this genus eat seeds and often carry them to their nests.
A specific characteristic of Red-breasted Toucans includes both male and female provisioning to the young of the species.
Distribution – Brazil, Paraguay
27. Common Waxbill
Common Waxbills (Estrilda astrild) are small birds with red bellies native to many regions of Africa.
This species has a dull body and wings but there’s a small contrasting red patch on their bellies.
Found across most areas South of The Sahara Desert, this species is mostly present in areas with grasses such as Guinea grass.
This is the type of grass that comprises the bulk of their diet which only occasionally includes seeds and fruit.
Common Waxbill lives in open areas with Guinea grasses as they cannot survive deserts or even areas with dense tall vegetation.
Distribution – Guinea, Congo, Sierra Leone
28. Surucua Trogon
A red belly is specific to the male Surucua Trogon (Trogon surrucura). This species has a dark metallic blue body and a blue head.
Its wings have dark green and black coloring while its beak is gray.
A South American native, Surucua Trogon lives in various countries and especially in Brazil.
While it doesn’t migrate, the species may be less active in some periods of the year.
Surucua Trogon eats various types of insects and their larvae. It may also eat seeds that are high in protein.
Distribution – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
29. Blue-crowned Trogon
A red belly is specific to The Blue-crowned Trogon (Trogon curucui). This is a species that shows red bellies both in males and females.
However, there are other coloring differences between the sexes.
Male Blue-crowned Trogons have a dark blue head, gray to brown wings, and red bellies.
Females have brown heads and brown wings, only contrasted by red bellies.
A South American native, Blue-crowned Trogon is particularly fond of The Amazon River Basin.
Distribution – Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia
30. Black-tailed Trogon
Growing to a size of up to 12 inches, The Black-tailed Trogon (Trogon melanurus) also has red bellies.
Both males and females have red bellies but males can be distinguished by their dark blue or blue-gray heads.
This species is prevalent around The Panama Canal but it inhabits vast areas of South America in the Northern parts of the continent.
Black-tailed Trogons are known to have a diverse diet.
These birds feed both on seeds and on insects. On occasion, they can even eat small frogs or reptiles.
Most Black-tailed Trogon populations in South America don’t migrate. Bolivian subspecies have been shown to move from dry to wet woodlands with the seasons.
Distribution – Panama, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia