5 Small Backyard Birds with Bright Orange Beak

The small birds in your backyard may not be all colorful, yet some will showcase an abundance of colors in their plumage but also the color of their beaks.

One group of small backyard birds that I want to discuss in this article are those with bright orange beaks.

In some cases, the orange beak just complements an already colorful plumage, while in other cases the plumage color fades in comparison to the rich orange color of the beak.

Female Cardinal

Although the male Northern Cardinal can just as easily be included in this list, the female of the species features a beak that’s more orange than red.

This orange beak of the female Cardinal wonderfully complements the olive green and red orange tones of the bird’s plumage.

In other respects, the female cardinal has all the same physical features as the male cardinal – the iconic crest on its head, the darker color on the face, and a noticeably long tail.

Unlike the female, the male Cardinal is red all over, except for the black face and a few darker tones over the wings and back.

Because these birds forage low to the ground in pairs, you’ll probably see females and males together, making it easier for you to spot the differences.

Cardinals are frequent visitors of bird feeders, where they’re known to enjoy sunflower seeds the most.

The female Northern Cardinal is special in that it’s one of the few female Northern American songbirds to sing. Usually, males are the ones erupting in song.

The female Northern Cardinal usually sings with a well-defined purpose – to let the male know when to bring food to the nest.

Black-breasted Thrush

With a bright orange beak, black head, black breast and rusty red underpants, this bird is a native of the region of northeastern India to northern Vietnam.

Like with most birds, there’s a difference in plumage color between the male and female – unlike the male, which is black above, gray on its back and rusty red below, the female is light brown with the same rusty underpants.

Another notable identifying feature is the yellow ring around the eyes. The bright orange beak has a slightly downward curve.

You can spot these birds in tropical and subtropical mountain forests with high humidity levels. They also live at high elevations, descending to lower elevations only in the winter.

As for their diet, they feed mostly on insects, mollusks, and berries. They can be observed foraging the ground, but sometimes they’ll seek out fruits on trees.

American Robin

Another orange-billed bird, the American Robin is the quintessential harbinger of spring, despite many American Robins spending all the winter in their breeding grounds.

The beak is not the only orange thing on this beloved bird – the breast and underpants are also orange.

Although it’s a ground forager that can be seen hunting for insects or tugging out earthworms from lawns, they build their nests in trees.

If you want breeding pairs in your backyard, you can put up a nest structure well before the breeding season in the hope that a pair may take up residence there.

These birds are quite easy to attract to bird feeders as well, where they’ll enjoy a variety of foods including mealworms, suet, peanuts, fruit, and hulled sunflower seeds.

Orange-billed Sparrow

The beak of this sparrow has such a bright orange color that it’s enough to distract from the interesting colors of the wings, which are a dark green with a bright yellow patch.

The head of the Orange-billed Sparrow is black with white streaks, while the throat features a thick horizontal white stripe followed by a black one on the chest. The rest of the body is dark gray.

Compared to the Common Sparrow, the Orange-billed Sparrow is chunkier with a larger, conical bill.

The bird is found in the tropical and subtropical lowland forests of Central America and northwestern South America.

It mostly forages on the ground or near the ground in shady understory or thicket. Its diet is not completely known, but what we do know is that it feeds on various insects, spiders, seeds, and low hanging fruit or berries.


About the size of a Northern Cardinal – with which it shares similarities such as the crest on the head and the long tail – the Pyrrhuloxia is slightly stockier and has a brighter and shorter orange bill than that of the Northern Cardinal.

Both the male and the female are gray, however, the male has more pronounced red highlights on its crest, face, belly and wings.

The female Pyrrhuloxia has red highlights only on its crest, tail and wings, and even those are much less pronounced.  Unlike the male, the female features a yellow bill.

As sedentary residents of desert regions of the American Southwest and northern Mexico, Pyrrhuloxia choose scrub, dry grasslands, mesquite forests and cacti garden as their breeding grounds.

The beak of this bird is similar to that of parrots, denoting that they’re predominantly seed-eaters. Insects are also consumed on occasion.

During the breeding season, they’re fiercely territorial. Once winter comes, they forget about their dispute and join forces by joining foraging flocks of as many as one thousand birds.

In winter, they’re a frequent visitor to feeders, where they enjoy sunflower seeds. They prefer ground feeders to any elevated feeder.

Besides seeds, they’ll also consume the fruit of native cacti and shrubs.


As you can see, there are some interesting small backyard birds, whose bills can tell a lot about their eating habits, for example.

You may have noticed that seed eating birds may have a stubbier beak, while those that hunt insects have a narrower beak.

In the case of the birds I covered in this article, the color of the beak usually stays the same, and does not change with the sex of the bird, unlike the plumage which is evidently more subdued in the case of female birds.

The bright orange beak can sometimes help in making it easier to spot these birds or tell the difference between birds that have similar plumage colors, but distinctly colored beaks.

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