Birds are astonishing creatures that come in a massive array of colors, such as yellow, red, purple, and green. Not only are the colors diverse, but they have various shades, glosses, or iridescence.
The colors seen on birds are there to serve many purposes. One of the main functions of the coloration is camouflage, which helps them stay out of view of predators. The colors are also used during courtship displays and as a distraction when a predator is too close to their nest.
A small selection of colorful birds have orange chests, and they are a significant feature in the natural world. The orange chest of a bird can be used as an excellent identification feature since it narrows down the possibilities of potential species.
Therefore, knowing which species have orange chests will help you identify the next orange-chested bird you see.
Around the world, there is a large range of birds with orange chests, but this article will focus on the 19 types of birds with orange chests you can see regularly in North America. Keep reading to see which species they are!
1. Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
The Eastern Bluebird is a blue bird with a bright orange chest. Along with the orange chest, the males of this small thrush-type bird have vivid blue upperparts, an orange throat, orange flanks, and a white belly. The females look dull with brownish-grey upper parts, orange chests and sides, white bellies, and some blue on the wings and tail.
You’ll most likely see this bird in open fields with scattered trees, agricultural lands, yards, parks, pastures, and open woodlands.
These bluebirds feed mainly on insects throughout the year. They supplement their insect diet with fruit during winter.
Eastern Bluebirds are mostly resident within their range in the eastern United States and Mexico, but birds that breed in the northeast of their distribution migrate south for winter.
2. Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)
The common bluebird of the west – the male Western Bluebird has a prominent dark blue head, wings, and lower back. The chest, flanks, and upper back are dark orange, while the belly is grey. Females are primarily grey with a dark head, blue on the wings and tail, and orange chests.
They live in open woodlands and fields with scattered trees. You’ll often see them perched on fence posts and wires, from where they catch insects.
They mainly feed on insects during summer. They gather in communal flocks in winter to feed on seeds and fruit.
Their range extends from Mexico across the western United States and southwestern Canada. Some individuals remain in their territories throughout the year, while others are migratory. Migratory individuals move further south or to lower altitudes from mountainous areas for winter.
3. Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
The male Black-headed Grosbeak has a thick, pale bicolored beak that stands out against the black head, rusty-orange body, black wings, and white wing patches. Females are paler with a strong supercilium, brown upper parts, an orange wash over the chest and flanks, and streaking.
They occur in woodlands, montane forests, yards, orchards, and desert thickets next to streams.
Regarding food, their large beaks indicate they eat many seeds, as well as snails, spiders, and insects. In winter, they also feed on fruit. You can attract them to your yard using sunflower seed feeders.
They are generally migratory, but some are resident in Mexico. They breed across most of the western United States and move into Mexico for winter.
4. Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Cooper’s Hawk is one of the few raptors with an orange chest. They are medium-sized hawks with blue-grey upperparts, a black crown, pale cheeks, and orange chests with faint barring that blends into the whitish belly. They have sharp beaks and deep red eyes.
They inhabit forests, woodlands, and suburban environments such as parks and yards.
Their main prey items are birds which they usually hunt by chasing them down. If you’ve seen a hawk sitting near your feeder, waiting for an easy meal, it could be one of these. They also eat small mammals and bats.
They are resident throughout most of the United States, but those that breed in the far north of their range, which enters southern Canada, migrate south for winter, as far as southern Mexico and Honduras.
5. Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
The Sharp-shinned Hawk is the smallest hawk in North America and is sometimes described as a smaller version of Cooper’s Hawk as they look very similar. Apart from the size, Sharp-shinned Hawks have a smaller head, no crown, a straight ending to the tail, and smaller feet.
Sharp-shinned Hawks have grey upperparts, orange chests with fine barring, and white bellies. Sexes look alike.
They occur throughout North America, Central America, and parts of South America. In terms of migration, individuals that breed in Canada and the northern United States are migratory and move further south into the rest of the United States or Central America for winter.
Those in South America, most of Central America, and the northeastern and northwestern United States remain all year round.
They breed in forests but can also be seen along forest edges.
Their main prey items are birds that they catch in flight. You may see these hawks ambushing smaller birds at your feeder. They also eat small mammals and insects occasionally.
6. Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
Allen’s Hummingbird is a tiny hummingbird with a big personality. Males have primarily orange bodies, except for the green back, reddish iridescent throat patch, and whitish belly. Females have orange sides, green uppersides, and some orange on the throat.
There are many similarities between Allen’s Hummingbird and the Rufous Hummingbird, especially in females. They can be separated by looking at the tail feathers, which are thin on Allen’s Hummingbirds.
They breed in coastal chaparral and scrubland in California and southern Oregon.
This hummingbird is primarily migratory, moving from its wintering grounds in Mexico to California and Oregon, but some birds are resident in southern California.
Like other hummingbirds, they get their sugar fix from nectar and protein from small insects and spiders.
7. Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
The Rufous Hummingbird male has almost completely orange plumage, with a white and orange chest and some green on the back. The iridescent throat feathers are orange but change color from yellow to red depending on the angle of the light.
Females are dull and have green upperparts, with rufous on the sides and on the tail. Some orange feathers are also present on the throat.
They breed in the northwestern United States, western Canada, and Alaska. Their breeding grounds are further north than any other hummingbird species. At the end of the breeding season, they migrate to Mexico, where they spend the winter. They undertake one of the most incredible migrations, going in a circular loop via the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountains.
They live in shrublands, open areas, parks, yards, and occasionally in woodlands and meadows. In terms of food, their diet is made up of insects, spiders, and nectar.
They love hummingbird feeders and can be incredibly aggressive around them.
8. Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
The Red Knot is a plump shorebird with short legs. In non-breeding plumage, they look rather bland with grey upper parts and pale whitish underparts.
However, they transform into beautiful plumage for the breeding season when they sport lovely orange underparts, silvery wings, and well-patterned upperparts composed of gold, black and rufous.
This migratory shorebird breeds on the tundra of the Arctic Circle. They migrate incredibly long distances south for winter, where they can be found on coastlines almost worldwide, from Australia to South Africa to southern South America.
They inhabit mudflats, beaches, salt marshes, and mangrove swamps and are often seen in flocks.
They feed on mussels, clams, cockles, and other invertebrates mostly. Marine organisms like shrimp, eggs, amphipods, and worms are also fed upon.
9. Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a delightful little bird that moves around with a lot of energy. They have a distinctive head pattern with black and white stripes, complementing the blue-grey upperparts, orangish chest, and belly. Males and females look similar, but the females are duller.
They’re found throughout most of the United States and Canada, especially in the western and northeastern United States and Canada, where they generally remain throughout the year. However, they sometimes move south in fall and winter.
If you see a bird walking upside down on tree trunks and branches, you’re probably looking at a nuthatch.
They live in coniferous and deciduous forests, moving in mixed flocks with other types of birds like kinglets, chickadees, and woodpeckers. They can also be seen in orchards, parks, scrublands, and plantations when they move further south for winter.
Their main prey items are insects, but they also eat seeds, peanuts, and suet at feeders.
10. Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)
The Altamira Oriole has a tiny range in the United States, limited to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. It is mainly distributed in Mexico and Central America.
Both sexes look splendid with orange-yellow underparts, rumps, and heads, along with black face masks, throats, and backs. Their white wing bars and orange shoulder patches add more contrast to their plumage.
Their diet is composed of nectar, fruits, and insects.
They are residents of riparian woodlands, thorn forests, orchards, parks, yards, and well-wooded urban areas. They will attend your feeder if you place fruit out.
11. Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)
The Baltimore Oriole is a surefire sign that spring is in the air if you live in the eastern United States and central-southern Canada. These gorgeous birds arrive from their wintering grounds in Central and South America for the summer to breed.
The males are beautiful with bright flaming orange underparts and rump, black heads and upperparts, and white wing bars. Females have greyish upper parts, yellow heads, orange chests, and white wing bars. They also usually have black blotches on their heads.
If you’re looking for Baltimore Orioles, they can be found along riverbanks, forest edges, open woodlands, and orchards. They are also found in urban environments like yards and parks.
They feed on many organisms, such as insects, snails, spiders, and fruit. They are attracted to feeders containing orange slices and jelly.
12. Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)
Bullock’s Oriole is the most common oriole in the western United States. This migratory species winters in Central America and breeds in the western United States.
Like other orioles, the males are beautiful, with a yellow belly that blends into an orange chest and face. They have a black throat, a black eyeline, and a black crown. Their upper parts are also black, and large white patches are on the wings.
Females are duller, with an orange-yellow head, chest, and tail, a whitish-grey belly, a grey back, and dark wings with white wing bars.
They live in parks, yards, riparian and open woodlands.
They frequently visit feeders, as they’re attracted to fruit and nectar. They also eat insects.
13. Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus)
The Hooded Oriole is a bright orange oriole with a black face mask and throat. The back and wings are black with white wing bars, the underside is yellow, and the rump, neck, and crown are orange.
The intensity of their coloring ranges from bright orange in the east to more subtle yellow in the west. Females are primarily yellow with greyish upper parts.
They live in open woodlands, scrublands, parks, and yards in the southwestern United States, where they breed, and in Mexico, where they winter. Some birds remain in the southern United States throughout the year.
You can attract them to your yard by placing feeders containing fruit and nectar. They love palm trees for nesting. They feed on insects, spiders, fruit, and nectar.
You’ll probably hear Hooded Orioles more than you see them, as they remain hidden and can be challenging to see, even with their bright colors.
14. Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)
The Orchard Oriole is a small oriole species with pretty plumage. Males have chestnut-red undersides, black heads, and black uppersides with white on the wings. Females are pale greenish-yellow with some orange on their chests and white wing bars on the dark wings.
Orchard Orioles migrate to the eastern and central United States for the summer when they breed. They spend the winter months in Mexico and Central America.
You’ll typically find these orioles inhabiting open woodlands, but they also occur in shrublands, river bank environments, agricultural lands, orchards, parks, and yards.
Their diet consists mainly of insects, spiders, nectar, and fruit. Due to their enjoyment of fruit and nectar, you can attract them to your yard by placing feeders with nectar or orange slices.
15. American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)
The American Redstart is a small migratory warbler that breeds in the eastern and northern United States and Canada. Their wintering range includes Central America and northern South America. They can be seen in many states during migration.
Male American Redstarts are extremely noticeable, with their mostly glossy black plumage broken by the white belly, orange shoulder patches, flanks, wing bars, and tail. Females have grey heads and backs, darker wings and tails, whitish underparts, and yellow patches on the sides, wing bars, and tail.
You’ll notice this species quickly, owing to their wing-flicking and tail-fanning behaviors while they forage for insects and fruit.
They inhabit deciduous forests, woodlands, and yards.
16. American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
The American Robin is one of the large black birds with orange chests. They also have orange on their bellies, white under the tail, grey uppersides, a black head with a streaky throat, white around the eyes, and a yellow beak.
American Robins are resident in the United States but migratory elsewhere, only found in Canada and Alaska during summer and wintering further south. They can be found in winter in the southern United States and Mexico.
They behave like thrushes, hopping around on the ground searching for earthworms and insects, which comprise the bulk of their diet during the breeding season. In winter, they gather in large flocks to feed on fruit and roost communally.
They live in a range of habitats, such as woodlands, forests, tundra, parks, yards, fields, and pastures.
There’s a good chance that you’ll see American Robins feeding in your yard without enticement, but if not, you can attract them using sunflower seeds, mealworms, or suet.
17. Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)
The Varied Thrush is a stunning thrush of the Pacific Northwest, including Canada and Alaska. Males have unique patterns with a blue-grey back, dark wings with orange patches, an orange chest and belly, a dark breast band, a dark blue head with an orange stripe behind the eye, and patchy white, orange, and blue under the tail. Females look similar to males but are duller.
They live in wet, mature forests where they breed but move into woodlands, parks, yards, and other habitats outside of the breeding season.
They sometimes visit feeders, where they eat fruits and seeds in winter. During summer, they mainly eat insects.
Birds breeding close to the coast in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada are resident throughout the year. However, those that breed further north and inland migrate further south into the United States along the west coast during winter.
18. Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca)
The Blackburnian Warbler is a beautiful, small migratory songbird that migrates from its wintering grounds in northern South America to its northeastern United States and southeastern Canada breeding grounds. They are seen throughout most of the eastern United States during migration.
Males have bright orange throats and yellow heads that contrast with the black upper parts, triangular cheek patches, black crowns, black-streaked white underparts, and white wing patches. Females are duller, with yellow heads, throats, and dark cheek patches.
They live in coniferous forests and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests during the breeding season. During migration, they can be seen in a range of woody habitats.
They most often feed on insects, especially caterpillars, but supplement them with spiders.
19. American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)
The American Woodcock is an intricately marked shorebird with an orange chest. This plump bird has a buffy belly and flanks, beautifully patterned brown and black upper parts, grey bands on the back, and a grey collar. Their long beak and dark eyes are distinctive.
They use their long bill to find and eat earthworms in the ground. They also feed on snails, millipedes, insects, and spiders.
Their favored habitats are woodlands, forests, and shrubby habitats, often close to fields throughout most of eastern North America. They are challenging to see as they camouflage very well with the environment.
They are migratory and resident, with many breeding in the north of their range moving south for winter, while those in the south remain all year round.
As you can see, North America hosts a healthy array of birds with orange chests. Fortunately, most of the species are of low conservation concern as they have broad distributions on the continent and sometimes in other parts of the world.
Many birds with orange chests that you can see in North America are migratory – arriving for summer when they breed and leaving when it becomes too cold during winter.
The orange chest of a bird is a helpful identification feature, as a small percentage of North America’s birds have this characteristic. Now that you know more about the birds with orange chests you can see in North America, be sure to head out with your binoculars and identify the beautiful birds in your yard or wilderness areas near you.