14 Beautiful Birds With Orange Heads (With Pictures)

14 Beautiful Birds With Orange Heads (With Pictures)

The array of bird species across the globe seemingly has no limit to their colors and patterns. Some color patterns are more commonly seen on birds than others. Some of the rarer color combinations are seen on birds with orange heads.

Birds with orange heads aren’t something you’ll stumble upon or see often, but when you do, they’ll stand out and make for a beautiful experience. There aren’t many species with orange heads, so this characteristic is a valuable identification feature you can use when you’re out birdwatching.

The coloration of birds aids in their survival, as the color may be used as a mechanism for camouflage, courtship displays, or as a distraction to evade predators.

In the following article, we look at 14 of the most beautiful birds with orange heads from around the world.

1. Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

The Western Tanager is a tropical-looking yellow bird with an orange head inhabiting western North America. Males in breeding plumage have bright yellow plumage with a bright orange-red head, throat, and chest and a black back, tail, and wings.

Non-breeding males lack orange on the head. Instead, they are yellow with some orange on the face, and their backs may be mottled black. Females are less showy, with grayish-yellow plumage and some yellow on the face, rump, and undertail.

Western Tanager

The beak is pale, and two wing bars (one yellow and one white) are present in all plumage states and sexes.

This tanager lives in forests, open woodlands, forest edges, orchards, wetlands, parks, and yards at mid to high altitudes.

Regarding their diet, Western Tanagers generally favor insects during the breeding season and fruit during winter.

They are migratory, breeding in the western United States and southwestern Canada. They spend the winter months in Mexico and Central America.

2. Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

The Rufous Hummingbird is a brilliant small bird with an orange-rufous head. Males have an orange-rufous head, upperside, and flanks. You may see green on the back and crown, while a white patch is visible behind the dark eyes. On the wings, the feathers are dusky.

The iridescent feathers on the throat are orange-red but may look more yellow or red in different light conditions. On the underside, the chest is white, and the belly and undertail are buffy. They have straight, long, thin, dark beaks.

Females are similarly colored to males, but they’re duller, with iridescent green and bronze upperparts and a paler head. On the throat, you may see red feather patches.

Hummingbird sitting on a stick

This species inhabits forests, woodlands, meadows, shrublands, parks, and yards.

In summer, they breed in their summer range from southeastern Alaska through western Canada to the northwestern United States. They migrate a long distance to their wintering grounds in Mexico and the very south of the United States.

Their migration is a serious feat of nature. They move north along the Pacific Coastline from their wintering grounds to the breeding grounds and return via the Rocky Mountains.

They mainly feed on nectar but get their protein from insects and spiders.

3. Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus)

The Streak-backed Oriole is a beautiful orange and black oriole typically found in Mexico and Central America. They are sometimes seen in the southwestern United States.

They have an orange head with a black face mask, orange underparts, a black throat patch, black wings with extensive white edging, a black tail, and an orange-yellow back with dark streaking.

Streak-backed Oriole

This species inhabits tropical woodlands, woodland edges, plantations, parks, yards, and other urban environments. They also occur in semi-open habitats such as savannas and grasslands with scattered trees and shrubs.

They feed on insects, fruit, and nectar.

4. Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda)

The Ruddy Kingfisher is a fabulous species with a dark orange head and underparts, chestnut upperparts, a bright blue back and rump, a purple tail, a large red beak and legs, and some white on the throat.

This species lives in dense forests along water courses.

Their diet is composed of fish, insects, amphibians, and crustaceans.

They have a wide range across southeastern and eastern Asia. They migrate from their breeding grounds in the north of their range further south. Some birds in the south are resident.

5. Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata)

The Flame-colored Tanager is a stunning bird with an orange head and chest, distributed in Mexico and Central America. They are occasionally seen in the United States in southern Arizona.

Males have bright orange on the head, neck, and chest, fading into yellow on the belly and undertail. The intensity of the orange varies from the brightest in western Mexico to deep orange-red in eastern Mexico and Central America.

They have white wing bars, white patches on the wings, and white tail spots. On the back, they are brownish-orange with dark streaking, and the rump is paler orange-brown with light or no streaking. They have a gray beak and a brown mark below the eye.

Flame-colored Tanager

Females are similarly patterned to males, but they are yellow instead of orange, and their backs are olive with dark streaks.

They occur in a variety of evergreen forests and forest edges, coffee plantations, pastures, and gardens in foothills and highlands. In winter, they occur in the lowlands of western Mexico.

They feed on small arthropods, insects, fruit, and berries.

6. Orange-headed Thrush (Geokichla citrina)

The Orange-headed Thrush is a bright thrush that lives on the ground. It has an orange head, chest, and belly. The upperparts are gray, the beak is slate-colored, and some white is on the wings. Some birds look very different as they have two black crescents on their face and a white throat.

Males and females are alike, except for the browner upperparts on females.

Orange-headed Thrush

They live in forests, woodlands, orchards, and yards of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. They are prevalent near streams and ravines.

This species is primarily sedentary. Some birds, particularly those living at high altitudes, are migratory – moving to lower altitudes and further south for winter.

Their diet consists of insects, spiders, fruit, and earthworms.

7. Yellow-billed Kingfisher (Syma torotoro)

The Yellow-billed Kingfisher is a beautiful small kingfisher with an orange head and neck, a sizable yellow-orange beak, and black eye rings. The throat is white, and a black patch is on the nape.

On the upper side, the mantle is blackish, fading into olive-green on the back and blue-green on the rump, while the tail is blue. The upper wing is a dull blue-green, and the flight feathers are olive-black. The underside is orange-gray.

Females are similar to males but have a black crown instead of an orange crown.

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

They occur in rainforests, mangroves, forest edges, and shrubland.

This species is found in New Guinea, Indonesia’s West Papua province, and Australia’s Cape York Peninsula.

Their diet is composed of insects, small reptiles and earthworms.

8. Orange-headed Tanager (Thlypopsis sordida)

The Orange-headed Tanager has an orange-yellow head, a gray body, a gray beak, and a dark eye. They have olive-brown upperparts and cinnamon-colored underparts in the east of their range. On the other hand, they are gray on the upper side and white on the underside in the west of their range.

Females look similar to males but are duller in appearance.

Orange-headed Tanager

They inhabit savannas, shrublands, parks, forest edges, and open woodlands of South America.

This species migrates from high altitudes in some areas to lower altitudes in the Austral winter.

They feed on insects, spiders, seeds, and fruit.

9. Japanese Robin (Larvivora akahige)

The Japanese Robin is a small migratory species found in Japan in summer and in other parts of Southeast Asia in winter. They spend the summer in montane areas and migrate to the lowlands for winter.

Japanese Robin

This species has an orange head, neck, and chest. The rest of the underside is dull brown and gray. The top of the head and the upper side is olive-brown, while the tail is reddish-brown. Females are duller than males.

They inhabit forests but may be found in parks and yards while migrating.

This species feeds on insects, worms, and fruit.

10. Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus)

The Scarlet-headed Blackbird is a brilliant-looking black bird with an orange head. They have a black body and an orange-red head, throat, neck, and chest. The thighs are also orange-red.

Scarlet-headed Blackbird

This species inhabits the vegetated marshes, adjacent grasslands, and agricultural areas of southeastern South America.

They feed on insects predominantly but sometimes eat frogs and seeds.

11. Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)

The Altamira Oriole is a large oriole species – the largest that occurs in the United States.

This species is found in Central America, Mexico, and a tiny area in the south of Texas in the United States.

They have a bright orange head, underparts, and rump, while the throat and face mask are black. They have a black back, tail, and wings on the upper side with white wing patches and orange shoulder patches.

Altamira Oriole

Females are similar looking to males but have less black on the throat.

They feed on insects, fruit, and nectar.

This species inhabits thorn forests, riparian woodlands, parks, yards, and orchards.

12. Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)

If you travel to the Andes, this is one of the birds you must see. The Andean Cock-of-the-rock is a peculiar-looking bird with a large round crest that occurs in cloud forests in the Andes Mountains of South America.

Male birds are brightly colored from orange to red over most of the body, except for the black wings, silver tertial feathers, black tail feathers, pale orange eyes, and yellow beak.

Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Females are duller than males and appear more brown. They have a darker throat, a smaller crest, whitish-blue eyes, a dark beak, and gray legs.

This species, which is also the National Bird of Peru, feeds on fruit and insects.

13. Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis)

As their name suggests, the Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher is a tiny kingfisher species only found in Madagascar.

Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher

They have an orange-rufous head and upper side, with violet feathers on the nape and rump and a white stripe on the side of the neck. They are white on the underparts, while the sides of the body are rufous, and the primary feathers on the wings are black. They also have a pointed orange beak.

They occur in forests, forest edges, and savanna woodlands, feeding on frogs, shrimp, and insects.

14. Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis)

The Spot-breasted Oriole is a good-looking tropical oriole with an orange head, a black face mask and throat, and black spots on the sides of the chest. The rest of the body is orange-yellow, except for the upper side, which is black with white marks on the wings and yellow shoulder patches. The undertail is also black.

Spot-breasted Oriole

They inhabit open woodlands, forest edges, dry scrublands, and suburban areas.

Their native range is in Central America and southern Mexico. They are rarely seen in the southwestern United States.

Their diet is composed of insects, fruit, nectar, and berries.


Birds with flaming orange heads are some of the most eye-catching species in the world. The birds featured on this list come in different shades of orange, from the bright orange seen on the Andean Cock-of-the-rock to the relatively dull and dark orange on the Ruddy Kingfisher.

Male birds often don the dashing orange colors on their heads, but in some cases, females look just like males. There are also times when the bright coloration is only seen during particular times of the year, especially during the breeding season when males try to attract females.

Next time you’re out in the wilderness, particularly in an exotic location, keep your eyes peeled for some of these unique, handsome birds.

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