Black birds are not a single species, but rather a grouping of different species that share certain physical characteristics. The most notable characteristic of a black bird is, of course, its color. But black birds also tend to have large beaks, long wings and different colors chests.
Below we’ll look at black birds with red chests that you can find across North America and other parts of the world. If you’re an avid bird watcher, get your journal and let’s add a few bird names to your bird bucket list.
List of Black Bird with Red Chest
1. Rose-breasted grosbeaks
With a white beak and a stunning red breast, the Rose-breasted grosbeak or Pheucticus ludovicianus is a medium-sized songbird that is a resident breeder in most Eastern States.
It is typically between 7 and 8 inches long, with a wingspan of about 12 inches. The male is easily identified by his bright red-colored breast, a white belly and undertail and black back and head. The female is a heavily streaked brown with a beautiful white brow.
Both sexes spot triangular white bills and grayish feet.
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are migratory birds, spending the winter in Central America and Mexico and the summer in the northern United States and Canada.
They prefer to live in open areas near forests or other woodland habitats and also parks. These birds are omnivorous.
During breeding season, both sexes spend at least 9 days building a cup-shaped nest out of various materials. Females then lay 2-5 green to blue eggs that take anywhere from 12-14 days to hatch. Learn more about blackbirds nesting habits.
2. Red-breasted meadowlark
A member of the icteridae family, the red breasted meadowlark is a medium-sized songbird that is found in open habitats across Brazil.
Adult males are easily recognized by their bright red chest, black body and brown-tipped wings. Females are a heavily streaked brown. Both birds feature black pointed beaks. Males are also slightly larger than females, making them sexually dimorphic.
Red breasted meadowlarks feed on insects and seeds, and they are known for their beautiful songs. They form monogamous pairs that remain together for life, and both parents help care for the young.
This bird species is gregarious and you can easily spot them on the ground, foraging for food.
3. Painted redstart
Showy and melodious, painted redstarts are small passerine birds in the New World warbler family. This family consists of other warblers and yellowthroats. They are also a member of the genus Myioborus which includes other whitestarts
Adult painted redstarts share similar features and plumage. They are black overall with a velvety look, white on wings and red chests. Note the undertail is also white. Tails are also unique with a black middle and white on both sides.
Painted redstarts breed from southeastern Alaska and central Canada to northern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The painted redstart winters in Central America and South America.
These colorful little birds are often seen flitting about in open woodlands near streams, where they glean insects from tree branches or fly out to catch them in mid-air.
You can attract this black bird with red chest to your backyard using sugar-water feeders. A painted redstart can live up to 6 years.
Related Read: Check the most common black and white birds in Michigan
4. Scarlet Robin
Easy to identify, the scarlet robin or Petroica boodang is a small passerine bird found in Australia and New Zealand.
The male has bright red plumage on its chest and is one of the most easily recognized Australian birds. It’s about 5 inches long, same size as a house sparrow, and can weigh between 0.4 – 0.5 oz.
On the other hand the scarlet robin female spots the red patch on their breast and are brown-grayish above and pale below. Juveniles are the same color as this female red breasted blackbird without the red chest.
Scarlet robins are active and cheerful, making them popular as garden birds. They are also very territorial, and can be quite aggressive towards other species. Scarlet robins breed from March to June, forming monogamous pairs that share incubation duties.
The chicks are altricial, and are fed by both parents until they are able to fly and forage for themselves.
5. Vermilion flycatcher
Small and stocky vermilion flycatchers are endemic to the Southern United States and parts of Mexico. Like most songbirds, the sexes have different plumage.
This bird is known for its spectacular red and black plumage, which makes it one of the most colorful birds in North America. An adult male is black above with red feathers below. Note the dark brown spectacle around its eyes.
Female vermilion flycatcher has a gray-brown back, red belly and white chest. Both sexes have short black straight bills and slender tails.
The short powerful bills are used to catch insects midair. Also like other birds of the same species they prefer open, scrubby habitats where they can easily spot insects.These birds are also known to build nests made from mud and sticks.
6. Crimson-breasted finch
Also called the crimson-finch tanager, the crimson-breasted finch is a member of the tanager family which includes other colorful birds in the americas such as the green honeycreeper and the western tanager.
A resident breeder in some South America countries, the crimson-breasted finch is a striking bird you can identify easily from afar. This small songbird has a bright red breast and black head, wings and a small red patch on its head.
Females are brown on their back and olive green beneath. An immature male has a grayish back and a light red patch on their breast with a white belly.
The crimson-breasted finch is a shy bird that prefers to stay hidden in the dense undergrowth. It feeds on insects and seeds, and builds a simple nest of grasses and leaves.
7. Red-breasted sapsucker
Expert drillers, this is the best way to describe this red breasted blackbird. How can you identify the red breasted sapsucker?
It is a member of the woodpecker family, sharing plumage with all the birds in this family. An adult bird has black plumage on its back, barred belly and a red hood that stretches to the chest. Juveniles are mostly black with white patches and a red cap.
They use their strong beaks to peck at trees in order to find insects to eat, as well as to gain access to the sap inside the tree. Red breasted sapsuckers can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and even residential areas.
8. Red-breasted chat
Hardly noticeable, the red-breasted chat is a small songbird that is about the same size as a painted bunting. How can you identify it?
This species is easy to identify thanks to its bright red breast with white borders, white throat and eye brows. The rest of the body is black save for the edges on its long tail.
Now, females are a different color. They are brown-gray on their back with a chestnut patch on their breast. Note, both sexes have a long corked tail and are about 5.5 inches long.
The red-breasted chat typically feeds on insects, but it can also eat seeds and berries. This bird is a common sight during the summer months, and it can be found in meadows, pastures, fields, and other open areas.
The red-breasted chat is known for its lively song, which has been described as sounding like “wet-plek” Breeding season lasts between May through September.
9. Crimson-breasted shrike
The crimson-breasted shrike or crimson-breasted gonolek is a passerine bird found in Africa. With its loud calls, it is easily noticeable due to its coloring.
This species is a medium-sized shrike, measuring in length from 6.1 to 8.3 in The adult is mainly black except for the bright red breast and throat, and white patches on their wings. They also have corked tails like red-breasted chat.
This species inhabits open woodland, savannahs and grasslands. It is a common bird, often seen perched prominently on a roadside wire or fence. The crimson-breasted shrike feeds mainly on insects, which it catches by hovering or pouncing on them from a perch. They also migrate over short distances during cold months.
10. Great frigate bird
The great frigate bird (Fregata minor) is a large seabird that occurs in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide.
Adult birds have a length of 33-41 inches and a wingspan of up to 91 inches. Adult males are mainly black with a red throat pouch (gular sac). Females are larger than males with a w hite chest.
Both sexes have deeply forked tails and long narrow curved beaks. To identify the juvenile great frigate bird, be on the look for a black bird, white face with a rusty tinge.
The great frigate bird is an opportunistic feeder which eats mainly fish, but also squid, crustaceans and even carrion. It typically feeds by soaring high in the air and then diving down onto its prey.
This black bird with red chest nests in colonies on trees or cliffs, building a large platform of sticks. The female lays one or two eggs, which are incubated for around 55 days.
Also read: Different wild birds of North America
11. Eurasian bullfinch
Another group of black birds with red chests are the Eurasian bullfinches. A resident breeder in Europe and Asia, its unique coloring makes them easy to spot.
How big is a eurasian bullfinch? It’s about six inches in length. Eurasian bullfinch is mostly gray with a black head, wings and tails. Its back is gray while the undertail is white. Like other birds on this list, it has a bright red chest which makes it easy to identify.
Adult females are gray, black and white. Both have small triangular bills that are perfect for picking tree buds and seeds.
The Eurasia bullfinch is a distinctive species due to its song, which is a loud, clear whistle. This bird inhabits open areas with scattered trees or bushes, such as fields, meadows, and gardens. It really likes fruit buds which makes it a nuisance around orchards.
12. Scarlet-chested sunbird
Sunbirds are really beautiful birds and this scarlet-chested sunbird is no different. Endemic to the lower part of Africa, this large bird is a spectacular sight.
Chalcomitra senegalensis or the Scarlet-chested sunbird is sexually dimorphic. Males are larger 5-6 inches in length, are black overall with a red chest. Note the iridescent green on its throat and crown.
Females are brown overall and streaked below. These blackbirds with red chests have a long , slightly curved bills.
Where can I find the scarlet-chested sunbird? It is found in open woodland and savannas of Africa. This species builds a small cup nest in a tree or bush. 2-4 eggs are laid.
The Scarlet-chested sunbird eats insects and nectar.
13. Cebu flowerpecker
What is the scientific name of the Cebu flowerpecker? Dicaeum quadricolor. A resident bird in the Philippines, this bird is critically endangered.
It is about 4.9 inches long and has a distinctive red breast and belly. Females are gray-brown while males are blue yellow and green.
These black birds with red chests prefer closed canopy forests, where they stay hidden under dense vegetation. The diet consists mainly of insects, which they hunt between 9am-1pm to avoid other aggressive birds.
14. Crimson-breasted woodpecker
Found in parts of eastern and southeastern Asia, the crimson-breasted woodpecker is a small bird of the woodpecker family. You’ll notice that it has similar features and plumage to other birds in this large family.
This woodpecker is mostly black and white with a red breast, head, neck and undertail. It has a long, black tail with white patches. The female crimson-breasted woodpecker is duller and easy to miss.
The Crimson-breasted woodpecker feeds on insects, which it finds by pecking into tree bark. It also eats fruit and nuts. This woodpecker builds its nest in trees, usually near water. The female lays two to four eggs. The chicks stay in the nest for about six weeks before fledging.
15. Scarlet honeyeater
A native to Australia, the scarlet honeyeater is also known as the scarlet myzomela. Its mostly found on the eastern side, residing from the north to the south. How can you identify this red breasted blackbird?
Females are hardly noticeable. Their brown-gray plumage allows them to blend into the surroundings. Notice the faint red coloring on their face.
Males are easy to spot. The brilliant red coloration on the head, back and chest is what makes them standout. Juveniles are similar to females and plumage changes after fledgling.
This bird species is a winter breeder. Laying eggs and hatching starts from early winter and lasts up to summer. Also, these black birds with red chests feed on bugs, caterpillars, and beetles. They also feed on nectar.
16. Red-chested swallow
The Red-chested swallow is a small passerine bird that breeds in the Congo basin. It is a member of the swallow family and is closely related to the barn swallow.
This black bird with a red chest is about 9 inches long with a wingspan of 16 inches. It has a dark blue back, white underparts, and a brick red breast. The sexes are similar in appearance, but young birds are browner than adults.
This bird nests in colonies on cliffs or under bridges. It builds a cup-shaped nest of mud pellets mixed with straw and grasses. 2-6 eggs are laid, and both parents incubate the eggs for about two weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge when they are about three weeks old.
17. Red-breasted goose
A close relative of the brant goose, the red-breasted goose is a small and rare bird that is often found in large flocks.
This medium-sized goose is about 21-24 inches in length and can weigh up to 55 oz. Though rare, here is what to look for to identify them. It has a glossy black body with white on its sides and a white collar.
Both sexes spot a brick red chest which gives them their name. Other notable features include the white undertail and dark webbed feet.
Found in northern Eurasia, it is a migratory bird, spending the winter in southern Europe and Asia and migrating to arctic tundra to breed. Its preferred breeding habitat is close to birds of prey which can protect its babies from larger predators.
18. Magnificent frigatebird
The magnificent frigatebird is a large seabird of the tropical oceans. What is this large black bird with a red chest famous for? Other than its bright colors, it’s famous for its soaring ability.
With a wingspan of 7.0-7.3 feet and a weight of 35-67 oz, it is one of the largest flying birds. The male has a red gular sac which he inflates to attract females, and can also emit a loud noise during courtship displays.
Females are dark with a white patch and both sexes have a deeply forked tail.
The magnificent frigatebird is found on tropical islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. It breeds on remote offshore islands, laying a single egg in a stick nest built in trees or bushes. The bird is heavily reliant on marine foods, and will often follow ships to scavenge for food scraps.
19. Bare-necked Umbrellabird
Bare-necked Umbrellabirds area species of birds that is found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are a member of the family cotingidae which includes two other bird species; Amazonian umbrella bird and long-wattled umbrellabird.
The bird gets its name from the fact that it has no feathers on its neck, which makes it look like it is wearing an umbrella. The Bare-necked Umbrellabird is a large bird, with a body length of up to 16 inches, with the males being slightly larger. The bird is mostly black in color, with a red patch on its throat.
The Bare-necked Umbrellabird feeds mostly on berries but will also consume frogs and lizards. The bird breeds during the rainy season, April through September, and the female lays a single egg in a nest made of leaves and twigs.
20. Red Siskin
Highly gregarious, red Siskins are another species of black birds with red breasts. This bird is small, finch-like in size and is endemic to the southern part of South America.
The male is black above with bright red undertail coverts, chest and bell. They also have a red tinge on their rump.
In contrast, adult female red siskins are duller with a red faded chest and black hood. Juveniles are gray and begin to change color at around month four or five.
These birds favor a variety of habitats. From open areas to deciduous forests to mountainous regions, there are different places they build nests. Their diet consists of flower buds, plants and grass seeds.
Red siskins can live up to 4 years.
21. Red-collared Myzomela
The red-collared myzomela is a small, red-collared honeyeater found in the forests of New Guinea. It is one of the few birds that is known to exhibit cooperative breeding, meaning that several individuals help care for the young.
Like most birds on this list, the females and males of this species have contrasting plumage. The male is dark color, similar shade to red winged blackbirds, with a red collar that stretches to its chest and back.
On the other hand, females are a heavily streaked brown with a red patch on their throat. Both sexes spot long, slender and curved beaks that help them reach nectar.
These small birds are known for their “tweepy” songs that can be heard from far off.
22. Crimson-collared Tanager
Preferring evergreen forest edges, the crimson-collared tanager is a beautiful bird that is found in Mexico and Central America.
The adults of this species are a bright crimson color on their chest, uppertail, and hood while the rest of the body is black. They also spot a white bill and red eyes.
Crimson-collared tanagers are medium size, about 8 inches in length. Despite their small size, these birds are quite vocal, and their songs can often be heard in the forest canopy.
During the mating season, the parents build a nest out of moss and other materials. The female then lays two-three bluish eggs with black spots.
Hi, my name is Steve. My friend and I started the spanishbirdguides.com to share our passion with other like-minded people. So, if bird watching is your thing, you’ll love this blog. I’ll share what I’ve learnt about both local birds and those found in other parts of the world. Also, I’d love to hear your experiences.