11 Orange Birds in Kansas (+Free Photo Guide)

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Known for its expansive prairies and vibrant sunsets, Kansas is a haven for a myriad of colorful bird species. Among them are striking orange birds, each bringing a unique splash of color to the Sunflower State’s landscapes. In this post, we’ll explore 11 captivating orange birds that grace the skies and fields of Kansas, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Whether you’re an avid birder or just a nature enthusiast, this guide promises to introduce you to the fiery hues of Kansas’s avian world.

Orange Birds Found In Kansas

Kansas, with its sweeping prairies and diverse habitats, offers a rich tapestry of birdlife, making it a haven for colorful avian species.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole attributes
Baltimore Oriole close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameIcterus galbula
Length6.7–8.7 in
Wingspan9.1–12.6 in
Weight22.3-42 g

The Baltimore Oriole is a stunning bird, best known for its vibrant coloration and its rich, whistling song.

Appearance: The male Baltimore Oriole is notable for his bright orange and black plumage and black and white wing bars, a stark contrast to the more muted yellow-brown coloration of the female. Both sexes, however, have long pointed bills and white bars on their wings.

Diet: Baltimore Orioles have a diverse diet that includes insects, fruits, and nectar. Their preference for sweet juices and fruit pulp often brings them to backyard feeders offering oranges and jelly.

Reproduction: The female Baltimore Oriole is responsible for building the distinctive hanging nest, often woven together from fine materials like hair and grass. These nests are usually high in trees to avoid predators. The female lays 3-7 eggs, which are incubated for about two weeks.

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole attributes
Orchard Oriole close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameIcterus spurius
Length5.9-7.1 in
Wingspan9.8 in
Weight16-28 g

The Orchard Oriole is a small songbird noted for its distinctive coloration and melodic song.

Appearance: Male Orchard Orioles are a striking sight with their dark chestnut body and black head and black and white wings, while females and immature males are olive-green and feature a yellowish underpart. The species is often recognized by its slender body and pointed bill.

Diet: The diet of the Orchard Oriole consists primarily of insects, fruits, and nectar. They are adept at catching insects mid-air and are also known to sip nectar from flowers, aiding in pollination. When fruits are in season, they make up a substantial portion of the bird’s diet.

Reproduction: Orchard Orioles often nest in open woodlands and orchards, hence their name. The female is responsible for building the nest, typically choosing a location in a tree or shrub. The female lays a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs, which she incubates for about two weeks.

Bullock’s Oriole

Altamira Oriole attributes
Altamira Oriole close up
FeatureMeasurement (Imperial)
Scientific NameIcterus bullockii
Length7.5-8.5 inches
Wingspan11.8-12.6 inches
Weight0.9-1.2 oz

The Bullock’s Oriole is a bright and lively songbird, known for its stunning contrasting colors and vibrant melodies, predominantly found across the western regions of North America.

Appearance: The male Bullock’s Oriole boasts a brilliant orange chest, belly, and face with a black crown, eye line, throat, and back. Its wings are black with a prominent white patch and white-edged coverts. Females are more muted in coloration, displaying a yellowish-orange hue with grayish-brown wings that still retain the white patches.

Diet: These orioles primarily feed on insects, especially caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers. Apart from insects, their diet also includes fruits, berries, and nectar. They’re adept foragers, often hanging upside-down on branches to find hidden prey.

Reproduction: Bullock’s Orioles are noted for their skill in crafting hanging, woven nests, often positioned on the tips of slender branches, ensuring they are difficult for predators to access. Both parents partake in feeding the young, who then fledge about two weeks after hatching.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager close up
Scarlet Tanager attributes 1
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NamePiranga olivacea
Length6.3 to 7.5 in
Wingspan9.8 to 11.8 in
Weight23.5 to 38 g

The Scarlet Tanager is a strikingly colorful bird known for its brilliant plumage and distinctive song.

Appearance: Male Scarlet Tanagers are notable for their vibrant scarlet bodies contrasted with black wings and tail, making them one of the most intensely colored birds. Females and juveniles, on the other hand, have a subdued olive-yellow body color with darker wings and tail.

Diet: The diet of the Scarlet Tanager is largely made up of insects, including beetles, cicadas, aphids, and others. They are adept flycatchers, seizing insects in mid-air or picking them off foliage. They also consume fruits and berries, especially during migration and in their winter habitats.

Reproduction: The female Scarlet Tanager builds a cup-shaped nest using twigs, rootlets, and grass, typically well-hidden in the dense foliage of trees. She lays 3 to 5 eggs and incubates them for about two weeks.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameColaptes auratus
Length11–12 in
Wingspan17–20 in
Weight3.9–5.6 oz

The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized woodpecker, recognized by its unique patterns and coloring, often found drumming on trees or foraging on the ground across North America.

Appearance: The Northern Flicker stands out with its grayish brown body, black-scalloped plumage, and a black bib. Males sport a distinctive black or red mustache stripe. Depending on the subspecies, the underwing and undertail feathers can be bright yellow or red, flashing vividly during flight.

Diet: While most woodpeckers are tree-bark foragers, the Northern Flicker prefers hunting on the ground. Its primary diet consists of ants and beetles, supplemented occasionally by fruits, berries, seeds, and other small insects.

Reproduction: Northern Flickers are cavity nesters, preferring to excavate their nesting hole in dead or diseased tree trunks. The interior of the nest is lined with wood chips.

American Redstart

American Redstart attributes
America Redstart close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameSetophaga ruticilla
Length4.3 to 5.5 in
Wingspan6.3 to 9.1 in
Weight8.6 g

The American Redstart is a lively warbler known for its vivid colors and active hunting style, often seen flitting about, fanning its tail to startle and catch insects.

Appearance: Adult male American Redstarts boast striking black plumage with bright orange patches on the sides, wings, and tail. Females and immature males have grayish-olive upperparts with yellow patches in the same areas where the males display orange.

Diet: American Redstarts are primarily insectivores. They actively forage for flying insects, as well as caterpillars and spiders, often using their colorful tails to startle prey and make them easier to catch.

Reproduction: The female American Redstart builds a cup-shaped nest in the fork of a tree branch. Typically, she lays a clutch of 3 to 5 eggs. The female takes on the primary responsibility of incubating the eggs, while both parents participate in feeding the fledglings after they hatch.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee attributes
Eastern Towhee close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NamePipilo erythrophthalmus
Length6.8 to 9.1 in
Wingspan7.9–11.8 in
Weight32 to 53 g

The Eastern Towhee is a distinctive songbird known for its unique calls and eye-catching coloration.

Appearance: Male Eastern Towhees are characterized by a striking combination of a black head, back and tail, contrasting with a white belly and rufous flanks. Females sport similar patterns but instead of black, they have a rich brown color. Both genders have red eyes, lending a special charm to their overall appearance.

Diet: Eastern Towhees primarily feed on a variety of insects, seeds, and berries. Their diet is quite diverse, taking advantage of seasonal offerings, which includes beetles, caterpillars, spiders, acorns, grass seeds, and various fruits and berries.

Reproduction: Eastern Towhees build their nests on or near the ground, often in a shrub or a small tree. The female lays around 3-5 eggs and takes the primary role in incubating them over about 12-13 days.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red headed Woodpecker
Red headed Woodpecker close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameMelanerpes erythrocephalus
Length7.5–9.1 in
Wingspan16.5 in
Weight2.0–3.2 oz

The Red-headed Woodpecker is a striking forest bird with a bold tri-colored pattern.

Appearance: This woodpecker features a completely red head and neck, contrasting starkly with its white underparts and black wings. Its wings also have large white patches which are conspicuous in flight.

Diet: Red-headed Woodpeckers have a varied diet including insects, seeds, fruits, berries, and occasionally even the eggs of other birds. They’re also known to store food by wedging it into crevices in bark.

Reproduction: These woodpeckers nest in cavities which they excavate in dead wood or dead parts of live trees. These cavities can be found anywhere from 2 to 80 feet off the ground.

Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill
Red Crossbill close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameLoxia curvirostra
Length5.5–7.5 in
Wingspan9.8–10.6 in
Weight0.9–1.4 oz

The Red Crossbill is a distinctive finch known for its unusual bill, which has evolved to extract seeds from conifer cones.

Appearance: Males are typically bright red or orange, while females are greenish-yellow or olive. Both genders have the characteristic crossed bill, which they use to expertly extract seeds from tightly closed conifer cones.

Diet: Red Crossbills primarily feed on the seeds of coniferous trees, such as spruce, pine, and fir. Their specialized bills allow them to efficiently pry apart conifer cone scales to access the seeds.

Reproduction: Red Crossbills are somewhat nomadic and don’t adhere to a strict breeding schedule. Instead, they breed whenever and wherever food is abundant. Their nests are usually built on horizontal branches of conifer trees.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager attributes
Western Tanager close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NamePiranga ludoviciana
Length6.3-7.5 in
Wingspan11.5 in
Weight24-36 g

The Western Tanager is a vibrant songbird that graces the forests and woodlands of the western regions of North America, enchanting observers with its colorful plumage and melodious song.

Appearance: The male Western Tanager is renowned for its bright yellow body contrasted with a striking red head and black wings and tail. The females are more subdued in hue, primarily being yellow with grayish wings and back, and lacking the brilliant red head of the males.

Diet: Western Tanagers primarily feed on insects, especially when breeding, but they also incorporate a significant amount of fruits and berries into their diet, especially during migration and winter.

Reproduction: Western Tanagers build their nests high in coniferous trees, often well concealed from potential predators. The female usually lays a clutch of 3 to 5 eggs and takes the primary role in incubation, while both parents are involved in feeding the chicks after they hatch.

American Robins

American Robins attributes 1
American Robins close up
FeatureMeasurement
Scientific NameLeptotila plumbeicep
Length10.6-11.8 in
Wingspan
Weight160-200 g

The American Robin is a widely recognized bird species known for its melodious song and early bird tendencies.

Appearance: American Robins are medium-sized birds with a distinctive appearance. Both males and females sport a gray to brown back and a warm red to orange breast and belly and gray wings. They also have a characteristic white eye-ring and a black head, but males are usually darker than females.

Diet: American Robins have a diverse diet that changes depending on the season. In summer, they feed heavily on earthworms, beetles, and other invertebrates, which they catch on the ground. During winter, they mostly eat fruits and berries.

Reproduction: American Robins usually build their nests in trees or shrubs, but they are also known to nest on human-made structures. The female lays a clutch of about 3 to 5 eggs, which she incubates for about 12 to 14 days.

Where to Spot Kansas’ Orange Birds

From rolling prairies to serene wetlands, Kansas offers a treasure trove of bird-watching sites. Here are the top spots renowned for their avian diversity:

  1. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area – One of North America’s most significant wetlands, this area attracts nearly half of the continent’s shorebird species, making it a hotspot for vibrant birdlife.
  2. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge – Spread across 22,000 acres, Quivira offers a mix of salt marshes, sand dunes, and prairies. Its diverse habitats are a magnet for both migratory and resident birds.
  3. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve – Representing one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems, this preserve offers a chance to spot grassland birds amidst a sea of wildflowers.
  4. Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area – Encompassing both woodland and wetland, this region is particularly known for waterfowl and woodland species, offering a vibrant mix of avian sights and sounds.
  5. Cimarron National Grassland – Located in the southwestern part of the state, it provides habitats for grassland birds against the backdrop of the meandering Cimarron River.
State’s Orange BirdsBest Spots for Orange Birds
Nebraska’s Orange birdsValentine National Wildlife Refuge, Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Rowes Sanctuary
Missouri’s Orange birdsMingo National Wildlife Refuge, Mark Twain National Forest, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Oklahoma’s Orange birdsWichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge
Colorado’s Orange birdsMonte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Barr Lake State Park

FAQs on Orange Bird Species Found in Kansas

What orange birds are commonly spotted in Kansas?

Kansas hosts a variety of birds with orange plumage. The Northern Cardinal, known for its bright orange plumage and black mask, is a common sight. Male Eastern Bluebirds, with their rusty orange breasts and blue feathers, can be seen, especially around forest edges and open woods. The Red-bellied Woodpecker, while not entirely orange, does have streaks of bright orange on its underparts. These birds can be found throughout Kansas, from its eastern forests to its open grasslands.

How can I attract orange birds to my backyard in Kansas?

Bird feeders are your best bet! Fill them with black oil sunflower seeds, which are a favorite among many bird species, especially Northern Cardinals. Platform feeders can attract species like the Black-headed Grosbeak, while suet feeders can draw in woodpecker species. Additionally, nectar feeders can attract tiny birds with hints of orange or red in their plumage. For Eastern Bluebirds, consider setting up nesting cavities or birdhouses, as they often nest in dead trees.

Which orange birds in Kansas should bird watchers be especially excited to spot?

Bird watchers in Kansas should keep an eye out for the elusive Indigo Bunting. While its scientific name suggests a blue hue, male birds showcase a vibrant blue with shades of bright orange under certain lighting conditions. They’re a treat to spot, particularly around forest edges and open woods. The presence of other bird species like Barn Swallows or Blue Jays can often indicate the proximity of these rarer birds. During the breeding season in Kansas, yellow birds, orange and black birds with distinct white wing bars, flaunt their vibrant tail feathers.

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