Discover 18 Incredible Birds That Start With R

Red-crowned Parrots are popular pets that have become common escapees in American cities. They nest in palm trees. They are now being released from captivity to be wild parrots in the United States.
© Charles Bergman/Shutterstock.com

Written by Niccoy Walker

Published: June 29, 2023

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Are you researching birds that start with R? Check out this comprehensive list of birds that start with the letter R! You will find everything from hummingbirds and junglefowl to hawks and gulls. Let’s dive in!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Archilochus colubris

close up of a ruby-throated hummingbird

This shortest living animal, the

ruby-throated hummingbird

, is the shortest-lived bird on the planet.

©iStock.com/Jessica Maruszewski

These bright red and green hummingbirds are native to North and Central America. They breed in the Eastern United States before migrating to Central America in the fall. You can find ruby-throated hummingbirds zipping around nectar sources, shimmering in the sunlight. You can set up feeders or plant tubular flowers to attract them.

Robin – Turdus migratorius

American robin perched on a branchThe Robin is center frame., looking left. The bird has a rust-colored body, and medium brown wings and darker fromn head. indistinct green background.

The male

American robin

is generally the last bird heard singing at sunset.

©iStock.com/PhotosByMSA

The robin, or American robin, is a common migratory bird in North America. These early birds like to forage on lawns, searching for juicy earthworms. You can recognize them by their brownish-grey and warm orange plumage. Or listen for their musical whistles. When in flocks, you can find them in treetops or hanging around fruiting trees.

Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis

red-tailed hawk

Hawks mostly prey on live animals such as rodents and other small mammals.

©Richard G Smith/Shutterstock.com

The red-tailed hawk is one of North America’s most abundant hawk species. These raptors soar over fields and perch on fence posts and telephone poles. These hawks live year-round throughout most of the United States, and you are more likely to see them during the winter when hawks from Canada join populations in the US.

Rufous Hummingbird – Selasphorus rufus

Rufous Hummingbird drinking nectar

Male Rufous Hummingbirds are brightly colored, with a reddish-orange face.

©Keneva Photography/Shutterstock.com

The rufous hummingbird is a territorial and feisty hummingbird that likes to frequent backyard feeders and drive off other species. These bright orange birds spend spring and summer in the Northwestern United States and Canada before migrating to Mexico for the winter. They are easiest to spot in the Pacific Northwest during summer and in California during the spring.

Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus

red-winged blackbird ready to tale flight

The shoulder feathers of the red-winged blackbirds helps them to be easily identified.

©iStock.com/maiakphotography

If you were to look at telephone wires or along rain-drenched roadsides, chances are you would see a red-winged blackbird. These blackbirds are a familiar species across most of the United States, where they live year-round. And during the spring and summer, they are abundant in wetlands, like cattail marshes. They may even stop by your yard during migration.

Red Junglefowl – Gallus gallus

Red Junglefowl - Gallus gallus tropical bird in the family Phasianidae. It is the primary progenitor of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

Red Junglefowl – Gallus gallus tropical bird in the family Phasianidae. It is the primary progenitor of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

©Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock.com

Domesticated chickens came from red junglefowl, which are native to South Asia. The red junglefowl is a brightly colored bird, featuring feathers in orange, red, brown, gold, gray, green, and white. Compared to domestic chickens, junglefowl are smaller and shyer. And in their natural habitat, they choose to live near human settlements and forests.

Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus

red shouldered hawk vs cooper's hawk

Adult red-shouldered hawks have a very rich, red coloration on their “shoulders” and chest.

©MTKhaled mahmud/Shutterstock.com

The distinctive red-shouldered hawk is easy to spot with its banded markings. You can find this majestic bird flying over tall woods and water sources. They are abundant in the Eastern United States, where they live all year. You can also find them along the West Coast, from Southern California to Southern Oregon.

Roadrunner – Geococcyx

Amazing Desert Animals: Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner in the Texas Desert. The Roadrunner is native to the Southwestern desert and gained its name from its habit of running on the road towards cars.

©Dennis W Donohue/Shutterstock.com

The roadrunners include the lesser roadrunner and the greater roadrunner. And they are known for their speedy running abilities. You can find them in the Southwestern United States and Mexico, where they inhabit desert landscapes. While they can fly, they prefer to run up to 27 miles per hour to escape predators.

Rock Dove – Columba livia

rock pigeon sitting on top a roof

The rock pigeon is very common across North America

©iStock.com/Christian Sturzenegger

Rock doves, also known as rock pigeons, are a very common sight across most of North and South America. They live throughout the United States year-round, where you will find them in urban and suburban settings. They like to live around crowded streets and other public areas, surviving off discarded food and birdseed.

Red Crossbill – Loxia curvirostra

red crossbill perched, looking backwards

The red crossbill has a very unique beak, which allows it to open sources of food easily.

©iStock.com/bobloblaw

The red crossbill is a finch is a wintering bird of the United States, except for most of the West, where it lives year-round. These birds inhabit coniferous woodlands, using their specialized beaks to break into tough cones. Listen for their sharp and metallic-sounding calls while they sit in conifer trees.

Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis

Ring-billed Gull standing on a rock enjoying a rainbow.

Ring-billed gulls are accordingly named such due to the black ring around the tip of their beaks.

©iStock.com/PaulReevesPhotography

If you find a seagull far away from the coast, it’s most likely a ring-billed gull. These gulls are comfortable around humans and often frequent parking lots, beaches, and anywhere there are garbage or food scraps. These birds winter along the US coasts and the South and breed in northern regions of the country.  

Red-breasted Merganser – Mergus serrator

Male and Female Red-breasted Mergansers Swimming

The red-breasted merganser features a shaggy head and thin, long bills

©FotoRequest/Shutterstock.com

These water birds are easily distinguishable due to their shaggy heads and their thin bill with serrations. They winter all around the US coasts and Mexico and breed in Canada and Alaska. You can also find them in large inland lakes in the United States. Along the coasts, look for the red-breasted merganser near bays and estuaries. 

Razorbill – Alca torda

Birds that look like penguins: Razorbill

Razorbills nest on ocean cliffs

©iStock.com/CreativeNature_nl

The razorbill is an auk that nests on ocean cliffs in Southeast Canada and winters in the Northeastern United States. This bird has a hatchet-shaped bill, which it uses to catch fish. Razorbills dive from hundreds of feet into the water to find their meals. And they feed in large flocks close to the shore.

Roseate Spoonbill – Platalea ajaja

Roseate Spoonbill standing in calm and shallow water

The Roseate Spoonbill has beautiful rose-colored wings.

©iStock.com/Canon_Bob

The bright pink roseate spoonbill can be recognized anywhere. But you will likely only find them along the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Florida in the United States. They also winter in Mexico and Central America and live year-round in South America. These birds use their spoon-shaped bills to sweep shallow water for fish and crustaceans.

Rufous Nightjar – Antrostomus rufus

Rufous Nightjar photographed in Itaunas, EspIrito Santo - Southeast of Brazil. Atlantic Forest Biome. Picture made in 2009."

rufous nightjars eat flying insects

©Leonardo Mercon/Shutterstock.com

The rufous nightjar is a nocturnal bird native to South America, where they live throughout the year. They are the most active at dawn and dusk, where they perch on low branches and sally out to catch flying insects. These birds live in a variety of habitats, from scrublands to the humid Amazon basin.

Red-crowned Parrot – Amazon viridigenalis

Red-crowned Parrots are popular pets that have become common escapees in American cities.  They nest in palm trees. They are now being released from captivity to be wild parrots in the United States.

red-crowned parrots are native to Northeast Mexico

©Charles Bergman/Shutterstock.com

 The red-crowned parrot is a large parrot native to a small area in Northeast Mexico. You can also find them in portions of South Texas. These birds are easy to find due to their bright plumage and throaty screeches. You are more likely to spot them in the morning and evening as they travel to and from roosting sites.

Rhea – Struthio americanus

Darwin's rhea, Rhea pennata also known as the lesser rhea. It is a large flightless bird, but the smaller of the two extant species of rheas.

The rhea is the largest bird that starts with R

©RudiErnst/Shutterstock.com

Rheas are large flightless birds related to ostriches and emus. These birds are native to South America, where they live in open land, such as grasslands and Chaco woodlands. Rheas have long necks and long necks. And they stand three to five feet tall, and weigh up to 88 pounds. They spread their eight-foot wings while they run.  

The Largest Bird That Starts With R

Rheas are the largest birds that start with the letter R. These flightless birds stand three to five feet tall, weigh up to 88 pounds, and feature wingspans of eight feet.

The Fastest Bird That Starts With R

Depending on the circumstances, there are several answers. Hummingbirds are the fastest hoverers, roadrunners are the fastest runners, and hawks are the fastest divers. Hummingbirds can flap their wings more than 80 times per second while hovering. Roadrunners can run up to 27 miles per hour, and hawks, such as the red-tailed hawk, can dive at speeds up to 120 miles per hour.

Birds That Start With R: A Recap

Common NameScientific Name
Ruby-throated hummingbirdArchilochus colubris
RobinTurdus migratorius
Red-tailed hawkButeo jamaicensis
Rufous hummingbirdSelasphorus rufus
Red-winged blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Red JunglefowlGallus gallus
Red-shouldered hawkButeo lineatus
RoadrunnerGeococcyx
Rock doveColumba livia
Red CrossbillLoxia curvirostra
Ring-billed gullsLarus delawarensis
Red-breasted merganserMergus serrator
RazorbillAlca torda
Roseate spoonbillPlatalea ajaja
Rufous nightjarAntrostromus rufus
Red-crowned parrotCorvus frugilegus
Red-crowned parrotAmazona viridigenalis
RheaStruthio americanus


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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