Types Of Birds In Virginia

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by

Birds are one of the most diverse and abundant groups of animals in Virginia. With more than 400 species, Virginia is a paradise for avian enthusiasts. From iconic raptors such as eagles to smaller backyard birds like cardinals, there’s something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the remarkable types of birds found throughout the state. From coastal wetlands to mountain forests, every region of Virginia has its own unique set of bird species. Whether you’re an avid birder or just enjoy watching them from your window, learning about these different feathered friends can be both educational and enjoyable.

We’ll cover everything from songbirds to shorebirds so that you can appreciate all that nature has to offer!


Virginia is home to a wide variety of songbirds.

Blue Jays, Cardinals and Woodpeckers are some of the most common birds you may find in your backyard or at nearby parks.

Warblers, thrushes, vireos and orioles can also be spotted throughout Virginia’s forests and grasslands during migration season.

These singing birds bring a bright note to each day as they flit around trees and shrubs looking for tasty morsels.

The beauty of these small feathered friends doesn’t end with their melodious songs; many species have stunningly coloured plumage that make them stand out against the greenery around them.

From vibrant blue feathers to brilliant yellow wings, there’s no shortage of eye-catching birds in Virginia.

With so much colour and sound on display, it’s easy to see why birders flock here every year!

As we move onto the next section about waterfowl, let’s take a moment to appreciate all that our local avian population has to offer us.


As the hustle and bustle of songbirds fades away, so too does their presence in Virginia’s skies. But look further into the horizon and a different family awaits – waterfowl!

From across the state, these birds make long-distance journeys to enjoy Virginia’s wetlands, bays, rivers and ponds. Their visits provide moments of delight as they soar overhead with graceful ease.

Amongst this diverse flock are an array of species: American Black Ducks frequenting tidal marshes; Canada Geese grazing on lawn grasses; Wood Ducks visiting wooded swamps; Hooded Mergansers skimming over lakeshores – each one having its own individual story among the thousands that come together here in Virginia.

Now imagine even more impressive visitors…


Virginia is home to a wide variety of raptors, including:

  • large birds of prey such as bald eagles and osprey
  • smaller but still formidable species like accipiters and kestrels

Raptors are known for their sharp eyesight, powerful wingspan, and strong talons, which they use to catch small animals. They also tend to have a great deal of intelligence and can be trained in hunting or falconry. Additionally, many of these birds migrate from the northern regions of Virginia during winter months.

These impressive creatures often take advantage of the abundant waterways found throughout the state. Many times one may spot an eagle perched atop a tall tree overlooking the water below – scanning for any fish that may venture too close. It’s no wonder why so many people find them fascinating! With careful observation, it’s possible to witness some incredible behavior among these birds of prey.

Moving on from raptors, we’ll now look at shorebirds – waders who live along Virginia’s coasts and wetlands.


Raptors are an incredibly diverse group of birds that can be found in Virginia. The most common raptor species include the Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, and Great Horned Owl. These raptors have adapted well to living near humans and often nest close to residential areas where they hunt for food such as small mammals and reptiles.

Shorebirds also frequent Virginia, especially during migration periods when flocks of sandpipers, plovers, and other waterfowl pass through the state on their way south for winter. Shorebirds use mudflats and tidal flats along the coast or large rivers like the James River to find their food sources of small fish, insects, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks. Some shorebird species even spend long hours wading in shallow waters looking for a meal! With careful observation you might spot rarer species such as The Piping Plover or Long-billed Curlew among more familiar ones like Semipalmated Sandpiper or Killdeer.

The next type of bird we’ll look at is hummingbirds which are special visitors to Virginia each summer. They bring with them vibrant colors and high energy while they search for nectar from flowers around gardens and parks throughout the state.


Migration- They come to Virginia in the spring and summer, and leave in the fall.
Feeding Habits- They feed on nectar and small insects, and can drink up to 8 times their body weight in a day!
Breeding- They usually breed during the summer, and the male will display a flashy courtship dance to attract a female.

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When it comes to hummingbirds, one of their most fascinating traits is that they migrate.

Every spring and fall, these tiny birds embark on a long journey from the tropics of Central America all the way up to Canada for the summer, then back down again in winter.

It’s an amazing feat considering how small they are!

Some species will even travel hundreds of miles in just one night!

The Virginia area plays host to many migratory hummingbird species every year, so be sure to keep your eyes out if you live there or visit during migration season – you won’t want to miss seeing them!

Feeding Habits

When it comes to feeding habits, hummingbirds have a unique way of getting their food. They don’t just eat seeds or insects like other birds do; they sip nectar from flowers and tree sap too!

Hummingbirds can also be seen drinking from feeders that humans put out for them in the backyard. This helps supplement their diet when there are fewer flowers available.

What’s even more impressive is that these tiny birds need to consume about half of their body weight in sugar each day, so you can imagine how much energy they must expend just to find enough food!

All this effort shows why we should appreciate these amazing creatures and take care of our environment by planting native plants that produce lots of nectar for them.


Now that we know how hummingbirds find their food, let’s talk about how they reproduce.

Hummingbird breeding season usually occurs during the spring and summer months, when flowers are in full bloom and there is plenty of nectar available.

During this time they build intricate nests made out of spider webs and plant fibers to lay eggs protected from predators.

The female will typically lay two small eggs at a time which she incubates until they hatch after two weeks or so.

Once hatched, the chicks rely on both parents for feeding until they can fly on their own after three to four weeks.

It’s amazing what these little birds can do!

Upland Game Birds

Upland game birds are a diverse group of species found in Virginia. This includes popular species such as wild turkey, quail, grouse and pheasants. These birds can be found inhabiting many different types of habitats throughout the state including woodlands, grassy fields and brush-covered hillsides:

  • Wild Turkey – The largest upland bird in Virginia; this large ground-dwelling bird often roams through open forests or pastures in flocks

  • Quail – Smaller than the turkey, this plump little bird is commonly spotted dashing across open fields with its distinctive call echoing behind it

  • Grouse & Pheasants – Species that are closely related to one another; these birds inhabit dense shrubs and fencerows as well as young forest stands

The presence of these great upland game birds not only adds beauty to our landscape but also provides hunters an opportunity for outdoor recreation and sustenance. With careful management, we can ensure their continued existence in our state for years to come.

As we move onto wading birds, let’s look at how they differ from the upland game birds found here in Virginia.

Wading Birds

At first glance, it may seem like the birds of Virginia are limited to a handful of species. However, there is an astonishing variety of wading birds that can be found in this state. From herons and egrets to ibises and spoonbills, these birds all have their own unique features:

Wading Bird Characteristics
Heron Long legs & neck
Egret White feathers
Ibis Curved bills
Spoonbill Flat bill shape

These birds make up some of the most iconic images associated with Virginia’s wetlands. They search for food by using their long necks to probe into shallow water or mudflats and use their specialized bills to catch their prey. Even though they live solitary lives for most of the year, during breeding season several species will come together in large colonies near rivers or estuaries. With so much beauty and resilience on display, it’s no wonder why these waders captivate birders from around the world. As we move on to our next topic about poultry birds, let us appreciate how vital these feathered creatures are in maintaining healthy ecosystems across Virginia’s landscape.

Poultry Birds

Poultry birds are some of the most well-known birds in Virginia. These include chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Chickens have always been a large part of everyday life for many Virginians, providing eggs and meat for family dinners as well as entertainment around farms.

Ducks and geese can be seen along rivers or near ponds throughout the state, often offering quite an impressive show with their loud quacking! Turkeys may not be so common on small homesteads these days, but they still run wild through many areas of Virginia’s countryside.

Virginia is home to more than just poultry birds though – exotic species such as parrots, toucans, and other tropical varieties can also be found across the state. In some cases, these species were brought over by humans who wanted to own them as pets; however there are certain smaller populations who have established themselves naturally over time.

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While it isn’t likely that anyone will encounter a toucan while out walking in the woods anytime soon, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any colorful feathers popping up in unexpected places! Moving onto exotic birds…

Exotic Birds

Exotic birds in Virginia can provide a unique experience for birdwatchers.

One example of an exotic species seen in the area is the Eurasian Collared dove, which has become quite common since its introduction to North America from Europe and Asia in 1982. This dove is easily identified by its distinctive black collar around the nape of its neck. It usually inhabits open grassy areas such as yards, parks, pastures, and agricultural fields.

Another popular exotic visitor to Virginia are the Rose-ringed Parakeets. These parrots have been reported throughout much of western and northern Virginia primarily near urban centers.

They are most active during dusk when they flock together with other members of their species and fly out into nearby woodlands to find food. While these birds may not always be welcome additions to some neighborhoods, they certainly offer a colorful sight that many enjoy watching!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Common Type Of Bird Found In Virginia?

What is the most common type of bird found in Virginia?

This can depend on the season and region, but some of the most commonly seen species include American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-tailed Hawks, Mallards, and Canada Geese.

Most backyard feeders will attract chickadees and finches as well.

These birds are all relatively easy to spot year-round throughout much of the state’s diverse habitats.

What Is The Most Interesting Species Of Bird Found In Virginia?

Behold the beauty of Virginia’s avian wonders!

One of the most interesting species that can be found in this state is the Painted Bunting, an eye-catching bird with its vibrant red and blue plumage.

This colorful creature resides throughout the eastern United States during breeding season, but migrates south to warmer climates for winter.

It has been observed nesting in open woodlands or thickets near rivers, a perfect spot to enjoy its serene song.

A real treat for any nature enthusiast!

Do Virginia Birds Migrate During Certain Times Of The Year?

Yes, many of the birds found in Virginia migrate during certain times of the year.

This includes both permanent and seasonal residents, such as Canada Geese, American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Cedar Waxwings, Blue Jays and more.

Depending on the species, some may travel thousands of miles to escape winter conditions or seek out ideal nesting spots for their young.

To help track these migrations, there are a number of bird-banding projects located throughout Virginia that provide insights into when different species are likely to arrive and depart from our state.

Are There Any Endangered Species Of Birds In Virginia?

Yes, there are a few endangered species of birds in Virginia.

The endangered bird species include the bald eagle, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and the least tern, among others.

These species have been listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as either threatened or endangered due to their declining population numbers caused by habitat destruction and other environmental factors.

Conservation efforts are currently underway across Virginia to protect these vulnerable populations, including an extensive reintroduction program for bald eagles that is seeing success throughout the state.

Are There Any Bird Conservation Efforts In Virginia?

While Virginia is home to a wide variety of bird species, there are also conservation efforts in place to protect them.

In recent years, the state has implemented numerous initiatives aimed at preserving endangered birds from extinction and protecting habitats for their continued survival.

These include restoring wetlands, creating buffer zones around nesting sites, and monitoring nest locations throughout the year.

Through these efforts, Virginia aims to ensure that its diverse bird population remains vibrant and healthy into the future.


In conclusion, Virginia is an amazing place to observe a variety of birds.

From the most common type – northern cardinals – to more interesting species like the American woodcock, there’s something for everyone and every season.

Plus, during certain times of year, birdwatchers can enjoy watching migrating flocks as they cross through our state.

We also need to remember that some birds in Virginia are endangered and we should do all we can to help protect them.

That’s why many organizations have conservation efforts in place so that these species will remain part of our environment for years to come.

All-in-all, it’s clear why Virginia has been nicknamed ‘the Birding Capital of the East Coast’!

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