Tennessee's geographic location in the southeastern United States and its diverse climate and ecology have led to a rich variety of bird species in Tennessee, including a wide range of migratory and resident birds, as well as endemic species inhabiting different ecosystems.

Migratory Birds

Tennessee is an important migratory route that many birds must travel to, and it covers a vast area from North to South America, creating a busy air corridor. During this migration season, thousands of birds cross Tennessee in search of food and suitable habitat.

American Redstart

The American red-tailed robin is a brightly colored, lively migratory bird commonly found in the trees and bushes of Tennessee. During migration, it is clad in vividly colored feathers and flies around in the forest, providing a cheerful visual treat.


Swallows are another common migrating bird known for their graceful flight and song. Flocks of swallows can often be seen flying overhead in Tennessee's open fields and farmlands, presenting a spectacular picture of migratory birds.


Wrens are small birds known for their agility through the canopy and underbrush. Their migratory route often passes through Tennessee, which provides birdwatchers with the opportunity to enjoy the graceful aerial movements of these agile birds.

Resident Birds

Tennessee boasts many kinds of resident bird species that contribute to the state's ecological diversity and natural beauty, inhabiting its forests, fields, and urban areas throughout the year.

American Cardinal

With their striking red feathers and distinctive crest, American cardinals are a familiar sight across Tennessee. Often found in woodlands, parks, and suburban areas, these songbirds sing a lively song and brighten up their surroundings with their vibrant colors.


Bluebirds are beloved residents of Tennessee, known for their attractive blue feathers and melodious calls. They prefer open habitats such as meadows, fields, and farmland where they can be seen perched on fence posts or feeding on insects.


The goldfinch is an attractive resident bird known for its distinctive bright yellow feathers, especially during the breeding season. Often seen in gardens, parks, and along roadsides, this small songbird feeds on seeds from thistles and other plants.

Wetland Birds

Tennessee's wetlands provide important habitat for a variety of birds adapted to aquatic environments, including marshes, swamps, and lakeshores.

Pond Heron

With their camouflaged feathers and stealthy hunting behavior, pool herons are well-suited to wetland environments. These medium-sized species often wade through shallow water, patiently searching the vegetation for fish, amphibians, and insects.

Pied-billed Grebe

The Pied-billed Grebe is a small, compact dive bird in the freshwater wetlands of Tennessee. Its characteristic black-and-white striped bill gives it its name, and it is known for its ability to dive underwater to catch fish and waterborne invertebrates. Despite its small size, this kind of bird is a master of underwater agility, moving through the water with swift movements.

Black Stork

The black stork is a large wading bird with glossy black feathers and a unique red bill. Compared to other wetland birds in Tennessee, black storks are not very common in marshes and riverside habitats where they forage for fish, frogs and other aquatic prey.

Forest Birds

Deep in the serene forests of Tennessee, a diverse array of birds thrive among the large trees and intricate bushes.

Eastern Screech-Owl

At nightfall, the Eastern Screech-Owl emerges from its daytime perch to hunt under the cover of darkness. Its haunting call pierces the quiet of the forest, a reminder of the wonders that thrive hidden in Tennessee's wooded enclaves.

Tricolored Thrush

Deep in the forests of Tennessee, the Tricolored Thrush blends perfectly with the earthy tones of the brush. As it forages for insects and berries, a clever mix of browns, blacks, and whites provides camouflage, and its melodious call adds charm to a woodland symphony.

Red-bellied Scrub-Jay

The Red-bellied scrub jay perches on a mossy branch and surveys its territory, its blue-gray feathers contrasting with its green and leafy surroundings. With their keen intelligence and exploratory nature, these birds play an important role in Tennessee's forest ecosystems, spreading seeds and keeping a watchful eye on their environment.

Grassland and open country birds

A symphony of bird life unfolds among swaying leaves and open skies in Tennessee's sunny expanse of grassland.

Red-tailed Hawk

Soaring over the prairie, the red-tailed hawk inspects its territory with keen eyesight and unmatched grace. With its broad wings and sharp gaze, this majestic raptor embodies the spirit of the open country and is a testament to the untamed beauty of the rural Tennessee landscape.

Northern Bobwhite

The birds in Tennessee make up a vibrant picture of the ecosystem, painting the sky with a variety of colors and melodies, each adding a unique touch to the natural canvas of Tennessee.

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