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31 Common Backyard Birds in New Jersey (with Pictures)

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mourning dove perched on a branch

If you live in New Jersey and have a bit of yard space, you can add a few feeders to attract the local birds. These visitors will give you plenty of opportunities for great photos, and their pleasant songs can brighten your day. Many people want to know what kind of birds they can find in this part of the country so they know what type of bird food to get. Keep reading as we provide you with a list of more than 30 birds that you might find in a New Jersey backyard. 

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The 31 Most Common Backyard Birds in New Jersey

New Jersey Songbirds

1. Mourning Dove

a mourning dove bird on a birdhouse
Image Credit: GeorgiaLens, Pixabay
Length: 11.5–12.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Small head, pale body

The Mourning Dove is a graceful bird that prefers to spend time on the ground looking for seeds. This behavior makes it more susceptible to cat attacks, so you’ll need to stay vigilant if you notice any in your yard. These birds have a soft drawn-out call that sounds like a lament and gives them their name.

2. Gray Catbird

gray catbird
Image Credit: Hans Toom, Pixabay
Length: 8–9.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Gray body, black cap

The Gray Catbird is easy to identify because of its mostly gray color. However, it has a black cap on its head and a few brown feathers around the tail area that add a little color. These songbirds have a call similar to a cat’s meow that gives them their name, but it also likes to mimic the songs of other birds. It likes to perch on tree limbs and has a hunchback appearance.

3. Song Sparrow

song sparrow bird on a tree trunk
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 4.5–7 inches
Defining characteristics: Plump and brown-and-white body, round head

The Song Sparrow is a mostly brown songbird with a round head and long tail. It’s a bulky, medium-sized bird that likes dense vegetation and branches. These birds are easy to find on the forest edge, especially near water, but they also like to make their nest in residential areas, and you will frequently find them at the feeder.

4. American Goldfinch

american goldfinch perching on a tree branch
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
Length: 4.5–7 inches
Defining characteristics: Yellow body, black cap, black wings

The American Goldfinch is easy to identify because of its bright yellow color, which is where it gets its name. Breeding males have a black cap on their forehead, and all birds have black markings on their wings. Experts recommend planting thistle and keeping the feeder stocked with sunflower seeds to encourage the American Goldfinch to visit your yard.

5. Blue Jay

Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay
Length: 9–12 inches
Defining characteristics: Colorful blue body, white belly

The Blue Jay is a striking bird that you can see from quite a distance, and it lives all year in New Jersey, so you can find it anytime. These birds prefer tray feeders to hanging feeders and will visit more often if you have peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet. Another thing that these birds love is a good bath, as it’s where they usually take their drinks, so put one on your property to increase your chances of attracting these visitors.

6. Barn Swallow

barn swallow perching on a tree trunk
Image Credit: Elsemargriet, Pixabay
Length: 6.5–7.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Blue back, cream belly, brown face

The Barn Swallow might have a plain name, but it’s an attractive bird with a blue back and white spots on the tail feathers. It’s harder to get these birds to hanging bird feeders because they prefer to eat insects, but if there is a suitable building on your property, like a barn or an old shed, you might encourage them to build a nest by leaving a window or door open.

7. Tufted Titmouse

a tufted titmouse bird on a tree trunk
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 6.5–7.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Gray body, repeating song

The Tufted Titmouse is an attractive bird with a pointed head and a small pointy beak. These birds love backyard feeders, and you can see them frequently, especially during winter, if you have sunflower seeds in the feeders. Nest boxes can also encourage them to take up permanent residence on your property, as they like to find a place to store food for the winter.

8. European Starling

a european starling bird on the grass
Image Credit: GAIMARD, Pixabay
Length: 7.5–9.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Dark body with purple-green iridescent feathers and yellow beak

The European Starling is a large bird that looks like a Crow until you get up close and notice its purplish-green iridescent feathers. This bird also has a yellow beak, which helps separate it from other, similar-looking birds. These birds are loud and like to travel in large groups, searching the grass for food. You will often see them picking through fresh-cut grass, and they like to perch on the power lines.

9. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat
Image Credit: Canadian Nature Visions, Pixabay
Length: 4–5.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Yellow belly, long tail with yellow highlights

The Common Yellowthroat is an attractive songbird with a yellow throat and belly, which gives its name. Its back feathers also have yellow highlights, and the males have a black mask over their eyes with a black beak to match. It’s a small bird that enjoys searching the ground for insects, so you will often find it in a garden, but it’s not so popular at a feeder.

10. White-Breasted Nuthatch

a white-breasted nuthatch bird on a tree trunk
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 5–6 inches
Defining characteristics: Black cap and white face, dark beak, and bluish-gray feathers

As the name suggests, the White-Breasted Nuthatch has a white neck and belly. Its face is also white except for a cap that extends to the back. These birds are popular at feeders and enjoy sunflower seeds and peanuts, so it’s not hard to attract them with commercial bird food. You can also put up a nesting box to encourage a more permanent residence, but you’ll need to make sure there’s a guard to keep predators from eating their eggs.

11. Northern Mockingbird

northern mockingbird
Image Credit: MOHANN, Pixabay
Length: 8–10.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Gray body, white belly, dark beak

The Northern Mockingbird is a gray bird with a white breast and neck. It also has black highlights on the wing feathers and tail. It’s quite attractive to view during flight because of the white patches on its wings. These birds typically pair up to chase off any intruders to their territory and enjoy spending time in town suburbs, backyards, and parks.

12. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee Perched on a Tree
Image Credit: Ami Parikh, Shutterstock
Length: 3.5–5 inches
Defining characteristics: Black head and chin with white cheeks

The Carolina Chickadee is easy to identify because of its black cap and neck. It also has a white stripe that runs just below the eye to the back of the head. These acrobatic birds like to cover a large area and prefer to look for food around large trees in urban and suburban areas, so you will likely see them at your backyard feeder.

13. Yellow-Rumped Warbler

yellow-rumped warbler
Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay
Length: 4.5–5.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Yellow patches on forehead, shoulders, and rump

The Yellow-Rumped Warbler is extremely attractive due to the yellow patches on its head, neck, and sides. Its head is gray, and it can have patches of black on the belly, with white highlights on the wings and tail. These birds like to eat insects out of the air as they fly, but they also eat berries in the winter, so you likely see them at your feeder when it gets cold.

14. Eastern Kingbird

eastern kingbird
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 7.5–9.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Black head, white throat and belly, white-tipped tail

The Eastern Kingbird is a large bird about the size of a Robin. It has a black face and cap with a white neck and white-tipped feathers on its wings and tail. The back is dark brown or gray, and the belly is white. These birds are easy to find because they like to pose upright at the end of branches, like they are waiting for you to take a picture, and you will often find them sitting along power lines.

15. Indigo Bunting

indigo bunting perched
Image Credit: dalspaugh, Pixabay
Length: 4.5–5.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Blue body on male, brown on the female, black-tipped wings

The Indigo Bunting is a Bluebird with a conical bill and a short tail. These birds like to spend much of their day singing from treetops and telephone lines throughout the summer, and they typically eat insects, seeds, and berries, depending on what’s available. This bird is easy to find where there are many shrubs and overgrown weeds.

16. Yellow Warbler

male yellow warbler on branch
Image credit: Paul Reeves Photography, Shutterstock
Length: 4.5–5.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Yellow body, black eyes

The Yellow Warbler is an extremely attractive small bird that’s fun to find in the wild and even more fun when you see it in your backyard. Both males and females are bright yellow birds and have black beaks and black highlights on the wings. These birds like small trees and hop quickly from branch to branch looking for caterpillars and other insects.

Brown Birds in New Jersey

17. White-Throated Sparrow

Sparrow eating mosquito
Image Credit: Paramonov Alexander, Shutterstock
Length: 5.5–7.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Brown body, white throat, yellow patch between eye and bill

The White-Throated Sparrow is a brown bird with a white throat that gives it its name. It also has a small yellow patch over the eye and a black crown with a white stripe down the middle. You often see these birds on the ground digging through dead leaves or grass, looking for insects and seeds, and they are frequent visitors to backyard feeders.

18. House Sparrow

a house sparrow on a tree branch
Image Credit: KnipsKaline, Pixabay
Length: 5.5–7.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Brown body, gray belly

The House Sparrow is a brown bird that frequents feeders in New Jersey. However, since these birds are not native to the area, many people consider them an invasive species, especially since they will push out other birds. It will eat any birdseed, and it’s quite comfortable living close to humans.

19. Carolina Wren

carolina wren eating worm
Image Credit: GeorgeB2, Pixabay
Length: 3–6 inches
Defining characteristics: Plump, brown body and long curved beak

The Carolina Wren is an attractive brown bird with a light-colored stripe just above the eye that extends to the back of the head. These birds like to forage on the ground for insects, and they’re quite common in gardens and by downed tree trunks. It sings continuously but can be aggressive toward intruders.

20. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow bird perching on metal bar
Image Credit: magaliiee13, Pixabay
Length: 4.5–6 inches
Defining characteristics: Gray belly and head, brown cap and wings

The Chipping Sparrow has a gray head with a brown cap. It also has a dark-colored stripe running from the beak, through the eye, to the back of the head. It’s a small bird that likes to feed on the ground and take cover in shrubs.

Red Birds in New Jersey

21. American Robin

american robin perched on a tree trunk
Image Credit: tdfugere, Pixabay
Length: 9–11 inches
Defining characteristics: Reddish-orange breast

The American Robin is one of the easiest-to-find birds in the United States, including New Jersey. It has an orange breast and belly that makes it easy to identify, and it sings a cheerful song that is pleasant to hear in the morning. It’s quite common in the city, and you will often start to see it in early spring.

22. Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock
Length: 9–11 inches
Defining characteristics: Red shoulder patch with a yellow border

The Red-Winged Blackbird is an amazing species that’s easy to identify. It’s a medium-sized bird with an all-black body except for a red wing patch. The red patch has yellow highlighting around the edge, making it even more colorful. These birds love attention and sit on high perches singing loud songs throughout the day.

23. Northern Cardinal

male northern cardinal perching
Image Credit: FotoRequest, Shutterstock
Length: 8–9.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Male has red body, female has red highlights and a red beak

The Northern Cardinal is an attractive bird that’s easy to identify from a distance due to its bright-red color. The entire bird is red except for a black mask on the face and throat and black highlights in the wing feathers and tail feathers. The females have a pale brown body with red highlights on the crown, wing feathers, and tail feathers.

24. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 8.5–10 inches
Defining characteristics: Red crown and nape, white belly

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is easy to find in New Jersey, and it has a red nape and crown, with a white face, neck, and belly that may have red highlights mixed in. The back and wing feathers are black with white spots and stripes. These birds often pick at tree bark and pull it off instead of drilling into it, and they’re also common sights at backyard feeders.

25. House Finch

house finch bird perching on a tree trunk
Image Credit: bryanhanson1956, Pixabay
Length: 5–6 inches
Defining characteristics: Brown body, red highlights, large black eyes

The House Finch is a small bird with red highlights on the head and breast. These birds enjoy congregating around backyard feeders and spend time walking around the ground, moving slowly. They also like open woods and grasslands where it’s easy to find seeds and berries.

26. Cedar Waxwing

cedar waxwing bird perching on the branch of tree
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 5.5–7 inches
Defining characteristics: Brown head with a black mask over the eyes, small red patch on wings

The Cedar Waxwing is an attractive bird that looks quite plump. It has a light-brown head with a black mask and a yellow belly. The wings are gray with a small red patch, and the tail feathers are long and dark with a yellow tip. It’s a social bird that prefers the company of a flock.

Other New Jersey Birds

27. Common Grackle

common grackle bird on the ground
Image Credit: Bernell, Pixabay
Length: 11–13.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Colorful iridescent body and head, yellow eyes

The Common Grackle is a dark-colored bird with iridescent blue-and-bronze feathers. It has a long tail and a flatter head than most other blackbirds. These birds often congregate in large flocks and will push smaller birds from backyard feeders.

28. Dark-Eyed Junco

dark-eyed junco
Image Credit: simardfrancois, Pixabay
Length: 5.5–6.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Slate-colored body, pink beak

The Dark-Eyed Junco is a slate-colored bird with a light belly and beak. These birds spend plenty of time on the ground and fly low through cover. Look for these birds in open fields, parks, and the side of the road.

29. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Image Credit: JackBulmer,Pixabay
Length: 5.5–7 inches
Defining characteristics: Red spot on head, white spots on wings

The Downy Woodpecker is a small bird with a short bill and a red spot toward the back of its head. These birds are more acrobatic than other woodpeckers and make a great deal of noise as they drum on trees. They’re comfortable around humans, and you can find them in city parks and backyards quite frequently.

30. American Crow

american crow perching on a tree trunk
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length: 15–21 inches
Defining characteristics: Large black body and large black beak

The American crow is a large bird that’s easy to find across the United States. It has a black body and beak with a short tail. It’s a social and intelligent bird that you will often see around garbage cans and other areas that humans frequent. It will also aggressively chase away any intruders, including large birds of prey like hawks or owls.

31. Northern Flicker

northern flicker perching on wooden fence
Image By: Naturelady, Pixabay
Length: 11–12.5 inches
Defining characteristics: Black spots on wings, red spot on face

The Northern flicker is one of the most colorful woodpeckers in New Jersey. It has a purplish neck and face, with a red patch under the eye and a brown cap. The light-brown belly has several black spots and a black bib that will help you see this bird from quite a distance. While these birds don’t usually visit backyard feeders, you can attract them by adding a birdbath to your yard.

hummingbird divider Attracting Birds to Your Yard


The best way to attract more birds to your yard is to add bird feeders. Most commercial bird food brands will work fine, but specifically look for ones that have plenty of black sunflower seeds, as these are favorites of many birds.


Suet is a type of fat packed with birdseed. Birds enjoy the flavor, and it helps keep the seeds together, so they work better in hanging feeders.


Many birds like nuts, and you can put peanut butter, along with whole or shelled nuts, on a platform feeder to attract birds to your property.


Bird Eating Fruit
Image Credit: lorilorilo, Pixabay

Fruit is a popular choice when trying to attract birds that don’t normally visit your yard. Pieces of oranges, apples, and melons can attract many unusual birds that don’t care for seeds.


Many birds enjoy taking a bath, especially on hot days, so adding a birdbath to your property is a great choice.

Is It Bad to Attract Birds to My Yard?

The downside to attracting many birds to your property is that birds can spread disease, primarily salmonella. If your feeders are popular, the birds will also get poop everywhere, so make sure your feeders are far from any parked cars or heavily traveled areas. To prevent the spread of disease, hose down the area frequently and add more feeders if you notice many birds at a single location.


Many birds in New Jersey enjoy visiting backyard bird feeders and baths. Colorful birds, like the American Goldfinch, Blue Jay, and Common Yellowthroat, are the easiest to see from inside the house, but many other birds are easy to attract and sing wonderful songs.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.