Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

30 Common Backyard Birds in Tennessee (With Pictures)

Last Updated on

northern mockingbird perched on a branch

If you live in Tennessee, it’s only natural to wonder what kind of birds visit your backyard. There are over 300 bird species in the state, and if you’re keeping an eye out, you’ll see more than a few in your yard. 

Here, we highlight 30 of the most common birds in Tennessee and give you advice on how you can attract them to your yard.

hummingbird divider

The 30 Most Common Backyard Birds in Tennessee

1. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker
Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay
Population  16 million
Size 9 to 11 inches
Habitat Forests near rivers and streams
Diet Insects, acorns, nuts, and fruit

The red-bellied woodpecker is a bird that you can find in Tennessee any month of the year, and while they don’t love suburban areas, you might catch them eating at your bird feeder because they love eating different nuts.

2. American Goldfinch

american goldfinch
Image Credit: Miles Moody, Pixabay
Population  24 million
Size 4.3 to 5.1 inches
Habitat Weedy fields and floodplains
Diet Seeds and certain insects

The American goldfinch is a bird that stays in Tennessee year-round. Since they love chowing down on seeds, if you live in an open area, you should be able to attract them to your feeder.

3. Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird
Image Credit: Steve Byland, Shutterstock
Population  20 million
Size 6.3 to 8.3 inches
Habitat Open country around trees
Diet Insects, fruits, and berries

Bluebirds are gorgeous birds, and as long as you live in an open area with a few trees around, you should be able to spot a few. However, since they feed primarily on insects, getting them to a feeder can be a challenge.

4. Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee Perched on a Tree
Image Credit: Ami Parikh, Shutterstock
Population  12 million
Size 4.3 to 4.7 inches
Habitat Deciduous forest and pine woods
Diet Sunflower seeds, peanut chips, and suet

If you put out a feeder with sunflower seeds, there’s a good chance that you’ll attract Carolina chickadees to your backyard. While they prefer wooded areas, they might stop by for a bite to eat if they see food while passing through. 

5. American Robin

American Robin
Image Credit: Petr Ganaj, Pexels
Population  370 million
Size 9.1 to 11 inches
Habitat Woodlands, suburban backyards, parks, and grassland
Diet Insects, berries, and earthworms

With over 370 million American robins out there, this is one of the easiest birds to attract to your backyard. Due to their narrow diet, it’s best to put out nesting boxes if you want to see them in your yard!

6. Northern Cardinal

male northern cardinal perched
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  120 million
Size 8.2 to 9.3 inches
Habitat Woodland edges, suburban gardens, towns, and thickets
Diet Insects, seeds, weeds, grass, flowers, berries, and fruit

The northern cardinal is a red bird in Tennessee that loves to frequent suburban backyards. They love to eat seeds, so if you put out a few different feeders, it’s only a matter of time until a northern cardinal comes to visit.

7. American Crow

american crow perched on a log
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  31 million
Size 16 to 21 inches
Habitat Near patches of woods, city parks, garbage dumps, campgrounds, backyards, athletic fields, cemeteries, and parking lots
Diet Insects, carrion, garbage, bird eggs, seeds, fruit, and berries

Unlike most other birds on this list, chances are that you don’t want to see an American crow in your backyard. They’re much larger than other birds and tend to bully them, and they’ll even eat their eggs if they can get to them.

You can find American crows in urban and suburban environments, and they’ll eat just about anything that they can get their beaks on.

8. Mourning Dove

mourning dove perched on a branch
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  350 million
Size 8.9 to 14 inches
Habitat Farms, towns, grasslands, and open woods
Diet Grains, peanuts, grasses, and herbs

If you live in a more rural area, there’s a decent chance that you’ll spot mourning doves. These birds hang out close to the ground, so if you’re trying to attract them to your yard, scatter their food on the ground.

9. Northern Mockingbird

northern mockingbird up close
Image Credit: Hippo_Lytos, Pixabay
Population  45 million
Size 8.2 to 10 inches
Habitat Forest edges and open areas
Diet Insects, berries, and wild fruits

The northern mockingbird is a large Tennessee songbird that you might find if you’re near a forest or an open clearing. They love to eat insects and berries, so you likely won’t see too many stopping by unless you have a berry bush in your yard. 

10. Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  13 million
Size 5.7 to 6.7 inches
Habitat Wilderness and suburban yards
Diet Suet, larvae, and insects

If you’re looking for the most adorable woodpecker out there, it’s the downy woodpecker. It’s also the most likely woodpecker that you will see in your yard. If you want to attract these birds to your yard, put out a suet bird feeder and they should come.

11. Carolina Wren

carolina wren
Image Credit: theSOARnet, Pixabay
Population  17 million
Size 4.9 to 5.5 inches
Habitat Thickets, cypress swamps, woods, and ravines
Diet Insects, fruits, and seeds

The Carolina Wren is a brown bird in Tennessee that you might see passing through your yard, but they likely won’t stay there too long. They typically live in thickets and areas near water, and they primarily eat insects and fruits. However, since they do eat seeds, you might see one stopping by your feeder occasionally.

Related Read: 20 Common Backyard Birds in North Carolina (With Pictures)

12. Blue Jay

Image Credit: RBEmerson, Pixabay
Population  13 million
Size 8.7 to 12 inches
Habitat Forests, parks, and suburban backyards
Diet Nuts, insects, sunflower seeds, suet, and corn kernels

Blue jays love visiting suburban backyards because they eat tons of food from bird feeders. You can put out nuts, sunflower seeds, suet, or corn kernels for them. You can also put out a nesting box so they’ll be around all the time!

13. Tufted Titmouse

tufted titmouse during winter
Image Credit: MikeGoad, Pixabay
Population  8 million
Size 5.9 to 6.7 inches
Habitat Deciduous woods, parks, orchards, and suburban backyards
Diet Sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, and seeds

The tufted titmouse might prefer wooded areas in the wild, but they’ve adapted well to suburban life, and you can often find them in backyards. They’ll chow down on seeds, peanuts, and suet, so if you have a bird feeder out, there’s a good chance that a tufted titmouse will visit.

14. Eastern Towhee

eastern towheen eating
Image Credit: milesmoody, Pixabay
Population  28 million
Size 6.8 to 9.1 inches
Habitat Shrubby woodlands, fields, and scrublands
Diet Insects, seeds, and berries

The eastern towhee isn’t the most likely bird to spot in backyards in Tennessee, but if you keep an eye out, you’ll spot one or two from time to time. They do eat seeds, so putting out a bird feeder will definitely increase your chances of seeing one.

15. Indigo Bunting

indigo bunting in the middle of the garden
Image Credit: engalapag, Pixabay
Population  78 million
Size 4.5 to 5.1 inches
Habitat Edges of farmland, woods, road, and railways
Diet Seeds, berries, buds, and insects

Indigo buntings are beautiful blue birds, and they love to perch up high. If you have telephone lines in your neighborhood, they might perch up there for a while and swoop down to eat seeds from your backyard.

16. House Finch

House finch perching
Image Credit: Jeff Caverly, Shutterstock
Population  21 million
Size 5.3 to 5.7 inches
Habitat Dry desert, oak savannah, near streams, and open coniferous forests
Diet Weed seeds, insects, and berries

The house finch is an adaptable bird that you can find in various landscapes in Tennessee. They’re particularly common around water, and they’ll eat weed seeds and insects throughout most of the year.

17. Barn Swallow

barn swallow perched
Image Credit: Elsemargriet, Pixabay
Population  190 million
Size 5.7 to 7.8 inches
Habitat Suburban parks, agricultural fields, lakes, and ponds
Diet Flying insects and insects

If you live in an area with plenty of space, barn swallows are sure to stop by. They also love living by open water, which makes sense because their diet consists primarily of flying insects. Anywhere in Tennessee with enough space and flying insects will attract barn swallows.

Related Read: 30 Common Backyard Birds in Pennsylvania (With Pictures)

18. European Starling

European starling
Image Credit: arjma, Shutterstock
Population  200 million
Size 8 to 9 inches
Habitat Lowlands, salt marshes, and open moorland
Diet Insects, berries, fruits, and seeds

With 200 million European starlings out there, there are more than a few that stop by in Tennessee. While they primarily eat insects, you will see them eating seeds every once in a while.

They live in lowland areas, especially if there’s a chance of standing water to attract insects to the area.

19. White-Throated Sparrow

white-throated sparrow perched
Image Credit: Canadian Nature Visions, Pixabay
Population  140 million
Size 5.9 to 7.5 inches
Habitat Forests and partially open wooded areas
Diet Millet, sunflower seeds, and insects

If you live near trees, the white-throated sparrow is a bird that you’ll likely see near your home. They love partially wooded areas, and if you put out sunflower seeds, they’ll come check out your yard.

20. Song Sparrow

song sparrow perched on birch log
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  130 million
Size 4.7 to 6.7 inches
Habitat Fields, by streams, woodland edges, and gardens
Diet Insects, seeds, and fruit

One type of sparrow that you can find in your yard in Tennessee is the song sparrow. They’re small sparrows, and you’re more likely to see them in gardens. You can leave seeds out for them, but they’ll primarily track down insects to eat.

21. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

ruby-throated hummingbird perched
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
Population  7 million
Size 3 to 3.5 inches
Habitat Woodland areas and gardens
Diet Nectar and insects

Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds out there, and if you want to see a hummingbird, you’ll need to put out a special feeder for them or have a flower garden. Hummingbirds love fresh nectar, and they need to eat quite a bit. Put out a feeder, and a ruby-throated hummingbird will likely check it out while migrating through the area.

22. Eastern Kingbird

eastern kingbird
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  13 million
Size 7.7 to 9.1 inches
Habitat Open savanna-like areas, fields, grasslands, and near water
Diet Flying insects and fruit

Unless you live near water, there’s not a great chance of an eastern kingbird checking out your backyard. They eat flying insects, so they need somewhere with open space to track them down, along with standing water.

23. White-Breasted Nuthatch

white-breasted nuthatch singing
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Population  10 million
Size 5.7 to 6.1 inches
Habitat Forests, woodlands, and grooves
Diet Insects and seeds

The white-breasted nuthatch lives near forested areas and open grooves, but it’s not unheard of to spot them in backyards in Tennessee. They prefer insects, but if they’re not finding enough, they will eat seeds too.

24. Orchard Oriole

Orchard oriole
Image Credit: JeffCaverly, Shutterstock
Population  4.3 million
Size 5.7 to 7.1 inches
Habitat Open woodland and areas with scattered trees
Diet Nectar and pollen

While everyone thinks of hummingbirds when they put out nectar feeders, another bird that needs nectar to survive is the orchard oriole. Their population numbers are in decline, so if you do attract a few to your yard and keep them thriving, you’ll be helping them out.

25. Yellow-Rumped Warbler

yellow-rumped warbler
Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay
Population  150 million
Size 4.7 to 5.9 inches
Habitat Forest, mixed woodlands, openings, and bogs
Diet Insects and berries

There are tons of warbler species out there, but the most likely one that you’ll spot in Tennessee is the yellow-rumped warbler. With over 150 million of them out there, you’ll likely spot a few if you’re looking. However, they are hard to attract with traditional bird feeders.

26. Eastern Phoebe

eastern phoebe perched
Image Credit: GeorgeB2, Pixabay
Population  16 million
Size 4 to 5 inches
Habitat Open woodland, farmland, and suburbs
Diet Insects and berries

While previous eastern phoebe generations lived out in open areas, modern ones have adapted quite well to suburban life. They don’t eat many seeds or nuts, though, so if you want to attract any to your yard, a nesting box is your best option.

27. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
Population  16 million
Size 12 to 14 inches
Habitat Woodland, forest edges, open fields, city parks, and suburbs
Diet Insects, fruits, and seeds

The northern flicker is a bird that’s adapted well to humanized conditions. You can find them in city parks and suburbs, as well as traditional habitats, like woodlands. They prefer insects, but they will eat seeds from bird feeders if they’re available.

28. Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock
Population  210 million
Size 8.5 to 9.5 inches
Habitat Saltwater marshes, old fields, and near ponds and lakes
Diet Insects and berries

If you live near somewhere with water, the red-winged blackbird is a bird that you might see. They’re a slightly bigger bird compared to many others on this list, but they’re not considered large. They feed primarily on insects, so there’s not too much that you can do to attract them to your yard.

29. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow
Image Credit: magaliiee13, Pixabay
Population  230 million
Size 5 to 5.8 inches
Habitat Coniferous forest edges, open woodlands, and savannas
Diet Seeds and millet

While chipping sparrows primarily leave near forest edges and open woodlands in Tennessee, since they primarily eat seeds and millet, you can attract them to your yard. Put out plenty of feeding options, and they should start stopping by before too long.

30. Eastern Meadowlark

male Eastern Meadowlark perched
Image Credit: Gualberto Becerra, Shutterstock
Population  37 million
Size 7.5 to 10 inches
Habitat Open fields, pastures, and prairies
Diet Insects and seeds

If you live near an open field or pasture of some sort, there’s a good chance that you’ll spot a few eastern meadowlarks. They prefer insects, but if they’re not finding enough, they will visit bird feeders for seeds.


With so many birds roaming Tennessee, if you put out a feeder or two, it’s only a matter of time until you get a few visitors!

Featured Image Credit: MOHANN, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.