Did you see a PINK bird in California?
I’m guessing you need help figuring out which species you saw with pink feathers. Well, you’ve come to the right place! To help you make an identification, I have included several photographs of each bird and detailed range maps.
9 Pink BIRDS IN California:
#1. House Finch
- Haemorhous mexicanus
- Males are pinkish around their heads and upper breasts. They have brown streaks on their back, tail, and belly.
- Females are brown with streaks on their back, tail, and belly.
- Both sexes have notched tails and conical beaks designed to eat seeds.
It’s common to see these pink birds in California near people.
Look for them around buildings, backyards, parks, and other urban and suburban areas. As you can see, only males have pinkish-red coloring.
House Finch Range Map
House Finches are often the first birds to discover new bird feeders. These birds are intensely curious and rarely travel alone, so their arrival often helps other birds find your feeders, too! I see them eating sunflower, Nyjer, and safflower seeds in my yard.
House Finches have an enjoyable song, which can be heard year-round. Listen below to a series of jumbled, warbled notes.
#2. Purple Finch
- Haemorhous purpureus
- Small, with a conical seed-eating bill.
- Males have a raspberry red or pink head, breast, and back.
- Females have prominent streaks of white and brown below, with strong facial markings, including a whitish eyebrow and a dark line down the side of the throat.
Male Purple Finches are described as looking like they were dipped in raspberry juice.
Look for these beautiful pink birds visiting feeders in California, especially during winter. Your best chance to attract them is using black-oil sunflower seeds. Having conifer trees in your yard is also a great way to encourage them to visit.
Purple Finch Range Map
Purple Finches can be challenging to identify because they look incredibly similar to the more common House Finch. I’ve made this mistake many times, believing that I saw a Purple Finch when it was, in fact, just another House Finch. To tell them apart, look at their back. The Purple Finch’s back has pink or red coloring, while the back of a House Finch has none.
Males sing a rich, musical warble. Listen below!
#3. Mourning Dove
- Zenaida macroura
- A mostly grayish dove with large black spots on the wings and a long, thin tail.
- Look for pinkish legs, a black bill, and a distinctive blue eye ring.
- Males and females look the same.
This species is one of the most common birds in California.
But at first glance, it’s hard to see any pink coloring on them. But look closer, and you will notice that Mourning Doves have PINK legs! 🙂
Mourning Dove Range Map
Mourning Doves are common visitors to bird feeding stations. They need a flat place to feed, so the best feeders for them are trays or platforms. They are most comfortable feeding on the ground, so throw a bunch of food there, too.
It’s common to hear these pink-legged birds in California.
Listen for a low “coo-ah, coo, coo, coo.” In fact, this mournful sound is how the dove got its name! Many people commonly mistake this sound for an owl. (Press PLAY below!)
#4. Cassin’s Finch
- Haemorhous cassinii
- Small finches with short-medium tails, streaked feathers, and thick bills.
- Males are rosy pink all over with more red on top of their heads.
- Females and young Cassin’s Finches are brown and white birds with dark streaks on the chest and underparts.
Male birds get the reddish-pink coloring on the top of their head from eating colorful foods like the berries of firethorn plants.
Cassin’s Finches visit feeders in the winter that provide sunflower seeds. They also like shrubs with fruit, such as mulberry, firethorn, or grape bushes. Interestingly, they crave salt and are often found visiting deposits of minerals on the ground.
Cassin’s Finch Range Map
Their songs tend to imitate other birds, and both males and females sing. Listen below as a male Cassin’s Finch sings a joyful song with a quick series of short sounds.
#5: Anna’s Hummingbird
- Calypte anna
How To Identify:
- Males: They are best known for their beautiful iridescent pinkish-red heads. The underparts are a mix between gray and green.
- Females: Duller than the males, with a green cap and body. Their tail has a white tip. Many birds have a patch of metallic pink or red on their throat.
These tiny birds are no larger than a ping-pong ball and weigh about the same as a nickel.
Anna’s Hummingbirds are different from most other hummers since they don’t migrate much, if at all. These pink-throated birds are year-round residents in California. They have varied habitats, including deserts, mountains, woodlands, gardens, and chaparral.
Anna’s Hummingbird Range Map
To help locate these hummingbirds, listen for a long song that often lasts ten seconds or more. The song starts with a series of buzzes, followed by a pleasant-sounding whistle. The entire sequence can last more than ten seconds and typically finishes with some chip notes.
#6: Broad-tailed Hummingbird
- Selasphorus platycercus
How To Identify:
- Males: Adults have a white breast, buffy flanks, and green covering their head, back, and tail. Look for their iridescent pink throat.
- Females: Similar to other types of hummingbirds, females are larger than males. They have a lightly speckled throat, white upper breast, and a brownish belly. The head and back are green.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are a bird of mountain meadows and open woodlands. They typically breed at elevations between 5,000 and 10,500 feet.
These pink-throated birds only stay in California for a few months, from late May to early August.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird Range Map
Males put on impressive aerial displays to attract females. The show begins with the male climbing high into the sky and then diving towards the ground, pulling up right in front of the bird he is trying to attract. Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are promiscuous and may mate with many individuals during a breeding season.
These birds live up to 10,500 feet high in the mountains, where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, even in summer. To survive these cold nights, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds enter a state of torpor, where they slow their heart rate down and drop their body temperature until the sun comes up!
#7. Common Ground Dove
- Columbina passerina
- These doves are small, being only slightly larger than a sparrow!
- They have a plain grey-brown back. The underparts have a pinkish tint to them.
- Small heads with a scaled pattern on their breast and neck. Dark spots on the wings.
These pinkish birds are typically easy to find in California. Look for them feeding on the ground beneath bird feeders, cleaning up the grains and other seeds that fall from above.
Common Ground Doves primarily nest on the ground! Simple nests are built lined with a few types of grass, weeds, and other plant matter. Being on the ground, they can make an easy meal for many different predators. Their primary defense is to blend into their surroundings or hide in thick vegetation.
Common Ground Dove Range Map
Common Ground Doves are relatively vocal. They can be heard at all times of the day and at any time of the year. Listen for a repeated, soft, high-pitched coo with a rising inflection.
#8. Black Rosy-Finch
- Leucosticte atrata
- Medium-sized chunky finches with a conical bill and a notched tail.
- Males are brownish and have some pink highlights and a yellow bill.
- Females are blackish overall with pink highlights on the wings and lower belly, and a gray crown. They have a black bill.
Black Rosy-Finches are incredibly unique pink birds in California.
You’ll need to head above the tree line to find them in summer. They nest on the sides of cliffs and other mountainous areas where few people ever travel.
But then, in winter, Black Rosy-Finches come down from the mountains a bit to escape the cold. They form large flocks and roost together in caves, mineshafts, and inside barns.
Black Rosy-Finch Range Map
If you are lucky enough to live near them, these beautiful finches will even visit bird feeders during winter! To attract them, try offering sunflower and Nyjer seeds on platform feeders or scattering them on the ground.
#9. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
- Leucosticte tephrocotis
- Males are a rich brown. Look for pink plumage on the body, a gray head, and a black forecrown, throat, and bill.
- Females are similar but with fewer amounts of pink, and their bill is yellow.
These pink birds are found at high elevations in California!
Look for them high on mountains or cliffs where they forage among loose stones, glaciers, meadows, and even avalanche areas. They even nest on the slopes of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America.
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Range Map
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches may visit backyard bird feeders in the winter when they come down from the mountains. They like to eat black oil sunflower seeds scattered on the ground or in platform feeders.
Listen below to this Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches chattering cheep cheep song.
Learn more about other birds in California!
Which of these pink birds have you seen in California?
Let us know in the comments!