9 SMALL Birds that live in Alaska (2024)

Do you want to learn about the SMALLEST birds found in Alaska?

Well, you have come to the right place. 🙂

Below, you are going to learn about the tiniest birds around. Incredibly, most of these birds weigh less than an ounce (28 grams)! To put that into perspective, a pencil weighs roughly an ounce.


#1. Downy Woodpecker

  • Dryobates pubescens
Types of small birds in Alaska
  • Length: 5.5 to 7.1 in / 14 to 18 cm
  • Weight: 0.71 to 1.16 oz / 20 to 33 g

Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker found in Alaska!

You probably recognize them, as they are seen in many yards visiting bird feeders.

Downy Woodpecker Range Map

This woodpecker species is easy to attract. The best foods to use are suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts (including peanut butter). You may even spot them drinking sugar water from your hummingbird feeders! If you use suet products, make sure to use a specialized suet bird feeder.

Once you know what to listen for, my guess is that you will start hearing Downy Woodpeckers everywhere you go. Their calls resemble a high-pitched whinnying sound that descends in pitch towards the end.

And if you’re really good, you can try to identify this species by how they drum on trees, which they do when looking for a mate or establishing a territory. The drumming is so fast it almost sounds like one uninterrupted sound!

YouTube video

Press PLAY above to hear a Downy Woodpecker!

#2. Song Sparrow

  • Melospiza melodia

Types of small birds in Alaska

  • Length: 4.3 to 7.1 in / 11 to 18 cm
  • Weight: ~ 1.1 oz / 32 g

These small birds are common in Alaska, especially in wet & shrubby open areas.

But sparrows, in general, are difficult to identify due to their abundance and how similar they all tend to look. Until you take a closer look, they all appear “small and brown.”

Song Sparrow Range Map

song sparrow range map

The easiest way to confirm you have seen a Song Sparrow is to listen for their beautiful songs. The most common one they sing, which you can listen to below, consists of three short notes followed by a pretty trill. The song varies depending on location and the individual bird.

YouTube video

#3. Black-capped Chickadee

  • Poecile atricapillus

Types of small birds in Alaska

  • Length: 4.7–5.9 in / 12–15 cm
  • Weight: 0.32–0.49 oz / 9–14 g

Black-capped Chickadees are one of the most beloved small birds in Alaska, and it’s easy to see why!

These birds are often described as “cute,” as they are tiny, with an oversized head with a black cap and bib. Look for them in open deciduous forests, thickets, and cottonwood groves. They also adapt easily to the presence of people and are common to see in backyards and parks.

Black-capped Chickadee Range Map

black capped chickadee range map

Black-capped Chickadees are easy to attract to bird feeders! In fact, once you set up a new bird feeder, they will likely be one of the first birds to visit, as they are curious about anything new in their territory. The best foods to use include sunflower, peanuts, and suet. Their small size and athletic ability mean these birds can use just about any feeder!

These birds are extremely vocal, and you should have no problem hearing one. And luckily, their vocalizations are unique and relatively easy to identify. Listen below to a song with a simple 2 or 3-note whistle, which sounds like it’s saying “fee-bee” or “hey sweetie.”

Black-capped Chickadees also make a distinctive “chickadee-dee-dee” call. And yes, it sounds like they are saying their name! Interestingly, when alarmed, they add more “dee” notes at the end of the call.

#4. Dark-eyed Junco

  • Junco hyemalis

Types of small birds in Alaska

  • Length: 5.1 to 6.9 in / 13 to 17.5 cm
  • Weight: 0.63 to 1.06 oz / 18 to 30 g

Dark-eyed Juncos are one of the most common small birds in Alaska. You can easily identify them by how smooth their feathers look. Or look for a white flash from their tail feathers as they fly away.

Dark-eyed Junco Range Map

dark eyed junco range map

This species is found in pine and mixed-coniferous forests when they breed, but in winter, they are seen in fields, parks, woodlands, and backyards. Dark-eyed Juncos have earned the nickname “Snowbirds” or “Winter birds” because they only appear in winter in many parts of their range.

Dark-eyed Juncos like to visit bird feeders, but ONLY ON THE GROUND, where they consume fallen seeds.

Males sing a two-second loud, trilling song that can carry hundreds of feet away. In addition, both sexes also sing softer songs that are a mixture of warbles, trills, and whistles.

#5. Pine Siskin

  • Spinus pinus

Types of small birds in Alaska

  • Length: 4.3–5.5 in / 11–14 cm
  • Weight: 0.42–0.63 oz / 12–18 g

Pine Siskins are typically found in Alaska in mixed evergreen or deciduous forests, but they will move to a new place in search of food, like weedy fields, backyards, or gardens.

These energetic birds can be seen visiting bird feeders during the winter. They prefer to eat smaller seeds without tough shells, such as sunflower or Nyjer seeds.

Pine Siskin Range Map

pine siskin range key

These small birds are very social and search for food in flocks while chirping nonstop to each other. They don’t even stop chattering when flying!

#6. White-crowned Sparrow

  • Zonotrichia leucophrys

White-crowned Sparrow pic

  • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)

During the breeding season, White-crowned Sparrows are found in shrubbery habitats with open grassy areas. In winter, they prefer weedy fields, thickets, and backyards.

White-crowned Sparrow Range Map

white crowned sparrow range map

If you want to attract these small birds to your feeding station, use sunflower seeds. Just make sure the food is placed on the ground, as they won’t fly up to feeders. And having a brush pile will entice them to stay by giving them places to hide and feel safe.

White-crowned Sparrows are known for their long migration journeys. This sparrow has been known to travel over 300 miles (483 km) in one night!

Males primarily sing, but on occasion, so will females. Their song lasts only a few seconds. Listen below:

#7: Rufous Hummingbird

  • Selasphorus rufus

rufous hummingbird

  • Length: 2.8–3.5 in / 7–9 cm
  • Weight: 0.071–0.176 oz / 2–5 g

Rufous Hummingbirds have an interesting migration pattern. In the spring, they fly north up the Pacific Coast to their summer breeding grounds. They return to their winter homes in Mexico and parts of the southern United States by flying a completely different route along the Rocky Mountains!

In fact, they have one of the longest migrations of any bird in the world, which is incredible given their small size!

Rufous Hummingbird Range Map

rufous hummingbird

Despite being small, Rufous Hummingbirds are the most aggressive hummingbird in Alaska! Be careful if one finds your hummingbird feeders or garden, as they will relentlessly attack and drive other hummingbirds away. They have even been seen chasing chipmunks!

YouTube video

#8. Anna’s Hummingbird

  • Calypte anna

anna's hummingbird

  • Length: 3.9 to 4.3 in (9.9 to 10.9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 oz (2.8 to 5.7 g)

These jeweled beauties are tiny birds that weigh about the same as a nickel.

Anna’s are different from most hummingbirds since they don’t migrate much, if at all. These hummingbirds are year-round residents from southern British Columbia to northern Mexico. They have varied habitats, including deserts, mountains, woodlands, gardens, and chaparral.

Anna’s Hummingbird Range Map

To help locate these hummingbirds in Alaska, listen for a long song that often lasts ten seconds or more. The song starts with a series of buzzes, which is then followed by a pleasant-sounding whistle. The entire sequence can last more than ten seconds and typically finishes with some chip notes.

#9. Chestnut-backed Chickadee

  • Poecile rufescens

chestnut backed chickadee

  • Length: 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-12 g)

Chestnut-backed Chickadees are truly handsome little birds. They are easily identified by their chestnut backs and sides, which match the bark of the trees they live amongst.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee Range Map

chestnut backed chickadee range map

Look for these small birds in Alaska in dense coniferous forests. They can also be easily attracted to bird feeders. Just make sure your backyard has plenty of shrubs and trees they can use for cover!

Chestnut-backed Chickadees have a unique call when it comes to chickadees. Listen for a high, scratchy “chick-a-dee” that lasts 1 – 1.5 seconds. They also sing a series of “gargle” notes, but these noises aren’t heard often.

Learn more about other birds in Alaska!

Which of these small birds have you seen in Alaska?

Let us know in the comments!

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