1. Northern Cardinal
Also known as the redbird, this gorgeous songbird has a huge distribution, covering all of the East Coast, and spreading south to the Gulf of Mexico. Cardinals have a distinctive crest on their head and a dark mask around the beak. Males of this species are a bright and vivid red, while females are tan with red highlights.
2. White-Tailed Kite
This is a fairly small raptor, but also one of the most beautiful. White-tailed kites have a white torso and head, gray wings with black highlights and distinctive black marks around their eyes. Their range covers much of South and Central America, as well as California and the southern tips of Texas and Florida.
3. American Flamingo
The only Flamingo native to North America, American flamingos are found primarily in the Caribbean, the north coast of Brazil and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, but are known to sometimes migrate to Florida. In fact, up until the 1900s, flamingos called south Florida home, and according to recent studies, there is a steadily increasing population of flamingos in the Everglades.
4. California Quail
As you could probably guess by its name, this gamefowl is native to California (as well as the Baja California peninsula in Mexico) and can also be found in smaller numbers in the Pacific Northwest. These birds are adorned with a forward-drooping plume, and as with other fowl, males have a striking pattern while females are tawny. The California quail’s favorite pastime is taking dust baths: the quails burrow midway into the earth and then wriggle about and flap their wings, raising up a cloud of dust.
5. Baltimore Oriole
Another common but nevertheless beautiful sight is the state bird of Maryland. Despite their name, Baltimore oriole are common all around the Northeast and Midwest around the warm seasons, and winter in the Caribbean, Florida and Central America. Orioles have a bright yellow torso that can appear orange in some males. Males also have a black head, while females’ heads are yellow.
6. Greater Sage-Grouse
One of the most sexually-dimorphic species of fowl, the dun, mottled female looks nothing like the majestic male grouse. The males are large, with a gorgeous and dense white breast that gives them the appearance of wearing a thick fur scarf or vest. During mating displays, males spread out their tail feathers in a fan and inflate two yellow skin sacs in their breast.
7. Blue Jay
It’s hard to imagine, but this beautiful songbird is a cousin to crows and ravens. Blue jays have a white underbelly with blue plumage on their backs and wings and a pronounced crest like the cardinal’s. Their plumage is most striking around the tips of the wings and the tail, where it takes a pattern like a butterfly’s. Blue jays can be found all over the East Coast, the South and the Midwest.