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Legsrus

Bird Identification in NW Florida

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Hi Everyone.  I am trying to identify a bird I have seen here over the years in my backyard.  Unfortunately I do not have a picture but I cannot for the life of me find this bird anywhere on the internet.  I just saw it yesterday in my tree around 8 am.  It is a very small bird, a little larger than a hummingbird but smaller than a cardinal.  It is a slim bird with a short beak.  It has spotted grayish feathers and its most distinctive feature is that it has a red/maroon head and neck.  It is a very vibrant and solid red/maroon, no other colors mixed in (and I do mean solid color).  It travels in a flock as there are usually at least 20 to 30 near my feeder when I see them.  They are usually here early in the morning or more often late in the evening around 4 or 5 pm.  In the summertime it is later than that.  I have not heard any distinctive noises from it but we have a lot of birds.  It is definitely NOT a woodpecker or any other common bird that you might think of.  I cannot even find a picture of this bird on the internet using Google which is weird because the entire head and neck are solid red.  It is possible it is a migratory bird and not necessarily local to the Pensacola Florida area all year long.  Any help would be appreciated!

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Posted (edited)

Are you able to get photos of them?  Even a poor phone pic would probably be very helpful.

Where do you usually see them (in a tree, eating from your feeders, on the ground)?

EDIT:  Welcome to Whatbird!

Edited by The Bird Nuts

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Hm, well the first thing I thought was Red-headed or Red-bellied Woodpecker... hm. I agree, behavior would be great info. 

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9 minutes ago, hbvol50 said:

look up  "house finch" on an ID site

Showing up 20 to 30 strong at the feeder in winter and/or summer definitely sounds like house finch behavior.

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2 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Are you able to get photos of them?  Even a poor phone pic would probably be very helpful.

Where do you usually see them (in a tree, eating from your feeders, on the ground)?

EDIT:  Welcome to Whatbird!

Always in a tree, never on the ground.  They do eat at the feeders and they are always in a group never alone.  I will try and get a picture and post but whenever I see them I usually don’t have my phone on me and by the time I go back in the house and get it they have been startled and fly off.  

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2 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Are you able to get photos of them?  Even a poor phone pic would probably be very helpful.

Where do you usually see them (in a tree, eating from your feeders, on the ground)?

EDIT:  Welcome to Whatbird!

Always in a tree, never on the ground.  They do eat at the feeders and they are always in a group never alone.  I will try and get a picture and post but whenever I see them I usually don’t have my phone on me and by the time I go back in the house and get it they have been startled and fly off.  

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Also tried house finch and that is not it either.  The whole head and neck are solid red and I mean solid, not a hint of any other color present.  It is head turning red for sure.

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Are there any trees/shrubs or anything with red berries in the area? Sometimes diet will cause a change in feather color or intensify it. This is a crazy long-shot but have you looked at the Finch family of Munia/Mannikin. 🙂

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Possibly Scaley-breasted Munia or "Nutmeg Finch" in the pet shop.  Invasive pets that got loose and are taking over.

image.thumb.png.48844365687ac281753ba594c785d385.png

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2 hours ago, lonesome55dove said:

Are there any trees/shrubs or anything with red berries in the area? Sometimes diet will cause a change in feather color or intensify it. This is a crazy long-shot but have you looked at the Finch family of Munia/Mannikin. 🙂

I was wondering if this might be a flock of exotics hanging out together.   The local Audubon group might know of a mass jail-break.

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I did my best from the description you gave, @Legsrus.  Is is close at all or ??  Give me details on what needs to change.

bird outline.jpg

Edited by MerMaeve
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On 1/3/2019 at 10:08 PM, Legsrus said:

  I will try and get a picture and post but whenever I see them I usually don’t have my phone on me and by the time I go back in the house and get it they have been startled and fly off.  

Try parking yourself as close to the feeder as possible (outside with them, not through a window) with your phone in position to get a photo. If you have a friend with a camera to help you that would be good too; it's hard to get bird photos with a phone. 

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1 hour ago, Sean C said:

molting Vermilion Flycatcher maybe? There have been several in north FL lately

Would they be in a flock of 20 to 30 birds? 🙂

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We need a picture!  Don't worry about if it might not be great quality... we might be able to pick up something that seals the ID.

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Red-crested Cardinal - a regular Florida escapee (but I don't think they do mass jail breaks).

Really looking forward to the answer.

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3 hours ago, RobinHood said:

Red-crested Cardinal - a regular Florida escapee (but I don't think they do mass jail breaks).

Really looking forward to the answer.

This is what I was thinking as well

OP, have you seen any birds similar to the red ones, but with a tan head? 

Also, what does the bill look like? Does it resemble that of a finch, or more of a chickadee, or maybe something closer to a woodpecker or nuthatch? 

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