Bird With Red Eyes (19 Amazing Red-Eyed Birds)

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In daily life or through TV programs, you can notice some birds with red eyes.

Some species have naturally red eyes, while others turn red at night. In addition, birds can also suffer from red-eye infections.

Today, we will cover 21 species with naturally permanent red eyes and the causes of unwanted red eyes in birds.

So let’s read on.

List of 19 Birds With Red Eyes

Great Crested Grebe

  • The scientific name: Podiceps cristatus
  • Wingspan: From 23 to 29 inches (From 59 to 73 centimeters)
  • Length:  From 18 to 20 inches (From 46 to 51 centimeters)
  • Weight: From 0.9 to 1.5 kilograms
  • Lifespan: From 10 to 15 years
  • Diet: Piscivore, Carnivore, Insectivore

The Great Crested Grebes belongs to the grebes family. They are easy to recognize thanks to their black crest atop the head and around the necks.

They live mainly in Europe, Mongolia, Asia, Russia, New Zealand, Turkmenistan, Australia, and many areas of southern and eastern Africa.

Their main characteristic is that their face and body are white, and their plumage and wings are dark browns. They can forage by catching prey underwater, making them known as skilled divers.

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

  • The scientific name: Podiceps auritus
  • Wingspan: Range from 55 to 74 centimeters
  • Length: From 31 to 38 centimeters
  • Weight: Range from 300 to 570 grams
  • Lifespan: Around 10 years
  • Diet: Piscivore, Carnivore

This species is also known as “Slavonian Grebe” in some places. Horned Grebe can also be divided into two subspecies, including the Eurasian and North American species.

The former has a breeding range from western China to Greenland, while the latter has a breeding range throughout the United States and Canada.

Their primary plumage is black and white and can change to black and red during the breeding season.

This species can easily be confused with the Black-necked species

Clark’s Grebe

  • The scientific name: Aechmophorus clarkii
  • Wingspan: From 31.9 to -32.3 inches (From 81 to 82 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: From 10 to 12 years
  • Length: From 21.7 to 29.5 inches (From 55 to 75 centimeters)
  • Weight: Range from 0,718 kilograms to 1.6 kilograms
  • Diet:  Piscivore, Carnivore, Insectivore

Up to 85s, the species was considered the same as the Western Grebes due to their similarities. This bird occurs mainly in California, Arizona, Nevada, and central Mexico.

Clark’s Grebe will migrate to the Pacific Coast during the winter. They feature yellow and slightly upturned bills, whitish bodies, and a long neck.

Males are distinguished by a small crest on their head, while females are not.

Read more: Animals With Long Necks (21 Amazing Long-Necked Animals)

Western Grebe

  • The scientific name:  Aechmophorus occidentalis
  • Wingspan: 31.9-32.3 inches (From 81 to 82 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: Around 10 years
  • Length: From 21.7 to 29.5 inches (From 55 to 75 centimeters)
  • Weight. Range from 0,718 kilograms to 1.6 kilograms
  • Diet:  Piscivore, Insectivore, Carnivore

It also has folk names like “dabchick” and “Swan Grebes.” Generally, it is similar to Clark’s Grebes in weight, size, and wingspan.

Yet, they differ from the latter in their bills. For example, western Grebes feature greenish-yellow bills instead of bright yellow bills from Clark’s Grebes.

Black-Necked Grebe

  • The scientific name:  Podiceps nigricollis
  • Weight: Range from 260 grams to 450 grams
  • Wingspan: From 57 to 59 centimeters
  • Length: From 11 to 13 inches (From 28 to 34 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: Around 7 years
  • Diet: Piscivore, Carnivore

You may also see some places calling it Eared Grebes. This species was discovered in 1831 by Ludwig Brehm, a German ornithologist.

They look pretty similar to Horned Grebes. The steeper forehead is the distinguishing feature that makes it easiest to recognize them.

Their breeding plumage is ochre color, extending over the ears. Meanwhile, their plumage or flanks will become grayish-white during the non-breeding season.

They have red eyes that remain year-round

American Coot

  • The scientific name: Fulica americana
  • Wingspan: From 23 to 25 inches (From 58 to 63 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: Range from 15 to 20 years
  • Length: From 15 to 16 inches (From 39 to 42 centimeters)
  • Weight: Range from 600 to 700 grams
  • Diet:  Omnivore

This species and ducks are related, and both belong to the same family of rails. They and ducks also look very similar, except for a few minor differences.

They have toed and scaled legs, which allows them to walk conveniently on drylands.

Furthermore, these birds feature white-colored, thick, and short bills. Their dark body comes with a blue hue all over.

They are also known as “Mud Hen” or “Pouldeau” and are active mainly in North America.

Read more: 16 Birds With Long Legs You Must Know About (With Pics)

Rosy-Billed Pochard

Rosy-Billed Pochard

  • The Scientific name: Netta peposaca
  • Lifespan: From 5 to 15 years
  • Length: About 22 inches ( 56 centimeters)
  • Weight: From 1 to 1.2 kilograms
  • Diet: Herbivore

These birds are diving ducks and have the other name, “Rosybill.”

They occur in many South America and are common in Uruguay, southern Brazil, central Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina.

This species will migrate to southern Bolivia during the winter season. Their bills are rosy-red that come with black spots at the edge.

They feature an overall black body and are white-streaked wings.

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

  • The cientific name: Pipilo maculatus
  • Wingspan: About 10.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Around 11 years
  • Length: From 18 to 20 inches (From 17 to 21 centimeters)
  • Weight: From 33 to 48 grams
  • Diet: Insectivore

These passerine birds belong to New World Sparrow. “Oregon towhee” is their archaic name.

Their primary habitat is upland trees, and they breed throughout parts of northwestern North America.

They are very common in riparian forests and wetlands located in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, southern British Columbia, and more.

They have a black-colored neck & head with white-streaked wings. In addition, this species has a fan-shaped tail and is approximately the size of a robin.

Cooper’s Hawk

  • The scientific name: Accipiter cooperii
  • Wingspan: From 24 to 35 inches (From 62 to 90 centimeters)
  • Length: From 14 to 18 inches ( From 35 to 46 centimeters)
  • Weight: Range from 330 to 680 grams
  • Lifespan: Around 12 years
  • Diet: Carnivore

This skilled predator belongs to the family of True Hawks and is native to North America. They are smaller in size than hawks.

These birds mainly live in heavily wooded areas throughout  Mexico and southern Canada.

Charles Lucien Bonaparte, an ornithologist & zoologist from France, named this species in honor of his friend, an ornithologist, William Cooper.


  • The Scientific name: Charadrius vociferus
  • Wingspan: From 23 to 25 inches (From 59 to 63 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: Around 10 years
  • Length: From 7.9 to 11 inches (From 20 to 28 centimeters)
  • Weight: Range from 71 to 121 grams
  • Diet:– Insectivore

Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, discovered these large plovers in 1758 all over the Americas.

Their heads feature patches of white and black, and their brown upper parts have reddish fringes.

Killdeer’s underparts and bellies are white. Their main breeding areas are open fields, coastal wetlands, or beaches.

Red-Eyed Vireo

Red-Eyed Vireo

  • The Scientific name:  Viero olivaceus
  • Lifespan, About 10 years
  • Length: From 5.1 to 5.5 inches ( From 13 to 14 centimeters)
  • Weight: Range from 14 to 15 grams
  • Diet: Omnivore

These songbirds look a lot like the Warblers. However, they do not feature closely related.

They have a grey-and-black crown on their head, their upper parts are olive-green, and their underparts are white. Their eyes are small and have bloodred irises.

Wood Duck

  • The Scientific name: Aix sponsa
  • Wingspan: From 26 to 29 inches (From 66 to 73 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: Around 15 years
  • Length: From 19 to 21 inches ( From 47 to 54 centimeters)
  • Weight: About 680 grams
  • Diet: Insectivore, and Omnivore

These Wood Ducks, or Carolina Ducks, are North America’s most colorful animals with webbed feet. The medium-sized individual comes with multi-colored plumage and red eyes.

The males have brighter plumage than the females. Whether male or female, they all come with crested heads.

However, if you find an individual with a white eye-ring and whitish throat, it is female.

Cinnamon Teal

  • The scientific name: Anas cyanoptera
  • Wingspan: About 22 inches
  • Lifespan: Around 10 years
  • Length: From 36 to 43 centimeters (From 14.2 to 26.9 inches)
  • Weight: Range from 280 to 500 grams
  • Diet: Omnivore

These small ducks usually operate mainly in North and South America. This species lives in lakes, wetlands, marshes, and ponds. Plants are their favorite diet.

However, these birds can also consume insects or other small animals in a food shortage.

They have darker-brown upper parts. The female comes with grey bills and a mottled body.

Black Rail

  • The Scientific name: Laterallus jamaicensis
  • Wingspan: Range from 22 to 28 centimeters
  • Lifespan: About 2.4 years
  • Length: From 10 to15 centimeters
  • Weight: From 29 to 39 grams
  • Diet: Omnivore

They are mouse-sized, diminutive species that belong to the rails family.

They usually live sporadically around South America, North America (California and Florida), and the Caribbean.

They feature a black and small body, which comes with short legs and bills. The body of this species is speckled all over.

White-Winged Dove

  • The Scientific name: Zenaida asiatica
  • Lifespan: About  21 years
  • Wingspan: About 19 inches
  • Length: About 11 inches (29 centimeters)
  • Weight: Around 150 grams
  • Diet: Insectivore, Omnivore

These plump birds feature thin, long beaks and small heads. These birds are native to South America and are now common throughout the United States.

They operate throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, etc. At first glance, you might think they are gray.

Yet, if you look closely, you will see that these birds feature a light brown body and lighter underparts.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

  • The Scientific name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  • Wingspan: Range from 20 to 30 centimeters
  • Weight: Range from 32 to 53 grams
  • Length: From 17 to 23 centimeters
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Lifespan: About12 years

Carl Linnaeus first discovered these birds in 1785.

This species has rufous sides, a blackhead, tail, and back, and its belly is white. They live mainly in North America.

Common Loon

  • The scientific name: Gavia Immer
  • Weight: From 2.2 to 7 kilograms
  • Length: From 66 to 91 centimeters (From 26 to 36 inches)
  • Lifespan: From 9 to 15 years
  • Wingspan: About 54 inches (136 centimeters)
  • Diet: Piscivore, Carnivore

You can find this species anywhere in America

They are mainly brown. Yet, these birds come with a greenish, blackish sheen, or blueish all over the upper parts during the breeding season.


  • The Scientific name:  Aythya valisineria
  • Weight: From 0.8 to 1.6 kilograms
  • Length: From 48 to 56 centimeters
  • Lifespan: About 16 years
  • Wingspan: Range from 31 to 35 inches ( from 79 to 89 centimeters)
  • Diet: Omnivore

Canvasbacks belong to diving ducks and are native to North America. Alexander Wilson, a naturalist, discovered this species in 1814.

Their size is similar to Mallard’s, but its body is leaner.

White-Tailed Kite

  • The scientific name: Elanus leucurus
  • Weight: From 250 to 380 grams
  • Length: From 14 to 17 inches (From 35 to 43 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: About 6 years
  • Wingspan: Range from 35 to 40 inches (from 88 to 102 centimeters)
  • Diet:  Carnivore

This species occurs across South and North America. A French ornithologis named Loius Jean Pierre Vieillot was first discovered in 1818.

The color of this species is quite similar to gulls, while the body shape is quite close to falcons.

Red-Breasted Merganser

Red-Breasted Merganser

  • The scientific name:  Mergus serrator
  • Wingspan: From 28 to 34 inches (From 70 to 86 centimeters)
  • Length: From 20 to 24 inches ( From 51 to 62 centimeters)
  • Weight: From 0.8 to 1.3 kilograms
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Lifespan: About 1 to 8 years

Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, was the first to discover this species.

During nesting season, these birds are found in rivers and lakes. They will migrate to coastal waters, estuaries, and bays in winter.

Related: Bird With Long Beak (18 Birds With The Longest Beaks)

Why Do Some Birds Have Red Eyes?

The reason why birds have red eyes usually comes from two reasons:

Naturally Red-Eyed Birds

All the species we mentioned above, and many more, are naturally red-eyed.

Color often plays an essential role in an animal’s survival ability in the wild. Yet, no studies have shown a relationship between eye color and bird function.

Other Causes of Red Eyes in Birds

If your bird’s eyes suddenly turn red, it could be due to:

  • Aging
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Air Pollution
  • And more

How to Treat Red Eye Infections For Birds?

If your bird has an eye infection, it’s best to take it to the vet. If your bird’s eye infection is mild, you can treat it yourself with a saline solution.

However, before carrying out any treatment procedures, you should consult your vet.

To Sum It Up

Hopefully, you have received all the necessary information about “birds with red eyes.”

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Thank you for reading.