male and female cardinals on a tree branch
August 4, 2023

There have been more than 240 species of birds recorded in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 60 of these species are year-round residents of the national park. That’s why the Smokies are one of the best bird watching areas. Here’s a list of some of the most common Smoky Mountain birds you’re most likely to see when you visit the national park.

Wild Turkey

Turkey in the Smoky Mountains

The Wild Turkey is a large bird with dark body feathers. The male has a large, featherless, reddish head and distinctive tail feathers. The female’s feathers are duller in shades of brown and gray. The males will puff themselves up and show off their tail feathers to attract mates and ward off the competition. The best way to spot these Smoky Mountain birds is to get up early to see them foraging along the roads and in clearings.

Northern Cardinal

The male Northern Cardinal has stunning red feathers with a black mask and throat. The female’s feathers aren’t as brightly colored. They are a pale brownish color with red on their crest, tail, and wings. These Smoky Mountain birds are some of the most popular in the national park because of their beautiful colors. The Northern Cardinal is one of the most common birds you’ll see in the Smokies.

Mallard Duck

Male and female mallard ducks on water

The male Mallard Duck has a distinctive bright green head with a thin white collar, reddish-brown chest, and bright yellow bill. His tail feathers are black with white tips. The female has mottled brown feathers and an orange and brown bill. Both the male and female have purplish secondary feathers on their wings that can be seen when they’re flying or standing. You can find these birds near water in the national park.

American Robin

The American Robin is a beautiful and popular Smoky Mountain bird. This bird is distinguished by its rusty red breast with a dark head and back. You’ll also notice white marks around the eyes and its white throat. Both the male and female have similar colors, but the female appears paler. The American Robin is a thrush and can be found throughout the Smoky Mountains.

Canada Goose

Canada goose flying

The Canada Goose is a large, well-known bird. It has a long black neck with a white patch on its cheek. The body is brown with a pale white chest and underside. Its legs and feet are black. You can find the Canada Goose anywhere there are grains or grasses to eat, and they are especially common in lawns, golf courses, and open parks. These birds are easy to spot when they’re flying in a V-formation.

American Crow

The American Crow is a large Smoky Mountain bird that is entirely black with an iridescent sheen. Both the males and females look similar. They each have black feet, black legs, and a long black bill. American Crows are one of the smartest birds you’ll find in the Smoky Mountains. They have the ability to solve problems, use tools, and recognize faces. Plus, they’re one of the few birds that seems to do things just for fun!

Eastern Bluebird

Male Eastern Bluebird perched on stump

The Eastern Bluebird is a very distinctive Smoky Mountain bird. The male is bright blue with a rust-colored chest and throat. The female has the same colors, but they’re much less vibrant. These are considered to be some of the prettiest birds in the Smoky Mountains. You can typically find them in fields, meadows, golf courses, cemeteries, and parks. Their cheerful disposition makes them a pleasure to see.

Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren is a common Smoky Mountain bird, but its secretive nature makes it hard to find. Both the males and females have reddish-brown feathers and a distinct white line above their eyes. Their wings and tails have dark edges, and their bills are thin and long. If you want a chance to see the Carolina Wren, pay attention to bushes and shrubs where there are lots of hiding spots.

Pileated Woodpecker

woodpecker in the Smoky Mountains in the leaves

The Pileated Woodpecker is a large bird with a wingspan of 30 inches. Both the males and females are mostly black with a bright red crest and white stripes on their face and neck. The male has a red stripe on his cheek, and the female has a black stripe on her cheek. These birds are most commonly found in parts of the Smoky Mountains with lots of dead and fallen trees.

Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a blueish-gray bird with white underparts and a peach wash on its sides. This Smoky Mountain bird has a distinctive crest on its head above a black forehead and large, dark eyes. The males and females of the species look the same. You can find the Tufted Titmouse flitting from tree to tree, and sometimes you’ll even see them hanging from branches upside down or sideways.

Helpful Tips for Seeing Smoky Mountain Birds

These are some of the most common birds in the Smoky Mountains, but there are many more species you may also come across. If you’re interested in seeing how many species you can find, check out these helpful tips for birding in the Smoky Mountains so you can spot more of these natural beauties.