State Birds: List, Fabulous Fun Facts, FAQs

Selecting state birds came about in 1927 when the legislatures for several states – Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming – selected their own state birds.

What’s the most popular state bird? Well, the northern cardinal has been selected by seven states. In second place in this aviary popularity contest is the western meadowlark with six states identifying it as the state’s pick.

Also, check out the beautiful photos of the birds below.

United States State Birds

List of United States State Birds

Let’s take a look at a list of State Birds.

STATEBIRDYEAR
AlabamaYellowhammer1927
AlaskaWillow ptarmigan1955
ArizonaCactus wren1973
ArkansasNorthern mockingbird1929
CaliforniaCalifornia quail1931
ColoradoLark bunting1931
ConnecticutAmerican robin1943
DelawareDelaware Blue Hen1939
District of ColumbiaWood thrush1938
FloridaNorthern mockingbird1927
GeorgiaBrown thrasher1928
HawaiiHawaiian goose1957
IdahoMountain bluebird1931
IllinoisNorthern cardinal1929
IndianaNorthern cardinal1933
IowaEastern goldfinch1933
KansasWestern meadowlark1933
KentuckyNorthern cardinal1942
LouisianaBrown pelican1966
MaineChickadee1927
MarylandBaltimore oriole1947
MassachusettsBlack-capped chickadee1941
MichiganAmerican robin1931
MinnesotaCommon loon1961
MississippiNorthern Mockingbird1944
MissouriEastern bluebird1927
MontanaWestern meadowlark1941
NebraskaWestern meadowlark1929
NevadaMountain bluebird1967
New HampshirePurple finch1957
New JerseyEastern goldfinch1935
New MexicoGreater roadrunner1949
New YorkEastern bluebird1970
North CarolinaNorthern cardinal1943
North DakotaWestern meadowlark1970
OhioNorthern cardinal1933
OklahomaScissor-tailed flycatcher1933
OregonWestern meadowlark1927
PennsylvaniaRuffed Grouse1931
Rhode IslandRhode Island Red1954
South CarolinaCarolina wren1948
South DakotaRing-necked pheasant1943
TennesseeNorthern mockingbird1933
TexasNorthern mockingbird1927
UtahCalifornia gull1955
VermontHermit thrush1941
VirginiaNorthern cardinal1950
WashingtonWillow goldfinch1951
West VirginiaNorthern cardinal1949
WisconsinAmerican robin1949
WyomingWestern Meadowlark1927

State Birds Fun Facts (Fabulous!)

Learn more about some of these state birds.

1.) A California bird in Utah?

Utah selected the California gull. So, you might be thinking that states should only select birds that feature their own state name or one of their cities, e.g., Maryland chose the Baltimore oriole, but we’d politely disagree with you.

You see, in 1848 hordes of crickets were devastating Utah crops. But, then, flocks of California gulls came in like the cavalry to save the day. They ate up most of the crickets are returned home.

California gull - state birds

2.) Not exactly the early bird on state birds, are you?

Arizona was the johnny-come-lately selecting their state bird last in 1973. They went with the cactus wren.

cactus wren - state birds

3.) America’s favorite “backyard bird”

The American cardinal was selected by seven states as their state bird. So, if this was a beauty pageant, the cardinal walks off with the grand prize. The bright red feathers of the male cardinal make it stand out from the crowd. it might be said that these birds must drive up the sale of black sunflower seeds each year.

Cardinal - America's favorite

4.) The ultimate cover band of the aviary set?

Texas’ selection of the mockingbird is one of our favorites. The Latin name, Mimus polyglottos, means “many-tongued mimic.” Mockingbirds memorize and recite back songs heard from other birds. It’s said they can remember 200 tunes.

Texas state bird - Mockingbird

5.) Rockin’ Robin!

Wisconsin school children selected the robin as their preferred state bird in a survey conducted in the 1920s. Somehow, it took the state legislature until 1949 to make it official.

Robin state bird of WI

6.) But, they’re cousins

Another name for the Hawaiian goose is Nene. They look a lot like their neighbors across the ocean but instead of having webbed feet, theirs are more claw-like. This enables them to walk on the lava rock beaches of Hawaii. I wonder if they call Mother Goose stories Mother Nene?

Hawaiian goose

7.) The Master of Disguise

The Willow ptarmigan, Alaska’s selection for the state bird, changes the color of its feathers in warmer months to brown and to white in colder months. This enables the bird to fit in with its surroundings and avoid predators.

Willow ptarmigan video

8.) That’s Looney!

Loons, with their black and white feathers and red eyes, are a handsome bird. They can dive up to 200 feet below water and pop up again a long ways from their entry point. That’s earned them the nickname, “Great Northern Divers.”

Loons need a long runway to fly. But, once in the air, they’re quite proficient at it — flying at speeds of 70 MPH. When swimming in Minnesota and Canadian lakes, a mother loon will carry her babies on her back.

These birds are so great that Canada put their look on their coins. The coins are called “Loonies.” Many people believe these coins are lucky.

Find out the 7 Superpowers of Owls

Minnesota state bird - the common loon

FAQs about State Birds

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about state birds.

1.) Does a state have a mosquito as a state bird?

Summers in Minnesota can be a tough time for mosquito bites, so local t-shirt companies place an illustration of a mosquito on a t-shirt with the caption “Minnesota’s State Bird.” But, no, it was never officially recognized as such.

2.) What is Florida’s State Bird?

The northern mockingbird is the State Bird of Florida. While we love the mockingbird, it doesn’t exactly scream, “I’m the bird from the Sunshine State.”

Other possible selections looked over by state legislators include the flamingo, the roseate spoonbill, or the Florida scrub jay.

3.) Why do we have State Birds?

Selecting a state bird that residents could identify with was important to a series of state legislatures. When six states’ legislatures went about selecting their “state bird,” other states followed suit – although not immediately.

The first state birds were selected in 1927 and the last was selected in 1974. So, it took some 47 years, but we got there.

–Mike O’Halloran

Mike is a bird watcher and co-founder of ListCaboodle.

You’re on our State Birds List, Fun Facts, and FAQs page.

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