25 Birds that Nest in Trees (A to Z List with Pictures)

Birds that Nest in Trees

Examples of birds that nest in trees include baya weaver, bluebirds, cardinal, cedar waxwing, and chickadees.

Birds that nest in trees have a wide range of habitat options, from dense forests to open woodlands. In general, however, they prefer areas with plenty of cover and nesting sites, as well as a good supply of food. Some common tree-nesting birds include robins, bluebirds, owls, and woodpeckers.

While each species has its own preferences, all tree-nesting birds rely on trees for both shelter and food. In fact, many bird species will only nest in certain types of trees, depending on the availability of food and the size and structure of the tree.

Examples of Birds that Nest in Trees

1. Baya Weaver

Scientific NamePloceus philippinus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeacross the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia

The baya weaver (Ploceus philippinus) is a small passerine bird that is a member of the weaver family. It is also known as the Philippine golden-naped Weaver and the golden-naped Weaver. The baya weaver is native to the Philippines, where it is found on the islands of Luzon, Mindanao, Leyte, Samar, and Polillo.

The baya weaver builds a large, woven nest in the shape of a ball. The nest is made from strips of palm leaves and other plant materials and is suspended from the branch of a tree. The female bird lays a clutch of 3-5 eggs in the nest, which are incubated for around two weeks.

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2. Bluebirds

Scientific NameSialia
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewest of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico

The eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) is a small thrush that typically nests in cavities of dead trees. However, they will also use nest boxes provided by humans. These birds are found in open woodlands and forest edges across the eastern United States.

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3. Cardinal

Scientific NameCardinalis cardinalis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the eastern half of the United States

The cardinal is a North American bird that is easily recognizable by its bright red color. Cardinals are fairly large birds, measuring 9-11 inches in length and weighing 2-4 ounces. They have a short, stout bill and a long tail.

Cardinals are found in open woodlands, edges of forests, and backyards. They prefer areas with plenty of trees and shrubs for cover. Cardinals eat a variety of foods, including insects, seeds, fruits, and nuts.

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4. Cedar Waxwing

Scientific NameBombycilla cedrorum
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemostly in the northern half of the United States

This bird can be found in the southern United States, but ranges as far north as Canada during the summer months. Cedar waxwings are social birds that often nest in small groups, making them a common sight in backyard bird feeders. They prefer to nest in deciduous trees, particularly those with berries or fruits.

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5. Chickadees

Scientific NameParidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeforests, backyards, and parks across North America

The Black-capped Chickadee is a small, sprightly bird that is common in woodlands and forests across North America. These birds are known for their cheerful “chick-a-dee” call, which they use to communicate with other members of their flock.

Black-capped Chickadees nest in tree cavities, where they raise their young. These birds are also one of the few bird species that can actually remember the locations of thousands of food sources, which comes in handy during the winter months when food is scarce.

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6. Downy Woodpecker

Scientific NamePicoides pubescens
Type of AnimalBird
RangeForests, woodlots, willows, river groves, orchards, shade trees

This small woodpecker is a common sight at backyard bird feeders and in wooded areas across North America. The downy woodpecker nests in tree cavities, often excavating its own hole in a dead or dying tree. This bird primarily eats insects, which it finds by pecking at tree bark.

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7. Eastern Bluebird

Scientific NameSialia sialis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeacross eastern North America and south as far as Nicaragua

The eastern bluebird is a small thrush that is native to North America. It has a bright blue back and wings, with an orange breast. The eastern bluebird typically nests in trees, often using old woodpecker holes.

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8. Gila Woodpecker

Scientific NameMelanerpes uropygialis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangestrictly arid environments, especially deserts and dry forests of the southwestern U.S. and adjacent Mexico

The Gila woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It nests in saguaro cacti, often drilling multiple holes in a single cactus. The Gila woodpecker feeds on insects, fruits, and seeds, and is an important seed disperser for the saguaro cactus.

9. Golden-Fronted Woodpecker

Scientific NameMelanerpes aurifrons
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemesquite, riparian woodlands, and tropical rainforest

The Golden-Fronted Woodpecker is a small woodpecker that is found in the southeastern United States. This bird nests in trees, and it prefers to nest in live trees rather than dead ones. The Golden-Fronted Woodpecker will also use man-made nest boxes.

10. Great Horned Owl

Scientific NameBubo virginianus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangepractically all habitats in North America, from swamps to deserts to northern coniferous forests near treeline

The Great Horned Owl is a large owl that is found in many different habitats, including forests, woodlands, and even urban areas. These owls nest in trees, using tree cavities or nests built by other animals such as squirrels. The Great Horned Owl feeds on a variety of small animals, including rodents, birds, and reptiles.

11. Hummingbirds

Scientific NameTrochilidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangefrom Tierra Del Fuego to southern Alaska and from below sea level deserts to steamy tropical forests at elevations of up to 16,000 feet in the Andes of South America

Most hummingbirds nest in trees, often near the edge of a forest where there is plenty of sunlight. The tiny nests are made from plant down and spider webs and are usually located on a branch near a flower or other source of nectar.

12. Least Flycatcher

Scientific NameEmpidonax minimus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeOpen woods, aspen groves, orchards, shade trees

The least flycatcher is a small songbird that is found in North and South America. It nests in trees, often near water, and feeds on insects. The bird gets its name from its habit of catching flies in mid-air.

The least flycatcher is olive-gray on the upper parts and yellowish on the underparts. It has a white eye ring and a dark line through the eye. The wings are gray with two white bars. The tail is gray with a white tip.

13. Northern Flicker

Scientific NameColaptes auratus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangealmost any habitat with trees

The northern flicker is a type of woodpecker that is common in North America. These birds nest in trees, often near the trunk. They prefer trees that are taller than they are wide, with plenty of dead branches for nesting and roosting.

14. Oriole

Scientific NameIcterus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe eastern United States and as far west as Montana

The oriole is a brightly colored bird that is found in open woodlands and forest edges. They build their nests in the forks of trees, often using Spanish moss or strips of bark to hold the nest together. Orioles eat a variety of insects, as well as fruits and berries.

15. Pileated Woodpecker

Scientific NameDryocopus pileatus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCanada and in western Washington all the way down to northern parts of California and most areas of the eastern United States

The Pileated Woodpecker is a large, black bird with a white belly and red crest. This woodpecker is found in forests across North America, where it drills holes in trees to find insects to eat. The Pileated Woodpecker will also eat fruits and nuts and is known to damage trees in search of food.

16. Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Scientific NameSitta canadensis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeconiferous woods and mountains

These small, agile birds are often seen climbing up and down tree trunks headfirst. They mainly eat insects but will also feast on nuts and seeds. Red-breasted nuthatches nest in coniferous trees, such as spruce and fir.

17. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Scientific NameLeuconotopicus borealis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeVirginia south to Florida and west to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas

The red-cockaded woodpecker is a small black and white bird that nests in pine trees. This species is found in the southeastern United States, where it relies on mature pines for both food and shelter.

The red-cockaded woodpecker excavates nest cavities in the trunks of live pines, which provide protection from the weather and predators.

18. Red-Headed Woodpecker

Scientific NameMelanerpes erythrocephalus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout most of North America

The red-headed woodpecker is a small to medium-sized bird with a black body and striking red head. This woodpecker is found in open woodlands and forests across North America. The red-headed woodpecker feeds on insects, especially ants and beetles, which it catches by probing into crevices in tree bark.

19. Rufous Hornero

Scientific NameFurnarius rufus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeeastern South America

The Rufous Hornero is a small, sparrow-like bird found throughout South America. It prefers to nest in trees with a good supply of insects, such as ants and termites. The hornero will build its nests out of mud, sticks, and leaves, forming a bowl-shaped structure that is attached to a tree branch.

20. Tree Swallow

Scientific NameTachycineta bicolor
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe US and Canada

The tree swallow is a small, agile bird that is common in North America. It nests in cavities in trees, often near water. The tree swallow is one of the few bird species that will actively compete with other birds for nest sites.

21. Tyrant Flycatchers

Scientific NameTyrannidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth and South America

These aggressive little birds are some of the most common tree-nesting birds in North America. Tyrant flycatchers build their nests in a variety of trees, including conifers, deciduous trees, and even cacti.

22. Weavers

Scientific NamePloceidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesemi-arid areas, savanna, grasslands, and forests

These small birds are well-known for their intricate nests, which they build by weaving plant material together. Some common weaver species include the baya weaver, the village weaver, and the red-billed quelea.

23. White-Breasted Nuthatch

Scientific NameSitta carolinensis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeForests, woodlots, groves, shade trees

This small, black-and-white bird is a common sight in woods and gardens across North America. Nuthatches are well-adapted to life in trees, with sharp claws that help them climb up, down, and around trunks and branches. They eat mostly insects but will also feast on nuts and seeds.

24. Yellow Warbler

Scientific NameSetophaga petechia
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecentral and northern North America

This small songbird is a common sight in woods and gardens across North America. It nests in trees, often using abandoned nests of other birds such as robins or bluebirds. The female builds the nest by herself, using grasses, bark strips, and other plant materials. She lays 3-5 eggs, which hatch after about 12 days.

25. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Scientific NameSphyrapicus varius
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeacross Canada, eastern Alaska, and the northeastern United States

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a small woodpecker that drills holes in tree bark to reach the sap beneath. These birds are found in forests across North America, where they mostly feed on sap and insects.

The yellow-bellied sapsucker nests in tree cavities, which it excavates itself. These birds will often use the same nest site for many years in a row.

The sapsucker’s habitat preference is deciduous or mixed forests with plenty of large trees. These birds are also found in urban parks and gardens, where they will feed on ornamental trees.


Birds that nest in trees are well-adapted to their environment. Trees provide shade from the sun and protection from predators. In addition, trees offer a place for birds to build their nests and raise their young. By nesting in trees, birds can take advantage of the many benefits that trees provide.

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