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Why do red birds chase each other?

Why do red birds chase each other?

Many times you might have seen birds chasing each other in the garden, so have you wondered why they are flying or chasing each other? Continue reading this article to know the reason behind it.

Which birds are called red birds?

In general, the birds with red feathers and beaks are called red birds. But some birds have the gene-encoded enzyme in them that can convert the yellow pigments in their diet to red pigments. This conversion makes the feathers and beaks of the birds red, and hence we call even them red birds.

The birds usually use this red color to attract potential mates and also to warn their rivals before any fight. The higher the intensity of the red color, the greater the chances of attracting mates and scaring the rivals.

Let’s have a look at the list of the red birds

  • Northern Cardinals
  • Summer Tanager
  • Hepatic Tanager
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Pine Grosbeak
  • Vermilion Flycatcher
  • Red Crossbill
  • White-winged Crossbill
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Scarlet Ibis
  • Red-Billed Firefinch
  • Red-and-Green Macaw
  • ‘I’iwi

Why do red birds chase each other?

Similar to humans, even birds chase each other for some or the other reason. Some may chase to protect their territory, while some may chase to protect their children or food. There can be various reasons.

So, let us have a look at the reasons why red birds chase each other.

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals are known as the territorial songbirds. They are heard singing in a loud and clear whistle from the top of the tree or any other high location to defend their territory. They can be seen chasing other birds if they feel that the bird is trying to conquer the territory or are a danger to their kids. They mostly attack the other male cardinals during the breeding season to protect their nests and prevent them from being destroyed.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanagers are usually known as solitary birds. The male summer tanagers usually chase other birds while defending their nest site and protecting their feeding areas during the breeding season. When they arrive on the breeding ground, they first chase or compete with other birds to acquire the territory. Then they chase the birds to defend their acquired territory.

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanagers are usually seen chasing the other birds when they are defending the territories and their mates during the breeding season. At times they also chase other birds when they are trying to destroy their nest or eggs. They make a loud singing noise to scare the other birds away.

Scarlet Tanager

Besides chasing birds to protect the territory and nests, the male Scarlet Tanager also chases the females if they attempt to leave the territory. Once they are paired, even the females may chase other females attempting to leave the territory.

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeaks chase the other birds when they see them trying to conquer their feeding source. During the breeding season, when they have established their territory, they search for the food source and conquer them. And, when they find the other birds eating from their food source, they become aggressive towards them.

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher chases other birds when they are defending their territories. Males are seen aggressively protecting their territory, and when they see other birds around, they warn them with their unique posture that is making their tail and crest erect.

Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill does not chase other birds to defend their territory, as they have a social nature. But they do have their favorite perching areas where they relax, so if they find any other bird close to that, they immediately chase that bird. Also, they try to chase female birds when they are searching for a partner during the nesting season.

White-billed Crossbill

White-billed Crossbill chases the other birds only when there is a scarcity of food. They chase the other birds and threaten them so that they can get the food to store for their living. This is mostly observed during the breeding season or when they have to find food for their mates as well as when she is incubating.

Crimson Sunbird

Crimson Sunbird chases the other birds for 2 reasons. First, they chase the birds when they want to defend their territories. Sometimes even the juveniles are more aggressive and tend to chase the adult birds away when they feel a threat from them. Another reason the adult birds chase the females is when they want to attract them. They chase them until those female birds are attracted to them.

Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis tries to chase other birds or threatens them when they feel that they will be attacked by the other birds or the predators. They fight with their beaks and wings aggressively to protect themselves. However, they are non-migratory birds and therefore are not observed defending their territory.

Few other reasons why red birds chase other birds

Apart from chasing other birds to defend the territory and conquering the food source, the birds can be seen chasing others for some other reasons mentioned below.

To exhibit their aggression

Sometimes the birds get frustrated for any reason, and to express their aggression they start chasing other birds. They become violent and start attacking the birds and cause them harm.

Prevent snatching of nests

Some predators have the habit of snatching the birds nest and eating their eggs. Therefore if the birds observe this scenario, they try to chase that bird to protect the eggs.

Mating may look as chase

Sometimes even we may assume that the bird is chasing the other bird, but in fact, some birds mating seem like they are chasing. The male birds chase the female birds to make their partner and mate in that season.

Do red cardinals flock in groups?

Yes, the red cardinals flock in groups. Cardinals are fairly social; therefore, they can join flocks that include birds of various species. However, they form large groups only during the fall and winter when they have to search for food, as they tend to find the food source easily with everyone’s efforts. Else, during the mating season, this flock dissolves into pairs.


Birds are usually seen chasing each other to show their dominance and sometimes to show their interest in a potential mate. They also try to scare their predators with aggression when they are trying to conquer their territory or destroy the nest and hatchlings. I hope this article has helped you to add value to your knowledge. If you know any other reasons, let the other readers know in the comment sect