23 Gorgeous Backyard Birds Of South Dakota: You Must know About

Backyard Birds of South Dakota

South Dakota has a wide range of backyard birds. And In this article, I’ll list and explain all the backyard birds of South Dakota in detail.

Note: If you’re short on time I have compiled a table of all the backyard birds with identification and their Diet. You can also read about these birds in detail below.

Backyard Birds in South DakotaLengthWeightIdentification(Color)Diet/Favorite Food
American Robin23-28 cm77 gm (2.71oz)These birds have black heads and backs with a hint of red or orange in their breast.Mostly insects, berries, and earthworms. In early summer, insects make up the majority of the diet; they also feed on many earthworms, snails, spiders, and other invertebrates.
Mourning Dove22-36 cm120 gm (4.23oz)Soft brown in color with hints of black on the wings. Millet, black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, peanut hearts.
Red-winged Blackbird24cm/37cm85 gm (2.9oz)All black only with a bright red and yellow patch on the top of their wings. The female is pale brown. Mixed grains.
Common Grackle28-34 cm110 gm (3.88oz)Tall blackbird with a long tail and glossy texture. These birds move in huge flocks. Eats mostly insects, berries, seeds, fruit, bird eggs, although it is also known to eat frogs and snakes.
Western Meadowlark6.3-10.2 in (16-26 cm)3.1-4.1 oz (89-115 g)This bird has a yellow underbody with intricately patterned brown, black, and buff upper body. The bright yellow breast is covered with V black cross.This bird’s diet consists of mostly seeds and insects.
Barn Swallow15-20 cm17-20 gm (0.59-0.70oz)These are small birds in a combination of deep blue, black, and reddish-brown. Their tails have long outer feathers. Ground-up eggshells are their favorite.
Brown-Headed Cowbird19-22 cm43 gm (1.51oz)The male version of these birds has black bodies and brown heads, with short tails and thick heads. Females are all brown with slight streaks. Mostly seeds and insects. Seeds (including those of grasses, weeds, and waste grain) make up about half of the diet in summer and more than 90% in winter. The rest of the diet is mostly insects, especially grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars, plus many others, also spiders and millipedes.
Eastern Kingbird20-23 cm36 gmThese are medium-sized yet large Headed Flycatchers that have blackish and whitish undertones. They have a hidden crown under feathers, that are of warm shades like red, yellow, and orange that is visible only when their defensive mode is on.They feed on insects midair, like wasps, bees, crickets, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, flies and bugs. They also eat fruits and berries.
American Goldfinch11-13 cm14 gm (0.49oz)They are quite popular, with bright yellow and black colors in males. The female counterparts however tend to be dull brown in shade.Mostly seeds, some insects. Diet is primarily seeds, especially those of the daisy (composite) family, also those of weeds and grasses, and small seeds of trees such as elm, birch, and alder. Also eats buds, the bark of young twigs, maple sap.
Dark-eyed Junco12-16 cm19 gm(0.67oz)These are dark-eyed variants of Sparrows. These birds are long-distance migratory birds.Black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts.
Black-Capped Chickadee 10-15 cm12 gm (0.42oz)Small bird with a big round head. They have black caps and beaks, white cheeks, with a gray back, wings, and tail. They eat seeds, different berries, insects, suet, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spiders.
Downy Woodpecker 14-17 cm21-28 gm (0.74-0.98oz)They are b&w in color with patches of red here and there. They are found in woodlots, in backyards, and along streams.Insects, beetle larvae, acorns, berries and grains, black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, millets.
House Sparrow14-18 cm24-40 gm (0.84-1.41oz)These birds are extremely common and would literally eat out of your hand. They are mostly found in busy areas close to human existence.They feed on all grains and seeds, like birdseed, millet, corn, and sunflower seeds along with discarded food.
European Starling22 cm58-100 gm (2.04-3.52oz)These birds are stocky black, with a purple, green and blue hue. These birds are famous for their aggressive behavior.They eat insects like flies, beetles, caterpillars, earthworms, and spiders, along with fruits like cherries, holly berries, mulberries, Virginia Creeper, sumac, blackberries, and even seeds and grains.
Chipping Sparrow13-15 cm12 gm (0.4oz)Slender long-tailed birds that have a gray belly and a streaked back with a rusty crown and blackish eyeliners. They largely feed on insects.
House Wren11-13 cm11 gm(0.38oz)Small brown birds with dark wings and tails and pale throats. Insects like spiders, beetles, earwigs, brush piles caterpillars.
Northern Flicker 30-35 cm120 gm(4.23oz)Large woodpeckers, with a size in between crows and Robins, with brown body color and black spots, bars, and crescents all over their bodies along with a red nape. They also have hints of yellow on their bodies as well. Black oil sunflower seeds are their favorite.
Song Sparrow12-17 cm19 gm (0.67oz)Brown streaked birds are well known for singing all day just in order to attract mates during the season. They eat a wide variety of insects like caterpillars, beetles, midges, spiders, and earthworms, along with buckwheat, raspberries, sunflower, wild cherries, wheat, and rice.
Common Yellowthroat11-13 cm9 gm (0.31oz)Small songbirds with a brown back with a hint of yellow and a long tail. They have an apparent black mask across their face. They might also have olive undertones.They eat all kinds of insects.
Western Kingbird7.9-9.4 in (20-24 cm)1.3-1.6 oz (37-46 g)This bird has a gray head with a yellow belly and a white chest and throat.Mostly insects, seeds, and fruits.
Blue Jay22-30 cm65-110 gm (2.2- 3.8oz )Blue crest, black backs, and white undersides. Acorns, insects, grain, nuts, and seeds.
American Crow40-53 cm320-620 gm (11.28-21.86oz)These birds are large with all black bodies. They are found on treetops, beaches, and towns.Earthworms, seeds, insects, fruits, fish, young turtles, clams, eggs, mussels, and nestlings of different species of birds.
House Finch14 cm19-22 gm (0.67-0.77oz)These birds have a redhead and breast in the males and a brown streak of colors in females. They are generally noisy and move in flocks.Seeds, buds, and fruits like thistle, cactus, cherries, apricots, plums, blackberries, figs, and strawberries.

Backyard Birds Of South Dakota In Different Seasons

Summer Backyard Birds

  • American Robin (49%)
  • Mourning Dove (42%)
  • Common Grackle (35%)
  • Barn Swallow (32%)
  • Eastern Kingbird (27%)
  • Brown-headed Cowbird (27%)
  • American Goldfinch (25%)
  • Chipping Sparrow (22%)
  • House Wren (20%)

Winter Backyard Birds 

  • Dark-eyed Junco (28% frequency)
  • Black-capped Chickadee (28%)
  • Downy Woodpecker (24%)
  • House Sparrow (22%)
  • American Goldfinch (21%)

Backyard Birds Of South Dakota In Detail

American Robin

American Robins are distinguished by their reddish-orange breasts and black feathers on the head, back, wings, and tail. Their beaks are large and sharp, and their wings are white with white borders.

They are woodland creatures who like to live outside. They are herbivores in their native environment, eating berries, leaves, and insects.

Sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms are among the foods consumed by American Robins. It’s ideal for eating whether seated on the ground or on a platform feeder.

Berry-bearing trees and shrubs like juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood can also help in attracting American Robins to your yard.

Mourning Dove

The mourning dove is a member of the Columbidae family of birds. Many names have been given to the mourning bird, including rain dove, marsh dove, turtle dove, and, most notably, mourning dove.

It is now popular in the Southeast, Ohio, Arkansas, Florida, California, and Ontario, Canada. Visits are made to large cities, meadows, farm areas, parks, resorts, and even private neighborhoods.

You may attract more Mourning Doves to your yard by scattering millet on the ground or utilizing platform feeders. Among other things, they’ll eat black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.

Red-winged Blackbird

red winged blackbird

The red-winged blackbird’s all-black plumage is marked by vivid red and yellow shoulder patches. Women seem dull in comparison to the boys’ streaky brown coloring.

During mating season, males will fiercely protect their territory, even battling anyone who comes too close to nests. During the winter, they cluster in massive flocks of millions.

To attract more Red-winged blackbirds to your yard, scatter mixed grain and seeds on the ground.

Common Grackle

The Common Grackle is a visually appealing bird with a unique cry. They’re purple and blue all the way through, but unless you look carefully, they appear black.

Their color darkens from the breasts up, with a deeper blue saturation towards the face. They are distinguished by their large wings, medium-sized tails, bronze-metallic eyes, and a big, straight black beak. Females seem duller, but young individuals have darker skin and eyes.

White Proso millet, wheat, oats, and Black Oil Sunflower seeds are favorites of the bird. Combine at least one-grain offering with the seeds for best results.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks have yellow bellies and delightful voices. This is most likely what makes them so popular, so much so that they are the official bird of six states.

Western Meadowlarks are blackbird relatives, roughly the size of a Robin, with brown and white upper parts and a black V-shaped band across the brilliant yellow breast that goes grey in winter.

Use hulled sunflower seeds and cracked corn on ground feeders to attract more Western Meadowlarks to your yard.

Barn Swallow

The Farmhouse The back, wings, and tail of a Swallow are dark blue, with a reddish-brown underside and face. The long outer feathers of the tail form a deep fork.

They begin their mating season in North America before migrating to Central and South America to reproduce.

They are frequently seen soaring above meadows, farms, and fields in search of insects, and they build mud nests in man-made buildings such as barns.

To attract additional Barn Swallows, use nest boxes or cups, as well as ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.

Brown-headed Cowbird


Brown-headed Cowbird males have big bodies, huge heads, brown heads, black bodies, short tails, and gigantic bodies. Females are brown with striped splotches.

They are considered a nuisance because they consume the eggs of smaller songbirds in order to place their own eggs in the nest and have the bird care for their young ones.

They spawn across much of North America’s north and west before migrating south, although they spend the entire year in the Eastern and Southern states, as well as along the Pacific Coast.

They may be found in grassy and wooded regions, pastures, and backyards, and feed mostly on grass and weed seeds.

Eastern Kingbird


Eastern Kingbirds are large-headed, medium-sized flycatchers with a blackish back and a white underbelly. Their heads are a darker black, with a white tip to their tails.

The title “king” refers to the ferocity they use to defend their nests against other birds and each other. They make a camouflaged crown of yellow, orange, or red feathers to defend themselves or their nest.

Bees, wasps, ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, bugs, and flies are among the insects collected in midair by Eastern Kingbirds. Fruit, such as serviceberries, cherries, blackberries, and elderberries, will also be consumed.

Planting natural berry bushes and a variety of native vegetation that attracts insects will help you attract more Eastern Kingbirds to your yard.

American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch, sometimes known as the Wild Canary, is a delightful little bird. Each year, they have been known to travel considerable distances, with some traveling as far north as southern Mexico and as far south as the eastern side of the Canadian border.

To mention a few habitats, they like marshes, backyards, meadows, woodlands, brushlands, fields, hedgerows, tall grasses, and oaks. The favored habitats include spruce and oak trees, as well as creeks, rivers, and streams.

If you want to attract American Goldfinches to your yard then grow thistles and milkweed in your yard. They are attracted to most bird feeders and eat sunflower and Nyjer seed.

Dark-eyed Junco

Little dark-eyed birds prefer gardens with few open spaces, such as meadows, where they may feed on a wide variety of vegetation. These birds tend to prefer seeds, particularly sunflower seeds, although nectar and even caraway appear to be successful as well.

To attract more Dark-eyed Juncos to your backyard feeders, try black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Both platform feeders and ones scattered on the ground are successful.

Black-capped Chickadee

The back, wings, and medium-sized tail of the Black-Capped Chickadee are light grey with a white border in the shape of minute feathers.

This bird is distinguished by a buff-colored white breast and underbelly, a black bib with a white face, and a huge black cap that reaches just below the eyes.

These birds’ beaks are small and conical, with black conical ends. This bird prefers wooded environments, but it may live in dense vegetation with shrubs or bushes. Marshes are also preferred by the Black-capped Chickadee if they provide suitable cover.

This bird prefers peanuts and peanut butter as a feeder diet, although it also appreciates Black Oil Sunflower seeds and suet.

Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker

In a high, difficult-to-reach tree, the downy woodpecker can frequently be heard shrieking or chirping. They live in sagebrush thickets and wooded places.

Their backs are red, their underbelly is white, their wings are black with white patterns, and their heads are black and white striped. Females do not have a red mark on their wings, however, males do.

Suet feeders are preferred by downy woodpeckers, although platform feeders give them black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts work as well.

House Sparrow

house sparrow

The House Sparrow is another successful immigrant that has become one of the most common birds.

They’re common around buildings and houses, and because they’re gentle, they’ll eat right out of your hand. They are pests since they are non-native, although they will still be found in backyards if they are not fed.

Most bird seeds, including millet, maize, and sunflower seeds, may attract more House Sparrows to your backyard feeders.

European Starling

European Starlings may be identified by their purple-green plumage when closely examined. It covers their entire body, but their long, straight yellow bills stick out.

In the winter, they shed their gleaming plumage and replace it with a brown coat flecked with white spots.

This kind of bird may be found almost anywhere. They flourish in artificial habitats like farms, towns, and cities.

These birds consume a wide range of foods. They consume berries, seeds, grains, and other things when they are not eating insects.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrows have long, thin tails, a greyish belly, a brown and black-streaked back, a rusty cap, and a black eye line. In the winter, the colors are more muted.

They breed over most of North America and Canada before migrating to Mexico, Florida, or farther south for the duration of the year.

They are spotted in small groups on open terrain and will explore backyards in quest of different varieties of birdseed.

House Wren

House Wrens are little brown birds with black bands on their wings and tails, as well as a whitish neck. Most states have breeding populations before wintering in the extreme south and Mexico.

House Wrens may be rather aggressive when it comes to nesting places, harassing larger birds, and even stealing eggs and young from a good nest site.

You may attract more House Wrens to your yard by leaving brush piles or by building a nest box to entice a mating pair.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers have brownish plumage that is speckled with black spots, bars, and crescents, as well as red on the throat, and are approximately the size of a robin or a crow.

The undersides of the tail and wing feathers of eastern birds are dazzling yellow, whereas those of western species are red. They can be seen on the ground searching for ants and beetles in forests and forest edges.

Northern Flickers will flock to your garden feeders if you give them suet and black oil sunflower seeds.

Song Sparrow

The song sparrow is a little bird found solely in the Americas. It is unquestionably one of the most abundant, diverse, and adaptable native bird species in the United States.

It’s amazing to think that if this beautiful bird decides to make our backyard it’s permanent home, we may be the first to see it. Their favorite environments include tree bark, rocks, logs, and even steep rocky outcrops.

Use black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders to attract more song sparrows to your backyard feeders.

Common Yellowthroat

Yellowthroats are little songbirds with long tails that are brownish on the back and brilliant yellow on the underside. The men’s faces are hidden under black masks.

The intensity of the yellow varies depending on location, and certain sections beneath the surface may be more olive than others.

In the spring and summer, they may be found in marshy or wetland habitats, brushy fields, and thick, tangled vegetation over most of North America. They eat insects and can be found in large, highly planted backyards.

Western Kingbird


Western Kingbirds have yellow bellies, pale chests, grey heads, grayish-brown wings, and a darker tail. They like open areas and are frequently seen sitting on fences and utility wires, waiting for insects to fly past before grabbing them mid-flight.

They are frequently seen on the outskirts of forests, where they may nest in the trees and feed in the open. They also build their nests in man-made constructions.

You may attract more Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and growing elderberry or hawthorn, the fruits of which they will consume.

Blue jay

blue jay

Blue jays are a beautiful bird genus that may be found in large numbers in parks, near water sources, and in highly populated regions.

Visitors gather to view it, and photographers are constantly drawn to its vivid, colorful plumage. Blue jays are usually recognized as the best bird for bird watchers and hikers due to their shyness and ability to hide in tall grass and oak trees.

They consume a variety of seeds, but their favorite is sunflower seeds. They consume berries, suet, insects, worms, and carrion, among other things. If you give blue jays peanuts, sunflower seeds, or other seeds, they will come to your yard.

American crow

The American Crow is a vibrantly colored bird. This is one of the most frequent birds in the area, and you may see it all across the province.

Birders commonly see these birds nesting in trees beside highways or even in people’s backyards.

They typically graze on the roots of trees and plants, although they seldom nectar from flowers. They are one of the most active species of these birds, which means they are constantly on the lookout for new meals.

If you want to attract American Crows to your yard then feed them peanuts.

House Finch

It was once solely found in the western United States, but it is now distributed throughout the country. There are several kinds of red finches, but house finches are the most common in cities.

It has a medium-length notched tail and a medium-sized body. It has a conical form. Males’ heads, breasts, and backs are all blood crimson.

On wires, tree branches, and plants, small flocks can be spotted. Originally, these areas were home to deserts and grasslands. They are currently most frequent in both rural and urban locations.

House Finches may be attracted to backyard feeders using black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube or platform feeders.

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