Large birds are usually easy to spot due to their size. With small birds, you really have to have a keen eye to find them among the grass and branches.
This can be especially difficult if they’re also green like the plants around them. But not every green bird blends in so neatly.
This list contains 21 small green birds in every shade imaginable:
- Asian green bee-eater
- Berylline hummingbird
- Calliope hummingbird
- Double-eyed Fig Parrot
- Glistening-green tanager
- Green broadbill
- Green jay
- Green kingfisher
- Green-breasted mango
- Green-crowned Brilliant
- Pacific parrotlet
- Puerto Rican tody
- Red-eyed vireo
- Rivoli’s hummingbird
- Rosy-faced lovebird
- Ruby-crowned kinglet
- Short-tailed green magpie
- Tennessee warbler
- Violet-green swallow
- White-eared hummingbird
1. Asian Green Bee-Eater
- Length: 6-7 inches (16-18 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (15-20 g)
Scientific name: Merops orientalis
The Asian green bee-eater lives throughout India, southwest China, and southeast Asia.
This green bird may be small but it’s very tough. As its name suggests, it prefers to eat bees as well as beetles as part of its insectivore diet. But how does it eat bees without being stung?
After catching a bee, bee-eaters fly back to a nearby perch. Then, they rub and bang the bee against it to remove the bee’s stinger before swallowing the bee whole.
2. Berylline Hummingbird
- Length: 3.1-3.9 inches (8-10 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (4-4.4 g)
Scientific name: Saucerottia beryllina
Some of the smallest green birds are among the hummingbird species. The berylline hummingbird has iridescent green feathers from its head to its chest; its lower feathers are a little browner.
They live throughout Mexico but occasionally can be seen along the border of Arizona in the U.S.
Like all hummingbirds, berylline hummingbirds have a long bill that houses a long tongue. They use this to eat nectar from flowers, but also to feed their young.
Mother beryllines will stick their long bills into the mouths of their young and regurgitate insects for them to eat.
- Length: 5-10 inches (12-25 cm)
- Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz (31-39 g)
Scientific name: Melopsittacus undulatus
The natural habitat of a budgerigar, or common or shell parakeet, is the open woodlands and grasslands of Australia. However, they have been imported all over the world as pets.
They can live up to 13 years in captivity and enjoy playing with small toys. They can also be kept by themselves if they’re given enough attention from their owners. Many pet birds require at least one other bird companion to thrive, which can limit their appeal.
Pet budgerigars are often available in a range of colors from blue to white to yellow. In nature, however, “budgies” are small, green and yellow birds with black and white markings on their wings.
4. Calliope Hummingbird
- Length: 2.8-3.9 inches (7-10 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (2-3 g)
Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
This green bird is the smallest bird in North America. During migration, it can fly all the way down to Mexico, but it breeds in the northwest of the United States and parts of Canada.
The calliope hummingbird has a complex courtship during the breeding season. They use display dives combined with various sound signals. Their sounds are just vocals, but also created through specific beatings of their wings.
The display dives themselves create a specific tonal sound from the bird’s tail feathers. Calliopes hummingbirds may be small, but they can create a lot of noise.
5. Double-Eyed Fig Parrot
- Length: 5.5 inches (14 cm)
- Weight: 1-2 ounces (25-56 g)
Scientific name: Cyclopsitta diophthalma
Parrots are usually very large birds, but the double-eyed fig parrot is actually the smallest in Australia. This small green bird also lives throughout New Guinea and its islands.
The double-eyed fig parrot goes by several other names, including the dwarf fig parrot and the two-eyed parrot. The references to multiple eyes refer to the blue dots on its lores, the space between its eyes and nostrils. These dots are about the same size as their real eyes.
6. Glistening-Green Tanager
- Length: 5 inches (13 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (20-24 g)
Scientific name: Chlorochrysa phoenicotis
This neon-green small bird is very sedentary, ranging only from the west coast of Colombia to Ecuador. Among their own kind, glistening-green tanagers are monogamous, but they do enjoy the non-mating company of others.
Glistening-green tanagers will join mixed-species flocks to forage together for fruit and insects to eat.
Research suggests that they are not a “nuclear” species, or the core around which these flocks form. But they are prone to positively join in around another central species.
7. Green Broadbill
- Length: 6-7 inches (17 cm)
- Weight: 1.5-2.5 ounces (43-72 g)
Scientific name: Calyptomena viridis
The green broadbill is a tiny bird with a big mouth. In its home range of southeastern Asian evergreen forests, it likes to eat soft figs. Its bill is proportionally larger than other birds of the same size, but it’s rather weak.
Figs are easy for green broadbills to eat because of the softness of the fruit. In turn, the small bird helps the figs spread their seeds along the forest floor.
8. Green Jay
- Length: 9.8-11 inches (25-28 cm)
- Weight: 2.3-3.9 ounces (68-110 g)
Scientific name: Cyanocorax yncas
Green jays live almost exclusively in Central America; their territory only extends just over the southern Texas border.
These corvids have blue and black heads similar to their more ubiquitous blue jay cousins. The rest of their body, however, is bright green and small; on average, green jays are less than 12 inches in length (30 cm).
Also, like blue jays, green jays have an extensive range of vocal sounds with which they communicate. One of their most distinctive sounds is almost like the ringing of an alarm bell.
9. Green Kingfisher
- Length: 12 inches (30 cm)
- Weight: 1.2-1.4 ounces (35-40 g)
Scientific name: Chloroceryle americana
There are several birds on this list whose green coloring is so bright that it’s almost neon. The little green kingfisher of Central America, on the other hand, has a much darker, but no less striking green.
They also have unusually proportioned bodies that make them easily recognizable in the open. Their body length is usually less than 12 inches (30 cm). A large portion of that length comes from their large, heavy bills.
Kingfishers use these bills to scoop up fish, which makes up most of their diet. They may also scoop up aquatic insects as well.
10. Green-Breasted Mango
- Length: 4-5 inches (11-12 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (6.8-7.2 g)
Scientific name: Anthracothorax prevostii
Although large for a hummingbird, the green-breasted mango is still a small bird with green feathers on its chest and back. They live in the American tropics, but birdwatchers in Texas may see them on occasion.
Green-breasted mangos, like other hummingbirds, eat nectar and insects. To catch their live prey, hummingbirds usually scoop them up in mid-air.
Sometimes, though, they practice “kleptoparasitism” by stealing insects straight out of spiderwebs.
11. Green-Crowned Brilliant
- Length: 4.7-5.1 inches (12-13 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (10.5-12 g)
Scientific name: Heliodoxa jacula
The small green-crowned brilliant is a hummingbird that lives in a small portion of South America, near the Andean mountains.
Like with most hummingbirds, nectar is a large part of the green-crowned brilliant’s diet. However, it has feeding methods that are uncommon among hummingbirds.
Male brilliants will sometimes defend their preferred nectar sources, but they also “trap-line.” This means they check the same nectar sources on a regular basis rather than foraging randomly.
They also prefer to cling to flowers to eat their nectar instead of hovering nearby like many other hummingbird species.
- Length: 5.9 inches (15 cm)
- Weight: 1-1.2 ounces (25-35 g)
Scientific name: Chloris
While these small, green-feathered birds are most common in Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa, they have also been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Uruguay.
There are ten subspecies of greenfinches, with differences ranging from appearance to diets. But one thing that ties them all together is how they rear their young.
In each subspecies, female greenfinches build the nests, incubate the eggs, and raise the young.
13. Pacific Parrotlet
- Length: 4.3-5.5 inches (11-14 cm)
- Weight: 1 ounce (30 g)
Scientific name: Forpus coelestis
Also from South America, the Pacific parrotlets are small, dusty green birds in the wild. In captivity, breeders have developed an entire rainbow of color mutations.
In addition to its vibrant coloring, the Pacific parrotlet is prized as a pet due to its size and personality. They’re smaller than most species of parrots but still live for up to 25 years in captivity. They also enjoy playing and chattering with their owners.
Parrotlets are also extremely social birds, but only with members of the same species; they’re aggressive towards others. Any cage with multiple species must be large enough to allow other birds to escape the parrotlet’s aggressive behavior.
14. Puerto Rican Tody
- Length: 4.25 inches (11 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (5-6 g)
Scientific name: Todus mexicanus
This tiny green bird is endemic to Puerto Rico, where the locals call it “San Pedrito” (which translates to “Little Saint Peter”) and “medio peso” (meaning “half-dollar bird”).
Because its diet consists largely of insects (about 86%), todies like to live where their food is plentiful.
On the main island of Puerto Rico, they live mostly in forests, especially those at high-altitude. These forests tend to be damper, which means the insect population is higher.
15. Red-eyed Vireo
- Length: 4.7-5.1 inches (12-13 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (12-26 g)
Scientific name: Vireo olivaceus
A small, olive-green bird with a large habitat range, the red-eyed vireo lives all through the north and eastern United States. Its territory also extends north to a majority of Canada, and it migrates through Mexico to South America.
Not only are these vireos a common sight in the eastern U.S., but they’re also a common sound. The red-eyed vireo can sing over 20,000 songs in a single day, and each male knows over 30 different songs.
In total, experts have recorded over 12,500 different song types of the red-eyed vireo.
16. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
- Length: 4.3-5.5 inches (11-14 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (6-10 g)
Scientific name: Eugenes fulgens
Rivoli’s hummingbirds are almost as large as blue-throated hummingbirds, which are the largest species of U.S. hummingbirds. Of course, as hummingbirds are small overall, Rivoli is still a small bird, with muted green feathers.
The Rivoli’s and blue-throated hummingbirds also share a similar habitat range. They live on the very border of the U.S. and Mexico, extending south.
However, Rivoli’s hummingbirds are not as aggressive as blue-throated hummingbirds. Their feathers also don’t stand out as much as the bright blue throats of their cousins.
17. Rosy-faced Lovebird
- Length: 6.7-7.1 inches (17-18 cm)
- Weight: 1.6-2.2 ounces (46-62 g)
Scientific name: Agapornis roseicollis
Their name may reference the peach coloring of their faces, but rosy-faced lovebirds are mostly green. They’re native to the Namib Desert in Africa, but like many parrots on this list, are kept worldwide as pets.
Whether through escape or deliberate release by pet owners, sometimes rosy-faced lovebirds find themselves free in non-native wilds. This has led to a number of feral lovebirds roaming metropolitan areas such as Phoenix, Arizona.
To combat the high temperatures of the area, these small and green birds rely on human resources to keep their cool. Birdwatchers can find lovebirds gathering around air conditioning vents during the hottest parts of the year in Phoenix.
18. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Length: 3.5-4.3 inches (9-11 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (5-10 g)
Scientific name: Corthylio calendula
Whether year-round or during breeding and migration, the range of the ruby-crowned kinglet extends throughout almost all of North America. In the summer they prefer the north in Canada and Alaska.
They then migrate south all the way to Mexico for the winter. The only places they are rarely seen are the very north of the continent and the Midwest of the U.S.
A small, olive-green bird, the ruby-crowned kinglet gets its name from a patch of feathers on the heads of males. These “crowns” are almost always hidden by surrounding feathers.
If they display their red patch, it typically means they’re agitated or interested in a female.
19. Tennessee Warbler
- Length: 4.5 inches (11 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (10 g)
Scientific name: Leiothlypis peregrina
Small and green but otherwise nondescript, the Tennessee warbler is not actually more common in Tennessee than in any other location. It breeds in Canadian forests, then migrates into the eastern United States on its way to Central and South America.
The Tennessee warbler eats nectar, but unlike other nectar-eaters, it “steals” its food from flowers. When other pollinators eat nectar, they probe the flower and spread pollen on their faces while doing so.
Tennessee warblers instead pierce the flower’s base, avoiding the pollen; they eat the nectar without actually helping the plant pollinate.
20. Violet-green Swallow
- Length: 5 inches (13 cm)
- Weight: <1 ounce (14 g)
Scientific name: Tachycineta thalassina
Most of the year, violet-green swallows live all throughout the west of North America. When winter comes, however, they migrate south to Mexico and Central America.
The Latin name for the violet-green swallow combines two of its most distinctive features: its coloring and its surprising speed.
“Thalassina” refers to the dark sea-green coloring of their iridescent feathers. “Tachycineta” means “fast-moving,” as these tiny green birds can fly quickly.
In fact, they’ve been recorded at speeds of 29 mph. That’s only slightly slower than the peregrine falcon, which is the fastest bird of prey. They have an average speed of 25-35 mph.
21. White-eared Hummingbird
- Length: 3.5-3.9 inches (9-10 cm)
- Weight:<1 ounce (3.2-3.6 h)
Scientific name: Basilinna leucotis
The white-eared hummingbird lives high in the mountain forests of Mexico and Central America. They’re part of the “emeralds” group of hummingbirds for their metallic green bodies.
Despite their size, these small green birds are rather aggressive when it comes to their food. They will defend their feeding territory from their own kind, other smaller species, and even the larger broad-tailed hummingbird.
They may even fly low into the territory of other large hummingbirds in “stealth missions” to feed.
From neutral olive to bright neon, there are plenty of green and small birds to catch a bird watcher’s eye.
This list will help you know exactly how small each bird is, where to find them, and some of their habits.