Birds are among the most colorful terrestrial animals in terms of physical appearance, as far as I can tell. As one would assume, birds can distinguish colors, therefore the spectacular display of varied colors and patterns exhibited by numerous species is significant.
Characteristics of Colors in Birds
Most bird species have sexual dimorphism, which is a characteristic where males and females are easily differentiated. For one apparent reason, males appear to be more colorful and dazzling than females: to attract females during mating.
A) On the one hand, bird pigments create gorgeous feathers. Melanin, carotenoid, and porphyrin are such pigments. Colors range from pale yellow to reddish-brown to darkest black, and the pigment melanin is responsible for these colors. Colors range from bright yellow to orangish-yellow, thanks to the pigment carotenoid. In certain cases, melanin and carotenoid combine to create an olive-green hue. Lastly, brown, vivid red, pink, and green are all colors produced by pigment porphyrin.
B) The structure of the feathers, on the other hand, is what causes different feather colors. When the light is refracted by the proteins found in feathers, instead of pigments, colors are created. There are three different structural feathers:
- Iridescent Feathers: Iridescent feathers can change their color at different viewing angles.
- Non-iridescent Feathers: Non-iridescent feathers can change from blue to brown depending on the light conditions.
- Ultraviolet Feathers: Ultraviolet feathers can reflect light found within the ultraviolet range.
Henceforth, listed below are the 26 most beautiful birds of the world in the Class Aves (birds) of the Animal Kingdom with Phylum as Chordata.
You can see the IUCN red list categories for each of these colorful birds listed below which represents the vulnerability of the species at present. This ranges from Extinct to Least Concern.
List of Colorful Birds
And here we go! Colorful birds! This is where you’ll be welcome.
1. Red-necked Tanager
Endemic to Eastern South America, the red necked tanager appears to be very bright with its yellow-orange wings, bright red chin, deep blue crown and lower neck, and a brilliant green underneath.
- These colourful birds are known to reside in the canopy of forests and are characterized by their sharp “sip” sounding voices.
- Generally, the red-necked Tanager molts (sheds its feathers) once in a year.
2. Mandarin Duck
This native from China (hence the name) and Japan, this duck shows a wide range of hues including blue, green, copper, and silver. It is regarded as the world’s most beautiful duck.
- Although both sexes of the duck have a crest, male ducks have a more pronounced structure, which is presumably utilized to attract females during mating.
- In addition to that, males appear to be golden in appearance.
3. Blue Crowned Pigeon
Also known as the Western crowned pigeon, the blue crowned pigeon is characterized by having large blue crests in the head, and deep blue feathers around the eyes.
- Western crowned pigeons are very large pigeons and in fact considered as one of the “fairest” members of the Family Columbidae (Pigeons).
- Generally, like most birds in the animal kingdom, male blue crowned pigeons are larger as compared to their female counterparts.
- These colorful birds are native to Papua New Guinea and they tend to be dispersed in the rains-forests of the islands.
4. Blue/Azure Kingfisher
Blue kingfishers are small to medium-sized birds with a very vivid coloration and are known to be excellent fish hunters from the riverside and occasionally above the water surface.
- The feathers of kingfishers are mostly bright blue/azure (hence the name) in color.
- Unlike most birds, the feather color of kingfishers is caused by the structure of the feathers themselves. Such causes the scattering of blue light and is then reflected in our eyes, making them appear blue.
- The distribution pattern of kingfishers is cosmopolitan. Meaning, they occur throughout the world, even in either temperate or tropical regions.
5. Paradise Tanager
The Paradise Tanager is living up to its name, being both neotropical and colorful. With its bright apple green head, yellow or red rump (depending on species), and blue abdomen, this bird is small but very colorful in the tropical forests of South America’s Amazon basin.
- The paradise tanager is a songbird that can perform a variety of pleasant musical sounds, in addition to its looks.
- One disclaimer though, this bird is not found in Chile, despite its species name T. chilensis.
6. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
Considered the national bird of Peru, this small to medium sized bird made it to the list of most colorful birds.
- With its brilliant crimson head, breast, neck, and shoulders, a male Andean Cock-of-the-Rock bird is more vibrant. They have grey wings with a black chest and large disk crests over their beak.
- Female birds, on the other hand, have smaller crests and are orange to brown in color.
- The warm regions are home to this bird, which favors riverbanks and forest streams.
7. Purple Gallinule
The Purple Gallinule is considered as one of the most beautiful birds primarily because of its plumage that displays a variety of colors.
- The head, neck, and underparts of this bird are purple, while the back is green and the forehead is blue. The beak is red with a yellow tip.
- Its yellow legs add to the uniqueness of this species.
- These bright birds swim like ducks but can walk on floating leaves, much like chickens.
- In the humid and tropical parts of the United States, this species of bird is quite common.
8. Yellow-collared Lovebird
Yellow collared lovebirds are small colorful birds with a green appearance (though the upper parts are darker). They’re also known as Masked lovebirds. Their beaks are also extremely bright red and have black-colored heads with white eyerings.
- As their name suggests, they have yellow collar which is extended to the nape of the neck.
- Interestingly enough, the males and females of this species look identical in appearance.
- These colourful birds are endemic to Tanzania but were already brought to other countries like Kenya and Burundi.
9. Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinalis, a songbird with a striking red and black face mask that extends up to the upper chest, is endemic to both North and South America.
- The brown to grayish color of this bird species’ females is contrasted with crimson tones in their wings.
- Male Northern Cardinals have more defined face masks.
- Both boys and girls have the same color as adult women at a young age. However, when the season changes, they typically replace their worn feathers with new ones.
- The Roman Catholic Church’s cardinals, who are often dressed in red hats and robes, gave the name to this bird (both scientific and common name).
10. Curl-crested Aracari
This bird is one of the most colorful yet bizarre looking in the world, and comes from the Ramphastidae (Toucans) family. The underparts of this bird are yellow, the back is crimson, the wings are dark green, and the beak is extremely vivid.
- The feathers on this bird’s head are shiny black plastics that are unusual.
- Only lowland woods in Western Brazil, Northern Bolivia, and Southern Amazon are home to this creature.
11. Spangled Cotinga
The Amazonian forests’ canopy is home to the Spangled Cotinga, a bird species.
- Male Spangled Cotingas are turquoise in color with black on the back and wings, and a vivid purple neck, as are any other bird species.
- On the other hand, females are duller in color with an overall brown to grayish body with prominent purple throat.
- The Spangled Cotinga bird, however, is mute. As a result, when flying, it is only capable of producing a “whistling” sound.
12. Toco Toucan
The Toco Toucan is the greatest of all toucans, distinguished by its very big multicolored beak. Its extremely black body, white throat, and blue eye rings make it stand out from the rest of the flock.
- Aside from its physical appearance, the toucan bird makes an amazing creature because it can somehow regulate its overall body temperature by merely altering the blood flow in their beak.
- The savannas, tropical woods, and shrubland are all home to the Toco Toucan, which is endemic to South America.
13. Gouldian Finch
Also known as the Rainbow finch, the Gouldian Finch is typically found in the savanna woodlands of Northern and Western Australia.
- The male Gouldian Finch, like all other birds, stands out from the female version by a long shot. Males have more vibrant colors and display more intricate color patterns and markings.
- Green, black, yellow, and red patterns cover both sexes. Mores’s chests, on the other hand, are purple whereas ladies’ chests are lilac.
14. Red-bearded Bee Eater
The Red Bearded Bee Eater is a bird species that lives in the dense woods of South-East Asia’s Indo-Malayan regions, as its name suggests.
- The face up to the neck of this bird is overall green, with a prominent red color (hence the name).
- Long tail feathers and a curving break, as well as very pointed wings, are other distinguishing features.
15. Lilac-breasted Roller
A member of the bird Family Coraciidae (Rollers), the Lilac-breasted Rollers are widely distributed in the Eastern and Southern Africa.
- The breast of this bird is usually a deep purple color, with a pale green head, violet wings (shoulders, flight feathers, and rump), pale greenish blue coverts, blue underparts, brown back and scapulars, and black tail feathers.
- The courtship flight of the lilac-breasted roller, like that of any other roller, is well-known.
16. Crimson Rosella
The crimson body of the Crimson Rosella is its most distinguishing feature. The back and wing feathers are black with red hues, apart from that. An alternate light to dark blue patch appears on its flight feathers.
- Northern Queensland and South Australia are home to the majority of Crimson Rosella.
17. Splendid Fairy Wren
The Splendid Fairy Wren is known to inhabit in the semi-arid to arid woodlands and shrublands of Australia.
- Male Fairy wrens have the majority of their feathers blue (from cobalt blue to violet blue). It has black and brown to gray beak and legs, respectively.
- The female Fairy wren, on the other hand, has a brown overall color with white underparts and is somewhat paler in color. Females, on the other hand, have a reddish brown line that extends from the beak to the eyes.
18. Crowned Woodnymph
The genus Thalurania, which includes hummingbirds, includes the Crowned wood nymphs. Hummingbirds of this sort are found from Eastern Panama to Southern Ecuador.
- The violet crowned woodnymph is the only woodnymph with a dazzling green crown, as its name implies.
- Green neck and a blue breast and abdomen distinguish Male Crowned Wood Nymphs.
- The female version of this species, on the other hand, is lighter in hue and has a black-green to gray belly with a black neck.
19. Painted Bunting
The Cardinalidae family of birds is native to North America and includes the Painted Bunting bird.
- Nonpareil, which means “without equal,” is the French name for the male Painted Bunting, referring to its remarkable looks. The color range of the male plumage is vast, including blue, green. What you see is red and yellow.
- The bright green color of this bird’s female type is easily visible.
20. Indian Peafowl
As its name implies, the Indian peafowl can be found in India, Sri Lanka, in other countries of South Asia.
- The males are known as peacocks, while the females are known as peahens, and the Indian Peafowl is a member of the pheasant group. The peafowls are a group of birds that includes all of them.
- Peacocks have a dazzling fan (up to 5 feet) of brilliant feathers that grows from the back, just like any other birds that display a sexually dimorphic trait. Males also have green throat feathers and a somewhat raised head crest. Some cultures regard peacock feathers as sacred treasures for success, as their exquisite, dazzling designs are reminiscent to behold.
- By spreading a magnificent fan of iridescent feathers with big fiery eyes, the vividly colored male peacock seduces the female. If the female is satisfied, she may allow him to reproduce.
- Peahens,on the other hand, have a duller coloration and a white belly with an overall brown body.
21. Scarlet Macaw
The world’s largest species of colorful parrots, Macaws, are regarded. In the rainforests of Mexico, Central and Southern America, for example, scarlet macaws are widely distributed.
- Apart from its overall crimson color, the scarlet macaw has a wide range of green, yellow, and blue feathers.
- Macaws spend a lot of time using tools and playing with objects, which makes them one of the most intelligent birds.
22. The Resplendent Quetzal
This bird is found in Central America’s mountainous regions and is a member of the Trogan bird family.
- Interestingly, depending on the time of day, this bird’s iridescent color shifts from green to blue.
- The Quetzal is known to inhabit the mountainous and tropical forests of Central America.
23. Rainbow Lorikeet
Due to its feathers, which are green, blue, orange, and yellow in color, this bird is often seen in flocks.
- Its beak, which is crimson in hue, is the most noticeable characteristic of the bird.
- In terms of physical appearance, both sexes of this bird are identical.
- A lorikeet’s tongue has a brush like tip for gathering nectar, fruits and insects.
- Lorikeets gather in large groups at night to spend the evening together.
- Basically, Rainbow Lorikeets are distributed in the coastal regions of Northern and Eastern Australia.
24. Golden Peasant
The Golden Pheasant, also known as the Chinese Pheasant, is a retiring bird that only comes out at night in the darkest forests.
- The male Golden Pheasants are easily identified by their golden crest, which exhibits sexually dimorphic characteristics. It has a bright crimson belly, black wings, and a long patterned brown tail in addition to that.
- The female Golden Pheasant, on the other hand, has a drabber look and pale yellow legs that go with it. The female has a thinner, more slender appearance.
- The Golden Pheasant may be found in China’s woodlands, as its name implies, in the country’s central and western regions.
25. Scarlet-chested Parakeet
Our next colorful bird is the beautiful Scarlet-chested parrot (aka scarlet-breasted parrot). These colorful birds are endemic to Southern Central Australia and some parts of Southern Western Australia.
- These birds have two appearances (sexually dimorphic) when it comes to their appearance. The male has a brilliant blue face with a scarlet chest and a yellowish lower portion, whereas the female is virtually identical save for the lack of red on the chest.
- These bright birds consume grass seeds as their main source of food. Since they eat succulent plants that help them stay hydrated, these parakeets can survive for a long time without water.
- The scarlet-chested parrot is known as Neophema splendida, and it was first described by John Gould, a renowned naturalist, in 1841.
- Breeding season for these parrots begins from August to October.
26. Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise
The Bird-of-Paradise, which should not be confused with the Plant of Paradise, is the last but by no means least of all. Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Eastern Indonesia are home to the majority of Bird-of-Paradise birds.
- A vivid turquoise crown, yellow cape, red back, and green breast and tail feathers are all seen in the male form of this bird to exhibit a wide range of colors.
- Interestingly though, the crowns of the males are not feathers but actually bare skin. Criss-crossed by black lines of feathers.
- With a lilac-blue head, a crimson upper body, and brown wings, females appear duller in appearance. Females lack tail feathers as well.
While these colorful birds are truly magnificent, several of them are even endangered in their native regions. They have become a target for many hunters in the forest because of their beautiful and distinctive plumage. The loss of habitats and the environment in general pose a serious threat to these birds.