25 Incredible Exotic Birds That Will Blow Your Mind

Posted by , Updated on November 17, 2017

If you’re a fan of beautiful things, you’re going to love these exotic birds! Some of these birds are dripping with color and love to show them off. Even birds that many not be as pretty as the rest are remarkable in their sheer size. Are you familiar with all these exotic birds? Maybe you’ve seen some of them in your backyard? If so, consider yourself lucky. Check out these 25 Incredible Exotic Birds That Will Blow Your Mind.


Royal Flycatcher

Royal flycatcherSource: scientificamerican.com: arkive.org

Known for it’s striking crest, the royal flycatcher is a remarkable little bird. Males have a vivid scarlet crest, while females have a yellow crest that is ornately decorated with black and steel blue tips. The flycatcher will display these crests in courtship rituals and also during aggressive encounters.


The Lear's Macaw

The Lear's MacawSource: scientificamerican.com; abcbirds.org

Also known as the indigo macaw, this large, all-blue Brazilian parrot has a life-span that can exceed 50 years. Unfortunately, it’s on the endangered species list with a population of only 1,300 adults. Habitat loss, hunting, and the pet trade are to blame for the birds endangerment. Luckily, conservation groups have been having success in protecting the birds and increasing their population.


Malabar Pied Hornbill

Malabar Pied HornbillSource: scientificamerican.com, indianbirds.thedynamicnature.com

Distributed through India and Sri Lanka, the Malabar pied hornbill is easily recognizable thanks to it’s rather large and odd looking horn. Tribal people in India believed that hanging a skull from this bird’s horn would make them wealthy. Though the population of these incredible birds has not been quantified, it’s believed that they are a “near threatened” species.


The Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin photoSource: smithsonianmag.com; nationalgeographic.com

Also known as the “clown of the ocean,” this is the only member of the puffin species to inhabit the Atlantic. The Atlantic Puffin lives most of its life out at sea where it rests on waves when is not flying. However, they return to land during spring and summer to form breeding colonies. The puffin is also a surprisingly adept flyer able that can reach speeds of up to 55 miles an hour (88.5 kph).


King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise

King of Saxony Bird-of-ParadiseSource: smithsonianmag.com

You’ve probably never seen or heard a bird quite like the King of Saxony. For starters, its horns are so crazy that when this bird was first imported to Europe, people thought the horns were fake. Then there’s its mating call and territorial display. It’s sound is hard to fully describe. It’s like a choir of machine ruckus with dubstep music and chainsaw revving all mixed in with an occasional bird chirp for good measure.


Curl-Crested Aracari

Curl-Crested AracariSource: smithsonianmag.com; adventuresintoucanland.com; aviary.org; post-gazette.com

It’s Toucan Sam! Fruit Loops anyone? On a serious note, the Curl-crested Aracari is a stunningly beautiful (and yet so bizarre) species of toucans that is among the largest in the aracari family. Its name comes from its unusual crest, which has black, short, glossy, curly feathers. Surprisingly, this bird is not endangered, but its natural habitat has been threatened by mining.


The Bali Bird of Paradise

The Bali Bird of ParadiseSource: smithsonianmag.com; bioexpedition.com

Found on the island of New Guinea, it is unlikely that you will ever see one in person because they live in some of the most inaccessible areas of the world. These birds are strikingly beautiful and are known for their weird sometimes comical behavior (such as hanging upside down from branches).


The Kingfishers

KingfisherSource: smithsonianmag.com

These birds use their long bills to catch fish, fly them to their perch, and beat them senseless. Seriously. Then they eat the fish head first. Aside from their aggressive eating mannerism, you can find these beautiful birds in almost any waterside habitat such as on the edge of small streams and ponds, large rivers and lakes, and even rocky coastlines.


The African Crowned Crane

swan2Source: livescience.com

The African Crowned Crane is an elegant bird that is distinguished by its gray body and white wings. Its feathers vary between white, brown, and gold and its head is crowned with narrow golden feathers with a face that has striking white cheek patches. This bird can be found in the marshes of the African savanna, just south of the Sahara.


The Hoopoe

The HoopoeSource: livescience.com: fromthegrapevine.com

The national bird of Israel, the Hoopoe is found throughout Africa and Eurasia. This bird is notable for its distinctive crown and it’s unique “oop” call from which it gets its name.


Capped Heron

Capped HeronSource: livescience.com; peruaves.org

With its muffled feet, you’ll have trouble finding this reclusive creature! The capped heron is distinguished from other herons by its yellow neck, distinctive black cap, and blue bare skin in the face and base of the bill. Though hard to find in the wild this bird is not considered to be endangered.


The California Condor

The California CondorSource: discovery.com; defenders.org

Compared to other birds on this list, the Californian condor might not be the most attractive. However, it’s still an exotic and impressive avian specimen. This New World vulture is North America’s largest bird with wingspans of 9.5 ft (2.8 meters). The bird is considered to be critically endangered and nearly went extinct during the 20th century. However, thanks to strong conservation efforts the condor has survived. As of 2013, there were approximately 435 California condors in the world, 237 of which were free-flying.


The Peacock

The PeacockSource: discovery.com; britannica.com

The Peacock is perhaps one of the most well-known birds on our list. Strictly speaking, only the male is a peacock, the female is a peahen, and both are peafowl. And when it comes to courtship, females judge males by the size of their tails.


The Quetzal

The QuetzalSource: discovery.com; a-zanimals.com

Found in the mountains of Central America, the quetzal is a beautiful bird with males that show off bright metallic green bodies and a deep red chest, coupled with a distinctively long twin tail that can grow up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) in length. The Quetzal was once considered a sacred animal by the Aztec and the Maya and was even referred to as “The Rare Jewel Bird of the World.”


D'Arnaud's Barbet

D'Arnaud's BarbetSource: smithsonianmag.com; beautyofbirds.com

The D’Arnaud’s Barbet is one of 42 species of barbet, all of which are found in sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike other birds who would prefer to create their nests on trees, the D’Arnaud’s Barbet nests in vertical tunnels two to three feet (.6 to .9 meters) into the ground.


The Northern Cardinal

Cardinal2Source: smithsonianmag.com; allaboutbirds.org

Since they stay bright red all year and don’t migrate, the Northern Cardinal makes for an amazing sight against a backdrop of snow (if you happen to live in an area that snows). Though fairly common, these birds are a bird watcher’s delight. FYI, they seem to particularly enjoy sunseeds, so if you want to see them in your backyard, put some sunseeds in your bird feeder.


Red-Bearded Bee-Eater

red bearded bee eaterSource: smithsonianmag.com; thainationalparks.com

As you’ve probably guessed by its name, the Red-bearded Bee-eater eats bees. However, this bird also eats other insects such as wasps and hornets. It’s mainly found in the Indo-Malayan subregion of South-east Asia and can be distinguished by its bright red chest and its long decurved beak.


The Golden Pheasant

The Golden PheasantSource: discovery.com

Also known as the ‘Chinese Pheasant,’ the golden pheasant is native to western China. However, feral populations can be found in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The male and female look completely different. Males can be identified by their striking colors. They have a gold crest with red extending from the top of their heads down to their necks. They also have dark-colored wings and a long barred tail. Their upper backs are green, and they have bright yellow eyes with small black pupils. The female, on the other hand, is not so brightly colored. Most of her plumage is pale and brown.


Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted RollerSource: discovery.com; thespruce.com

The national bird of both Kenya and Botswana, the Lilac-breasted rollers are known for their dazzling array of colors which include white, purple, blue, turquoise, green, black, and tan. These birds perform an impressive courtship flight with numerous dives and rolls (hence the name).


Inca Tern

Inca TernSource: discovery.com

These Peruvian wonders have mustaches! And not just the males; females do, too. This comical looking species is found only near the cold waters of the Humboldt Current where they nest in groups of several thousand.


Splendid Fairywren

Splendid FairywrenSource: scientificamerican.com; theguardian.com

The Splendid Fairwren is probably one of the most peculiar Australian birds when it comes to its reproduction. Sexually dichromatic, the male wren normally looks similar to the female with pale brown upperparts and a long blue tail. But when the male is trying to breed, he displays dramatic blue plumage.


The Rainbow Lorikeet

The Rainbow LorikeetSource: scientificamerican.com; birdlife.org

The Rainbow Lorikeet can be found throughout the rainforests of Australia and Papua New Guinea. They can also be found in the city of Perth….which is a problem. Rainbow lorikeets in Perth are aggressive around nesting hollows. They prevent native birds such as the Australian Ringnecks from nesting, to the point of even dragging their nestlings and dropping them onto the ground.


Long-Tailed Widowbird

Long-Tailed WidowbirdSource: scientificamerican.com: biodiversityexplorer.org; h2g2.com

Currently, there are three isolated populations of the long-tailed Widowbird. One is located in Kenya, another from Angola to Zambia, and the other in southern Africa. Named by Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert in 1783, the name comes from the bird’s black plumage (which only occurs during mating season). Speaking of mating season, female widowbirds are attracted to the males’ long tails, which can reach lengths of over 16 inches (15 cm) long!


Horned Sungem

Horned SungemSource: planetofbirds.com

Mainly found in central and eastern Brazil, the horned sungem is a beautiful hummingbird that inhabits woodlands, grasslands, and gallery forests. This little hummingbird measures about 9 to 11 cm (3.254 to 4.33 inches) which is about the size of a folded wallet (length). Packed within this tiny frame, the horned sungem displays a striking color combination of greens, yellows, black, white, and blues.


Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise

Wilson's Bird-of-ParadiseSource: BBC.com

Probably the most unique bird on our list, the Wilson’s bird of paradise has a dizzying array of beautiful colors. At least the male does. The females are a dull shade of brown. But the males use these colors in an elaborate dance in order to impress the female. For her part, the female will sit on a branch above the male to watch and critique the show. By the way, that patch of turquoise on this male’s head is actual skin…not feathers.

If you enjoyed learning about these exotic birds, you might also enjoy 25 of the rarest birds you might have never seen.

Photos: 25. Combination of Hector BottaiOnychorhynchus swainsoni – Atlantic Royal Flycatcher 02CC BY-SA 3.0 and Shutterstock image, 24. CharlesjsharpHyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) in flightCC BY-SA 4.0, 23-22. Shutterstock, 21. No machine-readable author provided. Stavenn assumed (based on copyright claims)., AMNH Pteridophora alberti 00aCC BY-SA 3.0, 20. Shutterstock, 19. Andrea LawardiParadisaea apoda -Bali Bird Park-6CC BY 2.0, 18 – 16. Shutterstock, 15. Francesco Veronesi from Italy, Capped Heron – Pantanal – Brazil 18 (15411680765)CC BY-SA 2.0, 14. Shutterstock, 13. pixabay (public domain), 12-9. Shutterstock, 8. pixabay (public domain), 7-5. Shutterstock, 4. Dick Daniels (http://carolinabirds.org/), Rainbow Lorikeet RWDCC BY-SA 3.0, 3-2. Shutterstock 1. SerhanoksayWilson’s Bird of Paradise BestCC BY-SA 3.0

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