Beautiful Animals You've Never Heard of

Updated on March 26, 2020

Pretty Animals

In this article, I've tried my hand at some moths, birds, and butterflies, just for some variety. Typically, I try to include animals that have little time behind the camera, but are just as deserving of the limelight. So go on, learn something!

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Glasswing Butterfly (Greta Oto)

Found mostly in Central America, the most striking feature of a glasswing butterfly is obviously its wings. The species has developed an absence of wing scales, allowing them to camouflage into whichever environment they find themselves in.

Apart from being beautiful, the glasswinged butterfly exhibits unusual behaviour. Unlike most butterflies, the glasswing butterfly has been known to migrate great distances, a risky business when so delicate. It has a lifespan of around 12 weeks, which is about three times as long as the average for a butterfly, and on top of all that, males of the species have been known to group together for competitive mating displays, or leks.

Its name in Spanish, espejitos, means 'Little Mirrors'.

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Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa Rubicunda)

In writing this article, my girlfriend insisted I include this rosy maple moth, which she first encountered through Tumblr. For those among you who have seen the TV show, "My Little Pony" you might think of Fluttershy when you see this moth. And just this once, I'll forgive you...

As the somewhat uninspired name would suggest, this type of moth feeds on maple leaves and oak trees, and has a pink-to-rose coloured wings and legs. It has even been known as a pest in some areas of America.

During population explosions, the caterpillar of this moth has been known to do significant damage to the foliage of maple trees. Sigh, it's always the pretty ones.

Something interesting: The adults of this species never feed. They live for around two weeks from the energy they gained while eating as a caterpillar.

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Some mandarin ducks have developed a recessive case of albinism as a result of selective breeding.
Some mandarin ducks have developed a recessive case of albinism as a result of selective breeding. | Source

Mandarin Ducks (Aix Galericulata)

Mandarin ducks are colourful, no doubt about that. A mix of purples, oranges, whites, and reds, they have the same colour palette as a pack of Crayola! They originated in Eastern China, but today have spread throughout Japan, Russia and America.

The mandarin duck is closely related to the Wood Duck, which is equally as colourful, but a fair bit more common.

In both Chinese and Korean culture, the mandarin duck is used in marriage ceremonies as a symbol of fidelity. Mandarin ducks mate for life, having the same partner until they die. Because the female mandarin duck is rather drab compared to the male, the animal is also used to describe an "unlikely pair."

The mandarin duck is not endangered, but understandably faces threats from poachers who prize their plumage.


The Call of a Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura Victoria)

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is named after Queen Victoria, and is native to parts of New Guinea. It has a very distinctive 'whooping' call, which can be heard in the video above.

The distinguishing feature of all crowned pigeons is their crown and their size. This bird is quite large, and easily recognised by it's blue and red plumage, as well as it's large white crown. It is also flightless, relying on underbrush for safety.

All crowned pigeons have melanistic genes. This means that almost any crowned pigeon has the possibility of being born completely black.

Despite occasionally having brilliant blue feathers, this bird is hunted for its meat more so than it's appearance, which I suppose is a good thing.

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Texas Wasp Moth (Horama Panthalon)

True to my word, the animal above is not a wasp, but actually a moth commonly found in Texas and Southeastern America. Who would have thought?

It's evolved to look like a paper wasp, so that it isn't attacked by birds and other predators. The toxin of paper wasps is highly toxic to animals like wolves, cats, and birds of prey, so looking like this animal has it's advantages.

Unlike most other species of moths, the mimicry of a poisonous insect allows it to move freely during the daytime, so it is not nocturnal.

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Grey-Crowned Crane (Balearica Regulorum)

Probably the most striking of the animals in this list, the grey-crowned crane is the national animal of Uganda. Despite its popularity in some areas, it remains threatened by a myriad of factors. In the past 45 years, the population of this African crane has been damaged by:

  • Habitat loss
  • Illegal removal of eggs
  • Heavy use of pesticides
  • Over-farming
  • Dam construction
  • Illegal pet trade
  • Poisoning, as a method of human retaliation
  • Coal mining disturbance
  • Electrocution
  • And even more, which can be found at The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

This bird is one of only two cranes that are able to roost in trees. It has a long hind toe not found in other species of crane which allows it to grasp tree branches while sleeping. While little is known of the genetic history of cranes, some believe that the presence of this hind toe is an indicator of the ancestral age of the bird.

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Giant Leopard Moth

At nearly three inches wide, this moth is quite large. It is commonly white with an orange and blue thorax, visible only when the caterpillar curls into a ball for defence. As seen in the photo above, the giant leopard moth is covered in solid and hollow black spots, some of which are also iridescent blue in the centre.

Adult moths very rarely venture out in the daytime, as they are strictly nocturnal. As is apparently common with moths, the adults spend their lives reproducing, and do not eat.

And Now, It's Poll Time!

Which one was your favourite?

See results

© 2013 Jared Miles


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Quetzal, google it

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for commenting again Phyllis, and thank you for reading my article! I personally really like the colours of the mandarin duck, it's really beautiful, and although much more common than some of the animals, it's very deserving of its spot in my Hub

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      I think so too dobo700, thanks for taking the time to read my Hub, and for commenting too!

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for commenting Nell, it's a pleasure to hear from you! I thought about adding that option in the poll, but I wanted to make it difficult ;) They really are all beautiful.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Jared, it was so hard to choose in the vote, for they are all so pretty -- such vivid colors! This is a wonderful and enjoyable hub. Thank you.

    • dobo700 profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Wow, there are some truly amazing animals in that lot

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Wow! aren't they all beautiful? The colours are amazing, I was going to vote on your poll, but I wanted to say all of them! wonderful hub, voted up and shared, nell

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Very true Kristyleann, it does look too cute to be scary! Thanks very much for commenting, and well done on having actually sighted one, they're only small animals :)

    • kristyleann profile image

      Kristy LeAnn 

      6 years ago from Princeton, WV

      Those are all beautiful. I already knew about the Rosy Maple Moth because my boyfriend had one on his apartment door a while back and took a picture of it. I'm terrified of insects but it's pink and fuzzy so how could I not like it? lol :)

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Mike, I appreciate the publicity and thanks for commenting! I hope you liked my Hub, I'll be looking forward to reading some of your work.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      6 years ago from London

      Wonderful hub and photos, Jared! Voted and pinned!

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks mel, which ones have you heard about? :) thanks for your comment and your praise, I certainly appreciate it, there should be some more articles like this on the way :)

    • Jared Miles profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Miles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Ah Faith, it was bound to happen, I knew the mandarin duck was edging close to an animal people knew about, but I suppose that's part of the risk :p thanks for commenting and voting :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub here of the very beautiful and unusual animals. I have heard of the mandarin duck.

      Voted up ++++

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      6 years ago from San Diego California

      I have heard of a few of these, but some were new to me, especially the moths. Very nice collection of photos and a commendable write up. As an animal lover I always enjoy reading about them.


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