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The World's Most Beautiful Birds

Updated on March 1, 2017

There are so many beautiful species of birds on our planet that it would take forever to list them all. In this article, I've shared a few of my favorites! Whether it's for camouflage or attracting a mate, the birds listed below have all the colors of the rainbow in their beautiful feathers!

Quetzal
Quetzal

The quetzal is a beautifully colored bird in the trogon family.

They are found in forests and woodlands, abundantly in more humid highlands. All five of the species genus Pharomachrus are found only in neotropics, while the singular Euptilotis species is found in Mexico and the southern US.

They are fairly large growing to over 13 inches long. The quetzal feeds on fruit, berries, insects and small frogs. They can be hard to spot in their wooded habitats, even with their brightly colored feathers. Their feet are unique with having two toes facing forward and two back, aiding the bird in perching high in the trees.

Mandarin duck.
Mandarin duck.

The mandarin is a perching duck species found in China and Japan. It's one of only two members of the genus Aix, the other being the North American wood duck.

Both males and females have crests, but the crest is more pronounced on the male. The male molts after mating season into eclipse (summer) plumage. When in eclipse plumage, the male looks very similar to the female, but can be told apart by their bright yellowish/orange beak.

Green headed tanager
Green headed tanager

Another neotropical bird, the green headed tanager, is most abundant in the lower tropical elevational zone. Their diet includes a mixture of fruits and insects such as ants and caterpillars.

This striking bird generally associates with individuals of its own species. It is usually found in family groups and larger flocks of about 6-12 birds, occasionally up to 20. The flocks can be observed as single-species flocks or mixed with other tanagers.

Bluejay
Bluejay

The bluejay is native to most of the eastern and central United States, western populations may be migratory. They are also found in Newfoundland and Canada.

This vibrantly colored bird feeds on nuts and seeds such as acorns, soft fruits, insects, and occasionally small vertebrates. They can sometimes be seen to catch insects while in flight.

Young bluejays are brooded by the mother for eight to twelve days after hatching and may remain with their parents for one or two months after.

Victoria crowned pigeon
Victoria crowned pigeon

This stunning beauty is named after the British monarch Queen Victoria. The Victoria crowned pigeon is native to lowland and swamp forests of northern New Guinea. It usually lives in areas that were formerly alluvial plains and sago forests.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is now uncommon around human established areas due to heavy hunting for it's plumage and meat. The bird is easily tamed so it easily falls prey to hunters. As such it was named Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List.

Nicobar pigeon
Nicobar pigeon

The Nicobar pigeon is one of the largest pigeon species. They are found on small islands and in coastal regions from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, east through the Malay Archipelago, to the Solomons and Palau.

These birds feed on a variety of seeds, fruit, and small invertebrates and have a very muscular gizzard, which enables them to eat very hard-shelled nuts.

Oxford University found that the nicobar pigeon is the closest living relative of the dodo bird.

Painted bunting
Painted bunting

These common yet beautiful finches live in the coastal southeast and in southern central United States where they often come to bird feeders.

Painted Buntings will forage for food under dense cover and at bird feeders. Sometimes they will venture out into grass looking for seeds.

While migrating they form loose flocks with other seed eating birds.

Lesser bird of paradise
Lesser bird of paradise

The lesser bird of paradise is native to forests of New Guinea, and the nearby islands of Misool and Yapen. They are omnivorous, their diet mainly consisting of fruit, insects, and snails.

The lesser bird of paradise is considered to be at low risk, but its habitat, the tropical rain forests of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya are increasingly threatened and quickly disappearing.

Long tailed widowbird
Long tailed widowbird

This hauntingly beautiful species, the long-tailed widowbird, is found in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and southern Zaire. They live in swampy grasslands, in flocks consisting of one to two males and a larger amount of females.

The long-tailed widowbird's diet mainly consists of seeds and insects. They do most of their foraging in flocks on the ground, though they are sometimes seen catching insects mid flight.

Red crested turaco
Red crested turaco

The prehistoric looking red crested turaco is native to western Angola. It is mostly found in forests, woodlands, savannahs and grasslands with trees and bushes.

Red-crested Turacos diet mainly consists of fruits, berries, figs, leaves and seeds, termites and large snails.

Golden Pheasant
Golden Pheasant

Golden pheasants are native to forests in mountainous areas of western China, but feral populations have been established in many other countries due to it's popularity. They feed on grains, leaves and invertebrates, but they roost in trees at night.

They are very clumsy flyers so they prefer to run and spend most of their time on the ground. If startled, they can burst upwards at great speed and with a distinctive wing sound.

Check out the courtship display of a tragopan satyra!

Which of these gorgeous birds was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! For more interesting animals, check out this article!

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    • Laurie Bennett profile image
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      Laurie Bennett 3 months ago

      I definitely agree Terry! So glad you've enjoyed this :)

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      Terry 3 months ago

      There's absolutely no way I can choose a favorite. They're all so beautiful. Thank you for this article and these gorgeous pictures.