A Rainbow of Birds
Some of the most colorful birds in the world
Mandarin ducks make their home in forested areas near water in parts of Ireland and in East Asia. Males have brightly colored feathers marked by bright orange, green, red, yellow, and purple. The male mandarin ducks are the most colorful and their faces are marked by stripes of yellow-tinged white, and deep green.
Golden pheasants or Chinese pheasants like in mountain areas in western China. The male birds have feathers of bright yellow, blue, and red. All of the birds look like works of art with their golden heads and colorful bodies. However; the females are a drab brownish gray.
Oriental dwarf kingfishers come from the forests of India and Southeast Asia. These birds have feathers in colors of glimmering yellow, orange, pink, and blue-violet. They are long-beaked and tiny. They have dramatic blue-black back feathers.
Black-browed barbets make their home in the forests of Malaysia and Sumatra. They have bright green bodies and yellow, blue, red, and black faces. Their name comes from the two black streaks above their eyes which resemble human eyebrows. Much of their faces are made up of turquoise-blue feathers, yellow feathers around the beak, and some bright red accents.
Wilson’s Bird of Paradise lives in the lowland rainforests of Eastern Indonesia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. These birds have feathers in colors of blue, green, and violet. To be their brightest the colors have to catch the light just right. They have unusual tails with kind of curlicues on either side of the divided tails.
Red-bearded Bee-Eaters live in the dense forests of the Indo-Malayan regions of southeast Asia. Male birds have reddish-orange throats and chests. Their bodies are green and heads pinkish-purple.
Gray-crowned cranes live in the marshes and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa. These birds have golden feather crowns, red facial skin, and blue eyes. Their bodies are mostly gray and white, but their crowns have stiff golden feathers and this makes them memorable.
Orange-breasted sunbirds make their home in the shrubby areas of South Africa. The male birds are the most colorful with iridescent blue-green backs and heads and bright orange-yellow undersides. Their undersides remind one of a sunrise. Both males and females have long, downward-curving beaks.
Violet-backed starlings live in woodlands and at forest edges in sub-Saharan Africa. The male birds have iridescent, plum-purple backs and white chests. Their faces and backs are a deep glimmering purple. The females are kind of drab and brownish in color.
Lady Gouldian finches or rainbow finches are colorful birds native to Australia. The male finches have bright purple chests, dark green wings, a yellow underside, and bright red faces. Female finches are beautiful in paler shades. These birds got their name from the British ornithologist artist John Gould who named them in honor of his wife Elizabeth. Unfortunately, lady gouldian finches are decreasing in number due to illnesses and habitat loss.
Crimson Rosellas make their home in the wet forests of southeastern Australia and New Zealand. Their most colorful features are their crimson heads and bodies. They have blue throats, wings, and tails.
Splendid Fairy Wrens live in Australia in the shrublands and woodlands. Male birds have feathers of cobalt blue, pale blue, and turquoise feathers.
Painted buntings make their home around the Gulf Coast region of the US and in parts of Mexico. Male buntings have feathers in colors of blue, yellow, and green. They look like they have been painted. Females and young adult birds are a bright yellow-green color. There are many of these birds in the wild, but they are susceptible to illegal capture to be sold as pets.
American Purple Gallinules make their home in the southeastern US and Central America. Their most colorful features are the violet plumages on their heads and breasts. They have shimmering green wings, blue heads, and red beaks. These birds also have long yellow legs and long toes.
Quetzals are native to Mexico and Central America. Their name comes from the Aztec word “quetzalli” meaning precious or beautiful. This bird is the national animal of Guatemala and has become an important cultural symbol in many Central American countries. Their feathers are bright green and they have scarlet chests. They're known for their long tail feathers in various dark green shades. These birds are a protected species due to habitat loss.
Scarlet macaws are tropical birds known for their brilliant red coloring. Even though they are mostly red, they also have feathers of bright blue, yellow, and green. They are native to Central and South America and are one of the biggest members of the macaw family. In tropical jungles, their howling calls can be heard. Their populations have declined due to habitat loss and poaching.
Fiery-throated hummingbirds make their home in the forest canopies of Costa Rica and parts of Panama. They have colorful feathers in iridescent blue, green, yellow, red, and orange. Most of their bodies are glimmering blue-green and their throats are bright yellow with a center that deepens to red.
Keel-billed toucans live in the jungles of Central and South America. They have yellow throats and multicolored large bills. Their bills are pale spring green with some orange, red, sky blue, and purple. The keel-billed toucan is the national bird of Belize.
Turquoise-browed mot mots make their homes in open forests and scrubby areas in Central America, especially the Yucatan Peninsula. These birds have bright blue feathers and turquoise “eyebrows.” These are little birds with racket-shaped tails which both males and females “wag” when spotting a predator.
Paradise tanagers make their home in the subtropical and tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. These are very colorful birds with bright sky blue and light green feathers. These little birds have bodies that are dark bluish-black. Their underbellies are sky blue and faces pale electric yellow-green.
Red-necked Tanagers live in eastern South America. Their necks are ringed with red feathers. Their underparts are bright green, their wings yellowish-orange, and they have brilliant blue/violet crowns.
Spangled cotingas make their home in the South American rainforest. Male birds have turquoise bodies and deep pink or wine-colored throats. The females are more drab looking with dull brown coloring and black mottling.
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock birds can be found in northwestern South America. The name comes from the fact that they enjoy hanging out on the rocks and ledges of the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains from Venezuela to Bolivia. This is the national bird of Peru. They have bright orange crests, heads, chests, and shoulders with gray wings and black underparts. The females are a drab rusty brown.
Curl-crested Aracaris make their home in the Amazon Basin of South America. These colorful toucans have yellow chests and underparts, redbacks, dark green wings, and tails, and multicolored beaks. They have unusually black, tightly curled feathers on their heads.
Flamingos make their homes on every continent except Antarctica. They have very colorful bright pink plumage. These tall wading birds flock together in large colonies around lakes and lagoons.