It’s amazing how nature never fails to amaze us with its discoveries of new animal species. One group that has captured the attention of scientists, researchers, and bird enthusiasts are the exotic and distinct birds from around the world. These winged creatures stand out due to their diverse and one-of-a-kind appearances.
There are countless varieties of birds on this planet, each flaunting their unique and vibrant colors. From fluffy, snow-white birds to those adorned with every color of the rainbow, nature truly seems to revel in experimenting with these feathered creatures’ looks. So, why not take a moment to marvel at some of the most stunning avian species out there? We’ve compiled a collection of 16 breathtaking bird photos that are sure to satisfy your craving for beauty.
The Frill-necked Monarch, also known as Arses lorealis, is a type of monarch flycatcher that belongs to the Monarchidae family. This species is native to the rainforests situated in the northern region of Cape York Peninsula. Initially, it was categorized as a subspecies of frilled monarch (Arses telescophthalmus) for a prolonged period, but eventually, it was identified as a separate species in 1999 by Schodde and Mason. Later in 2008, Christidis and Boles confirmed this classification. The Frill-necked Monarch has an average length of 14 cm (5.5 in), and its neck feathers can erect to form a small frill. The male bird is mainly black and white, and its all-white breast distinguishes it from the pied monarch, which is more common and has a broad black breast band. The wings and head of this bird are black, while the throat, nape, shoulders, and rump are white.
The habitat of the range extends from the top of the Cape York Peninsula towards the southwest until Weipa, and southeast to the Iron Range and Coen. It includes subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The breeding period lasts from November to February, with only one brood raised during this time. To build the nest, the bird makes a shallow cup using vines, sticks, spider webs, and shredded plant material, and then adds lichen as decoration. It usually places the nest on a hanging loop of vine away from the trunk or foliage of a large tree, roughly 2 to 10 meters (6.6 to 32.8 ft) above the ground. The bird lays two oval-shaped white eggs that have a pinkish tint and are marked with lavender and reddish-brown spots. These eggs measure 19 mm x 14 mm.
The sparkling violetear is a type of hummingbird known for its large size and territorial behavior. This bird is commonly found in semi-open habitats such as gardens and parks, particularly in cities like Quito in Ecuador where it is the most abundant species of hummingbird. The sparkling violetear is distributed across northern and western South America, including the Andes, the Venezuelan Coastal Range, and the tepuis. It belongs to the Trochilidae family and is part of the Colibri genus, which includes four other species: brown violetear, white-vented violetear, green violetear, and of course, the sparkling violetear itself.
The European Starling, also known as Sturnus vulgaris, can be found in all biogeographical realms except for the Neotropics. They are mostly dispersed throughout their natural region, ranging from Central Siberia to the Azores, Norway, and the Mediterranean. However, they were introduced to North America in 1890 with only fifteen pairs surviving out of one hundred released in New York City. Over the next century, their population grew rapidly, expanding across the United States from east to west and north to south, due to their extensive ecological tolerance. The European Starling prefers lowland habitats and requires nesting holes during breeding season and vegetation-filled fields for feeding. They also occupy various habitats from open moorland to salt marshes for the remainder of the year. Common nesting sites include trees, buildings, and rooftops, but they also take over other birds’ nests for their own use.
The Tawny-flanked Prinia may not catch your eye with its appearance, but its distinctive call is what usually captures attention. This petite bird tends to blend in with its surroundings, making it difficult to spot amongst the grass and bushes. It’s a speedy little creature that doesn’t stick around for too long, except when it’s singing its heart out.
The White-whiskered Laughingthrush, also known as the Formosan Laughingthrush (Garrulax morrisonianus), belongs to the Leiothrichidae family and can only be found in the mountainous forests of Taiwan. With a distinct facial pattern, this large bird measures between 26 to 28 cm long and has a yellowish to horn-colored, thrush-like bill, black eyes, strong and brownish-pink legs and weighs around 77 grams on average. This sociable species is often seen in large groups and isn’t particularly afraid of humans. Although habitat destruction and fragmentation have caused a decrease in their population, estimated to be between 10,000 and 100,000 breeding pairs, the White-whiskered Laughingthrush is still considered a non-endangered species.
Bee-eaters are a group of slender, brightly coloured birds with long bills that belong to the family Meropidae. They feed on various winged insects such as bees, wasps, flying beetles, and dragonflies. These birds gather at high, open perches, often dead trees in areas with open countryside, riverine regions, or forest edges. From their perch, they can easily spot their insect prey flying by and catch them on the wing. In Southeast Asia, bee-eaters usually nest in burrows dug into sandy cliff faces, bare ground, or even man-made piles of sandy soil that have been abandoned. The Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctornis amictus is known to nest in termite mounds. Although bee-eaters are most diverse in Africa, eight species of bee-eaters are present in Southeast Asia as either residents or migrants.
The grey-rumped treeswift is a type of bird that belongs to the Hemiprocnidae family. There are currently four known species in this family. Although closely related to true swifts, treeswifts are different as they are arboreal and often seen perched on trees, power lines, and pylons. Interestingly, when perched, the wing tips cross over the tail. The grey-rumped treeswift is commonly found in peninsular Malaysia, but its population trend is not well-known due to limited information.
The male Superb Fairy-wren is easily recognizable with its shiny blue and black feathers, while the brown “jenny wrens” accompanying them are often mistaken for a female harem. However, some of these brown birds are actually young males who have yet to develop their breeding plumage. The nests of these birds contain about three or four eggs, but not all of them are necessarily fathered by the colored male, as female fairy-wrens are known for infidelity. These birds are common in eastern Australia, Tasmania, and the southeastern part of South Australia, found in various habitats with dense cover and low shrubs. They can be seen in urban areas, usually in small social groups consisting of a male, several females, and young birds.
Meet the Multi-Coloured Tanager: This petite passerine bird measures around 12 cm in length and boasts an impressive array of vibrant colours. The male sports a bright yellow crown, face, mantle, and throat, along with black and chestnut ear coverts, green wings and nape, blue rump, breast, and belly, and a black patch in the center of its underparts. Females, on the other hand, are less striking, lacking the yellow mantle and black patch. Young birds resemble females, but with a more muted colouration. Endemic to the interior of wet montane forests of the Occidental and Central Cordillera of Colombia, the multicoloured tanager is often found at elevations between 1300 to 2200 meters above sea level, but can also be spotted as low as 900 meters in some areas such as the Department of Cauca. Although they seem to favour mature forests, sightings have also been reported in mature secondary forests and forest edges. The species is most commonly found in the Valle del Cauca Department where it remains fairly common year-round, even in small forest fragments.
The Western Emerald Hummingbird, also known as Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus, is a unique bird species that can be found in South America. It is known to be endemic to the lush subtropical and tropical moist forests of western Colombia and Ecuador. Despite its specific habitat, this hummingbird has a considerable range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 153,000 km. It is considered fairly common and can be found in many areas within its range. This fascinating bird prefers to inhabit subtropical and tropical moist forests, as well as montane areas.
The Horned Sungem is a type of bird that has a very wide range, which means it does not meet the criteria for vulnerable status based on its extent of occurrence. The population size of this species has not been measured, but it is unlikely to meet the criteria for vulnerable status based on population size or specific population structure. Therefore, the Horned Sungem is classified as a species of least concern.
The Long-tailed Tit is a bird that can be found in the temperate zones of the Eurasian Continent. It is sometimes referred to as the silver-throated tit due to the white plumage on its belly. Despite its small size, only 13-15 centimeters long including its tail of about seven-nine centimeters, it has a chubby body and a stubby bill. Its diet mainly consists of insect eggs and larvae such as moths and butterflies. The IUCN has listed this species as one of least concern, indicating that it faces little to no threat, despite some population losses caused by extremely cold weather. Let’s appreciate the beauty of this adorable bird.
The Bare-throated Tiger Heron is a medium-sized heron that can be found along the coasts of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It has a cryptic coloration with a green face and throat and black crown and nape, while the side of its head is grey. Its upper bill is black with a blue horn cutting edge, and the lower bill is dull yellow. The lores, skin around the eye, and featherless throat are yellow-green, which extends to the lower bill. During nesting, the bare throat may become brightly colored in shades of yellow or orange. The population size and trends of this species are unknown, but it is reported to be widespread throughout its range. It is common in Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, rare to uncommon and possibly declining in Panama, and potentially at risk in north Colombia.
The Steller’s Jay is a remarkable bird known for its stunning deep blue and black feathers and long, shaggy crest. Its body is black in the front and deep blue in the back, with faint dark barring on its wings. Adults have blue vertical ‘eyebrows’ above each eye, while juveniles have a slightly browner head and lack the blue eyebrows. The inland form of the Steller’s Jay has a small white patch over its eye. Unlike other North American jays, the Steller’s and Blue jays are the only ones with crests, and they occasionally interbreed to produce hybrids. These birds use mud to build their nests and have banding patterns on their feathers.
Steller’s Jays are also known for their love for peanuts, which they stuff into their crops before flying away. They are also notorious for caching nuts in the ground to eat during the winter months, but often forget where they store them. Their forgetfulness, however, allows the nuts to germinate and grow into young trees.
The Whiskered Treeswift, belonging to the Hemiprocnidae family, is a type of bird found in various countries including Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand. The male bird has a beautiful dark bronze-brown body with a white belly, flanks, and under tail-coverts; it also has long wings and a forked tail that’s deep blue in color, along with white tertial flight feathers. The head is crested and ranges from blue to glossy black, adding to its striking appearance. This bird flourishes in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It prefers living in small cover breaks such as tracks or streams, following the vegetation up around the highest emergent crowns in evergreen forest, and occasionally in tall mangroves. Although this species can occur from plains up to 1000 to 1100 meters on slopes, it is often seen below 800 meters in N Malay Peninsula.
The black-throated loon, also known as the Arctic loon and black-throated diver, is a migratory bird found in freshwater lakes of northern Europe and Asia. During winter, it can be found along the ice-free coasts in the northeast Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This bird was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 and has two subspecies. It was previously believed to be the same species as the Pacific loon, but recent studies suggest otherwise. The black-throated loon is declining in population, but is still considered least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds.