10 Amazing Birds With Fur (Including Pictures)

Birds with Fur are a fascinating subject of nature.

Our guide offers a comprehensive look at bird plumage, sensory perception, and protection.

Whether you are an avid birder or just curious about the natural world, this guide is the perfect resource for exploring avian adaptations.

10 Birds with Fur: Exploring the Unique World of Mammal-like Birds

Birds are known for their feathers, which are one of their defining features.

However, did you know that some birds also have fur?

That’s right; there are several species of birds that have evolved to have a fur-like covering on their bodies, which sets them apart from their feathered counterparts.

Here’s 10 birds with fur and learn about the fascinating adaptations that allow them to thrive in their environments.

1. Kiwi

The kiwi is a flightless bird native to New Zealand, known for its fuzzy brown feathers that resemble fur.

However, these feathers serve a functional purpose, helping the bird to regulate its body temperature and stay warm in the cold forests it inhabits.

Kiwis are also unique in that they have nostrils at the tip of their long beaks, allowing them to detect prey in the dark.

2. Ostrich

The ostrich is the largest bird in the world and is well known for its thick, fluffy feathers.

These feathers not only help the ostrich regulate its body temperature but also serve as a form of camouflage, blending in with the sandy deserts and savannas where they live.

Ostriches are also the fastest-running birds, capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.

3. Emu

The emu is a flightless bird native to Australia, with soft, brownish-gray feathers that resemble fur.

These feathers help the emu stay warm in the cold desert nights where they live, and also provide a form of camouflage.

Emus are also known for their long legs, which allow them to run at high speeds and cover long distances.

4. Nightjar

The nightjar is a nocturnal bird found in Europe and Asia, with soft, fur-like feathers that are perfect for keeping them warm during cold nights.

These feathers also help the nightjar blend in with the bark of trees, where they roost during the day.

Nightjars are known for their distinctive calls, which can be heard at night as they hunt for insects.

5. Kakapo

The kakapo is a flightless parrot native to New Zealand, with soft, mossy-green feathers that resemble fur.

These feathers are perfect for the cold, damp forests where the kakapo lives and help the bird stay warm during chilly nights.

The kakapo is also known for its distinctive owl-like face and its ability to climb trees using its strong legs.

6. Oilbird

The oilbird is a nocturnal bird found in South America, with soft, brownish-black feathers that resemble fur.

These feathers are perfect for keeping the bird warm during cold nights and also provide a form of camouflage in the dark caves where they roost during the day.

Oilbirds are unique in that they use echolocation to navigate in the dark, much like bats.

7. Hoatzin

The hoatzin is a bird found in South America, with fluffy, brownish-red feathers that resemble fur.

These feathers help the hoatzin stay warm during the cool mornings and evenings where they live, and also provide a form of insulation during the hot afternoons.

Hoatzins are also known for their distinctive smell, which has earned them the nickname “stinkbird.”

8. Flamingo

The flamingo is a well-known bird with pink feathers, but did you know that these feathers are actually made of a fur-like material called down?

This down helps the flamingo stay warm in the cold waters where they feed and also provides a form of insulation from the hot sun.

Flamingos are also known for their distinctive hooked beaks, which they use to filter food from the water.

9. Secretary bird

The secretary bird is a large bird of prey found in Africa, with long, black feathers that resemble fur.

These feathers help the bird stay cool in the hot savannas where they hunt for prey.

The secretary bird is also known for its distinctive crest of feathers on its head, which resembles a quill pen and gives the bird its name.

10. Gentoo Penguin

The gentoo penguin is a species of penguin found in Antarctica, with fluffy, brownish-red feathers that resemble fur.

These feathers help the penguin stay warm in the frigid temperatures where they live, and also provide a form of camouflage on the rocky shores where they breed.

Gentoo penguins are also known for their distinctive calls, which can be heard from miles away.


Why Do Birds Wear Feathers Instead of Fur?

Feathers serve many purposes for birds, from flight to insulation, to communication.

The evolution of feathers in birds is believed to have begun over 150 million years ago, and over time, feathers have developed and changed to meet the needs of different bird species.

Feathers are composed of a protein called keratin, which is the same protein found in human hair and nails.

Insulation

The primary reason birds have feathers instead of fur is because feathers provide superior insulation and are lighter than fur.

Birds need to be able to fly and be aerodynamic, and feathers allow them to do so while keeping them warm.

Feathers are also more durable and can withstand wear and tear better than fur.

Communication

Another reason why feathers are so important to birds is that they aid in communication.

Birds use their feathers to attract mates, intimidate rivals, and display aggression.

Feathers can be brightly colored or patterned, and they can be raised or lowered to communicate different messages.


Are there any birds with hair or fur versus feathers?

While feathers are the norm for birds, there are some species that have hair-like feathers, also known as “filoplumes.”

Filoplumes are small, hair-like feathers that lack a central shaft and are not used for flight. Instead, they are sensory feathers that help birds with their sense of touch and balance.

For example, filoplumes can be found on the heads of birds such as owls and parrots.

True Fur

However, there are no birds with true fur. Fur is a mammalian trait and is not found in birds.

Birds are not closely related to mammals and do not share many physical characteristics with them.

While birds and mammals both have warm-blooded metabolisms and are covered in some sort of body covering, birds have feathers and mammals have hair or fur.


Why do birds have feathers and not fur or scales?

The evolution of feathers in birds is a fascinating subject, and scientists have been studying it for decades.

There are a few theories about why feathers developed in birds instead of other types of body coverings such as fur or scales.

Keep Warm Whilst Flying

One theory is that feathers evolved as a way for birds to keep warm while still being able to fly.

Feathers provide superior insulation compared to fur, which is why most birds that live in colder climates have more feathers than those that live in warmer climates.

Display Colours And Patterns

Another theory is that feathers developed as a way for birds to display their colors and patterns.

Feathers can be brightly colored and patterned, and they can be raised or lowered to communicate different messages.

This is why feathers play such an important role in courtship and other forms of communication among birds.

Protection From Predators

Finally, feathers may have evolved in birds as a way to protect them from predators.

Feathers can be fluffed up to make birds look larger and more intimidating to predators, and they can also be used as a way to distract or confuse predators.


Conclusion

In conclusion, these 10 birds with fur represent a fascinating and unique aspect of the avian world.

From the kiwi’s nocturnal adaptations to the secretary bird’s impressive hunting skills, each of these species has evolved to thrive in its unique environment.

By studying and appreciating these remarkable birds, we can gain a greater understanding of the natural world and the diversity of life that exists within it.

Dale Garrett

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing his 15 years of my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at dale@chipperbirds.com for assistance.