Birds are fascinating creatures that we often envy for their ability to soar through the air at high speeds. While they are a unique species in general, some are much more interesting than others.
From bright colors, strange behaviors, and peculiar mating habits, we’ve compiled a list of some of the coolest birds out there – ones that surely stand out from the rest.
The Coolest Birds Around
1. Black and White Hawk-Eagle
Scientific Classification: Spizaetus melanoleucus
Appearance: These birds are 20-24 inches/50-60 cm long with a wingspan of 46 inches/117cm, weighing about 850g.
These birds are super cool because they look like they’re wearing sunglasses with black coloring around their eyes.
Their body and wings are also mostly black, while their head and face are white. This also gives them the appearance of wearing a suit to go with the shades.
The “shades” not only look super cool, but the coloring actually does protect their eyes from sunlight.
Food and Diet: They eat mostly small mammals such as toads and lizards as well as other species of birds much smaller than themselves.
Habitat: They can be found in both Central and South America, flying over the treetops as it hunts down its prey.
Behavior: During the mating season, males will select a female partner.
Once they are paired up, and females have laid an egg, the male is in charge of feeding and caring for his partner until the egg hatches.
Once the babies emerge, both parents participate in feeding and raising the young.
2. Indian Paradise Flycatcher
Scientific Classification: Terpsiphone paradisi
Appearance: These birds are between 7.5 and 8.7 inches long, or 19-22 cm. They weigh about 19.27g and have a wingspan of 3.4-3.6 inches/86-92 cm.
These small, impressive birds are very bright and beautiful. They boast fancy, bright-colored plumage that includes black, a reddish-brown, and some white.
They also have fancy crests and long, billowing tail feathers that are longer than the birds themselves!
Food and Diet: Their diet consists mainly of insects.
Habitat: These birds are found on the Indian Subcontinent and in Central Asia and Myanmar. They tend to live in thick, forested areas.
Behavior: These birds are mostly monogamous, pairing up and staying in their pairs to build their nests and raise the chicks together.
They are also careful about their appearance and usually bathe several times a day, keeping themselves immaculately clean and tidy.
3. White-necked Rockfowl
Scientific Classification: Picathartes gymnocephalus
Appearance: This bird is about 15-16 inches long, or 38-41 cm, excluding their tail. They weigh about 200-250g. This bird sports a white body and soft, charcoal feathers. It has a featherless yellow face and head, with two unique black patches on either side that make it look like it’s wearing headphones.
Food and Diet: They eat a variety of insects, snails, small lizards, frogs, and earthworms.
Habitat: These birds are only found in West Africa, where it likes to hang out in the rocky hills where they can find an abundance of driver ants.
Behavior: These birds are smart and intuitive. They easily hunt their food down by going ahead of the many driver ants they find and happily feasting on the other insects that are driven out by the movement of the ants. They work smarter, not harder!
4. Grey-headed Albatross
Scientific Classification: Thalassarche chrysostoma
Appearance: These birds are about 32 inches/81cm long, weighing eight pounds, with a wingspan of 7.2 feet, or 2.2m. The birds have a simple, muted coloring that includes white and brownish/black plumage and a grey head – hence the name.
Food and Diet: They eat a diet of fish, squid, and crustaceans.
Habitat: They reside in the Islands throughout the Southern Ocean. They prefer cooler climates.
Behavior: While they may live in one place permanently, what makes these birds super cool is their ability to fly around the entire world. They are also monogamous and mate for life, reproducing every other year, always in the same colony.
When they’re not raising chicks, they like to spend their time flying freely over the ocean. Some have been recorded rounding the globe twice in a single year.
5. Tufted Puffin
Scientific Classification: Fratercula cirrhata
Appearance: These birds are about 14 inches or 35cm long and weigh about 1.6 pounds. Their bodies are black and white with beautiful golden plumage. They are also known for their signature orange beaks and mohawk like “hairdos. ”
Food and Diet: They eat a variety of squid, octopuses, jellyfish, crabs, small fish, and zooplankton.
Habitat: They are found in the North Pacific. They prefer to nest in grassy slopes with rocky edges.
Behavior: These birds are great divers and love to catch fish this way. They can go as deep as 80 feet to hunt their prey.
Despite their smaller size, they have special bills that allow them to carry up to 20 fish at a time. This makes for fast and efficient transportation to their nests to feed their young.
6. Red-winged Blackbirds
Scientific Classification: Agelaius phoeniceus
Appearance: These birds are about 8.7 inches, or 22cm long and weigh about 3 ounces. They are mostly black with small, pointy beaks and a small, bright red/yellow patch on their wings.
Food and Diet: They feed on things like fruit, seeds, worms, insects, and snails.
Habitat: They live in North and Central America. They tend to reside and nest in open areas, preferring grass and marshlands.
Behavior: These birds are small but feisty. They are aggressively territorial, known to fight and attack even much larger birds and dive at humans if they feel their space is being invaded. They travel in large flocks, which only adds to the strength they have when they go after someone who’s entered their territory.
7. Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
Scientific Classification: Chrysolophus amherstiae
Appearance: These birds are about 3-4 feet or 0.91-1.22 meters long and weigh around 1.6 pounds. They get their noble-sounding name, in part, from their noble appearance. They appear to be dressed in very fancy, almost royal-like attire.
This includes a white and red body, a green chest, bright blue plumage, and what looks like a black and white headdress of sorts with a bright orange head.
This bright and beautiful bird is also, in fact, named after nobility as the first specimen was sent to London by a Bengal governor who named the bird after his wife.
Food and Diet: This bird eats an assortment of seeds, worms, roots, millipedes, insects, and berries.
Habitat: They live in Southwestern China and Northern Burma. They prefer to reside in densely forested areas and bamboo thickets.
Behavior: When it comes time for these birds to mate, they do so in a spectacular way!
They display a unique dance where it puffs out its cape and expands it’s beautiful and ornate tail. This only makes it’s already a bright and beautiful array of colors even more apparent, thus attracting a suitable partner.
8. European Bee-Eater
Scientific Classification: Merops apiaster
Appearance: This bird is 10.6-11.4 inches, or 27-29cm long, weighs about 1.95 ounces, and has a 14-15 inch/36-40cm wingspan. This small but mighty bird boasts a wide array of bright and beautiful colors that create a bit of a patchwork appearance over its body.
For example, it could have a blue chest, an orange head, yellow on it’s back, and several colors on the wings.
Food and Diet: As the name suggests, this bird eats a diet of bees, hornets, wasps, and dragonflies.
Habitat: They live in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Behavior: True to its name, these birds can eat up to 250 bees – or other insects that sting – a day. This is impressive, though concerning to some. However, their impact on the bee population is low and not threatening to date.
They are also experts at removing the bees stingers. After hitting them in the head several times to kill them, they then drag them across their perch and get the stinger out.
Lastly, they are excellent partners and fathers. They diligently feed and take care of their partner while she’s sitting on the eggs and continues taking care of her and the babies once they’re hatched.
Scientific Classification: Pica pica
Appearance: These birds are between 16-18 inches or 40-46cm long, weigh 7-9 ounces, and have a 20-24 inch/52-60cm wingspan.
These birds are very colorful, with dark heads and patches of other colors all over their bodies, but with white around the shoulders, giving them the appearance of wearing a suit.
Food and Diet: Their diet is quite varied and includes nuts, fruits, seeds, reptiles, and other small mammals, songbird eggs, and insects.
Habitat: Magpies can be found all over the world.
Behavior: Not only are their bodies colorful, but so are their personalities! They are known to many as the “mobsters” of the bird world.
This is because they walk around with some sass and attitude. They are aggressive, noisy, and like to steal shiny objects. If you’re in their way, they’ll probably dive-bomb you without even giving it a second thought.
They like to cause trouble wherever they are, and they can mimic the sounds and calls made by other birds.
10. Ocellated Turkey
Scientific Classification: Meleagris ocellata
Appearance: These birds are 28-48 inches or 70-122cm long and weigh between 6.6-11 pounds.
These birds have a unique look, with spatterings of different shades of orange blue throughout their body and wings. They have a small head with several “embellishments.”
This includes red rings around the eyes and a series of red and orange wart-like nodules on the top of its head and down the neck.
Food and Diet: leaves, nuts, insects, and seeds.
Habitat: They live in Central America, typically in the rainforests in large communes.
Behavior: The male is very dramatic and will strut around showing off his colorful feathers during mating season. Once mated, the birds raise between eight and sixteen chicks.
These turkeys are a prey animal and are popular as a game bird, often hunted by both humans and large cats.
11. Great Crested Grebe
Scientific Classification: Podiceps cristatus
Appearance: These birds are 18-20 inches, or 46-51cm long, weigh between 2-3.3 pounds, and have a wingspan of 23-29 inches/59-73cm.
These birds are quite attractive, with a combination of dark and brighter coloring on their body, with bright orange on the side of their head and a sleek black mohawk-like tuft on the back of their head.
Food and Diet: Fish, frogs, insects, newts, and small crustaceans.
Habitat: These birds are found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. They prefer to be in the water, often getting quite clumsy when on land.
Behavior: These birds are perhaps the most romantic of the bird kingdom. They have a very loving and sensual courtship dance that they perform during the mating season.
It’s a unique dance where both genders participate, bobbing their heads and shaking their feathers in a synchronized fashion.
These birds are also unique in that both parents incubate their eggs in a nest that floats! If they ever do need to leave the nest, they cover their eggs with rotten plants, which keeps them warm.
Once the babies are hatched, they can’t swim for a while, so they ride around on the parents’ backs.
12. Northern Flicker
Scientific Classification: Colaptes auratus
Appearance: These birds are 11-14 inches, or 28-36cm long, weigh 3-6.9 ounces and have a wingspan of 14-21 inches/42-54cm. These birds are small, but they are definitely something.
While not as brightly colored as some on this list, their plumage features a fancy pattern of colors and shapes. Their head and neck is a combination of brown and grey, with a bright red spot on the back of the head.
Their body and feathers then feature a pattern of black shapes and spots that are mostly even and symmetrical.
Food and Diet: Mostly insects, but also nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits.
Habitat: They live in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Behavior: Like most woodpeckers, they do poke into tree trunks to find insects, but they also do the same with soil, cow dung, and any colonies.
Once they’ve broken into an ant colony, they will also pour themselves with the acid ants excrete to protect themselves from parasites.
Frequently Asked Questions: Short Answers
1. What is the coolest bird?
Truthfully, this is subjective as everyone has different things that they find cool.
Overall, the European Bee-eater has to be one of the coolest birds ever. Not only are they bright and beautifully colored, but they eat bees – up to 250 every day!
They can also remove their stingers, no problem. It’s not something you typically picture a bird doing, and it’s pretty interesting and definitely cool.
2. What is the most badass bird?
From the above list, this would probably have to be the red-winged blackbirds. These things are tiny, but they are mighty. They are fiercely aggressive when it comes to protecting their territory, and they travel in large, collectively feisty armies.
3. What are the rarest birds?
Some of the world’s rarest birds include the Stresemann’s Bristlefront, Antioquia Bruschfinch, Blue-eyed Ground-dove, Bahama Nuthatch, and the Madagascar Pochard.
4. What is the friendliest type of bird?
The friendliest birds around are also some of the smallest! These include canaries, parakeets, cockatiels, and finches. Their friendly nature is what can make them great pets. Many parrots are also quite friendly, though not all.
5. What is the most loyal bird?
In terms of being loyal to their human owners, parrots usually win here. They are intelligent, often friendly, live for many years, and often grow very attached to their owners.
In terms of being loyal to each other, swans are perhaps the most loyal. These birds are monogamous and mate for life, parting only when one of them dies.