How many green birds have you seen? Do you think their gorgeous green hue is natural?
Like many other colored birds, the green hue in green birds can be because of the refraction of light.
If you’re an avid birder, you know it’s difficult to find a bird without speckles, spots, or flecks on its body. It’s difficult to find an all-green bird from beak to tail.
They are mostly lime green, yellow-green, violet-green, pale-green, emerald green, or chartreuse.
Let’s get down to the types of green birds and where you can find these unique birds.
Where to Find Green Birds
Most green birds live in the tropics, but there are many green warblers, hummingbirds, parakeets, turacos, magpies, and swallows, which stay and breed in North America.
The best time to spot green birds in the US is during migration when birds flock to various eastern and southern states from spring through summer to breed.
The most popular green bird in North America is the parakeet. Often referred to as wild budgerigar, parakeets are green birds that are popular in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, and even New York City.
Why Are Birds Green?
Green birds truly shine and bask in the beauty, but why are they green? Is their green pigmentation natural or an illusion?
In most cases, the green color you observe in birds comes because of the bending of light waves. It’s thought that microstructures in feathers scatter long wavelengths (red, orange, and yellow), and reflect short wavelengths (violet, indigo, blue, and green).
Most green birds get their color from the refraction of green light. Only the turacos are truly green, thanks to a green pigment called turacoverdin that’s found in their feathers.
Some birds turn green only during the breeding season and revert to their actual colors once they finish laying and incubating eggs.
Top 10 Types of Green Birds
If you want to know the types of green birds, here are the most common birds with green plumage.
1. Green Parakeet (Budgerigar) (Psittacara holochlorus)
The green parakeet is a small, colorful parrot that is native to Central America. It was once thought to be extinct in the wild, but the species was rediscovered in 2000.
These birds have bright green plumage and have a unique tendency of living in groups of up to 20 birds at a time. Their heads are yellow with a black patch around the beak and neck area.
Green Parakeets prefer living in tropical forests but can survive in other climates as long they have access to food and water. They are mostly kept in the US as pets, as they are easy to maintain and breed. Budgies are affectionate birds that relate well with people and other pets.
2. Green Jay (Cyanocorax luxuosus)
Mostly found in southern Texas, the green jay is a rare green bird. It’s a small bird with a dark, glossy green back, and a pale-green throat and belly. The tail is long and deeply forked.
Green jays have a habit of bobbing their heads up and down while feeding on berries or insects caught in flight.
You can find them on the coasts of Central America and some of the wildlife refuge centers in Texas.
3. Amazon Parrots (Amazona)
With over 35 species, the Amazon parrots are green birds, which blend perfectly with the green environment of the Amazon rainforest. In the US, these birds are often breeding birds.
Amazon green parrots are intelligent but strong-willed—they can develop strong attachments to their person or handler and can be stubborn if they dislike what you’re doing.
Some common types of green Amazon parrots include:
- Blue-fronted Amazon Parrots
- Red-lored Amazon Parrots
- Lilac-crowned Amazon Parrots
- Double Yellow Headed Amazon Parrots
- White Fronted (Spectacled) Amazon Parrots
- Panama Amazons
- Southern Mealy Amazon Parrots
- Green Cheeked Amazon Parrots
- Yellow-naped Amazon Parrots
- Orange-winged Amazon Parrots
4. Golden-Fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
The golden-fronted leafbird is a small passerine, green bird. It’s green above, with a yellow iris and pale beak, and a yellow nape.
Golden-fronted leafbirds like foraging in open areas such as plains and scrubland. They are commonly found in Indomalaya regions, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and some areas in Southeast Asia.
5. Green-Breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii)
With an arched black bill and a stocky body, the Green-breasted Mango is a unique species of hummingbird. It mostly lives in tropical forests, but can also be found in some parts of North America.
It has a bright green body with a black head and neck. This bird’s tail feathers are long and brown, and it has a white belly and chest.
The Green-breasted Mango is found throughout the rainforest areas of Asia and Central America. It eats fruits, flowers, plants, and insects. They nest in trees or bushes and lay between 3-5 eggs per clutch, which hatch after around 15 days.
6. White-cheeked Turaco (Menelikornis leucotis)
Native to the Horn of Africa, the white-cheeked turaco is a green-feathered bird with a long tail and short wings that are tipped with yellow. It has a black beak, and its eyes are red.
It has a green face and is commonly spotted in Ethiopian woodlands eating insects. They can also eat small snakes and lizards. The bird lives in groups of up to 12 members and rarely flies over two miles away from its nest.
7. Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle Americana)
The Green Kingfisher is a small bird with a green and black head, body, and wings. Its back is speckled with black, while its underside is bright yellow. Its tail has a black band that ends in white feathers. The bill is dark and the eyes are brown.
The Green Kingfisher lives in tropical forests throughout Central America and South America, but can also be found around ponds and lakes in Arizona and Texas. It’s not a backyard bird as it solely preys on insects, small crustaceans, and fishes.
8. Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguous)
The Great Green Macaw is an Amazonian parrot found in the rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. It has bright green feathers, a long tail, and a long beak that curves to the left. The color of its feathers varies from yellow to blue-green, depending on the habitat.
The Great Green Macaw weighs around 6 pounds and can grow up to 10 inches long from head to tail. It can live up to 50 years in captivity or longer in the wild.
9. Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)
The Violet-green Swallow is a small, brightly colored bird that lives in many regions around the world. It has large, dark eyes, and a violet-green back. The female is more gray-toned than the male and has more feathers on its throat and head.
The violet-green swallow is a migratory bird that spends the winter in warmer regions of North America and Central America. They breed in deciduous and coniferous forests from March through October. They feed on insects, spiders, caterpillars, slugs, snails, seeds, berries, and fruits.
10. Lesser Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis)
The Lesser Green Broadbill is a small passerine bird with bright green plumage, a long tail, rounded wings, and a round head. The lesser green broadbill can grow to be about 7 inches (18 cm) tall and has a wingspan of 3.5 inches (9 cm).
It breeds in the open wooded country with sparse undergrowth, preferring mixed deciduous forest. The Lesser Green Broadbill is native to Southeast Asia in regions such as India, Borneo, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
You can find green birds anywhere in the world. Luckily, you don’t have to go to wildlife refuges or bird sanctuaries to spot birds with green plumage.
Most species of parrots, including budgerigars and parakeets, are bright green and can be found in homes—they’re the most common pet birds in North America.