10 AMAZING Purple Bird Species You MUST See!

Here’s 10 AMAZING purple bird species that you need to see…

The Wonderful World of Purple Birds: Top 10 List for 2023 (PHOTOS & Facts)

1. Purple Martin

Meet the Purple Martin, a vibrant bird species native to the Americas.

With its deep, glossy purple feathers, this delightful creature is the largest swallow in North America.

Purple Martins are known for their acrobatic flight skills and their appetite for insects.

Not only are they beautiful, but they also play a vital role in controlling the insect population.

2. Violet-backed Starling

Next up is the Violet-backed Starling, a native African bird that is a sight to behold.

Males are adorned with striking violet feathers, while females sport a more subtle brown plumage.

These social birds can often be seen congregating in large, noisy groups.

With their stunning appearance and gregarious nature, Violet-backed Starlings are a captivating sight.

3. Purple Honeycreeper

The Purple Honeycreeper, found in South America, is a small and exquisitely colored bird.

Its vivid purple plumage is complemented by a bright yellow beak, making it a true visual treat.

As their name suggests, Purple Honeycreepers feed on nectar, using their specially adapted beaks to reach into flowers.

These little birds are a vital part of their ecosystem, assisting with pollination as they forage.

4. Purple Grenadier

The Purple Grenadier, native to eastern Africa, is a small and charming bird with a unique coloration.

Males are adorned with purple-blue feathers, while females have a more subdued brown appearance.

These finch-like birds have a sweet, melodic song that is sure to delight anyone who encounters them.

Their striking appearance and enchanting calls make the Purple Grenadier a bird-lover’s dream.

5. Costa’s Hummingbird

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a small, dazzling bird found in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

Males boast a stunning purple gorget, which is a patch of iridescent feathers on their throat.

These agile creatures are known for their incredible hovering ability, which allows them to feed on nectar from flowers.

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a testament to the beauty and diversity of the hummingbird family.

6. Purple-backed Thornbill

The Purple-backed Thornbill is a rare and elusive hummingbird species found in South America.

Its vibrant purple back feathers and shimmering green throat make it a true gem of the Andean cloud forests.

Due to its remote habitat and secretive behavior, sightings of the Purple-backed Thornbill are a rare treat.

This stunning bird is a remarkable example of the beauty that can be found in nature’s most secluded corners.

7. Grey-headed Swamphen

The Grey-headed Swamphen is a waterbird found in wetlands throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe.

While it may not be entirely purple, its rich blue-purple plumage and red bill make it a sight to behold.

Grey-headed Swamphen purple bird

These birds are known for their long legs and toes, which allow them to navigate their marshy habitats with ease.

Grey-headed Swamphens are a striking example of the diversity found within the bird world.

8. Purple-throated Mountain-gem

The Purple-throated Mountain-gem is a mesmerizing hummingbird species native to Central America.

Males are characterized by their iridescent purple throat patch, which contrasts beautifully with their emerald green body.

These tiny birds inhabit the high-altitude cloud forests, where they feed on nectar and insects.

The Purple-throated Mountain-gem is a shining example of the beauty and resilience of nature.

9. Common Grackle

The Common Grackle is a North American bird that may not be entirely purple, but it certainly deserves a mention for its iridescent plumage.

Its glossy black feathers display a stunning purple-blue sheen when the light hits them just right.

Purple Bird Common Grackle

Common Grackles are known for their intelligence, adaptability, and distinctive calls, which can be both melodic and harsh.

While they may be common, their striking appearance and intriguing behavior make them anything but ordinary.

10. Violet Sabrewing

Last but certainly not least, the Violet Sabrewing is a large and magnificent hummingbird native to Central America.

Its plumage is a breathtaking mix of deep violet, iridescent blue, and vibrant green.

Violet Sabrewings are known for their powerful flight, which is accompanied by a distinct humming sound.

Their beauty and grace make them a favorite among bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Why Some Birds are Purple

The color purple is relatively rare in the natural world, which makes purple birds all the more fascinating. But why are some birds purple? The answer lies in the unique interaction between pigments, feather structure, and light.

Pigments and Feather Structure

Birds get their colors from a combination of pigments and the microscopic structure of their feathers. 

In the case of purple birds, the color usually comes from a type of pigment called melanin, which is responsible for black and brown colors. However, when this pigment interacts with the complex structure of a bird’s feathers, it can create an iridescent effect, resulting in the appearance of purple.

Light Scattering

The iridescence of purple feathers is due to the way that light interacts with the feather structure. 

When light hits the microscopic layers within the feather, it is scattered and reflected in various directions. 

This phenomenon, called thin-film interference, causes different wavelengths of light to combine and create the appearance of purple.

In summary, the purple coloration of some birds is a result of the unique interaction between pigments, feather structure, and light. This captivating color serves as a testament to the incredible diversity and beauty found in the avian world.

Purple Songbirds: Do they Exist?

Songbirds, or passerines, are a diverse group of birds known for their melodic vocalizations. While many songbirds display a wide range of colors, truly purple songbirds are a rarity. However, there are a few species that come close to fitting the description.

Purple Martin

The Purple Martin, as mentioned earlier, is a beautiful swallow species with a deep, glossy purple color. Although not a true songbird, it is known for its rich, musical calls and acrobatic flight displays.

Violet-backed Starling

The Violet-backed Starling, also previously discussed, is a true songbird with a stunning violet plumage. Males display vibrant purple feathers, while females have a more subdued brown coloration. These social birds are known for their melodic, chattering calls.

Common Grackle

While not entirely purple, the Common Grackle displays a fascinating iridescent sheen that can appear purple-blue in certain lighting conditions. This intelligent and adaptable bird is a member of the blackbird family and is known for its distinctive vocalizations, which can range from melodic to harsh.

In conclusion, although purely purple songbirds are hard to come by, there are several species with purple hues or iridescent plumage that come close. The captivating beauty and enchanting calls of these birds serve as a reminder of the wonders that nature has to offer.

FAQs About Purple Bird

What’s the name of a purple bird?

One example of a purple bird is the Purple Martin, a large swallow species native to the Americas.

Is there a purple colored bird?

Yes, there are several birds with purple coloring, such as the Purple Martin and the Violet-backed Starling.

Is there a lavender bird?

The Lavender Waxbill is a small, lavender-gray bird native to Africa, known for its striking color and peaceful temperament.

What are some facts about purple birds?

Purple birds get their unique color from pigments, feather structure, and light. They can be found in various habitats, from North America to Africa and Asia.

What rare bird is purple?

The Purple-backed Thornbill is a rare and elusive hummingbird species found in South America, characterized by its vibrant purple back feathers.

Is there a purple pigeon?

The Pink-necked Green Pigeon, found in Southeast Asia, has purple and pink hues on its neck, making it appear somewhat purple.

What is a purple parrot?

There isn’t a purely purple parrot, but the Hyacinth Macaw is a large parrot with deep blue feathers that can appear purple in certain lighting conditions.

How rare is a purple finch?

The Purple Finch, which is actually more raspberry-colored than purple, is a common species found across North America, but its population has been declining due to habitat loss and competition.

What is a purple sunbird?

The Purple Sunbird is a small nectar-feeding bird found in Asia, known for its iridescent purple plumage and long, curved bill.

What color is a purple finch?

The Purple Finch, despite its name, has a raspberry-colored plumage rather than a true purple color.

What is a purple macaw called?

The Hyacinth Macaw, with its deep blue feathers that can appear purple, is sometimes referred to as a “purple macaw.”

What bird is purple or violet?

The Violet Sabrewing, a large and magnificent hummingbird native to Central America, has deep violet and iridescent blue plumage.

Do purple lovebirds exist?

There isn’t a purely purple lovebird species, but some lovebirds, like the Fischer’s Lovebird, have violet hues on their neck and head.

What bird has a purple head?

The Costa’s Hummingbird is a small bird with a stunning purple gorget, a patch of iridescent feathers on its throat and head.

What bird has a purple breast?

The Violet-backed Starling has a striking purple breast and back, making it a stunning example of a purple-colored bird.

Where do purple birds live?

Purple birds can be found across the globe, inhabiting various regions such as North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Final Thoughts About Purple Bird

These ten incredible purple bird species, each unique and captivating in their own right, showcase the remarkable diversity of the avian world. 

From the acrobatic Purple Martin to the elusive Purple-backed Thornbill, these birds serve as a reminder of the wonders that nature has to offer. 

So the next time you find yourself admiring the beauty of a bird, take a moment to appreciate the stunning array of purple-feathered creatures that grace our planet.

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.