This article features 37 birds you don’t see every day. They’ve been chosen because of their unique attributes, odd qualities, unusual behavior and/or the way they look – which might be characterized as funny, weird, crazy, different, strange or bizarre.
No matter what adjective you use, you’ve got to admit that “interesting” should be at the top of the list.
And that is the purpose of this article: to spark your interest. We hope that you’ll want to find out more about one or more of these unique birds. And that that will be the start of a journey of rewarding study and interaction with the wonderful creatures that share the earth with us.
So, get curious and check out these “weird birds”… if you want to learn more about them, the library and the Internet await. Who knows, maybe this is your first step to becoming an ornithologist (which is the official way to describe a scientist who studies birds).
01. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
The national bird of Peru, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock feeds on insects, amphibians, reptiles, and occasionally preys on smaller mice; it is the prey of hawks, jaguars, pumas, ocelots and boa constrictors.
02. Attwater’s Prairie Chicken
To impress females, the male Attwater’s Prairie Chicken inflates air sacs on its neck, raises its tail in the air, droops its wings, and dances around, stomping its feet while making whirring sound.
03. California Condor
The largest North American land bird. the California Condor can soar upwards of 3 miles without flapping its wings and can travel up to 150 miles a day searching for food with its keen eyesight.
The Cassowary is the third tallest and second heaviest living bird. With 3-toed feet featuring sharp claws – one is 5 inches long i it can run over 30 miles an hour, jump up to 5 feet and is a good swimmer.
05. Dodo Bird
Even though the Dobo is extinct, it is included in this article because it is one of the weirdest looking birds ever with a body that looks like a chicken and a head that looks like some kind of a dinosaur
06. Emperor Penguin
Found on and around the Antarctic continent, the Emperor Penguin is thought to be one of the only species of bird that could spend its whole life without actually walking on land (just ice).
The largest bird native to Australia, the Emu has incredibly strong and clawed feet – primarily a defense mechanism – that have been known to rip through metal
The Flamingo is a filter feeder with a beak that is specially adapted to separate mud and silt from their food (primarily brine shrimp and blue-green algae). Their pink color comes proteins in their plankton diet.
Also known as the man of war and the pirate bird, the Frigatebird is typically found in warmer, tropical regions. The male has a massive scarlet throat pouch that’s inflated during
10. Golden Pheasant
Native to forests in mountainous areas of western China, the Golden Pheasant spends most of its time on the ground. It is a clumsy flier and prefers to run, although it does fly into trees at night to roost.
11. Grey Crowned Crane
With a long hind toe that can grasp branches, The Grey Crowned Crane is the only crane that can roost in trees. By inflating the large red pouch on its throat, it can make a booming call.
12. Helmeted Hornbill
The Helmeted Hornbill sports a bare, wrinkled throat patch – blue in females and red in males – and makes a sound described as hoots followed by maniacal laughter.
The Hoatzin is a leaf-eater, the only bird known to possess a foregut fermentation system that allows them to process their diet. They are sometimes called “stink birds”, reportedly smelling like cow manure.
Found in Afro-Eurasia, the Hoopoe likes to sunbathe by tilting its head up while spreading out its wings and tail low against the ground. It gets its name from its oop-oop-oop call.
15. Horned Curassow
Found in Bolivia, the Horned Curassow (or Southern Helmeted Curassow) can grow longer than a yard long and over 8 ½ pounds in weight. Check out that face, you can see how it got its name.
16. Horned Guan
Found in altitudes up to 10,000 feet in the humid mountain forests of southeast Mexico and Guatemala, the Horned Guan is a black turkey-like bird that sports red legs and a red horn on
Native to the forests of New Caledonia, the Kagu is almost flightless, spending its time on the ground, hunting its invertebrate prey. It has unique “nasal corns”, a feature not shared with any other bird.
18. King of Saxony Bird of Paradise
Native to rain forests of New Guinea, the male King of Saxony Bird of Paradise has two remarkably long (twice the length of its body), stiff ornamental brow plumes that the bird
19. Marabou Stork
Reaching heights over 5 feet tall and weights over 20 pounds, the Marabou Stork is a large bird with a wingspan of about 12 feet, the largest wing-spread of any living birds.
The Ostrich can’t fly, but it can run at speeds over 50 miles per hour. It is the largest bird in the world – weighing as more than 220 pounds and laying eggs about 10 bigger than the average chicken egg.
With fourteen neck vertebrae (compared to 7 in humans) the Owl can rotate its head and neck as much as 270 degrees (360 degrees is a full circle). Owls are found everywhere on earth except Antarctica.
22. Polish Chicken
The Polish Chicken (or Poland Chicken) originated in the Netherlands, not Poland. Their crests can cover their whole head and often limit their vision. They are primarily raised for show.
The Potoo is a nocturnal bird that that can be found throughout Central and South America (except Chile). They are monogamous, which means they have only one partner during their lifetime.
24. Raggianna Bird of Paradise
Only found on the island of New Guinea, the Raggiana Bird of Paradise – or cendrawasih, feeds primarily on fruits, figs and arthropods and is the national bird of New Guinea, appearing on their national flag.
25. Red-footed Booby
Found widely in the tropics, the Red-footed Booby is known as a powerful and agile flier that has clumsy takeoffs and landings. They are incredible divers that plunge into the ocean at high speed to catch prey.
26. Resplendent Quetzal
Found in Central America, the Resplendent Quetzal was sacred to the Mayans. Today it is the national bird of Guatemala, and Quetzal is the name of the Guatemalan currency.
27. Rhinoceros Hornbill
Native to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand. Sumatra, and Java, the Rhinoceros Hornbill has a banana-shaped “casque” on the top of its long beak that is thought to make its call louder.
28. Ribbon-tailed Astrapia
Found in New Guinea, the Ribbon-tailed Astrapia has the longest tail feathers relative to its body of all birds. The male’s tail can be 3 feet or longer — that’s over 3 times the length of
29. Rockhopper Penguin
Antarctic islands, the Rockhopper Penguin grows to be about 2 feet tall and weighs about 6 pounds. On land, unlike many other penguins, they will try to jump over obstacles.
30. Satyr Tragopan
During mating season, the Satyr Tragopan (or Crimson Horned Pheasant) male will grow a large, colorful wattle. They can be found in the Himalayan reaches of India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
31. Secretary Bird
The Secretary Bird got its name because they look like the male secretaries from the 1800s: gray tailcoats and dark knee-length pants and carrying goose-quill pens behind their ears.
Native to the East African White Nile marshes, the Shoebill – also known as Whalehead – is a large, stork-like bird that feeds on fish, frogs, reptiles, and small mammals. Figure out how it got its name?
33. Sri Lanka Frogmouth
A nocturnal bird, the Sri Lanka Frogmouth’s plumage looks like dried leaves; when alarmed when roosting, it slowly points its bill upward, camouflaging itself as a broken branch.
34. Victoria’s Riflebird
During mating season, the male Victoria’s Riflebird (native to Australia) curves his rounded wings above his body and tilts his head back and moves from side to side in a mechanical fashion.
35. Wattled Curassow
America, the Wattled Curassow males have a large knob on their bill and make a sound like a falling firecracker: a high, descending whistle and a long, low-pitched boom.
36. White Peacock
The White Peacock is not an albino. Like white tigers, white peacocks are a color variant. Their genetic mutation – Leucism – causes the lack of pigments in their plumage.
37. Wilson’s Bird of Paradise
Found in the rainforests of Waigeo and Batanta Islands off West Papua, the colorful male Wilson’s Bird of Paradise has a unique is naked blue head with a black double cross pattern on it.