Among terrestrial animals, birds are probably the most colorful[A] in terms of physical appearance. As expected, the spectacular display of various colors and patterns shown by different bird species is very important because birds themselves can recognize colors.
Characteristics of Colors in Birds
In terms of physical appearance, most bird exhibit sexual dimorphism, a trait wherein males are highly distinguishable from females. Males seem to be more colourful and more dazzling than females for one apparent reason: to attract females during mating.
Collectively speaking, bird feathers are referred to as the plumage. In particular, the plumage color in birds are formed in two different processes:
A) On one hand, colorful feathers are brought about by various pigments produced by birds. Such pigments are melanin, carotenoid, and porphyrin. The pigment melanin produces colors that range from pale yellow to reddish-brown up to the darkest black. The pigment carotenoid is what produces the colors ranging from bright yellow to orangish-yellow. For instance, the interaction of the pigments melanin and carotenoid produces an olive-green color. Lastly, the pigment porphyrin produces a variety of colors such as brown, bright red, pink, and green.
B) On the other hand, bird feather colors are produced by the structure of the feathers themselves. Meaning, instead of the pigments, colors are made when light gets refracted by the proteins found in the feathers. Apparently, three structural feathers exist namely:
- Iridescent Feathers: Iridescent feathers can change their color at different viewing angles.
- Non-iridescent Feathers: Non-iridescent feathers can change from blue to brown depending on the light conditions.
- Ultraviolet Feathers: Ultraviolet feathers can reflect light found within the ultraviolet range.
Henceforth, listed below are the 25 most beautiful birds of the world in the Class Aves (birds) of the Animal Kingdom with Phylum as Chordata.
You can see the IUCN red list categories[B] for each of these colorful birds listed below which represents the vulnerability of the species at the present time. This ranges from Extinct to Least Concern.
List of Colorful Birds
The Hoopoeis a colorful bird found across Afro-Eurasia and is recognized by it’s distinctive ‘crown’ of feathers. It’s name is onomatopoetic which imitates the cry of the bird.
2. Greater Bird Of Paradise
The Greater Bird Of Paradise is a tropical bird found in New Guinea and has elongated flank feathers that form ornamental plumes. The male has a beautiful colorful plumage of feathers and used to be sought after for hat decorations.
3. Hyacinth Macaw
The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest parrot in the world and can reach 100 cm in length. It is found in central and South America but unfortunately due to a huge demand for the Hyacinth Macaw as a pet it has had a drastic effect on it’s population.
4. Scarlet Tanager
The scarlet tanager is a medium-sized American songbird. The males are more colorful with a bright red body and black wings and tail.
The kingfisher has over ninety different varieties of species and are found throughout the world. They are a small bird with long bills and sturdy bodies that helps them in being masters of fishing.
6. Green Wing Macaw Parrot
The Green-winged macaws are faithful partners and mate for life. They have no eye lines and are often reffered to as “gentle giants” as they are larger the Scarlet and Blue Macaws but have a more docile, sweet nature.
7. Rainbow Lorikeet
The Rainbow Lorikeet is earned it’s name because almost every color of the rainbow are found on the feathers. The Rainbow Lorikeet have a surprising long lifespan of over 20 years.
The Peacock is of the pheasant family and the male is one of the most colorful birds in the world. The males are famous for displaying a fan of feathers to attract a mate.
9. Golden Pheasant
The Golden Pheasant while a bird of beauty is often hunted for sport. When attracting a mate, the male spreads his deep orange feathers and it is truly a magnificent sight.
10. Keel Billed Toucan
While the Toucan’s feathers are not so colorful it’s beak has the colors of a rainbow. Native to South america this bird likes to live in the high canopies of the rain forests.