Top 10 Most Unique Birds in the World

Our Planet Earth is home to a wide variety of bird species that all come in different sizes and colors. As every bird has its unique features, here is a list of the Top 10 Most Unique Birds in the World.


10. Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

Top 10 Most Unique Birds in the World
Image Source – Flickr | Image by – GrrlScientist

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia is a type of bird of paradise. They’re native to the forests of Papua New Guinea and have the longest tail feathers by their body size of any bird. In some cases, their tails are more than three times the length of the rest of their body. The tails are how the males attract their mates with longer ones implying more powerful genes to pass on.

Usually, their bodies grow up to twelve inches tall and are covered in velvety black feathers. They eat mainly fruits, insects, spiders, and frogs. They’re calls that sound like a walk or walk can hear echoing through the jungle canopy.


 9. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Andean cock of the rock
Image Source – Flickr | Image by –Laura Wolf

Andean cock of the rock with such striking colors and an unusual crest, it’s no surprise that the Andean cock-of-the-rock has become the national bird of Peru where it lives. The bright orange-colored plumage reaches across its head and chest with gray and black feathers on the tail and wings.

The colors are more vivid in the males of the species but, the females still stand out against the environment they live in throughout the Andes in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela. Usually found in the forests above 1500 feet with some occasionally seen lower down near water sources.

Andean cock of the rock feeds mainly on fruits, insects, and during the mating season has an unusual competitive courtship dance that sees a group of males jumping up and down and croaking in an attempt to gain the attention of the females.


8. Kakapo

Image Source – Flickr | Image by – Department of Conservation

Kakapos are native to New Zealand, where because of the historical lack of predator birds evolved to be very different from elsewhere in the world.

It was once common throughout the islands but, now the species is at severe risk because of human activity, and they only remain in small numbers on isolated islands.

The flightless night-loving birds grow up to 25 inches tall and weigh as much as 9 pounds. They are a type of parrot with a pale face and green-mottled feathers that help them to blend into their surroundings. They are entirely vegetarian and tend to feed on leaves, bark, roots, and fruits.


7. Shoebill Stork

Shoebill stork
Image Source – Flickr | Image by –Bob Owen

Shoebill stork so-called because of their distinctively shaped bills are found across the tropical regions of East Africa in countries such as South Sudan and Uganda. 

They live in marshy areas where they wade through the water in search of their favorite food lungfish. They grow up to 5 feet tall and have more than an 8-foot wide wingspan will often see standing motionless waiting for their prey to swim past.

Despite their name, they aren’t a type of stork but are more closely related to pelicans and explains why they have such a big shoe-shaped bill. They are quite a vicious species that were said to have a powerful bite by the first zoologist, who wrote about them in the 19th century.

They also exhibit an unusual behavior called Yura hydrolysis that surprised those that first encounter them. This sees them defecate on their legs as they stand in the water this helps them to reduce their body temperature.


6. Vulturine Guineafowl

Vulturine Guineafowls
Image Source – Flickr | Image by – Heather Paul

Vulturine Guineafowls are native to the grasslands and savannas of northeast Africa in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. They get their names because of their bald head, necks, and have red eyes, blue faces, a bright blue breast, and a covering of black and white striped feathers.

Despite being good fliers, they will usually run away from danger instead of spreading their wings. Most of their lives are spent on the ground using their sharp beaks and claws to dig into the earth to retrieve grubs, insects, and roots to feed. They usually live together in large flocks and can call out across long distances to communicate with each other.


5Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent frigatebirds
Wikipedia  |CC BY

Magnificent frigatebirds are huge sea birds that live in the tropical coastal regions of the Americas they grow up to 45 inches tall with a wingspan of up to 8 feet. 

The males have an unmissable Red Guler sac, which they used to attract mates they feed on fish which, they catch by swooping down at the ocean and are often seen catching flying fish from above the surface.

Magnificent frigatebirds are one of the very few bird species that can spend many days and nights in constant flight and have recorded traveling as far as 139 miles before landing.

They also used thermal currents in the air to help reach altitudes of up to 8200 feet which, allows them to travel such vast distances with minimal effort.


4. Rufous Potoo

Rufous Potoo
Image Source – Flickr | Image by – Eric Gropp

Rufous Potoo is a small species of bird found in lowland Amazonia and is very difficult to spot because of their close resemblance to a rotting leaf because of this camouflage very little is known about them.

They grow to be up to 10 inches tall with a weight of just two ounces males and females are both very similar in appearance and feed on small insects.

Due to the numerous predators in the regions across Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil that they live, Rufous Potoo generally only move and feed at night time, remaining on their perch during the day when they sleep.

Unusually they are a monogamous species and rather than building a nest, they protect trees-trunks, and branches, which is where they lay their eggs.


3. Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eider
Image Source – Flickr | Image by –Laura Whitehouse USFWS

Spectacled Eider is an unusual species of large sea duck that can found in the cold waters of Alaska and northern Siberia. They grow to be about 22 inches long and identified by their black chest, white back, and strange facial scars with white spectacle patches around their eyes.

They are diving species and mainly feed on mollusks and crustaceans from the ocean but moved to inland wetland areas during the spring when it’s time to breed.


2. Hoatzin

Top 10 Most Unique Birds in the World   
Image Source – Flickr | Image by – Kate Tann

Hoatzin can found in the swamps of South America. They feed exclusively on plant material and have a digestive system that causes their food to ferment in a similar way to what happens in cows.

They aren’t very good at flying and are often seen clumsily trying to move from perch to perch, but they usually stay still most of the time.

In original evolutionary development, their breast bones are perfectly placed to act as a tripod so the birds can keep standing up even when their stomachs are so full that they distend.

The Hoatzin grow up to 25.6 inches long and weighed less than 2.2 pounds. They have blue faces, red eyes, and a head crest and are excellent swimmers.


1. Long-Wattled Umbrellabird

long-waddled umbrella bird
Image Source – Flickr | Image by –ryanacandee

Across the Pacific slope of the Andes between Colombia and southern Ecuador, you might have the chance of seeing one of these strange birds long-waddled umbrella birds.

Apart from having an impressive quick-like crest on their heads, they also have a large chest waddle. It’s so huge in fact that it gets in the way of them flying so, they’ve developed an ability to retract it at will.

They also have become a crucial part of their mating behavior and groups of males perform flex, which shows off their waddles and their ability to retract and extend them in an attempt to prove their worth to the females.


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