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Top 10 Most Stunningly Beautiful Birds in the World

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Laura Keating.

People interested in ornithology may already know beautiful birds and their names, but for those of us that don’t recognize different bird plumage we need a list to find the most beautiful bird in the whole world. Whether it’s the strikingly white Snowy Owl, the pink Flamingo, the colorful keel-billed Toucan or the bright Blue Jay, these are some of the most amazing bird species on the planet. In honor of Bird Day on May 4th, WatchMojo counts down ten of the most gorgeous birds on Earth.

Special thanks to our users DreamyEyedLover and GamerTimeUSA for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%20Ten%20Beautiful%20Birds


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Script written by Laura Keating.

Top 10 Most Stunningly Beautiful Birds in the World

These birds of a feather would make the most beautiful flock, ever. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 beautiful birds of the world.

For this list, we’re embarking on a global bird-watching venture, and while beauty isn’t just skin – er, feather deep – that is what we’re looking for. Sure, many birds have incredible attributes, like speed or dexterity, but we’ve chosen the fairest fowls based on the color, contrast, and displays of their pretty plumage.

#10: Blue Jay

These feisty little guys are instantly recognizable. With territories across the eastern and central United States, as well as parts of Canada, they’re a common sight to many throughout the year. Unlike most birds, both the male and female of the species share similar color patterns, with a distinct crest on the head, bright lavender-blue and cobalt tipped feathers, and fine black collar. Interestingly, like most blue-toned birds, light reflecting off their feathers gives off the color – it’s not from inherent pigmentations in their cells. Hey, whoever said science wasn’t beautiful? These curious and clever little guys are a little piece of summer sky, adding a lovely touch of color anywhere and everywhere they go.

#9: Painted Bunting

This bold-hued little member of the cardinal family is frequently called the “most beautiful bird in North America” and “nonpareil,” which translates to “without equal.” We can certainly see why! With a striking sapphire head, ruby breast, and green back, these gregarious songbirds are like little flying jewels. The females of the species are not quite as striking, but still lovely in their own right with bright, yellowy-green plumage. Both genders really are as pretty as a picture, and their song is equally charming! At one time, these birds were greatly sought after as pets, and their population dwindled. Fortunately, it’s now illegal to capture them. Fly free, little dudes, fly free.

#8: Snowy Owl

You may recognize this grand bird of prey as Harry Potter’s trusted messenger and companion Hedwig. But no matter where you first saw them, in forest, film, or zoo, the snowy owl is unforgettable. As they’re native to the Arctic, in both North America and Eurasia, they’ve developed a downy plumage as white as snow. The males are almost completely white, while the females have black feathers speckled down their backs and wings; both sport small black beaks, and mesmerizing, huge, yellow eyes. Striking, fierce, and serene, there’s just something breathtaking about these inimitable, arctic hunters.

#7: Keel-Billed Toucan

This bird’s got it, and it flaunts it! The Keel-billed toucan’s most distinct feature is, of course, its glorious beak. Its bill is largely bright lime, edged in blue and orange, and tipped in cherry red, beautifully set against the rainforests it loves to frequent. Its plumage is predominantly black, with a yellow bib. The combination of colors truly makes it stand out from other tropical birds, like the best-dressed guest at a fancy party. The national bird of Belize, these stunners make their home in Latin America but can be admired in zoos all over the world.

#6: Flamingo

There’s no denying it: these wading birds are as incredibly beautiful as they are incredibly unique. Not only are they an unforgettable pink, they really do dance … if not with yo-yos. With their long graceful necks, slender legs, and rosy complexions, flamingos just look the part of the prima ballerina. The flamingos get their trademark pigment from the food they eat, algae and shrimp, but the diet of a newborn flamingo also includes milk from their parents… which has their blood in it. These feathered friends are elegant AND metal! Yeah, the flamingo is one beautiful badass bird.

#5: Macaw

Parrots come in all sort of colors, even within one species. Macaws – a grand parrot of the tropics – come in many different hues: green, scarlet, blue and gold, and even the hyacinth, the biggest in the family. Still pretty cute though. For most people, when they think of tropical jungles, the green, scarlet and blue and gold varieties instantly come to mind, their vibrant presence indelibly associated with all places warm and bright. They’re also in the parrot family, which means they’re capable of learning and imitating understanding human speech. Beauty AND brains? These guys have got it all!

#4: Kingfisher

Found all over the world, these colorful birds are highly skilled at what they do, and what they do is fish. The kingfisher’s coloring differs according to the variety of kingfisher, but the most common is a beautiful combination of teal and rust. The next most prevailing type is green, white and reddish brown, but there is a kingfisher for almost every color in the spectrum. Across all species, they sport a long, sharp beak, which they use like a sword to spear their prey. There is almost nothing quite as agile or stunning as a kingfisher in flight, their wings fluttering rapidly as they hover over moving water, keeping their heads perfectly level before they dart down like a shot. Long live the king!

#3: Golden Pheasant

You might be surprised to see a pheasant on this list, but this is no ordinary partridge – this is a GOLDEN pheasant. While the ladies are a little bit drab, the male of the species is absolutely fabulous! You basically need a hardware store’s worth of paint chips to describe all of the colors that decorate this lovely specimen. It has long tail feathers and a black and golden collar trimming up the sides of its face. But most notably, the male golden pheasant has a beautiful orange “cape” which it may fan out in mating displays. Helloooo, ladies!

#2: Bird-of-Paradise

There are so many amazing birds that fall under this name we just couldn’t choose! Birds of paradise live up to their name, because they really are pretty heavenly to look at. Each member in this grouping has its own very distinct look, call, and mating habits, making their homes in and around Oceania. On the one hand, the little curl-tailed Wilson’s bird-of-paradise is colorful from its head to its toes – literally! On the opposite side of the size range is the magnificently plumed, Greater bird-of-paradise, mostly reddish-brown but with a shimmering green face. Each in its own way is more astounding than the last.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
· Bald Eagle
· Rainbow Lorikeet
· Arctic Tern

#1: Peacock

Was there ever any doubt? It might be a cliché, but just look at this magnificent spectacle! These flamboyant peafowl are the definition of ostentatious, which is probably why a group of peacocks is known as an Ostentation. The iconic look of the peacock is actually only exhibited by the males; the females are mostly brown. And those flowing green and sapphire-eyed feathers have long been associated with the gods in various cultures. Its long cerulean neck, tiny head-frill like a crown and tail feathers flowing from its back like the world’s loveliest gown train truly make the peacock the highest of bird royalty. Just wait for the peacock to fan his tail out in that bright iconic display; more than just the lady peacocks will stop and stare!

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