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27 of the Most Colorful Birds in the World

Nature gifted us with the most colorful birds the human eye could see. What a sight!

These incredible birds with colorful feathers are spread across the planet, and hopefully, you have been lucky to see at least one of them yourself.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about a fraction of the most colorful birds out there, including some interesting facts, like distribution and overall appearance. Oh, we also have photos of all birds, too. 

Without further ado, let’s get to these colorful creatures.

27 Most Colorful Birds in the World

Here are 27 of the most colorful birds you will ever see in nature.

1. Resplendent Quetzal

Flying Resplendent Quetzal, Pharomachrus mocinno, Costa Rica, with green forest in background

These small colorful birds have iridescent green bodies and red chests. Their feathers show various splendid colors depending on the light, making them a sight to behold.

Resplendent quetzals are among the animals that mate for life and seek food in bird feeders.

In addition, the bird’s name is derived from the word quetzal, meaning “sacred” in several Mesoamerican languages, so it’s no surprise these creatures were considered sacred animals.

These colorful birds are found in southern Mexico and Central America.

2. Peacock

Male Indian peafowl

Indian peafowls are magnificent birds found across Sri Lanka and more countries in south Asia.

The male birds (known as peacocks) have long tails of feathers bearing beautiful eyespots. 

During courtship, the bird can raise the tail into a fan to display the feathers to the peahen. They follow an omnivorous diet.

3. Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet macaw on tree branch

Native to Central and South America, scarlet macaws are large colorful birds belonging to the parrot family. Some of their range overlaps with the hyacinth macaw’s range, a beautiful large bird.

These intelligent birds have stunning plumage in brilliant colors of red, yellow, and blue, making them a sight to behold while in flight. 

Some individuals may have blue, yellow, and green wings.

They feed on nectar, fruit, nuts, insects, and larvae.

4. Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow lorikeet still on flight

Rainbow lorikeets are medium-sized, incredibly colorful birds.

These cute animals have a deep blue crown, a greenish-yellow nuchal collar, an yellow/orange chest, deep blue underparts, and green upper parts.

Juveniles have a black beak, which gradually brightens to orange as they become adults.

This colorful bird is a type of parrot and is native to Australia. Usually found in pairs, these birds can be pretty noisy.

5. Keel-Billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan sitting on a branch

Belize’s national bird, the colorful keel-billed toucan is a gorgeous creature whose beak looks heavy at first glance but happens to weigh barely anything—it’s made of keratin, which explains the lightness. 

The keel-billed toucan sleeping pose is odd, too, with their head turned, so their bill touches their back, and the tail is in contact with the head. They sleep in tree cavities, mostly in groups.

They live in a wide range, from the tropical forests of southern Mexico to northern South America.

The keel-billed toucan diet mainly consists of a wide range of fruit but may also include insects, bird eggs, nestlings, and lizards.

6. Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant foraging in the wild in winter

Golden pheasants are beautiful bird species belonging to the forests of Western and Central China. 

As one of the most colorful birds, male pheasants can be easily identified by their vibrant colors. 

The golden crest brushed backward, and their colorful bodies make these funny-looking birds stand out. 

When flying, golden pheasants resemble the mythological phoenix bird because of their flowy, long tails. Females are less colorful and duller compared to males.

Did you know? Of all the collective nouns for animals, the collective nouns for birds are the most curious ones. A group of pheasants is called a bouquet of pheasants!

7. Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

Blue and yellow macaw

These tropical colorful birds are found mainly in South America, but they can be found in a small region of Panama.

These noisy birds prefer to stay in flocks in the wild and display bright blue and yellow colors.

These beautiful birds are easily seen flying in the Amazon Rainforest and Pantanal, among other wild animals in Brazil.

8. Mandarin Duck

Mandarin duck floating

The mandarin duck is one of the most colorful types of ducks. You can spot almost all the rainbow colors on their body. 

They’re social creatures who take off in large flocks during winter. After the season, they return to the same mate every breeding season.

9. Fiery-Throated Hummingbird

Fiery-throated Hummingbird sitting on branch

Fiery-throated hummingbirds, as the name suggests, are types of hummingbirds.

They are most commonly found in Costa Rica and Panama, Central America.

These small colorful birds are known for their striking rainbow colors that shine bright in the sun. 

They have a dark blue-to-black tail, a medium-length bill that’s pink towards the end, and a blue plumage on the rump.

10. Gouldian Finch

Gouldian finch bird

Gouldian finches are generally known for being one of the most colorful birds because of their rainbow-like color. 

Chances are that if you ever spot these beautiful passerine birds, they will be hard to miss.

Also known as the rainbow finch, these Australian birds feature yellow bellies, green colored backs, a purple chest, wonderful blue napes, black throats, and a highly pale bill.

These rainbow-colored birds may have red, yellow, or black feathers on their faces.

11. Common Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher bird (Alcedo atthis) perched on a tree

Common kingfishers, also known as small blue kingfishers, are famous for their glorious blue color. 

The infusion of turquoise-like blue and orange makes kingfishers some of the most colorful birds with long, pointed bills. 

They are often found along rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds because they require a brackish habitat containing small fish. 

Contrary to what their chirpy blue and orange color represent, they are rather shy birds. These inconspicuous birds like to rest on tree branches right above the water.

12. European Bee-Eater

European Bee-eaters on branch

European bee-eaters are passerine birds found in southern and central Europe, northern and southern Africa, and western Asia. 

These colorful birds are mainly found in dry areas and have one of the most stunning yet subtle color palettes as far as colorful birds go.

These insect-eaters have long, pointed bills, vivid yellow throats, bellies that resemble green-blue gemstones, and fiery backs. 

They like to circle in small groups and feed on insects like bees.

13. Painted Bunting

Painted bunting male bird sitting on branch

The painted bunting birds belong to the Cardinal family and are considered one of the most colorful birds found in North America. They breed mainly in the United States and winter in Mexico and Central America.

These birds’ male and female counterparts have distinct features, but the males can only be distinguished for the first year upon careful inspection. 

Their characteristics are not quite as apparent as when they are older. 

The adult males have bright blue feathers on their heads, red hooded parts, and lime-green backs. 

The adult females, on the other hand, are green in color. Female buntings like to breed among shrubby fields, whereas male buntings are found singing from exposed branches.

They feed on grass seeds and insects and may also approach bird feeders when foraging for food.

14. Golden-Hooded Tanager

Two Golden-hooded Tanagers birds

Golden-hooded tanagers are small colorful birds often found in tropical and humid areas. 

These marvelous birds are recognized for embodying a combination of deep blue, black, and golden colors, making them some of the most colorful birds to be found. 

Furthermore, these birds have white bellies, and their sheens can range from a subtle turquoise to purple. 

As mentioned, tanagers are found in humid areas such as evergreen forests, plantations, and gardens. 

An interesting fact about golden-hooded tanagers is that they like to hang around with mixed-species feeding groups of honeycreepers.

15. Curl-Crested Aracari

Curl-crested aracari bird (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) eating fruit

Compared with the rest of the colorful birds, curl-crested aracaris have rather heavy bills. 

It’s noteworthy that curl-crested aracaris are not as vocal as the other birds belonging to the Aracari family. 

They like to hang out in small groups in humid tropical forests. 

These colored birds have a distinct facial appearance that is more of a fusion than a single color. They have gray-colored heads with beautiful curls and long colorful beaks.

16. Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella bird Eating

Crimson rosellas are one of the most colorful birds, with a large concentration of red throughout the body. 

They are parrots from the Rosella family and are primarily found in eastern and southeastern Australia. They can be found nesting in wet forests and gardens.

Apart from the exquisite red hue, these birds have blue patches. 

Some rosella may be yellow or orange in place of crimson. They use a distinguished call that alerts people of their presence, i.e., a two-toned whistle.

17. Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise

Wilson's bird-of-paradise foraging for food

Wilson’s birds-of-paradise belong to the passerine species of birds belonging to the Paradisaeidae family. 

As with most birds of paradise, they are native to Eastern Indonesia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

These birds are regarded as some of the most colorful birds in the world because of their predominantly dark color palette. They have deep blue-to-violet feet and patches of pale blue skin on the top of their heads. These blocks of pale blue color have several thin, black outlines.

Notably, their most distinctive feature is the flat and curly feathers extending from their bills. These feathers are blue in color.

18. Nicobar Pigeon

nicobar pigeon bird closeup

Nicobar pigeons belong to the genus of Caloenas birds, which stem from the Columbidae family. 

These types of pigeons can be spotted on small islands and in coastal regions of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India.

These are ground-dwelling pigeons that feature long plumes extending down from their necks. 

While the appearance of their brilliant color largely depends on the light, they are mostly a mix of dark green, gray, blue, and bronze-like orange. 

They have snow-white tails that stand out from their usual inclination toward dark tints.

Still, it is difficult to spot these pigeons because they are quiet and shy.

19. Himalayan Monal

Pair of Himalayan monal pheasants birds

As the name suggests, Himalayan monals are pheasants typically found in the Himalayan forests. 

These creatures are considered some of the most colorful birds in the world because they display almost all the bright colors of the rainbow. 

However, this is mostly true of the male Himalayan monals.

Male counterparts reflect an iridescent appearance with a green crested head, red neck, green shoulders, blue back, orange tail, and black underparts. 

On the other hand, females are blazing in color with a sky blue eye patch, white throat, and a brown physique with brown streaks.

20. Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted roller, a small bird

Lilac-breasted rollers are African birds belonging to the Coraciidae family. The name lilac-breasted roller is suggestive of the fact that these birds have lilac-colored breasts. 

These birds have relatively large heads that may seem disproportionate to their bodies. 

Their heads are light green, and they have rust-colored cheeks. Lilac-breasted rollers generally dwell on high branches and hang around in pairs or alone. 

One of their unique features is that their flight consists of a side-to-side rolling motion, which is responsible for being referred to as rollers.

Curiously, they are considered one of the dumbest birds in the world.

21. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is one of the most colorful birds found in India

Oriental dwarf kingfishers, also known as black-backed dwarf kingfishers, are small colorful birds that produce a high, piercing sound. 

They have fuchsia-colored crowns and bright coral dagger-like bills. These birds’ chins and throats are white with blue feathers and white patches on the neck.

Oriental dwarf kingfishers are incredibly colorful birds because of the extensive range of deep blue, pale orange, dark violet, coral, and white colors on their bodies. 

Habitat-wise, they can be found in areas far away from water bodies and around thick vegetation.

22. Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal (cardinalis cardinalis) on a branch covered with snow

Northern cardinals are songbirds that are predominantly bright red in color. 

They are also known by several other names, such as redbirds, common cardinals, red cardinals, and cardinals.

These backyard birds are found in eastern North America, the southwestern US, and Mexico.

Red cardinals have extensive crests and red-colored bills. 

They are mostly found huddled in pairs or small groups in parts with thick forest edges. These birds make a shrill, metallic sound and a string of robust yet soothing whistles.

23. Spangled Cotinga

Spangled Cotinga bird singing

Spangled cotingas have a bright and multicolored appearance that makes them some of the most colorful birds in the world. 

They are usually found in the Amazon Rainforest in South America. Cotingas have long been hunted for their colorful feathers. 

They have dark eyes combined with beautiful teal-colored bodies and black patches.

24. Scarlet-Chested Parakeet

Scarlet-chested Parrot bird closeup

Scarlet-chested parakeets, also known as scarlet-chested parrots, are found in the Great Victorian Desert. There are few records of these parrots being spotted in other areas.

The male scarlet-chested parrots have bright blue heads, red chests, green-colored backs, blue wing feathers, and yellow midsections. The females are slightly pale in color.

25. Flamingo

Beautiful flamingos walking in the water with green grasses background

Flamingos are characterized by their S-shaped necks and pink color. They have clear, gorgeous pink feathers and stilt-like legs. 

They have webbed feet, which makes it possible for them to look like they are running on water. Flamingos feed on shrimp, snails, and algae. 

They can be found in groups along shallow and saline lagoons. While adult flamingos are hot-pink in color, younger flamingos are brown and white.

Flamingos are colorful tropical birds distributed through South America, Central America, Florida, southern Europe, Africa, and western Asia.

Currently, six flamingo species are recognized: greater flamingo, lesser flamingo, Chilean flamingo, James’s flamingo, Andean flamingo, and American flamingo.

26. Sun Conure

Pair of sun parakeets or conures cuddling

Sun conures, much like their name indicates, are bright and orange in color.

Although these tropical colorful birds are largely endangered, they are usually found in northeastern South America. 

Sun conures are known for being loud-mouthed parrots with lively personalities. 

These rare colorful birds have colorful feathers, primarily yellow, green, and blue, and green bills. 

These parrots are extremely intelligent and trainable pets that can quickly adapt to a human household. 

While these monogamous birds may bight upon provocation, they are generally quite loyal and affectionate birds. 

27. Gurney’s Pitta

Gurney's Pitta Bird male (Pitta gurneyi)

Native to southeast Asia, these colorful birds inhabit lowland forests in Myanmar.

Appearance-wise, males have blue feathers on their crowns, black-and-yellow underparts, and brown upper parts, while the rest of the head is black.

Females have a brown crown and buffy-whitish underparts.

Unfortunately, these colorful birds are considered rare animals because they are critically endangered, as stated on the IUCN Red List, due to habitat loss.

Final Words on These Birds With Colorful Feathers

Today’s article reminds us of how incredible nature is and how diverse the animal kingdom can be.

We shared many names of colorful birds, but if you know more multi-colored birds that should be on this list, please drop their names below. 

Also, if you’re lucky to spot their colorful feathers up in a tree, let us know how your experience was. We’d love to hear from you!

27 Most Colorful Birds in the World

1. Resplendent Quetzal

2. Peacock

3. Scarlet Macaw

4. Rainbow Lorikeet

5. Keel-Billed Toucan

6. Golden Pheasant

7. Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

8. Mandarin Duck

9. Fiery-Throated Hummingbird

10. Gouldian Finch

11. Common Kingfisher

12. European Bee-Eater

13. Painted Bunting

14. Golden-Hooded Tanager

15. Curl-Crested Aracari

16. Crimson Rosella

17. Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise

18. Nicobar Pigeon

19. Himalayan Monal

20. Lilac-Breasted Roller

21. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

22. Northern Cardinal

23. Spangled Cotinga

24. Scarlet-Chested Parakeet

25. Flamingo

26. Sun Conure

27. Gurney’s Pitta

Dianne Stevens

Thursday 29th of December 2022

This was wonderful!! I have found Cardinals all over Minnesota & Alaska. I winter in the Rio Grande Valley, Green Jays are beautiful but noisy critters. Have been seeing Vermillion Flycatchers, such a shimmering red. Migration is a wonderful time for birding. Thank you so much❤

Meredith Fortner

Sunday 25th of December 2022

I'd known about rainbow lorikeets since I was a kid, but when my husband and I visited Melbourne several years ago, I was astounded to see them everywhere in the city--as common as pigeons are here in the states! On our first day, I spotted a tree full of them, in a parkway. I just stood under it and gawked, surrounded by multiple lanes of traffic, not caring that I was totally outing myself as a tourist:-)

Also, my parents and I saw many lilac breasted rollers amongst the 200+ species of birds we identified on a trip to Kenya when I was nine.

And I believe there was a mysterious mandarin duck in one of the ponds in Central Park that was delighting New Yorkers a few years ago.

Wildlife Explained

Monday 26th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing your experience, Meredith! What a beautiful sight it must have been!