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Weird Birds: 32 Funny-Looking Birds You Need To See

Ready to see some weird birds? In today’s article, we feature pretty cool birds that you need to see at least once.

The animal kingdom is incredible. You can find all sorts of wildlife, from ugly fish to unique birds. And that’s what we will talk about today.

We put together a list of the coolest birds we could think of, either because they are weird, odd, glamorous, or funny-looking birds. Let’s get to them!

Pssst: do you know other interesting birds? Comment their names below!

32 Weirdest Birds

Here’s your list of weird birds divided by distribution. 

Weird Birds from Africa

1. Marabou Stork 

Marabou Stork Posing

Marabou Storks are long-legged, long-necked, wading birds that look weird due to their bare throat sacs and featherless heads.

These weird-looking birds hang out with vultures, which usually eat dead animals and human waste. 

The naked head and long neck are adaptations to their livelihood because a feathered head would become rapidly clotted with blood and other substances when eating large corpses.

Feeding on lizards, locusts, and frogs, they live as long as 20 years. 

They are primarily found in the grasslands, river banks, and savannas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Shoebill Stork

Shoebill storks are really weird birds!
Shoebill storks are really weird birds!

Endemic to the wetlands of Central and East Africa, shoebill storks are massive odd birds with large bodies and wings and dark-gray or blue-gray plumage with a white belly. 

As the name suggests, the large shoe-like bill, more like a Dutch clog, makes them one of the weirdest birds in the world. Some might argue they should be on our list of ugly animals.

3. Secretary Bird

The secretary bird is one of the weirdest birds in the world!
The secretary bird is one of the weirdest birds in the world!

Ever heard about a bird with crazy hair? Well, now you do.

Secretary birds have eagle-like bodies on crane-like legs and are found primarily in the sub-Saharan grasslands of the African continent.

They are the emblem of Sudan and South Africa and appear on the nation’s coat of arms. 

They look majestic and unique, with quill-like crests on the back of their heads, like the ancient scribe clerks who used to tuck pens behind the ear.

4. Vulturine Guineafowl

Vulturine Guineafowl running

Vulturine guineafowls got their name from their weird look.

The bare skin of the head and neck makes them resemble vultures, but at the same time, they have beautiful plumage, which makes them funny-looking birds.

Adults have gray plumage but are finely spotted with white. The wings and tail show the same pattern, while the chest and neck have bluish feathers with white stripes.

Weird-Looking Birds from Asia

5. Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant foraging in the wild in winter

Golden pheasants, also known as Chinese pheasants, are common species of birds 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 them 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.

6. Indian Scops Owl

Indian Scops-Owl perched on branch

Indian Scops Owls, native to the northwest Himalayas, live in desert vegetation, mango orchards, and other fruit trees. 

What makes them weird birds is their small size with large ear-tufts with dark outer margins. It seems like a small bird is given dog’s ears!

7. Jacobin Pigeon

Jacobin pigeon on blue background
The Jacobin pigeon is such a cool bird!

Developed in India through selective breeding, Jacobin pigeons belong to the Asiatic breed of domestic fancy pigeons. 

Named after the French monks known for their splendid hoods, these types of pigeons have their necks completely covered with 5-6 long feathers, which makes them unique birds.

8. Rhinoceros Hornbill

Rhinoceros Hornbill perched on a branch

Endemic to Borneo, rhinoceros hornbill birds have beautiful golden-yellow horns known as casques. 

These casques, which make the birds look odd, act as a resonating chamber and amplify the birds’ calls. 

While they have black feathers all over their body, the tails are entirely white.

9. Helmeted Hornbill

Helmeted Hornbill eating fruit
Okay, now that’s a funny-looking bird!

Helmeted hornbills are bizarre-looking birds usually poached for the ivory-like material in their bill. 

What makes them weird is the wrinkled pouch hanging under their naked throat, resembling an undercooked steak.

The female pouch is pale blue to greenish, while the males are scarlet. 

Also, the weird-looking casque goes from the base of the bill halfway to the tip, where it ends abruptly.

They are difficult to find, though sometimes you might hear their eerie laugh in deep forests.

10. Silkie Chicken

A pair of silkie chicken
Silkie chickens are…interesting birds!

Silkie chickens get their name from their fluffy plumage, which resembles satin and silk.

Some features that make these types of chickens weird birds are blue earlobes, black skin and bones, and five toes on each foot, while most chickens have only four.

They are the only poultry known for their friendly nature, which makes them pretty cool birds.

Funny-Looking Birds from Oceania

11. Victoria’s Riflebird

Victoria's Riflebird

Endemic to north-eastern Queensland, Victoria riflebird males are characterized by singing solitarily at traditional perches. 

What makes them weird birds is the fancied resemblance of the coloration of plumage to the uniforms of British riflemen.

12. Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth sitting in a tree

Tawny frogmouth, Australia’s most famous nocturnal bird and known as a master of camouflage, are usually gray-colored birds, while some appear rusty-colored. 

What makes them weird birds is the frog-like bill that creates the funny impression of a bird attached to a frog!

They might even be the strangest-looking birds ever!

13. King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise

A King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise perched on his display post, showing off his amazing head plumes

Endemic to the montane forests of New Guinea, the King of Saxony bird-of-paradise is rivaled in color only by a few pheasants and hummingbirds.

Their astonishing plumage, which they showcase while performing hours of courtship dancing, makes the males look unique.

After a curious mating ritual common to most birds-of-paradise types, females make the nest and raise the offspring.

14. Kakapo

Kakapo Parrot Endemic to New Zealand

Kakapos, the world’s only flightless parrot and one of the longest-living birds, are native to the island forests of New Zealand.

They are not among the heaviest birds in the world, but they are definitely the heaviest parrots, weighing up to 9 pounds.

What makes them weird birds is that while they are a species of parrots, they look like a mix of parrots and owls, which have a funny appearance.

Also, these weird-looking birds have peculiar mating habits. Males loosely gather in an arena and compete to attract females, who choose a mate based on the quality of his display; the males do not pursue them in any overt way.

15. Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise

Raggiana bird-of-paradise closeup

The Raggiana bird-of-paradise, also known as Count Raggi’s bird-of-paradise, is the national bird of Papua New Guinea. 

What makes it unique is the splendid plumage used to exhibit various postures and movements. 

Besides, it is a magnificent bird that performs conspicuous courtship displays.

16. Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri) in Papua New Guinea

Endemic to the forests of western parts of the central highlands of Papua New Guinea, ribbon-tailed astrapias are beautiful black-colored birds with turquoise upper heads and throats. 

Their small body with 3.2-foot long ribbon-like tails protruding makes them glamorous, rather funny-looking birds. It gives the impression of a small crow flying around with a rope attached to their bodies!

These unique birds are a species of bird-of-paradise, a family with some of the most beautiful birds.

17. Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary portrait

The southern cassowary is a large flightless bird found in northeastern Australia, New Guinea, and the Indonesian Islands of Ceram and Aru.

They are also the largest birds in the cassowary genus.

These weird-looking birds have a helmet-like structure on their blue head, which resemble the extinct dinosaurs.

Talk about weird birds!

18. Superb Bird-of-Paradise

Superb bird-of-paradise displaying
Superb bird-of-paradise – Photo by Natasha Baucas (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Primarily found in New Guinea and Indonesia, the superb birds of paradise live in rainforests, mountainous regions, and treetops. 

Males are primarily black with an iridescent green crown, while females are reddish-brown. Their courtship dances and behavior make them unique, persuading experts to grant them their names.

In their courtship display, males prepare the “dance floor” by scrubbing the dirt or branch smooth with leaves, then they make a loud call to attract females. 

Once the curious females approach, their folded black feather cape and blue-green chest feathers shield spring upward and spread widely and symmetrically around his head while hopping in frantic circles around the female.

Unique Birds from South America

19. Hoatzin

Hoatzin bird

Also known as skunk birds, hoatzins are Neotropical birds living along the lakes and rivers of the Amazon basin. 

These South American species have a distinct appearance, a loud mating call, and move clumsily along the foliage. 

What makes hoatzins weird birds and somewhat funny-looking are the bunch of feathers on their naked head and on the back-side of their neck. 

They are characterized by a blue face and an orange crest. Quite a peculiar bird!

20. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Andean cock of the rock

Found in the cloud forests in the mountains of the Andes in Peru, Venezuela, and Ecuador, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is the national bird of Peru. 

They are medium-sized perching birds, with the males having bright plumage with red-orange heads, necks, breasts, and shoulders, which gives them a very odd yet unique appearance! 

They primarily eat fruits and berries, sometimes insects.

21. Long-Wattled Umbrellabird

Long-wattled umbrellabird perched on a branch

Long-wattled umbrella birds are endemic to the western slopes of Colombia and Ecuador. 

Males are known for their crest of fine, hair-like feathers over their bill and the large throat wattle of feathers, making them the funny look of an umbrella, therefore the name.

Long-wattled umbrellabirds are hands-down some of the coolest birds in the world due to their striking appearance!

22. Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher displaying its bright red crest

Native to South America, the Amazonian royal flycatchers are primarily found in humid lowlands and second-growth forests. 

The vibrant, fan-shaped, royal-looking crests that the males display during the mating season make these South American birds distinct and unique.

Cool Birds from North America

23. Scarlet Honeycreeper

Scarlet honeycreeper or ʻiʻiwi bird perched on branch

As the name suggests, scarlet honeycreepers or ʻiʻiwi are bright scarlet with black wings and tails. Their bills are salmon to orange. 

What makes them unique birds is their deep, decurved bills and their vibrant colors, making them adorable!

24. Greater Prairie Chicken

Greater Prairie Chicken On Display

Greater prairie chickens are plump, chicken-like birds with their bodies covered in brown feathers. 

In spring, the males gather on booming grounds and dance to attract the females. 

One striking feature that makes these birds look very weird is the buffy throat when in display which gives the odd impression they swallowed an egg and got stuck in their throat when.

These funny-looking birds feed on fruits, seeds, green plants, and insects and live in undisturbed prairies in North America.

Odd-Looking Birds from Multiple Continents

25. Tufted Puffin

Tufted Puffin having a "Bad Hair Day"
Tufted Puffin having a “bad hair day”

While mainly found in the islands of Southern California and eastern Asia, tufted puffins are stocky, medium-sized pigeon-like birds that weigh twice as much as pigeons. 

The large rounded head makes them funny-looking birds, with a thick, orange bill and an orange-yellow plate over the base. 

Light yellow feathers on top of their heads point back ad sideways, giving them a cool hairstyle or, as our editor would say, a bad hair day.

Besides, their large orange webbed feet add to their weirdness!

26. Common Potoo

Common Potoo bird
Common potoos are the weirdest birds ever!

Endemic to South and Central America, common potoos typically live on trees but are hard to spot. 

These strange birds are nocturnal and feed on insects like grasshoppers, termites, and moths. 

What makes them weird birds is how they camouflage on the tree trunk; their bodies seem to be broken branches!

27. Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eider Sitting

Spectacled eiders, uncommon eiders of the high arctic, live around the Bering Sea. 

They live in small flocks and tend to appear where it is difficult for humans to travel, like tundra regions.

What makes them weird birds is the spectacle-like circle around their eyes, which makes them look like some nerdy intellects!

28. Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent frigatebird perched on tree
Magnificent frigatebird – Photo by Andrew Turner (CC BY 2.0)

Magnificent frigatebirds are absolutely glorious to watch; they are like pirates of the sky as they steal food from other birds. 

What makes them weird birds is the big orange pouch hanging under the neck of the male frigatebirds, which looks like a balloon, that they use to attract females.

30. Blue-Footed Booby

Blue-footed booby staring at camera

Mostly nesting on the islands of the tropical eastern Pacific, blue-footed boobies have always captivated the human imagination.

They have vivid, baby-blue feet, similar to ducks, making them unique and cool birds.

They are not only odd, but they are also birds with funny names. 

That’s because their name seems to be adapted from the Spanish word “bobo,” which refers to their clumsiness on land and foolishness for not fearing humans.

Either way, they are definitely odd birds, aren’t they?

31. Eurasian Hoopoe

Eurasian hoopoe birds perched together on branch

Found in the Indian sub-continent, Europe, and Africa, Eurasian hoopoes are birds with beautiful cinnamon feathers with black tips on their broad crest. 

The wings are rounded, while the tail is square-shaped. The crest is erected only when the bird is displaying, making them look funny and cool!

32. King Vulture

King vulture standing on grass

Endemic to Southern Mexico and Southern Argentina, king vultures are large and have a 7 feet wingspan. 

The males and females look almost similar, making them minimally sexually dimorphic.

However, the head and neck make them unique birds because they are naked, the head’s skin is red and purple while the neck is a vivid orange, and the throat is yellow. 

On the head, the skin is wrinkled and folded, and there is a highly noticeable irregular golden crest attached to the cere above their orange and black bill.

King vultures are definitely one of the weirdest birds alive!

Did you enjoy learning about these funny-looking birds? Then be sure to share these unique birds with your friends!


Friday 1st of September 2023

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