Just a Bunch of Pretty Birds

Written By: Sarah Girton

This week I thought it would be fun to step back from all the informative posts and just take a moment to appreciate some good old-fashioned bird beauty! I feel I’ve talked a lot about parrots and birds of paradise in the past so this time we’re going to explore other amazing bird families! So without further ado we will begin the post with…

  1. The Pheasants

Pheasants definitely take home the gold in the ‘dramatic appearance’ category. From their striking bright hues, magnificent tails, and exaggerated mating displays, it’s no wonder these birds were long-sought as additions to menageries, and coveted for their plumage as additions to hats and other garb. Thankfully, we have mostly steered away from those damaging practices and can admire these birds in their natural habitat, or in responsible, accredited zoos.

Our first featured pheasant Native to western China, the Golden Pheasant is the Phasianidae family that includes other pheasants, junglefowl, peafowl, as well as domestic chickens and turkeys. The female is less showy but still beautiful with her very detailed feather patterns and long tail.



This guy might be my favorite member of the Pheasant family. Meet the Grey Peacock Pheasant, native to southeast Asia. His rich grey plumage is decorated with iridescent discs that flash all shades of purple, blue, and green.



Next we have the Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, also a native of southeast Asia. What I think makes this guy so special is the sheer variety of patterns and feathers. Quite the looker. Let’s hope the female agrees!



2. The Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are always a fan favorite. Sometimes they are facetiously called “The chihuahuas of the sky” due to their feisty temperament and small size. Our first featured hummingbird is the Horned Sungem, native to central South America, mostly in Brazil.



Our next lovely hummer is the Rufous-crested Coquette. (By the way, don’t all hummingbird names make them sound as though they should be mythical creatures?!). Their range is very small, limited to parts of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and a few small regions of Central America. His impressive crest is reminiscent of the ancient cultural headdresses of the area.

Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures


Next, we have the Violet-crowned Woodnymph, who can be found in Central America and the very north of South America. This guy spared no expense when it comes to color. His entire little body is covered in rich violet and blue-green feathers.



3. Pigeons and Doves

Yes, there are so many beautiful pigeons and doves out there! Here are just a few of my favorites.

First up we have the Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove, who is native to the Philippines. Their colors are on the darker side, perhaps best described as plum, goldenrod, and emerald. What a sight he must be in person!

By jojo nicdao from muntinlupa, philippines – 20120226-DSC_2997.jpgUploaded by Snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18511755


Next up we have the Nicobar Pigeon. Their range is pretty impressive, living on islands from the Indian Ocean, through Indonesia and Oceania. Apparently, this is the closest living relative of the extinct Dodo bird, who was essentially just an oversized pigeon!

Jaochainoi / Shutterstock


A pigeon fit for royalty, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon is named for the British Queen Victoria. Their unique, lacey crest is their most defining feature, accented by those striking red eyes. These birds are found in New Guinea.

By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5832419

5. The Tragopans

A bird whose feathers are not the main attraction, the tragopans are instead known for their colorful wattles, which inflate and grow in length when trying to impress females. Tragopans occupy a large range from China to India and into Pakistan.

First up is the Cabot’s Tragopan, native to China. Aside from his multi-colored wattle, he also sports some stylish blue ‘horns’ above his eyes (also inflatable of course).

twitter.com, photo by yujifeng


Our next Tragopan is the Temminck’s. You can see differences in this species’ wattle, as well as their plumage. The Temminck’s Tragopan lives mostly in Myanmar and Vietnam.



This next Tragopan might have the most dramatic coloring! Meet the Satyr Tragopan, native to the mountainous regions of India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Rich Lindie / Rockjumper Birding


6. The Turacos

Turacos are a family of birds native to most of Africa. Turacos are very unique among birds, as they are the only bird family to produce red and green pigments in their feathers. Other birds that display these colors are actually utilizing unique feather structures to shine different wavelengths of light, thereby giving the appearance of certain colors.

First we have the Livingstone’s Turaco, a bird that (at least to me) appears to have a field of daisies growing on his head! So mystical!



By Anton Frolich – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25685436


Above is the Knysna Turaco. This bird’s plumage sports a beautiful blue-to-green gradient. Like other Turacos, they are native to most of sub-Saharan Africa.

I could go on and on about beautiful birds, but this post will be long enough already! I am sure I’ll do another similar post in the future 😁

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