Radiant Plume: 10 Beautiful Birds With Colorful Feathers


There are many beautiful birds in the world, but the ones with colorful feathers are the most attractive of them all. When it comes to colorful feathers, some feathers have bright colors while others have a combination of many colors. You will find 12 birds with radiant and vibrant plumes in the list below. Let’s see which one you think is the most stunning and let us know.

1Crimson Rosella

Parrots species never cease to disappoint us when it comes to beautiful and colorful plumage. The crimson rosella is a perfect example of that, with red plumage, black-scalloped blue wings, blue tail, and blue cheeks. Juveniles, though, have greenish-olive plumage that will turn red when they get older. This species has more than just red plumage, some of them are orange or yellow. When the red and yellow birds get together, they produce orange offspring. Crimson rosella is native to eastern and southeastern Australia as well as New Zealand and Norfolk Island. The population of these beautiful and colorful parrots is widespread in mountain forests and gardens.

2Curl-Crested Aracari

By the look, you can already tell why this bird has curly as its first name. Up close, you can see the unique feature of the curly-crested aracari which is the curly crest on its head. As for the body, it is dark green for the upper parts while the breast is yellow with red blotches and a single band. The bare skin around their eyes is blue, and their bill is multicolored with an orange tip. These birds have long tails of greenish-bronze color, making them one of the birds with colorful feathers.

Curl-crested aracaris are found in tropical moist lowland forests of western Amazonia in northern Bolivia southern Peru, and western Brazil. Its range also extends east to the Madeira River, and the limit to its northern range is the Amazon River. They live in abandoned tree hollows, usually by woodpeckers, together with a family of 5 including the offspring. Although the species is rare, their population is stable and on the good side.

3Greater Bird-Of-Paradise

When it comes to birds with colorful feathers, this one has to be on the list. Just like most birds of paradise out there, only the males of this species have colorful plumes. A male greater bird-of-paradise has a maroon-brown body while the crown, head, and nape are silver and yellow. Their beaks are blue, and they have two long tail wires while the females have brown plumage. You can find them in hill forests and the lowland of the Aru Islands and New Guinea of Indonesia.

The interesting thing is that there are 3 criteria in their courtship rituals which include calling, dancing, and daily display rhythm. The females choose their mates based on their fitness from what they can see during the courtship rituals. The overall population of greater bird-of-paradise is common throughout their range although it is decreasing. Their main threat is humans who hunt them for their colorful feathers in plumes trading.


So small yet so magnificent, kingfishers are one of the world’s most beautiful birds with colorful feathers. Their colors are already striking, but their markings and spots make them even more stunning to look at. Most kingfishers have bright plumage with blue and green as the most common colors while some have gold, red, or turquoise. The additional features on their feathers that make them even more beautiful are the dashes, speckles, splotches, or stripes.

It is so difficult to tell the sexes apart because both males and females look so similar. However, you can tell a kingfisher is female by the orange lower bill while the male has the same color for both bills. These birds are monogamous, and they nest in burrows that they build together in dirt banks, old termite mounds, or tree cavities.

All kingfishers have long and thick bills, the ones that hunt fish have longer bills than those who hunt on the ground. Common kingfishers feed on fish, and they can dive and submerge completely in the water to catch a fish. Even more fascinating, they can also dive straight through a layer of thin ice to capture fish underneath. Apart from fish, some species also feed on amphibians, birds, crustaceans, insects, reptiles, and more.

5Lady Amherst’s Pheasant

image: Henry Koh

Pheasants have always been one of the most colorful birds, and this is a nice example of that. It is not only the colors but also the patterns and arrangements of their feathers. The adult male of this species has a black and white nuchal cape with a red crest. The beauty lies in the rump of blue, dark green, red, white, and yellow plumage while the long tail is gray. These birds are native to southwestern China and northern Myanmar, but you can also find them in other countries.

Fun Fact: Lady Amherst’s pheasants are able to fly, but they prefer to run when threatened.

6Nicobar Pigeon

image: cuatrok77

People often think that pigeons are dull and non-attractive, but this is not the case with Nicobar pigeons. Here you are looking at not only the most colorful pigeons but also the largest living pigeons in the world. These pigeons have gray heads and manes that turn into copper, green, and purple hackles with metallic green bodies and yellow claws. The Nicobar pigeons have long white tails that are visible when flying which act as guides for other birds during night flights.

As highly nomadic birds, the Nicobar pigeons roam in large flocks from island to island and sleep on offshore islets. You can find them in lowland forests, mangroves, and small and wooded forests of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. A female lays only one egg per clutch, but she can lay another clutch after the first chick is 40 days old. Habitat loss and hunting are the main causes of their population, and they are Near Threatened nowadays.

7Painted Bunting

Known as the most beautiful bird in North America, painted bunting has very colorful feathers. Only the adult males of this species have stunning colors while the females and juveniles have yellow-green overall. The males have dark blue heads, red rump and underparts, and green backs, and they always stand out due to the colors. Painted buntings are small birds living in dense brush, shrubbery areas, thickets, and woodland edges with riparian thickets. Male painted buntings sing from the exposed perches to announce their territories in spring. Their population is now declining due to habitat loss and illegal hunting.

8Red-Bearded Bee-Eater

This is an adorable bird with colorful feathers and a long tail that predominantly feeds on insects. The red-bearded bee-eater has green plumage, red vermilion throat feathers, a pinkish lilac forehead, and a narrow fringe of blue crown feathers. The spots between the eye and the start of the beak, chin, and throat are also red. These beautiful birds have long decurved beaks that help them to capture bees, beetles, hornets, and wasps in flight from perches. They have pointed wings, and they either hunt alone or in pairs rather than in flocks. You can find them in openings in patches of dense forests in the Indo-Malayan subregion of Southeast Asia.

9Resplendent Quetzal

Famous for its colorful feathers and plumages, the resplendent quetzal is one of a beautiful kind. These birds have green bodies, and their vibrant plumes shine in different colors such as cobalt, green, lime, yellow, etc. During the breeding season, the males grow twin green upper tails that are longer than the body, covering and hiding their tails. The males also have a helmet-like crest, and they tend to be more colorful than the females.

Resplendent quetzals are found in montane cloud forests, open areas with scattered trees, pastures, and vegetated ravines. These beautiful birds play an important role in Mesoamerican mythology, and they are the national birds of Guatemala. They are the symbols of freedom and wealth, and these divine birds were considered the god of the air. The resplendent quetzals are now Near Threatened, and their main threats are habitat loss, hunting for feathers, and trapping.

10Wilson’s Bird-Of-Paradise

image: David Cook

Looking like coming straight out of a drawing, Wilson’s bird-of-paradise stays true to its name. This bird has beautiful plumage with 2 unique curved violet tail feathers and rich blue feet. The males of this species are more colorful with red and black bodies and yellow mantle on the neck. Females are more brownish in color without the spiral tails, but both sexes have bare blue crowns. The color of the bare skin crown is so vivid that it is clearly visible at night which is so beautiful.

Wilson’s bird-of-paradise is endemic to lowland rainforests and hills on Batanta and Waigeo Islands off West Papua, Indonesia. During mating season, the males perform an unusual dancing ritual to attract a female’s attention. The males always make sure to clean the ground of leaves and other objects from the dance floor for perfect performances. Habitat loss is the main threat to these exotic birds, and their population is classified as Near Threatened.

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