Birds are known for their beauty, grace, and elegance. From the colorful peacock to the majestic eagle, birds have always fascinated us with their unique features. However, not all birds are created equal. Some birds are downright ugly, with strange features and bizarre appearances that make them stand out from the rest.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 ugliest birds in the world. From the vulturine parrot to the shoebill, these birds are sure to make you appreciate the beauty of other birds even more. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the world’s ugliest birds.
Top 10 Ugliest Birds In The World
The Cinereous vulture, also known as the black vulture, monk vulture, and Eurasian black vulture, is a large raptor in the family Accipitridae. It is the largest Old World vulture and the largest member of the Accipitridae family, with a body length of 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in), 3.1 m (10 ft) across the wings, and a maximum weight of 14 kg (31 lb).
The Cinereous vulture is a dark brown and broad-winged species with a slightly wedge-shaped tail. It has a bald head and neck that are bluish-grey, with a fluffy collar that is lighter in older birds. In many countries, this bird is called the “monk vulture” because of its upright standing neck feathers that resemble the hood of a monk.
The Cinereous vulture is a scavenger and feeds mainly on carrion. It is a largely solitary bird, being found alone or in pairs much more. The bird breeds from October through November and mates once a year.
The Cinereous vulture is found throughout much of temperate Eurasia, from Spain and inland Portugal to northern India and central Asia. Its range is fragmented, especially throughout its European range.
Eastern wild turkey
The Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is one of the three subspecies of wild turkey found in Texas. It is also the most abundant and widespread of the four races commonly occurring in the United States.
The Eastern wild turkey is a very large and plump bird with long legs, wide, rounded tails, and a small head on a long, slim neck. It is one of the largest and heaviest birds, smaller than a Trumpeter Swan, but about twice the size (and four times as heavy) as a Ring-necked Pheasant.
The Eastern wild turkey is an opportunistic forager that feeds on green foliage, insects, seeds from grasses and forbs, and mast (acorns and nuts). Its diet consists of about 36% grasses, 29% insects, 19% mast, and 16% forbs annually.
The Eastern wild turkey is heavily hunted in the Eastern USA and is the most hunted wild turkey subspecies. Although their population densities remain low, overhunting is no longer a limiting factor. The Eastern wild turkey is not migratory, but may wander at some seasons, especially in fall.
The Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) is a giant South American Cathartid vulture and is the only member of the genus Vultur. It is the largest raptor in the world and the largest flying bird in South America, with a wingspan of up to 10 feet and a weight of up to 33 pounds.
The Andean condor is found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America, from Venezuela and Colombia to Tierra del Fuego. It is a national symbol of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru and plays an important role in the folklore and mythology of the Andean regions.
The Andean condor is considered vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat loss and secondary poisoning from lead in carcasses killed by hunters. Captive breeding programs have been instituted in several countries to help conserve the species.
The Andean condor is an opportunistic scavenger that feeds on carrion and prefers to live in windy areas where it can glide on air currents with little effort. It is a long-lived bird that can travel hundreds of miles each day in search of food. The Andean condor has been an important part of the Andean mythology and traditions since ancient times.
The Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) is a large, heavy-bodied duck native to the Americas, from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Mexico south to Argentina and Uruguay.
Feral Muscovy ducks can also be found in New Zealand, Australia, and in Central and Eastern Europe. The true wild Muscovy duck is blackish with large white wing patches, while domestic Muscovy ducks have variable plumage and can be extremely large and heavy. The male Muscovy duck is the largest duck in North America.
Muscovy ducks are opportunistic foragers that feed on green foliage, insects, seeds from grasses and forbs, and mast (acorns and nuts) . They are often kept on farms and in urban and suburban areas as ornamental birds or pets, and can be extremely prolific.
Muscovy ducks are considered undesirable in the wild because of their potential to transmit diseases to or interbreed with native waterfowl.
Certain parrots are considered among the ugliest birds in the world due to their unusual features and bizarre appearances. While parrots are known for their colorful plumage and ability to mimic human speech, some species have unique characteristics that make them stand out from the rest.
Here are some interesting facts about parrots that are considered among the ugliest birds in the world:
– The kakapo, a flightless parrot from New Zealand, is the heaviest parrot in the world and has a distinctive owl-like face with large eyes and a beak that looks like a carrot.
– The vulturine parrot, found in Madagascar, has a bald head and neck, with a ring of bright blue feathers around its eyes and a red stripe on its chest.
– The hyacinth macaw, the largest macaw species, has a bare yellow patch of skin around its eyes and a large, powerful beak.
– The kea, a parrot from New Zealand, has a long, curved beak and olive-green feathers with bright orange feathers under its wings.
– The palm cockatoo, found in Australia and New Guinea, has a large black beak and a distinctive red cheek patch that inflates during courtship displays.
– The maroon-fronted parrot, found in Mexico, has a bald head and a red patch of feathers on its forehead.
– The yellow-crowned amazon, found in South America, has a green body with a yellow head and a distinctive red ring around its eyes.
– The blue-and-yellow macaw, found in South America, has a bright blue body with yellow feathers on its wings and a large, curved beak.
– The scarlet macaw, also found in South America, has bright red and blue feathers with a white face and a large, powerful beak.
– The cockatiel, a popular pet bird, has a distinctive crest of feathers on its head and a long, pointed tail.
While these parrots may not be conventionally beautiful, they have unique features that make them interesting and special in their own way.
The kiwi is a unique and curious bird that is endemic to New Zealand. It belongs to the order Apterygiformes and the family Apterygidae, and there are five extant species of kiwi.
The kiwi is a flightless bird and is approximately the size of a domestic chicken, making it the smallest ratite. The kiwi has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs, and no tail, and it cannot fly. The kiwi’s nostrils are located at the tip of its long beak, which it uses to detect prey before it sees it. Kiwi eggs are one of the largest in proportion to body size of any bird in the world, with some eggs weighing up to 20% of the female’s weight.
The kiwi is a nocturnal bird that is native only to New Zealand and is known for its unique adaptations, such as its hairlike feathers, short and stout legs, and the use of its nostrils to detect prey. The kiwi has long been the cherished national emblem of New Zealand and is prominent in the coat of arms, crests, and badges of many organizations.
Despite their legal protection and the setting aside of large tracts of pristine forests in parks and reserves, kiwi numbers are dropping by about six percent each year due to predation by invasive mammalian predators.
The Southern screamer, also known as the Crested screamer, is a large, gray marsh bird that is closely related to geese and other waterfowl.
Here are some interesting facts about the Southern screamer:
– The Southern screamer is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
– It is a huge and odd-looking gray gooselike species with long red legs, a wispy crest on the back of the head, a bare red face, and a broad dark collar.
– The Southern screamer is the southernmost member of one of the most distinctive families of neotropical birds, the screamers (Anhimidae).
– It is a strong swimmer and flier and establishes monogamous relationships that last its lifetime, around 15 years.
– The Southern screamer’s nest, built by both parents, is a well-hidden platform of reeds, straws, and other aquatic plants near the water.
– With a mostly herbivorous diet, this species eats mostly plant stems, seeds, roots, and leaves, though it will sometimes take invertebrates and other small animals, particularly when feeding young.
– The Southern screamer is the heaviest, although not necessarily the longest, of the three screamers, averaging 81–95 cm (32–37 in) long and weighing 3–5 kg (6.6–11.0 lb).
– It lives in tropical and sub-tropical swamps, estuaries, and watersides and is a good swimmer, having adapted to life in and around water.
– The Southern screamer is considered a “guard bird” of its habitat, and its trumpet-like calls can carry for several miles, warning other birds of approaching danger.
Overall, the Southern screamer may look ungainly at first glance, but it has unique adaptations and characteristics that make it an interesting and important part of its ecosystem.
The shoebill, also known as the whalebill, whale-headed stork, and shoe-billed stork, is a large, long-legged wading bird that is native to East Africa.
Here are some interesting facts about the shoebill:
– The shoebill is named after its enormous, shoe-shaped bill, which it uses to grab large prey such as lungfish, tilapia, eels, snakes, and even baby crocodiles and Nile monitor lizards.
– The shoebill is a solitary bird that is mostly sedentary and can remain still as a statue for hours, allowing it to ambush unsuspecting prey.
– The shoebill is a tall bird, with a typical height range of 110 to 140 cm (43 to 55 in) and some specimens reaching as much as 152 cm (60 in).
– The shoebill has a wingspan of 230 to 260 cm (7 ft 7 in to 8 ft 6 in) and weighs between 4 to 7 kg (8.8 to 15.4 lb), with males being larger than females.
– The shoebill is found in extensive, dense freshwater marshes and swamps in East Africa, and is sometimes referred to as the “king of the marshes”.
– The shoebill is genetically closer to pelicans and herons than to storks, despite its stork-like overall form.
– The shoebill is an ambush predator that strikes quickly, with 60% of attempts resulting in a kill.
– The shoebill is an extremely tall bird that can reach up to five feet in height.
– The shoebill is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat loss, hunting, and disturbance.
Overall, the shoebill is a unique and fascinating bird that is known for its distinctive appearance and hunting behavior.
The Great Potoo, also known as the Grand Potoo, is a large, nocturnal bird that is native to Central and South America.
Here are some interesting facts about the Great Potoo:
– The Great Potoo is the largest potoo species and is widely distributed throughout Central and South America.
– The Great Potoo has a large head in relation to its body, with large eyes and a short but broad beak.
– The Great Potoo’s wings are elliptical in shape, and its tail is elongated, with white bars that can be seen going across the tail laterally.
– The Great Potoo is pale mottled gray in color, with marbled black and burgundy tones.
– The Great Potoo is a solitary species, with the only observed social interactions being between parents and young during parental care and provisioning.
– The Great Potoo is nocturnal, with a majority of its activity at night focused on catching and consuming prey items, including large flying insects and sometimes bats.
– The Great Potoo is a sallying predator, meaning it catches prey by flying out from a perch and returning to the same perch to consume its prey.
– The Great Potoo is a relatively unknown bird, but it has gained some internet fame due to its unique appearance and googly yellow eyes.
Overall, the Great Potoo is a fascinating bird that is known for its nocturnal habits, unique appearance, and sallying behavior.
Vultures are a group of large, social raptors that live on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. There are 23 extant species of vulture, which are divided into New World vultures from the Americas and Old World vultures from Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Vultures are scavengers, meaning that they eat dead animals, and are the only known obligate scavengers outside of the oceans. They play an important role in the ecosystem by cleaning up carrion and preventing the spread of disease.
Vultures have adaptations that allow them to consume rotten food in a way that would be toxic to other animals, such as strong stomach acid that can kill bacteria and viruses.
Vultures are also known for their bald, unfeathered heads, which help them stay clean while feeding on carrion. A group of vultures in flight is called a “kettle,” while a group of vultures resting on the ground or in trees is called a “committee”. A group of vultures that are feeding is termed a “wake”.
1. What makes a bird “ugly”?
Beauty is subjective, but some birds are considered “ugly” due to their unusual features, bizarre appearances, or lack of colorful plumage.
2. Are these birds endangered?
Some of the birds on the list, such as the Andean condor and the Northern bald ibis, are considered vulnerable or endangered due to habitat loss, hunting, and other threats.
3. Where can I see these birds in the wild?
The birds on the list are found in various parts of the world, from South America to Africa to New Zealand. However, some of these birds are rare or difficult to spot in the wild.
4. Are these birds harmful to humans?
No, these birds are not harmful to humans unless provoked or threatened. In fact, some of these birds, such as vultures, play an important role in the ecosystem by cleaning up carrion and preventing the spread of disease.
5. Can these birds be kept as pets?
Some of these birds, such as the Muscovy duck and the cockatiel, are kept as pets. However, it is important to research the specific needs and requirements of each bird species before considering them as pets.
6. Are there any conservation efforts to protect these birds?
Yes, there are various conservation efforts to protect these birds, such as captive breeding programs, habitat restoration, and public education campaigns.