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What kind of bird is multi colored?

What kind of bird is multi colored?

Birds come in a stunning array of colors and patterns. While some species sport more muted tones of browns, blacks, and grays, other birds wow us with their vibrant, multi-colored plumage. In particular, several bird families are known for their brightly-colored feathers that help the birds communicate, blend into their environment, and attract mates.


Parrots are perhaps the most famous multi-colored birds. These intelligent, vocal birds thrive in the tropics and are known for their red, green, blue, and yellow feathers. Some of the most colorful parrot species include:

  • Macaws – These large, long-tailed parrots come in shades of red, blue, green, and yellow. Examples include scarlet macaws, blue-and-yellow macaws, and green-winged macaws.
  • African parrots – African gray parrots have charcoal gray feathers with bright red tails. Senegal parrots are mostly green with yellow and blue highlights.
  • Lories and lorikeets – These colorful parrots from Asia and Australia sport bright red, blue, green, orange, and purple plumage. Examples include rainbow lorikeets and purple-crowned lories.
  • Conures – Smaller parrots native to the Americas, conures exhibit combinations of green, yellow, orange, red, blue, and purple.

The brilliant colors of parrots are produced by pigments as well as feather structures that refract light. Their multi-hued plumage helps parrots communicate and blend into the tropical rainforests they inhabit.

Birds of Paradise

Native to New Guinea and surrounding islands, birds of paradise are named for their dramatic and elaborate plumage. These birds have undergone intense sexual selection, resulting in males with brightly-colored feathers, plumes, and tails used to attract females. Notable species include:

  • Raggiana bird of paradise – Red, yellow, blue, and green feathers
  • Red bird of paradise – Bright red and purple feathers
  • Wilson’s bird of paradise – Emerald green head, yellow cape-like plumes
  • King bird of paradise – Red and blue plumage

The resplendent colors and bold patterns help male birds of paradise stand out and impress females during courtship displays.


Known for their huge, colorful bills, toucans are found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. While their bodies are mostly black, toucans sport bright yellow, orange, red, blue, even purple bills. Some examples include:

  • Toco toucan – Most recognizable with its black body and huge orange bill with blue and yellow markings
  • Red-breasted toucan – Deep maroon-red colored bib under its bill
  • Channel-billed toucan – Distinctive white throat and breast against black feathers

Their multi-colored bills likely serve multiple purposes, including attracting mates, intimidating rivals, and fruit detection.


While less familiar than parrots and toucans, tanagers make up a large family of small, colorful birds found in the Americas. There are over 300 different tanager species, exhibiting all colors of the rainbow. For example:

  • Scarlet tanager – Vibrant red body and black wings
  • Blue-and-yellow tanager – Bright blue head and back, yellow underside
  • Paradise tanager – Iridescent blue back, orange and black wings
  • Green-headed tanager – Emerald green head, yellow and red body

Tanagers get their striking colors from pigments deposited into growing feathers. The rainbow of hues helps tanagers identify each other and signal mate quality.


Honeycreepers comprise a subfamily of small, frugivorous New World birds named for their bright coloration and tendency to eat nectar and pollen. Most species inhabit Hawaii and the Caribbean. Some examples of these multi-colored birds include:

  • Red-legged honeycreeper – Bright blue body, red legs
  • Purple honeycreeper – Purple back and head, green wings
  • Green honeycreeper – Golden body, green wings
  • Red-throated tanager – Red throat and orange belly

Like tanagers and other tropical birds, honeycreepers likely utilize their vivid plumage to recognize each other, select mates, and blend into the forest canopy.

Other Notable Mentions

While parrots, toucans, and tropical songbirds boast some of the most vibrant colors in the avian world, other groups have multi-colored members as well. For example:

  • Pheasants and peafowl – Males often exhibit brilliant colors like royal blue, emerald green, orange, and gold.
  • Swans – While most are white, the black swan has black plumage with white flight feathers.
  • Starlings – These familiar birds shimmer with iridescent purples, greens, blues, and bronzes.
  • Kingfishers – They have bright blue or green upperparts and orange or rufous underparts.
  • Hummingbirds – Tiny but dazzling with metallic reds, greens, blues and violets.


Birds use their rainbow of pigments to communicate, camouflage, attract mates, and recognize their own kind. Parrots, toucans, birds of paradise, tanagers, and honeycreepers epitomize the most dramatically multi-colored feather groups, clad in combinations of vivid blues, greens, reds, oranges, and more. Their eye-catching hues stand out against the lush green of their tropical habitats. So if you’re looking for fantastically-colored birds, head to the rainforests of Central and South America, Asia, Australia, or islands like Hawaii and you’ll be treated to nature’s version of living art.