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Who have Colourful feathers?

Birds are well known for their beautiful and colorful feathers. Feathers serve many important functions for birds – they help them fly, keep them warm, camouflage them, and attract mates. Some of the most spectacular colored feathers can be found on birds of paradise, parrots, hummingbirds, and pheasants. Let’s take a closer look at some of the bird species that sport the most stunning plumage.

Birds of Paradise

Native to New Guinea and parts of eastern Australia, birds of paradise are famous for their elaborate courtship displays and bright, flashy feathers. There are over 40 different species of birds of paradise, each with its own unique plumage. The feathers are used to attract potential mates and establish dominance and are often dramatically colored in shades of red, yellow, blue, green, and orange. Some species, like the King of Saxony bird of paradise, have specialized feathers on their heads that can be erected into elaborate plumes or fans during courtship rituals. The striking colors and patterns help the males stand out to females against the dense rainforest habitat.

Bird of Paradise Species Description of Colored Feathers
King of Saxony Bright yellow head plumes, black body feathers
Wilson’s Emerald green breast shield, yellow crown
Greater Crimson and maroon plumage, emerald green breast shield


Parrots are extremely colorful birds that live in warm habitats worldwide, like rainforests and savannas. Most parrot species have predominantly green feathers for camouflage in the trees, but many also have brightly colored plumage on their heads, wings, or bellies. The bright colors are used to attract mates and communicate with other parrots. Some of the most vibrantly colored parrots include macaws, cockatoos, lorikeets, and eclectus parrots.

Parrot Species Description of Colored Feathers
Scarlet Macaw Red, yellow, and blue feathers
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo White feathers, yellow crest
Rainbow Lorikeet Red, orange, yellow, green, and blue plumage


Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world, but they have some of the flashiest, shiniest feathers. Their tiny size allows them to display iridescent plumage in vibrant jewel tones. When light hits their feathers, they seem to glimmer and change colors. Male hummingbirds use their gorgeous feathers to court females. Depending on the species, they may have bright red, pink, orange, green, or purple plumage on their throats or crowns. A few examples include the ruby-throated hummingbird, Anna’s hummingbird, and the blue-throated hummingbird.

Hummingbird Species Description of Colored Feathers
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Brilliant red throat feathers
Anna’s Hummingbird Red crown and throat feathers
Blue-throated Hummingbird Bright blue throat with white shoulder patches


Pheasants are large, terrestrial game birds known for their bold patterns and bright colors. While the females are camouflaged in mottled brown feathers, male pheasants display spectacular colored plumage to attract mates. Common pheasants have an iridescent green head, red facial skin, brown and white spotted body feathers, and a long golden and black tail. Even more dramatic are golden pheasants and Lady Amherst’s pheasants that exhibit a rainbow of gold, blue, orange, black, white, and red plumage.

Pheasant Species Description of Colored Feathers
Common Pheasant Green head, red face, brown spotted body, gold and black tail
Golden Pheasant Red crest, gold, blue, orange and black spotted plumage
Lady Amherst’s Pheasant Dark blue head, red eyes, and multi-colored feathers in red, black, yellow, and white

Other Notable Birds with Colorful Feathers

  • Peacocks – Vibrant blue, green, gold plumage with eye-like tail feathers
  • Flamingos – Pink feathers from carotenoid pigments in their diet
  • Toucans – Brightly patterned bills and black plumage with orange, yellow or red underparts
  • Bee-eaters – Pink, orange, green, blue plumage depending on species
  • Bowerbirds – Males have bright blue, fuchsia, or yellow plumage used to decorate bowers
  • Birds of prey – Vibrant yellow eyes and feet, colorful facial disks, barred body patterns
  • Tanagers – Over 300 species with every color of the rainbow represented
  • Orioles – Bright orange and black plumage
  • Buntings – Vivid solid colors like blue, green, yellow, or red
  • Fairywrens – Blue and purple iridescent plumage depending on species


In the avian world, bright colorful feathers are used to attract mates, defend territories, communicate with others, blend into the environment, and regulate body temperature. The most spectacularly colored birds tend to live in tropical regions where competition for mates is fierce. Birds like birds of paradise, parrots, hummingbirds and pheasants display incredibly ornate and vibrant plumage. But even birds in more temperate regions can have colorful ornamentation used for courtship displays like the feathers on a peacock’s tail. Whatever their habitat, colorful feathers serve an important evolutionary purpose for the survival and reproduction of many bird species.