8 Weird Birds From Around the World
Parrots and peacocks seem positively tame compared to these outlandish avians! Get a load of the world’s most bizarre, quirky and downright weird birds.
Weird Birds of Africa: Marabou Stork
What Makes Them So Weird: With a face only a mother could love, the Marabou Stork looks just plain strange. Growing up to 20 pounds, these oddballs have a bald head and long beak, perfect for scavenging. Like the vulture, their featherless head has adapted to allow them to root through corpses and other waste without creating too much of a mess. Lovely.
Weird Birds of New Guinea: Ribbon Tailed Astrapia
What Makes Them Weird: Just look at that tail! The Ribbon Tailed Astrapia draws its name from the unusual long tail feathers which drape over its backside. At upwards of a metre in length, the male’s tail feathers are nearly three times the length of its body. Talk about an overachiever!
Weird Birds of New Guinea: Superb Bird of Paradise
What Makes Them Weird: This is one bird that loves the ladies. Actually, since there is typically a low population of females to mate with, the male Superb Bird of Paradise has to put in a massive extra effort just to get their attention. After meticulously creating a stage (by cleaning up leaves, dirt and debris around him) the Superb Bird of Paradise will let out a mating call, and proceed to perform one of the most unusual, amazing dances in the animal kingdom. Puffing his chest out and forming a symmetrical crest with his feathers, the bird will hop about rhythmically, hoping to seduce his would-be lady bird. Words can’t possibly describe how strange this ritual is.
Weird Birds of India and Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Frogmouth
What Makes Them Weird: Well, they have a frog’s face for starters. These nocturnal birds are rarely seen during the day, and have a unique method of self-defence: when a predator approaches they will cock their head up, blending in with the trees and appearing as a broken branch.
Weird Birds of the United States: California Condor
What Makes Them Weird: The largest North American land bird, the California Condor wins strange points simply because of how hideous they are. A scavenger who relies primarily on carrion, this big bird has a three-metre wingspan and lives for upwards of 50 years. Despite their less than lovely visage, the California Condor has some remarkable abilities: they can soar for upwards of three-miles without flapping their wings, and are neat-freaks that spend hours cleaning their feathers.
Weird Birds of New Caledonia: Kagu
What Makes Them Weird: Tiny, grey and ground dwelling, despite having wings these birds lack the muscles necessary to fly. Now nearly endangered, the poor Kagu is constantly on the run from predators. When threatened the Kagu will often puff out his crest and wings in a gesture to ward off potential threats.
Weird Birds of New Guinea: Blue Bird of Paradise
What Makes Them weird: Like the other Birds of Paradise, the Blue Bird has ample access to food, and can spend time worrying about attracting a passing glance from a member of the opposite sex. Perhaps the most spectacular of all, the Blue Bird’s mating ritual involves hanging upside down, puffing out his wings and unleashing an unearthly pulsating tone, in an elaborate attempt to lure potential mates.
(Photo courtesy of jerryoldenettel/Flickr Creative Commons)
Weird Birds of New Guinea: Western Parotia
What Makes Them Weird: Beyond the unusual head wires that extend from above his eyes, the male Western Parotia has a very unique mating dance. To help draw female birds the male will spread his plumes and hop around, performing a delicate ballet while snapping his neck back and forth. It’s a complex, ridiculous looking courtship ritual rivaled only by the Superb Bird of Paradise in the strangeness department.