10 Birds With Mohawks

Written by Patrick Sather
Published: November 10, 2021
Image Credit iStock.com/ewastudio
Share this post on:

What comes to mind when you think of punk rock? Perhaps you think of anti-authoritarian lyrics or bands like Blink-182. Others think of the style, and particularly that most iconic of punk hairdos: the mohawk. While certainly co-opted by punk rockers as a sign of their dislike of norms, the mohawk as a hairstyle predates punk rock. The term mohawk refers to the Mohawk people, who plucked the hair from the sides of their heads, leaving only a small square on their crown. Ancient Scythian warriors sported Mohawks, as did 16th century Cossacks in Ukraine. It’s very likely that all of these people modeled the hairstyle off of animals they saw in nature. In particular, there exists a number of birds with mohawks better than any punk rock hairdo. That said, do you think you can name any of these birds with spiked hair? 

In the event that you can’t, there’s no need to fret, because this is where we come in. Over the course of this article, we’ll take you on a tour of the best birds with mohawks. We’ll also cover where they live, their physical attributes, and any of their unique behaviors. So, get ready to rock out with your hair out, as we explore 10 birds with mohawks.

#10: Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle is also known as the “monkey-eating eagle” because of its dietary preference.

iStock.com/LaserLens

Also known as the monkey-eating eagle, the Philippine eagle is a member of the eagle family Accipitridae. It lives only in highland, old-growth forests across several of the larger Philippine islands. As apex predators, they eat a wide variety of prey, including monkeys, small deer, bats, rats, reptiles, and other birds. Considered the world’s longest eagles, they measure from 2.8 to 3.3 feet long and weigh between 8.9 and 17.6 pounds. Despite their size, they are both extremely agile and long-lived, capable of living up to 60 years old. Their plumage appears dark brown on the face and back and white on the underparts. In addition, these birds with mohawks feature a large, manelike crest that is streaked with brown and creamy white feathers. Due to habitat loss and environmental pollution, the IUCN lists the Philippine eagle as a Critically Endangered species. 

#9: Tufted Titmouse

Birds with mohawks: Tufted Titmouse
The tufted titmouse will occasionally store extra food in a hiding place and eat it later.

iStock.com/Tongtong Chen

A member of the chickadee and tit family Paridae, the tufted titmouse is one of the smaller birds with mohawks. It lives year-round throughout the eastern United States and does not migrate. In general, its preferred habitats include mixed woodlands and cultivated spaces like parks and gardens. Tufted titmice eat a variety of nuts, fruits, and seeds, along with wasps, bees, snails, and its favorite prey, caterpillars. In addition, they frequently store excess food in hiding places for the winter. On average, they measure 5.5 to 6.3 inches long with a wingspan of 7.9 to 10.2 inches. They sport whitish feathers on their front, a gray back, and a black forehead. In addition, they feature a small, gray mohawk that looks similar to a cardinal’s. As a matter of fact, the tufted titmouse’s Latin name, Baeolophus bicolor, translates to “two-colored small crest.” 

#8: Grey Crowned Crane

Birds with mohawks: Grey Crowned Crane
The grey crowned crane will dance, jump, and bow as part of its courtship rituals.

iStock.com/Kateryna Kukota

Also known as the African crowned crane or golden crested crane, the grey crowned crane belongs to the crane family Gruidae. Its range includes large swaths of arid savannah throughout both East and South Africa. Grey crowned cranes are omnivores and eat a variety of seeds, grains, frogs, snakes, fish, and insects. They represent one of only two crane species that roost in trees, which they can do because of their large hind toes. During the breeding season, they engage in elaborate courtship displays including dancing, jumping, and bowing. Generally, they measure around 3.3 feet tall and weigh around 7.7 pounds. These birds with mohawks sport large, golden crests, while the rest of their plumage is gray and white, hence their name. The IUCN currently lists the grey crowned crane as Endangered due to habitat loss and threats from pesticides. 

#7: Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

sulphur-crested cockatoo with wings spread
The voice of a cockatoo is considered to be loud and harsh.

QuickStartProjects/Shutterstock.com

The sulphur-crested cockatoo is one of the most recognizable birds with mohawks in the world. These large white birds belong to the cockatoo family Cacatuidae. They range throughout eastern and northern Australia, as well as New Guinea and its surrounding islands. Their preferred habitats include more moist lowlands regions as well as urban areas with plenty of trees. Usually, they measure between 17.5 to 21.5 inches long and feature almost completely white plumage. The one exception is their large, yellow mohawk, which they fan out when expressing themselves. Highly intelligent birds, not only can they dance to music, but they can also solve simple puzzles. Their intelligence and extremely long lives make them popular animals in the pet trade, although they require a lot of work. Due to their abundance, the IUCN lists them as a species of Least Concern, and some people consider them pests. 

#6: Royal Flycatcher 

Birds with mohawks: Royal Flycatcher
The royal flycatcher only shows off its large crest when mating, during courtship, or being handled.

Tiny Turkey/Shutterstock.com

The royal flycatcher belongs to the family Tityridae, with debate currently ongoing as to the number of species and subspecies. These tiny birds with mohawks range throughout Central America and South America. In particular, they prefer to live in tropical forests at high and low elevations with easy access to water. Most specimens measure between 5.9 to 7.1 inches long and weigh less than 1 ounce. Primarily insectivorous, royal flycatchers eat a wide variety of insects including flies, cicadas, grasshoppers, and dragonflies. Their plumage is mostly brown with patches of yellow or red depending on the subspecies. That said, they possess a large red crest, which only appears when mating, during courtship, or while being handled. Although the IUCN lists some populations as of Least Concern, it considers those living in southeastern Brazil as Vulnerable.

#5: Dalmatian Pelican

Types of Big Birds
Dalmation pelicans rank as the largest pelican and one of the largest flying birds in the world.

Georgios Alexandris/Shutterstock.com

Among birds with mohawks, few measure as large or look as imposing as the Dalmatian pelican. Part of the pelican family Pelecanidae, the Dalmatian pelican is the largest pelican and among the world’s largest flying birds. Typically, they measure 5 feet, 3 inches to 6 feet long, and weigh between 16 and 33.1 pounds. They range throughout wetlands throughout Southern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. You can often see them traveling in groups as they migrate to and from their breeding grounds. Their diet primarily consists of fish such as catfish, eel, and carp, although they also eat crustaceans, beetles, and worms. Dalmatian pelicans feature predominantly silver-white plumage and large orange and gray bills. On top of their heads, they sport a patch of wispy white feathers shaped like a mohawk. Due to poaching and habitat loss, the IUCN lists them as a Near Threatened species. 

#4: Eurasian Hoopoe

hoopoe feeding a baby bird
The hoopoe uses its beak to probe for lizards and insects.

iStock.com/JMrocek

The Eurasian hoopoe is the most common member of the hoopoe family Upupidae. These birds with mohawks range throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They prefer to forage in grasslands with clear visibility and build cavity nests in trees, cliffs, or buildings. Their name comes from their distinctive “whooping” call, although their French name, huppée, also translates to “crested.” Eurasian hoopoes mostly feed on insects, although they also eat small reptiles and amphibians. On average, they measure 9.8 to 12.6 inches long with a wingspan of 17 to 19 inches. Their broad wings are striped black and white, while their breasts and faces appear fawn. Meanwhile, they sport tall, reddish mohawks with black edges, which they display while courting and fighting. Males, in particular, will fight and kill each other with their sharp bills. Currently, the IUCN lists the Eurasian hoopoe as a species of Least Concern. 

#3: Great Curassow

Birds with mohawks: Great Curassow
Great curassows sport a curly black crest.

iStock.com/Eduardo Cabrera Abizaid

The great curassow is a member of the ground-feeding bird family Galliformes which includes turkeys, chickens, and quails. These pheasant-looking birds range from Mexico in the north to northern Colombia and Ecuador in the south. You can usually find them living in groups in rainforests, although they will also live in dryer forests. Their diet primarily consists of fruits such as figs as well as arthropods and rodents. Generally, they measure 31 to 39 inches long and weigh between 6.8 and 10.6 pounds. Males feature mostly black feathers with a white belly, while females vary in their plumage. Meanwhile, the males sport a curly black crest, which makes these birds with mohawks one of the more dapper examples on this list. Unfortunately, because of habitat loss and hunting, the IUCN lists the great curassow as a Vulnerable species. 

#2: Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Birds with mohawks: Victoria Crowned Pigeon
The Victoria crowned pigeon is named after Queen Victoria of England.

iStock.com/pigphoto

When most people think of birds with mohawks they don’t think of pigeons, but that would be a gross oversight. Case in point, the Victoria crowned pigeon, a member of the pigeon and dove family Columbidae. Named after Queen Victoria of England, these striking birds live only in the swampy forests of New Guinea. Known for their gregariousness, they forage in packs for foods including fruits, seeds, worms, and insects. Typically, they measure 29 to 30 inches long and can weigh up to 7.7 pounds. The plumage on their back is a rich blue-gray color, while their chests appear maroon. Meanwhile, they sport a beautiful blue-feathered crest that looks akin to the feathers on a peacock’s tail. Continued habitat loss and hunting have led the IUCN to list the Victoria crowned pigeon as a Near Threatened species. 

 #1: Golden Pheasant

Birds with mohawks: Golden Pheasant
While native to China, the golden pheasant is now common throughout Europe, North and South America, and Australasia.

iStock.com/luamduan

Also known as the Chinese or rainbow pheasant, the golden pheasant is another showy example of birds with mohawks. While native to China, wild populations now live throughout Europe, North and South America, and Australasia. Although they can fly, they primarily forage on the ground for grains, leaves, and insects. In general, they measure 35 to 41 inches long. Their plumage varies in color from yellow on the lower back and rump, red on the chest, green on the upper back, and tan on the face, throat, and chin. In addition to their bright orange mohawk, they also sport a spreadable “cape” made of alternating black and orange stripes. Its scientific name, Chrysolophus pictus, translates to “painted with a golden crest” in Ancient Greek and Latin, respectively. Due to its abundance, the IUCN lists it as a species of Least Concern. 

Share this post on:

More from A-Z Animals