Discover 20 Dazzling Birds That Start with C

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Published: June 7, 2023
© Barbara Ash/
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There are many beautiful and amazing birds found all throughout the world that have names that start with C. Take the charismatic cardinal, for example, a flashy bird with vibrant red feathers. Or the comical cockatoo, a goofy bird known for its playful personality. Then of course, there is the ever-clever crow, which is one of the most intelligent creatures in the entire animal kingdom. So, grab your bird-watching gear and let’s check out 20 dazzling birds that start with C!

1. Canary (Serinus canaria forma domestica)

Canaries are a popular feathery companion for many people. These cute birds originally came from the Macaronesia Islands — including the Canary Islands, which is where they got their name. Canaries have been admired for hundreds of years due to their incredible melodies and skilled singing abilities. Not only do they come in many dazzling colors, but canaries can also sing many different song patterns. Male birds tend to sing the most, as they use their melodies to attract mates and mark their territory. Female canaries also sing, although their repertoire is not as extensive as the males’. 

Canaries Pet Owner Guide
People have been enamored with domestic canaries since the 17th century.

©Yulia 0606/

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2. Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

Wild cockatiels in Australia have dazzling gray plumage with white feathers on the edges of their wings. Male birds have bright yellow or white faces, while females have mostly gray or light gray faces. Both male and female birds have adorable round orange spots on their ears. They also have an impressive crest of feathers atop their heads, which acts as a great indicator of how the bird is feeling. Cockatiels are popular pets for many people who love their striking patterns, adorable personalities, and large repertoire of whistles and chirps. 

View of grey-yellow female cockatiel parrot on the tree branch
Cockatiels are vocal birds who can learn to speak various words and sing.


3. Chickadee (Poecile)

The chickadee is another musical bird that gets its name quite literally from one of the sounds that it makes. When a chickadee emits a warning call, it sounds almost as if it is singing its own name, “chick-a-dee-dee-dee”. Chickadees are cute little birds that are usually 2.5 to 5.5 inches long and are common throughout North America. There are several different species of chickadees, but each type has a lighter-colored body paired with darker-colored feather crowns and a dark patch on their throats. 

Black-capped Chickadee
The black-capped chickadee is one of the most recognizable chickadee species.

©Paul Roedding/

4. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

The Canada goose (or Canadian goose) is native to North America, although it has now been introduced to many other countries around the world. These dazzling birds that start with C are migratory and typically winter in the United States. A few populations, however, no longer migrate and remain in their chosen home indefinitely. Canada geese are elegant birds with swan-like black necks and heads, striking white cheeks, and large brown bodies. They are often found near freshwater sources, estuaries, lagoons, and brackish marshes. They are also very adaptive birds and can live well in human-altered areas as well.

A canada goose, frame right, looking left, is standing with its wings folded on ice, a frozen pond/lake. The goose is mostly gray/taupe with a long dark neck and a white throat. Its feet are not visible.
The Canada goose mates for life.

©Rogney Piedra Arencibia/

5. Cockatoo (Cacatuidae)

The cockatoo is a dazzling bird that starts with C that lives in Australia, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, New Guinea, and parts of Indonesia. Cockatoos have large curved beaks, and a rather dramatic crest of feathers on top of their heads. Most cockatoo species are white with various splotches of color, but there are a few that are all black as well. One of the most common species in Australia is the galah or roseate cockatoo (Eolophus roseicapillus). These large birds are pinkish with gray wings and often gather in very loud flocks. Cockatoos are also popular in the pet world, particularly the sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), which is white with a yellowish-gold crest of feathers atop its head. 

sulphur-crested cockatoo with wings spread
Many people think the voice of a cockatoo is loud and harsh.


6. Crow (Corvus)

Found all around the world, crows are amazing birds with sleek black feathers and intense beady eyes that shine bright with intelligence. They are highly intelligent and adaptable birds and live in all sorts of habitats. Crows have incredible memories, are incredible masters of problem-solving, and can even create and use tools. In fact, their cognitive abilities have even been compared to monkeys and apes!

Carrion crow (Corvus corone), black bird perched on branch.
There are dozens of different crow species all across the world.

©Rudmer Zwerver/

7. Caica Parrot (Pyrilia caica)

Unlike the crow and the cockatoo, the caica parrot is a surprisingly quiet bird that lives in Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and Venezuela. Sometimes these birds make unusually nasal or horn-like sounds when flying, and occasionally they might emit a cute little honk. In general, however, they are quiet, friendly, and sweet birds that are very social. They are very social birds and love hanging out with other caica parrots in the wild. Caica parrots have very dark brownish-black heads with gray skin surrounding their eyes and bright yellow neck feathers. Their bodies are a vibrant green color, with blue and black on the tips of their wings and tails.

8. Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon)

The crested ibis is an elegant white bird that once lived throughout Mainland China, Japan, and the Russian Far East. Unfortunately, its populations have drastically declined, and today the only natural wild populations are found in Shaanxi, China. However, there are conservation groups dedicated to captive breeding, and the crested ibis is now protected in China. Crested ibises are nearly 40 inches long with beautiful white feathers covering their bodies. They have long white feathers that hang down the back of their heads like long stylish hair, but their faces are bare, revealing vibrant red skin and a long black beak. 

Endangered Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon) at the Han River, Yangxian, Shaanxi Province, China.
Crested ibis disappeared due to their limited range, the use of pesticides, overhunting, and habitat loss.

©Hugh Lansdown/

9. Caique (Pionites)

Also known as the “seven-colored parrot”, the caique is a cute and stout bird with incredibly bright and eye-catching colors. In the wild, these charismatic birds like to hang out in forested areas where they feast on seeds and fruit. Caiques are extremely energetic and playful animals and are always up for fun and a little mischief. Some people do keep them as pets, and caique owners frequently report that their birds act like “class clowns” and love being the center of attention. There are four different types of caiques, but they all have white chests, green wings, and some combination of yellow, orange, and/or black on their heads. 

A black-headed parrot perching on a branch.
There are three different species of caique birds, including the black-headed caique, or parrot.


10. California Quail (Callipepla californica)

These ground-dwelling birds have tons of beautiful and decorative feathers. California quail have iconic, snazzy curved plumes on top of their heads made up of forward-drooping feathers. Male birds are decked out in sharp black with a suave dark brown cap. Their black faces fade to brown, black, with gray-blue chests and light brown bellies. Female birds, on the other hand, have more earthy brown or gray-brown towns and light-colored bellies. California quail are very social birds and spend most of their time in small flocks as they go about their day.

California quail, Callipepla californica, taken in California, USA, taken in wild. The bird is visible in the right frame, facing left. Its back is a fawn brown color with white specks on its wings. Its chest is gray. Its face is black with a white outline. It has a dark plume on its forehead.
The California quail is the official state bird of California.

©Agnieszka Bacal/

11. Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)

One of the smallest native birds in the United States and Canada is the stunning Calliope hummingbird, named after the Greek Muse of eloquence and epic poetry. Calliope hummingbirds are quite small, measuring just 2.8 to 3.9 inches long. Although tiny, these classy little hummingbirds are very beautiful, with shiny green feathers on their backs and the tops of their heads, and white feathers on their undersides. Male birds also have glossy magenta-colored feathers on their throats. When they feed, they use their long, extendable tongues to suck up nectar from flowers. They also drink sap from holes made by sapsuckers and sometimes catch insects while flying through the air.

Tiniest Birds-Calliope Hummingbird
The Calliope hummingbird is the smallest bird native to the United States and Canada.

©MTKhaled mahmud/

12. Camiguin Hanging Parrot (Loriculus camiguinensis)

The Camiguin hanging parrot is endemic to the small island of Camiguin in the Philippines. These colorful birds live in a very restrictive range and unfortunately, their populations in the wild are disappearing. They are quite small parrots, measuring only about 5.5 inches long, including the tail. Camiguin hanging parrots are also very shy, which makes them hard to spot. Their colorful feathers also help them camouflage quite well with their environment. Camiguin hanging parrots are mostly a bright green or yellowish-green color. Their heads are red or red-orange and match the feathers on their rumps. In addition, there are light blue feathers on the birds’ faces, and the underside of their tails is blue.

13. Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis)

The Congo peafowl or the African peafowl is native to the Congo Basin in Africa and is the national bird of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, these dazzling birds that start with C are threatened by habitat loss and are listed as a near-threatened species by the IUCN. Male birds are a rich blue color with iridescent green and violet feathers. Their fuzzy heads are black, and their necks are bare, revealing wrinkly red skin. The top of the male’s head has a large crown of feathers that look like long straw-like hairs. Female Congo peafowls are chestnut brown with iridescent green feathers on their backs. 

A male Congo peafowl. it is a species of peafowl native to the Congo Basin, one of three extant species of peafowl.the male's feathers are nevertheless deep blue with a metallic green and violet tinge
The Congo peafowl is threatened by habitat loss caused by shifting cultivation, mining, and logging.

©Danny Ye/

4. Copper Pheasant (Syrmaticus soemmerringii)

Japanese poems from the early 8th century actually mention these beautifully patterned birds, but unfortunately, today their populations are continuing to decline due to overhunting and habitat loss. Endemic to Japan, the copper pheasant or Soemmerring’s pheasant is a near-threatened species that lives in the mountain forests of the Shikoku, Honshū, and Kyūshū islands. Like its name, the male copper pheasant has deep copper or chestnut-colored feathers, while the female bird has brown and grayish-brown feathers.

Copper Pheasant (Syrmaticus soemmerringii  ijimae) male in South Kyushu, Japan
The male copper pheasant has short spurs on its legs, while the female bird does not.


15. Crested Coua (Coua cristata

Found only in the coastal regions of the island of Madagascar, the crested coua is another unique and dazzling bird that starts with C. It is a member of the cuckoo family and grows around 12 to 17 inches long. The crested coua is not a strong flyer and prefers to hop from branch to branch instead. These dazzling birds have a reversible third toe that helps them to grip branches and hop around even when they are high in the canopies. Crested couas are beautiful birds with striking blue and bright, turquoise-colored skin around their eyes. These stunning birds are also known for their incredible calls and vocalizations, which are mainly heard around sunset.

Crested Coua (Coua cristata) in the Berenty Nature Reserve, southern Madagascar
The crested coua is known for its beauty and unique vocalizations, including its intriguing “laser gun” call.

©Hugh Lansdown/

16. Cardinal (Cardinalidae)

Probably the most well-known type of cardinal is the northern cardinal, which lives in southeastern Canada, and in parts of the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. Male cardinals are very distinctive birds covered in vibrant red feathers. They also have a regal crest of feathers on their heads and a black mask across their face. Female birds are also red, but not as vibrant. They usually sport more of a reddish brown or reddish olive color in their feathers. Cardinals are vocal songbirds who learn their songs. So, depending on where they live, different groups of cardinals will have very different songs!

Pair of cardinals perching on a tree branch in the snow
Both male and female cardinals can sing repeated song patterns.

© Wang

17. Capuchinbird (Perissocephalus tricolor)

Another dazzling bird that starts with C and loves to sing is the capuchin bird. However, this bird’s song is not as pleasant as many others on this list. In fact, the capuchin bird is sometimes referred to as the “calfbird” because its song sounds a lot like when a young cow (calf) moos. Some have even compared its song to a chainsaw! The capuchinbird gets its name from the rich orange or cinnamon-colored feathers around its neck, which looks like a monk’s cowl or a large, loose hood. The bird also has a rather small and naked, blue-gray head, so it looks like it is wearing a thick, oversized winter coat!

Tropical Bird Capuchinbird Or Calfbird - Perissocephalus Tricolor In The Rainforest. Bird is sitting on tree trunk.
The capuchinbird lives in Northeastern South America.


18. Crab-Plover (Dromas ardeola

Although it might somewhat look like a plover, the crab-plover is actually from an entirely different family. Crab plovers are regal-looking birds with elegant, lengthy necks, super long legs, and only partially webbed toes. They are dazzling white birds with striking black feathers on their wings and backs. They also have strong jet-black bills that are perfectly built for eating crabs. Although they may exude a regal and stoic appearance, crab-plovers are surprisingly noisy birds that live in large groups along the islands and coasts of the Indian Ocean.

Closeup beautiful rare shorebird, low angle view, side shot, Crab-plover, low angle view, side shot, standing up gracefully after taking bath near the seashore, Phang nga beach, southern Thailand.
Male crab-plovers have bills that are longer and thicker than those of female birds.


19. Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus)

Found mainly in South and Central America, the crested caracara is a bold and opportunistic bird of prey with a 47 to 52-inch wingspan. Crested caracaras are impressive birds with dark brown plumage covering most of their bodies. Their necks and heads are white, with a cap of dark feathers on top. They also have large, prominent beaks that are orange, yellow, and pale blue at the tip. Crested caracaras mostly feed on dead animals they find on the ground. However, they also steal food from other animals and commonly raid the nests of reptiles and other birds. They really aren’t picky about what they eat, and sometimes they even eat fruit! 

Crested caracara, Polyborus plancus, a brightly colored predator, inhabits a large area.
Crested caracaras are smart, opportunistic birds that often seek out areas where food could show up.

©Vladislav T. Jirousek/

20. Caatinga Cacholote (Pseudoseisura cristata)

Last but most definitely not least, we have the extraordinary caatinga cacholote (try saying that five times fast!). This dazzling bird that starts with C gets its name from its home in the arid and semi-arid tropical Caatinga regions of northeastern Brazil. Caatinga cacholote birds usually live in dry forests and scrub areas, often close to where humans live. They spend most of their time on the ground, foraging for food. These unique birds definitely stand out from the crowd with their beautiful, uniform cinnamon-colored plumage, fluffy head crests, and striking yellow eyes. But what’s even more intriguing are the impressive duets between male and female caatinga cacholote birds. The male starts out with a series of accelerating notes that end in a rattle, while the female adds in a buzzy “zjeep” sound.

Bird Pseudoseisura cristata (casaca de couro ) very common in northeastern Brazil, has a beautiful corner and makes great nests
Caatinga cacholote birds build nests from thorny sticks.

©Raul. R/

The Largest Bird That Starts with C

Birds come in all different shapes and sizes, but the largest bird that starts with C is the cassowary (Casuarius). Native to New Guinea, Northeastern Australia, and the Aru Islands, cassowaries are some of the largest Birds on earth! There are three species of cassowaries, but the most common is the southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius). Cassowaries are enormous flightless birds with gigantic feat and sharp claws. They also have “casques” on top of their heads that make them look like fearsome, living dinosaurs!

southern cassowary with blurred background
Southern cassowaries are very dangerous birds.


The Fastest Bird That Starts with C

Many different types of birds can soar through the air at incredible speeds. The fastest bird that starts with C is the common swift (Apus apus). These amazing birds can fly up to 70 miles per hour! The common swift is a small bird, measuring 6.3 to 6.7 inches long. It has blackish-brown feathers, with a small white or grey patch on its chin that can be difficult to see. When flying through the air, the common swift’s silhouette shows its short, forked tail and long wings that sweep back like a boomerang or a crescent moon.

Fastest Birds in the World: Common Swift
Common swifts spend most of their lives in the air and very rarely touchdown on the ground.


Summary of Dazzling Birds That Start with C

Common NameScientific Name
CanarySerinus canaria forma domestica
CockatielNymphicus hollandicus
Canada GooseBranta canadensis
Caica ParrotPyrilia caica
Crested IbisNipponia nippon
California QuailCallipepla californica
Calliope HummingbirdSelasphorus calliope
Camiguin Hanging ParrotLoriculus camiguinensis
Congo PeafowlAfropavo congensis
Copper PheasantSyrmaticus soemmerringii
Crested CouaCoua cristata
CapuchinbirdPerissocephalus tricolor
Crab-PloverDromas ardeola
Crested CaracaraCaracara plancus
Caatinga CacholotePseudoseisura cristata
Common SwiftApus apus

The Featured Image

Cockatoo with wings spread, green background
© Barbara Ash/

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About the Author

As a professional writer and editor for many years, I have dedicated my work to the fascinating exploration of anthrozoology and human-animal relationships. I hold a master's degree with experience in humanities, human-animal studies, ecocriticism, wildlife conservation, and animal behavior. My research focuses on the intricate relationships and dynamics between humans and the natural world, with the goal of re-evaluating and imagining new possibilities amid the uncertainty and challenges of the Anthropocene.

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