Discover 25 Incredible Birds That Start With K

Written by Samantha Stanich
Updated: November 7, 2023
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There are many beautiful birds that start with the letter K. Common birds whose names start with the letter K include Kākāpō, kestrel, kea, kingfisher, kiwi, kookaburra, king quail, karoo lark, keel-billed toucan, king eider, Kentucky warbler, and king penguin. Some are commonly known, and others are quite rare, and even thought extinct until they were seen in the wild. The birds hail from all over the world, from Australia to South Africa to America. Here is a fun list of 25 birds starting with the letter K!

1. Kaempfer’s Woodpecker

A man holding Kaempfer's woodpecker (Celeus obrieni). Wonderful bird, woodpecker, with radio transmitter in the syrup. Wonderful woodpecker threatened with extinction. The species rare red woodpecker.

The vibrant Kaempfer’s 

woodpecker

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 was thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 2006.

©RafaelBatista/Shutterstock.com

Kaempfer’s woodpecker is a colorful bird that hails from Brazil. Both sexes of the species show hues of yellows, reds, and browns in their feathers. Once considered a “lost bird,” the rediscovery of the woodpecker in October 2006 allowed ornithologists to focus on bringing it back from the edge of extinction.

2. Kaka

3. Kākāpō

Kakapo

Kākāpō birds are the only nocturnal and flightless parrots in the world.

©Imogen Warren/Shutterstock.com

The large and rotund Kākāpō birds are native to New Zealand. They cannot fly because they have small wings relative to their size, and because they lack the keel on the breastbone where the muscle for flight on other birds is attached.

4. Kea

5. Kingfisher

There are 116 species of the kingfisher.


©iStock.com/lensalot

The brightly colored kingfisher species can be found globally. However, the center of their global takeover is the Australasian realm. The beak of a kingfisher tells an observer if they are a male or female. Also, a fun fact is this sleek bird inspired the Japanese bullet trains.

6. Kiwi

The North Island brown kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, is the most common kiwi, with about 35,000 remaining in New Zealand.

The Kiwi has a finely developed sense of smell, which is rare in birds

©Lakeview Images/Shutterstock.com

The Kiwi is a national symbol for New Zealand. It is a flightless bird which is one trait that makes it one of the most unique birds in the world. Being nocturnal, they rely on their smell and touch, and they are in danger of becoming extinct. The Kiwi has the lowest body temperature of any bird, and the female is one of the few birds with a functioning pair of ovaries. Most birds only have one ovary. Their feathers are very soft, resembling fur, and just like mammals, their bones are filled with marrow.

7. Kokako

8. Kestrel

9. Kelp Gull

Image of a screaming Kelp Gull, RSA

There are 116 species of the kingfisher.

©Jannie Peyper/Shutterstock.com

Kelp gulls are scavenger birds and are usually seen feasting in landfills or on discards from fishing boats. They are omnivores and have even been observed to parasite quite large animals like whales by nibbling on their skin. Also, they will blind seal pups with their beaks to give them an easier way to catch a large dinner. Kelp gulls are most widespread around the equator and are usually found on sheltered harbors, bays, inlets, estuaries, beaches, and rocky shores.

10. Kookaburra

The Laughing Kookabura in action at the Ocean Park in the City of Hong Kong, HONG KONG SAR

Laughing kookaburras are native to eastern mainland Australia.

©Lokesh Prem Budhrani/Shutterstock.com

Kookaburras belong to the Kingfisher family. They are known for their “laughing” calls, getting the nickname “Laughing Jackass” and “Giant Kingfisher.” They usually call at dawn or dusk, making their laugh the “bushman’s clock.” Kookaburras are carnivorous, and unlike other kingfishers, they rarely eat fish. Instead, they feast on mice, snakes, small reptiles, and even the young of other birds.

11. Killdeer

12. Keel-Billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan - Ramphastos sulfuratus, large colorful toucan from Costa Rica forest

They are also called the “rainbow” toucan due to their colorful bills.

©David Havel/Shutterstock.com

Keel-billed toucans are tropical birds that thrive in humid climates. They hail from Central and South America and prefer to hop amongst the dense leaves of the country’s canopy because they aren’t excellent fliers. Even though they don’t fly well or often, they do live up very high, making them difficult to spot for predators. Their call is often likened to that of a frog and can is very loud. Their bills are often the cause of their nicknames, earning them the name “the flying banana” due to the curve and size of their bills.

13. Kashmir Flycatcher

14. King Quail

15. Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky Warbler perches on a mossy stump eating green caterpillars.

A male Kentucky warbler only sings the same song throughout his life.

©Ray Hennessy/Shutterstock.com

The Kentucky warbler migrates to the central and Eastern United States in the summer and spends the winter and fall in different regions of the Caribbean. They are a smaller species of the New World Warbler, often described as sluggish and heavy with a short tail. The Kentucky warbler sings in the trees though it does prefer to stay closer to or near the ground.

16. Karamoja Apalis

17. King Penguin

King penguin swimming under water

The

king penguin

is large for its species, with only the emperor penguin being larger.

©Jeff Kubina from Columbia, Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

King penguins are expert divers and can dive to great depths, reaching 300 meters. They can also stay underwater for almost 10 minutes, traveling up to 1,200 miles. They hunt lanternfish, krill, and crustaceans. King penguin colonies are quite large with some being up to 200,000 birds. However, don’t fret, they don’t lose track of their family because family members can recognize each other by their unique vocalizations. King Penguins are also royal. King Harald V of Norway crowned one a knight at the Edinburg Zoo in 2008. His name became Sir Nils Olav.

18. Kagu

19. Karoo Lark

20. Knob-Billed Duck

Knob-billed duck, Comb duck(Sarkidiornis melanotos) relax in nature.

The knob-billed duck is one of the largest species of duck.

©luck luckyfarm/Shutterstock.com

The knob-billed duck, also known as the African comb duck, lives in tropical and subtropical climates. The species inhabit the wetlands and waterways of Sub-Saharan Africa and the island of Madagascar. They also hail from South Asia and mainland Indochina. They are named for the large knobs on their bills and are usually silent creatures. Though they often perch in trees, their grazing on seeds has become a problem for rice farmers.

21. Kerguelen Tern

22. King Eider

23. Kentish Plover

24. King Rail

25. Kawall’s Amazon

rare species of parrot (Amazona kawalli) Colombian rainforest

Populations of Kawall’s Amazon parrots are extinct and others are very threatened.

©Vaclav Sebek/Shutterstock.com

Kawall’s Amazon parrots live in the south-central Amazon. They were thought to be extinct after not being seen for 70 years. However, they were rediscovered in the 1980s. The species live in lowland rainforests and even prefer permanently flooded areas though they search out dryer areas for nesting.


The Largest Bird That Starts with K: Kori Bustard

Types of Big Birds

The

kori bustard

is one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, however, it is reluctant to fly unless in danger.

©ArCaLu/Shutterstock.com

The kori bustards are the world’s heaviest birds of flight. The species is native to Africa and is part of the Bustard family and is the national bird of Botswana. Though the heavy bird does fly, it spends around 70% of its time on the ground. Males weigh an average of 24 lbs. and have a wingspan of 90.5-108 inches. Females are visibly thinner than males and have a slimmer neck. Kori bustards are opportunistic omnivores, meaning their diet has both animal and plant matter according to opportunity.


The Fastest Bird That Starts With K: Kestrel

kestrel

DNA analysis has shown kestrels to be closely genetically related to American falcons like the peregrine.

©Milan Zygmunt/Shutterstock.com

Kestrels are birds of prey that are part of the genus Falco. American kestrels can fly at speeds up to 39 mph. Peregrine falcons, a relative to the kestrel, can fly horizontally at 55 mph. However, their dives have been clocked at over 200 mph! A group of kestrels is referred to as a Soar, and they are considered the smallest raptor in America. American kestrels are only one of three raptor species in North America. The American kestrel is also a common bird for those just starting in falconry.


Common NameScientific Names
1Kaempfer’s WoodpeckerCeleus obrieni
2KakaNestor meridionalis
3KākāpōStrigops habroptilus
4KeaNestor notabilis
5KingfisherAlcedinidae
6KiwiApteryx
7KokakoCallaeas
8KestrelFalco tinnunculus
9Kelp GullLarus dominicanus
10KookaburraDacelo
11KilldeerCharadrius vociferus
12Keel-billed ToucanRamphastos sulfuratus
13Kashmir FlycatcherFicedula subrubra
14King QuailExcalfactoria chinensis
15Kentucky WarblerGeothlypis formosa
16Karamoja ApalisApalis karamojae
17King PenguinAptenodytes patagonicus
18KaguRhynochetos jubatus
19Karoo LarkCalendulauda albescens
20Knob-billed DuckSarkidiornis melanotos
21Kerguelen TernSterna virgata
22King EiderSomateria spectabilis
23Kentish PloverCharadrius alexandrinus
24King RailRallus elegans
25Kawall’s AmazonAmazona kawalli

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/lensalot


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