Most Expensive Birds in the World

Written by Dana Mayor
Updated: October 15, 2022
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Key Points

  • White peacocks are a fixture at weddings with plumage that is a brilliant white. In keeping with that regal appearance they not only come  with a hefty price tag but also require rather spacious quarters too.
  • Flamingos as beautiful as they are require their very own cleaning team thanks to a habit of leaving abundant and pungent smelling droppings.
  • Black hens belong to a rather common species. And yet their unique coloring has set them apart from other less fortunate members of the group and has elevated them to celebrity status.

Birds are beautiful creatures. Birds sing for the world. The vast majority fly and even the ones that do not can be fascinating. Colorful and graceful, they make excellent home companions. And there is certainly a huge library to choose from.

One of those library volumes includes birds that might be way out of most budget ranges. The price of these exotic birds will seem to most outrageous. But the companion of your choice is a personal venture and if you can afford one of the most expensive birds in the world, why not?

Expensive birds demand a nice price and the enthusiast is willing to foot the bill. Many sanctuaries or zoos are fortunate enough to have exotic birds thanks to kind donators.

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What follows is a list of the 10 most expensive birds in the whole wide world.

#10 Gouldian Finch

Most Expensive Birds-gouldian finch
A close-up image of a colorful Gouldian finch bird perched on a tree trunk.

©iStock.com/joe hidalgo photgography

The Gouldian, or Rainbow, Finch is a colorful, petite creature. To authenticate the Finch, coloration is key. They have unique blue or silver colors. The bird is usually kept by breeders. These birds need plenty of birdseed and a spacious aviary as they can be wild.

If you’re willing to dish out the cash, the Gouldian Finch is an investment upwards of $400, not counting all the expenses of keeping it. Read more about the Gouldian Finch here.

#9 Scarlet Tanager

Most Expensive Birds-Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) whose song has been compared to that of a “robin with a sore throat.”

©Stubblefield Photography/Shutterstock.com

The Scarlet Tanager is medium-sized and belongs to the cardinal species. It comes in striking red with dark black wings and a blue tail. The bird has a large head, a rounded, thick bill for eating, and a broad, short tail. They like lurking in the deciduous trees of a forest canopy, as well as in shrubby backyards.

There are over 230 species of the Tanager. Four migrate to North America regularly and the rest are mainly located in the western hemisphere. The Scarlet Tanager travels farther for wintering than any of its cousins. Overall, the Scarlet Tanager is a rare sight which is why many are willing to spend $900 for one.

#8 Northern Cardinal

Most Expensive Birds-Northern Cardinal
Male and Female Northern Cardinals Perched on Branch of Chinese Fringe Tree.

©Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock.com

Native Americans believe the Northern Cardinal once ran messages to long-deceased ancestors. Surely, no celestial gate was insurmountable for such a brilliant, red avian. Those are the males. Females are typically pale brown with reddish highlights in their wings. The cardinal has a prominent crest, a long tail, a short, thick bill and is always ready to share a song. The properly bred Northern Cardinal price runs about $800.

Oddly enough, as exotic as they may be, Northern Cardinals are also in parks, on the rim of shrubby forests and even your backyard. They nest in tangles of vines and shrubs. You can read more about these exotic birds by clicking here.

#7 White Peacock

Most Expensive Birds-White Peacock
A white peacock shows off and displays his feathers in full.

©Michelle Silke/Shutterstock.com

With its celestial plumage, the enigmatic white peacock is extremely popular at Australian weddings. When its tail’s fanned out, the site takes the breath away. These are not indoor birds and they need open space for the best comfort. So, you’ll also need solid roosting and fencing as there are plenty of predators.

The peacock’s linked to a lineage of opulence, royalty and wealth. The white peacock is a status symbol with its pure color, the result of a unique silver pied peafowl breeding. It’s no wonder fans have willingly turned over $1,000 to own just one of these exotic birds.

White peacocks with their alabaster plumage can actually cost up to seven times as much as their sapphire colored cousins, or even 20 times more.

They also seem quite aware of their majestic appearance and love to admire their reflections in glass doors.

They’re also not above clambering up a car to preen in front of its mirror, and may scratch it in the process – a habit which most likely renders them incompatible with collectors of vintage or expensive cars.

If you want more information about the peacock, check this out.

#6 Pink Flamingoes

Most Expensive Birds-Pink Flamingo
A flock of pink African flamingos walking around the blue lagoon on a background of a bright sky on a sunny day.

©iStock.com/YULIIA LAKEIENKO

Owning a flamingo isn’t illegal but in most cases ownership requires a license. And paying upwards of $1,500 for a single bird is only the beginning. These exotic animals require a tidy diet of mollusks, shrimp, and red algae. That’s a must if you want your pet to maintain the hue that makes it so sought after.

Plus, you’ll need to keep a cleaning crew on deck as the bird’s droppings are foul and frequent. No matter how much space you give them, the pink flamingo leaves round-the-clock reminders that they’ll always be in the vicinity. So, the reality of owning pink flamingoes is that they may look glamourous standing on one leg but it will cost you. Read more about the flamingo here.

#5 Ayam Cemani Chicken

Most Expensive Birds-Ayam Cemani Chicken
The Ayam Cemani chicken is highly sought after because of its unusual glossy feathers that are entirely black in color.

©Bass001/Shutterstock.com

No one’s more surprised than us that a chicken ended up on this list. The chicken is a plentiful bird visible in every corner of the world. Yet, here’s the Ayam Cemani chicken. They will earn their keep (sort of) as, like all hens, they lay eggs. But those eggs aren’t gold so it could be a while before you see an ROI on the upfront $2,500 price one of these chickens costs. On top of that, the chickens aren’t maternal. Incubation is almost always needed.

The Ayam Cemani is a rare Indonesian bird noted for its dark shades. That’s the result of melanin, giving the exotic creature iridescent flesh, feathers, comb, wattles and beak black. While fanciers around the globe have them shipped in, the bird’s main breeding grounds are in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read more about the chicken family here.

#4 Toucan

Most Expensive Birds-Toucan
A Keel-Billed Toucan in a tree.  They have the longest bill of any bird in the world in relation to their body size.

©iStock.com/edurivero

Thanks to Fruit Loops, no one takes the Toucan seriously. But in the avian world, the national bird of Belize is as exotic as it gets. Between its odd proportions and giant, brightly-covered bill, people with the cash love the idea of owning a well-breed bird like this. And they’re willing to spend as much as $9,500 for the privilege.

Unfortunately, the breed’s restricted internationally and if you can get your hands on one, you’re probably going to need a license. The bird also requires a vet that specializes in the species as well as an outdoor aviary that resembles their natural environment. The diet consists of delicacies like papaya, mango, lizard, and ground beef(!).

While there are noticeable hoops to jump through to manage the Toucan successfully, the return is the pet has an engaging and warm demeanor. You can read more about this exotic creature here.

#3 Hyacinth Macaw

Most Expensive Birds-Hyacinth Macaw
Hyacinth macaws are the largest of the parrots and, as their name implies, are covered with bright blue plumage. 

©iStock.com/Uwe-Bergwitz

Hailing from South America, the Hyacinth Macaw’s props include being the world’s largest flying parrot and having a striking blue macaw. They grow over three feet from tail to head.

The costs of having one of these animals are extravagant. It’s large, heavy, and has impressive physical strength and a broad wingspan. The bird needs appropriate caging, strong perches, and unique aviaries if you want to keep it healthy and happy while in captivity. But that probably won’t bother anyone willing to foot the price tag of $40,000 one of these parrots can cost.

Unfortunately, this creature’s on the way to becoming endangered due to trapping and loss of habitat. You can learn more about the Hyacinth Macaw here.

#2 Black Palm Cockatoo

Most Expensive Birds-Black Palm Cockatoo
The palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus), also known as the goliath cockatoo or great black cockatoo is one of the best talking cockatoos.

©BangKod001/Shutterstock.com

The Black Palm Cockatoo is a tall bird with smoky colorful feathers and bright red spots on its head. Found mainly in the rainforests of New Guinea and Australia, these exotic birds are both stubborn and not necessarily friendly. But they are trainable and can become tame, exceptional companions. And the investment will only cost you $16,000.

After socialization, the cockatoo family requires regular interaction with its human family. These are bold animals and will require a firm hand, which is why experienced bird owners with equal fearlessness are best suited to keep these creatures. The bird is smart and capable of following commands. It can also perform simple tricks.

The male bird’s known to use tools, such as a stick to beat against a tree to see if it’s hollow and a good place to nest. If the stick breaks, the Black Palm will keep the pieces to use for the nest. Find out more about the cockatoo family by clicking here.

#1 Racing Pigeons

Most Expensive Birds-Racing Pigeon
The sport of flying messenger pigeons was well-established as early as 3000 years ago.

©Ruth Swan/Shutterstock.com

Okay, let’s just get it out the way: Enthusiast and sports figures have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a racing pigeon. In 2019, one investor dished out a shocking $2.2 million for a three-year-old female. (Bidding started at a mere price of $275 and went on for 14 days!)

Unfortunately, the sport of pigeon racing isn’t a fair one. These birds are bred solely to entertain and often die trying to do so. Pigeons get released and fly hundreds of miles not to win but just to get back home. Owners and breeders stringently train and control every aspect of temperament and behavior, generating animals that don’t can entertain and win in a struggle to get back to what they consider their creature comforts.

The international market for elite racing pigeons is an aggressive venture wherever the sport thrives. You can learn more about these strong-willed birds here.

Summary

RankingExpensive Bird
1Racing Pigeon
2Black Palm Cockatoo
3Hyacinth Macaw
4Toucan
5Ayam Cemani Chicken
6Pink Flamingos
7White Peacock
8Northern Cardinal
9Scarlet Tanager
10Gouldian Finch

Up Next…

Keep reading these posts for more incredible information about key animal facts.

  • Discover the 10 Most Beautiful Birds in the World: These avians come in feathery finery which sets them apart from the rest. Click on the link to discover just how wondrous they truly are.
  • Types of Red Birds: They come in varying shades of scarlet and may be partially or fully covered with it. But one thing’s certain: those uniquely colored feathers set them apart from the rest. Read all about these avians with striking plumage here.
  • 10 Birds With the Craziest Hair: They’re blessed with uniquely shaped head feathers often in bright colors. The result? Tufts and crests capable of turning other avians’ feathers  green with envy. Find out about these lucky birds right here.

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


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About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

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