21 Types of Colorful Birds

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: March 23, 2023
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From bright red and vibrant blue to rainbow and metallic green, birds come in all colors and sizes. Some inhabit remote tropical rainforests, while others may be right in your backyard. Discover 21 different types of colorful birds and learn about their habitats, diets, and distinguishing characteristics.

Summer Tanager

Birds that eat bees: Scarlet and Summer Tanager
Summer tanagers are the only completely red birds in North America. They inhabit deciduous and pine oak forests.

©iStock.com/Dave Kempe Photography

Habitat and Location: The summer tanager breeds in the Southern United States, migrates through Mexico, and winters in Central America and Northern South America. They inhabit deciduous and pine-oak forest edges.

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Colors: Males are strawberry red and females are bright yellow-green.

Diet: Insects and fruits are favorite treats.

Vocalizations: Listen for slurred whistles and dry clicking.

Fun Fact: They kill bees and wasps by beating them against a branch.

Painted Bunting

Birds with red chests: Painted Bunting
The painted bunting has bright red, blue, yellow, green, and orange plumage. They live in semi-open habitats in the United States.


Habitat and Location: Painted buntings spend their summers in the Southern United States and winters in Southern Florida, the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. They live in semi-open habitats with scattered trees, like overgrown fields.

Colors: They have a variety of hues, like bright red, blue, yellow, orange, and green.

Diet: Seeds and insects are preferred.

Vocalizations: Thin, high-pitched musical phrases are their calling card.

Fun Fact: Despite their bright colors, they are difficult to spot as they spend a lot of time in dense habitats.

Wood Duck

Animals That Play Dead duck
The wood duck or Carolina duck, Aix sponsa, is a species of perching duck found in North America.

©Rudolf Ernst/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: Wood ducks live year-round in the Eastern United States and along the West Coast. Populations that breed further north will migrate to the Southern US and Mexico for winter. They live in bottomland forests, swamps, and freshwater marshes.

Colors: These supermodels of the duck world feature glossy green, purple, yellow, red, blue, brown, buff, and black.

Diet: Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, and insects.

Vocalizations: You’ll hear their unique whistles.

Fun Fact: Females may lay eggs in the nest of another female.

Spangled Cotinga

close up of beautiful spangled cotinga
Males are bright turquoise, maroon, and black. These birds inhabit the Amazon rainforest.

©Lowell Monke/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: The spangled cotinga lives year-round in Northern South America in the Amazon rainforest. You can find them in the canopy perched on fruiting trees.

Colors: Males are ravishing in bright turquoise, maroon, and black.

Diet: Fruits and insects are primary food sources.

Vocalizations: Cotinga calls are high-pitched whistles.

Fun Fact: They are sexually dimorphic; females are dull brownish gray.

Gouldian Finch

gouldian finch
Gouldian finches are native to Australia but were introduced to many countries around the world. They inhabit grassy open woodlands.

©iStock.com/joe hidalgo photgography

Habitat and Location: The Gouldian finch, or the rainbow finch, is native to Northern Australia, where they inhabit grassy open woodlands. They were exported worldwide and now exist in other countries.

Colors: Gouldian finches contain a rainbow of colors, including green, blue, purple, yellow, and black.

Diet: They survive on seeds.

Vocalizations: Their soft calls are faint, yet high-pitched.

Fun Fact: Their bright colors make them susceptible to predators.

Azure Kingfisher

azure kingfisher
The azure kingfisher is native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. They have deep, vibrant blue and burnt orange plumage.


Habitat and Location: Azure kingfishers are found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. This species lives near creeks, swamps, lakes, estuaries, and mangroves.

Colors: These stunners feature deep, vibrant blue and burnt orange.

Diet: They mainly eat small fish, crustaceans, insects, spiders, and frogs.

Vocalizations: It’s hard to miss their sharp, squeaky calls.

Fun Fact: They have two white lores between their eyes and bills which help in warding off predators.

Blue-Crowned Pigeon

blue-crowned pigeon
Blue-crowned pigeons are endemic to New Guinea, where they inhabit lowland rainforests. They have bluish-gray, plum, and white plumage.

©iStock.com/Trudie Ottolini

Habitat and Location: The blue-crowned pigeon is endemic and a nonmigratory resident of Northwestern New Guinea. They live in lowland rainforests.

Colors: They have cool shades of bluish-gray, plum, and white.

Diet: Fruits and seeds make up most dinners.

Vocalizations: Much like other pigeons, these crowned birds have deep, mournful notes.

Fun Fact: It is one of the largest members of the pigeon family.

Keel-Billed Toucan

colorful toucan on branch
Keel-billed toucans live in Mexico, Central America, and South America. They inhabit rainforest canopies in tropical to subtropical lowland.

©Jim Cumming/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: The keel-billed toucan has a range from Southern Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela in South America. These birds live in rainforest canopies, from tropical to subtropical and lowland.

Colors: Toucans have bright yellow, green, red, blue, and black. Amazingly, most of these colors are on their bill!

Diet: Fruits, eggs, insects, nestlings, and lizards comprise their meals.

Vocalizations: Listen for their repeating frog-like croak.

Fun Fact: It uses its bill to open fruit and then swallows it whole.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal in flight
Northern cardinals consume mostly seeds as part of their diet. They live in dense shrubby areas, like forest edges and mesquite thickets.

©Rob Palmer Photography/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: The northern cardinal lives year-round in the Eastern United States and Mexico. They inhabit dense shrubby areas, like forest edges, mesquite thickets, and overgrown fields.

Colors: Cardinals are famous for their brilliant red and black feathers.

Diet: They snack on seeds, fruits, and insects.

Vocalizations: Their calls are loud, clear slurs and whistles.

Fun Fact: Northern cardinals are one of the few North American female singers. Listen as they sit on their nests.

Paradise Tanager

paradise tanager
Paradise tanagers live in humid tropical forests in South America. They eat fruit and arthropods and have high-pitched squeaking calls.

©iStock.com/Thorsten Spoerlein

Habitat and Location: The paradise tanager lives in the northern regions of South America, including Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. They live in humid tropical and subtropical forests.

Colors: These strange-looking birds are red, blue, green, and black.

Diet: Fruit and arthropods are their foods of choice.

Vocalizations: They have high-pitched squeaking.

Fun Fact: Despite its scientific name (Chilensis), it does not live in Chile.

Red-Bearded Bee-Eater

red-bearded bee-eater
Red-bearded bee-eaters inhabit small Asian islands and live in dense forest clearings. They eat insects, especially bees, wasps, and hornets.


Habitat and Location: The red-bearded bee-eater lives in Myanmar, the Thai-Malay Peninsula, and other small Asian islands. And they inhabit dense forest clearings.

Colors: These beauties are forest green, fuchsia, blue, and reddish orange.

Diet: They have a steady diet of insects, especially bees, wasps, and hornets.

Vocalizations: Red-bearded bee-eaters emit descending croaks.

Fun Fact: They dig tunnels in the sides of sandy banks for their nests.

Chilean Flamingo

chilean flamingo
Chilean flamingos live in salt lagoons and soda lakes in South America. They consume algae and plankton.


Habitat and Location: The Chilean flamingo lives in South America, from Ecuador to Argentina and east to Brazil. Their natural habitats are salt lagoons and alkaline lakes (soda lakes).

Colors: These perfectly pink birds are pale to salmon colored.

Diet: Algae and plankton is their food source.

Vocalizations: Their far-crying honks can be heard from afar.

Fun Fact: Males and females produce a nutritious milk-like substance to feed their young.

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw flying through the forest.
Scarlet macaws produce deep, throaty roars and can live up to 90 years old!

©Jeff Schultes/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: the scarlet macaw has a relatively large range in South America and scattered populations in Central America. They are also popular birds in aviculture. In the wild, they live in humid lowland subtropical rainforests, savannas, open woodlands, and river edges.

Colors: Their mostly primary-colored palette consists of red, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Diet: They’ll ingest fruits, seeds, nuts, flowers, and nectar.

Vocalizations: These bold birds have deep, throaty roars.

Fun Fact: Scarlet macaws can live up to 90 years!

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Birds with the craziest hair: Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
Andean cock-of-the-rocks live in cloud forests in the Andes Mountains. They feature bright reddish-orange, gray, and black plumage.


Habitat and Location: The Andean cock-of-the-rock, or tunki, lives in Western South America in Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. They inhabit the cloud forests of the Andes.

Colors: Their feathers are bright reddish-orange, gray, and black.

Diet: They mostly eat fruit, insects, reptiles, and frogs.

Vocalizations: Their calls are pig-like squeals and loud “tank” sounds.

Fun Fact: The Andean cock-of-the-rock is the national bird of Peru.

Lilac-Breasted Roller

lilac-breasted roller way up high at the top of a tree
Lilac-breasted rollers build their nests in nearly impossible high places. They are also aggressive and will beat their prey until dismembered.


Habitat and Location: The lilac-breasted roller lives in Eastern and Southern Africa, where they inhabit open savannas and grassland. 

Colors: These gorgeous birds have a palette of pastel purple, teal, royal blue, and light brown.

Diet: Arthropods and small vertebrates comprise their diet.

Vocalizations: You’ll hear their harsh cries and squirrel-like chattering.

Fun Fact: They are rather aggressive and will beat their prey until dismembered.

Rainbow Lorikeet

Two Rainbow Lorikeet parrots sitting on a branch in the forest.
Rainbow lorikeets are native to Australia, where they inhabit rainforests, woodlands, and coastal brush.

©Erika Kirkpatrick/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: The rainbow lorikeet is native to Australia along the eastern seaboard. They live in rainforests, woodlands, and coastal brush.

Colors: Their feathers are dark purple, red, yellow, and green.

Diet: Fruit, pollen, and nectar are their favorite snacks.

Vocalizations: Their high-pitched calls are squeaky!

Fun Fact: They were accidentally released in Western Australia and are now classified as a pest.

American Goldfinch

American goldfinch perched with back towards camera
The American goldfinch averages around five inches in length and features bright yellow, black, and white plumage.


Habitat and Location: This finch has a wide range across North America, where it breeds in the north and winters in the south. They live in open floodplains and weedy fields.

Colors: This bright yellow species also has a bit of black.

Diet: Seeds makes up the bulk of their diet.

Vocalizations: Listen carefully for their quiet twitters and warbles.

Fun Fact: They are very strict vegetarians, which is almost unheard of in the bird world.

Purple Gallinule

The purple gallinule inhabits freshwater marshes in North and South America. They consume fruits, flowers, leaves, and insects.


Habitat and Location: Purple gallinules breed in the Southeastern United States and winter in Central America. There are also year-round populations in Florida, Mexico, and South America. They live primarily in freshwater marshes.

Colors: They have a variety of colors, like dark purple, blue, red, green, and yellow.

Diet: Flowers, fruits, leaves, and insects make up their diet.

Vocalizations: These goofy-looking birds cackle loudly, like a hen.

Fun Fact: They are excellent fliers and can be seen as far north as Iceland.

Crimson Rosella

crimson rosella with vibrant reds and blues
Unlike most colorful bird species, both the male and female crimson rosella possess the same color schemes.


Habitat and Location: The crimson rosella is native to Australia and found in mountain forests and gardens.

Colors: They are a mix of crimson red and purple blue.

Diet: They consume fruits, seeds, nectar, berries, and nuts.

Vocalizations: They have unique two-toned whistles.

Fun Fact: They roost at night in high tree branches.

European Bee-Eater

European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) sitting with an insect. European Bee-Eaters are very brightly colored birds. Their coloring contains just about every color of the rainbow, somewhat muted.
European Bee-Eaters are very brightly colored birds. Insects, especially bees, wasps, and hornets, are their favorite foods.

©Richard Constantinoff/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: The European bee-eater breeds in Europe and Asia and winters in tropical Africa. They live near river shores on sandy banks.

Colors: They feature interesting colors, such as burnt red-orange, aqua, yellow, moss green, blue, and black.

Diet: Insects, especially bees, wasps, and hornets, are their favorite foods.

Vocalizations: These birds emit pipping calls.

Fun Fact: They eat less than 1% of worker bees where they live.

Golden Pheasant

Rare types of birds - Golden Pheasant
This is one of the most beautiful and rare types of birds. They are native to western China, where they live in mixed and coniferous woodlands.

©Maksym Gorpenyuk/Shutterstock.com

Habitat and Location: The golden pheasant is native to Western China, but can also be found in Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. They inhabit mixed and coniferous woodlands.

Colors: They are a multitude of colors, including golden yellow, orange, red, blue, black, and brown.

Diet: They eat grains, leaves, and invertebrates.

Vocalizations: They make harsh squawks!

Fun Fact: They spend most of their time on the ground and can run quickly.

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the Triangle area and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

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