The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

Doves, chicken, crows, they’re all birds that you’ve heard of. How about Frogmouth, Kakapo, and Oilbird? You’re probably thinking these are made-up words. News flash! They’re not!

Our planet is home to over 10,000 bird species! We’re living among the most exotic and unique creatures and we don’t even know it. Not anymore.

Here’s a list of some extremely unusual birds that will blow your mind!

Oilbird

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds
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True to its name, this is one oily bird! So much so that people would boil it to extract oil for fuel. Crazy, right?

Known as Guacharo in (northern) South America, this unusual bird is a cave-dwelling creature. Not only that, it’s the ONLY flying, nocturnal, fruit-eating bird in existence!

Even mindboggling is the fact that Oilbird shares traits with bats and dolphins: it hunts food by echolocation. 

Hoatzin

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

 Imagine a bird that smells like cow manure and knows how to swim. That’s a Hoatzin!

Hoatzin’s a primitive Amazonian species that feeds on vegetables, hence the manure smell. Its ruminant digestive system means much of a Hoatzin’s time is spent lying around digesting food. So, basically an average human quality?

Moreover, swimming is Hoatzins’ survival skill to escape aerial predators.

Golden Pheasant

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

This bird is clearly a work of art with all those vibrant colors on it. Beautiful! Often referred to as the ‘Chinese pheasant’ or the ‘’rainbow pheasant,’ this beautiful bird is found in the mountainous forests of China.

Complementing their beautiful bodies is an elegant tail that either makes up two-thirds (in the case of males) or half (in the case of females) of the total body length. It’s a rather shy bird, difficult to detect in forests. However, it is commonly hunted for food or sport. 

Frogmouth

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

See, It wasn’t made-up!

With twelve different species, Frogmouths are the weirdest birds ever. They get the name from the shape of their large, flattened bill that resembles the frog’s mouth once it’s open. They’re related to the swallow and swifts, known for their acrobatic hunting style to catch flying insects. Frogmouths don’t believe in much effort and prefer to patiently wait for insects to pass by them. Easily mistaken as an owl, Frogmouths are found in India, Asia and Australia. 

Shoveler

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

Being a relative of ducks like mallard and wood duck, this bird’s familiar to most people. Its unique feature is its beak which, unlike a duckbill, is a flattened mouthpiece that resembles a shovel.
The shovel beak comes in handy when a Shoveler has to strain small organisms from the swamplands where they live. These stubby birds are commonly found during winters in Scotland and Northern & Eastern England. 

Philippine Eagle

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

Meet the monkey-eater! Or so the natives said.

Solely endemic to the Philippines, this bird’s small and fast declining population has made it an endangered species. Although the natives believed that they exclusively fed on monkeys, believable due to their height, it was later proven incorrect.

One of the rarest birds in the world, the majestic Philippine Eagle rises to a height of 2.5 to 3.3 feet. Not to mention that its large size has nothing on its agility and hunting skills. 

Ribbon Tailed Astrapia

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

It’s like a peacock but smaller! Roaming the central highlands of Papa New Guinea are the Ribbon-tailed Astrapia birds. A species of bird-of-paradise. How magical! 

However, they have the strangest body-to-tail length ratio. We’re talking about almost a foot-long body (that resembles a peacock) attached to a tail that stretches to about 3 feet. No wonder this is the largest body-to-tail ratio in the world. In any case, this cool tail trait is exclusive to male birds only. 

Shoebill Stork

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds
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Roaming the swamps of northeastern Africa are massive birds with solid beaks called the Shoebill Stork. With a large head, these birds have a foot-long beak that is similar to a Dutch clog. A Mind-blowing fact about these fearless birds consumes baby turtles and even baby crocodiles! 

They do this in stealth mode as they stand petrifyingly still, waiting for the prey, and in a blink of an eye sweep the tiny creature into its bill. Unfortunately, there are approximately 3,500 to 5000 adult shoebill existent and their population is decreasing gradually.

Blue-Footed Booby

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

Yes, this booby actually flaunts bright blue feet that stand in stark contrast to the rest of its body. This bird is in it for attention and taking no chances after all those feet are a sexual trait.

While the first half of its name is pretty evident, the second half is thought to have been derived from the Spanish word ‘Bobo’ which means stupid. What did the poor bird ever do to deserve that? Being a marine bird, the Blue-footed Booby can be found in specific regions of the Pacific Ocean.

Kakapo

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

This adorable-looking bird is sadly the world’s most endangered species with a population of 125. Kakapos are flightless, ground-dwelling, nocturnal birds that weigh around nine pounds. It’s known as the world’s heaviest parrot. 

Surprisingly, they have a sweet-smelling odor which helps them locate each other.  A baffling fact is that Kakapos only mate an average of three times a DECADE! No wonder they are only a handful existent on the surface of the planet.  

Long-Wattled Umbrellabird

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

This exotic bird roams the humid forests of Ecuador and Colombia. The male birds have a gorgeous cliff-like crown and hair-like feathers extending over their bill.

What makes them unique are their wattles that are long, black, and hang down seventeen inches from the middle of their chest, like a cape worn wrong. The wattles can also inflate during courtship rituals.

Marabou Stork

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

Found in Africa, the Marabou Stork has long skinny legs and feathers that appear like it’s dressed in a black jacket over a white dress-shirt. Get the bird a tie and you’ve got yourself a gentleman! However, its massive beak, bald pink head, and featherless wattle hanging down its neck make it Africa’s hideous bird.

The Atlantic Puffin

The World’s Most Strange and Unusual Birds

These animated-looking birds appear to be a parrot-penguin hybrid with their black and white feathers and a colorful beak.

They belong to the family of auk which is a seabird species. As such, these birds are some athletes! They can swim, dive, and fly and all!

Atlantic Puffins have been nicknamed the ‘sea parrot’ and the ‘clown of the sea’ due to that brightly colored beak. The beak even changes colors depending on the season; it turns grey in winters and come spring it blooms again with bright colors.