18 Weird Birds That Are Hard to Believe Actually Exist

Written By Jill Taylor

Some bird species are difficult to believe actually exist, as they have the most bizarre traits or behaviors. But we all have our quirks, so why can’t birds, too? We have listed 18 of the wackiest birds that may have you questioning if they’re real!

Shoebill

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The strange, shoe-shaped bill of the appropriately named shoebill is 10 inches long for most adults, according to Achieve Global Safaris. That’s some impressive pecking power, and these birds actually use their bills to catch and hold large, slippery fish. Impressive, but weird!

Kakapo

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Have you ever heard of the kakapo, the world’s only flightless parrot? That’s a bizarre fact that turns a lot of heads in the bird community, but the kakapo also boasts another impressive stat – it’s the heaviest parrot in the world, weighing up to an impressive nine pounds.

Marabou Stork

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The grim reappear appearance of the marabou stork might be enough to spook some people away, but if you can get past the somewhat frightening appearance, this is a glorious bird that plays a key role in our ecosystem. I must admit, though, that it’s difficult to believe they’re real!

Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

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The stunning, ribbon-like tail feathers of the excellently named ribbon-tailed astrapia can grow up to three times the length of its body! These tails are used to attract mates, but they’re certainly appealing to us humans as well, in a pretty bizarre way.

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

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Here’s another bird with a strange name and a strange feature to match. The bright red and orange plumage of the Andean cock-of-the-rock has been stunning humans for thousands of years from its habitat in the cloud forests of the Andes in South America.

Rhinoceros Hornbill

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We love a funky bill, and the rhinoceros hornbill is one of the best examples. This bird has a very large horn on its head, which is actually called a casque. Amazingly, one of its functions is to amplify the sound of its calls.

Superb Bird of Paradise

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The stunning, standout feature of the beautiful Superb Bird of Paradise is the elaborate dance that they perform when it’s time for courtship. One Earth describes the dance as a shuffle of “feet in quick little motions, gliding from side to side like a wind-up toy, encircling the female.” It’s some sight!

Hoatzin

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The hoatzin bird’s blue face and orange body are weird and wonderful enough for this creature to find itself in our list as they are. But even stranger still is that they are known as ‘stinkbirds’ because they smell like manure. Gross!

Southern Cassowary

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The helmet-like bill, or casque, on the head of the Southern cassowary, is the key reason this bird features on our list. We think that it looks like a dinosaur from certain angles, especially considering that it’s massive and can weigh up to 50 kg.

California Condor

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The California condor has a truly immense wingspan of almost 10 ft. Imagine lying down next to one and it being double your size! In fairness, it’s going to need wings of that size to be able to fly the impressive 160 daily miles it racks up on average.

Philippine Eagle

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HowStuffWorks explains that the Philippine eagle has an almighty wingspan of 6.5 feet (or 1.9 meters), making it the largest eagle in the world. But that’s not its only intriguing feature; it also has dazzling blue-gray areas.

Frigatebird

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The frigatebird’s standout feature, which has caused us to include it in our weird bird list, is its bizarre, large red throat pouch. But there is a reason behind this wacky feature. The males inflate their throat pouches to attract females during the breeding season​.

Great Curassow

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We absolutely love the curly crust of feathers on the heads of the great curassow. The bird itself looks a little like a pheasant but with a quirky aesthetic twist! They’re often seen in pairs or small groups and have a very distinctive booming call.

Greater Sage-Grouse

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If you’ve never seen the elaborate mating dance of the greater sage-grouse, then make sure to check it out! The males will perform this in order to win over females, and the moves consist of puffing up their air sacs.

Secretarybird

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The long legs of the Secretarybird really are quite bizarre, but they sure do put them to good use. In fact, The Peregrine Fund reports that this species of bird can walk 12 to 18 miles per day. That’s a lot of distance to cover on the ground for a creature with wings!

Tufted Puffin

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There are two things about the weird and wonderful tufted puffin that we absolutely love. First, it’s a fantastic-looking bird with a colorful bill and beautiful feathers. Second, this bird is one of the best divers, able to catch fish to eat deep underwater.

Kiwi

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You might hear people refer to those from New Zealand as kiwis, and that’s because this is the national bird of the country. And we can totally see why! The fact that this bird is flightless and nocturnal is interesting enough, but its hair-like feathers and long beak are truly fascinating.

Harpy Eagle

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Did you know that the magnificent harpy eagle has the power to snatch monkeys and sloths from trees in the rainforests of Central and South America? This is because it has some of the most immense talons in the world. You would not want to get on the wrong side of those.

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