22 Of The World’s Ugliest Birds

A rogues’ gallery of 21 of the world’s least genetically blessed birds. Looking like something from the Star Wars Cantina, these poor freaks of nature fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you don’t agree with our choices and you’d like to nominate an ugly bird then please let us know in the comments below.

Cinereous vulture

01

Cinereous vulture

Aegypius monachus

The cinereous vulture, also known as the Eurasian black vulture or the monk vulture, is one of the world’s largest vultures with a wingspan that measures almost 3 m. It has mostly dark brown feathers with a grey head, neck, and bill.

Like all vultures, the cinerous vulture eats mostly carrion ranging from large mammals to fish and reptiles. It has also been known to take live prey including domestic animals such as cattle, piglets, lambs, and puppies.

Its population is in decline due to poisoning, a reduction in the availability of food, and the loss of habitat.

Eastern Wild Turkey

02

Eastern wild turkey

Meleagris gallopavo silvestris

The wild turkey is the heaviest member of the Galliformes, an order of ground-feeding birds that also includes chickens, peafowl, and pheasants, and the ancestor of the domestic turkey.

It is dark brown or grey brown overall with a bronze sheen to its feathers. Males, called toms or gobblers, have a large, featherless blue head, with red wattles on the throat and neck, and fleshy growths called caruncles on the head which become engorged when the turkey is excited. They have large fan-shaped tails tipped with white, and dark wings with white bars.

There were attempts to introduce the wild turkey to Britain in the 18th century but these were not successful, mainly because local poachers found it easy to shoot them.

Andean Condor

03

Andean condor

Vultur gryphus

The Andean condor is the largest flying bird in the world by weight and wingspan. It is a large black vulture with a ruff of white feathers at the base of the neck and large white patches on the wings.

They are found in the Andes mountains and surrounding Pacific coasts of western South America and tend to favour windy areas where they can glide on air currents with little effort.

Andean condors are long-lived birds, surviving to over 75 years in captivity and up to 50 years in the wild. They do not begin breeding until they are 5 or 6 years old and only produce a single chick every other year which must be cared for by both parents for a full year.

Muscovy Duck

04

Muscovy duck

Cairina moschata

The Muscovy duck is a large, heavy-bodied duck found in the Americas. It was domesticated by Native Americans and was brought to Europe on Christopher Columbus’s ship the Santa Maria in the 16th century. It is usually known as a Barbary duck in culinary settings.

True wild Muscovy ducks have dark plumage with a green gloss and white patches on the wings. On the face are red caruncles and black skin patches. Caruncles may also form if the skin is irritated. Female Muscovy ducks sometimes have caruncles on the back of their heads where drakes have grabbed them during mating.

Domestic Muscovy ducks have variable plumage that ranges from dark brown, to black and white, to all white. The caruncles on the face are a much brighter red and more pronounced.

Marabou Stork

05

Marabou Stork

Leptoptilos crumenifer

The marabou stork is a large wading bird that breeds in sub-Saharan Africa. It reaches heights of 1.5 metres and has a wingspan of up to 3.7 metres has been recorded which is the largest of any living bird.

It has black back and white underparts, a bare head and neck, and a tuft of what looks like hair on its head. The bill is massive with a pink gular sac on its throat and it has skinny white legs. It is nicknamed the ‘undertaker bird’ due to its appearance when seen from behind when it looks as though it is wearing a cloak.

Marabou storks expend very little energy and spend most of the time standing around. It is an opportunistic feeder, eating mainly carrion and faeces, but will take any animal matter it can find including other bird chicks including pigeons, doves, pelicans, and even flamingos. To cool down it poos down its legs which give them their white appearance.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

06

Sri Lanka frogmouth

Batrachostomus moniliger

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, also known as the Ceylon frogmouth, is found in Western Ghats of south India and Sri Lanka. It is highly camouflaged that helps it blend in with dried leaves; males are grey-brown with fine bars and spots on the crown, while females are chestnut brown with fewer markings.

Like all frogmouths, the species has a large head with a wide, hooked bill and slit-like nostrils. Its small eyes face forward which gives it a wide field of binocular vision, and they are surrounded by short, stiff bristles.

Each Sri Lanka frogmouth has a favourite perch where it spends most of the day and will only move on if it is disturbed.

Vulturine Guineafowl

07

Vulturine guineafowl

Acryllium vulturinum

Greater Adjutant

08

Greater adjutant

Leptoptilos dubius

Turkey Vulture

09

Turkey vulture

Cathartes aura

Saddle-Billed Stork

10

Saddle-billed stork

Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

Southern Ground Hornbill

11

Southern ground hornbill

Bucorvus leadbeateri

Wood Stork

12

Wood stork

Mycteria americana

Jabiru

13

Jabiru

Jabiru mycteria

Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill

14

Silvery-cheeked hornbill

Bycanistes brevis

California Condor

15

California condor

Gymnogyps californianus

Roseate Spoonbill

16

Roseate spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

Southern Bald Ibis

17

Southern bald ibis

Geronticus calvus

King Vulture

18

King vulture

Sarcoramphus papa

Indian Grey Hornbill

19

Indian grey hornbill

Ocyceros birostris

Northern Bald Ibis

20

Northern bald ibis

Geronticus eremita

Black Vulture

21

Black vulture

Coragyps atratus

Shoebill

22

Shoebill

Balaeniceps rex

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2 Responses

  1. Literally all birds are beautiful and wonderful and this list is just anti-bird propaganda, I’m very upset right now and I must speak up for these cute feathered friends whose incredible calls apparently haven’t reached this website’s editors

    All of these birds are amazing beautiful and they deserve all the good and kindness in the world

    Sincerely,

    A reader with objectively correct opinions

    Please fix your list at your earliest convenience

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