Birds are undoubtedly one of the most mesmerizing creatures in the animal kingdom, but some birds are highly eccentric.
Some of these birds can have such bizarre features that you will be left scratching your head, wondering whether they are even birds or not?
Let’s take a deeper look at some of these weirdest birds.
The Greater Sage-Grouse (Species: Centrocercus urophasianus) belongs to the family of Phasianidae.
It is the largest Grouse. It is also known as Sagehen and is found in North America.
What makes this bird so weird is the conspicuous air sacs in its chest. The males inflate their sacs, making a loud gurgling sound as they congregate in leks.
It is, however, not unusual for them to make a display of their sacs even when no females are around.
They also have a noticeably long tail and a tiny head. They fan out their tails on lek grounds.
Their habitat consists of large sagebrush plains. They eat sagebrush on the ground along with other plants and insects.
Females select their males from the lekking ground but then set off alone to raise their broods.
Tawny frogmouth (species: strigoides) belongs to the family of Podargidae. They are found in the Australian mainland and Tasmania.
They are medium-sized nocturnal birds and are part of the nightjar family.
These birds are often confused with owls. They are called frogmouths because of the shape of their beak.
Their yellowish-olive beaks are triangular and unproportionally wide, which makes them look like a frog.
They are also known for their long wingspan ranging from 25 to 38 inches. These big-headed birds have very short legs, unlike the owls.
Their black mottled plumage allows them to camouflage against the dark-colored tree bark.
Stumping is another way by which they protect themselves from their predators.
They exhibit stumping behavior when they are disturbed while sleeping on a low tree branch. They will stiffen their bodies to look like a tree branch.
Unlike most nocturnal animals, they have adopted a sit-and-wait method of hunting their prey.
They are called insectivores as they mainly feed on insects. They are monogamous and stay in pairs only.
Both males and females protect the nest till their hatchlings mature to leave the nest.
Philippine Eagle (species: Pithecophaga jefferyi) belongs to the family of Accipitridae.
They are found on most Philippines islands like Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao. Philippine eagles are also known as Monkey-eating eagles or Great Philippine Eagle, or Haring Ibon.
They are the national bird of the Philippines and are the largest eagle in the world.
This eagle can be categorized as the weirdest bird based on both – its looks and its habits.
They have a shaggy yet interesting-looking crown. This crown is made up of creamy brown feathers that wrap neatly around its nape.
These light-colored feathers stand out even more against their dark face beak.
The dark features of the Philippine eagles blend well with their weird eating habits.
As mentioned above, these birds feed on monkeys but needless to say that there is still some conspiracy around this fact.
They are opportunists and have reported to even feed on squirrels, reptiles, and even small pigs.
Like most eagles, the Philippine eagles mate for life as well. They only lay a single egg during the breeding season.
They will only lay another egg if the first one fails to thrive.
Philippine eagles are critically endangered, and hunting even one of them can cost you 12 years in jail.
Magnificent Frigatebird (species: Magnificens) belongs to the family of Frigatidae.
They are found in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Atlantic Coasts of America.
This seabird is also referred to as man o’war bird for a highly fascinating reason.
The Magnificent Frigatebird is a peculiar bird known for its appearance as well as its unusual eating habits.
This seabird has a large bright red-colored pouch covered by a bare skin patch in front of its throat.
This pouch is only seen in adult male birds. They expand this pouch by filling it with air to attract female birds.
Surprisingly, female Frigatebirds look very different from their male counterparts. Other than the absence of the pouch, they are also significantly bigger than the males.
Magnificent Frigatebirds are also known to have the longest wingspan to body ratio, so no wonder they look magnificent, soaring above the tropical coastlines.
However, they spend much of their lives soaring high in the winds and are rarely seen on the surface of the water as they cannot swim, unlike most of the seabirds.
Their appearance, however, does not seem to set well with their habit of stealing food from other birds and their eggs.
Moreover, Frigatebirds are infamous for harassing other birds. They grab them by the tail and shake them until these poor birds regurgitate food.
Hence, this is what gave them the title of man o’war.
These birds also mate for life and only breed once in two years as they take their time to train or, let’s say, spoil the young birds by teaching them how to steal food from other birds.
Shoebill (species: Balaeniceps rex) belongs to the family of Balaenicipitidae. They are found in Central-Eastern Africa.
They are also known as a shoe-billed stork or whale-headed stork.
As the name suggests, these birds made it to the list of weirdest birds owing to their gigantic beak.
Their beaks can even be up to a foot long and are the largest amongst all the birds.
The straw-colored beak is mottled with black spots. It is not just the size but also the shape which makes it weird.
At the tip of the beak, a hook-shaped nail helps with hunting big prey like lungfish and snakes.
They also have very tall legs, which enables them to walk in dense marshes and swamps. In addition to fish and snakes, they can also feed on baby crocodiles and monitor lizards.
Like frogmouth mentioned in our list earlier, they also follow the technique of sit-and-wait for their prey to come in their vicinity.
They can stay completely still for hours.
Despite being monogamous, shoebills prefer to stay in isolation. Even as pairs, they will hunt at opposite ends of their territory.
They both participate in tending to their eggs and younglings.
Rhinoceros Hornbill (species: Buceros rhinoceros) belongs to the family of Bucerotidae and are the largest members of this family.
They are found in the subtropical and tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. They are the largest birds found in Southeast Asia.
They are also Malaysia’s national bird.
Their bill is quite large and interesting-looking. It also serves a variety of purposes. Right above the bill is an orange-red curled-up horn.
This hollow horn is called a casque, and helps the bird in amplifying the call. This horn strikes well with the black plumage of the bird.
Their white tail feathers also add to their unique beauty.
In addition to the horn, what makes hornbills stand out is their mating habit. They also mate for life.
After mating, when it is time for the females to lay eggs, they will find a dead empty tree bark and make it into a nest.
But this does not end here; males will seal up the bark with the female and eggs inside.
Only a small tiny vertical slit is left open for a male to supply food to the female.
Females also use this slit to throw out uneaten food and defecate so that the nest remains clean.
Only after the eggs have hatched that the male and female birds chip away the sealed area to set their youngs free.
These birds feed on both fruits and small animals like squirrels. Hunting and habitat loss have put them amongst the threatened birds’ list.
The Great Potoo
The great potoo (species: Nyctibius grandis) belongs to the family of Nyctibiidae. They are found in Tropical America.
They are vastly spread from southern Mexico through Guatemala, all the way through Central America to South America, Bolivia, and southeastern Brazil.
A nocturnal species, great potoo looks like owls. The great potoo is the most prominent member of Caprimulgiformes.
The great potoo is famous for moaning and growling in the night in Neotropics with their unique nocturnal vocals.
The great potoo’s body is more petite compared to its head because its head is large. They have broad and tiny beaks.
The iris color is brownish-yellow, and their eyes are enormous. You can quickly locate them in the night through the reflection of their eyes.
The great potoo’s tail is long, and the wings are elliptical. Their beautiful feathers are spread across multiple colors, including black, white, gray, and burgundy.
A unique thing noticeable is the white bars on their tails that are different from the rest of the body.
The great potoo usually preys on giant insects and small vertebrates like large beetles, flying insects, cricket, grasshoppers, and bats.
They survive in humid to semi-humid forested habitats and are found primarily in dense lowland forests, foothills, meadows, and trees.
These are just a handful from a very long list of weird birds in the world.
Hopefully, you enjoyed our picks and are interested in finding more of such exquisitely peculiar birds.
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