10 of the most colorful species in the world

Birds with multicolored plumage are not confined to exotic environments, they can also be observed in France or Europe. Le Figaro offers you a list of 10 species to which nature has offered a mix of colors.

A recent study, carried out jointly by the universities of Debrecen (Hungary) and Sheffield (United Kingdom), revealed that the plumages of birds were more colorful near the equator. It is therefore very logical to find many species of parrots, such as the Costa Rican macaw, among our selection of the 10 most colorful birds in the world.

Septicolored Pademelon

The Septicolored Pademelon inhabits tropical regions of America. bryanpollard / stock.adobe.com

Present in the Amazon and on the Guiana Shield, the Septicolored Pademelon or paradise tanager (tanager chilensis) is a member of the Thraupidae family, which includes several species of American passerines. As its name suggests, this small bird of 15 centimeters has no less than seven different colors: greenish on the head; purple along the wings; the turquoise blue on the side parts of the chest; the brown on the eyes; orange and yellow in the lower back; brown on the legs and most of the wings. Paradise tanagers form flocks of four to twenty birds to move about.

  • Habitat: Northern South America
  • Food: berries, fruits and insects
  • Weight: 15 to 20 g
  • Size: 10 to 15 cm


A blue and gold macaw and a red Macao macaw have become symbols of exoticism. stock.adobe.com

The macaws are parrots that inhabit tropical America. They sport multicolored plumages and are known for their ability to repeat the sounds they hear. There are many macaws in popular culture, especially in movies and cartoons. Who does not immediately think of the blue and gold macaw of the pirate Cotton? The best known of them is the Macao with the red, yellow and blue horizontal bands. These representatives of the Psittaciformes are characterized by their hooked, solid beaks and their long tails. Unfortunately, they are threatened with extinction in the wild.

  • Habitat: tropical America
  • Diet: fruits and seeds
  • Weight: 1kg
  • Height: 85cm

European Roller

In 1981, France made the European Roller a protected species. stock.adobe.com

In France, the european roller is a species protected by a ministerial decree since 1981. Nevertheless, during its nesting period, it is found more in the Iberian Peninsula or in Eastern Europe. When hibernation occurs, the roller reaches South Africa. This coraciiform bird measures on average 30 cm and is distinguished by splendid plumage in shades of blue (night, king, turquoise) and orange borders. This elegant ornament had fascinated the Nuremberg painter Albrecht Dürer, who devoted a series of watercolors to it.

  • Habitat: Southern and Eastern Europe, Middle East and South Africa
  • Diet: insects, snakes, lizards, batrachians and small rodents
  • Weight: 140 to 200 g
  • Size: 28 to 32 cm


Thanks to its long beak, the kingfisher catches small fish on the fly. Karlos Lomsky / stock.adobe.com

Recognizable by its long, thin beak, the Kingfisher always lives near water to catch small fish. True to its name, it is an excellent hunter, skimming the surface of the water at top speed. It is therefore particularly difficult to observe. Its courtship displays, too, consist of rapid aerial chases. When it is not flying, however, one can fully notice its brilliant colors. Its plumage mixes turquoise, orange, white and black. The females have a small difference: a red spot on the beak.

  • Habitat: Europe, Asia and North African coast
  • Food: small fish, notonectes, crustaceans and batrachians
  • Weight: 32 to 37g
  • Height: 15 to 17 cm

European bee-eater

Bee-eaters move in noisy groups. lucaar / stock.adobe.com

Insectivorous, as its name suggests, the european bee-eater only stays on the Old Continent between April and September. The males have the most colorful plumage, ranging from reddish to turquoise to bright yellow. Younger specimens are generally paler. Gregarious birds, the bee-eaters move in herds, while pushing strident cries. Their eggs are placed in underground nests.

  • Habitat: Southern Europe, Middle East and South Africa
  • Food: wasps, bees, hornets, hymenoptera
  • Weight: 57-62g
  • Size: 25 to 30 cm

republican bird-of-paradise

The Republican bird-of-paradise lives only on two islands in West Papua. stock.adobe.com

the republican bird of paradise is a remarkable bird of the passerine class, like the robin. They are only found in two Pacific islands: Waigeo and Batanta. Only the males benefit from this natural evolution of the coloring of the plumage, nicely divided into zones (blue on the forehead, red on the feathers and the back, black on the sides, green on the belly and yellow on the crest). The two long midnight blue threads, curved and protruding from these rector feathers, make it all its charm. It was the naturalist Charles-Lucien Bonaparte who baptized this species “republican paradise tree” because of his political ideas. Birds of paradise are also nicknamed “birds of paradise”.

  • Habitat: South Pacific
  • Diet: fruits and arthropods
  • Weight: 53-67g
  • Size: 15 to 20 cm

Mandarin duck

Coming from Asia, mandarin ducks have invaded the waters of the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes. stock.adobe.com

If the Mallard duck is the star of the French basins, you can also admire the mandarin in the Lac des Minimes, in Vincennes. L’aix galericulata – its learned name – loses its beautiful plumage after the breeding season, at the end of spring. This majestic duck has the particularity (uncommon in the animal kingdom) of living its entire life as a couple, so much so that it symbolizes fidelity in China. The mandarin duck is nevertheless an endangered species in Asia, due to deforestation. Its arrival in Europe undoubtedly results from the adaptation of specimens escaped from zoos.

  • Habitat: Northern Europe, East Asia
  • Food: worms, small fish, seeds, acorns, snails and insects
  • Weight: 625 to 635 g
  • Size: 40 to 50 cm


The budgerigar is one of the most domesticated birds in the world. stock.adobe.com

Just like the macaw, the budgerigar is a member of the family Psittaciformes. It has been bred in captivity since 1850, making it the main variety of parakeet to be domesticated. It is the most domesticated bird species after the canary. The budgerigar is very sociable and its relations with humans are particularly advanced: it can be taught to speak, to play or to whistle melodies. Its plumage is often bright yellow and green, but sometimes also pale blue. It still features black stripes and ripples.

  • Habitat: Australia
  • Food: spinifex seeds, herbs, cereals
  • Weight: 29 to 40g
  • Size: 15 to 20 cm


In Nahuatl, the Aztec language, “quetzal” means “large green feather”. ondrejprosicky / stock.adobe.com

A bird once revered by the Aztecs and Mayas, the quetzal lives in the tropical part of the American continent. The male has an imposing green plumage, a long tail feather, a crest, and his belly is red. Every year, after the nesting period, the quetzal loses its feathers and gradually builds up new ones. As a habitat, it prefers cloudy forests, away from humans.

  • Habitat: tropical America
  • Diet: fruits, insects, snails, lizards
  • Weight: 200 to 210 g
  • Height: 32 to 38 cm


The toucan’s beak is used to regulate its internal temperature. ondrejprosicky / stock.adobe.com

the toucan is a large bird famous for its oversized beak (about 20 cm), often very colorful. This strange bird is used to bathing in puddles created in the hollows of trees, unlike most other birds. Bothered by this bony beak, yet light, the toucan prefers to move from branch to branch rather than fly. There are many species of toucans on the South American continent. Certain colors are found on the majority of them: black, bright yellow and red. Pale blue and bright green also appear frequently on their plumage.

  • Habitat: tropical America
  • Food: insects, fruits and seeds
  • Weight: 530 to 545g
  • Height: 60 to 66 cm


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