which bird has a red beak

In Southern Africa, where the Zulu, Pondo, and Xhosa people live, a mythical creature called the lightning bird is part of the local mythology. As its name suggests, the bird has the power to summon lightning from the heavens as well as thunder. Legends, however, have a way of becoming distorted and discombobulated over time, and such is the case with the lightning bird. Many claim the creature is as tall as a human, with black and white feathers. Others have said it has red legs, a red tail, and, most starkly, a red beak.

Another mythical bird — the Boobrie — a malevolent, shape-shifting creature that preys on livestock, devouring lambs and sheep, supposedly lived on the Scottish highlands. According to some accounts, the Boobrie was a menacing-looking creature also with a red beak. While most legends always have a kernel of truth, these crimson-beaked birds are ephemeral. “He is ravenous and gigantic,” one person who never saw the bird himself wrote. The bird “gobbles up sheep and cows, has webbed feet and a very loud hoarse voice…”

But there are other red-beak birds that we can see every day. What are they? Where are they? Read along, and we’ll provide you with a complete list of 5 birds of the most common birds with a red beak.

Before we do that, let’s see why some birds blaze blood and others don’t. For some, red feathers or a red beak is a sign of health and fitness. In others, red can either attract a mate or tell a rival to get lost. While these theories may hold true, they don’t go to the heart of why some birds are cloaked in red. It seems, according to some scientists, that chemistry plays an important part.

A few years ago, researchers studied several species of red birds. They concluded that those that dined on plants laden with yellow carotenoids can chemically cook up a red pigment that sets them apart from the rest of the avian population.

Researchers sequenced the genes of birds that produced the red compounds and compared them against those that couldn’t. One team studied red canaries, which came into existence about 100 years ago when breeders paired yellow canaries with red siskins, a small red finch with vibrant plumage and a dark black head.

They found the red siskin passed genes that produced a red pigment onto the red canaries. Specifically, the red canaries had an abundance of an enzyme (used to break down toxins) that turned yellow to red. In fact, the level of that enzyme in these red canaries was a thousand times higher than in the yellow canaries. A second team of researchers reached the same conclusion after studying zebra finches, which have bright reddish/orange beaks.

Now that we know what are some instances that make birds and their beaks red, let’s look at 5 of the most colorful.

11. Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

The Red-breasted Merganser is a thin-billed diving duck that sports a shaggy crest, red eyes, and a red beak. Males have a dark green head, a white neck collar, a black hind neck, a brown chest with black mottling, and grey sides with fine black lines.

The underparts are white, the wings are black with a white wing patch, the rump and tail are grey with a black terminal band, and the back is black with wide white stripes around the border.

With the exception of their reddish-brown head, neck, and white chest, females are mostly grey. They have a smaller white wing patch and a less white upper wing.

which bird has a red beak

During the summer, they are typically observed on large bodies of water like lakes and small rivers. In winter, they occur in lagoons, estuaries, and bays.

This species migrates, spending the summer months in Greenland, Europe, Asia, and the northern regions of North America. In winter, they migrate south.

They consume amphibians, insects, and worms in addition to their primary diet of fish and crustaceans.

8. Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)

The Common Waxbill is a small bird with a red beak. They have brownish-grey bodies with dark bars, a red face mask, a red belly patch, and a dark vent. Additionally, they have whitish cheeks and throats.

They can be found in flocks in urban parks, grasslands, wetlands, forest edges, and dry fields.

which bird has a red beak

Africa’s southern, central, eastern, and western regions comprise their natural range. They have been introduced to many parts of the world.

Their diet comprises seeds and small insects.

10. African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

The African Swamphen is a large water bird with a red beak. They have a sizeable purple-blue body, a turquoise-blue face and neck, a bronze-green back, and a white undertail. They also have long red legs, a dark red beak, and a red shield on the forehead.

They inhabit marshes, flooded grasslands with dense vegetation, and wetlands.

which bird has a red beak

This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula’s northwest, and Madagascar, where it is present year-round.

Plant materials like seeds, stems, roots, leaves, and flowers are part of their diet. They also consume fish, amphibians, carrion, eggs from birds, nestlings, worms, snails, insects, and crustaceans.


Which birds have a red beak?

Several birds, like parrots, ibises, and ducks, have red beaks that act as a unique feature. A bright red beak indicates that the bird is fit and healthy. The red color of the beaks comes from carotenoids or porphyrins ingested by the birds as part of their diet.

What shorebirds have red beaks?

American oystercatchers are chunky, medium-sized shorebirds with bold, black head plumage that almost resembles a hood. Adults have long, thick, pointed beaks that are reddish-orange in color.

What is a gray bird with a bright red beak?

RF 2PRTPAT–the inka tern is a seabird with gray plumage and red beak with a wise head feather.

What is a black bird with a bright red beak?

The black oystercatcher is a large shorebird, with a black head, neck and breast and dark brown body, a long (9 cm (3.5 in)) bright red/orange bill and pink legs. It has a bright yellow iris and a red eye-ring. Its plumage varies slightly from north to south, being darker further north.