From pink, party mullets, to bright orange quiffs – the forces of many millions of years of natural and sexual selection have left us with some species sporting very unique looks.
And while [full disclosure] birds don’t actually have hair. When the feathers atop a birdy brain are modified so extravagantly, I struggle to find a better way of describing it other than a really great hairdo.
So check out these 1o birds who are killing it with curls or going brazenly bald and let them inspire your own buns and bobs. Scroll away!
1. Who: The Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata), found widespread in the North Pacific Ocean
The Pigtails: Like your pre-primary pigtails, the tufted puffin has two honey-tinted head plumes on either side of its head. While a typical kiddie hairstyle to us, it’s actually only the adults that sport this ‘do, with young chicks forced to wait for the luscious locks.
2. Who: The Curl Crested-Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii), found in Peru, Brazil and Bolivia
The Perm: A species from the same family as toucans, the curl crested-aracari has carved a niche for it’s self by donning a most unusual hairstyle. Like a blast from your tape-playing past, the modified feathers on their head look just like tangled up cassette tape. Feathers that look like shiny, black plastic? That’s whack!
3. Who: The Red Crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus), endemic to western Angola
The Mohawk: A fiery mohawk with matching mullet – the red crested turaco really does have a really great hairdo. And as if that didn’t make them stand out enough – they’re actually quite a large bird (growing up to 50cm!) and they make a call that sounds similar to a jungle monkey’s.
4. Who: The Tufted Coquette (Lophornis ornatus) from South America
The Wispy Neck Hair: Not to be confused with the potato dish of a similar name, the tufted coquette is a rare hummingbird that makes its home along the banks of the amazon. As for the ‘do, not only does it feature a stunning orange crown, but it’s totally pulling off it’s wispy neck hair too. Green dotted, bright orange plumes protrude from either side of the male’s neck to create a very unique look indeed.
5. Who: The Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) from South East Asia
The High Ponytail: A simple perky ponytail and a sleek red head really give the male siamese fireback something to strut about. Not one to hide away their good looks, males attempt to court females by running around them in a circle, their handsome hairdo flowing in the breeze.
6. Who: The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) from the U.S.A
The Slick-back: Put down the hair gel, this duck’s ‘do has a natural hold. Perhaps the fanciest mullet you’ll ever lay eyes on, male wood ducks keep it neat with their sleek, slick-back look.
7. Who: The Western Crowned Pigeon (Goura cristata) from Papua New Guinea and nearby islands
The Afro: More is always more and the western crowned pigeon has really taken this on board with its voluminous hairdo. Just don’t try and touch it. Upon approach, western crowned pigeons will reportedly fly up into a tree and just stare you down as if to say ‘Don’t. Even.’.
8. Who: The Great Bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis), from northern Australia
The Mullet: With a mullet like that, it would be an Australian species wouldn’t it? For the male great bowerbird it’s definitely business at the front and party at the back, with it’s rather dull appearance steeply contrasted by the pink, petal protrusions that look like a mullet on the back of it’s head. If the shiny objects he decorates his bower with don’t impress the females, surely his hairdo will instead?
9. Who: The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruvianus) from the cloud forests of the Andes
The Quiff: Imagine being courted by a gang of males with bright orange quiffs…That’s the lucky reality of the female andean cock-of-the-rock. No doubt bonding over hair spray and styling combs, males of this species come together and form leks in order to seduce females with their sweet hairdos.
10. Who: Wilson’s Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus respublica) from two islands off of West Papua
Balding Gracefully: Sadly many males are genetically doomed to a receding hair line and a looming bald head, but for the male wilson’s bird of paradise, it takes on a whole new look. Not wanting to miss out on a really great hairdo, they’ve styled their bald head a brilliant bright blue. Even the females are bald too! Although slightly less colourful.
And that’s a wrap! Let me know your favourite look in the comments below, or let me know too, of any other feathered friends who deserve to have their locks looked at.
Until next time, I wish you heaps of happiness and only good hair days!
Catherine E. King & Joeke Nijboer (1994). Conservation considerations for crowned pigeons, genus Goura. Oryx, 28, pp 22-30. doi:10.1017/S0030605300028258.
Lyon, B. E., & Montgomerie, R. (2012). Sexual selection is a form of social selection. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367(1600), 2266-2273.
Praditsup, N. I. C. H. A. Y. A., Naksathit, A. M. A. R. A., & Round, P. H. I. L. I. P. (2007). Observations on the Siamese Fireback Lophura diardi in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. FORKTAIL, 23, 125.
Zhang, G., Li, B., Li, C., Gilbert, M. T. P., Jarvis, E., The Avian Genome Consortium., & Wang, J. (2014) Genomic data of the Angola turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) Retrieved from GigaScience Database. http://dx.doi.org/10.5524/101038