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These 5 Strange Birds Will Shock You!

We bet you have not heard of these strange birds before!

The animal world is wide and diverse, but there are truly some weird animals out there, including some really strange birds that are going to leave you wondering: have you never heard about them before this article?

Sure, there are a lot of animals we have never heard of, but when we think of birds, we have a few ideas of what they are going to look like based on the ones we see around us.

These special birds have a unique appearance that is going to surprise you, and while we call them strange birds, it is only due to their peculiar appearance that they get this denomination. They are truly spectacular to see, and some are truly fascinating due to their appearance.

From strange beaks to peculiar foliage, these strange birds have fascinated zoologists and scientists for years, and we think that you would be interested in seeing them as well. Believe us, their appearance is going to make you truly understand why they are called strange birds!

Have you ever heard about these strange birds before? Do you have another bird you would like to see included on our list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

strange birds
Image By Dmitrii Kash From Shutterstock

Harpy Eagle

A lot of us bird lovers appreciate it when they look majestic and impressive. We start our strange bird list by making use of exactly such a majestic one, the harpy eagle. This impressive animal is one of the most powerful raptors in their size range, along with being the largest in their category, as their length can add up all the way to three feet!

This impressive-looking eagle has powerful legs, as their legs can reach a thickness that is bigger than the one of a child’s arm, and their talons are five inches long, even larger than the ones of a grizzly bear. This strange bird that uses its plumage and impressive call to scare away predators and intimidate its attackers can be just as deadly as a bear if it has decided to make a target out of you.

It has been known to make use of its talons and strength when hunting, being known for its ease when lifting up sloths and monkeys up to 17 pounds!

Despite how impressive this strange bird is, it does not look too weird when its plumage is not all puffed up. It still makes for an impressive sight due to its sheer size, with females generally being larger than males. Unfortunately, its size and fearlessness around humans have made it a target for hunters, many of whom would love to have a trophy out of this impressive bird.


Also known as a hoactzin, this species of bird that is native to the Amazon and the Orinoco basins in South America is known to make a home in the mangroves, swamps, and riparian forests that can be found there. The reason why it makes our list of strange birds is because it is the only member of its genus (making it unique among birds) and because the younglings of this species have claws at the ends of their wings, which they use to scramble around the ground.

This bird is very similar in that aspect to the ancient dinosaur Archaeopteryx, but it does not actually originate from them. A genetic study made in 2015 has shown that the hoatzin branched off from their bird line 64 million years ago after the dinosaurs that could not fly became extinct.

It also has the peculiarity that its digestive system is similar to that of cattle: its stomach uses a bacterial fermentation process in the front part of the gut in order to break down the plants they eat. Due to this, the hoatzin is also known as the stinkbird, as this digestive process makes it smell pretty bad.

While a lot of people believe this strange bird is part dinosaur, it is not, and while not yet endangered, its habitat has been reduced considerably in the last few years.


strange birds
Image By Marek Mihulka From Shutterstock

Shoebill Stork

This strange bird has been known as a living dinosaur, as we have proof they have been around ever since the Ancient Egyptians, at least!

Also known by the aliases of a whale-headed stork, whalebill, and shoe-billed stork, this long-legged bird makes for one impressive sight, and for good reason; aside from its long legs and large bill, it is a prolific predator, being able to hunt and kill a wide range of animals, including baby crocodiles!

Despite being a very skilled predator, the shoebill stork is also a fairly quiet specimen, despite its impressive size: specimens can reach a 60-inch height, and their wingspan can be anywhere between 7 feet 7 inches and 8 feet 6 inches! Even so, it is known to not be a threat to humans, as texts note that it is not aggressive towards them, and it can be statue-like in appearance and demeanor.

However, it is capable of causing damage if threatened, and despite being fairly quiet, it can smack together its jaws, and the noise created is similar to that of a machine gun. Imagine hearing that in the middle of the night!

In the wild, they have a long lifespan, as they can reach up to 35 years, and despite being storks, they do not migrate, being content to stay in their native habitat of Africa.

If you are curious about The Life of Birds, make sure you do not miss the David Attenborough-narrated documentary that has also won a BAFTA TV Award®! You can easily rent or buy it on Amazon!

strange birds
Image By Danita Delimont From Shutterstock

The Strutting Sage-grouse

You can probably guess from what this impressive yet strange bird has gotten its name. Native to western North America, this species of wild grouse can be found in the sagebrush region of the country. The most easily recognizable of this species are the males, due to their plumage and appearance, along with their remarkable “strut” when wanting to make!

In the spring, the male sage grouse will all gather in a clearing surrounded by sage bushes, which are also known as leks, and start their elaborate courtship show to be able to attract nearby females. They will puff out their plumage, fan their impressive tail feathers, and puff their most peculiar feature: the yellow air sacks on their chests. Alongside their signature sounds, made of strange pops and whistles, they present themselves as potential mates.

The females will then choose their suitable partner! Who can say no to such a display? Are we right?

You may be lucky to see them in the spring, but know that they have been classified as endangered due to habitat loss!

Curl-crested Araçari

Known as one of the most beautiful birds in the world, the reason why it is included on our strange bird list is because of their impressive beaks and unique feathers!

The Aracari is native to South America, more specifically Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, and it is a member of the Toucan family. They hold the signature colorful, long bill of this species of bird, with the male specimens having longer ones than the females.

What sets them apart from toucans, besides the fact that they are smaller and have slimmer beaks, is the impressive set of feathers on top of their ears. These feathers are black, holding a particular gloss and curl that makes them look like they have a gift-wrapping ribbon on top of their heads!

Strange birds are not the only animals that are worthy of your attention. There are some truly massive animals that live in the United States that you have probably never seen, and you should be in the know about them in case you ever run into them on a hike! Read all about them here!

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