Can You Identify These Birds From a Close-Up of Their Feathers?

By: Chelsea
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Feathers are growths that cover animals like birds and even some forms of dinosaurs. While some of them aren't very bright, they're all pretty distinct, which helps us humans identify them. Are you enough of a bird watcher or bird fan to identify these babies by a close up picture of their feathers?

Not only do feathers provide beauty, they're also very functional. For one, they help birds fly. Although not all birds can fly, those who can make use of their feathers to do so. An unconventional use of feathers that not many birds have is for hearing. Owls have face feathers that are able to collect sound and channel them into their ears so they can better locate animals at night. 

Another function of these beautiful feathers is that they provide insulation from the cold, as well as from water. Birds are known to use fallen feathers to help insulate their nests as well. The last very important feature that they aid in is waterproofing. Some birds have feathers that are made from beta-keratin, a substance that is both wear and water-resistant. 

Now that you know what they're meant to do, can you correctly guess which feather pattern goes with which bird? 

Part of the Accipitridae family, these birds of prey are characterized by their heavy heads and beaks, powerful talons and broad wings.

This name applies to two genera of unrelated birds – New World Blackbirds and Old World Blackbirds.

A member of the Ramphastidae family, this tropical bird is identified by its distinct large, colorful beak.

These nocturnal birds are easily recognized by their white, heart-shaped face and brown or grey plumage, freckled with dark spots.

Also known as true sparrows, these small passerine birds are identified by their brown and grey plumage, plump body, short tails and stubby beaks.

These medium-sized, slender birds are part of the Cuculidae family and are widely distributed around the world, except in Antarctica.

This widely distributed bird owes its name to the vibrating sound it produces by drumming its beak into tree branches and trunks in search of food.

Characterized by their brightly-colored plumage, these small to medium-sized birds can be found throughout tropical and temperate regions across the world.

Passerines, also known as songbirds or perching birds, are any bird of the Passeriformes order, of which there are more than 110 families.

Fifty-five species make up this family of small-to-large omnivorous birds, many of which are facing extinction.

These birds have short, slender necks and long tails with short, rounded wings. Most Bulbuls are olive brown and black with red or orange vents, throats, and cheeks. They are very vocal birds with a distinct nasal call.

Gulls are also referred to as seagulls and are medium-to-large birds that are typically grey or white with black patterns along their wings and heads. Seagulls have jaws that unhinge which allow them to capture and consume large prey.

There are 83 species of swallows, with the greatest population of this bird found in Africa. Swallows have slender bodies with wings that are long and pointed, allowing them to maneuver and hunt insects with ease.

The goose is a monogamous waterfowl that is extremely territorial during nesting season. Geese are considered urban wildlife because they frequent gardens and parks that have resources like water.

Plovers are wading birds characterized by their short bills. These birds are found along shorelines or mudflats and feed on insects, worms, and invertebrates.

The moa, now extinct, was a group of nine species of wingless birds native to New Zealand.

Not measuring more than 35cm, sandpipers (common, spotted and green) are shorebirds which inhabit Europe, Asia, and America.

Found near wetlands, rivers, and seas, Terns are slender, short-legged birds which, like gulls, belong to the Laridae group.

The cousin of chickens, grouse are heavy-bodied, ground feeding birds which inhabit the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

A close relative to the elephant bird, Kiwis, are an endangered species of small, flightless birds endemic to New Zealand.

Also referred to as goatsuckers, bug-eaters or nighthawks, Nightjars are nocturnal birds with long wings, shorts legs, and short beaks.

Native to South Africa, Rheas, distant relatives of ostriches, are large flightless birds. There are currently three species, two of which are near-threatened.

The Swift is often mistaken for a swallow because they are so similar in appearance, despite not being closely related. Some Swifts are said to be among the fastest animals in the world.

Resembling penguins with their coats of black and white feathers, Auks or alcids, are small birds best known for their diving and swimming skills.

These wading birds have long legs and are large in size with large, flat bills that are spatulate in shape. Spoonbills generally prefer fresh water to salt water but can be found in both habitats.

Turacos are medium-sized birds that are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and thrive in forests, savannas, and woodlands. Turacos survive on a diet of mainly fruits, flowers, and small insects. They are noisy birds that come in an array of colors.

Bee-eaters are beautifully colored birds with downturned bills, long central tail feathers, long wings and slender bodies. Bee-eaters mainly consume bees and other flying insects like wasps, which they repeatedly hit on a hard surface to remove the stinger and venom.

Guineafowls typically have a plumage of black or dark grey that is speckled with white spots. These birds live in both small groups and large flocks. They are monogamous and consume locusts, scorpions, ticks, flies and other invertebrates.

Shorebirds are typically found along rocky shorelines, in shallow waters or mudflats. Some shorebirds are not water dependent and can survive in savannas and desert-like environments.

Great Blue Herons are grey with a slight hint of blue and a dull yellow bill. They survive on a diet of primarily small fish, shrimp, crabs, and rodents. The Great Blue Heron is the largest North American heron with a wingspan of 167-201 cm.

This is a small raptor with a pale gray body, black tail and three white bands around its orange legs. Gray Hawks consume snakes, lizards, small mammals, frogs and other birds.

Blue Jays are predominantly lavender blue with a white chest and underbelly. They consume soft fruit, acorns, and small invertebrates. Blue Jays are aggressive and noisy and are typically slow fliers, making them easy prey for hawks.

The White Ibis has plumage that is completely white, a down-curved bill that is bright red-orange and black tips on its wings that are only visible during flight. White Ibis prefer consuming crayfish, but will also eat insects and small fish.

This bird is a ground forager with a diet that consists of grasshoppers, crickets, grub, and caterpillars. The Eastern Meadowlark is a medium-sized bird with plumage that is brown and black with streaks and a yellow underbelly.

The Nighthawk is a nocturnal bird (like the name suggests) that lives mostly in the Western hemisphere. They are small to medium-sized birds that have very long wings, and short stubby legs and beak (or bills).

This bird is a small one, usually between 20 and 30 centimeters, with the female being smaller than the male. They are known for their brightly-colored feathers- at least the males are, because the females tend to be on the duller side.

Can you believe that this medium-sized bird travels from Canada to South America for its annual migration pattern? That's thousands of miles! These travelers eat insects and lay three to four eggs at a time.

This pretty, understated bird is also known as the valley bird. Its feathers are a muted blue, along with different shades of brown, gray, black and white.

Did you know the roadrunner is the largest of all cuckoos? This speedster can run up to 20 miles per hour, and grows to be just under a foot tall.

The scientific name of this bird means 'heavy.'

This duck is found in both North and South America and makes its home in ponds and marshes. These birds live mostly on plants, but they do indulge in the occasional mollusk or water bug.

The Brown Thrasher is the state bird of Georgia but also lives in Canada. It is larger than the average thrasher and is known to have more than 1,000 songs- one of the largest of any bird.

The Canada Warbler is a small songbird that spends its warmer months in, you guessed it, Canada and the colder months in South America. They're not much of a fruit-eater, but prefer to eat insects if they can find them.

The Cactus Wren is a small bird that likes hotter temperatures and lives in Mexico and the southwest area of the USA. This bird is usually found near yucca and saguaro plants and makes its nest in cactus plants. They usually survive on a diet of bugs, including ants, grasshoppers, ​and beetles.

Despite its name, the Eurasian Wigeon is actually a duck. This bird travels in small numbers and is known to frequent the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Albatrosses are seabirds with wingspans of up to 12 feet. They're known for eating animals like squid, fish, and krill. Their species is currently being threatened by cats and rats that eat their eggs, and pollution.

The Indigo Bunting is a migratory bird that lives in Canada, Florida and the northern areas of South America. This bird mainly survives on insects during the hotter months and seeds when it gets colder.

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