38 Unique Birds With Long Legs

Unique birds with long legs

Nature never ceases to amaze us with its diverse and fascinating creatures; among them are the unique birds with long legs. Not only do these limbs provide exceptional mobility, but they also add elegance in appearance.

From wading through water, walking on marshy ground, or running through the fields easily, having long legs helped these birds adapt their body structure and habits to suit their environment.

In this article, you will learn about 38 of the world’s long-legged avian species, their appearance, feeding and mating habits, and some unique and interesting information about them. 

38 Long-Legged Birds

1. African Jacana

African Jacana with long legs
Scientific Name:Actophilornis africanus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:9.1–12.2 in (23–31 cm)
Weight:4–12 oz (113.4–340.2 g)
Wingspan:20 in (50 cm)
Lifespan:5–10 years

The African Jacana displays not only long legs but also long toes and claws. Meanwhile, they have short tails with medium-sized and egg-like bodies.

African Jacanas are mostly brown. However, they have white heads and necks. A black stripe is at the back of the neck, extending to the eyes. There is a pale yellow coloring where the neck and chest meet.

Juvenile African Jacanas do not have an apparent blue bill like the adults. They also have a brown head and white underbody parts. Their bellies are reddish-brown.

Similar to other jacanas, male African Jacanas are generally smaller in size and weigh less than females. A special trait male African Jacanas possess is taking on the typical female role of protecting their young.

As such, a male hides its chicks beneath its wings, allowing it to move them to safety. This results in the chicks’ legs visibly dangling, making male African Jacanas appear to have multiple legs and look bulky.

Fun Fact: The African Jacana is otherwise known as the Jesus bird, as it appears to walk on water.

2. American Avocet

American Avocet with long legs
Scientific Name:Recurvirostra americana
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:16.9–18.5 in (43–47 cm)
Weight:9.7–12.3 oz (275–350 g)
Wingspan:28.4 in (72 cm)
Lifespan:9–15 years

With its long legs and long, upturned bill, the American Avocet is a symbol of elegance. It is a distinctively large shorebird usually seen in the wetlands of North and South America. It feeds on insects, seeds, and small crustaceans.

While the African Jacana is the largest of the Jacanidae family, the American Avocet is the longest-legged and tallest avocet and stilt. Its wingspan can reach up to 28.4 inches, and its length can reach 18.5 inches.

They may sometimes be confused with Black-necked Stilts, but it is worth noting that American Avocets have a black and white pattern on their wings and back.

This puts them under the category of birds with white stripes on their wings. Further, their bills are black, and their long legs are bluish-gray in color.

Female American Avocets are distinguished by their slightly more upturned and shorter bills than males, which have straighter and longer ones. These birds are the only avocets with distinct breeding and non-breeding colors.

Juveniles have pale, pinkish-orange heads and necks, while non-breeding adults have gray to white-colored heads and necks. In comparison, the head and neck of breeding adults have buffy orange-colored plumage.

3. American Bittern

American Bittern with long legs
Scientific Name:Botaurus lentiginosus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:23.6–33.5 in (60–85 cm)
Weight:13.10–17.6 oz (370–500 g)
Wingspan:36.2 in (92 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 8 years

The American Bittern is a wading bird found in North America. They are known for their unique camouflage, which allows them to blend in with their surroundings. This makes them difficult to spot in the marshes and wetlands where they live.

Their plumage is primarily brown and tan with black and white streaks. These long-legged birds have distinctive dark brown stripes on their neck that help them blend in with the reeds and grasses of their habitat.

These medium-sized birds are solitary and secretive. They are most active during the early morning and late evening hours. Their diet comes from various prey that consists of fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects.

They are quiet predators, catching their prey by standing still and waiting for them to come within striking distance. Alarmed American Bitterns have their neck and head extended and pointed straight up.

Although relatively common, American Bitterns are considered a species of conservation concern in many parts of their range due to habitat loss and degradation.

4. American Flamingo

American Flamingo with long legs
Scientific Name:Phoenicopterus ruber
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:47.2–57 in (120–145 cm)
Weight:74–144 oz (2098–4082 g)
Wingspan:14.6–16.7 in (37–42.5 cm)
Lifespan:20–30 years

Otherwise known as the Caribbean Flamingo, the American Flamingo is a species of flamingo that is native to the Caribbean islands, as well as the northern coast of South America and the Galapagos Islands.

They are a popular member of birds with pink plumage, which is caused by the pigments in the algae and crustaceans that they eat. Black flight feathers accentuate the tips of their wings. They have long, pink legs and smaller, three-toed, webbed feet.

American Flamingos are social birds and often form large flocks of up to several thousand individuals.

On one of my trips to the Caribbean, I was able to observe these flamingos in their natural habitat and took note of their unique feeding behavior, which involves wading through shallow water.

They use their beaks to filter out small crustaceans and other invertebrates from the mud. With their head positioned to the surface and their bills upside down, I repeatedly noticed them suck water in and pump it out the sides of their beaks.

Sadly, due to habitat loss, hunting, and disturbance from human activities, these large wading birds are considered to be a threatened species despite their abundance. 

Given this, the creation of protected areas and restoration of wetlands are in the works to prevent population decline and save what is left of the American Flamingos’ habitats.

5. Black Stork

Black Stork with long legs
Scientific Name:Ciconia nigra
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:37.4–39.4 in (95–100 cm)
Weight:105.8 oz (3000 g)
Wingspan:57–61 in (145–155 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

A large bird in the stork family, the Black Stork can be found in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are slightly smaller than the closely related White Stork. As their name suggests, Black Storks are predominantly black in color.

Their black color is accentuated by a glossy greenish and purplish sheen on their feathers. They have long, red legs and long, pointed red beaks. Their underbelly is white in color.

Black Storks breed in forests and wetlands. They build their nests in trees near water. They feed on various prey, including fish, small reptiles, amphibians, insects, and small mammals.

Their way of catching their prey is by stalking through the forest floor or wading in shallow waters. Black Storks may also be seen following large mammals, possibly hoping to eat remnants of their food.

Hunting is one of the main contributors to the population decline of Black Storks. Some breeding populations may even have disappeared in certain areas.

The status of Black Storks has been marked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species of “Least Concern” as their decline has not been rapid. However, they have been recently classified as moderately depleted.

6. Black-crowned Night Heron

Black crowned Night Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Nycticorax nycticorax
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:22.8–26 in (58–66 cm)
Weight:45.3–46.5 in (115–118 cm)
Wingspan:25.6–35.8 oz (727–1014 g)
Lifespan:10–15 years

A medium-sized bird, the Black-crowned Night Heron is stocky with a relatively short neck. While it has the shortest legs than other herons in this list, it still has longer legs than other birds.

Black-crowned Night Herons also have thick, black bills. Adults have a distinctive black cap and back, gray wings, and a white belly. A long, thin, white plume is also present, extending from the back of their heads.

Immature Black-crowned Night Herons, on the other hand, have yellow and black bills. They also have blurry streaks on their underparts. Their wings have large white spots and are brown in color.

These birds with long legs are widespread in many parts of the world. They are usually found in freshwater and saltwater wetlands, including swamps and mangroves. Black-crowned Night Herons are primarily nocturnal.

They feed on amphibians, crustaceans, fish, and insects. Known for their unique hunting behavior, they often stand still, waiting for the perfect time to attack their prey.

Although fairly common and considered the “Least Concern” in conservation status, the Black-crowned Night Heron has a decreasing population. Threats to its existence include wetland destruction and pesticides.

Fun Fact: Black-crowned Night Herons are known as one of those birds who chirp at night, which is when they hunt for their prey.

7. Black-headed Heron

Black headed Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Ardea melanocephala
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:22.8–26.0 in (58–66 cm)
Weight:25.6–35.8 oz (727–1014 g)
Wingspan:45.3–46.5 in (115–118 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 5 years

As its name suggests, the Black-headed Heron is a black-headed wading bird. Their wings and body could be pale gray or white in color. The under wings are white, whereas the thin, long legs are black.

They also have a long and pointed bill, which has black and yellow upper and lower parts. The average Black-headed Herons are medium in size, weighing between 25.6 and 35.8 ounces.

Black-headed Herons can be seen in wetland habitats like swamps and riverbanks. Their diet is a variation of small mammals, frogs, insects, and fish. These opportunistic feeders silently wait to pounce on their prey.

As migratory birds, Black-headed Herons are a widespread species in Africa. Depending on the season and vegetation state, these long-legged birds may also head to other regions, such as North America and Europe.

While they have a short lifespan in the wild, Black-headed Herons have an increasing population trend. Considering their stable number, they gained the “Least Concern” status in the IUCN.

8. Black-necked Stilt

Black necked Stilt with long legs
Scientific Name:Himantopus mexicanus
Length:13.8–15.3 in (35–39 cm)
Weight:5.3–6.2 oz (150–176 g)
Wingspan:28.1–29.7 in (71.5–75.5 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

Small but tall, the Black-necked stilt is a wading bird that weighs around 5.3 to 6.2 ounces. Their length is between 13.8 and 15.3 inches. Not only do they have very long, rosy pink legs, but they also have long necks.

Black-necked Stilts’ black bills are straight and thin, complementing their rather small heads. While color placement may vary per region, the signature of mostly black on the back and white on the underbody is always present.

The wings are black, with a notable white V on the back part separating the wings. In juvenile and female Black-necked stilts, the black areas may appear brownish. They may also display paler pink legs.

Black-necked Stilts can be found in Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Their wetland habitats include mudflats, salt marshes, and ponds. Their long legs aid in walking in muddy areas as they look for food.

Meanwhile, they use their long bills to capture prey. They feed primarily on aquatic invertebrates and plants, small fish, tadpoles, and insects. As such, Black-necked Stilts can often be seen wading in shallow waters.

9. Black-tailed Godwit

Black tailed Godwit with long legs
Scientific Name:Limosa limosa
Conservation Status:Near Threatened
Length:15.7–17.3 in (40–44 cm)
Weight:7–10.6 oz (200–300 g)
Wingspan:24.8–29.5 in (63–75 cm)
Lifespan:10–15 years

The Black-tailed Godwit is a medium-sized wading bird from the family Scolopacidae. They are a migratory species that breed in Northern Europe and Asia. They spend winters in Western and Southern Europe, Africa, and Southern Asia.

Besides their dark, long legs, Black-tailed Godwits are characterized by their long neck as well. Their long beak is straight and curve slightly upwards at the tip. A black and white striped pattern is also evident on their wings.

During mating season, the plumage of males is brighter than that of females, with a brick-red breast and neck and a black belly patch. Also, females are notably larger, heavier, and have longer beaks than males. 

Typically foraging in mudflats and shallow water, Black-tailed Godwits feed on crustaceans, insects, and other small invertebrates. Like Bar-tailed Godwits, Black-tailed Godwits are also known for their long-distance flights.

The IUCN enlisted the Black-tailed Godwit as a near-threatened species. This is due to the decline of its population brought about by threats such as human intrusions and disturbances, hunting, pollution, and climate change.

10. Black-winged Stilt

Black winged Stilt with long legs
Scientific Name:Himantopus himantopus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:13–14 in (33–36 cm)
Weight:5–7 oz (150–200 g)
Wingspan:29–33 in (73.7–83.8 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

Found in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, the Black-winged Stilt is a widely distributed wading bird. Like the American Avocet, they are also a member of the avian family Recurvirostridae.

The most striking features of Black-winged Stilts are their long, thin legs and an unmistakable black and white plumage. Its bill is long and thin, which it uses to probe the mud for invertebrates like crustaceans and mollusks. 

Apart from invertebrates, the diet of Black-winged Stilts also consists of small fish and tadpoles. They rarely swim for food and would rather wade in shallow water to catch prey on the surface.

Black-winged stilts are highly territorial during the breeding season and will aggressively defend their nesting territories from other birds. They often build their nests in shallow water or on muddy banks.

Females usually lay 3 to 4 eggs. Male and female Black-winged Stilts will then share the roles of incubating and caring for the young.

Overall, Black-winged stilts are highly adaptable birds. They have managed to thrive in various habitats, from coastal wetlands to inland lakes and rivers.

11. Brolga

Brolga with long legs
Scientific Name:Grus rubicunda
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:37.4–49.2 in (95–125 cm)
Weight:211.6–246.9 oz (6000–7000 g)
Wingspan:66.9–94.5 in (170–240 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 30 years

Considered the largest bird in Australia, the Brolga is otherwise known as the Australian Crane. Brolgas are famous for their elaborate courtship dances, which involve intricate footwork, head-bobbing, and wing-flapping displays.

Brolgas are found throughout much of Eastern and Northern Australia. They forage in wetlands, grasslands, and other open habitats. They are omnivorous, with their diet consisting of aquatic plants, seeds, and insects.

Brolgas are a monogamous species that typically mate for life. Similar to Black-winged Stilts, both male and female Brolgas share in the incubation and care of the young, which lasts up to a year upon hatching.

Like other birds in this list, the population of Brolgas has decreased due to loss of habitat along with many factors. Even so, it is under the IUCN “Least Concern” status as it does not reach the threshold for vulnerable status.

Fun Fact: Carrying the symbol of fertility, grace, and longevity, Brolgas have a cultural significance to many indigenous Australian communities. It is also the official bird emblem of the state of Queensland.

12. Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret with long legs
Scientific Name:Bubulcus ibis
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:18.1–22.1 in (46–56 cm)
Weight:9.5–18.1 oz (270–512 g)
Wingspan:34.6–37.8 in (88–96 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

The Cattle Egret is usually found near cattle, hence its name. They belong to the heron family Ardeidae. Unlike other heron species, though, Cattle Egrets are small, compact birds with white plumage and yellow beaks.

Cattle Egrets also have yellow feet. During the mating season, they develop orange-brown plumes on their heads, necks, and backs. Juveniles, on the other hand, have dark bills and legs.

Grazing animals, particularly cattle, have a symbiotic relationship with Cattle Egrets. These birds with long legs perch on the backs of cattle, where they feed on insects and small animals.

In return, the presence of Cattle Egrets is extremely beneficial to the cattle as the birds help reduce the number of insects that can bother them. This scene is a common sight in many parts of the world.

A native to parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa, the Cattle Egret spread in the Americas sometime in the 1870s. These migratory birds are now relatively abundant in Australia, Central America, South America, and North America.

13. Comb-crested Jacana

Comb crested Jacana with long legs
Scientific Name:Irediparra gallinacea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:7.9–10.6 in (20–27 cm)
Weight:2.4–5.3 oz (68–150g)
Wingspan:15–18 in (38.1–45.7 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 5 years

Another relatively small yet still long-legged bird, the Comb-crested Jacana, can be found in wetlands and shallow bodies of water throughout Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, and some Pacific islands.

These wading birds’ most striking feature is the large, blue-gray comb on top of their head, which is used for display and aggression. They also have black bodies and wings, complemented by white bellies and breasts.

Topping off their overall appearance are their long, yellow legs with extremely long toes. For this reason, Comb-crested Jacanas can walk on floating vegetation and swim in shallow waters.

Otherwise known as Lotus Birds or Lilytrotters, Comb-crested Jacanas have long beaks as well. They use it to catch insects, spiders, small fish, and other aquatic invertebrates by probing and pecking in the water.

Comb-crested Jacanas are polyandrous. The roles are reversed as females can mate with several males. Meanwhile, males are left to build nests, incubate eggs, and care for the young.

The conservation status of Comb-crested Jacanas in the IUCN remains at “Least Concern,” despite the threats of habitat loss, hunting, and pollution that the species is facing.

14. Emu

Emu with long legs
Scientific Name:Dromaius novaehollandiae
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:63–78.7 in (160–200 cm)
Weight:1270–1411 oz (36000–40000 g)
Wingspan:8 in (20 cm)
Lifespan:10–20 years

The Emu is a large flightless bird native to Australia. Sometimes referred to as Australian Emu, it is the second largest bird in the world, next to the ostrich. They are famous for their uniquely long neck and long, slender legs.

Their large size comes with small wings that are used for balance. Emus have brownish-black feathers and a patch of blue-black colored bare skin on their neck and face.

Emus are also characterized by their endurance. They can go for long periods without food or water. They are fast runners as well. As omnivorous birds, they consume plants, insects, and small animals for food.

Although not all females have multiple partners, Emus engage in polyandrous breeding practices. Mating season starts with Emus participating in a courtship dance, where males could earn mating privileges.

These large birds, whose range covers almost all available biomes, are abundant in Australia. At present, Emus are of economic and cultural importance in Australia.

While its population remains stable and marked as “Least Concern” by the IUCN, factors such as vehicle collision, habitat loss and fragmentation, and predators like dingoes continue to threaten the Emu’s existence.

15. Common Ostrich

Common Ostrich with long legs
Scientific Name:Struthio camelus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:70.9–106.3 in (180–270 cm)
Weight:2222.3–5114.7 oz (63000–145000 g)
Wingspan:59.1–78.7 in (150–200 cm)
Lifespan:30–40 years

The world’s largest bird, the ostrich, naturally occurred in the Arabian peninsula, Southwestern Asia, and Africa until the middle of the 20th century. Due to hunting, except in sub-Saharan Africa, they have been extinct.

Similar to the Emu, the Common Ostrich is a flightless bird but a fast runner. They are not just the largest bird; they are also the world’s fastest two-legged animal. After all, ostriches have long and powerful legs for running and kicking.

Common Ostriches have relatively small heads and have the largest eyes in land animals. They also have long black lashes to protect the eyes. Male and female ostriches also have different color markings.

Female ostriches have gray-brown markings, while males have black and white ones, which they use to attract females. Both genders have two-toed feet, yet another striking feature ostriches have that other birds don’t.

The mating behavior of Ostriches is polygynous. Males can have up to five hens, one being a major hen and the rest minor hens.

Fun Fact: As a precocial species, newborn ostriches are able to forage for their own food almost immediately. They are capable of modeling the actions of adult ostriches, which is crucial for their survival.

In this video, watch how Ostrich-mating works as a male goes through different stages of trying to win a female ostrich’s attention:

Ostrich Gives the Performance of His Life | The Mating Game | BBC Earth

16. Common Redshank

Common Redshank with long legs
Scientific Name:Tringa totanus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:11.4–12.2 in (29cm–31cm)
Weight:4.9–7.1 oz (140g–200g)
Wingspan:24–26.4 in (61cm–67cm)
Lifespan:10–17 years

As its name suggests, the Common Redshank is called such due to its bright orange-red legs, its most distinctive feature. These small to medium-sized waders also have a pale belly and brown-speckled wings and back.

Its orange-based, long, black-tipped bill perfectly matches its legs. The Common Redshank’s winter plumage is somewhat paler and less patterned compared to its summer plumage.

Common Redshanks nest in damp places such as salt marshes and flood meadows. During the breeding season, they feed on annelid worms, spiders, and insects.

In the non-breeding season, while they consume the same food, crustaceans and mollusks are added to their diet. They occasionally feed on tadpoles and small fish as well.

Most of this species’ population is migratory. They winter on coastal lagoons and estuaries in regions such as Mediterranean coasts, South Asia, and the Atlantic coast of Europe from Ireland and Great Britain.

If you are curious about small birds with long beaks, like the Common Redshank, you can learn more about them in this article.

17. Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis with long legs
Scientific Name:Plegadis falcinellus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:21.7–25.6 in (55–65 cm)
Weight:17.1–34.2 oz (485–970 g)
Wingspan:34.6–41.3 in (88–105 cm)
Lifespan:14–26 years

The Glossy Ibis is a stunning bird that one can only appreciate upon taking a closer look. From afar, it appears evenly dark, but it has a glossy, iridescent plumage of bronze, emerald, violet, and deep maroon colors.

These waders are medium in size and have a compact body. Their long and slender dark gray bill is curved down. They also have long black legs and long necks. The feathers of their tail and wings are shiny green.

Meanwhile, their belly, back, neck, and head are deep purple to black in color. During the breeding season, their color changes into rust red, with a distinctive pale blue line on their face.

Whether they are foraging or nesting colonies, Glossy Ibises often come in flocks. Although they are a diurnal species, they roost during the night with other species, still in large flocks.

Glossy Ibises can be found in wetland environments like marshes, coastal bays, and estuaries, as well as areas where soils are moist, such as swamps and flooded fields. Their diet includes aquatic insects and lizards.

18. Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Ardea herodias
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:38.2–53.9 in (97–137 cm)
Weight:74.1–88.2 oz (2100–2500 g)
Wingspan:65.8–79.1 in (167–201 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 15 years

Tall and long-legged, the Great Blue Heron is the largest of the North American herons. They are characterized by their sinuous neck and long beak, which is also thick, has the shape of a dagger, and is yellow in color.

Another noteworthy feature of Great Blue Herons is their blue and gray flight feathers. They also have a black stripe on its head, red-brown thighs, a pale head, a white face, and a rusty-gray neck.

Great Blue Herons are living in abundance in the North American region, except for deserts and high mountains. They can also be seen in the Pacific and Caribbean islands and Central America.

As the colder season approaches, the breeding population from the north migrates to warmer areas like Mexico, all the way to the northern coast of South America. Their habitat ranges from open coasts to agricultural fields.

Great Blue Herons are piscivores, mainly feeding on fish. However, their diet may also contain small mammals, lizards, frogs, dragonflies, crabs, shrimp, as well as other aquatic invertebrates.

Fun Fact: Great Blue Herons belong to the group of birds that are able to produce blue eggs. However, for these long-legged birds, their eggs turn white during incubation.

19. Gray Heron

Gray Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Ardea cinerea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:35.4–38.6 in (90–98 cm)
Weight:36–73.1 oz (1,020–2,073 g)
Wingspan:68.9–76.8 in (175–195 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 5 years

The Gray Heron can easily be mistaken for a Great Blue Heron. However, Gray Herons have a shorter neck, whitish wrists and thighs, smaller size, and lighter weight. They can also be found in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

What basically sets Gray Herons apart from other herons are the colors of their feathers, which are black, gray, white, and cream. Their legs are a combination of brown, pink, and yellow.

As for their thick and long beaks, they have visible red, black, and yellow colors. The underparts of Gray Herons are grayish-white with black markings on the flanks. When viewed from above, their body and wings are both gray in color.

Gray Herons are often seen around every available watery habitat, including estuaries, shorelines, lakes, and rivers. They may even be seen in desert areas, practically any region where food supply is abundant.

Like Great Blue Herons, Gray Herons primarily consume fish. However, they can also feed on snakes, small birds, aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, and rodents.

20. Great Egret

Great Egret with long legs
Scientific Name:Ardea alba
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:37.0–40.9 in (94–104 cm)
Weight:24.7–52.9 oz (700–1500 g)
Wingspan:51.6–57.1 in (131–145 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 15 years

Once hunted for its beautiful feathers, the graceful Great Egret had almost gone extinct in the late 1800s. Conservation efforts helped protect their colonies and put a stop to the indiscriminate slaughter of the species.

Today, Great Egrets are thriving in the Americas and many parts of the world. Their long legs, long, s-curved neck, and dagger-like bill are their most unique features. In contrast to their black legs are their all-white feathers.

Great Egrets typically wade around shallow waters and areas where they can catch fish and other aquatic animals to feed on. They forage by standing still and catching prey with a rapid jab of their yellow bill.

They feed in flocks or with other birds, occasionally stealing the food of smaller birds. At times, they also forage in open fields around cattle. Fish is their main diet, but they also eat aquatic insects, rodents, and small birds.

The Great Egret can be protective of its territory. It can get even more aggressive during the breeding season. This bird from the heron family is monogamous, and both participate in incubating their eggs.

21. Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo with long legs
Scientific Name:Phoenicopterus roseus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:31.5–59 in (80–150cm)
Weight:70.5–141.1 oz (2000–4000 g)
Wingspan:55.1–65 in (140–165cm)
Lifespan:20–30 years

The Greater Flamingo is the largest, most common, and most widespread species of the flamingo family. They also go by the names Pink Flamingo and Rosy Flamingo. Their appearance and color are their strongest points.

They have feathers that are pinkish-white in color. The wing coverts are red, and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. Their long bill is pink with a black tip. Their long legs are pink as well, and their eyes are yellow-colored.

With their bill bending downward, Greater Flamingos are able to filter and feed on small organisms like tiny fish and plankton. They are a partially migratory species, searching for food in shallow waters like muddy beaches.

Greater Flamingos are monogamous, pairing with one mate for life. To start the nesting season, flamingos perform a group courtship display, which involves dancing in sync as well as honking and neck stretching.

Females often lay one large egg. Both male and female Greater Flamingos take turns incubating their egg, which lasts around 27 to 31 days. While they are able to mate in their third year, most start to breed in the fifth year.

22. Green Heron

Green Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Butorides virescens
Length:16.1–18.1 in (41–46 cm)
Weight:8.5 oz (240 g)
Wingspan:25.2–26.8 in (64–68 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 8 years

Unlike other Herons, the Green Heron is stocky and short, with its head hunched up against its body. They have beautifully colored feathers, starting with a black cap on their head, which occasionally forms a short crest.

Their underbody is a rich chestnut color, paired with a back that is velvet-green in color. Their appearance is highlighted with a brown-black and green and yellow dagger-like bill and bright yellow feet.

When I learned about the Green Herons’ ability to use tools, I got very curious about these birds and made them my focus during one of my birdwatching trips.

Observing this behavior closely, I was amazed to see them drop bait in the water, such as bread crusts, insects, feathers, and earthworms, to attract small fish.

This is a unique trait that shows the intelligence of these species. Outside the water, they also feed on rodents, amphibians, and snails.

Green Herons can be usually seen in areas with dense aquatic vegetation, such as grasses, mangroves, lakes, and marshes. They do not wade as frequently as larger herons.

They breed and commonly occur in the Caribbean, Central America, and North America. Males look for secluded nesting sites, which may include dry woods or areas with nearby wetlands for foraging.

23. Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret with long legs
Scientific Name:Ardea intermedia
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:22–30 in (56–72 cm)
Weight:14.1–17.7 oz (400–500 g)
Wingspan:41.3–45.3 in (105–115 cm)
Lifespan:15–20 years

A bird that goes by many names, such as Median Egret, Smaller Egret, and Yellow-billed Egret, the Intermediate Egret is a medium-sized heron. They are smaller than Great Egrets but larger than Cattle Egrets.

These species have an all-white plumage. They also have a relatively thick beak that is typically yellow-colored, although it may vary geographically and seasonally. Their long legs are generally dark in color and, at times, two-toned.

Intermediate Egrets can be found in various regions, including Asia, Australia, and Africa. The combination of long neck and legs makes the Intermediate Egret skillful at fishing as it can reach deeper water levels.

They consume crustaceans, fish, frogs, and insects. Although they are often seen in shallow wetlands and pastures, they can feed in deeper water. They are solitary hunters and diurnal birds.

Currently, the IUCN has marked Intermediate Egrets as species of “Least Concern” due to their extremely large range. However, they have a decreasing population trend, with pollution being a primary threat.

24. Jabiru

Jabiru with long legs
Scientific Name:Jabiru mycteria
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:48–56 in (122–142.2 cm)
Weight:152–316.8 oz (4309.1–8981.1 g)
Wingspan:90–108 in (228.6–274.3 cm)
Lifespan:30–36 years

The Jabiru is the tallest flying bird in Central and South America. They are often mistaken for Black-necked Storks, another stork species from Australia. They are found in wetlands and marshes, as well as rivers and ponds.

Their unique appearance makes Jabirus an interesting species. They have white plumage. Their head and neck are featherless, highlighting their beautiful black skin. At the base of the neck, a red, stretchable pouch is visible.

They have a black, slightly upturned bill with a sharp tip. Their extremely long legs are also black. These large storks are one of the birds that display size-related sexual dimorphism, with males being notably larger than females by 25%.

Jabirus live near rivers and ponds where they feed on fish, mollusks, insects, and dead animals. Like other birds with long legs, they benefit from having long legs as these enable them to walk in muddy areas.

In terms of breeding, Jabirus are monogamous. Both parents are involved in nest-building, incubation, and caring for their young. Especially during the nestling period, they are territorial in their nesting and foraging sites.

25. Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Egretta caerulea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:22.1–29.1 in (56–74 cm)
Weight:10.4–14.5 oz (296–412 g)
Wingspan:39.4–41.3 in (100–105 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 14 years

Considered the most unique in the heron family, the Little Blue Heron is the only heron species that has dramatically different-colored juveniles and adults. Juvenile Little Blue Herons are completely white in color.

On the other hand, adult Little Blue Herons display a smoky blue-gray color. Breeding adults have the same color, except for the head and neck, which have long blue threadlike plumes and are somewhat purple-colored.

The legs and feet are dark blue or green or greenish. Meanwhile, non-breeding Little Blue Herons will have a dark blue head and neck. Their legs and feet will have a paler color.

Little Blue Herons are widespread across North and South America. They wade in shallow water habitats, including marshes, lakes, streams, and ponds. Their diet consists of fish, insects, frogs, snakes, and crustaceans.

Despite their decreasing population, Little Blue Herons are a species of “Least Concern” in the global assessment of the IUCN due to their large range. However, habitat-related threats heavily impact their population decline.

26. Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule with long legs
Scientific Name:Porphyrio martinicus
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:13–14.6 in (33–37 cm)
Weight:7.2–10.3 oz (203–291 g)
Wingspan:21.6–22.1 in (55–56 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 22 years

One of the more stunning birds in this list, the Purple Gallinule, is a bright-colored swamphen from the Americas. Like the coots and crakes, these chicken-sized birds belong to the rail family.

Purple Gallinules have a compact body, a thick, cone-like bill, a short tail and wings, and very long legs and toes. Adult Purple Gallinules’ plumage has a purple-blue base color. Under good lighting, it shines green and turquoise.

Their bright yellow and red bill accentuates their pale blue forehead. They also have bright yellow legs and toes. In the dark, the adult’s color will look brownish. Juveniles have brown, while immatures have yellowish-brown legs and feet.

Juveniles are pale brown with bronze-green tints on the back and wings. Meanwhile, the under-tail coverts are white. Immature Purple Gallinules are brown-bronze above with a tinge of purple feathers on the chest area.

Purple Gallinules prefer staying by freshwater marshes, ponds, and swamps even when migrating. They are omnivores but feed on plants more. They feed on insects, fish, frogs, and even the eggs and young of other birds.

27. Purple Heron

Purple Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Ardea purpurea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:30.7–35.4 in (78–90 cm)
Weight:18.5–47.4 oz (525–1345 g)
Wingspan:47.2–59.8 in (120–152 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 23 years

In terms of appearance, the Purple Heron is most similar to the Gray Heron. The slight difference is that Purple Herons exhibit a darker color, as well as a slimmer neck, body, and wings and a thinner bill.

Adult Purple Herons have a black crown with black stripes running down each side of their long, snaky, brownish neck. Their back is grayish-purple, with light gray upper wings and dark chestnut-maroon underparts.

Their bill, legs, and elongated toes are yellow to yellow-orange. During the breeding season, their bill becomes a brighter yellow. Juvenile Purple Herons are mostly brown with lacking black stripes on the neck.

Purple Herons inhabit wetlands with rich vegetation, including marshes, swamps, lakes, and mangroves. They primarily feed on fish. However, they can also consume insects, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, and crustaceans.

Bitterns and herons, including Purple Herons, have a slow flight. While in flight, they have retracted necks. These traits are what set these birds apart from cranes, spoonbills, and storks.

Purple Herons are a species of “Least Concern” under the IUCN. Although they have a decreasing population, this is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to reach the vulnerable threshold.

28. Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret with long legs
Scientific Name:Egretta rufescens
Conservation Status:Near Threatened
Length:27.6–31.5 in (70–80 cm)
Weight:24.7–30.0 oz (700–850 g)
Wingspan:45.3–46.5 in (115–118 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 12 years

One of the rarest egrets in North America, the population of the Reddish Egret experienced a huge blow and did not fully recover. These birds were decimated by plume hunters during the 19th century.

Reddish Egrets are characterized by their shaggy appearance, two-toned bill, leg color, and very active feeding behavior. These species also come in two morphs: the white morph and the dark morph.

Dark morph adult Reddish Egrets have a slate gray to blue-gray body and pinkish cinnamon to red-brown head and neck. Adult white morphs have an all-white plumage. Both morphs have blue-black to black legs.

The bills of both morphs have the same color as well, pink at the base and black at the tips. They also have a shaggy appearance. Reddish Egrets are fairly large. They have thick, dagger-like bills and long necks and legs.

Reddish Egrets are popular for their unique feeding behavior. Their hyperactive way of foraging involves walking quickly, running, hopping, and even spreading their wings to create shade to find food with ease.

29. Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane with long legs
Scientific Name:Grus canadensis
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:47.2 in (120 cm)
Weight:119.9–172.8 oz (3400–4900 g)
Wingspan:78.7 in (200 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 20 years

Exuding elegance with its presence, the Sandhill Crane is famous for its courtship dance. However, they are known to dance throughout the year, even with the young. Moreover, these species also have a beautiful singing voice.

Courtship displays between Sandhill Cranes include bowing, calling, and dancing. One of the most identifiable calls of cranes, the unison call, is performed by partners side by side in a coordinated fashion.

This call, along with flight call and guard call, are comparable to bugling, rattling, or trumpeting sounds. Apart from courtship, crane dancing is believed to reduce aggression between birds and strengthen pair bonds.

Sandhill Cranes are large and tall birds. They have long legs and necks, as well as wide wings. Their heads are small, with straight beaks longer than their heads.

They are slate gray in color, with red skin on the crown. Meanwhile, here are other gray birds that might capture your interest.

Additionally, since they are widely distributed across North America, their food may vary on location and season. But their diet may include berries, seeds, insects, snakes, rodents, reptiles, and amphibians.

30. Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis with long legs
Scientific Name:Eudocimus ruber
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:21.7–24.8 in (55–63 cm)
Weight:49.4 oz (1400 g)
Wingspan:21.3 in (54 cm)
Lifespan:16–20 years

A medium-sized wading bird, the Scarlet Ibis has vivid orange-red plumage, hence its name. The tip of their wings is blue-black in color. Their beak, which is naturally pink, turns black when it is the breeding season.

Their long legs are a lighter shade of red as well. Whereas males and females are similar, a male Scarlet Ibis has a somewhat longer bill and is larger in size. In captivity, the Scarlet Ibis’ bright red color may fade to pink.

On the flip side, juvenile Scarlet Ibises have dull-colored plumage, which ranges from gray to brown with white underparts. The diet of Scarlet Ibises, which consists mainly of red crustaceans, gives them scarlet coloration.

Scarlet Ibises may also consume insects, frogs, mollusks, small fish, and small snakes. Their long legs help them navigate swampy environments with ease, while their long bills are used to probe and peck food items.

They are a protected species around the world. However, despite efforts as such, their population is decreasing. Threats include selling them as pets, hunting, and collecting their eggs.

31. Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird with long legs
Scientific Name:Sagittarius serpentarius
Conservation Status:Endangered
Length:44.1–59.1 in (112–150 cm)
Weight:130.5–141.1 oz (3700–4000 g)
Wingspan:75.2–84.6 in (191–215 cm)
Lifespan:10–15 years

Distinguished by its extremely long legs, a crest of feathers on the back of its head, and bright-colored face, the Secretary Bird has an unmistakable appearance. These birds of prey are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa.

Secretary Birds have a unique morphology, from their gray with white-colored plumage to their red to orange-colored faces. Their body is like that of an eagle, with a gray-white bill, small head, and long neck.

They have the signature crest on the back of the head, which is black-tipped, as well as black flight feathers. The upper part of their legs is covered in black plumage, making them appear to be wearing shorts.

Along with caracaras, Secretary Birds are the only terrestrial birds of prey. Instead of hunting from the air, they hunt their food on foot. They can be seen working in small groups or pairs.

They feed on a variety of food, including arthropods, small mammals, amphibians, and snakes. They are known to catch even venomous snakes.

Fun Fact: The appearance of Secretary Birds might have led to the creation of their English name. The tall bird resembled the look of male secretaries in the 1800s, who wore dark knee-length pants and gray tailcoats.

32. Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret with long legs
Scientific Name:Egretta thula
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:22.1–26.0 in (56–66 cm)
Weight:13.1 oz (370 g)
Wingspan:39.4 in (100 cm)
Lifespan:18–22 years

The Snowy Egret is among the most graceful of the herons. These small-sized birds are known for their white plumage, black legs and bill, contrasting yellow feet, and a yellow patch on their face.

In the breeding season, the head, neck, and back of Snowy Egrets develop long, lacy plumes. These plumes, which used to be more costly than gold, caused the species’ decimation in the 1800s due to hunting.

Prohibition of plume trade to protect the species resulted in the rebound of the Snowy Egret population. However, recent environmental factors such as pollution and habitat loss continue to threaten its numbers.

Even so, Snowy Egrets are currently thriving across America. They inhabit marshes, swamps, and ponds, as well as freshwater and saltwater aquatic habitats. They also forage in dry fields and nest in trees and shrubs.

Snowy Egrets have varying feeding behaviors. They may stand still and wait to ambush their prey. At times, they walk or run in shallow water. They could also fly, hover, and dive to catch their prey.

The diet of Snowy Egrets is mostly fish and crustaceans. However, they also feed on insects, worms, snakes, frogs, and lizards.

33. Striated Heron

Striated Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Butorides striata
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:13.8–17.7 in (35–45 cm)
Weight:6.8–8.3 oz (193–235 g)
Wingspan:20.5–23.6 in (52–60 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 7 years

Otherwise known as Mangrove Heron, Little Heron, or Green-backed Heron, the Striated Heron is a small, stocky bird with a thick neck. They have a heavy bill that is brown-black above and dusky green below with a pale-colored base.

Their back is dark gray with gray-black wings that have buff edges. Flight feathers are black and have buff edges as well. The underparts are gray to brown gray. The back of the legs is yellow-green, and the front is olive-gray.

Striated Herons can be found in both salt and freshwater, including wetlands, mangroves, rivers, ponds, sand, mudflats, and rocky shores. They commonly occur in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the United States.

They typically have a hunched posture, with their heads drawn closer to their bodies. Striated Herons stand and wait to ambush their prey, stabbing into the water to grab their food using their sharp beaks.

These solitary species feed primarily on small fish, crabs, frogs, and other aquatic animals, as well as mice and leeches. They would occasionally use bait to attract prey. Behaviorally, they may act territorial or aggressive when foraging.

34. Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Egretta tricolor
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:23.6–27.6 in (60–70 cm)
Weight:14.6 oz (415 g)
Wingspan:37.4 in (95 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 17 years

Formerly known as the Louisiana Heron, the Tricolored Heron is a medium-sized, slender bird that easily blends into the vegetation in its habitat. They have a long and pointed bill, as well as a long neck and legs.

Tricolored Herons commonly have a slate-gray body, bright white underparts, and a distinctive red-brown stripe on their neck down to their chest. They show off more color during the breeding season.

Their usual yellow legs turn pink, and the base of their black-tipped bill, which is typically yellow, turns blue. They also develop a white crest on their head while the plumage on their neck and shoulder becomes violet.

Like their colorful plumage, Tricolored Herons have different feeding behaviors as well. They could stand and chase their prey in shallow water. At times, they would walk slowly or quickly with their wings flapping.

They may also have a foot stirring bottom sediments to flush out prey. These foraging strategies change as they carry on searching for their preferred prey. Small fish make up 90% of the diet of Tricolored Herons.

Tricolored Herons are among the species of “Least Concern” in the IUCN. Their population trend remains stable despite threats in some areas.

35. White-faced Ibis

White faced Ibis with long legs
Scientific Name:Plegadis chihi
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:18.1–22.1 in (46–56 cm)
Weight:15.9–18.5 oz (450–525 g)
Wingspan:35.4–36.6 in (90–93 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 14 years

The White-faced Ibis is a medium-sized wading bird found in the Americas. They have a long neck and legs, as well as a long, strongly curved bill. Their body is thick and oval-shaped, with broad, rounded wings.

Adult breeding White-faced Ibises have a narrow white band that highlights their faces. Their heads also have bare facial skin with red or purplish coloring. They have red eyes and bright red legs as well.

The wings of breeding adults are colorful, with a mix of bronze, metallic green, and glossy maroon hues. Their bills are cream-colored and have red hues that complement their red eyes.

Meanwhile, non-breeding and immature White-faced Ibises have duller legs and are matte brown in color. Like Glossy Ibises, the narrow white band on the face is absent in immature and non-breeding White-faced Ibises.

White-faced Ibises are commonly found in shallow water habitats. They usually occur in flocks, whether they are nesting in colonies or foraging. They catch prey by sight or by probing their bill in the mud or water.

Their diet consists mainly of insects, crustaceans, spiders, snails, and amphibians. They may also feed on frogs, fish, and small rodents.

36. Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane with long legs
Scientific Name:Grus americana
Conservation Status:Endangered
Length:59.1 in (150 cm)
Weight:211.6–275.1 oz (6000–7800 g)
Wingspan:90.2 in (229 cm)
Lifespan:22–30 years

Hailed as the tallest bird in North America, the Whooping Crane is also the rarest in the region. Their most striking features are their pristine white plumage and their size, standing nearly as tall as a person.

Another distinctive characteristic of Whooping Cranes is the large patch on their face and head. From around the base of the bill, it extends along the top of the head. Moreover, these species have black legs, bills, and wing tips.

Historically, Whooping Cranes suffered a population decline in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily due to hunting. There were only 15 left by 1941. At present, they are protected in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Although Whooping Cranes remain an endangered species, protection and conservation efforts are continuously being made to preserve them. Still, man-made threats continue to put their survival at risk.

Fun Fact: The trumpeting “whoop” call of Whooping Cranes is so loud that it can be heard from a 2-mile distance. This call, which is used to communicate and establish territory, is where they got their name.

37. Wood Stork

Wood Stork with long legs
Scientific Name:Mycteria americana
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:33.5–45.3 in (85–115 cm)
Weight:72.3–93.1 oz (2050–2640 g)
Wingspan:59.1–68.9 in (150–175 cm)
Lifespan:20–30 years

Formerly known as the Wood Ibis, the Wood Stork is a large wading bird that breeds in Central America, North America, South America, and the Caribbean. They easily adapt to wetland habitats, including swamps, lakes, and ponds.

Wood Storks have a hefty, football-like body with long, dark legs and feet with flesh toes that turn pink in the breeding season.

Their long neck and head are featherless, and both are also scaly-looking and dark gray in color. In flight, their neck and legs are outstretched.

They have a long, thick, black bill with the tip curving downward. Their plumage is entirely white, except for their wing feathers and tail, which are black with a greenish-purple sheen. This categorizes them under a wide range of birds known for black and white patterns.

Wood Storks are found in freshwater, including ponds, marshes, and ditches. They feed on fish, insects, crustaceans, and frogs. They forage by wading in shallow water, using their partly-open bills to feel their prey.

Breeding in colonies, Wood Storks build their nests in trees over water. Their mating behavior is serial monogamy, wherein pairs stay with each other for one breeding season.

38. Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Yellow crowned Night Heron with long legs
Scientific Name:Nyctanassa violacea
Conservation Status:Least Concern
Length:21.7–27.6 in (55–70 cm)
Weight:22.9–28.2 oz (650–800 g)
Wingspan:42.1–44.1 in (107–112 cm)
Lifespan:Up to 6 years

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is a medium-sized heron found in the Americas. They are a relatively common species in their range and are known for their unique appearance and behavior.

They have a stocky body paired with a large, blocky head and a short, thick neck. Their bill is thick and relatively short as well. They are mainly cloudy gray in color. They also have orange eyes and a black head with a white cheek patch.

Their crown and head plumes are creamy yellow-colored. The legs are bright orange-yellow in adults. Meanwhile, immatures are brown with cream and white streaks, especially the underparts. Their legs are a dull yellow-green.

Yellow-crowned Night Herons are primarily nocturnal and are often seen foraging in shallow water. They use their sharp bills to catch fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic animals and may roost in trees during the day.

While they are solitary birds, they can be seen gathering in small groups during the breeding season. Yellow-crowned Night Herons are monogamous birds and typically nest on their own or in a few colonies.

Fun Fact: Courtship displays between Yellow-crowned Night Herons involve a circle flight, which is used for territorial defense, as well as a neck-stretching display.

Have you encountered any of the long-legged bird species from our list before? Which of them interested you the most? We would like to know your thoughts on the comments below. You may also ask any questions you may have about any of these birds.

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