22 Amazing Purple Bird Species

Amazing purple bird species

It’s rare to see the color purple in the environment, and this is also a fact when it comes to purple birds. Though uncommon, this coloration exists in some bird species around the world, which is quite an amusing sight!

These purple birds also exhibit an air of extravagance that will be hard to ignore. But despite having the purple color as a shared physical attribute, these birds are still different in many ways.

Purple birds are diverse in habitat, range, and feeding behavior to diet content. All of them are equally charming, though, so you’ll enjoy learning more about them in this guide.

22 Species of Purple Birds

1. Purple Starling

Purple Starling
Scientific NameLamprotornis purpureus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length8.7–10.6 in (22–27 cm)
Weight3.7–4.9 oz (91–140 g)
LifespanUp to 20 years

The Purple Starling is a plump bird that is common and widespread in tropical Africa. They inhabit various savanna dwellings — from moist broadleaf woodlands to arid savanna and thorn scrub.

Specifically, their range covers the southern Sahel region, adjoining parts of West Africa on the continent’s eastern side, all the way up to northwest Kenya.

When it comes to appearance, Purple Starlings are quite large starlings, measuring 8.7 to 10.6 inches in length and weighing between 3.7 and 4.9 ounces.

Moreover, male and female Purple Starlings have striking metallic purple heads and bodies. They also have huge yellow eyes, brilliant green wings, and short tails.

Meanwhile, younger birds are generally duller in color, possessing gray underparts and brown irises.

Also known as Purple Glossy Starling, these species often gather in flocks, typically with other starling species. They are also omnivorous, eating both insects and fruits.

Purple Starlings are also quite vocal birds. From simple babbling and nasal shrieks to smooth, rippling calls — you can expect these purple birds to be there vocalizing.

2. Purple Martin

Purple Martin
Scientific NameProgne subis
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length7.5–7.9 in (19–20 cm)
Weight1.6–2.1 oz (45–60 g)
Wingspan15.3–16.1 in (39–41 cm)
LifespanUp to 14 years

The next purple bird on the list is the Purple Martin, the largest swallow in North America. Purple Martins have broad chests, stocky, somewhat hooked bills, short tails, and conical wings.

These birds are examples of sexually dimorphic birds, meaning the males and females of this species exhibit differing appearances.

The adult males sport iridescent dark purple-blue feathers and brown-black wings and tails, while female Purple Martins are grayer on the head and chest and exhibit steel blue iridescence on top of their heads and backs.

These birds are also identified as one of the black birds with blue heads. Likewise, a juvenile Purple Martin is duller in color, having white bellies and lacking the purplish color.

Purple Martins are highly social birds that do well around humans. As aerial insectivores, they eat large amounts of flying insects, one of the reasons why humans love to have them around as neighbors.

It is commonly nested in colonies with many Martins in one spot. In the eastern United States, they nest in nest boxes and martin houses almost exclusively, while in the west, they nest in natural cavities.

As long-distance migrants, Purple Martins migrate in flocks to South America’s Amazon basin for winter.

3. Violet-backed Starling

Violet backed Starling
Scientific NameCinnyricinclus leucogaster
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length6.5–7 in (17–18 cm)
Weight1.3–2 oz (39–56 g)
Lifespan4–7.3 years

Another bird that fits in the purple bird category is the Violet-backed Starling, the smallest bird species among the starlings in South Africa, measuring 6.5 to 7 inches in length and weighing 1.3 to 2 ounces.

Violet-backed Starlings, also called the Plum-colored Starlings, are also sexually dimorphic birds. Despite different appearances between genders, adult Violet-backed Starlings have distinct dark bills and lemon-yellow eyes.

As usual, males have bright colors and are iridescent — making them more appealing to females. Depending on the light, they can show shades of plum-violet plumage to purple-blue. Their underparts and vents are white.

On the contrary, female birds and juveniles are drastically more subdued in color. They have brown streaking in their white bellies and dark brown streaking on their upper parts.

Violet-backed Starlings can be found in open forests, marshy woodlands, and wooded parklands of mainland sub-Saharan Africa. These small birds migrate north towards the Sahara when the cold sets in the south.

These purple birds are among the 90% of bird species that are monogamous. They travel in pairs in small flocks during migration and nest and rear their young together during the breeding season.

4. Purple Grenadier

Purple Grenadier
Scientific NameGranatina ianthinogaster
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length5.25–5.5 in (13–14 cm)
Weight0.4 oz (12 g)
Wingspan5.9–6.2 in (15–16cm)
LifespanUp to 7 years

Also among the purple bird breeds is the Purple Grenadier, a small bird commonly found in various savanna and forest habitats in East African countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Purple Grenadiers are also dimorphic. Both sexes share a red beak and black tail, but males are more brightly colored. They boast of purple bellies, rufous or reddish-brown hoods, and purple-red around the eyes.

On the other hand, female Purple Grenadiers are predominantly rufous to light brown. They have faint blue patches above and below their eyes, white bellies, and purple tail feathers.

Purple Grenadiers gather in small flocks, occasionally blending in with other species. However, when breeding season comes, they separate.

They feed on various foods, such as insects and grass seeds, but they particularly eat aphids, termites, and spiders.

These purple birds exhibit quite a striking and extensive courtship process. Mating birds raise their young together, usually building a nest in low shrubs or bushes.

Moreover, Purple Grenadiers send a piercing and demonstrative call and perform a lisping, shrilling song.

Here’s a pair of Purple Grenadiers for your viewing pleasure:

Purple grenadier {Spanish:Granadero Morado}(Uraeginthus ianthinogaster)

5. Purple Honeycreeper

Purple Honeycreeper
Scientific NameCyanerpes caeruleus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length4–4.5 in (10.5–11 cm)
Weight0.4 oz (12 g)
LifespanUp to 17 years

The Purple Honeycreeper is normally found in northern South America, particularly in the Amazon rainforest in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

These tiny birds like staying in forest canopies, woodland edges, and gardens, but it’s not unusual to see them reside in cocoa and citrus plantations. They don’t migrate.

Male and female Purple Honeycreepers are contrasting. Males have vibrant blue-purple feathers, black wings, throats, and bellies; long, arched bills; and bright yellow legs. The blue tail has two black feathers in the center.

Meanwhile, female birds have vivid lime green feathers on their upper parts, with reddish plumage on their heads. A female Purple Honeycreeper also has green streaking on its light brownish-yellow belly.

These opportunistic feeders have quite an extensive list of food choices. They eat insects, berries, seeds, fruits, and nectar. When Purple Honeycreepers eat fruit, they will hang upside down as they eat the seeds.

Purple Honeycreepers prefer to be in small groups, usually mixing with other species. Females build their nests in trees and raise the hatchlings alone. Meanwhile, males may show aggression during the breeding season.

6. Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule
Scientific NamePorphyrio martinicus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length13–14.6 in (33–37 cm)
Weight7.2–10.3 oz (203–291 g)
Wingspan21.6–22.1 in (55–56 cm)
LifespanUp to 22 years

The Purple Gallinule is a medium-sized bird from the southeastern United States, specifically in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

You can also find these purple-colored birds in Central and South America, as well as the West Indies. Purple Gallinules like to stay in dense freshwater wetlands, especially in lagoons, swamps, or ponds with floating vegetation.

The adult Purple Gallinule is characterized by a purple-blue head and body, greenish wings and back, a baby blue facial shield, a red beak, and long yellow legs and feet.

For this, they’re also called Yellow-legged Gallinule. They are also part of our list of birds with long legs.

Immatures exhibit very little sign of this bright hue, mostly brown on their upper parts and khaki below with much paler bills and legs. However, they start showing their purple plumage slowly around their first year.

Visiting my friend in Louisiana, I can’t help but observe these beautiful birds gathering near their area.

I would often see them fly short distances with their legs hanging down. These Purple Gallinules also reminded me of domestic chickens when they foraged.

They walked gracefully on the muddy edges, examining the surrounding greenery and aquatic vegetation with their extended necks as they looked for frogs, fruits, and tubers.

Purple Gallinules in tropical zones like Costa Rica and Panama often have several broods yearly. The previous Purple Gallinule offsprings help parents feed and defend the new chicks — an unusual behavior for rails.

7. Violet Sabrewing

Violet Sabrewing
Scientific NameCampylopterus hemileucurus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length5.9 in (15 cm)
Weight0.3–0.4 oz (9–12 g)
Wingspan3.25 in (8.2 cm)
Lifespan3–5 years

A Violet Sabrewing is a large, non-migratory hummingbird — the largest that exists in its family outside of South America.

Violet Sabrewings cover an extensive geographic range across the neotropics, so you can expect to see them in parts of northern Mexico to El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras in Central America.

Male and female Violet Sabrewings also vary in appearance. Males have predominantly vibrant purple feathers that can appear blackish until the sunlight shines. They have green backsides as well.

On the other hand, females are dark green and gray, with violet plumage on their throats. Despite their differences, both sexes share a long, arched, black beak, which they use to extract nectar from flowering plants.

Because they’re mainly nectarivorous, Violet Sabrewings are most attracted to brightly colored flowers. However, they also eat little insects like flies, ants, spiders, and beetles. Occasionally, they’d eat non-insect arthropods.

These purple birds also play an important role in the ecosystem and global food supply. As pollinators, they pollinate various tropical plants while feeding on nectar, like the trees that shade coffee plantations.

Therefore, without Violet Sabrewings and birds of their kind, local coffee production would be reduced since there would be no trees to shade them.

8. Varied Bunting

Varied Bunting
Scientific NamePasserina versicolor
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length4.3–5.5 in (11–14 cm)
Weight0.4–0.5 oz (11–13 g)
Wingspan8.3 in (21 cm)

The next of the purple bird breeds is the Varied Bunting, a chunky but delicate songbird that has a lightly angled tail and a short, tapered bill that is more curved compared to other buntings.

The Varied Bunting’s physical attributes also vary between sexes. Mature male Varied Buntings are brightly colored, boasting a rich purple plumage in their body with a blue patch above their tails.

Males appear darker, but their magnificent coloring shines with sunlight. Their nape and throats are red, foreheads blue, and cheeks purplish. Females are more muted, with light brown colors and fewer markings.

Despite their vivid color, Varied Buntings prefer to keep a low profile. They like scrubby habitats with hilly slopes like riparian zones, desert washes, and stream passages, and they nest between near sea level and 4,000 feet above.

However, like most desert species, Varied Buntings’ life cycle depends on rain. So if there’s a delay in summer rains, they will not nest until August at the latest.

These purple birds, found mostly in Mexico, can also be seen in the southern borders of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico in the United States.

9. Purple-breasted Cotinga

Purple breasted Cotinga
Scientific NameCotinga cotinga
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length7 in (18 cm)
Weight2.5 oz (70 g)

The Purple-breasted Cotinga is also one of the purple bird breeds that can be found in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, and the region of French Guiana.

These non-migratory species are often found in neotropical, damp rainforests. They are canopy experts, but it’s uncommon to see them in lowland forests.

As medium-sized birds, the appearance of Purple-breasted Cotingas is also drastically different between genders. However, they share the quality of having a small head and a chunky body.

Males are hard to ignore if spotted in good light. They sport vivid pinkish purple on their throats, breasts, and bellies, highlighted by a darker shade of purple (which can appear navy blue) on their heads and backs.

On the contrary, female Purple-breasted Cotingas have a dark brown coloration and are evidently scalloped throughout their bodies.

Purple-breasted Cotingas consume fruit, berries, and insects. They usually feed on masting trees or bush, like mistletoe, by plucking the fruits. They might vomit larger seeds but swallow smaller ones.

The bluish-purple color of their subcutaneous and perivisceral fats is actually from the blue color of the berries they eat.

10. Purple Finch

Purple Finch
Scientific NameHaemorhous purpureus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length4.7–6.3 in (12–16 cm)
Weight0.6–1.1 oz (18–32 g)
Wingspan8.7–10.2 in (22–26 cm)
LifespanUp to 14 years

The Purple Finch is a little but chunky forest bird with a strong, conical beak that is larger than all sparrows. Their tails are short and notched at the tips.

As sexually dimorphic species, male Purple Finches are again more visually compelling than females. They have purplish read heads, breasts, and upper parts.

The bellies are lighter with fuzzy red streaks. These males are also identified under the species of birds with red heads.

Meanwhile, the females and first-year males appear plainer and lack the bright reddish-purple coloration found in adult males. They’re streaked with brown-and-white and have dark cheeks and a defined pattern on the head.

Purple Finches primarily spend the breeding season in coniferous or mixed forests in North America and the West Coast. In winter, they occupy a wider variety of dwellings, like woodland edges, shrublands, old fields, or gardens.

However, Purple Finches are unpredictable migrants, usually leaving their breeding grounds to winter in the central and southeastern United States. They will return to particular regions approximately every other year, though.

Additionally, those that breed in the northeastern United States by the Pacific Coast may stay there and not migrate.

The diet of Purple Finches mostly consists of seeds, berries, and buds during winter. In the summer, they also eat insects like beetles and caterpillars.

11. Purple-bearded Bee-eater

Purple bearded Bee eater
Scientific NameMeropogon forsteni
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length9.8–10.2 in (25–26 cm)

Although it doesn’t have violet plumage throughout its body, the Purple-bearded Bee-eater also deserves a spot in this list of purple bird breeds. These birds are endemic to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.

Purple-bearded Bee-eaters are large bee-eaters with distinctive dark purple coloration on their faces extending down to their throats. This eye-catching hue is broader in the throats of males.

As a colorful species, they also have green backs, wings, and tail streamers that can add up to 2.4 inches to their length. Purple-bearded Bee-eaters also have dark brown lower bellies and green and russet tail feathers.

Additionally, they have a blackish forehead and crown and a chocolatey color on their nape and sides of the neck. Younger birds are greener in the underparts, less purple, and don’t have long tail streamers.

These birds usually inhabit open areas of rainforests, settling in thickets, canopies, clearings, or edges of forests within the foothills or mountains of Sulawesi from sea level to 6,070 feet above.

Purple-bearded Bee-eaters mainly feed on flying insects like bees, dragonflies, wasps, and beetles. They forage while perched in treetops.

12. Purplish Jay

Purplish Jay
Scientific NameCyanocorax cyanomelas
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length14.3 in (36.5 cm)
Weight6.53–7.41 oz (185–210 g)
LifespanUp to 7 years

The Purplish Jay is a big, dark jay that lives in portions of South American countries like southeastern Peru, northern Argentina, southern Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Their intense purplish-blue tints characterize them. This predominant plumage color is complemented by a black mask that goes down to their breasts.

Purplish Jays prefer to dwell in subtropical or tropical dry, moist lowland, or heavily degraded former forests. Specifically, they like to stay in the mid-to-upper canopy of tall woodlands or forest edges.

These birds move noisily in family groups of five to eight individuals, and they normally have Plush-crested Jays with them.

When it comes to diet, Purplish Jays are omnivores, feeding mostly on fruits and invertebrates like spiders and worms. However, they also eat other insects, as well as seeds and nuts, and occasionally, they’ll take carrion.

Purplish Jays are highly similar to Violaceous Jays except for their darker plumage. These two species overlap in southeastern Peru, where the former is less common and lives in a superior habitat.

Purplish Jays are monogamous. The females produce three to four eggs, which they incubate for 17 to 18 days.

13. Purple-crested Turaco

Purple crested Turaco
Scientific NameGallirex porphyreolophus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length16.53–18.11 in (42–46 cm)
Weight7.69–11.46 oz (218–325 g)

A Purple-crested Turaco is an attractive iridescent bird that can be found in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

As their name suggests, adult Purple-crested Turacos have deeply purpled crests. However, there’s more color to them than that. Their heads are green, their eyes are covered with a red ring, and their bills are black.

Moreover, their necks and chests combine the colors green and brown. The rest of their bodies are clad in purple, with an olive tint mixed in pink. Juveniles are paler in comparison.

Purple-crested Turacos inhabit moist and coastal forests, conifer thickets, and riparian areas. They are also well-adapted to suburban life, so they can be spotted in parks, gardens, and even exotic plantations.

These purple birds forage in canopies, feeding almost exclusively on wild and cultivated fruits and some buds. They perch at the end of branches, eating small fruits in whole and cutting larger ones into pieces using their bills. 

Purple-crested Turacos are usually seen alone, in pairs, and sometimes in small flocks of 4 to 5 birds. They’re mainly arboreal, only occasionally going down to drink or bathe.

14. Violet-green Swallow

Violet green Swallow
Image credit: nekosamimages / Instagram
Scientific NameTachycineta thalassina
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length4.7 in (12 cm)
Weight0.5 oz (14 g)
Wingspan10.6 in (27 cm)
LifespanUp to 9 years

The Violet-green Swallow is a little social swallow that has a slightly curved tail and long, pointed wings. When they’re perched, their wing tips notably stretch beyond their short tails.

The upper parts of these birds can look dark, and their underparts are clear white when you first see them. But exposure to good sunlight would reveal an appealing turquoise-green back and iridescent violet rump.

Compared to males, which exhibit vivid colors along with patches of white on the cheeks, females and juveniles are paler on the upper parts, displaying grayish-brown backs and crowns.

All Violet-green Swallows have crisp white flanks that extend to their underparts to the upper side of their rumps, which appear like “saddlebags.”

During the breeding season, you’ll find these species in North America as far as Alaska, in open habitats like a conifer, deciduous, or mixed forest, especially those that have trees with cavities.

They migrate to Mexico and northern Central America for the winter. They typically forage over meadows, ponds, lakes, and streams to look for flying insects that they can eat.

Violet-green Swallows are poorly studied compared to other North American swallows, mostly due to their choice of nesting location, usually in remote, high areas like cliffs and mountain forests.

15. Violet Cuckoo

Violet Cuckoo
Scientific NameChrysococcyx xanthorhynchus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length5.9 in (15 cm)
Weight0.71 oz (20 g)

The Violet Cuckoo is a small, slow-moving cuckoo that also exhibits sexual dimorphism. Like other species, the male birds are the ones that sport violet plumage, while the females have duller hues.

Adult male Violet Cuckoos have glossy violet-purple heads, upper breasts, and backs, contrasted by their white-barred underparts. Their bills are vibrant orange with a red base.

Meanwhile, females have greenish-brown upper parts with wavier and duller barring to their faces. Younger birds are like females but have rufous-chestnut crowns and darker rufous tints to their wings.

Female and juvenile Violet Cuckoos actually resemble the female Asian Emerald Cuckoo or the Little Bronze Cuckoo, save for their crimson-bronze tinged with green foreheads, crowns, napes, backs, and darker bills.

These species can be found in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, and southeast Asian countries Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The natural habitats of Violet Cuckoos include tropical or subtropical moist lowland or mangrove forests. They can also dwell in rural gardens, urban parks, orchards, and rubber plantations.

These birds are mainly insectivorous, but they also eat fruits. They typically pick out insects by coming up and down tree branches when foraging.

16. Violet-crowned Woodnymph

Violet crowned Woodnymph
Scientific NameThalurania colombica
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length4 in (10.2 cm)
Weight0.16 oz (4.5 g)
LifespanUp to 8 years

Although the Violet-crowned Woodnymph is better suited to be among the purple-tinged honorable mentions, it still deserves a spot on this list for its stunning plumage.

Violet-crowned Woodnymphs, also called Purple-crowned Woodnymphs or simply Crowned Woodnymphs, are medium-sized hummingbirds that are found in Central and South America, often in Guatemala, Belize, and Peru.

These birds also display differing appearances between genders. Males possess radiant plumage, with a violet-colored crown, shoulder, upper back, and belly, and emerald green throat, breast, and lower back.

Meanwhile, females are quite plainer but still dazzling with their bright green upper parts, paler green underparts, and gray throat and breasts. They also have a black bill, green-speckled flanks, and a blue-black tail with white.

Regarding natural habitat, Violet-crowned Woodnymphs frequent conifer forests and edges of tropical lowlands. They prefer to forage near streams and settle at low to mid levels of covered thickets.

Violet-crowned Woodnymphs will also come to feeders, especially those situated on forest edges and in clearings.

These species mainly eat nectar from epiphytes, shrubs, and small trees. Males feed aggressively in the canopy and fight for the chunks of flowers and scrubs in their feeding territories.

During one of my bird-spotting trips in Belize, I had the opportunity to be amazed by the aerial dynamics of Violet-crowned Woodnymphs.

As I patiently watched them in their native habitat, I was able to catch them not just hovering in place but flying directly forward, backward, sideways, and even upside down! This shows the amazing and unique aerial ability of hummingbirds in general.

17. Violet-bellied Hummingbird

Violet bellied Hummingbird
Scientific NameChlorestes julie
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length3.3 in (8.5 cm)
Weight0.12 oz (3.5 g)
LifespanUp to 4.2 years

The Violet-bellied Hummingbird can be seen from southern Central America to northwestern South America. Though frequently seen in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru, they’re occasionally spotted in Costa Rica too.

These small hummingbirds occupy thickets in subtropical or tropical humid forests, moist lowland forests, regrowth forests, and woodland edges.

Like other purple birds on this list, male Violet-bellied Hummingbirds are more colorful than their female counterparts. They are mainly green with violet bellies, with slightly notched and murky tails.

Meanwhile, females have green upper parts and gray under parts, with varying degrees of green mottling on the sides of their heads, throats, breasts, and bellies. Both sexes have short and straight bills.

Violet-bellied Hummingbirds are often confused with woodnymphs. To make the distinction, look for their smaller size and straighter bill.

These birds are widely known to be nectarivorous, but they also consume small arthropods like other birds. They feed on nectar from many flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs, and epiphytes.

These birds are polygynous, with the males mating with multiple females. After mating, though, they leave females to raise the chicks. The female Violet-bellied Hummingbirds also create a nest in a shrub or tree.

18. Purple-throated Mountain Gem

Purple throated Mountain Gem
Scientific NameLampornis calolaemus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length3.9–4.5 in (10–11.5 cm)
Weight0.16–0.21 oz (4.5–6 g)

A medium-sized hummingbird, the Purple-throated Mountain Gem can be found in forested areas in the mountains of southern Nicaragua, northern Costa Rica, and western Panama.

Compared to the other purple-colored birds, purple is only present in males, specifically in their throats. They also have mostly greenish bronze plumage, green crowns, and dark gray tails.

Females lack vibrant crowns and throats and sport an intense cinnamon color on their bellies. Immatures are like females, but their upper plumage has buff tints on the edges. Both sexes have slightly arched, black bills.

The diet of Purple-throated Mountain Gems mainly consists of nectar from a wide variety of flowers and insects. These birds are the basic pollinators of the tropical plants Psychotria elata and Palicourea lasiorrachis (Rubiaceae).

These birds might also drop by local hummingbird feeders for sugar water. It’s also possible for them to drink out of bird baths or water fountains by hovering or perching on the edge before sipping.

Purple-throated Mountain Gems breed during the rainy season between October and April. Females take charge when building the nest, incubating the eggs, and rearing the chicks.

19. Common Grackle

Common Grackle
Scientific NameQuiscalus quiscula
Conservation StatusNear Threatened
Length11–13.4 in (28–34 cm)
Weight2.6–5.0 oz (74–142 g)
Wingspan14.2–18.1 in (36–46 cm)
LifespanUp to 22 years

The Common Grackles is a big, slender, and glossy blackbird with both long legs and tail that are found in North America. It is flat-headed and possesses a downward-curved bill longer than most blackbirds.

Common Grackles will look plain black from afar, but up close, you’ll be dazzled by their shiny purple heads, iridescent bronzy bodies, and striking yellow eyes. Meanwhile, females are a little less glossy than males.

These birds inhabit rural fields and barnyards, as well as city parks and suburban backyards. They also frequent open habitats like forests, grasslands, marshes, and forest edges.

You’ll likely see them flying across lawns and agricultural fields or perched noisily on trees or telephone lines.

These species prefer to forage in large groups, pecking for food rather than scratching using their feet. Because they forage in large flocks and eat ripening corn and corn sprouts, Grackles are the primary threat to corn.

During winter, these birds roost and forage in collective flocks — that can occasionally reach millions of individuals — along with other blackbird species.

Common Grackles visit feeders; where they do, they usually rule over smaller birds. They’ll eat various mixed grains and seeds in backyards, preferably scattered on the ground.

20. Purple-crowned Fairywren

Purple crowned Fairywren
Scientific NameMalurus coronatus
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length5.5 in (14 cm) 
Weight0.32–0.46 oz (9–13 g)
Wingspan6.3 in (16 cm) 
LifespanUp to 17 years

The Purple-crowned Fairywren is endemic to Australia. They are sexually dimorphic, so the sexes exhibit different plumages, with the breeding males having bright purple crowns contrasted by black eye lines and collars.

Females lack bright crowns and instead have gray heads and dark rusty patches on their cheeks. Both sexes share a brown back, wings, and a faint buff on the belly. They also have long blue tails.

These energetic birds typically inhabit banks of rivers, especially if there is a presence of Pandanus trees, shrubs, and long, lush vegetation.

These species are territorial and sedentary, forming small family flocks of two to six or more birds. They feed on various insects and bits of seeds on the ground. They like to forage in thickets in detached groups.

Purple-crowned Fairywrens are also monogamous. Groups are typically composed of breeding pairs that are aided by up to six of their offspring from previous broods to raise the young.

Unfortunately, feral herbivores and wildfires are destroying the Purple-crowned Fairywren’s dense riparian habitat, which is sensitive to fire. This is why these species have been disappearing in parts of their range.

21. Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher
Scientific NameTerpsiphone atrocaudata
Conservation StatusNear Threatened
Length7.1–8.3 in (18–21 cm)
Weight0.4–0.8 oz (12–23 g)

The Japanese Paradise Flycatcher is a medium-sized songbird that likes to dwell in mature, shaded deciduous, and evergreen forests. 

Male Japanese Paradise Flycatchers boast purplish-black upper parts, which turn white below. They also have a short crest, neon-blue eye rings, and stunning long, black tail streamers.

Conversely, females lack the streamers and are predominantly dark gray in the head and chest. Their eye rings appear faded, as well as their wings and tail, which are chestnut-brown. Their crests are also shorter.

The range of Japanese Paradise Flycatchers is within Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the northern Philippines. They mostly breed in Japan and Korea.

However, they are non-breeding visitors of China, Hong Kong, Sumatra, Russia, and southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

When it comes to foraging techniques, Japanese Paradise Flycatchers are known to hover, glean, hawk, or sally in canopies for their prey, which are mainly insects like flies, ants, beetles, moths, butterflies, spiders, and more.

Sadly, these species are considered near threatened, which means they are rapidly declining due to habitat deterioration and loss of wintering grounds, so they should be cautiously monitored.

22. Common Scimitarbill

Common Scimitarbill
Scientific NameRhinopomastus cyanomelas
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Length9.4–11 in (24–28 cm)
Weight1.2 oz (35 g)
Lifespan8–9 years

Aside from the male’s predominantly dark purple, with hints of yellow plumage, one of the most remarkable features of the Common Scimitarbill is its slim, black bill that’s firmly curved downward.

Meanwhile, females and juveniles are browner on their chests. The tail tips of both sexes reveal a white color while in flight, as well as a line of white near the wing tips. The beaks of juveniles are gray.

Common Scimitarbills closely resemble Black Scimitarbills, but the latter has a shorter tail and shorter and less decurved bill. They can also be distinguished from Abyssinian Scimitarbills with an orange bill.

These birds are found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Further, Common Scimitarbills stay away from forests and prefers to inhabit dry, broad-leaved woodlands. These non-migratory bird species often joins mixed-species flocks and forages for insects by climbing on tree trunks.

Have you seen any of these purple birds in their natural habitats? Share your experience in the comments, along with any questions you may have about these colorful birds!

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