18 Most Amazing Birds with Long Tails

White-throated Magpie-jay
White-throated Magpie-jay

The birds look great. Even greater with elegant and colorful feathers. Do you know the purpose of these feathers? Apart from keeping the bodies warm, the feathers on the wings and tails play a crucial role in making their bodies aerodynamic. The tail feathers help them to navigate through the air. But not all birds use a tail feather for navigation only. Some have elegant tail feathers as adornments that they use for courtship to attract mates. We will discuss the birds with long tails.

Some creatures are just majestic. They are no less than the miracles of nature. There are times when it is hard to believe that they are even real. There are so many birds with beautiful feathers, tails, colors, and patterns. We have covered some of them in our previous articles. This article is all about the ones with long tails. But wait, here we are not going to talk about birds like peacocks who spread their feathers. It is specifically for the ones with tails that are long enough. Here is the list of such 18 birds with long tails.

Birds with Long Tails

1. Long Tailed Widowbirds

The scientific name of the bird is Euplectus progne. This bird is found in vast parts of the African continent in countries like Angola, Botswana, Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia. These are medium-sized birds with extra-large tails.

The feathers are grey-black in color all over the body except for a small patch of white and orange on the shoulders. The beaks are also white in color. Some of their tail feathers are as much as twenty inches long! They mainly eat seeds and sometimes catch insects mid-air. The long tail feathers are only present in males and develop only in adulthood.

Long Tailed Widowbirds
Long Tailed Widowbirds

Image Source: Wikimedia

2. Ribbon Tailed Astrapia

This bird’s native habitat is the highlands of Papua New Guinea where it’s endemic. These birds can have multiple partners during their lifetimes. However, it is categorized as Near Threatened because of its declining population. Their tails are made of two feathers that can reach up to a meter in length. Their bodies are covered in glossy black feathers, while the tail feathers are mostly white. The contrast in the color of the feathers is spectacular. The females are a dull brown color and have shorter tail feathers.

Ribbon Tailed Astrapia
Ribbon Tailed Astrapia

Image Source: Francesco Veronesi

3. Wilson’s Bird of Paradise

The original habitat of this bird is West Papua in Indonesia. They are small birds with colorful feathers. They have blue feathers on the head with a black ‘X’ cross. There are red feathers on the wings and the tail is composed of two diverging rich violet-colored feathers that are extensively carved. They have a bright yellow patch on the back of the neck and their feet are royal blue.

The interesting activity that they participate in is the courtship ritual. The males clear an area in the rainforest and then perform a dance to attract a mate. The dance moves are accompanied by a show of feathers and breast shields along with calls and songs in bird language. However, presently they are categorized as Near Threatened due to overexploitation and loss of natural habitat.

Wilson’s Bird of Paradise
Wilson’s Bird of Paradise

Image Source: Wikimedia

4. Greater Bird of Paradise

The scientific name of this bird is Paradisaea apoda. Like most other birds of paradise, they too live in Papua New Guinea. The ‘apoda’ in the scientific name implied ‘ without feet’. This is because the earlier skin specimens that reached Europe were without feet, and they thought they were birds from paradise that stood afloat with their plumes only. The wings are brown with bright yellowtail and a small patch near the head and neck.

Great Bird of Paradise
Great Bird of Paradise

5. Red-billed Streamertail

Another common name is the scissortail hummingbird. This bird although small has a rather showy tail. The tail is made of two feathers in the shape of scissors. These birds are natively found in the lush green jungles of Jamaica. Like other hummingbirds, they feed on the nectar of flowers that they suck with their thin long beaks. Their bodies are metallic green while the head and tail are black. The underparts are white in color and the wings are a shade of brown. Like other birds on this list, only the males flaunt the long tails while the females have short tails.

The streamertail has a red tail. It is also known as a scissor-tailed hummingbird and the doctor bird. Member of the hummingbird family, it is found in abundance in Jamaica. This is why it is the National bird of Jamaica. They have a long extendable tongue that helps them in catching their prey very easily. The average length of the male streamer is around 10 inches. The tail and the crown of this bird are black in color. Its beak is red in color. Interestingly, this bird was featured in the short story For Your Eyes Only.

Red-billed Streamertail
Red-billed Streamertail

Image Source: Wikimedia

6. Lady Amherst’s Pheasant

This pheasant is named after Sarah Amherst. These birds are natively found in Southern China and parts of northern Myanmar (Burma). Their technical name is Chrysolophus amherstiae. The tail alone is about 80 cm long while the overall body length is about 120 cm. Their underparts are black and white along with red, white, and metallic blue-green colors on the rump. The females aren’t showy and have a dull brown plumage and a shorter tail.

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
Lady Amherst’s Pheasant

7. Superb Lyrebird

These lyrebirds can only be found in lush green jungles in southwestern Australia. They flaunt a really elegant tail. Not just glamour they are talented too. They are excellent in mimicry. They are often found mimicking other animals and birds. The female lyrebirds also sing and mimic.

The elegant tail in the males is composed of many different kinds of feathers. The white ones stay low when the tail is being displayed. There are two feathers on either side of the tail with orange and white colors that they raise over, forming a canopy sort of. There are two other thin ribbon-like feathers that stay over the white feathers but higher. Superb pretty much describes this bird.

The Superb Lyrebird is one of the largest songbirds in the world. This Australian songbird is very famous for its extensive and elaborate tail and also for its courtship displays. These are ground-dwelling birds with a greyish-brown body and their outer wings are red in color. Its tail is around 28 inches long and has the shape of a lyre.

It carries around 16 feathers and two silver feathers. While shivers and spreads its feathers while singing. It is such a heartwarming sight. They are mostly found in the forests of Australia. 

Superb Lyrebird
Superb Lyrebird

Image Source: Wikimedia

8. Asian Paradise Flycatcher

This common name refers to three species, all found in Asia, spread from South Asia to the Amur region. The Tersiphone paradise which is the technical name of the Indian paradise flycatcher is found apart from India, in Myanmar, and in patches in Central Asia.

The glossy black feathers on the head, a light brown plumage on the body, and white underparts present a marvelous display. The tail feathers are also brown in color. They migrate to Southern India and Sri Lanka in wintertime and stay close to the Himalayas in summer.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Image Source: Wikimedia

9. Resplendent Quetzal

This cool bird lives natively in the forests of Central America. This beautiful bird has an important role in the culture of the region. The ancient rulers wore their tail feathers on their crowns. They were and are, held in high regard so much that it was considered a crime to kill these birds. They have green-blue plumage with a bright red feather on the underparts. The long tail is composed of two long green feathers.

Also Read: Top 10 Most Popular Birds In The World

Resplendent Quetzal
Resplendent Quetzal

Image Source: Wikimedia

10. Indian Peafowl

At last, the most elegant bird with mesmerizing feathers has captured human imagination since olden times. The blue Indian peacock boasts a long tail with extensively decorated tail feathers. The beauty of this bird has been recorded in the culture of the region in poems, songs, and paintings.

These birds dance with their tail spread out when the rainy season arrives like they are celebrating the rejuvenation of the land with the rain. The bird is a glossy blue in color while the tail has metallic green feathers. The eye-like patterns are also made of different shades of blue and green. They also have a beautiful crest on the head.

Indian Peafowl
Indian Peafowl

Image Source: Wikimedia

11. White-tailed tropicbird

Looking at this bird is a treat to the eyes. It is beautiful beyond words. It has a white body with some black marks on its wings and a pure whitetail. This seabird has a yellow beak and you can recognize this bird from a distance due to its long tail. Its size is smaller than that of the Red-tailed tropicbird but it looks very graceful while flying. If we talk about its habitat, it is mostly found near Indian Oceans, tropical Atlantic, and western pacific. It nests in Bermuda and it is also the National bird of this country. People there commonly call it ‘the longtail’.

White-tailed tropicbird
White-tailed tropicbird

12. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

This bird is beautiful beyond imagination. It is genuinely miraculous. It has an elongated tail with two feathers, but you’ll see the webbing only on the tips. Its body is silver in color. Its face, tail, and feathers are black in color. The younger ones do not have tail streamers. It develops as they grow. This bird is mostly found in southern parts of India and Sri Lanka and it prefers to live in woodlands and forests.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

13. Common Pheasant

This game bird is one of the ancient birds in the world. Its tail is around 20 inches long. Due to interbreeding, the Pheasants are available in a variety of colors and patterns. With flashing red eyes, their beaks and feet are white in color. Interestingly, it is one of the most hunted birds in the world. This bird was first discovered in Asia and the Balkans, but now it has migrated to other parts of the world as well. You can find them in parts of Canada, Europe, and the United States. Their lifespan varies between 10 to 20 months. 

Common Pheasant
Common Pheasant

14. White-throated Magpie-jay

This bird is not really hard to find. It has a blue and white body and an exceptionally long tail. It is an extremely beautiful bird with curly crest feathers. It can grow up to 30 inches in length. When it comes to chirping, these birds are very loud and they mostly fly in groups, so their sound is even louder. Interestingly, they are not afraid of humans. These are the blue jays that are talked about in the novel “To kill a mockingbird”.

White-throated Magpie-jay
White-throated Magpie-jay

15. Great Argus Pheasant

This beautiful bird with a blue neck and red feet has a long and wide tail. It is bigger in size than the above-mentioned Common Pheasant. The males are around 79 inches in length and their average weight is six pounds. The Argus uses its tail and feathers to woo females. It is one of the beautiful birds with long tails.

They have interesting ways to impress the females as firstly, they clear some space in the forest and then call the females. They spread their two feathers and dance with their moving tail, which looks very fascinating. Sadly, this bird is listed among the vulnerable birds. 

Great Argus Pheasant
Great Argus Pheasant

16. Alexandra’s Parrot

It is also known as Princess Parrot. There are many parrots are birds with long tails but this one tops the list. These medium-sized parrots have amazing talking abilities and are very intelligent. This bird was named after Alexander the great; he had many of these birds. It was considered a bird/pet owned by the elite and the nobles. This is one of the largest birds among the Asian Parakeets. The best quality about this bird is that has a kind and affectionate nature; it develops a close bond with its keeper. Its lifespan is up to the age of forty years.

Alexandra’s Parrot
Alexandra’s Parrot

17. White Bellied Go-Away Bird

They have a soft and furry grey body with a white belly. They have a long tail and a towering crest. When they walk their tail flops up and down. They are quite social and prefer to stay in groups. Do you know where their name come from? It is from their grumpy call that sounds like “go-away”. This bird is mostly found in East Africa. They feed on leaves, flowers, fruits, and buds. It is one of the amazing birds with long tails.

White Bellied Go-Away Bird
White Bellied Go-Away Bird

18. Fork-tailed Flycatcher

This is an eye-catching bird that is mostly found in open habitats like shrublands and agricultural lands. Its length varies between 10 to 16 inches, depending upon its tail size. Its wingspan is around 15 inches wide. Flycatchers have pitch-black faces and tails and their bodies are partly grey and partly brown in color. Their chip notes are quite high and sharp. This bird can be seen in the United States and is often mistaken for a Scissor-tailed flycatcher. 

Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Fork-tailed Flycatcher

This is the list of amazing birds with long tails. Kindly share and do post your comments.

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