Top 10 Birds with Surprisingly Long Tail Feathers

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Upon considering birds with remarkably long tail feathers, the peacock is perhaps the first species that comes to mind. But if you go further into the world’s plains, jungles, and woods, you’ll come across a lot of species that have amazing plumage, from vivid colors to unexpectedly long tail feathers.

In this section, we’ll examine ten global instances, learn some essential feathery lingo, and address a number of frequently asked questions, including how those tail feathers get so long. What use do birds make of them, then? Let’s get right to it: ten instances of birds from various parts of the globe having lengthy tail feathers.

Ten Birds with Tail Feathers Long

1. Australia’s Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

As the name implies, the male of this species of bird of paradise has very long, white tail feathers that like lovely ribbons and may sometimes reach a length of one meter. To put this into perspective, consider that the tail of a Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia may grow to be more than three times the length of its body! Its typical length is 32 cm!

Males gather into leks and bounce from branch to branch while flapping their tail feathers during mating season. This is said to be an acrobatic display intended to wow women (check out the pictures and videos here!). Their gorgeous pom-pom-like plume atop their iridescent green faces would win me over any day, even without their eye-catching white ribbons!

Because to habitat degradation and poaching, this endemic species of Papua New Guinea is listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as Near Threatened.

See astrapia/ for further information.

2. Southern American Scarlet Macaw

We shall encounter the Scarlet Macaw if we continue our flight to South America’s subtropical jungles. Macaws are highly recognized for their vivid colors and, most notably, for being the infamously naughty pet of pirate captains. Because of their extreme sociality, these birds may be heard for kilometers around in their massive, boisterous groups that assemble in the forest canopy.

Out of all macaw species, scarlet macaws have the longest tail feathers, which are striking in colors of red and blue. They engage in geophagy, or eating clay! It is believed that they consume clay as a snack to offset the harmful effects of certain foods.

Sadly, scarlet macaws are severely overfished in the pet sector and are losing their natural habitat. Nonetheless, remarkable new initiatives, like this one in Mexico, are being undertaken to save and return this bird to its native environment.

3. Flycatcher with scissors-tailed (North America)

The Scissor-tailed flycatcher is one bird that enhances its agility in flying by using exquisitely long tail feathers. Generally found on the plains of Texas, USA, this bird is smaller and less showy than the macaw.

Males most prominently display their sleek, forked tail feathers in black and white, together with a brilliant salmon underside, during the “sky dance,” an intricate and elegant courting dance that is highlighted by flowing tail feathers. The state bird of Oklahoma, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, is featured in these images and videos.

The good news is that the IUCN lists the Scissor-tailed flycatcher as “Least Concern,” despite its wide distribution and substantial population.

4. African Long-tailed Widowbird

This species is another where the males are the only ones with remarkably long black tails (check out the images and videos here!). Since the majority of this bird is black, it has been named the “widowbird” in honor of the former tradition that widows would wear black for a certain amount of time after their spouses passed away. The long-tailed widowbird’s tail, which resembles the train of a lavish bridal gown, flows out behind them and may include eye-catching bursts of crimson, orange, and white.

The males establish a territory and perform a leisurely, elegant show for each female that approaches them during the mating season. Because they are polygynous, males may attract up to five females for mating by putting on an amazing show and weaving a nest.

More wonderful news: the IUCN lists the long-tailed widowbird’s conservation status as Least-Concern because of its wide range and steady population dynamics.

5. Asia’s Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo

The Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo is another magnificent black species with long tails. Both genders’ tails have a striking resemblance to hockey rackets or sticks—the outer tail feathers are lengthy and have a slender spine that ends in points that resemble pendants (check out the pictures and videos here!). This species is very skilled in mimicking the sounds of other birds, which is thought to assist them blend in with mixed-species flocks by effectively acting like other birds! Let’s break down food kleptoparasitism, another cunning characteristic of them, into its component parts:

Food is the simple part! They have a food-related trait.
Klepto: You may have heard the word “klepto” used in conjunction with the term “kleptomaniac.” A mental health condition known as kleptomania causes an overwhelming desire to steal something. The name Klepto is derived from the Greek word Kleptein, which means “to steal.”
The state in which one living organism (the parasite) feeds on and harms another living organism (the host) is referred to as parasitism. A few instances would be fleas that reside on dogs and cats and attack our cherished companions in order to get blood. The fleas profit from this because they can thrive on blood—yes, that’s awful—while the dogs suffer from very itchy bites!

Food kleptoparasitism, therefore, is the term used to describe the naughty Greater Racket-Tailed Drongos’ tendency to pilfer food that has been captured or collected by other animals. really sly!

6. Jamaican Red-Billed Streamertail

The Red-Billed Streamertail, an indigenous hummingbird to Jamaica, is the smallest bird on our list. The males have lengthy black tail feathers that are more than twice as long as their bodies, and both genders have a gorgeous, scale-like, iridescent green body. (Here are some pictures and videos!)

This bird, which is also a popular species, is the national bird of Jamaica. Because of its black tail streamers, which resemble the long coattails of vintage physicians, the bird is known locally as the “doctorbird.” The Streamertail was known as the “godbird” by the Arawak Indians, who were the first people to live in Jamaica. They thought it was the spirit of their deceased ancestors returning to life.

It’s interesting to note that males exhibit a high-pitched whining sound on their tail feathers when in flight as a means of luring females.

7. African Speckled Mousebird (Sub-Saharan)

The Speckled Mousebird more than makes up for its lack of color on our list with its adorable fluffy head crest and long, flowing tail feathers. This species gets its name from the resemblance of a mouse’s tail to the body’s grey and brown tones. Like Scarlet Macaws, they mostly eat fruit and engage in geophagy. (Here are some pictures and videos!)

Because fruit has a poor calorific value and doesn’t give much energy, Speckled Mousebirds often sunbathe in the sun to raise their body temperatures. Thus, in order to save energy, these birds deliberately lower their body temperature via a process known as torpor, and then they reawaken by sunbathing.

8. Taiwan Blue Magpie

The Taiwan Blue Magpie is another rare and endangered bird that can only be found in Taiwan. Its limited distribution indicates that the conservation efforts are effective, since the IUCN has classed it as Least Concern. This bird has a long, dark purple/blue tail that is tipped with white, and its primary color is an iridescent dark purple/blue. Its legs and beak are bright red. (Here are some pictures and videos!)

Observing from a safe distance is generally a good idea because of their aggressive behavior and willingness to go to great lengths to keep others away from their nests! Taiwan Blue Magpies fly in flocks that follow each other closely, beak to tail, and sometimes form a single, continuous line that is silhouetted against the sky.

9. Common/Ring-Necked Pheasant

In spite of its name, the Common Pheasant has a really distinctive appearance! The males have a brilliant red wattle, an iridescent green head, and an impressive assortment of patterns in orange, bronze, and brown tones. Although the tails of both sexes are lengthy, the male’s tail has more pronounced banding. Actually, people from all over the globe have been using the tail feathers as decorations for a variety of items, including carnival costumes and centrepieces.

This species, which is originally Asian, has been extensively imported to North America, New Zealand, and a large portion of Europe, mainly for use as a gamebird for shooting and hunting. These areas are now home to several wild or feral populations, some of which are terrifying the countryside with their startlingly loud, laugh-like sounds when disturbed!

10. Tropics: White-Tailed Tropicbird

The White-Tailed Tropicbird may be found flying across tropical and subtropical parts of the planet from the Southern Indian Ocean to the Caribbean, via the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This species is a seabird that soars over cliffs and seas, leaving two long, white tail streamers behind it. They can glide for long stretches of time because of their dart-like bodies, small wings, and tail feathers.

Unusually, in a sophisticated courting ritual like to a synchronized dance, both sexes utilize their tails. An amazing aerial performance occurs as one bird soars over the other, delicately bending its tail feathers to touch the tail of the bird below! (Here are some pictures and videos!)

Fantastic news! Another species has been classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN.

FAQs about Long-Tailed Feathering Birds

After seeing some exquisite instances of birds with lengthy tail feathers, you may be asking why these birds have such very long tails. How did this happen? What in the world are they using these for? Let’s examine the hows and whys of long-tailed birds in more detail.

What caused some bird species to develop such lengthy tail feathers?

There is always mystery and dispute in science, and the long-tailed bird field is no exception. While some scientists believe that the development of long tail feathers helped birds fly by increasing their aerodynamic capabilities, others believe that long tail feathers were selected for by females throughout the course of a species’ evolution via a process known as sexual selection.

First, let’s examine aerodynamism. Having a tail of any length may aid a bird’s balance and agility in flight. Depending on whether they wish to fly faster or slower, birds utilize their tails to increase or decrease drag. This capacity may be enhanced by a longer tail, as in the case of scissor-tailed flycatchers.

But if you see yourself moving like a widowbird, trailing a long train akin to a bridal dress behind you wherever you go, that’s going to slow you down! This is where the sexual selection idea enters the picture.

Males and females of various species choose partners via a process known as sexual selection. Numerous research on long-tailed birds have shown that females like males with longer tails. Isn’t personality more important than appearances?”, you say, to my ears. The long-tailed avian equivalent of selecting a man with a strong personality would be to choose a male with a long tail. Males with long tail feathers may be healthy and fit, and they may also be free of parasites and other nasty things.

From the perspective of the female bird, you want a father who will make sure you have the best chance of producing a healthy brood of chicks. Therefore, it’s crucial that he’s in excellent health.

Natural selection, a crucial factor in the development of all living things to this day, is shown by both hypotheses.

Why do men often have longer tail feathers?

The males of the Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia, Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher, and Greater Racket-Tailed Widowbird are the ones with the very long tail feathers, as you may have seen. This phenomenon, known as sexual dimorphism, is widespread among all bird species.

This is often the result of males displaying to females in an attempt to entice possible mates in the avian kingdom. Then, ladies have the responsibility of selecting the finest man (in their view!). Due to this selection process, masculine characteristics like long tail feathers have gotten more and more noticeable over time—we’re talking millions of years—as a result of long-tailed genes being passed down through generations.

This is oversimplifying the situation, but it does help to explain why there is now such an odd and amazing variety of long-tailed bird species in the globe!

How can we assist in safeguarding endangered bird species like the Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia?

Habitat loss is a persistent problem in nature conservation that impacts almost every species on the planet, in addition to other elements like the exploitation of species for trade or hunting. Wait, there’s more positive news! There are many actions that everyone of us may do to help preserve and safeguard threatened bird species, such as:

Education and awareness: it’s simple to educate oneself on these topics thanks to the abundance of material available online and in libraries! And converse with others—we have a lot in common, therefore it’s critical that we impart information and advice to one another. Maybe your buddy has expertise that you don’t? Maybe your neighbor knows a nice place to purchase bird seed?
Encourage groups that strive to protect the environment. For starters, Birdlife International might be a useful resource. Alternatively, use this link to locate a bird conservation group in your area:
Cast your vote against policies that may endanger birds, such as the use of chemical pesticides that may contaminate the food that birds consume or even kill the birds directly.
Make your whole property, including your home and yard, more bird-friendly. For instance, you may feed the birds by buying food that is suitable for birds. Alternatively, to attract animals, grow lovely native flora. See for a few simple methods to assist birds.

There are several methods to support birds, ranging from simple, doable activities to more complex, demanding endeavors. Here are some other suggestions if you would want to support bird conservation:

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