12 Breathtaking Purple Birds Worth Spotting

Purple birds include the violet-backed starling, purple finch, and purple honeycreeper. Unlike more common red, yellow, or bluebird species, the rarity of birds with purple feathers makes sightings all the more special. Read on to learn more about the most vivid purple-hued birds worldwide and what makes their vibrant coloring so unique in the bird world.

From glistening starlings to gleaming grackles, regal tanagers to stately swans, purple birds span a diverse range of species. But what unifies them is the distinctive rare blend of biological and structural coloration that sets off their purple plumage. Understanding what makes purple birds so colorful can help you better spot and appreciate these dazzling avians around the world.

49 purple birds

Bird SpeciesBasic Information
Violet-backed starlingWidespread European and Asian birds are known for iridescent plumage.
Purple martinNorth American swallow with glossy purple-blue plumage.
American purple gallinuleColorful marsh bird native to the Americas.
Purple starlingAfrican starling species with iridescent purple and green plumage.
Purple honeycreeperTropical bird in the Americas with vibrant purple and blue coloring.
Common starlingNorth American bird with reddish-purple plumage, particularly in males.
Purple finchColorful songbirds are found in North and Central America.
Costa’s hummingbirdSmall hummingbirds are native to the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Varied buntingWaterbird with distinctive purple-blue and grey plumage, found in wetlands.
Violet sabrewingLarge hummingbird in Central America with iridescent violet plumage.
CotingaThe tropical bird family is known for bright and varied plumage.
Crowned woodnymphHummingbirds are found in Central and South America with crown-like markings.
HoneycreepersColorful bird family in the Americas, known for varied plumage.
Grey-headed swamphenAsian birds are known for elegant black plumage, especially males during the breeding season.
Violet-eared waxbillSmall African finch species with violet-colored ear patches.
Black paradise flycatcherA term referring to various hummingbird species known for vibrant colors.
WoodnymphCommon pigeon species are found worldwide, often in urban areas.
Rock doveColorful sunbird species found in Africa, are known for iridescent plumage.
Little blue heronWading bird with distinct bluish-grey plumage, found in the Americas.
Splendid sunbirdHummingbird species found in North America, are recognized by the male’s black throat.
Purplish-mantled tanagerSouth American bird species with purplish hues in plumage.
Purple-backed thornbillSmall Australian bird with a purple back and distinctive long, thin bill.
Brewer’s blackbirdNorth American blackbird species, particularly males with glossy black plumage.
RosefinchesBird family found in Europe, Asia, and North America, known for diverse colors.
Violet-green swallowNorth American swallow species with violet and green plumage.
Black-chinned hummingbirdNorth American hummingbirds with vibrant plumage, especially males.
Calliope hummingbirdLarge blackbird species found in the Americas, are known for a long, keel-shaped tail.
Common scimitarbillAfrican bird with a curved bill, found in savannas and grasslands.
Great-tailed grackleIridescent blackbird species are found in coastal areas of North America.
Boat-tailed gracklePigeon species found in North and South America, are recognized by its band-like tail.
Band-tailed pigeonHummingbird species found in South America are recognized for their forked tail.
Purple-winged ground doveSouth American dove species with purple hues in its wings.
Hartlaub’s turacoAfrican bird with vibrant plumage and a distinctive crest.
Purple-crowned fairywrenAustralian bird with a purple crown, known for social behavior.
Fork-tailed woodnymphPurple-throated mountain gem
Purplish jaySouth American jay species with purplish hues in plumage.
Purple-throated CaribCentral American hummingbird with vibrant throat coloring.
Waterbird with purple and blue plumage.Caribbean hummingbird with a purple throat.
White-breasted ground doveSouth American dove species with a white breast and purple hues.
Purple-throated woodstarSouth American hummingbird with a purple throat and iridescent plumage.
Lucifer sheartailMexican hummingbird species named for its iridescent plumage.
Western swamphenGreen-crowned plover-crest
Violaceous jaySouth American jay species with violaceous hues.
Sparkling violetearHummingbird species with sparkling violet plumage.
Central and South American hummingbirds are known for their green crown.Dove species with a distinctive crest, are found in various regions.
North American buntingsRefers to various bunting species found in North America.
Cape starlingAfrican starling species found in the Cape region.
Hildebrandt’s starlingAfrican starling species with distinctive plumage.
Crested quail-doveEndemic bird of Taiwan is known for its vibrant blue and white plumage.
Taiwan blue magpieThe endemic bird of Taiwan is known for its vibrant blue and white plumage.
Purple cochoaAsian bird species with purple plumage.

What Makes Birds Purple?

So what gives purple birds their majestic color?

  • Structural Coloration – Microscopic feather structures refract and interfere with light to reflect shades of purple. This is also called iridescence.
  • Melanin Pigments – Specialized cells called melanocytes produce melanin pigments that tint feathers purple, especially at their tips. Melanin occurs in two primary forms: eumelanin and phaeomelanin.
  • Other Pigments – Carotenoid pigments obtained from food also help add warm orange and pink accent hues to purple plumage.

When these factors combine in varied concentrations, they can create diverse lavender, violet, lilac, and amethyst feather coloring. The resulting purple coloration is extremely rare and unique in the avian world compared to other vivid bird colors like red, yellow, or blue.

Next, let’s look at some of the world’s most spectacular purple-colored birds and what gives their plumage its impressive prismatic shine.

Threats Facing Purple Birds

Due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and other pressures, some vulnerable exotic purple bird species are facing conservation risks, including:

  • Purple Honeycreeper – Deforestation across South and Central America threatens populations and food sources.
  • Purple Gallinule – Wetland drainage and invasive species diminish its sensitive nesting habitats.
  • Violet Turaco – Forest habitat clearance across Africa reduces available fruit resources.
  • Purple Martin – Pesticides and aerial insect population decline impact their food supply.

By supporting wetland protection initiatives, reforestation programs, organic practices, and reduced emissions, we can help ensure the future of these rare beauties. Preserving diverse habitats is key to the survival of exotic bird species worldwide.

Beautiful purple birds

Few sights in nature rival the brilliant plumage of colorful purple birds. Species like the regal purple gallinule strut elegantly through swamps on sky-blue legs, their rich violet feathers reflecting shades from fuchsia to indigo. Male red-capped manakins perform acrobatic courtship dances, their purple hoods, and wings a shimmering contrast against bright yellow collars.

Even the tiny hummingbird called the purple-throated Carib, with its namesake metallic throat patch, manages an oversized personality on a frame less than four inches long. From tiny songbirds, to duck-like swamp hens, to striking jungle raptors like the crested goshawk, various purple-feathered species have evolved across diverse habitats.

No matter the size or family, any glimpse of these rare vibrant birds offers a special thrill for avian enthusiasts and nature lovers alike thanks to the sheer visual radiance purple coloration lends to their flowing plumage. When it comes to exceptional color in the avian world, few hues rival the show-stopping elegance and flamboyance of birds blessed with beautiful purple feathers.

Are there purple birds

While birds with pure purple plumage are rare, there are a few species that have feathers that appear purple or have a purplish iridescence. The magnificent riflebird from Australia and New Guinea is one example. The male riflebird has black feathers on its body, but its throat and crown feathers have an iridescent purplish-blue sheen in bright light. Another bird that can appear purple is North America’s purple gallinule.

While its feathers are a very dark blue, in bright sunlight they can look deep violet or purple. The smooth-billed ani is another tropical bird that has glossy black feathers that can show a purplish iridescence. So while no birds have feathers that are colored pure purple, some unusual lighting conditions can make feathers appear purple or highlight an existing purplish tint. The sheen from iridescent feathers combined with the right angle of light is usually responsible when a bird takes on a momentarily purple hue.

Rare purple birds

As mentioned, there are no bird species that have truly purple feathers. However, a few rare and exotic birds appear to flash purple iridescence in the right lighting conditions. For example, the pompadour cotinga is a rare, threatened tropical bird that has dark plumage across most of its body.

But when displayed during mating rituals, specialized feathers on the male pompadour cotinga’s throat and breast produce a glistening violet-purple iridescence. This coloration is quite rare and unique in the avian world. Another elusive rainforest bird, the purple-breasted cotinga of the Amazon basin, also flashes brightly colored purple body feathers, but only on its breast area.

When not actively displaying, these exotic cotingas once again assume a less spectacular darker black plumage. So while not vibrantly purple all the time, these rare birds can flash their prized purplish coloring to attract mates and breed in their delicate tropical ecosystems that are increasingly under threat from deforestation and habitat loss. Seeing one in the wild would indeed be a special treat for any birder.

Conclusion: Purple birds

In conclusion, while no bird species has bright purple feathers throughout the entirety of its plumage, a few unique species can display astounding momentary purple iridescence. Through specialized throat feathers and courtship displays, certain exotic birds like the pompadour cotinga and purple-breasted cotinga reveal radiant purple hues to attract mates.

More common birds like the magnificent riflebird and smooth-billed and can also exhibit purplish tones depending on lighting conditions and angles. So under the right circumstances, bits of the avian world do occasionally take on a majestic, regal purple glow. Though fleeting and rare, sightings of birds that flash or shimmer in violet, lilac, and amethyst make for precious ornithological experiences.

These momentary hints of purple on birds represent both the sheer diversity and ephemeral beauty of nature. And they likely inspire just a little extra spark of delight and admiration in those fortunate enough to observe them.


What birds are purple?

There are no truly purple birds, but some have purplish iridescence in certain lights, like the magnificent riflebird, smooth-billed ani, purple gallinule, pompadour cotinga, and purple-breasted cotinga. The iridescent sheen on their dark feathers can look purple momentarily.

Why do birds poop purple?

Birds don’t normally poop purple. Purple or red feces could indicate health issues in their digestive system, possibly from eating something toxic or improper nutrition. But it’s not common and normal bird feces is brown or green.

What birds poop purple?

No healthy birds routinely excrete purple poop. If seen, it may be a sign of a health problem. Certain berries could temporarily cause purplish staining. But persistent purple is abnormal.

What kind of birds are purple?

There are no truly purple bird species. Some tropical species flash purplish colors during mating displays, like the purple-breasted cotinga. And a few birds have a purplish iridescence in the right light, like the magnificent riflebird. But no birds are fully or persistently purple.

How to keep other birds out of the purple Martin house?

  • Hang a purple martin guard to deter larger species.
  • Plug unused holes so only martins can enter.
  • Clean out old nests regularly to prevent takeovers.
  • Use a pulley system to easily lower and raise the house for cleaning/monitoring.

What do purple martins eat?

Flying insects like dragonflies, moths, butterflies, flies, beetles, bees, wasps, and ballooning spiders. Martins are aerial insectivores and feed exclusively on insects caught midair.

How to attract purple martins?

  • Put up a suitable purple martin birdhouse in an open area near water and trees.
  • Make sure the house is 15-20 ft high with proper hole sizes.
  • Protect the house from other birds, predators, and bad weather.
  • Broadcast purple Martin attraction calls around sunrise.

Where do purple martins live?

Purple martins are migratory birds that breed in the eastern and central U.S. and Canada during summer. They migrate in flocks to South America for winter.

What does a purple box mean in Angry Birds Evolution?

In Angry Birds Evolution, a purple box is an epic rarity box with the highest rarity level that guarantees dropping at least one epic rarity bird. It has the best items in the game.

Yellow and purple birds?

There are no naturally occurring yellow and purple bird species. This color combination is rare in nature. Some captive pet birds like parakeets or parrots may be yellow and purple if intentionally bred and colored that way.

Purple birds in Michigan?

There are no naturally occurring purple birds in Michigan. However, Michigan is in the breeding range of the purple martin, which is not purple but has a purplish-blue sheen in bright light. People put up nest boxes to attract these migratory swallows.

Purple honeycreeper purple birds?

The purple honeycreeper is a small finch-like bird found in South America. The male has bright purple plumage, hence the name. This species shows that some tropical birds can naturally display true purple feathers.

Purple martin purple birds?

The purple martin is a popular migratory swallow that nests in birdhouses people put up. Despite its name, it is not purple but is a dark blue-black. However, in bright sunlight, the glossy feathers can flash a subtle blue-purple iridescence, hence the association with the color purple.

Purple birds in Angry Birds?

There are no specifically purple bird characters in the popular Angry Birds video game series as far as I know. However, there are red, blue, yellow, black, and white bird characters that users fling at structures to score points.

Thirty Purple Birds poem?

This likely refers to a specific poem, but without more context or details on the exact name/author, I do not have enough information to identify the specific poem or provide details about the 30 purple birds being mentioned.

Thirty purple birds sitting on a curb?

This sounds like it could be part of a children’s rhyme or poem, but without more context, I do not have enough specifics to trace the exact origin or text. There are rhymes about groups of birds sitting on things, but not able to pinpoint this precise wording reference.

Real purple birds?

There are no fully purple bird species in nature. However, as noted, some tropical species like the purple honeycreeper and purple-breasted cotinga display true vibrant purple feathers, at least briefly, as part of mating displays. So there are a rare few real wild birds that can flush brilliant, regal purple.

About the Author: Hudaibia

My name is Hudaibia with the profound passion for our feathered friends. Birds have captivated my heart and mind since childhood. Now I share my avian devotion through my website, mybirdfeed.com.