Colombia is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 1800 species of birds found throughout the country. From the vibrant toucans and macaws of the Amazon rainforest to the colorful tanagers and hummingbirds of the Andean mountains, Colombia’s avian diversity is truly breathtaking.
In this post, we will introduce you to some of the most beautiful birds in Colombia that you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or just starting out, these stunning birds will surely captivate your imagination and inspire you to explore the incredible world of Colombian birdlife.
1. Keel-billed Toucan
Scientific name: Ramphastos sulfuratus
Length: 42-55 centimeters (17-22 inches)
Body mass: 380-500 grams
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Also referred to as Rainbow-billed Toucan, the Keel-billed Toucans are a near-threatened toucan species found in tropical forests from Mexico all the way to Colombia. The national bird of Belize, these toucans have a typically large bill that’s often compared to bananas by most birders.
Keel-billed Toucans have two subspecies – the nominate one and R. s. brevicarinatus – out of which the latter are endemic to Colombia.
Like many other toucans, these birds also have primarily black plumage, with only their face, throat, and chest colored yellow. Upon a closer look, you’ll also notice a reddish border that separates their chest from the lower body.
Their dark eyes have a greenish wash over them, while the bills are primarily green. A black stripe at their base marks their beginning; the tip is reddish, with a bluish touch on the lower mandible and an orange mark on the upper one. The feet are blue, and the rump is red.
2. Red-fan Parrot
Scientific name: Deroptyus accipitrinus
Length: 35 centimeters (13.7 inches)
Body mass: 250-275 grams
Lifespan: 40 years
Also referred to as the Hawk-headed Parrot, the Red-fan Parrots are a neotropical parrot species endemic to South America. A resident of the Amazon Basin, they’re found in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Suriname, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Red-fan Parrots have two subspecies, out of which one dwells in Colombia.
As their name indicates, these parrots have red-and-blue striped neck feathers that stand erect when they’re angry or excited, shaped like a fan. Their face is brown and has white streaks, which are most concentrated on their forehead. They also possess dark bare skin patches around their eyes.
Red-fan parrots have a green back, wings, and tail, while their underparts are covered in red-and-blue feathers, much like their neck. Both sexes of this species appear identical.
3. Crested Quetzal
Scientific name: Pharomachrus antisianus
Length: 33-34 centimeters (13 inches)
Body mass: 210-230 grams
Lifespan: 20-25 years
The Crested Quetzals are a South American quetzal species that dwell in the montane forests of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
Crested Quetzals are highly sexually dimorphic in their plumage, with only the males sporting their namesake crest. Their head, throat, back, wings, and tail are all covered in an iridescent bluish-green plumage, with a bushy blue crest extending from above their bill to their forehead. Their chest, belly, and rump are bright red with white undertails.
On the other hand, the females have duller plumage with brown heads, undersides, and tails. There’s a pale greenish was on their chest, while their rump is red. Their upperbody is colored in the same shade as the males, only with less iridescence.
Both sexes possess red irises and feet; but the females’ bills are brown, unlike the yellow-billed males.
4. Turquoise Dacnis
Scientific name: Dacnis hartlaubi
Length: 12.7 centimeters (5 inches)
Body mass: 13-15 grams
Lifespan: 4-7 years
The Turquoise Dacnises, which were once considered a dacnis-tanager, is now recognized as a true dacnis species endemic to the forests and plantations of Colombia.
Although they have a surprisingly wide range, the ongoing deforestation in their homeland continues to pose a threat to their population and has already given them a vulnerable status.
The adult Turquoise Dacnises are strongly sexually dimorphic. The males closely resemble Blue Dacnises in appearance but have different face markings and iris color.
True to their name, their plumage is primarily turquoise blue. On their face, a black mask runs through their eyes and extends all the way back to their mantle. They also have a dark chin patch. On the back, their feathers and tail are all black.
On the other hand, the females of this species have a dull, olive-green head and plumage with buff underparts. Both sexes have golden irises, dark bills, feet, and legs.
5. Greyish Piculet
Scientific name: Picumnus granadensis
Length: 9-10 centimeters (3 inches)
Body mass: 12-13 grams
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Endemic to the scrubs and woodlands of northwestern Colombia, the Greyish Piculets are a small woodpecker endemic to Colombia. Due to the elusive nature of these piculets, it is difficult to determine the status of their population; although the experts have decided to keep them on the least concern list for now.
Although Greyish Piculets have grey in their name, their plumage has more brown than grey in it. Their face and undersides are colored pale chestnut-brown, with a crown of back feathers with yellow tip covering all their forehead.
The upper parts are somewhat darker in shade, with dark brown wing and tail edges. Their eyes, bills, and feet are all black. Both sexes of the adults are identical in size and plumage.
6. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
Scientific name: Rupicola peruvianus
Length: 30-32 centimeters (12-13 inches)
Body mass: 220-280 grams
Wingspan: 60-65 centimeters (23-26 inches)
Lifespan: 7-8 years
Endemic to the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains, the Andean Cock-of-the-rock is a large South American bird found in Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Peru. Also regarded as the national bird of Peru, these birds are colloquially referred to as Tunki, which is their name in the Quechua language.
There is significant dimorphism among the adult sexes of Andean Cocks-of-the-rock. The upper half of the male’s body is colored bright orange, while the lower one is black.
They have a large, disc-shaped crest atop their head, with orange mantle and undersides. On their lower back, you’ll spot a bold grey patch surrounded by black wings from each side.
The females of this species also have orange in their plumage but of a much duller, rufous-tinged shade. Their crest is smaller and less significant than the males, and their wings and tails are dark brown.
7. Blue-billed Curassow
Scientific name: Crax alberti
Length: 82-92 centimeters (2.7-3 feet)
Body mass: 2.3-3.6 kilograms
Lifespan: 18-22 years
Endemic to the undisturbed forests of northern Colombia, the Blue-billed Curassows are a critically endangered curassow species whose population is struggling under the threat of hunting and deforestation.
Like the other members of their family, the adults of this species display a strong sexual dimorphism. The males have pure black plumage, except for their white rump. They have a crest of curled feathers atop their head, pale grey bills with blue cere and wattles, dark eyes, and reddish legs.
Their female counterparts, which lack the cere and wattles, also have primarily black plumage; only their wings and tail are covered in buff-colored streaks. Their tail is buff-tipped as well, as so is their underbody. Their crest appears somewhat longer and has white bars on them.
8. Buffy Helmetcrest
Scientific name: Oxypogon stuebelii
Length: 11-12 centimeters (4.4-5 inches)
Body mass: 4-5 grams
The Buffy Helmetcrests are a South American hummingbird species from the coquette genus. These vulnerable hummingbirds have a restricted range in the volcanic mountain of Nevado del Ruiz in the central Andes.
Much like other helmet-crested hummingbirds, the bills of Buffy Helmetcrests are short, straight, and pointed. True to their name, they have primarily buff-colored plumage, with touches of dark brown on their face, wings, and tail. They have a pale buff crest atop their head and an iridescent purple beard patch on their chin.
Their eyes, bills, legs, and feet are all black. The adults of this species have identical plumage; only the females lack the crest and beard of their male counterparts.
9. Beautiful Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes pulcher
Length: 17-18 centimeters (7 inches)
Lifespan: 7-10 years
The Beautiful Woodpeckers are a medium-sized woodpecker species that are native to the Magdalena River valley in Colombia. These woodpeckers were considered a subspecies of the Golden-naped Woodpeckers until recently but are now recognized as an individual species.
In appearance, these woodpeckers take after the Black-cheeked Woodpeckers. Their plumage is mainly black on the upperside and buff-colored on the underside. Their face is buff as well, with black eye patches that extend to their wings. There’s a long buff patch between their wings, while the undersides are barred with brown.
Both sexes sport identical plumages and can only be distinguished by their face. The males have a red crown patch followed by a small yellow patch. In the females, the crown patch begins with black, followed by smaller red and yellow patches.
10. Blue-winged Mountain Tanager
Scientific name: Anisognathus somptuosus
Length: 17 centimeters (6.6 inches)
Body mass: 33-56 grams
The Blue-winged Mountain Tanagers are a widespread tanager species that inhabit the middle to the high-elevation forests of South America. You can find them in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.
These mountain tanagers are sexually monomorphic, displaying no visual distinction among the sexes. They have only three colors in their plumage: yellow, blue, and black.
Their face and underbody are yellow, with a bold black mask running across their eyes and extending to their mantle. The wings and tail are dark and have touches of cerulean blue in various places. The irises are brown, while the bills, legs, and feet are all black.
11. Santa Marta Woodstar
Scientific name: Chaetocercus astreans
Length: 7 centimeters (2.8 inches)
Body mass: 2-3 grams
Belonging to the subfamily of bee hummingbirds, the Santa Marta Woodstars are a tiny hummingbird species native to northern Colombia. The range of these hummers is strictly limited to the isolated mountain of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, after which they’ve been named.
The adult Santa Marta Woodstars are strongly sexually dimorphic. All they have in common includes shining green heads, mantles, and long, pointed bills. Males have a red gorget on their chin that extends all the way to their chest, a white belly, and a bluish-green rump. Their upper back is colored similarly as well.
On the other hand, the entire underbody of the females is buff-colored, with a plain green shade on their back that gets darker on their wings. Their dark eyes and legs and common to both sexes.
12. Colombian Chachalaca
Scientific name: Ortalis colombiana
Length: 50-60 centimeters (19-23 inches)
Body mass: 600 grams in males; 500 grams in females
Lifespan: 8-20 years
Belonging to the family of Guans and Curassows, the Colombian Chachalacas are somewhat pheasant-like birds that dwell in the forests of the inter-Andean valleys of Colombia.
These chachalacas have a plump body structure, a small head, a long neck, robust legs, and a long, broad tail. The adults of this species are sexually monomorphic, appearing identical. Their plumage mainly consists of two colors: grey and brown.
Their heads are grey; the brown plumage begins right from their necks and goes all the way to their tail. The throat and chest of these chachalacas are heavily mottled, with their wings much less so. The undertails are a rich shade of rufous brown, and are clearly visible during flight.
They have brown irises, reddish feet, and red wattles on their chin.
13. Wire-tailed Manakin
Scientific name: Pipra filicauda
Length: 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches)
Body mass: 13-17 grams
Lifespan: 9-11 years
Found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, the Wire-tailed Manakins are a South American manakin species that primarily inhabit the cocoa plantations and gallery forests of their range.
These manakins are sexually dimorphic, with both sexes possessing differently-colored plumages. And while their namesake wire-like tail is present in both, it is longer in the males.
Being the brighter sex, the males have a bright yellow face and underbody, with a striking orange crown extending to the back of their head. Their upperbody, including the wings and tail, are all black.
On the other hand, the females have a dull olive-green head, back, wings, and tail, while their face and underbody are colored in a paler shade of yellow. Both sexes have pale irises, greyish bills, legs, and feet.
14. Santa Marta Parakeet
Scientific name: Pyrrhua viridicata
Length: 25 centimeters (10 inches)
Body mass: 85 grams
Lifespan: 20-30 years
The Santa Marta Parakeets are an endangered parakeet species endemic to Colombia. These South American parakeets are only found in the Santa Marta mountains of northern Colombia.
Santa Marta Parakeets have a primarily green plumage with touches of orange on their shoulders, undertail, and a faint orange chest band. They also have two dull red cheek patches, with a third one right above their bills. Their dark eyes are surrounded by pale white patches, with similarly-colored bills.
You’ll also notice touches of blue at the edge of their green wings and tails. Both sexes of this species are monomorphic and appear identical.
15. White-mantled Barbet
Scientific name: Capito hypoleucus
Length: 19 centimeters (7.5 inches)
Body mass: 66-68 grams
Lifespan: 7-9 years
The White-mantled Barbets are a vulnerable barbet species native to the middle Magdalena Valley of Colombia. These barbets have quite a large body by the barbet standards and are the second-largest of all barbets. Their plumage has two main colors: black and buff.
They have a black head, back, wings, and tail, with a dark red patch above their bills and a white crown patch that extends to their mantle, lending them their names. Their underbody is pale buff in color, with a light brownish patch around their chest.
They have dark eyes, and pale yellow bills with greyish tips. Both sexes have identical plumages and are monomorphic.
16. Red-bellied Grackle
Scientific name: Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster
Length: 30 centimeters (12 inches) in males; 27 centimeters (10.6 inches) in females
Body mass: 98-102 grams
Lifespan: 17-20 years
The Red-bellied Grackles are a vulnerable icterid species endemic to all three Andean ranges of Colombia. These grackles primarily inhabit montane forests and have primarily black plumage, like most grackles.
True to their name, they have a bright red belly, while the rest of their body is iridescent black, including their bills and feet. Their irises are pale yellow. Both sexes of this species are monomorphic and sport the same plumage.
17. Yellow-eared Parrot
Scientific name: Ognorhynchus icterotis
Length: 42 centimeters (7 inches)
Body mass: 2602-85 grams
Lifespan: 20-30 years
Endemic to the wax palms in the central and western parts of Colombia, the Yellow-eared Parrots are a vulnerable neotropical parrot species. These large parrots might be named yellow, but a majority of their body is covered in green plumage.
They have a leafy-green head, back, wings, and tail, with a yellow patch below their cheeks, extending and joining over their bills. The underparts are paler in comparison and appear almost lime green. Their eyes and bills are dark, with greyish legs and feet. Being monomorphic, the adult sexes display no difference in their appearance.
18. Bogota Rail
Scientific name: Rallus semiplumbeus
Length: 25-30 centimeters (9-11 inches)
Lifespan: 2-5 years
The Bogota Rails are a vulnerable rail bird species endemic to the high-altitude marshes in the eastern Andes within Colombia. These birds were once considered a subspecies of a close relative, Austral Rails, and have a striking resemblance to them but are smaller.
Like most other rails, this species lacks sexual dimorphism, with both males and females appearing identical. They have dark plumage colored grey and brown. Their face and underbody are grey, while the upper parts, wings, and tail are all brownish with darker markings covering them.
The undertail of their somewhat erect tail is white. Their irises are brown, while the legs, feet, and bills are orange.
19. Gold-ringed Tanager
Scientific name: Bangsia aureocincta
Length: 16 centimeters (6.2 inches)
Body mass: 35-45 grams
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Named after the yellow ring forming on their face, the Gold-ringed Tanagers are a vulnerable tanager species native to the high-altitude cloud forests west of the Andes. These Colombian tanagers also have a special Spanish name: Tangara de Tatama.
Gold-ringed Tanagers have a plump body, a short tail, and distinctively colored plumage. Their head and throat are glossy-black, with bright yellow rings on each side of their face and a yellow throat patch. The rest of their underbody is leaf green, and so is their mantle. Only the wings and tail are darker.
While both sexes of this species look almost identical, some differences can be noticed upon closer examination. The females’ facial rings are narrower, and their breast and wings are both duller in comparison to the males.
However, both species possess reddish irises, greyish feet and legs, and black (upper mandible) and bone-colored (lower mandible) bills.
20. Crowned Woodnymph
Scientific name: Thalurania colombica
Length: 9.5-11.5 centimeters (3.7-4.5 inches) in males; 8.5-9.2 centimeters (3.3-3.6 inches) in females
Body mass: 4-5.5 grams in males; 3.2-4.5 grams in females
Lifespan: 3-6 years
More aptly named Violet-crowned Woodnymph, the Crowned Woodnymphs are one of the emerald hummingbirds found in Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Belize. These South American hummers have a widespread population throughout their range and have about seven subspecies.
The adult Crowned Woodnymphs display a strong sexual dimorphism, with their namesake crown only seen in the males. They’re also both larger and heavier than their female counterparts.
In addition to their crown, their forehead, upper back, and belly are all iridescent violet as well. Their chin and chest are all covered in bronze green, while the rump and lower back are bluish green.
On the other hand, the females have a bright green crown and upperbody, with a grey chin, throat, and breast. Their rump and belly are colored in a darker shade of grey, with similar wings. Both sexes possess a bluish-black forked tail, dark eyes, feet, and bills.
21. Cauca Guan
Scientific name: Penelope perspicax
Length: 75-85 centimeters (29-33 inches)
Body mass: 1-1.3 kilograms
Named after the Cauca River valley that they’re native to, the Cauca Guans are a vulnerable species of the Chachalaca and Curassow family. These arboreal birds primarily inhabit the humid forests within their range and are called Pava Caucana in Spanish.
Cauca Guans are large, pheasant-like birds with small heads, plump bodies, long necks, and tails. Their plumage is mainly blackish-grey, covering their head, neck, and chest, and blends into chestnut brown towards the lower back, wings, and tail.
There’s heavy white streaking on their neck and chest, and a red, extended wattle rests on their throat. They have brown irises, black bills, and reddish feet. Both sexes have identical plumage and are monomorphic.
22. Rusty-headed Spinetail
Scientific name: Synallaxis fuscorufa
Length: 16-18 centimeters (6-7 inches)
Body mass: 15-17 grams
Native to the mountain of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Rusty-headed Spinetails are a near-threatened South American spinetail species. These birds are sexually monomorphic, with both sexes appearing identical.
True to their name, these spinetails have a rusty brown head, neck, and underbody. Their wings and tail are colored the same, except for their grey mantle. Their eyes are dark, while the bills, legs, and feet are all greyish.
23. Chestnut Wood Quail
Scientific name: Odontophorus hyperythrus
Length: 25-29 centimeters (9-11 inches)
Body mass: 325-380 grams in males; 310-330 grams in females
Lifespan: 6-9 years
Belonging to the family of the New World Quails, the Chestnut Wood Quails are native to Colombia, and a permanent resident there. These quails were once seen as a subspecies of the Dark-backed Wood Quails due to the similarities in their appearance.
Both sexes of this species are identical in terms of plumage; only the males are the larger and heavier sex. They have a chestnut-colored head and underbody, while their upper parts, wings, and tails are all a darker shade of brown. Their legs, feet, and bills are all greyish, while the irises are rufous.
24. Indigo-capped Hummingbird
Scientific name: Saucerottia cyanifrons
Length: 7-10 centimeters (2.8-3.9 inches)
Body mass: 5 grams
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Native to the central and northern parts of Colombia, the Indigo-capped Hummingbirds are a vibrant hummingbird species that primarily dwell in semi-open habitats but could also visit your feeder.
These hummers have been named after the iridescent indigo-blue caps of the males because the females possess a turquoise-blue one. The females also have a faint greyish bar on their throat which is absent in the males.
The mantle and undersides of these birds are both glittery green, with dark brown wings and tail and white legs. Both sexes have the same dark eyes and long, thin-tipped bills.
25. Andean Condor
Scientific name: Vultur gryphus
Length: 1-1.3 meters (3.2-4.2 feet)
Body mass: 12.5 kilograms in males; 10 kilograms in females
Wingspan: 3.3 meters (9.2 feet)
Lifespan: 50-80 years
A giant New World Vulture species, the Andean Condors are the largest of all vultures endemic to South America. This vulnerable vulture species is declared the national bird of Colombia and dwells in the mountains of the Andes and Santa Marta.
Andean Condors have predominantly black plumage, with a hairless, dark reddish head and neck. There’s a fluffy white cushion of feathers at the back of their neck. The back and primary feathers are black, while the secondary feathers are white.
While both sexes of these vultures harbor the same plumage, they do have some visual differences. The females are slightly smaller than the males and lack their wattle and comb.