Birds display colors in countless ways, some of which are very rarely seen in the animal kingdom. Though rare, these colorations can usually be explained by sexual or natural selection.
In this article, we’ll be going over 12 black and pink colored birds, a somewhat odd combination perhaps, but is unsurprisingly still seen in a number of birds.
1. Eurasian Hoopoe
Scientific Name: Upupa epops
Range: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Eurasian hoopoe is an old-world bird covered in orange plumage on the head, pink on the breast and underparts, black and white striped wings, a crest shaped like a fan that is typically raised after landing, and a very long and narrow beak. The long and thin beak distinguishes this bird from woodpeckers, despite their common flight pattern and round wings.
Common habitats for the Eurasian hoopoe include semi-open habitats, such as heathland, farmland, orchards, and grassy lawns, where the bird can often be found on the ground, probing for insects using its long beak.
The Eurasian hoopoe eats many insects, such as grasshoppers, millipedes, centipedes, beetles, earwigs, and flies, but other animals, such as small reptiles, frogs, and plant matter, such as seeds and berries, also make up a decent portion of their diet.
2. Pink-Headed Fruit Dove
Scientific Name: Ptilinopus porphyreus
The pink-headed fruit dove is a dove that consists of a bright pink head, a black-and-white chest band, and a dark green back. Females look similar to males, albeit slightly duller in shade, while juveniles are green overall with some pale-yellow feather fringes that fade as they mature. The dove is relatively quiet in the canopy and, with their low hoots, can be quite difficult to observe.
The pink-headed fruit dove is quite restricted to their habitat as they’re only seen in the high montane forests throughout Sumatra, Java, and Bali.
Figs, small fruits, and berries make up the majority of the pink-headed fruit dove’s diet. They feed in the upper canopy of the forest, where they’re very well camouflaged thanks to their dark green back and overall quiet movements.
3. Black Rosy Finch
Scientific Name: Leucosticte atrata
Range: Western United States
The black rosy finch is the darkest of the three rosy-finch species, with breeding males having a blackish plumage overall. Pink highlights in the wings and tail contrast the otherwise dark plumage, while light gray plumage wraps around to the back of the head. Non-breeding birds are brown in color but consist of the same pink reflections as the breeding birds.
The black rosy finch is native to the high mountains in the northern Great Basin region. The bird spends its summer near the snowfields and barren tundra of the rocky crags. This environment, along with the fact that the bird typically breeds on highly elevated cliffs, makes the black rosy finch difficult to spot in the summer. They may also visit bird feeders in the winter.
Seeds (such as those from weeds and grasses) and insects make up the black rosy finch’s diet. They are often seen foraging on alpine snowfields, where they can carry extra food to their young using a pouch at the bottom of their mouth.
4. Two-Barred Crossbill
Scientific Name: Loxia leucoptera
Range: North America, Northern Europe, and Asia
The two-barred crossbill is a heavyset finch with a rather large head and a crossed beak. Males are pinkish-red overall with black wings and two contrasting white wing bars on each wing. Females and juvenile males are more yellowish overall. The red crossbill has a crossed beak as well; however, it’s of a duller color overall and lacks the white wing bars of the two-barred crossbill.
The two-barred crossbill breeds in the coniferous forests of Alaska, Canada, other states in the northernmost United States, and across the Palearctic to northeastern Europe, where they often nest in conifers. They typically reside permanently there, but might unexpectedly go South if there’s a lack of food. They rarely visit bird feeders.
Seeds make up the majority of the two-barred crossbill’s diet. Common sources include spruce, alder, birch, and larch trees. Other foods include spruce shoots and rowan berries.
5. American Flamingo
Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus ruber
Range: The Caribbean, Southeastern United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and northern South America
The American flamingo is a local wading bird with a long “coat-hanger” neck, very long narrow legs, and a wide beak that is black towards the tip. Its black flight feathers give the American flamingo black wing tips when in flight. Adults are dark pink throughout, but first-year juveniles are brown and white, which then gradually turns pink in 2-3 years.
American flamingos live in the shallow depths of salt, brackish, or alkaline lakes. Others can include saline lagoons and mudflats.
Algae, small seeds, and aquatic invertebrates (i.e. brine, fly larvae, shrimp, and mollusks) make up the majority of the American flamingo’s diet. They feed by wading in the shallow waters, while using their feet to disturb the mud (and accompanying prey) lying at the bottom, then picking the organisms off using their beak.
6. Scarlet Ibis
Scientific Name: Eudocimus ruber
Range: Native to northern South America, introduced to central and western Europe
The scarlet ibis is a bright bird with brilliant red-pink plumage throughout, along with contrasting black wingtips. Breeding adults can have either black or pink beaks. Juveniles are dark above with contrasting white bellies and pink beaks.
Typical habitats for the scarlet ibis include aquatic areas, such as mangrove swamps, tidal mudflats, wetlands, shallow lakes, and adjacent muddy estuaries.
The scarlet ibis’s diet varies quite a bit but typically consists of crabs (and other crustaceans), small fish, mollusks, frogs, worms, and insects, especially scarabs and ground beetles. In captivity, the ibis feeds mainly on fish, crustaceans, and insects, along with a commercially prepared pellet diet.
7. Pine Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Pinicola enucleator
Range: North America, northern and central Europe, rarely in central Asia
The pine grosbeak is a large stout finch that, for adult males, consists of pink plumage overall with black wings, two white wing bars, and pale gray highlights. Juveniles and adult females have gray bodies, with either an olive, yellow, or dark orange head and rump. Its short beak has rounded edges.
Forests containing open spruce, fir, and pine trees, along with subalpine forests, make up the pine grosbeak’s breeding grounds. During winter, the bird can be found in a variety of wooded habitats, especially those containing fruiting trees, such as crabapple and mountain ash.
The pine grosbeak feeds mainly on seeds, buds, berries, and insects. Plant matter makes up the majority of its diet, especially during winter. Seeds, especially those of conifers and other trees, buds (from many types of trees), berries, and wild fruit (i.e. crabapples), along with some seeds of weeds and grasses, are preferred by the pine grosbeak (they will also visit bird feeders for seeds). Insects are mainly consumed in the summer.
8. Common Redpoll
Scientific Name: Acanthis flammea
Range: North America, Europe, Central Asia
The common redpoll is a small finch with a stout body, a small yellow beak, a long notched tail, a small red cap, and a black face and throat. Males can sometimes display pink shades on the breast.
The common redpoll prefers colder environments and can be found in habitats such as boreal forests that contain pine, spruce, and larch trees. Others include open forests and willow-filled tundra. They may visit bird feeders, where they feed on the nyjer seed.
Seeds and other plant matter make up the majority of the common redpoll’s diet throughout the year. Common types include nyjer, thistle, and black oil sunflower seeds, though they may also scavenge previously opened seeds left by larger beaked birds. A small number of insects, such as aphids and spiders, are sometimes eaten in the summer for extra protein.
9. Southern Carmine Bee-Eater
Scientific Name: Merops nubicoides
Range: Southern Africa
The southern carmine bee-eater is a large slender bee-eater with an overall pink plumage, teal blue plumage on the dorsal abdomen and head, a long-pointed tail, a black beak, and a black facial mask. Juveniles are duller colored and shorter-tailed.
The southern carmine bee-eater is found in open woodland, low-altitude river valleys, floodplains, and savanna-type habitats. They breed colonially by burrowing into sandbanks. They breed in the summer months, before traveling south from December to March, until finally returning north of the breeding area from April to August.
Per its name, the southern carmine bee-eater feeds on bees and other large flying insects, such as alates, cicadas, locusts, butterflies, and dragonflies.
10. Northern Carmine Bee-Eater
Scientific Name: Merops nubicus
Range: Central Africa
The northern carmine bee-eater is a large bee-eater with carmine upper parts, a pink chest, black eye stripes, and a blue-green head and belly. Its central tail feathers are very elongated.
Its blue-green rump and rosy underwings, surrounded by a black trailing edge, can be seen in flight. The bird resembles the southern carmine bee-eater with the exception of the throat, which is blue-green on the former and carmine on the latter.
The northern carmine bee-eater can be found in various savanna habitats, where they’ll often nest in large colonies in cliffs, typically adjacent to river banks.
As an insectivore, the northern carmine bee-eater consumes mainly flying insects, such as locusts, termites, cicadas, bees, and grasshoppers.
11. Himalayan White-Browed Rosefinch
Scientific Name: Carpodacus thura
The Himalayan white-browed rosefinch is a medium-sized finch with males having a chocolate brown back with black streaks and lilac-pink cheeks, brow stripes, and underparts. Its namesake white patch is located at the rear of the brow stripe. Females are streaky brown above and streaky white below, with a reddish breast patch.
The Himalayan white-browned rosefinch is found exclusively in the temperate forests and shrubland across the Himalayas. These areas are usually semi-open or brushy habitats.
The Himalayan white-browned rosefinch feeds on various seeds, buds, and shoots of the alpine and subalpine herbs and shrubs. They may also consume some berries, with them especially preferring barberries, blackberries, raspberries, and juniper berries.
12. Brown-Capped Rosy-Finch
Scientific Name: Leucosticte australis
Range: United States (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico)
The brown-capped rosy-finch is a medium-sized finch with medium-brown plumage overall, along with pink highlights in the wings, tail, and belly. Its forehead and legs are black, while its crown is a grayish-brown color. Its long, forked tail is clearly visible.
The brown-capped rosy-finch breeds in the high alpine areas (in the Rocky Mountains) near remote glaciers and snowy meadows in Colorado. They breed at high elevations while descending to somewhat lower elevations during the winter. They can often be found foraging on alpine snowfields and may visit bird feeders in the winter.
Their thick, pointed beak makes the brown-capped rosy-finch specialized at eating seeds, especially canary seed, millet, niger, and black-oil sunflower. They might supplement their diet with occasional windblown insects and spiders during the summer.
Black and pink certainly isn’t a color combination that you’d probably think of when considering birds; however, there’s always bound to be a wide array of species that share whatever combination you can think of.
Though the natural and sexual selection is common reasons for different coloration, sometimes it can also be the food (such as the carotenoids that flamingos consume) that gives birds their unique appearances.