There are many scientific discussions about the brightly colored birds on our planet. But instead of getting bogged down with melanin, refraction, and mating theories, let’s just look and admire today.
This is a day to relax into the rainbow.
We will start with the first color of the rainbow: red. The summer tanager and vermillion flycatcher, both found in North America and elsewhere, begin the rainbow with a hot start.
Shades of red vary in the avian world, these two birds are red-orange.
Pink birds, a variation of red, are not seen as commonly.
Next on the spectrum, orange in birds is often paired with brown. But this azure kingfisher sports a very bright orange breast and legs (and dazzling azure head and back).
This orange and black grosbeak breeds in our backyard every summer. The male’s colors flash conspicuously as he flies.
Since many forests have green leaves that turn to yellow, yellow birds can be found in many places.
Green is a color often seen in parrot species.
This violet-green swallow, a bird who nests in our nest boxes, swoops through the air showing off his elegant emerald finery.
Blue and indigo are both colors of the rainbow, and in birds there are numerous shades of blue.
This so-called green honeycreeper appears more turquoise.
While this turquois jay is adorned with several shades of blue.
The greater blue-eared glossy starling provides a blue spectacle all its own.
The aptly-named resplendent quetzal gets my vote for the most beautiful bird on the planet. The blue-green shades shimmer in the light, and the long streamer tail floating behind the bird stops you in your tracks.
We traveled to a very remote village in a Central American cloud forest to see this bird. We met our guide at 5 a.m. and he took us to the wild avocado trees where the quetzals eat. At one point there was actually a traffic jam in the forest because truck drivers, potato farmers and anyone passing by abandoned their vehicles to join our admiration club.
The peacock, a native of India with a long swag of green and blue, is incredibly eye-catching with a tail full of eyes.
Violet birds. The Costa’s hummingbird looks black in some light. But its throat and head vibrantly come alive with iridescent purple in the right light.
And this purple honeycreeper is so garishly purple it is difficult to look anywhere else.
Although the lilac-breasted roller has a lilac-colored breast, the bird showcases a rainbow kaleidoscope, especially when the bird spins through the air.
This leads us to a few sensational birds who grace the world with all the colors of the rainbow.
The rainbow bee-eater, a marvel to behold.
The painted bunting effortlessly showcases all the colors on the artist’s palette.
And lastly, the remarkable rainbow lorikeet, boasting the colors of the rainbow like no other bird on this planet.
Birders and photographers know well the game of light when it comes to the outdoors. If a brightly colored subject isn’t in good light, the color doesn’t stand out.
But there are those marvelous days when the light is just right: a day to celebrate the colors of the rainbow and all the glory on this planet.
Written by Jet Eliot.
All photos in the wild by Athena Alexander.
99 thoughts on “Birds of the Rainbow”
As always, a beautiful picture painted by the two of you.
How very lovely to hear from you, David. Thank you for your kind and warm comment. I’m sending big smiles and lots of color your way.
Thanks so much, That’s lovely. xxx
What a beautiful collection of brightly colored birds.
It was great fun to share all the colors of the rainbow in these bird photos. Thanks very much, Timothy, for your visit. It’s always a joy to “see” you.
This delightful post presenting us with such a beautiful assortment of brilliantly
colored birds spots us in our tracks to pause and admire the great potential
nature has produced. Fabulous photos Athena! Great post Jet! love you both, Eddie
Dear Eddie, your words and enthusiasm here were a delight. And I’m really glad it stopped you in your tracks to pause, though I think you do that often even without prompting, such a thoughtful and aware person you are. My warmest thanks, cheers, and love.
Oh Jet, you had me at the title! 😊 Beautiful rainbow post of birds, what a fabulous post!!
Oh so nice to hear from you during your travels, Donna. And a great joy to share these magnificent birds of the rainbow with you. Thanks so very much.
You’re right. Just enjoying them is best. Let the scientists ponder the questions they pose.
When I sat down at the keyboard, Craig, something we both do often, I thought I could include a few facts about the various color that birds display. But it just got so complicated that I ditched the facts, and just cruised forward with the colors. Always a joy and honor to have you stop by, Craig…thanks.
It was the better option. Thanks for sharing them.
a great idea introducing us to these birds follwing the spectral colours from the longest to the shortest wave length. Of course, one asks why do they show these colours. Mating? Anyway, quite impressive.
Thanks for sharing
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed the rainbow colors of the birds today, Fab Four. It was great fun sharing these beauties with you. Thank you.
A beautiful range of colors!🌈
Great fun to hear from you, Simone, and I liked your rainbow graphic. Thanks so much for stopping by today.
This is a beautiful collection of colourful birds, Jet. It is a reminder that birds are the living things with the most variety in colour – more than any other animal group. What a quilt they would make if they were all together.
I so enjoyed your comment, Anneli, knowing you are a writer, nature lover, and quilter. And what a grand pleasure it is to share this spectrum of birds. Thanks very much.
You’ve really got my wheels turning about a quilt! It would be amazing if I had the skill to do it. I might consider something on a smaller scale but with the idea of these colourful birds. I’ve bookmarked your blog post so I can study those birds again sometime later.
With all your talents, it is easy to see you making a colorful bird quilt, Anneli.
I’m going to keep that idea on the back burner!
All of them are incredibly beautiful birds. Many of which, especially that quetzal, I’ve never heard of, let alone seen, so many thanks for sharing them, Jet.
It’s a great joy to introduce some of these birds to you, Mike. It is incredible how many gorgeous birds we have on this planet. Mike, thanks so much for your visit today, always appreciated.
Dear Jet Eliot,
I concur with Mike. Thank you for featuring my colourful avian colleagues so commendably through the fruitful results of your bird-watching and excellent photography.
Happy June to you and Mike!
Dear Sound Eagle, it is a great joy to share the endless beauty of your colorful avian colleagues, and I am absolutely delighted you enjoyed the Birds of the Rainbow so much. My warmest thanks for your comment.
You are very welcome, Jet Eliot.
Wonderful assortment of birds and so appropriate for this month! Love, love, love!
Yes, there’s great pride in the rainbow this month. Many thanks, Jan, for your wonderful and astute comment.
Another splendid post! What a treat for the eyes – and the heart – reading and seeing the rainbow colours on display here! Jaw dropping colour, and each bird was a beauty. Some of the purples and turquoise shades were almost unbelievable – thanks, Jet!
Some of those purples and turquoise shades really are almost unbelievable, as you say, pc. And I could stare at a peacock all day and still wonder how any creature could be so exquisite. Great fun to share these beauties, and I’m smiling as I type, happy that you enjoyed today’s post. Thank you, pc, and my best to you both for a happy weekend ahead.
Oh, how gorgeous they all are! I do wish I was one of the people pulling over to admire the Quetzal with you that day! 😀
Yes, you would’ve enjoyed that day in the Costa Rican cloud forest, Deborah. We were up and down some steep hills, and finding quetzals all morning long. Hopefully I could bring you along via the photos today. And I know you are finding beautiful birds all the time. yay! Many thanks, Deborah.
I did enjoy the arm-chair tour! 😀
Oh, how lovely they ALL are. A true joy to behold and appreciate the vast diversity. And I enjoyed focusing on the beauty for beauty’s sake. Thank you.
It was so much fun to put this post together, Nan. I am happy I could share them with you and that you found the same joy in beholding them, as I did presenting them. My warm love to you, and of course, great thanks.
Love, love, love these avian colors, Jet (and Athena.) I’ve seen a few of them but of course most of them I haven’t. I did laugh about the people abandoning their trucks to join you. Reminds me of being in Yellowstone where, if you see people stopped, there’s either construction or an animal sighting. If the latter, everyone’s out of their cars quite quickly. 🙂
Oh I am so delighted that you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow today, Janet. The attraction that those quetzals had on all of us was mesmerizing. It’s no wonder that many of the countries that have the quetzal have the bird for their state bird. My warmest thanks.
As if the biological wonders of the avian world were not enough to capture our attention, we have the beautiful rainbow colorations to inspire us at well. Thanks for capturing some of that & displaying it so well.
After last week’s post with the burned forest, I decided this week I wanted to splash around in bright, vibrant colors. So I just went through the rainbow. Your comment was a colorful and vibrant spark to my day, Walt. Thank you so much.
What a delightful and colorful blog today. How lovely and cheerful. Thanks for sharing!
I am thrilled that you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow today, Terry. And I’m glad I could bring some cheer to your day. Thank you so very much for stopping by and commenting.
I always call birds “flowers that fly”. It works the same way for both of them. We see flowers or birds and we usually admire their brilliant colors that stimulate our minds through via the eyes!
You have quite a selection of birds with extraordinary bright plumages. Excellent photos and great post my friend, as always. 🙂
You and I have our love of birds in common, HJ, and you’re right, it is great to have the bright birds and flowers to stimulate our minds and raise our spirits. I enjoyed your comment on the “flowers that fly,” and thank you for your lovely visit today.
Don’t know why but I feel I should pick favorites so I’ll pick the Green and Purple Honeycreeper and the summer Tanager
Your favorites were great fun to hear about, Bill. And all three of the birds you mention, the green and purple honeycreepers and the summer tanager, are truly stunning to behold. The tropics are great for those colorful and exotic birds. Thank you for choosing your favorites, I enjoyed it.
I love all the bright colors. What a beautiful collection of photos!
Weren’t those bright colored birds fun, Diana? I’m really glad you enjoyed today’s birds of the rainbow. Thanks so much for your visit today.
Wow, I love this post! So much beauty to take in – Athena’s photos are superb, thanks so much for sharing these incredible beauties with us. ❤
There is never too much beauty to take in, right Eliza? I’m glad I could share the beauty, the rainbow birds, and Athena’s hard work at the camera. Thanks so very much for your visit, Eliza, much enjoyed.
Such a glorious gallery with just the right amount and tone of commentary. We’re not worthy! 🙂
I was hoping you’d stop by for the Birds of the Rainbow, Frank. I know what a fan you are of Athena’s photography, and this post is packed with her indefatigable camera work. I enjoyed your comment, am still smiling.
Thanks very much, Sherry, I’m glad you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow.
Thanks so much.
There really are some beautiful birds in the world, thanks for letting us bask in that beauty Jet.
It was a pleasure sharing these beautiful, colorful birds, Andrea, and I am delighted to hear you basked in their beauty. Many thanks for your visit and words today, Andrea.
Oh, Jet, every one is spectacular! Such fun to look at each bird and appreciate its unique qualities. I wish I would spot the Violet Green Swallow here someday… and the Quetzal wins the prize. What a thrill that must have been! I happily saw Rainbow Lorikeets in Australia– amazing to see. Nature is truly awesome. Great photos, Athena…bird photography is a challenge. 🙂
Wonderful to receive your glowing words, Jane, and much appreciated. Finding the quetzals that day was indeed a thrill…so much so that it is years later and I still remember the exact date. I’m happy you have had the pleasure and honor of seeing rainbow lorikeets. And I do hope you see a violet-green swallow some day. They are often near water, but tricky to spot and especially tricky to photograph, as you can no doubt imagine. Thanks so much, Jane, always a pleasure.
Gorgeous birds in the colours of the rainbow. Beautifully captured. I’ve never seen these birds before. The colours are stunning.
I am very happy to introduce these colorful birds to you, wales forever. Thanks very much for your visit.
Wonderful rainbow theme, Jet. I enjoyed Athena’s photos of birds around the world I’ll likely never see in person. One I have seen is the Quetzal. They really are incredible!
It is fun to share all these brightly colored birds, Eilene, I’m glad you enjoyed them. And how wonderful that you have see the quetzal. Many thanks.
Wow!!! I love this collection! 🌞
I’m so glad. Thanks very much, Lisa, it was great fun to share a few of the birds of the rainbow. Thanks for your visit today.
Gorgeous rainbow birds. 😍 I’m happy to see my Rosie Spoonbill in the line-up. Great photos and narration, Jet and Athena. 👏🏻
Oh yes, Sylvia, those spoonbills are remarkable-looking birds, I was happy I could include it in the rainbow line-up. Warm thanks for your lovely visit.
That Southern Carmine bee-eater is a show-stopper. I’m not sure what it is that appeals so strongly, but it’s a gem. Your way of arranging the birds by color’s creative as can be, and of course you have the archives to pull it off with a great deal of verve!
I am happy you enjoyed the bird rainbow, Linda, it was really fun to compose. I’m glad you noticed that very special Southern Carmine bee-eater. “Show-stopper” is a good word for them, whether they’re perched like this one, or weaving through the air chasing a bee. Thanks very much for your visits today, appreciated and enjoyed.
A true visual treat and a fine introduction to a number of birds that’s were unknown to me!
I am pleased you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow, Belinda, and really glad I could introduce you to some new birds. The bird world is a fun one to share. Thanks very much for your visit.
Dear Jet… leave it to you to present us with a rainbow of birds.
I was lucky enough to catch sight and photos of a vermillion flycatcher during a visit to the Bosque del Apache. What an amazing thrill that was! And we have the Grosbeak here in our yard… oftentimes hoarding the perches so the chickadees can’t get any seeds. What a great shot of the Violet-green swallow (Thanks, Athena). We have a pair of them being extremely busy feeding their chicks. Wish I could see inside the nest box!!!
So much to love about this post! I loved reading about your traffic jam caused by viewers of the quetzal! What a splendidly gorgeous bird! The peacock looks utterly gaudy next to the that onel.
And OMG!!! That Lilac-breasted Roller is amazing. Hard to pick a favorite here because one bird appears lovelier than the next. I think I’ll just quit while I’m ahead! 😉
Hope you’re well and content! and safe and healthy. Both of you.
Such a delight to receive your message, Gunta. I am happy you’ve had the thrill of seeing a vermillion flycatcher. Their red is like a beacon in the woods. I also enjoyed hearing about the bird activity in your yard. And I’m glad you enjoyed the traffic jam scene. It was like something in an independent movie, quiet but spirited and so poignant. Really fun to share the birds of the rainbow with you. Sending my thanks and warm wishes your way.
What an assortment of birds and colours Jet! Loved that shade of purple with the Honeycreeper!
So great to have you stop by, Wayne, thank you. And that shade of the purple on the honeycreeper is quite a celebration of color, I’m glad I could share it with you. Cheers to you.
Oh, Wow, Jet!! Every picture I was saying wow out loud. Oh my goodness to have been able to travel the world to capture these exceptional birds. One more beautiful than the other. Soon the world will be changed and you will once again be able to travel. I love photographing birds and that is one thing I have dearly missed as I pour my heart and soul into my gardens this year. Gorgeous post and I thank you so much for sharing it!! xo
How wonderful that I could share the birds of the rainbow with you, Amy, especially during this time when you’re focused more in your garden. Summer is so abundant with exquisite sights, it is difficult to see it all. Thanks so much for your delightful comment and visit, much enjoyed.
Thank you so much!
Wow..these are amazing captures of these varieties of birds from around the world. Anita
I am happy you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow, Anita. So nice of you to stop by and comment, thank you.
I always love reading your blog. Happy Weekend ahead.
I love these colorful birds! Beautiful captures!
Thanks so very much, WD, it was a delight putting together all the glorious birds of the rainbow. Thank you for your visit and comment, much appreciated.
I really enjoyed this cheering post and the stunning photos of breathtaking birds. It is impossible to pick a favourite but that colourful violet-green swallow really surprised me!
Oh so wonderful to have you stop by, Carol, and I’m happy you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow. That violet-green swallow is a surprise, as you say, with so much brilliant color. They move so swiftly and rarely stop moving, so they’re difficult to see as clearly as this photo was. But we have nesting boxes that host a family or two of this swallow species, so sometimes they do perch, and Athena gets lucky. Thanks so much for your visit and words, much enjoyed.
I enjoyed all the birds and photos, but I don’t associate such colours with a swallow. How great that you have some pairs using your nesting boxes. I imagine that Athena needs a great deal of patience as well as luck to be able to capture shots of them when they do on occasion perch. There were several other birds I had not seen before, and of course I enjoyed seeing the southern African birds too, all so beautifully photographed.
I am as dazzled by your birds, as you are of ours, Carol. I like that. And how wonderful.
What a wonderful collection of birds from all over the rainbow, Jet and Athena. We have a few colorful birds here, well all are colorful, but not as many as you have collected photographically from your travels. Thank you for sharing all the beauty.
It was a great joy to see these birds of the rainbow, Steve, and I am delighted I could share them with you. Thanks very much for your visit and kind words.
what a great collection of beautiful and colorful birds, Jet. thank you! feast to the eyes! 🙂
Hi Wilma, I’m so glad you enjoyed the rainbow of birds. I like your phrase “feast to the eyes,” and am happy to share this smorgasbord with you. Cheers to you, and hoping your weekend ahead is a delight.
Lovely post, Jet. I saw a bird couple in my back yard today that I had never seen before. The male looked like the photo of the Black-headed Grosbeak in your post. I looked up their range and they don’t seem to come anywhere near Michigan. I wonder if climate change has changed their range, or if I just misidentified the bird. It was an unexpected gift from the universe.
I am so glad you enjoyed the birds of the rainbow, LuAnne. The bird couple you saw in your MI back yard might be Baltimore Orioles, which are common there. Except for the bill shape, the male Baltimore oriole looks similar to the male black-headed grosbeak. Oh what a great treat that would be. That’s a bird we do not have in Calif. Here’s a link to help you ID. Have fun! https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Baltimore_Oriole/overview
Yep, that’s them! I had never seen one in the yard and I don’t know much about bird names. That link was very helpful. Thanks so much!
Beautiful captures! The colors on the birds are amazing.
Thanks very much Irene. It was great fun to share these colorful birds.