26 Ugliest Birds in the World

Raul Cornelius is a Senior Editor at BalconyGardenWeb and an expert in flower and herb cultivation based in Phoenix, Arizona. A frequent speaker at horticultural events, he is also an active contributor to Facebook flower groups. Holding an MBA and a BCom, Raul blends his gardening skills with strong leadership and analytical abilities. Passionate about writing and photography, he enjoys early mornings with coffee and books, and nature bike rides during weekends.
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Discover the List of Ugliest Birds that stand out in the avian world with their peculiar plumage and unique features!

Boasting unsightly appearance and peculiar habits, this List of Ugliest Birds will surprise you to the core! However, do note that we have only outlined the bizarre features of these birds, which may, indeed, hold a certain appeal to many.

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Ugliest Birds in the World

1. Wild Turkey

Ugliest Birds 1

Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo silvestris

Wild turkeys find their place in the list of Ugliest Birds for their bare, warty heads that can change color with their mood. The males also have a fleshy protuberance called a “snood” that hangs over their beaks, giving it an unsightly look.

2. Cinereous Vulture

shutterstock/Pavel Filatov

Scientific Name: Aegypius monachus

The Cinereous Vulture shows off an unattractive appearance with their bald, wrinkled head, dull blackish-brown plumage, and massive, hunched-over body. Its eerie visage and scavenging habits earn it the reputation as one of the Ugliest Birds in the avian kingdom.

3. Muscovy Duck

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Scientific Name: Cairina moschata

Wild Muscovy ducks have dark feathers with a green shine and white patches on their wings. The prominent caruncles, or fleshy wattles, around the eyes and beak give it an ugly, somewhat distorted appearance.

4. Andean Condor


Scientific Name: Vultur gryphus

The Andean condor is the world’s biggest flying bird by weight and wingspan. It’s a large black vulture with white feathers at the neck base and on the wings. The featherless heads, hooded beak, and wrinkled face give the bird an eerie appearance.

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5. Jabiru

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Scientific Name: Jabiru mycteria

One of the biggest flying birds in South and Central America, Jabiru also exhibits an unsightly appearance with its extraordinarily large beak and black bald head contrasting against its white body.

6. Greater Adjutant


Scientific Name: Leptoptilos dubius

Not just ugly, but this bird boasts an eerie appearance with its feather-less head, a large wedge-shaped bill, and a saggy pouch beneath its neck. Greater Adjutant is also one of the largest storks, with a height of around 4-5 feet and a wingspan of around 8-9 feet.

7. Saddle-Billed Stork

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Scientific Name: Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

The saddle-billed can grow as tall as 4-5 feet and has a wingspan of up to 8-9 feet. While the bird has striking colors, it possesses a long, somewhat awkward-looking bill that is pretty large compared to its head, making it one of the contenders of this list.

8. Marabou Stork

Scientific Name: Leptoptilos crumenifer

The Marabou Stork is widely regarded as one of the Ugliest Birds in the World with its bald, wrinkled head and hunched, unkempt appearance. Furthermore, the bird’s saggy pouch-like neck and enormous wingspan add to its unappealing demeanor.

9. Vulturine Guineafowl

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Scientific Name: Acryllium vulturinum

Popular as royal guineafowl, the vulturine guineafowl is a large guineafowl bird that shares the eerie look of a vulture. Its bald head and neck, contrasting with its feathered body, appear unattractive to some people.

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10. Californian Condor


Scientific Name: Gymnogyps californianus

Next, on the list of the Ugliest Birds in the World, we have the largest flying bird in North America—The Californian condor. With a wingspan of up to 9-10 feet, it has mostly black feathers. Its bald head and neck with yellow-orange bare skin gives it a non-conventional look.

11. Turkey Vulture

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Scientific Name: Cathartes aura

The turkey vulture, popular as turkey buzzard, gets its name from its bald red head and dark brown feathers resembling a male wild turkey. Additionally, their large size and somewhat ungainly appearance contribute to their unappealing image.

12. Southern Ground Hornbill


Scientific Name: Bucorvus leadbeateri

The Southern Ground Hornbill is often deemed one of the Ugliest Birds in the World due to its bare, wrinkled facial skin, along with its large, heavy bill. The red throat pouch further creates an unattractive contrast with its mostly black plumage.

13. Southern Bald Ibis

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Scientific Name: Geronticus calvus

This renowned Ugly Bird has blue-black feathers that shine with green, violet, and bronze colors. Its bald head covered in wrinkled pale skin, and the dome-shaped red crown creates an unappealing sight.

14. Wood Stork

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Scientific Name: Mycteria americana

The wood stork reaches a tall stature of about 3-4 feet with a wingspan of up to 5-6 feet. Its featherless head and neck sport a dark gray, scaly skin, which adds to its ugly look. A long, downward-curving black beak completes its unique profile.

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15. Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill

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Scientific Name: Bycanistes brevis

The Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill has a large casque on top of its beak, which some may find unattractive. Additionally, its large size and the sharp contrast between its dark body and light-colored cheeks give it an unusual look.

16. Roseate Spoonbill

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Scientific Name: Platalea ajaja

The roseate spoonbill sports a pretty appearance with its pink feathers, obtained from special pigments called carotenoids found in the aquatic invertebrates they consume. Yet, it finds itself in this list due to its large spoon-shaped bill that puts a pause on its otherwise appealing look.

17. King Vulture

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Scientific Name: Sarcoramphus papa

The King Vulture features a bald head and wrinkled neck with vibrant red and purple skin. Its large, unsettling white eyes with red borders and scavenging habits contribute to its ugly reputation.

18. Shoebill


Scientific Name: Balaeniceps rex

The shoebill bird looks unique mainly because of its huge bill, which resembles a large wooden Dutch clog with a hook at the end. Its stern gaze and relatively motionless stance, which it uses to hunt, add to its off-putting aura.

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19. Great Potoo

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Scientific Name: Nyctibius grandis

The Great Potoo, with its wide, ghoulish eyes and sharp beak, gives off a somewhat eerie presence. With a wide open mouth face, this Ugly Bird looks straight out of an alien horror film—as if it could gulp down something much larger than itself.

20. Hoatzin

Scientific Name: Opisthocomus hoazin

The hoatzin emits an offbeat smell, giving it the title of a skunk bird or stinkbird. Its ugly features include spiky crest, a bluish face, and red eyes. Additionally, the fact that young Hoatzin possess claws on their wings adds to their unconventional appearance.

21. Helmeted Hornbill

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Scientific Name: Rhinoplax vigil

The Helmeted Hornbill earns its place in the list of Ugliest Birds, and it’s no wonder why! It shows off a solid casque—the helmet-like structure on its head that extends over its beak and contributes to its unusual appearance.

22. Ocellated Turkey

Scientific Name: Meleagris ocellata

The ocellated turkey boasts a unique look with colorful feathers and a big, round head. It shares some similarities with wild turkeys found in North America but stands out with its orange and red nodules.

23. Featherless Chickens

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Scientific Name: Gallus gallus domesticus

Featherless Chickens, as their name suggests, lack feathers on their neck and sometimes throughout their body. This unusual baldness gives them a distinct appearance that looks ugly or unattractive.

24. Long-Wattled Umbrellabird


Scientific Name: Cephalopterus penduliger

The Umbrellabird has an unusually long wattle that inflates during courtship displays. When not in use, it hangs down, giving it an ungainly look. While an uncommon sight, they are found at certain spots where several males gather to show off, extending their wattles and making deep, airy hoots.

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25. Jungle Babbler

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Scientific Name: Turdoides striata

The Jungle Babbler counts as an Ugly Bird due to its mottled brown and gray plumage, lack of vibrant colors, and somewhat unkempt appearance. Its stout, dull beak and the lack of sleek or bright feathers lead to its attractive reputation.

26. Bats


Scientific Name: Chiroptera

When talking about the Ugliest Birds in the World, how could we miss bats? Though not a bird, these nocturnal mammals earn their place in this list due to their association with vampires and unusual faces. The bird’s leathery wings and upside-down hanging postures further cement its reputation of ugliness.

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