Birds have some of the most varied body designs that you’ll find in the animal kingdom. They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.
The long-legged group of birds is full of very interesting body designs. Their legs are longer than their bodies and they can be found on every continent, except Antarctica.
The long-legged bird has a unique shape to its head, making it look like a duck or goose. It’s also got a wide range of other features that make it stand out from other birds.
With so many out there, it can be hard to separate the different varieties and species that you’ll find.
But we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll go over what makes up the long-legged bird family, how to tell them apart, and where they live.
With their plump body, long beak and legs, and well-camouflaged body, American Bitterns are a pretty strange species to look at.
Native to Canada, as well as the north and the Central United States, these amazing creatures spend their time hunting for food by wading into shallow water.
Whilst they tend to hunt for fish, they will also not turn their beaks up at amphibians and small reptiles that may cross their path.
One of the strangest-looking birds on this list, the secretary bird looks as if someone stuck a bird of prey on a pair of stilts!
Growing to a height of 1.5 meters in some cases, the secretary bird has a large wingspan, and can even fly very well, despite its size! These are carnivorous birds, often feeding on small mammals and rodents, as well as insects.
Although considered a vulnerable species, they do thrive across Africa where they still live.
A member of the heron family, the great egrets are native to coastal regions around the world, especially in and around the United States.
They are very social animals, living in groups of 10 to 20 individuals.
Thanks to their stalk-like legs that allow them to wade into deeper water, they eat mainly fish, although they will also take frogs and crustaceans when needed.
They nest near rivers and lakes, usually building a stick nest on islands and riverbanks.
For a long-legged bird that needs no introduction, we have the iconic flamingo! A migratory bird, the flamingo spends winters in tropical and savannah locations across Africa but is known to migrate across the continent.
Their main diet consists of algae, which they gather using their long beak, along with insect larvae, mollusks, and crustaceans. They also feed on plants during times of drought.
Despite being able to swim, flamingos walk on land for short periods to get to places where they can find food, but will usually fly when longer distance movements are required.
Their iconic pink color comes from a pigmentation that is found in the food that they eat and is called carotenoid.
This pigment gives them their bright coloration and helps protect them against UV rays.
Great Blue Heron
Whilst the name is something of a misnomer, this species of heron is still one of the most impressive in the world.
The blue herons are native to North America and prefer wetlands such as marshes and ponds.
Their long legs allow them to wade through high waters and fish for their prey in rivers.
Despite their long and somewhat awkward legs, however, they are still capable of flying great distances.
Their diet consists of fish, amphibians, small reptiles, and invertebrates, including crabs and crayfish.
Possibly one of the cutest entries on this list, the black-necked stilts are native to North America and live in freshwater swamps, lagoons, and marshes.
The stilts’ long legs help them stand out among other wading birds, as they use them to jump between the reeds and rushes that make up much of their habitat.
Like many of the other birds on this list, they don’t need to swim into deep water to catch their food, instead of relying on their long legs and sharp claws to grab prey from above as they walk through higher water levels.
Unfortunately, this species of heron is not green. Instead, it is more of an olive or grayish-brown color, although there are some records of them having been seen in green pastures, which may lend to their name.
However, these sightings were likely due to the fact that the herons had recently fed on aquatic vegetation.
Like many other herons, this bird feeds by wading into fast-moving streams and rivers with its long legs and fishing for its prey.
Unlike many other birds, however, this heron can actually use their environment as tools in their hunting, as they will drop small amounts of bait into the water in order to attract fish to them.
With so many strange animals, it was only a matter of time before a bird from Australia made its way onto this list.
Looking like a cross between a crane and a dinosaur, the Australian crane, also known as the Brolga, is easy to identify from its gray-white body and orange-red head.
Native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia, it has a wingspan of over 2 meters (6.6 feet), making it a very large bird.
This unusual-looking animal is quite common, living alongside humans in rice paddies, mangrove forests, and even suburban gardens.
These large birds are herbivores, eating mostly grasses and sedges, although they will sometimes supplement their diets with fruit, seeds, insects, amphibians, and worms.
Found all across the world except for Antarctica, the cattle egrets are the largest members of the heron family, growing up to a foot and a half in height with a 22-inch wingspan.
They have a distinctive bright red beak, black eyes, yellow feet, and a black stripe down the center of their otherwise white bodies.
These beautiful birds are often found around freshwater lakes, ponds, and marshes, where they feed on mollusks, crustaceans, and insect larvae. While they do occasionally eat frogs, snakes, and fish, they usually stick to plants.
Ending our list with a straight-up dinosaur, we have the Cassowary, one of the largest flightless birds alive today.
The Cassowary is native to Australia but lives throughout tropical Asia.
Standing over five feet tall in some cases, and weighing up to 100 pounds, the cassowary looks similar to a small ostrich, but with darker feathers, a longer tail, and a larger beak, as well as having its distinctive vivid blue head.
The cassowary uses its size and weight to intimidate predators, using its powerful legs to kick at any intruders who come too close.
It is also able to run incredibly quickly, reaching speeds of over 31 miles per hour! Although it does spend most of its time walking, it can also jump up to 7 feet high.
Whilst Cassowaries do not hunt people, they have been known to attack humans, and their kicks have been known to shatter bones.
So there you have it – 10 different types of birds that look bizarrely human. Some of these birds seem almost completely alien, whilst others appear almost exactly like us.
What is your favorite? Which ones would you want to see in person? Let us know!