Female Bird Beauties

This brought to mind something my late father, a lifelong birdwatcher, pointed out to me time and time again in innumerable bird guides, that male birds were generally the more attractive of the species. And it is true, for most birds I do enjoy the appearance of the male because it is generally more colorful or has striking plumage, but there is one exception that comes immediately to mind:

In Zanate Mayor (Quiscalus mexicanus), my personal preference is for the appearance of the female, because the color looks like fog at midnight and the yellow eyes are more striking against this color than they are against the black of the male. The individual feathers of the male are incredible to find because they have iridescent sheen of purple and blue but the overall look I just prefer the female.

Are there any bird species in which you prefer the appearance of the female more than the male?


In any birds both males and females are beautiful, striking colours are not everything, females in species with sexual dimorphism almost always have more intricate patter that helps them blend in better.
I think marsh harrier females are as good as bald males, and duck females are just easier to photograph, like it too. Don’t choose phalaropes, because it’s cheating.

1 Like

Yeah, just wanted to mention as well: Phalaropes, Dotterels or Painted Snipes should be non-electable here :slightly_smiling_face:

I actually am very fond of the appearance of the female Smew, but in that case, the male looks so much different, it is very difficult to compare them at all (like comparing apples and oranges…)

But I could easily name some species where I prefer the appearance in their non-breeding plumage


I’m quite fond of the female cardinals around my yard. They opted for the more subdued elegance of mouse-gray with accents and accessories such as lipstick and dying their hair to match the color of their male companions’ gaudy all-red outfit with black mask. They make quite the dashing pair but I have yet to get lucky to snap a picture of a pair of them together.


I quite like the appearance of the female blue rock thrush - which is not blue at all but has a very delicate wavy pattern

Of course, the blue male is also nice and really different


I was wondering if someone was going to say cardinals. I love those, too.

While I definitely do not prefers the female plumages over the males, I think female Northern Cardinals and Evening Grosbeaks would get much more praise if they were not overshadowed by their male counterparts.

Also, phalaropes, especially Wilson’s.

1 Like

Another vote for female Northern Cardinal.


Wilson’s Phalarope:

And boring male for comparison:


But we chose before they don’t count.

Ah, but you didnt say anything about eclectus parrots.

1 Like

They have regular way of breeding, so may be included if you like them!

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.