Distinguished Birds

The birds in the Distinguished Birds category represent nearly every continent and range in size from the diminutive but colorful songbird, the Red Siskin of Venezuela, to the impressive Red-tailed Hawk found throughout North America.

To inquire about Name-A-Bird opportunities, please contact Ted Bartlett at ted.bartlett@aviary.org or 412-258-9433.

Naming Agreement and Understanding: Following approval of the requested name, the name will be registered in the official ZIMS registry and shall remain the official name for the entirety of the life of the bird at the National Aviary. Due to the nature of working with live animals, specific lifespans of animals cannot be guaranteed. Because the National Aviary is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® program, a coordinated conservation effort to save animals from extinction, there is no guarantee that the bird will remain at the National Aviary for its full lifespan, and may be subject to relocation at any time to another AZA institution or to be released to the wild.

Perching Birds & Songbirds

Among the most varied group, perching birds and songbirds come in all shapes and sizes, from the small, sparrow-sized Red Bishop to the large, crow-sized Capuchinbird, and all colors, too, from the slate gray of the elegant Scissor-tailed Flycatcher to the bright hues of the Red Siskin. Perching birds and songbirds are vulnerable around the world to the effects of climate change and loss of habitat.

The Capuchinbird (Perissocephalus tricolor), native to South America, is a striking and unusual bird. Named for its featherless head which is said to resemble a monk’s tonsure, the Capuchinbird lives in the tropical lowland forests of Venezuela. Males of this species gather in leks where they display for females during the breeding season. They are known for their unique call, which sounds like a cow’s moo. Populations of Capuchinbirds are widespread and stable, but habitat loss remains a threat.

A Capuchinbird perched in a tree
  • Capuchinbird (Perissocephalus tricolor)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Venezuela
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Andes Mountains habitat in Canary’s Call
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 2 females
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The bright yellow head of the Golden-crested Myna (Ampeliceps coronatus) stands out in the lowland evergreen forests it inhabits in eastern India to Thailand. These sleek birds forage in small groups in the tree canopy, eating fruit and insects. While this species is common throughout most of its range, it is vulnerable to deforestation.

Golden-crested Myna perched on a wooden stump
  • Golden-crested Myna (Ampeliceps coronatus)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Eastern India south to Thailand
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Tropical Rainforest
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The bright and colorful Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida) uses a wide range of habitats, from riverine forest to bamboo jungles in Southeast Asia. These beautiful birds have a loud flutelike call, which they will sometimes make even during the night. The Hooded Pitta is stable, but habitat loss remain a threat.

Hooded Pita perched on a branch
  • Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Eastern India south to New Guinea
  • At the Aviary: Resides in Canary’s Call
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The male Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) is a brilliant blue with glossy black accents, and the female is a vibrant green. Found throughout southern Mexico south to Brazil, these small songbirds live in the tropical lowlands in woodland areas. Populations of Red-legged Honeycreeper remain common and even abundant.

Red-legged Honeycreeper perched on a branch
  • Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Mexico, Brazil, Cuba
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Grasslands and Tropical Rainforest
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male, 1 female
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) is common throughout its range in the south-central U.S. and Central America, where it can found perched on shrubs, tree, and fences in grassland and shrubland areas. True to its name, it eats by catching insects on the wing, swooping gracefully through the air. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are abundant and their populations are stable.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher perched on a rope
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: South-central U.S., Mexico, and Central America
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Grasslands
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 2 females
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) is a colorful bird found in savannah woodlands and desert steppes throughout central Africa. Its plumage is eye-catching, with vibrant blues, greens, and crimson, and it has a long, thin tail. The White-throated Bee-eater feeds during continuous flights, grabbing honeybees, beetles, and other insects on the wing. This species is common throughout its range and is considered a species of Least Concern.

White-throated Bee-eater perched on a branch
  • White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: West Africa and from Mauritania to Kenya
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Grasslands
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 2 males, 1 female
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The female Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus) may not possess the same shocking orange color of her male counterpart, but she is no less beautiful or interesting! Females have their pick of males during the breeding season, choosing from as many as 15 males gathered at communal leks where they display for females. While populations of Andean Cock-of-the-rock are widespread, the species, like others along the Andes Mountain range, is vulnerable to habitat loss.

Female Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
  • Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Andes Mountains
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Andes Mountain habitat in Canary’s Call
  • Lifespan: 5-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 female
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus) is an Endangered songbird found in scattered locations in northern South America. It has gorgeous, vibrant scarlet plumage, which made it desirable for hybridizing with domesticated canaries. This once abundant bird inspired literature, music, and even appears on currency in Venezuela. The National Aviary is working to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.

Red Siskin perched on a branch
  • Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Isolated pockets of northern Venezuela
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Grasslands
  • Lifespan: 4-8 years
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Available for Naming: 2 males, 3 females
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) is one of the smaller hornbill species. Found in Sub-Saharan Africa, these recognizable birds inhabit woodland and grassy areas. They have an unusual approach to breeding. The female Red-billed Hornbill seals herself in a cavity in a tree, leaving only a small gap for the male to provide her with food. She stays in the cavity until her chicks are about 20 days old.

  • Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus)
  • Type of Bird: Perching Bird
  • Native Range: Sub-Saharan Africa
  • At the Aviary: Resides Behind the Scenes
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 2 males
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

Waterbirds

Waterbirds can include birds as different as the tiny North American Ruddy Duck, the long and lanky Javan Pond Heron, and the unusual looking shorebird, the Masked Lapwing. Waterbirds around the world are vulnerable to habitat loss, environmental pollution, and the effects of climate change.

The Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciose) inhabits freshwater swamps and ponds in Java and Borneo. This handsome heron has cinnamon-colored plumage on its head and neck that fade into gray and white. Populations of the Javan Pond Heron are stable, and may even be increasing.

Javan Pond-heron perched on a branch
  • Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciose)
  • Type of Bird: Waterbird
  • Native Range: Java, Borneo, and Philippines
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Wetlands
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 2 males
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The North American Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a petite duck, recognizable by its short tail that sticks straight up out of the water. Males have striking blue bills and perform elaborate and even comical courtship displays. While populations of Ruddy Ducks are stable, they rely on marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes, and remain vulnerable to habitat degradation and loss.

Male Ruddy Duck swimming in water
  • North American Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
  • Type of Bird: Waterbird
  • Native Range: Widespread throughout North America and on the western side of South America
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Wetlands
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a recognizable bird, with a long, rounded bill and feathers that are a deep pink hue. While there are six spoonbill species worldwide, the Roseate Spoonbill is the only one in the New World. It inhabits shallow aquatic habitats like marshes, swamps, and lakes. Populations have recovered after overhunting for its feathers decimated Roseate Spoonbill populations. Habitat loss and degradation are threats for this species.

Roseate Spoonbill
  • Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)
  • Type of Bird: Waterbird
  • Native Range: Coastal areas in the southern U.S. and Central America, and throughout much of South America
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Wetlands
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 2 males
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) is a waterbird found in Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea. It has a distinctive face, with two large yellow wattles. To lure potential predators away from their nests, Masked Lapwings will use a distraction display, hopping awkwardly on one leg to draw attention away from the nest. This species is stable and not globally threatened.

A Masked Lapwing in the water
  • Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)
  • Type of Bird: Waterbird
  • Native Range: Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Tropical Rainforest
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 female
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) is a long and lanky heron-like waterbird found in parts of Central and South America. At first, these birds may appear cryptic, easily blending in with the surrounding forested areas near the streams and pools they inhabit. But, when they spread their wings, they reveal a beautiful sunburst pattern. Populations of Sunbitterns remain stable.

Sunbittern sunning with its wings out on a tree branch
  • Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)
  • Type of Bird: Waterbird
  • Native Range: Central and South America
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Wetlands
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 female, 1 male
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

Parrots

Parrots are charismatic birds with personalities as bold as their plumage. Their long, curved bills and clawed feet make them perfectly suited for life in the forests throughout the subtropics, where they eat a diet of nuts, berries, fruits, or seeds. Parrots are among the most endangered of all bird families; nearly one-third of all parrot species are threatened by extinction.

The Sun Conure (Aratinga solstitialis), also called the Sun Parakeet, is a vibrant parrot with stunning markings of orange, yellow, and green. It is considered Endangered, and is very scarce and even absent across most of its range. Only two small populations are known to exist—one in Brazil, and one in Guyana—and only about 2,000 Sun Conures remain in the wild.

Headshot of Sun Conure
  • Sun Conure (Aratinga solstitialis)
  • Type of Bird: Parrot
  • Native Range: Brazil and Guyana
  • At the Aviary: Resides Behind the Scenes
  • Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Available for Naming: 1 bird, sex unknown
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

Doves & Pigeons

Known for their soft cooing calls, doves and pigeons are not often thought of as showy birds, but some truly stand out, like the Victoria Crowned Pigeon with its elaborate crown, or the eye-catching Mariana Fruit-dove. Many dove and pigeon species are threatened by habitat loss and climate change.

The Luzon Bleeding-heart Dove (Gallicolumba luzonica) is a striking bird found in the Philippines. Like many doves, this species is shy and not commonly seen, preferring to stay deep in forested areas. Their call is a deep, mournful coo. This species is not globally threatened, but habitat destruction and hunting are threats.

Luzon Bleeding-heart Dove perched on a branch
  • Luzon Bleeding-heart Dove (Gallicolumba luzonica)
  • Type of Bird: Dove
  • Native Range: Philippines
  • At the Aviary: Resides in Canary’s Call
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male, 1 female
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

The Mariana Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla) has gorgeous plumage of emerald greens, reds, and purples. It favors forested habitats in the Northern Mariana Islands. This species, like other Mariana Islands species, is considered Endangered due to the accidental introduction of an invasive species.

Mariana Fruit-Dove perched on a branch
  • Mariana Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla)
  • Type of Bird: Dove
  • Native Range: Northern Mariana Islands, formerly Guam
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Tropical Rainforest and Behind the Scenes
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male, 1 female
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

Raptors

Raptors are impressive birds of prey, with powerful talons and beaks—adaptations that make them skillful hunters. Some raptors are familiar sights, like the ubiquitous Red-tailed Hawk, while others, like the Burrowing Owl, are less conspicuous. Raptors around the world face threats to their survival, including habitat loss, poisoning, and collisions with the built environment.

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a common sight throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. This species is highly adaptable and can be found in habitats as varied as cloud forests in tropical regions and urban land. Red-tailed Hawk populations are stable, and may even be increasing in some areas, but they are susceptible to lead poisoning from eating animals shot with lead bullets, and from collisions with the built environment.

Red-tailed Hawk perched on a branch
  • Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis
  • Type of Bird: Raptor
  • Native Range: North America and part of Central America
  • At the Aviary: Resides Behind the Scenes
  • Lifespan: 20-30 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 1 male
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

Quails

Quails are small ground birds, with short, broad wings, and are often well camouflaged. Their dappled plumage helps them blend in with their surroundings, usually in grassland areas. Many grouse species, like the Masked Bobwhite, are in sharp decline due to habitat loss.

The Masked Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus ridgwayi) is a distinct subspecies of the Northern Bobwhite. The range of this small ground-dwelling bird is restricted to the Sonoran Desert and extreme southern Arizona. Only about 200 Masked Bobwhite remain in the wild, but a program to help Masked Bobwhites breed in human care is working to repopulate Masked Bobwhites in their native range.

  • Masked Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus ridgwayi)
  • Type of Bird: Quail
  • Native Range: Sonoran Desert and extreme southern Arizona
  • At the Aviary: Resides in the Grasslands
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Available for Naming: 3 males
  • Naming Rights: $2,500

To inquire about Name-A-Bird opportunities, please contact Ted Bartlett at ted.bartlett@aviary.org or 412-258-9433.

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