9 Scary Birds That Will Make You Cherish Your Spot On The Food Chain

Published December 11, 2020
Updated December 21, 2020

The Raspy-Voiced Dracula Parrot

Two Scary Birds

Rüdiger Stehn/FlickrThe Dracula parrot is aptly named for its gothic looks.

With an aesthetically grim appearance and official designation as rare, the Dracula parrot has certainly earned its name. Endemic to the jungles of New Guinea, the vulture-parrot hybrid might just be the most gothic bird on Earth, with its black and red body that resembles a cape.

As with every avian creature on our list, the Dracula parrot’s eyes are beady and unflinching in their relentless quest for prey. With a vulture-like beak that slopes forward and down, one wouldn’t want to be at the receiving end of its bite.

Initially dubbed Pesquet’s parrot and formally called Psittrichas fulgidus, this bird is the only member of its genus. Its genus, in turn, is the only one in its biological subfamily. In that sense, the bird’s unique vampire-influenced name is just as unique as its standing in the animal kingdom.

Despite its grim looks, this bird is no vulture. Unfortunately for Dracula Parrots, its primary diet of hard-to-find figs has only exacerbated their endangerment. In fact, their bald heads evolved specifically to keep the syrup from these fruits out of their feathers.

Dark Dracula Parrot
Dracula Parrot On A Branch
Dracula Parrot Cleaning Itself
Scary Bird Squawking
The Dracula Parrot
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Dracula parrots grow to an average length of 18 inches and can weigh up 28 ounces, with a red spot on the heads of males being the only visible differentiator in gender. Remarkably, researchers still know very little about their breeding habits in the wild, save for the fact that females can lay two eggs at a time.

A fairly social bird, this scary bird is often spotted in pairs — and even groups as big as 20. When they're not laying eggs inside of big, hollow trees, they're frantically flapping away with gliding reprieves interspersing their flight. Unlike other parrots, they don't climb trees — but hop from branch to branch.

Their ominous calls have previously been described as raspy growls that echo across the jungle from long distances. Tragically, this animal has become a prized commodity in Indigenous markets — with their chicks fetching especially lucrative prices.

With the logging industry adding to habitat loss, the bird has been placed on the "vulnerable" list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In the end, the Dracula parrot still inhabits New Guinea and parts of Oceania.

Alternatively, you can see them at certain zoos as a reminder of their plight.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "9 Scary Birds That Will Make You Cherish Your Spot On The Food Chain." AllThatsInteresting.com, December 11, 2020, https://allthatsinteresting.com/scary-birds. Accessed June 13, 2024.