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Top 10 Colorful Animals

BBC Earth . . . Comments

[Note: This list was prepared by BBC Earth for Listverse] Life is made of many stories. There’s the red one, the blue one, the wow one, the people one, the animal one. There’s the one that makes you giggle, and the one that makes you well up. Life is the stories of all its heroes. The tiny ones, the unexpected ones, the scary ones, the big and ugly ones. And here, Life is colorful… Dive in at for more amazing stories, videos and photos and visit us on Facebook for exclusive content! Click the images for stunning full size versions.


Panther Chameleon


Red, white, green and blue – and that’s just some of the time. The Panther Chameleon has an amazing ability to change color to hide itself. But, unlike us, it can’t pick what color coat it wears – that’s affected by temperature, light and even its mood! [More Images]


Sockeye Salmon


We might tan in the heat, or go red if we get embarrassed, but imagine if the color of your skin completely changed with your environment? That’s exactly what the Sockeye Salmon does – normally blue and silver, they turn red and green before spawning. [More Images]


Bird of Paradise


Not only does the male Bird of Paradise have fantastic colorful plumage, he dances, poses and completely changes his shape to woo the less exotic-looking females. Still, lucky girls! Because birds of paradise have great cultural significance to the natives of New Guinea, where their feathers and skins are traded, some species are sadly endangered. [More Images]


Temminck’s Tragopan


With an orange and brown quiff and a chest that looks like a whale shark lying on top of a heart, the Temminck’s Tragopan is certainly striking. It’s no surprise it’s considered to be the world’s most handsome pheasant. This stunning bird is found in the forests of South Asia. The blue color of its face is actually skin – not feathers. [More Images]


Weedy Sea Dragon


The Weedy Sea Dragon is a weird, wonderful and colorful underwater creature. Not only does the female produce 250 eggs at a time – the male looks after them. And he shouldn’t lose them either – they’re bright pink! The Weedy Sea Dragon is found off the coasts of Australia, where its leafy appendages allow it to hide amongst seaweed when predators come by. [More Images]


Blue-Footed Booby


Females are attracted to the male Booby’s brilliant blue boots, so it’s lucky for them that they get even brighter if they miss a mating season. This unusual and very attractive bird is found most famously in the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, but can be found on various other tropical and subtropical islands also. [More Images]




The Clownfish may look pretty with its bright orange and white stripes, but it’s covered in slime. It is essential to the fish forming one of nature’s great teams with the sea anemone though – they are dependent on each other to survive, and the slime protects the Clownfish from the anemone’s sting. [More Images]


Lesser Flamingo


Did you know the famous pink Flamingo’s lovely color comes from pigment in the algae it eats? They do say you are what you eat. The lesser flamingo is the smallest and most prolific of the flamingo family and is found in Africa and some parts of Asia. These beautiful birds are hunted and eaten by Baboons, wildcats and Eagles. [More Images]




The Sailfish’s blue stripes certainly make a statement, but it’s nothing to do with fashion. They light up when the Sailfish hunts, confusing their prey and letting their fellow hunters know what they’re doing. Now that’s a useful use of color! Sailfish have been clocked at up to 70 mph – the fastest reliably recorded speed of a fish. The sail is usually kept folded down and is raised when the fish is threatened, to give the illusion of being larger. [More Images]


Monarch Butterfly


Everyone loves butterflies, especially these pretty ones. But their beautiful colors actually serve as a warning to predators not to eat them because they’re poisonous. Monarchs are probably best known for their southward migration in North America, when the first frosts of Winter arrive. It is the only butterfly to migrate North and South like birds do. [More Images]

  • gaius

    no peacock???

    • limemime

      There are lots of birds that could make it on this list. I've always found toucan's colors to be awesome. Also, google images for the Rainbow Lorikeet and Golden Pheasant. Beatiful! There are also tons of tropical fish that are amazingly colorful.

      • Skata

        In a bit of supreme irony there's a huge yellow and black Argiope aurantia just outside my window here. A couple of days ago it caught a chameleon quite a bit larger than itself.

  • Kimani

    I was sure Lady Gag(sic) was going to be on the list.

    • lalabhaiya

      haha. Nice. I guess she should be the Bonus Item.

  • swapie

    I want a nr 4! Nice list. Are we getting back to standard, Frater?

  • swapie

    The bird of Paradise is awesome. Google for the video where it show off!

    • GagaMonstette

      i saw it on a nature show. . . beautiful

  • rain

    Imagine that a blue footed bird.

  • swapie

    Shame. Poor lesser flamingo's. Being hunted by all those animals. Must be the legs…

    • oliveralbq

      i think theyre just resiliant.
      the next door neighbour's flamingos (which refuse to eat or get out of the damn lawn) lasted through hurricane katrina, but the casino caddy-corner to my house wound up on the other side of my house.

      when you look out one window, and see a 375 metre casino floating longways across the beach, and look out the other window, and see flamingos dancing, you realise what special animals they are.

      sort-of……how you say…..plastic?
      special none the less

  • GagaMonstette

    first thing i think about when i see the clownfish is nemo. . . i quit fish after that flick. . .yes. chicken run did things to my mentality too

    • swapie

      so are you a vegetarian now?

      • GagaMonstette


        • oliveralbq

          attack of the killer tomatoes made me hate ketchup for life.
          (marinara is okay, though).

          • Jay

            I know what you mean. I watched "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People." So much for cannibalism…

          • oliveralbq

            george berry classic.
            flick would have been way better if it had been a water bed.

            the thing i didnt get. (other than a bed—-that eats—people) was why the dumb bed ate the apples, and drank the wine, and ate the bucket of chicken, and *then* ate the people. wasnt the bed full? how is it it takes the bed the equal amount of time to:
            –eat two people
            –drink a whole bottle of red wine
            –eat a whole bucket of chicken
            –and eat 3 bites of one apple, and doesnt touch the other one.

            that's just silly

    • novacaine

      better check out the film "EARTHLINGS" your mind might be reset for a while

    • Jay

      I have to wonder how you would feel about Mangetout. He's a French performer who ate bicycles, among other things.

      • oliveralbq

        michel lotitos ate a cessna — that is semi impressive, even if it did take him 3 years.
        he also ate a coffin. the dude's fucking nutty.

        ————–link wont work — cut/paste from——————-
        The greatest omnivore, known as Monsieur Mangetout, is Michel Lotito who was born in 1950 in Grenoble, France. He has been eating metal and glass since 1959. Gastroenterologists have X-rayed his stomach and have described his ability to consume 2 lb of metal per day as unique. His diet since 1966 has included 10 bicycles, a supermarket cart (in 4 1/2 days), 7
        TV sets, 6 chandeliers, and a low-calorie Cessna light aircraft, which he ate in Caracas, Venezuela. He is said to have provided the only example in history where a coffin (handle and all) ended up inside a man.

        • mordechaimordechai


  • levi von schnitzel

    While sockeye are definitely not the most beautiful, that is an amazing photograph.

    • jesusispresent

      BBC Earth = Best naturalism media in the world

  • speck

    Needs a rainbow lorikeet!

    The bird of paradise is hilarious.

  • lalabhaiya

    Temminck’s Tragopan may be the most handsome pheasent in Asia but I am the most handsome peasant there.

    Bah. That was bad. Now back to work. :(

    Nice list though. Something Different… And colourful. :)

    • grrr

      i once got my pheasants and peasants mixed up on a history paper, the teacher made sure the whole class knew of my mistake….. asshole lol

  • Chineapplepunk

    Ahhhh! Pretties!! :) I love this list :D
    The Blue- footed Boobys feet are the same colour as he nail varnish I have on! Oo-er! Oh, and another colourful animal I like is the Mandarin Duck.

    • mrjimmyos

      I forgot about that one, amazing. And funny that i post the mandarin fish and you post the mandarin duck XD

  • Geronimo1618

    Wow great pics! And I was expecting that the "more images" link will direct to a BBC exclusive..but it is a Google search images result…well…

  • Dog

    Crap list!

    • junqueman2

      A Crap comment by a CRAP KINDA GUY!

  • porkins

    is it just me or did the text seem rather patronising?

    • swapie

      Its was done by the BBC, old chap! What did you expect?

      • The Mick

        oh , i get it. just imagine a Richard Attenborough voice-over !

        • Aryn

          Actually, it's David Attenborough. Richard is his brother; you know, the guy from Jurassic Park.

    • lalabhaiya

      swapie summed it up.

    • bluesman87

      Yes!! Patronizing like a school Councillor when you come to school with a black eye the day after your parents get divorced!! Also there was no sign of humor . These people actually get paid to write these lists . Its pretty cool to think Tyb could've done a better job , all the regular contributers can do better work , and they dont even get paid .

      • Rabble

        On the other hand,. as crappy as the BBC text is, at least it's original. They didn't just search clown fish on Wikipedia and copy/paste the entry.

        • VintageObsessive

          I doubt Tyb does that either; he seems to know so much about animals/marine life/insects/amphibians/etc.

          • bluesman87

            both true .

    • skipskip1

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that! Very patronising and a pretty boring list considering the interesting and beautiful subject matter.

    • oliveralbq

      seemed more condescending than patronising.

      theyre damn near the same, though, i suppose.

  • mrjimmyos

    Awesome list! Although they left out the Mandarin Fish!

  • Crumpet

    These animals aren't colourful enough…

    • fakebrock

      or American enough

  • oliveralbq

    i am soooo mad, right now…..

    i *hate* being colour blind

    • ames801

      Awwww, booooooo! Sorry, Oliver.

    • ames801

      Wait! Was that a joke? And did it really take me 8 hours to get it?

      • oliveralbq

        i inadvertantly set it up to go either way. and it's not a *terrible* joke for 4:15am.

        unfortunately, your first response was right. and thanks. this colour blindness sucks ass — a n n o y i n g.

        and whatever youre thinking, its probably worse than that.
        i have the bullshit kind of colour blindness. most people think 'colour deficient'. red-blind, or green-blind, etc.
        many don't even know what monochromacy is..

        what i have is total colour blindness.
        now, i've mentioned this before (last time was last summer) and i always get people trying to tell me total colour blindness is a misnomer. somehow it had become one of those weird medical rumours that complete achromatopsia and/or monochromacy doesnt really occur. it's rare superrare, but you see what i see if you watch an old black and white tele.

        complete achromatopsia —

        i really do hate wiki, but their page on this is pretty good:
        look at the flags on the right in the wiki page, and pan down to the section on classifications.

        i didnt realise "clerks" was shot in b&w for about 3 months after i saw it.

        this is a form of cone monochromacy, which is even rarer, as most totally colour blind people have deficient vision as well. i have 20/15 — and near perfect night-vision.. im a little sensitive to light in the nighttime but it isnt bad.

        at any rate — yeah, i cant see any of these pretty animals. and my dickhead friends are always telling me to look at the girl in the blue dress, or the yellow corvette. no one ever gets used to it. :(

        thanks ames— nice to know you care, girl…. ;-)

        • 2manycats

          How old where you when you realized you did not see like everyone else? I was 7 before anyone realized I was extremely nearsighted. I adapted to my vision deficiency because I was unaware I had one (grammar police alert).
          I guess some colors might be described by other senses e.g. warmth is yellow like the sun or blue is cool like water or brown is like the feel of soil. How do you describe color?

          • oliveralbq

            i, personally, found out from my parents (not something i realised on my own). my dad got a t.v. kit to build a 45" console tv from ar. i do not know if a.r. (acoustic research — ), still sells the kits sso you can build a tv or speakers or whatever, but long before i was born, up til at least age 5 ('83) you could.

            my dad had deuteranomaly, which is the green-blind type. as you are putting a tv together from a kit with 80,000 pieces, you have around 75 resistors, which are colour coded per resistance value. my dad couldnt see the colours (there are 3 coloured stripes on these resistors). he asked me to just hand him the one with the broad yellow stripe, and the blue stripe in the middle, etc. the thing didnt work, and my dad (who was a mathematician) got an electronic-whiz friend of his to look at it. everything was all fucked up. long storry short, my mom got a colour perception chart and tested me. and didnt believe that i got *none* right except for the control plate. neither one of my parents knew that total colour blindness was even a choice. doc confirmed it. that stroy is from my mom and dad both, and i dont doubt that something has gotten lost in translation over the years, but it sounds reasonable.
            as far as describing colours by other stimuli — ok idea, complicated execution. just using your example, the sun isnt warm. its hot as piss. red/orange. cold — i have blue water and red water — cool seems like ?? i dont knonw — it smells different when its about to snow."??

            brown purple etc., too hard.
            —how do you describe colour?
            you dont. if i had an accident and lost colour vision, and knew what yellow meant, it would be one thing, but i've never seen it, and cannot imagine what the hell it would look like. i associate somethings — piss is yellow, those things that dalmations piss on are red or yellow. (hydrant)…. the bottom of the 3 choices on traffic lights is green. where top=stop, middle=careful, and bottom=go

            i gave up years ago, on trying to figure out the difference between crimson, auburn, scarlet, red, fire-truck red (whatever that means) etc etc.

          • mordechaimordechai

            Color blind people are way more sensitive than others at shape recocgnition and at spotting movement, that seems to make them excellent trackers and hunters.
            i read that on an army field manual advocating colorblind people for reconnaissance duty.
            oliver do you hunt?

          • oliveralbq

            @mordechaimordechai: "oliver do you hunt?"

            —–i have, and i'm not against going with buddies. i grew up in washington dc, los angeles, and albuquerque. not really much to hunt. being in the south (u of alabama) i knew tons of people who went, but i was always doing other shit.

            then i moved to southern mississippi, where the general consenus is you either hunt or youre gay.
            it gives an advantage with deer, biut i fucking hate deer blinds. im too adhd, get antsy too fast.
            people here have a problem turkey hunting, which i think is easy. people also go wild boar hunting, which is like hitting the broadside of a barn. flounder hunting is the 3rd one i do. and it's not fishing. on the beach across the street from my house, in the night, many flounder bury themselves under the sand at waters edge. you have a broomstick with 3 nails in the end, and a lantern. sand moves, and you stab the fucker. *kinda* like hunting.

            turkeys are fun because theyre quick — although the giant wild gobbler is an asshole and makes all this noise and shit, so you gotta be quicker.

          • Jay

            People recommend that you wear an orange vest when hunting so you'll be more visible to other hunters. I guess that wouldn't really help if you were in the woods. But that's really to protect you from the drunks and crazies who shoot at about anything that moves. And I feel certain you don't fall into that category.

          • oliveralbq

            i do not fall into that category, true.
            but, some of my friends?
            that's precisely why i wear orange things when i go with them.

          • mordechaimordechai

            ahaha! flounder hunting sounds like a king's sport. very classy indeed!

          • oliveralbq

            floundering, or flounder gigging, — it's between spearfishing and hunting. some of these dudea use a pitchfork looking thing……
            this is always better to do at night, which puts you in 1 meter of water — amd you have to look through the water. interesting and fairly fun (although both of these videos have people who take it too seriously). last time i went, 3 of us got 21 and we never stopped laughing. these cats need to relax.

          • Jay

            I understand the flounder is visible because the sand forms a little hill over it which you can see. But I'd rather just use a dog to sniff them out. When a flounder hound's around a mound, that's when I pound the ground.

          • oliveralbq

            finding flounder, friends forgot food so sammy sped straight south

            cant smell much of shit in the water. except for oil.

          • speck

            I find colour-blindness so interesting. There are amazing videos of deaf people having their bionic ears turned on for the first time. It makes me wonder what it would be like if someone who is colour-blind could be treated, and have a "so THAT'S what it is!" moment.

          • oliveralbq

            i often go back and forth in my head as to whether or not i would be thrilled or scared to death because that is too much new visual stimulation, and i might have a stroke just looking at the sunset.

          • speck

            You'd probably end up like this guy:

            It would be totally awesome.

          • oliveralbq

            @speck: "You'd probably end up like this guy:
            — perhaps if i got a hold of some peyote. ………….

            that whole video is a riot

          • Maggot

            Man ollie that must really suck. I can’t even imagine it. I’ve often contemplated how do you describe color to a blind person, but your condition seems about as bad. On the other hand, you have no point of reference to even know what you are missing, other than seeing other people’s delight and attempted descriptions. Closest that I can imagine it myself is using the magnificent scene in the Wizard of Oz film where it starts off in drab b&w Kansas but then transitions to beautiful Technicolor when Dorothy walks out the door of her house into the land of Oz…a brilliantly executed scene but I can’t even point you to that as an example. You pointed to that Wiki page of flag pics as a good example, but from your perspective how can you decipher how good of an example if they all look the same to you, other than just reading or being told that they in fact do not look the same? Man I just can’t grasp that.

          • oliveralbq

            @maggot: "On the other hand, you have no point of reference to even know what you are missing, other than seeing other people’s delight and attempted descriptions"
            ———it does fucking suck — and i dont know what im missing, but i know it's good. "look at that beautiful sunset" — "that blonde chick over there has the most beautiful ice blue eyes" and children aare always asking me what colour things are. 5 year old nephew held out a football and asked me what colour it is. i said–brown. not he thinks im a wizard.

            @maggot: "starts off in drab b&w Kansas but then transitions to beautiful Technicolor when Dorothy walks out the door of her house into the land of Oz"
            ———i saw wizard of oz when i was eight. i learned it changed to colour in oz when i was 23. i cant ever help but think im missing an ass-ton of shit.

            @maggot: "You pointed to that Wiki page of flag pics as a good example, but from your perspective how can you decipher how good of an example if they all look the same to you"
            ———i cant — my girlfriend was at the optometrist, and i asked him to explain it to her as best he could. he rambled on about rods and cones for a couple minutes, and then pulled out that same flag graphic.

            @maggot: "but from your perspective how can you decipher how good of an example if they all look the same to you, other than just reading or being told that"
            ———from my perspective? obviously i don't have a perspective. but theres a lot of memorisation. i have to memorise which colours my clothes are, things that are beautiful (senset colours) dont necessarily transfer over (sunsets are beautiful. — it's my understanding that it looks more majestic with deeper oranges and reds. but the

          • Maggot

            i saw wizard of oz when i was eight. i learned it changed to colour in oz when i was 23. i cant ever help but think im missing an ass-ton of shit.

            Like the girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List, an important symbolic image in that otherwise b&w film. Lost on you.

            sunsets are beautiful. — it's my understanding that it looks more majestic with deeper oranges and reds

            Not meaning to belabor the point or continue to rub your nose in it, but man just simple phrases that most would take for granted, like “deeper oranges and reds”, must in actuality mean nothing to you. Those colors also merge with blues and purples in the best sunsets… Ollie: grey and darker grey…

            conclusion: orange sports unis look idiotic.

            Yeah I’m a SF Giants fan. Black and orange, and they occasionally go with an all-orange jersey. Kind of sucky. Also, bummer that you aren’t able to appreciate how cool the newer scarlet and pewter TB Bucs unis are. They went from the worst in the league to one of the nicest looking IMO.

          • oliveralbq

            @maggot: "Like the girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List, an important symbolic image in that otherwise b&w film. Lost on you. "

            there's a girl in a red coat i schindler's list? jesus. what next ;)
            in the "i seee dead people" movie, i was told to pay attention to the colour red. hardly anything is red in that movie, but every time a key conversation or development took place, there were red things — some ribbons, blalloon, doors/hutches, etc.
            –obviously that didnt mean fuck-all to me, but appriciated.

            @maggot: "Not meaning to belabor the point or continue to rub your nose in it, but man just simple phrases that most would take for granted, like “deeper oranges and reds”, must in actuality mean nothing to you. Those colors also merge with blues and purples in the best sunsets." aesthetically, i have an idea of whats pretty because i have heard ittso much, that i've begun to recognise patterns. granted, sunsets are harder, but still……

            —yeah—–deeper dosent mean much of shit, although i have noticed that if someone describes "deep" colour, it seems to be considerly darker than plain colour. — oh — youre not rubbing my nose — im not gonna ger butthurt just because someone is telling me shit i'm missing. im waaay over that. and youve taught me 3 things (didnt know sunsets had any purple — i knew the sky was lue ("sky blue" perhaps??))
            maggot: ":Yeah I’m a SF Giants fan. Black and orange, and they occasionally go with an all-orange jersey. Kind of sucky. Also, bummer that you aren’t able to appreciate how cool the newer scarlet and pewter TB Bucs unis are. They went from the worst in the league to one of the nicest looking IMO":

            —im a raiders fan — silver and black is easy. i undeerstand the astros has dumbass uniforms at some point too.


          • oliveralbq


            my really dumbass story came from my alma mater (univ of alabama crimson tide).
            –see, i never thought it made any sense that their name was the tide, but the mascot was a fucking elephant. i asked about the name, and my mate told me of a old old sportscaster who described (on radio — in regards to kickoffs and punts) that the team looked like an ominous crimson tide crashing the field. whatever — needless to say, i still dont get it.

            i just figured the unis were dark red, and someone laced the water with lsd (timothy leary did go to bama, you know).
            —-so my ass of a friend tells me that "crimson" is dark red……i feel retarded sometimes, but like i said, im used to it. these conversations are quite interesting, actually. and i could give a fuck less about what colour dennis rodman dyes his hair, it's just interesting.

          • Jay

            Yeah, you don't see skin colors, right? Wow, if we were all like you, the world would definitely be a better place!

          • oliveralbq

            yeah, man.
            i see skin colour just fine.

            everyone is gray

            (except for this albino girl that lives a few doors down — shes white)

          • Maggot

            the team looked like an ominous crimson tide crashing the field. whatever — needless to say, i still dont get it.

            Well I can do you one better. I grew up near Stanford University and have been a fan of their football program all my life (I’m not an alum…didn’t have the grades or the $$ to attend there). Their team name used to be “Indians”, but in a bout of political correctness back in the 80s or so it was changed to “Cardinal”. No, not the bird. The color. Cardinal is a shade of red, if you didn’t know…hence the red bird by the same name (or maybe the bird name came first, I dunno). Unlike other teams that know how to pick names, like the St. Louis Cardinals…with an s at the end and an actual bird picture in their logo, Stanford’s team name is a freaking color. Oh but it doesn’t end there. Their mascot, you know, the dope that runs around in a costume during games, is a tree. Ok, it’s a California Redwood which might be considered majestic, but it’s still a tree. WTF?

          • oliveralbq

            i transferred to 'bama and got all my degrees there, but i spent my freshman year in coral gables, fl, at the u.

            watching the stanford cardinal play the miami hurricanes but seeing a tree and an ibis fighting is only a tad more confusing than a tennessee/'bama game (crimson tide v. the volunteers) and watching the little beagle from tennessee try to bite "big al's" (the elephant) leg.

            and i didnt know what cardinal referred to. it just always confused me that it wasnt pluralised. i even lived a couple years in the hayward/union city area (but i was just a kid)….

            and the tree is silly looking. whether it was supposed to be majestic or not. wtf is exactly right.

          • Maggot

            and the tree is silly looking. whether it was supposed to be majestic or not.

            Well granted, there’s an intentional element of parody to it. Like their purposely disorganized marching band.

          • Maggot

            didnt know sunsets had any purple

            Yes, it’s always been a dream of mine to talk fondly of beautiful sunsets with “a dude I met on the internet”. I’m doing it in a manly sort of way though, so we’re good, bro. I might go get a beer now.

            i knew the sky was lue ("sky blue" perhaps??)

            As with any color, there are different shades and hues. Light to dark you can go: sky blue, royal blue, navy blue (with a zillion others in between of course). Ok, back to unis: sky blue are the SD Chargers throwback jerseys. Their normal home jerseys are navy blue, but even then, a different shade of navy than the NY Giants’ (who lately sometimes also wear red for some dumb reason). The Indy Colts sport a royal blue…more of just a “normal” primary color-chart type of blue. Make sense? I imagine you are just nodding blankly…

          • oliveralbq

            see—-throwback jerseys are evil and only here to piss off the colour blind. i had no reason whatsoever to think that the chargers alt-uni wasnt their secondary colour of yellow. i know colours of most sports teams/universities, etc….
            know when i learned the chargers had sky blue alt-uni?
            3 minutes ago.
            raiders alternates are silver, and the lakers alt (sunday home uni) is white,. those are easy — my baseball team, the cubs, however, are identical shades of blue and red, so similiar that i cant distinguish them unless i stare at it for a sec.
            the sky blue, royal blue, navy blue, perriwinkle blue, those are bad enough as it is. when people start making shit up (volunteer orange, puke green, dodger blue, michigan maize&blue, blood red (which is not blood coloured) — yeah…..all that makes me want to slit my wrists

            but at least i can still talk about sunsets on the internet.

            oh — and i hate hate lucky charms. purple horseshoes, and green men, and lavendar moons, and red diamonds, and — no ..wait…..thats 3 card poker….purple diamonds/??
            awww…fuck….. see?
            damn leprachauns.

          • Maggot

            when people start making shit up (volunteer orange, puke green, dodger blue…

            I’ve been meaning to tell you – the little avitar design you are using is a weird combination of greenish-yellow or yellowish-green. I think “puke green” is apropos. :-)

          • oliveralbq

            and how the hell are you doing italics?. i used to know, but ive been meaning to ask you for like 3 months. my way of doing it got all wonky when we switched to intensedebate last may.

          • Maggot


            The technique hasn’t changed with IntenseDebate, it’s just basic html tags. There used to be a FAQ page on LV that explained how. You just put a lowercase “i” enclosed in those little arrow thingies “<” and “>” at the beginning of a text string, and then at the end of the text string you put “/i” inside those arrows, and all text between those two markers is italicized. You can also use a “b” instead of “i” to get bold text. Embedded YouTube clips don’t work in IntenseDebate anymore though.

          • Maggot

            Ugh, I can’t even type in the “arrow” characters, they showed up as garbled text in that post. I’m referring to those symbols on the comma and period keys.

          • Jay

            <1> interesting

          • Jay


          • Jay

            Thank you, Sir.

          • mordechaimordechai

            You totally made my day!

          • oliveralbq

            @Jay: <1> interesting

            very good use of the lower case numeral one, sir

          • oliveralbq

            right —-
            some crazy internal stupidity issue i was having caused me to think i was supposed to use those symbols that loook like a robot smiling, and a top hat
            you know —-

            or .. wait —

            remember that blobfish from tyler's weird lookin' animals list?
            maybe smaller eyes? … :o[
            blobfish! ————–^^^

            i thought a blobfish would look more like this: =o{
            which now looks more like a irritated walrus.

            irritated walrus
            lovely …… thanks

            now i can type in different colours as well.
            cause…….yanno…….that's been buggin me……

          • Lifeschool

            @ Oli – man, that sucks.

          • oliveralbq

            sometimes it really pisses me offf that they can trade out organs, and do sex changes, and give you a fucking mask (oop…i meant a facelift :) ), and they cant figure out how to stimulate receptors inyour retna.

            but i quit holding my breath long ago.

  • fraterhater

    I'd have included cuttlefish, an animal that can create complex moving colours and patterns on its skin.

    • kasperlovesyou2

      I love cuttlefish! My absolute favorite animal. =)

  • How about the Mandarin Goby or Clown Triggerfish? (Yay! My first comment after being a longtime reader!)

    • soreheid

      clown trigger is a good call also the rainbow wrasse

    • weidermeijer

      I was also thinking about the Mandarin Goby. Pretty little fishy.

    • TEX

      Hey – about time you grew some balls Abram : )

  • The Mick

    seems like this should've been a top 20 list.

    notable ommisions (at least some which i quickly think of…)

    Mandarin Fish (a good link just a few posts above this one)


    rainbow lorikeet


    blue ring octopus (a very poisonous bugger!)

    peacocks, pheasants, i guess there a WAYYYY much more… good list anyways..

    • Yippee Macaws, i love that cute fellas. Dominicans like to raise them a lot because of their magnificent colors. And watch out for their beaks, hurt more that you would think.

    • TEX

      Please never acquire a Macaw or any parrot from anyone but a breeder – there is great abuse and high death rate for birds captured in the wild. As a matter of fact consider never owning one, they do not make the friendliest of pets, are hard to get proper veterinary care for, and they are quite long lived – they may very well live long after you have lost interest in them even out live you – stick to the shelter dogs and cats – they need your help badly.


        Good comment, Tex, Our dear cockatiel Grimley is 25 years old and may easily outlive us! And yes, he came from a kocal Michigan breeder.

        • TEX

          I have a friend that has a yellow napped parrot out of Mexico named Chacho that was given to him by a friend who tired of it. He’s now had it around twenty five years. His wife and daughter refuse to have anything to do with it and for all practical purposes it is just a chirping background fixture in their den. I visit with it when I’m over but it usually nips at my finger enough to break the skin, mostly I just feel sorry for the poor thing – it seems to be living out it’s long existence bored and alone.

  • santanabananamanali

    Re: bird of paradise…where's the bird??. Also, the clown fish is here just because of finding nemo. FISHY BIAS THIS.

    • VintageObsessive

      That IS the bird; he's showing his plummage in a unique way in the photo. If you look up a video on youtube you can see the whole dance…very cute!

    • bloodwts

      You know for a clown fish you're not very funny!

      • santanabananamanali

        THAT was so funny i forgot to laugh!

        • VintageObsessive

          Oh my, don't ever say this again. To anyone. Ever.

    • kasperlovesyou2

      Am I the only one who loved clownfish BEFORE Finding Nemo came out? I learned about them in 4th grade and have loved them ever since. =)

  • astraya

    Not my favourite kind of boobies!

    • lolol

      You silly goose

  • Liza

    Where is the rainbow parrot? or the toucan?

    • Crumpet

      Where is the rare double-rainbow parrot?

      • gabi319

        yeah yeahhhh so intense

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Beautiful animals, great list!

  • jec

    A couple of years ago my then three year old daughter borrowed a picture library book that had a "blue footed booby" in it and she thought it was the funniest thing that a bird was called a booby (which was the word she used for "breast"). She would burst into uncontrolled laughter when we read that page – and we had to read that book alot!

    • gabi319

      Does she still laugh at it now? I'm 26 and I still laughed this morning when I pulled up Listverse and read "Blue Footed Booby".

      ….booby…. haha

      • Jay

        I'm glad the list didn't include the titmouse…

  • Jaryuki

    Bird of paradise is not a species – it's a whole family (Paradisaeidae). The one in the list is the superb bird of paradise, Lophorina superba.

  • Rob

    great list! little patronizing, but there was alot of information I haven't heard before.

  • Yeah, this list was made by BBC Earth if you look at the author on this list and the other site’s list. It wasnt stolen, but submitted to and published on both sites. Each list mentioned BBC Earth as the source for this entire list

    • Maggot

      Well we all had a lesson in this just the other day. Mike K's dog probably ate his notes.

  • As a bat!

    Being color-blind, i find this list greatly discriminating.

    • VintageObsessive

      already been said, tisk tisk…

    • Lou Sparx

      Don't worry, you didn't miss any color :/

  • sam i am

    What about the blue-ringed octopus?

    • fakebrock

      or the pink puckered starfish?

  • oouchan

    Glad it was not the usual ones I would have thought of (parrot, toucan) and instead others that are just as colorful. I really liked the picture for the weedy sea dragon. I now want one and I am not really fond of fish.
    Neat list.

    • VintageObsessive

      My husband and I took our daughter to the Aquarium in New Orleans just a few weeks ago and I saw one for the first time in a tank they had…very interesting! They sort of glide along like seahorses, but are much more intricate. :):)

  • What about the Camo Octopuss? They can change to any color in an instant! and their color transitions are flawless!

  • Trevor

    rainbow lorikeet, should have been included.

  • SMG

    Sorry this was already mentioned. I should have read all the posts first…lol

  • FlameHorse

    Anybody made any Nemo jokes yet? Woops I just did.

    • TEX
    • TEX

      jeeez FlaneHorse – people sure seem to be sensitive abot cartoon fish – go figure
      (fish cannot talk you see)

  • emmals

    I'm quite surprised that there's no kingfisher mentioned, particularly the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. Just about as colourful as you can get! I reckon some of the LV contributors could have done a better job on this one though.

  • Gav

    Hey BBC, I know you dumbed it down for us under-educated yanks, but really, most of us DO read above a 3rd grade level.

    • kasperlovesyou2

      lol. I totally agree. (From another Yank.)

  • bajiggler


  • John

    I am severely disappointed at the lack of molluscs and cephalopods.

    • Jay

      Cockles and mussels?

      • TEX

        alive alive ohhh

        • Jay


  • randomizer

    I never realised listverse did lists for kids better not say the word fuck….oops!

    • bluesman87

      Uhuh huh huh huh uh uhuhuh….you said oops , sounds almost like boobs heh hehe hehhe …….

  • mom424

    Pretty good list. The coolest thing about this list, as mentioned by a few others (bluesman87), is that our own guy TyB, does a better job than the BBC. That is truly awesome. Less patronizing (of course the BBC has to shoot for the lowest common denominator; not so with Listverse), and more informative. Can't wait for our own follow-up. Nice of me to claim TyB eh?

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Stunning colors – nature never fails to amaze me
    Thanks great list.

  • Jay

    This list is too chromatic.

  • psychosurfer

    This list was kind of obvious, most of the suggestions from commenters here are way better.
    My two cents are for the Quetzal:

    and the bio luminescence created by certain jellyfish:

    I think TyB makes better lists than the BBC.

    • TEX

      I’ve been through the forests of Southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala (currency – Quetzales) – I was always looking for a Quetzal, alas, sighting a Quetzal is a rarity – BUT, I was in Urique, Chihuahua, Mexico at the bottom of BARRANCA de COBRE eating breakfast in an open air patio and I look up and this was in a tree about fifteen feet away, back by the river –
      It’s a Mountain Trogon which is a close cousin of the Quetzal, also of the order Trogoniformes. you can't tell but it has a red belly.

      • psychosurfer

        Awesome, one more reason to revere Barrancas del Cobre as one of the most amazing and magic places on earth, (and there is also the Tesguino).
        Oh and thanks for that Kitlers link, definitely I have some new favorite pet pictures!

        • TEX

          never had the oportunity to try Tesguino – love to try it, looks like the weak beer they make down in Peru for celebrations (Tony Bordain)

  • SandHand

    I thought peacock will also be listed here..

  • Maggot

    Perhaps not as vivid as some of the ones shown or suggested in the comments, but I always thought coral snakes looked cool:

    • VintageObsessive

      Coral snakes ARE COOL! They also look deceptively similar to King snakes and Milk snakes, so unless you're sure, you know…don't go picking one up. :):):)

      (*Coral snakes have yellow bands touching the red bands, while the king and milk snakes have black touching the red bands)

      I TOTALLY Copy/Pasted that last part!! Plagarism!!! :)

      • Maggot

        Yeah there’s a clever saying that is supposed to help you remember which one is the poisonous one (milk and king snakes are harmless): “ Red touching black, venom lack. Red touching yellow, a dangerous fellow”.

        • VintageObsessive

          I pretty much just follow the "If you see a snake, RUN!" logic. However, I do think they are cool to look at in controlled environments. I love taking my daughter to the pet store and looking at the boas. :)

          • Maggot

            Wow, I was going to post a pic of a king snake to show the difference, and I ran across pics of the grey banded king snake. I had never seen this before, really cool, check this out:

            Here’s what I was originally looking for, with the yellow:

            Where I live, rattlesnakes are common and I see them now and then when out hiking, and though you can pretty much tell a pit viper when you see it, I don’t typically go touching any snakes in the wild either, unless it’s clearly a garter snake which are also common.

          • VintageObsessive

            Both very cool pics. My husband says you can usually tell whether or not a snake is venomous by its eyes, but I forget what exactly is different about them. Again, I generally don't get that close.

          • gabi319

            A venomous snake would usually have a cat's eye – a slitted pupil – while a nonvenomous one would have a rounded pupil like our own.

            …at least that's what I've been told. Like you, I prescribe more to the saying "Red touches black, stay far back. Any other color touches black, stay far back. Even if the snake doesn't have any bits of black on its body… stay as far back as possible."

          • Maggot

            A venomous snake would usually have a cat's eye – a slitted pupil – while a nonvenomous one would have a rounded pupil like our own.

            This is useless advice because it is not in the form of a clever rhyme. Learning things any other way is too hard. Sheesh gabi, get with the program!

          • VintageObsessive

            "Cat's eye, you're gonna die!"

          • Maggot

            We get this look on a daily basis from our two cats, right around feeding time.

          • oliveralbq

            you have poisonous cats?

            that sucks ass

          • gabi319

            This is useless advice because it is not in the form of a clever rhyme.

            Unless you are like me and tend to mix up your color combinations and find a rhyming word to make it horribly horribly false.
            Red touches black, fear an attack.
            Red touches yellow, awww what an adorable fellow…

          • VintageObsessive

            Yeah if I'm being real here, I fall into that catagory as well. "Uhhhh, wait!!! How does it go???"

          • Maggot

            Red touches black, fear an attack.
            Red touches yellow, awww what an adorable fellow…

            Just fucking great. I can’t get this cute yet horribly horribly false rhyme out of my head now. I am going to die…

          • Jay

            I heard:

            Red next to black is a friend to Jack.
            Red next to yellow will kill a fellow.

            Isn't that different? I hope nobody actually goes by this stuff; I could get somebody killed.

          • oliveralbq

            plausible deniability, jay

          • gabi319

            Red next to black is a friend to Jack.
            Red next to yellow will kill a fellow.

            That's similar to the one Maggot put up before I started writing potentially lethal couplets this afternoon.

            Of course, for the paranoid and/or forgetful, I would simply recommend buying a t-shirt that not only has the rhyme but also images of both the venomous and non-venomous snakes.

            I would also recommend buying an additional plain white tee so that you can cut up the image on the first shirt and sew it upside down on the plain white tee. When you're freaking out because you are being chased by an 80 foot radioactive mutant zombie vampire werewolf snake with some kind of red, yellow & black color combination, the last thing you want to do is attempt to read your right-side-up shirt upside down.

    • 2manycats

      Red and yellow kill a fellow (coral snake).
      Black & white, that's alright. (Mexican milk snakes have white bands w/ black bands on each side).
      Most poisonous snakes in SE Texas are pit vipers and have triangular heads e.g. rattlesnakes, copperheads (very grouchy) & water moccasins (aggressive, territorial and will pick a fight with you). During the saltwater storm surge of Hurricane Ike some folks were not able to leave their homes to get to their boat, in the driveway, because pissed off moccasins were piled up at their door.

  • monjoriser

    seems BBC earth is not aware of peacock

    • oliveralbq

      it's not 'nbc earth', afterall

  • BryanJ

    Nice List,
    Cool pictures, but it seems like the BBC could have made the article a bit more interesting. People like strange facts. I think one of ListVerse writers could have done a better job.

  • Lifeschool

    Hi, I think were all in agreement today – which is unusual and very welcome – by the fact that this list could have been sooo much more. I agree with the top 4 and maybe the last one, but it seems the author kinda ran out of ideas after no.4 – I mean, what’s so colourful about a green seaweed creature or a blue fish with lights on it? (lights is a separate topic to colours).

    I did a quick google images search for ‘colourful animals’ and came up with the dendrobates frog and the painted turtle, certain dragon flies and all these weird deep sea dwellers. I hope TyB reads this list and makes us all a nice colourful sequel…


  • psychosurfer

    About 4 years ago National Geographic did this amazing coverage of Jewel Scrabs:

  • TEX

    If anyone is interested in raising a colorful pet the Gouldian finches are beautiful – and more colorful than anything on this list.

  • Cesar

    huh? why did the posting design change back?

  • Surya

    Shall buy a color monitor this Christmas.

  • gunz

    rainbow boa

  • gringation

    I love crazy animals lists! Only problem here was it should have been longer. :)

  • AkKris

    No nudibranchs?

  • goofballreferee


  • jobeer
  • The sailfish is amazing! Sockeye salmon, yum!

  • combatsmurf

    i saw a bbc doc with the bird of paradise in it – beautiful and very fun to watch its dance.
    i can think of more colourful fish than the clown though however.
    even so… a good list. well done!

  • downthumbsdiogenes

    fags on parade

  • TCor

    I’d expect a little more zazz from BBC… Their descriptions were rather short and uninteresting for the most part and their choice of critters was mediocre. Some were ok. Most were a snore factory.

  • Jay

    Hehehe. BBC: Beige Beats Color.

  • kennypo65

    This list was OK, but TyB does a much better job with nature lists IMHO.

  • iknownothing

    Not my cup of tea this list but each to their own. My question is this….why the need to publish lists from outside sources? First L.V. is paying for them (see: Top 10 Bizarre Accidents) now were plugging the B.B.C. Do we not have enough contributors to L.V already? I have recently submitted two lists for consideration, now they may not have been literary masterpieces but I would have thought one of them would make the grade, I mean if you can publish "10 talking donkeys or 5 Most Mind-Numbingly Atrocious State Songs" (which is arguably one of the worse lists ever (in my opinion)), then anything is possible. I enjoy comming to L.V. everyday, I read the great and the not so great lists it's all part of the fun, so please don't sell out. Keep it by the people for the people.

  • Jay

    First off, I agree with Iknow. I've seen LOTS of people saying they have submitted lists or intend to submit lists or are presently pulling lists out of their butts which will be delivered by flying monkeys… And I'[ve probably mentioned about 30 lists I'd enjoy reading. It ought to add up to a list a day.

    Second, and more important, Atrocious State Songs???? Where the heck is that list?

  • 2manycats

    TyB is most bestest at critter lists on LV! : D

  • eclipse794

    cool list. was hoping to see a leapored gecko though. up!

  • Steve

    Bull is color blind

  • fakebrock

    I always heard the bird of paradise was the …… swallow!!!

    • Jay

      Is that a European Swallow or an African Swallow?

      • fakebrock

        Both along with the spicy Latin swallow, and the Far-East swallow

        • Jay

          My favorite is the Doyouspitor Swallow.

  • TEX

    Looks like TyB is nominated – like it or not.
    I'm impressed with the number of people that observe nature and see beauty.

  • Dr. Octagonapus
    • Jay

      You okay? Want me to call an ambulance?

  • alisha

    Annoyingly bad writing

  • Lou Sparx

    So, at what point of going blind did you decide to put Weedy Sea Dragon in a COLORFUL-ANIMAL list?

  • Felipe

    The Cuttlefish should be in this list. It has an wide variety of colors, used to communicate with other cuttlefishes.

  • Birds of Paradise provides the first comprehensive, up-to-date, and scientifically accurate overview of the behavior, biology, ecology, biogeography, and history of the most ornate and dramatic group of birds on earth.

  • anwiec

    I always thought Asian pheasants were beautiful and very colorful. My boyfriend's dad has a few and keeps the long tail feathers when they fall out. It's pretty cool.

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  • rajana

    awesome pictures

  • guilherme

    Oh God… If you intend to do something, please, do it right… Did you really got a top 10 list of colourful animals, and did not include any sea slugs (nudibranchs)? Please, search a little bit more next time…

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  • kyla morgan

    these animals i dont know how to explane thim they are the colorefulest animols i have ever seen they are so pretty i love thim

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