Friday, April 27th, 2012

Birds, From Worst To Best

Common Starling

• Canada Goose

• Mute Swan

• Yellow-throated Warbler

• Bald Eagle

• Cockatiel

• American Robin


African Grey Parrot

• Feral Pigeon


• House Sparrow

• Blue Jay

• Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Great Tit

• Japanese Tit

• Southern Black Tit

• Dusky Tit

• Ashy Tit


• American Woodcock (aka Timberdoodle)

• Northern Cardinal

• Chicken

• Toucan

• Black-capped Chickadee

Feral Parrots

• Peacock

Snowy Egret

Red-billed Streamertail

• Mourning Dove

• Pelican

• American Kestrel


Turkey Vulture

Peregrine Falcon

• Hummingbird

Baltimore Oriole

• Magpie

• Crow

• Raven

• Mockingbird

Brahminy Kite

• Wild Turkey


Joe MacLeod was permaently scarred as a child (OK, teenager) when he viewed an ABC Afterschool Special. Ornithological consultation by Tom Scocca.

59 Comments / Post A Comment

KenWheaton (#401)


BadUncle (#153)

1) The mockingbird is by far the worst. Those things never STFU.
2) African Greys are awesome. My grandmother's imitated her cigarette cough, and exasperated "Oh, goddammit."

collier (#13,548)

@BadUncle : 2) YES. Ours favors a constant litany of "What're you doin'?" and "WOOOOO!" among other things. There's also quite a lot of chicken noises and "No. NO. OUTSIDE. BAD DOG."

Also, I did not know "Brahminy Kite" was a bird. I only know it as an awfully good song by Caribou.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@BadUncle Yeah there's a mockingbird in my neighbors' trees and it wakes me up in the most annoying way. It mocks other calls but 10 times louder and nonstop, like a dickhead.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@BadUncle Oh and apparently mockingbirds hate Canada

tim@twitter (#10,793)

@BadUncle there's one who lives somewhere outside my suburban window who is really fond of doing his excellent car alarm imitations AT ONE IN THE MORNING, which makes me really rethink this whole bird thing

migraineheadache (#1,866)

That PBS special got me way too excited about the Harpy Eagle I was about to go up to the Bronx Zoo until I found out they didn't have one.

jolie (#16)

The tits were robbed, man.

HereKitty (#2,713)

@jolie There really is a war on women.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

This list is ducking bullshit. That was an unintentional typo but IT STAYS.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Orioles that high? Homer.

Joe MacLeod (#22)

@dntsqzthchrmn No offense to any Sialia sialises, but the real homer pick is FERAL PIGEON, Unofficial State Bird of New York.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

No but seriously, pretty good list. Personally, I like the Indigo Bunting and the Nuthatch.

Wild Turkey but no Famous Grouse or Old Speckled Hen?


whizz_dumb (#10,650)

I agree that hummingbirds and peregrine falcons should be next to each other, but they should be in the #1 and #2 slots OBVIOUSLY. Where's the Red Tailed Hawk? Also, Blue Jays are mean SOBs.

jfruh (#713)

Sorry, Canada Geese are basically the Nazis of birds. I know you made them second worse but we need a new form of mathematics that actually puts them somehow lower that thn the worst.

Bittersweet (#765)

@jfruh: And swans a level below that, those bastards.

Tom Scocca@twitter (#10,955)

@jfruh No, the thing about swans is that they're the only creatures that can successfully beat up and drive away Canada geese. So you trade a few dozen monstrous, constantly defecating geese for a couple of swans, and as long as the swans don't KILL you, you come out ahead.

Ham Snadwich (#11,842)

@jfruh – I don't know, the Canada Goose in that picture looks pretty awesome. They're also delicious. And huge jerks, so you don't feel bad about eating them.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

I think the Red-breasted Sapsucker may have a thing or two to say about the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Dave Bry (#422)


LanaDelMeh (#207,596)

No birds of paradise? These lists make me so angry!

Bittersweet (#765)

Common Loon, eh.

Esther (#232,833)

@Bittersweet fuck yeah

philomene (#355)

Are you kidding? David Attenborough's Lyrebird is clearly the best ever. Check it out on youtube.

Dave Bry (#422)

That lyrebird is like Michael Winslow!

Eric Spiegelman (#3,968)

Birdman of Alcatraz.

Aatom (#74)

Birds are the worst. Period.

Woodpeckers! Auks! Puffins! Owls! Golden eagles that can carry off ibexes!

Agree on curlews, though.

Mr. B (#10,093)

As noted previously, WHERE THE FUCK IS DONALD.

chumley (#8,864)


HereKitty (#2,713)

@chumley Awlbatross?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

What do tits have to do with boobies?

bronwyn (#3,351)

Youse guys need to acquaint yourself with some birds that were allowed to live on an island without predators for thousands of years, then you'd know about birds.

(Birds that are now mostly either extinct – hello the moa, an ostrich style bird but about a million times bigger than your common ostrich – or critically endangered and now can't evolve quick enough to grow wings and fly away from those that want to eat them.)

dokuchan (#540)

The magnificent frigate. New Guinean birds of paradise ( Herons! Cormorants!

@dokuchan I was really bummed not to see the frigate on there. I saw one in Hawaii and thought it was a pterodactyl for at least 3 seconds.

Matt (#26)

This listicle is, and not accidentally, biased toward Baltimore and prejudiced against penguins. Flightless birds are birds too.

popstand (#8,298)

Kea is the worst. They eat sheep alive…

bronwyn (#3,351)

@popstand Kea are the best! They also attack cars, which means they should be immediately be adopted as covert public transport lobbyists.

vase (#450)

@bronwyn Kea are soooo cool and should definitely become the mascot of all public transport bodies

Kakapo (#2,312)

Pardon me, but it appears that a mistake has been made.

SeanP (#4,058)

@Kakapo Someone is WRONG ON THE INTERNET

Kakapo (#2,312)

I mean, I was on a Stephen Fry documentary being kind of naughty. You can't get any cooler.

I also smell like the inside of an antique violin case.

The curlew? Please.

oillil (#232,784)

you beat me to the punch, @Kakapo is top 5 for sure

elephony (#103,223)

So we're just ignoring all ducks now? And what about Kiwi and other suck hilariously flightless birds? What is going on around here!?

a. lee carter (#162,809)

What, no bearded vulture?

cardiganboots (#232,781)

Blue jays should have been higher up on the list. Blue jays are assholes.

oillil (#232,784)

I'd like to make a case for owls

Esther (#232,833)

You've obviously never lived in a place where magpies live or they'd be at the top of this list.

Esther (#232,833)

@Esther Also, owls?! Also, bowerbirds!!

Esther (#232,833)

@Esther Plus, shut up, Canada Geese are beautiful bad ass mother fuckers and will fuck you up before they fly away into the sunset in a mysterious glorious V

Esther (#232,833)


SeanP (#4,058)

@Esther I would never have guessed.

Ham Snadwich (#11,842)

The shrike!

"Shrikes are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently-sized fragments, and serves as a cache so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time"

DMcK (#5,027)

Snark, amirite!?

BardCollege (#2,307)

No ducks!!!!!

SeanP (#4,058)

@BardCollege No kidding. The wood duck needs to be high on the list.

vase (#450)

Also pelican before toucan are you fucking kidding me?!

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