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Desired Life Bird Meme

December 15, 2008

A fun little meme started by Dakota at Birdfreak, brought to my attention by Corey at 10000 Birds, and modified by Christopher at Picus Blog.

Simple as can be, name your 5 most wanted life birds, ABA and beyond. These lists are subject to change day to day, but this is where they stand right now.


  1. Black-headed Gull – My nemesis. You will be mine. Oh yes, you will be mine.
  2. Trindade Petrel – My most wanted pelagic, even more than the far rarer Bermuda Petrel. I want it to be a dark-phase, I want to think it’s a jaeger at first but then watch as it swoops low past the boat, arcing in that Pterodroma way. It’s going to be awesome.
  3. Hook-billed Kite – I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time in South Texas, and this is my most-wanted bird I never got. It’s so funny looking in field guides, like it’s permanently bemused. Is it like that in real life? I need to see to find out.
  4. King Eider – I would consider trading the loss of up to two and possibly three toes to frostbite for an opportunity to see a drake King Eider. Hopefully I won’t have to, but the offer’s out there. Your call, birding gods.
  5. Cerulean Warbler – The last eastern warbler I need to close the book on them (minus Kirtland’s, but that’s kind of a special case).


  1. Hoatzin – There are so many cool birds in the world, it’s hard to narrow it down to five. But the only bird with real deal claws, even if it’s just in the juveniles, is too cool to leave out.
  2. Toucan Barbet – Barbets are a particularly cool group of big, flashy tropical birds. This one is probably the biggest and flashiest
  3. King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise – Three foot long antennae feathers protruding from an otherwise unremarkable Starling siz.. stop, just stop. You had me at three foot long antennea.
  4. Black and Chestnut Eagle – Big and secretive and, as my friend Nolan puts it, what Darth Vader would like like in raptor form.
  5. Plate-billed Mountain Toucan – Toucans are pretty unreal in general. This one is slate gray with patchwork colors even more so.

If you caught me on any other day you likely draw a different five. There are so many unreal birds in the world that it’s hard to nail down just five. I mean, off the top of my hear I could have included Helmeted Vanga, Pink-headed Warbler, Andean Cock of the Rock, Booted Raquet-tail, any number of Mountain Tanagers or Pittas or Sunbirds. There are so many incredible birds out there it’s nearly impossible to make a list with any staying power.

This was a fun meme, I’m not going to tag anyone specifically but feel free to steal the idea and run with it if you like.

Thanks for the fun, guys.

  1. Christopher permalink
    December 16, 2008 5:25 pm

    Very nice list!
    So, I am now going to tag you for another one.
    Info about it is

  2. Will permalink
    December 23, 2008 3:33 pm

    Come on up to Albany, NY and I can almost gurantee you Cerulean Warbler.

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