10 Birds With Yellow Eyes

Birds With Yellow Eyes
Photo by Harald Hofer on Unsplash

Birds with yellow eyes have features that set them apart from others. The mesmerizing yellow hue of their eyes results from the pigment xanthophyll, which is also found in their feathers and certain animals’ skin. 

In this article, we will look at the different birds with yellow eyes, delving into the intriguing species that possess this eye-catching characteristic.

These avian beauties captivate our attention with their striking gaze. 

1. Black and Yellow Broadbill

Black and Yellow Broadbill
by ninahale is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The black and yellow broadbill is one of the captivating birds with yellow eyes and a striking color pattern and is found in the lowland and hill forests of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

This species is known for its preference for dense forest habitats where it can forage for food and build nests. 

Males of the black and yellow broadbill have blackheads, white collars, black breast bands, and prominent yellow markings on their backs and wings.

Females exhibit a slightly duller coloration but share the same eye-catching yellow eyes.

These insectivorous birds occasionally consume fruits and forage at middle to high levels in the forest canopy, often associating with mixed-species flocks. 

During the breeding season, both males and females contribute to building a large, untidy nest made of moss, fungal mycelia, and leaves.

The black and yellow broadbill’s presence adds to the diversity of birds with yellow eyes, showcasing the vibrant and captivating avian world.

2. Sparrowhawk

by Andy Morffew is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The sparrowhawk is among the birds with yellow eyes. These captivating yellow eyes contribute to the overall allure of this small raptor, adding to its remarkable appearance.

You can see them throughout much of Europe, Asia, and Africa; sparrowhawks inhabit various habitats, including woodlands, hedgerows, and areas with ample cover.

This adaptability allows them to thrive in suburban and urban environments, showcasing their ability to coexist with human settlements.

The sparrowhawk exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males being smaller than females.

Males have grey upperparts, a streaked orange-brown front, a slate-grey head, and an orange-brown face.

Conversely, females are up to 25% larger than males and display dark brown streaks throughout their plumage. However, one consistent feature across both sexes is their bright-yellow eyes.

The eye color of sparrowhawks changes as they age. Younger birds typically have greenish-yellow eyes, which gradually turn brighter yellow within the first couple of years of their lives.

In some older individuals, the eye color can shift to orange or, occasionally, red, adding further intrigue to their appearance.

3. Black Currawong

Black Currawong 
by jeaniephelan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The black currawong is also among the unique birds with yellow eyes. Distinctive bird with its black plumage, long, heavy black bill, and striking feature: bright yellow eyes.

These vibrant yellow eyes contrast beautifully against their dark feathers, adding a captivating touch to their appearance.

They are native to Tasmania and nearby islands such as King Island and Flinders Island; the black currawong inhabits various environments, including mountain and lowland forests, coastal heath, grazing land, and even urban areas.

This adaptable bird can be found in pairs or small family groups, often making its presence known through loud and melodious calls.

As an omnivorous species, the black currawong has a diverse diet. It feeds on various foods, including insects, small mammals, fruits, and carrion. It has also been observed scavenging from human garbage.

These birds are known to be curious and will investigate new objects in their environment, displaying their intelligence and adaptability.

The black currawong is a territorial bird and fiercely defends its territory from other birds, including other black currawongs.

It can also exhibit aggression towards smaller bird species like the superb fairy-wren.

This territorial behavior is complemented by its striking appearance, including its bright yellow eyes, which may serve as a visual signal during territorial disputes.

4. Grey Heron

Grey Heron
by Andy Morffew is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While not commonly associated with birds having yellow eyes, the grey heron possesses a distinct feature of yellowish-green or greyish-yellow eyes.

These eye colors complement the bird’s overall appearance and contribute to its captivating presence.

Grey herons are adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including wetlands, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

They are widespread throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa and can be spotted in certain parts of Australia.

These birds thrive in urban and rural environments, making them a common sight for many people.

When it comes to hunting, grey herons employ a patient and strategic approach.

They often stand motionless at the water’s edge or wade in shallow water, using their long bills to spear their prey.

Fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals constitute the main diet of grey herons.

Interestingly, these birds have been observed using bait, such as bread, to attract fish, displaying their resourcefulness in securing a meal.

Grey herons’ yellowish-green or greyish-yellow eyes, while not as vibrant as other bird species, provide a subtle yet captivating element to their appearance.

Their piercing gaze, combined with their elegant stature, evokes a sense of grace and calmness.

These birds are known for their patience, standing still for extended periods, waiting for the perfect opportunity to catch their prey.

5. Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant 
by irio.jyske is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The golden pheasant is an exquisite bird renowned for its vibrant plumage and notable feature of having bright yellow eyes.

This striking characteristic adds to the allure of this species and sets it apart from other birds with yellow eyes.

The male golden pheasant is particularly captivating. It boasts a brilliant golden crest on its head, edged with a fiery red hue, which beautifully contrasts with its dark green upper back, wings, and neck.

The underparts of the male are a rich red color, and its long, finely barred tail adds to its regal appearance.

On the other hand, the female has a more subdued brown plumage with a duller overall coloration.

These birds with yellow eyes are commonly seen in the mountainous forests of western China; the golden pheasant prefers to inhabit dense and dark woodlands.

It is a rather elusive bird, often keeping to itself and proving challenging to spot.

However, it has been introduced to various parts of the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, where it has become an established population.

Golden pheasants are omnivorous, feeding on a diverse diet of seeds, fruits, and insects.

When faced with threats, these birds quickly dash for cover, making it surprisingly difficult to locate them amidst mixed and coniferous woodlands.

Aside from its yellow eyes is its extraordinary courtship display. During the breeding season, the male puts on a mesmerizing show of vibrant colors and intricate movements to attract the female.

This elaborate courtship ritual involves displaying its impressive plumage, stretching its wings, and making various calls and vocalizations to win over a mate.

Although the golden pheasant is primarily a ground-dwelling bird, it can also fly short distances when necessary.

It spends much of its time foraging on the forest floor, using its strong beak to search for food and its agile feet to move through the undergrowth.

6. Osprey

by Andy Morffew is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ospreys, one of the birds with yellow eyes, are known for their exceptional hunting abilities, specifically their mastery of diving into the water feet-first to catch fish.

Their unique eyesight plays a crucial role in this hunting technique. The yellow eyes of ospreys enable them to spot fish from high above the water’s surface.

With keen eyesight, they can accurately judge the depth and position of their prey before executing a precise dive.

These birds are found near water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and coasts, making these habitats their prime hunting grounds.

Ospreys have a global distribution, being present on every continent except Antarctica.

Their range spans from the Arctic to the tropics, including North America, Europe, and Asia breeding populations.

Ospreys are remarkable migrants. During the non-breeding season, they undertake extensive migrations, flying thousands of miles to their wintering grounds in South America, Africa, and Australia.

They exhibit fidelity to their breeding sites and often return to the same nest year after year, adding to it and repairing it as needed.

These raptors are skilled at stealing fish from other birds, such as ospreys, showcasing their agility and opportunistic behavior.

They have a hooked upper jaw, black beak, and powerful legs and feet, which aid them in capturing and manipulating their prey.

Ospreys exhibit strong mate fidelity and form long-term partnerships. Breeding pairs work together to construct large nests made of sticks and other natural materials, often atop tall trees or man-made structures near the water.

These nests grow in size over the years as the pair returns to the same site annually.

7. Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
by Charles Patrick Ewing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The burrowing owl is a captivating bird that is unique among birds with yellow eyes.

These small, long-legged owls possess a unique appearance, with their brown bodies speckled and barred with white and their most striking feature: large, yellow eyes. 

From Canada to Argentina, burrowing owls can be found throughout North and South America.

They inhabit various environments, such as open grasslands, deserts, and agricultural areas, where they can hunt for prey.

Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active day and night, making them an intriguing species to observe.

With their distinctive yellow eyes, burrowing owls have excellent vision that aids them in hunting.

Their large eyes are adapted to see well in daylight, which is essential for their diurnal hunting habits.

These keen-eyed birds primarily feed on insects and small mammals like mice and voles. They also include lizards and other small reptiles in their diet. 

Burrowing owls communicate with each other through a series of whistles and chatters, using vocalizations to maintain social connections and protect their territory.

They are also known for their unique nesting habits. Instead of building nests in trees, burrowing owls utilize abandoned burrows dug by other animals, such as prairie dogs.

They can excavate their own burrows using their sharp talons to loosen the soil if necessary.

These birds with yellow eyes are highly adaptable and resilient in their ability to thrive in human-altered landscapes.

Their populations have shown an affinity for nesting near human settlements and are often observed in urban areas.

Their presence in agricultural regions can provide natural pest control by preying on rodents harmful to crops.

8. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The bald eagle, renowned as the national bird and symbol of the United States, is a magnificent raptor with captivating features, including its stunning yellow eyes.

This bird with yellow eyes showcases a distinctive plumage that sets it apart from other birds of prey.

With a white head and tail contrasting sharply against its dark brown body, the bald eagle’s yellow eyes, and beak further enhance its striking appearance. 

As the bald eagle matures, its head and tail gradually transition from brown to brilliant white, making it easily identifiable.

Immature bald eagles, however, sport brown heads and tails, which progressively lighten as they reach adulthood.

This transition is accompanied by the gradual transformation of their eyes from darker to vibrant yellow, characteristic of adult bald eagles.

Bald eagles inhabit various habitats throughout North America, from Alaska and Canada to the northern parts of Mexico.

They are commonly found near large bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and coastlines, where they excel in their fishing prowess.

These magnificent birds construct their nests in tall trees near the water, often utilizing the same nest year after year, resulting in its gradual growth and expansion.

They are primarily known for their piscivorous diet; bald eagles feed on fish, skillfully hunting by soaring high above the water and diving to snatch their prey with their powerful talons.

However, they are opportunistic hunters and consume small mammals, birds, and carrion when available.

Bald eagles are even known for their ability to steal food from other birds, such as ospreys, showcasing their resourcefulness in acquiring sustenance.

9. Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle 
by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The great-tailed grackle is also among the birds with yellow eyes. Their eyes, a vibrant yellow, add a captivating allure to their appearance.

Additionally, they possess a large, thick bill that is nearly straight, and their long, deeply-keeled tail, almost as long as their body, is often held in a distinctive V-shape.

In contrast, females sport a more subdued brown coloration, with paler eyebrows and throat.

The great-tailed grackle’s habitat spans the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America, where it can be found in various environments, including urban areas, open woodlands, and scrublands.

They consume diverse foods, including insects, seeds, fruits, and small animals.

However, their foraging habits can lead them to raid crops, particularly corn and rice, sometimes causing significant damage to agricultural fields.

Their adaptability to various habitats and versatile feeding habits contribute to their widespread distribution.

10. Yellow-eyed Junco

Yellow-eyed Junco
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The yellow-eyed junco is among the captivating birds with yellow eyes with a unique charm, distinguished by its pale grey plumage and striking yellow or yellow-orange eyes.

Belonging to the New World Sparrows family, this small avian species holds its own among its feathered counterparts.

Found primarily in open montane woodlands, often pine-dominated, the yellow-eyed junco’s habitat stretches across Mexico and barely enters the United States, favoring mountain forests near the Mexican border.

These juncos add a touch of vibrancy to their surroundings, their yellow eyes contrasting beautifully against their grey plumage and reddish-brown back that extends onto their wings.

With its enchanting gaze and delightful presence, the yellow-eyed junco captures the hearts of bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, making it a remarkable member of the avian world.


Birds with yellow eyes encompass a diverse group of fascinating species. Yellow pigmentation in their eyes, caused by the pigment xanthophyll, adds to the allure of these avian creatures. 

Each species has its own distinct characteristics, habitats, and feeding behaviors, showcasing the remarkable diversity of birds with yellow eyes.

Their eye-catching appearance serves as a testament to the wonders of nature and a reminder of the beauty and intricacy found in the world of birds.

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