There’s a reason why the cute baby animal pics scene is dominated by mammals like kitties and bunnies, but you don’t see a lot of baby birds. It’s because most of them have some serious awkward phases (with the exception of ducks and chickens… they seem to be blessed with looking cute in their baby pictures.) Where do you think the tale of the Ugly Duckling comes from? Apparently, it takes a while to grow a majestic and functional coat of feathers, and they can look pretty silly in the meantime.

Scroll down to see some impressive bird glow-ups. We bet you didn’t know what at least a few of these birds looked like as babies. Upvote the ones that surprise you the most!

#1

Cardinal

Cardinal

Everyone loves seeing cute, red cardinals outside their window. They're so popular that they have been designated the state bird of seven states in the US: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

pixabay , pxhere Report

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
8 months ago

that's some majestic bird!

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#2

Peacock

Peacock

Technically, only the males of this species are peacocks, while the females are peahens, and all of them together are peafowl. Also, technically, a group of them is called an "ostentation" or a "pride", but we probably won't remember either of those rules.

piqsels , tambako Report

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
8 months ago

i was always impressed how adorable peachick eyes are, almost like he used liner

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#3

Tuffted Puffin

Tuffted Puffin

Puffins' feet and beaks only turn orange during their spring breeding season. Conveniently for them, that's also the only time when they come ashore, so we only have photos of them looking their best.

wikipedia Report

Laana
Community Member
8 months ago

That is a big differemce!

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Pigeons are an unusual case because, even if you live in a city and you see more pigeons than you can count every day, you’ve probably never seen one tending to a nest with baby pigeons in it.

That’s because the feral pigeons that live in cities all over the world are descended from rock doves, which put their nests on steep rock faces, or in caves. Urban pigeons carry on this behavior by nesting on roofs, under windowsills on tall buildings, and anywhere where absolutely nobody without wings can find them. If you hadn't thought about it until now, that's proof that they're good at it.

Pigeons stay safely hidden away until they’re at least 40 days old, and then they come out with a shiny coat of feathers just like their parents. Good for them, it looks like it’s less embarrassing that way.

#4

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn owls don't actually hoot, they only screech. Mood.

portableportraits Report

Kaisu
Community Member
8 months ago

From cute fluffy baby to a gorgeous model

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#5

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

The grey-crowned crane, one of the flashiest members of the crane family, lives in south and east Africa and is the national bird of Uganda.

goodfreephotos , wikimedia Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

I totally get the name now!

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#6

Toco Toucan

Toco Toucan

The size of a toucan's bill can make predators think that it isn't worth trying to catch one, but it's so light and delicate that it's not actually useful for self-defense.

Wikimedia Report

Kaisu
Community Member
8 months ago

I didn't know Toucans were planted and grown in pots! You learn something new every day

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#7

Chicken

Chicken

It only takes 21 days for a fertilized chicken egg to form a fluffy little chick like this one, but it takes a lot of work. A hen turns the egg over at least 50 times a day so it can remain in the center of the egg and grow normally.

pxhere , pxfuel Report

Jacob-Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
8 months ago

This is weird but my 86(?) Year old grandmother has a phobia of baby chicks like this. Freaks her out.

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#8

Goffin's Cockatoo

Goffin's Cockatoo

If you haven't had any kind of cockatoo as a pet before, you probably didn't know that they produce dust. It keeps their feathers clean, but does the opposite for the bird owner's home.

robandstephanielevy , needpix Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

puberty sucks

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#9

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Falcons can be trained to be bird security guards and keep other birds away from places where they could cause trouble, like landfills or vineyards.

Patrick Cashin , cuatrok77 Report

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
8 months ago

chicks looks like they got into a fight with the pillow :D

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#10

Chaffinch

Chaffinch

Chaffinches are some of the most common singing birds, but maybe "singing" isn't the right word, as they actually have at least 9 calls with consistent and discrete meanings.

maxpixels , pixabay Report

Full Name
Community Member
8 months ago

WTF?! They start out as an eccentric old professor, then end up as a handsome teenager.

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#11

Bleeding-Heart Pidgoen

Bleeding-Heart Pidgoen

wikimedia Report

Evgeniya Khon
Community Member
8 months ago

Okay, I'm a girl and that red spot makes me feel a bit unsettling

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#12

House Martin

House Martin

milkyfactory , wildreturn Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

I love the babies little face ")

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#13

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

Most of hummingbirds' functions happen too quickly for humans to even perceive: their wings flap at least 50 times per second, their heart rate is about 20 beats per second, and they can stick out and withdraw their tongues 20 times per second while feeding.

Wikimedia Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

Baby bird "I'll show you!"

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#14

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Woodpeckers' disporportionately long tongues wrap around the skull, like a tape measure.

theowlshowofficial , Wikipedia Report

Fonda Gabriel
Community Member
8 months ago

Love that babies buzz cut.

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#15

Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant

Golden pheasants are native to the forests of China, but they've been imported and formed feral populations on every continent but Antarctica, because everyone wants some golden pheasants, I guess.

needpix , cuatrok77 Report

Sarah Ryan
Community Member
8 months ago

Presidential hair lol

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#16

Gannet

Gannet

flickr , wikimedia Report

Thunder
Community Member
8 months ago

In the Netherlands they call this birds Jan-van-Genten. It’s a common name for humans.

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#17

Ostrich

Ostrich

pixabay , pxfuel Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

SOOOOO Cute!!

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#18

Tit

Tit

wikimedia , pxfuel Report

Kaisu
Community Member
8 months ago

From grumpy old man to happy young bird

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#19

Swan

Swan

Chris Isherwood , k yamada Report

Desiré Yen
Community Member
8 months ago

Not an ugly duckling 😍

Meami
Community Member
7 months ago

yeah, I never understood why they chose a cygnet as an "ugly" duckling - they're just freakin' adorable.

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glorytherainwing
Community Member
8 months ago

i got an encounter with a baby swan. it just walks right up to me. then momma attacks me.

Katsuki Bakugo
Community Member
8 months ago

sooo cute XD

Danielle Rux
Community Member
8 months ago

adorable fluff ball too beautiful bitch XD

A B C
Community Member
8 months ago

Swan babies are cute, why does the fairytale say it's ugly?

Inez Witkowski
Community Member
8 months ago

In the Hans Cristian Anderson tale, the egg with the swan inside landed in a ducks nest, and he was considered ugly becuse he so different from the other ducklings when the egg cracked open. He was raised among ducks instead of swans, and became a swan and not a duck.

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glowworm2
Community Member
8 months ago

Cygnets (baby swans) are absolutely adorable.

Cat Anderson
Community Member
7 months ago

born beautiful and grows up beautifuler

Sandy Kavanaugh
Community Member
7 months ago

Who doesn't love cygnets?

Hendra Lim
Community Member
7 months ago

cute baby and the beautiful swan... it's a tie!

Jack Lambrecht
Community Member
8 months ago

Look at how the water droplets settle into the feathers (picture 1)

Roz Klaiman
Community Member
8 months ago

the original "ugly duckling"

Frogladysharon
Community Member
7 months ago

There is nothing so soothing that watching this one!!!!!

Paula Jin
Community Member
7 months ago

that's almost unfair how beautiful they stay

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#20

Raven

Raven

wikipedia , pxfuel Report

Fonda Gabriel
Community Member
8 months ago

Prehistoric

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#21

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck

pixabay , mualphachi Report

Carol Emory
Community Member
8 months ago

We used to have Mallards around our campus river. I loved it during the spring because there'd be dozens of those little ducklings running around trying their best to keep up with mom....

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#22

Mississippi Kite

Mississippi Kite

Andy Reago , vance Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

those eyes :)

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#23

Grey Headed Albatross

Grey Headed Albatross

wikimedia Report

Kaisu
Community Member
8 months ago

The same attitude is there in the eyes

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#24

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

wikipedia , needpix Report

Tambot
Community Member
8 months ago

I always think if Canada when I see the bald eagle, we have so many in north vancouver, I rarely associate them with the USA.

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#25

Night Heron

Night Heron

taylar , 132033298@N04 Report

A B C
Community Member
8 months ago

Baby Heron looks like he had a night out and tries to sneak in without his parents noticing

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#26

Pigeon

Pigeon

leena , wikimedia Report

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
8 months ago

this destroyed my illusion that pigeons are born adult

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#27

White Tern

White Tern

goodfreephotos , angrysunbird Report

glorytherainwing
Community Member
8 months ago

what a majestic floof

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#28

Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

wikimedia Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
8 months ago

child actor all grown up

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#29

Flamingo

Flamingo

Pixabay , ekilby Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
8 months ago

True story: they’re only pink because of canthaxanthin that they obtain from their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae.

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#30

Turkey

Turkey

wikimedia , publicdomainpictures Report

SacredPistachio
Community Member
8 months ago

This bird didn't age well XD

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Note: this post originally had 57 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.