Patrick of The Hawk Owls’ Nest tagged me with his intriguing, yet entertaining 10 Most Wanted Birds Meme. This meme works like all the rest: Post a list of the 10 species that you’d most like to see. You can limit it to a geographic area or cover the whole world. Tag a few people and they in turn will post their lists on their blogs.

My problem (OK, one of my problems) is that I have my sights set on all 10,000. Thus, I can’t credibly narrow the list down to ten. After all, anyone who’s spotted, say, twenty different warblers would be hard pressed to determine which one was best or which one satisfied the warbler itch. The task grows tougher with exotic species. I mean, I’ve already seen Keel-billed Toucan and Collared Aracari, but that doesn’t quench the desire to see the other members of the Ramphastidae family from the Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan of Ecuador to the Blue-banded Toucanet of Bolivia. A more honest response from me will have to be painted with broader brushstrokes. Therefore, I present my 10 Most Wanted Bird Types, in, of course, their native environments:

  • Any ratite: Whether we’re talking about flightless fuzzballs or any of their colossal kin, I’ll be happy with any kiwi, ostrich, rhea, emu, or cassowary, as long as I see it on its home ground rather than a ranch.
  • Any penguin: I might not like the cold, but I’d be willing to brave Antarctic winds to spot one of these splendid Sphenisciformes.
  • Any albatross: Lacking one of these powerful pelagics from my life list hangs around my neck like a…well, you know.
  • Any crane: These tall drinks of water have managed to elude my gaze for years, but they won’t succeed forever.
  • Any cockatoo: Cockatoos, like parrots, macaws, and other prisoners of the pet trade, must seem all the more magnificent and wild when spotted outside of confinement.
  • Any bee-eater: My, but these birds are pretty.
  • Any hornbill:  What a prehistoric looking family. From bill and casque to plumage and song, these birds make a major impression.
  • Any antbird, ant-thrush, or antpitta: Of the hundreds of birds in these assorted families, I’m most interested in the dedicated ant-swarm followers. What a niche to exploit!
  • Any shrike: Predatory passerines given to impaling prey on spikes? Sign me up for that.
  • Any bowerbird: The complex building behavior of these happy homemakers is almost as impressive as their unique aesthetic sense. Martha Stewart would be proud.

That’s my list. After making the next installment of I and the Bird a theme edition, I have no right to inflict something else to write about on anybody. Instead, here’s an open invitation to anyone who’d like to join the fun. Be sure to let Patrick know if you pick up his meme.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.