Is it a bird Pokémon? Is it a bat Pokémon? No that’s right, it’s a bird Pokémon, in fact, it’s a full list full of them. We’ve seen Pidoves, Pidgeys, and much more in our time scouring the skies of Hoenn, Kanto, and beyond, and like the expert birdwatchers we are, we’re here to report back on our findings of the finest of the flock.
That’s right, you’re reading a list of the best bird Pokémon to grace the nests, nooks, and natural landmarks of the Pokémon world. We’ve plucked out all of our favourites, from legendary lords of the air to dime-a-dozen sand attackers, and everything in between to put together a comprehensive list of the most noteworthy, whether it be for their battle prowess or their role in our individual Pokémon journeys.
To get ahead of the curve on the next big Pokémon adventure, be sure to get to grips with the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet starters, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet legendaries, as well as any other Pokémon Scarlet & Violet new Pokémon Game Freak has confirmed. Or, if you want another list you can angrily disagree with, as is the way with Pokémon-related lists, take a browse through our picks for the best starter Pokémon.
With that out of the way, let’s take flight and check out the best bird Pokémon.
Who else could make the top of this list? Lugia is one of the most iconic Pokémon around, introduced for Pokémon 2000 and box art star for Pokémon Silver, this psychic/flying-type is a behemoth of a bird, and nails the franchise formula of legendary beasts that are as beautiful as they are intimidating. There’s little that needs to be said about Lugia, a beast in battle, a formidable design, and probably the most famous shadow form in all of Pokémon. So yeah, Lugia is the best.
I can’t pick all three, because it’s too obvious, so if I have to decide on a preferred legendary bird it will have to be the spiky lightning chicken Zapdos, generation one’s incredible electric/flying-type. Zapdos is the first legendary bird I got my hands on in Pokémon Blue, and I still remember being in awe of the frightening firepower it added to my party, easily dispatching most of Elite Four member Lorelai’s team without much need for levelling up.
Keeping things yellow and first generation, I can’t make it through this list without including a duck Pokémon, and I can’t have that Pokémon not be Psyduck. If you somehow avoided the Pokémon anime during your childhood, you might not know how iconic this headache having Pokémon is, but its continuous back-and-forth with Misty is something still firmly ingrained in the minds of anyone who grew up with Ash and the gang. I’ve always found it a little disappointing that Game Freak didn’t give into the anime and make Psyduck a water/psychic-type, but that doesn’t mean it’s not my favourite migraine ‘mon.
The only starter Pokémon to fall into the flying-type egg group, despite not actually being of that typing, Decidueye is a bird who means business. While Noctowl is a decent enough owl Pokémon, the mysterious nature of the nocturnal birds is truly embraced in both Decidueye’s design and typing, that being grass/ghost, and is easily one of the more inspired starter evolutions of recent memory. So Game Freak, if you’re listening, we need more awesome avians like this in future, and less lame lizards (I’m looking at you, Inteleon).
Ok, so Piplup might not fall into the flying-type egg group, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a bird. Look at that sweet little yellow beak, those waddling feet, and its teeny weeny wings. I could look into Piplup’s oval-shaped eyes all day, just content to know that it’s my little buddy. It’s worth noting that Piplup eventually evolves into the considerably less friendly-looking Empoleon, but let’s forget about that, and just embrace the majesty of a tiny penguin Pokémon.
What do you get if you cross Ray Mysterio with an eagle? You either get the most intense WWE match I’ve ever seen, or Hawlucha, the flying/fighting-type. This luchador-inspired avian is fan-favourite thanks to its time fighting alongside Ash in the anime, as well as its super groovy shiny form that swaps the orange and white for black and purple in one of the better Pokémon palette swaps. Hawlucha can hold its own in battle too, especially when compared to some of the other single-stage Pokémon, and there’s nothing quite as annoying as facing down a swords dance sweep from this winged wrestler.
While Braviary has always been a bit of a personal favourite when it comes to bird Pokémon, it wasn’t until Pokémon Legends: Arceus that I, as well as many others, finally appreciated the true beauty of this winged beast. Hisuian Braviary is a spectacle of a Pokémon, with wild white wings that take up half the screen, a feathered head that pops with colour, and ferocious claws that somehow carry you on your adventure through the Pokémon world of old. All I’m hoping ahead of this Pokémon Scarlet and Violet release date is that this beautiful bird isn’t left to linger in the past.
I’ve talked a little about competitive Pokémon in this list, so I can’t finish it in good faith without including Talonflame, a bird Pokémon whose impact on the competitive meta was as quick as, well, a Talonflame with the gale wings ability. You see, gale wings allows Talonflame to attack first when at full HP, so if you can start the battle with the burning bird, then you’ve essentially got a free hit on an opponent. That might not sound so game-changing, but when you remember that Talonflame can learn brave bird, the strongest flying-type move in the game, the heat can get a little too much to handle.
You didn’t think I would, did you? Well, I have, and there are no regrets at all. Pidgey is iconic, the first wild Pokémon that many of us encountered, and the basis for a route one bird-type tradition that is still going strong today. Sure, you might have a bit of a vendetta against the pigeon Pokémon for memories of sand attack spam, but instead, try and think about that level three Pidgey that flew you around Kanto as a kid, and you might get why it made the list.
There you have it, our list of remarkable bird Pokémon from the history of catching ‘em all. To go back out into the wild and admire some avians yourself, pick out a location from our list of the best Pokémon games.