77 Animals That Start with K

Illustration with different animal species and text saying animals that start with K

No matter what letter of the alphabet you look at, there will always be a long list of animals to learn about. Many of those species will be ones you’ve never even heard of or thought about.

So, what animal species start with the letter K? Let’s see what we can learn about these many amazing creatures.

List of Animals That Start with K

Here are 77 animal species starting with the letter K.

1. Kafue Lechwe

Kafue lechwe at watering hole
  • Scientific Name: Kobus leche kafuensis
  • Habitat: Floodplains of Zambia
  • Size: 110 to 260 pounds
  • Diet: Aquatic grass

These animals are a subspecies of lechwe, which are a type of antelope. They primarily feed on grass that’s in flooded areas. They often wade in knee-deep water when feeding to keep them protected from predators since they are capable of running at a normal speed in the water. These mammals travel in herds of only one sex, and the herds will mix together during their mating season. Their population is vulnerable, and they can only be found in the Kafue Flats of Zambia.

2. Kagu

Kagu walking on forest floor
  • Scientific Name: Rhynochetos jubatus
  • Habitat: Forests of New Caledonia
  • Size: 22 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, worms, spiders

Kagus are known as “ghosts of the forest” because of their pale gray feathers. Even though kagus have wings large enough to fly, they’re considered flightless birds. When searching for food, they peck at the forest floors to locate invertebrates. These birds can be territorial, and they’ll protect their space with a shrill call. When mating pairs wake up, they begin their day by singing a duet with each other, which lasts about 15 minutes.

3. Kajika Frog

Kajika frog on moss
  • Scientific Name: Buergeria buergeri
  • Habitat: Streams, lakes, and forests of Japan
  • Size: 1.3 to 3.3 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders

Kajika frogs, also known as Buerger’s frogs, only live in Japan, specifically on the Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku islands. They usually live in forest areas near water to make breeding convenient. These frogs usually lay about 500 eggs under a rock in the water during each breeding season. The tadpoles feed solely on algae, but adults seek out invertebrates. “Kajika” means “river deer” because their calls sound like the calls of bucks. They’re not endangered, but their population is decreasing due to habitat loss.

4. Kaka

Kaka perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Nestor meridionalis
  • Habitat: Forests of New Zealand
  • Size: 0.8 to 1.25 pounds
  • Diet: Nectar, fruit, seeds, insects

These birds spend most of their time in the canopies of trees. They travel in large flocks that sometimes include similar species, such as keas and kakapos. They make loud calls at dusk and dawn, so they’re often heard before they’re seen. They feed on a variety of plants and insects, thanks to their adaptive features. Their strong beaks help them break through seeds and their long tongues help them reach nectar in plants. During the breeding season, these birds build their nests in hollow trees.

5. Kakapo

Kakapo bird on stump
  • Scientific Name: Strigops habroptilus
  • Habitat: Dense jungles of New Zealand
  • Size: 4 to 9 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, flowers, roots, seeds

These are nocturnal flightless birds that roam the forest floor while foraging. They walk in a horizontal position with their beaks facing the ground. Since they can’t fly, they’re also great at climbing trees. They are the largest parrot species, weighing up to 9 pounds. Most parrots only weigh up to 4 pounds. These birds are critically endangered today, but in history, Polynesian settlers used their feathers to make decorative accessories.

6. Kalij Pheasant

Kalij pheasant resting on branch
  • Scientific Name: Lophura leucomelanos
  • Habitat: Forests of the Himalayan foothills
  • Size: 20 to 29 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, insects, snakes, fruit, grains

Male kalij pheasants have glossy blue/black feathers while females have brown feathers. Both sexes have red patches around their eyes. While they are native to Asia, they have been introduced to other areas like Hawaii. These birds can make a variety of sounds, including grunts, crows, and squeals. This species is closely related to the silver pheasant, and the two can breed together to create a hybrid.

7. Kamaka Rainbowfish

Kamaka rainbowfish staying still
  • Scientific Name: Melanotaenia kamaka
  • Habitat: Lake Kamakawaiar in New Guinea
  • Size: Up to 2.8 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, worms, plant matter

The scales of these fish shimmer in a rainbow pattern when the light hits them, but for the most part, their scales are silver, not rainbow. The males are more colorful than the females, which is common for rainbowfish species. They look the most colorful at sunrise. These fish are very peaceful, so they can co-exist with a variety of other fish both in the wild and in captivity. However, males can display some aggression if there are more males than females nearby. Males swim back and forth to show off their scales when attracting a mate.

8. Kamehameha Butterfly

Kamehameha butterfly sitting on flower
  • Scientific Name: Vanessa tameamea
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Hawaii
  • Size: 2.5-inch wingspan
  • Diet: Nectar, sap

Kamehameha butterflies have beautiful orange wings, but the undersides of their wings are a brown pattern to help them blend in. On the tips of their wings, females have white spots while males have light orange spots. These insects are often called pulelehua, which is the Hawaiian native term for all butterflies. It means “to float” and “rainbow-colored.” This species only lives in Hawaii, but several species on the mainland look similar, such as painted ladies.

9. Karoo Chat

Karoo chat perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Cercomela schlegelii
  • Habitat: Desert scrub in Angola, Namibia, and South Africa
  • Size: 6.2 to 7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect eggs, larvae

Karoo chats live in dry habitats where they search the grass for invertebrates to eat. When they’re not foraging, they perch on shrubs or fences. The females build cup-shaped nests on platforms using sticks and twigs. They lay two to four green eggs. These birds mate for life, so they’re only seen solo or in pairs. They have a solid brown coloring that helps them blend into their surroundings.

10. Karoo Korhaan

Karoo korhaan in dry habitat
  • Scientific Name: Eupodotis vigorsii
  • Habitat: Arid scrublands of South Africa and Namibia
  • Size: Up to 2 feet tall
  • Diet: Insects, grass, seeds

Karoo korhaans search for food by pecking the ground as they walk. Their feathers are almost the same color as the dirt around them, allowing them to hide from predators in plain sight. Both males and females have black patches on their throats, but the males’ patches are larger. These birds are adaptable to different environments, so their population is stable. Their calls are throaty and frog-like.

11. Karoo Prinia

Karoo prinia on flower
  • Scientific Name: Prinia maculosa
  • Habitat: Scrublands and mountains of South Africa, Lesotho, and Namibia
  • Size: 5.1 to 5.9 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae

Karoo prinias are small birds with black spots on their bellies and throats. They build oval-shaped nests out of grass, and the nests only have one entrance on the side. These birds usually travel in pairs or small groups, resting in or on bushes. When they’re on the lookout for insects, you might notice their tail sticking upright and swinging back and forth. Their breeding month varies based on where they live so they can avoid rainy seasons.

12. Karpathos Frog

Karpathos frog on moist ground
  • Scientific Name: Pelophylax cerigensis
  • Habitat: Slow-moving streams or still waters of Greece
  • Size: About 2.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae

Sadly, Karpathos frogs are critically endangered because of significant habitat loss in their small region. Rising temperatures may also be affecting these frogs’ sensitive skin. They’re only native to the Greek island of Karpathos, hence their name. In the 1960s, these frogs were regularly seen near water, but those sightings decreased over the years. The males make short, repetitive calls to attract females. All species of frogs have unique call frequencies, so they can be identified without being seen.

13. Kashmir Nuthatch

Kashmir nuthatch sideways on tree
  • Scientific Name: Sitta cashmirensis
  • Habitat: Montane forests of Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan
  • Size: About 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders, seeds, nuts

These birds prefer high altitudes between 5,900 and 11,000 feet. They’re considered common in their range, but they do not have a quantified global population. They’re shy birds that often stay hidden from other species. Some people say their calls sound like they’re being tortured. Both males and females have red/orange bellies and a mask-like stripe by their eyes, but females have duller feathers.

14. Kea

Kea bird landing on rock
  • Scientific Name: Nestor notabilis
  • Habitat: Alpine areas of New Zealand
  • Size: 18 to 20 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, plants

Keas have olive green feathers, but when they lift their wings and tails, they reveal vibrantly-colored feathers underneath. They likely get their name because their call while flying sounds like, “keee-aaa.” When they’re on the ground, they communicate quietly with murmurs and whistles. They’re closely related to kakapos. Most keas mate for life, but some males will pair with several partners during their mating season. Keas are thought to be intelligent birds, close to the intelligence of a four-year-old child.

15. Keel-Billed Toucan

Keel-billed toucan on branch
  • Scientific Name: Ramphastos sulfuratus
  • Habitat: Rainforests of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
  • Size: 4.7 to 8.8 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, insects, eggs

Keel-billed toucans are sometimes called “rainbow toucans” because of their colorful bills. When they grab prey in their bills, they sometimes throw it up in the air and catch it before swallowing it. Their beaks are not as heavy as they look because they’re hollow and made of thin keratin. Despite having large wings, they can’t fly well, so they usually hop from tree to tree if possible. They make loud sounds that are often mistaken for frog calls.

16. Keeled Box Turtle

Keeled box turtle in sand
  • Scientific Name: Cuora mouhotii
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of southern Asia
  • Size: 5.9 to 7 inches long
  • Diet: Plants, fruits, worms

Keeled box turtles have brown scales, but males and females can be distinguished by the color of their iris. Males have brown or black irises while females have red or orange. These turtles spend their time on land rather than in water, feeding primarily on plants. They often hide under leaf litter in tropical forests. During the mating season, males can become aggressive by chasing and biting potential mates.

17. Keeled Earless Lizard

Keeled earless lizard
  • Scientific Name: Holbrookia propinqua
  • Habitat: Southern Texas and coastal Mexico
  • Size: 4.5 to 5.5
  • Diet: Insects, worms

Keeled earless lizards can be found in a variety of habitats in southern Texas and coastal Mexico, including forests and fields. Yet, they prefer beaches and sand dunes. These lizards are usually solitary, and they may be aggressive toward others of their species. Like other small lizards, they bob their heads up and down to warn other lizards to back off. They are only active during the day because their bodies get too cold when the sun isn’t out. They can drop their tails and regrow them as a self-defense tactic.

18. Keeled Rat Snake

Keeled rat snake's head
  • Scientific Name: Ptyas carinata
  • Habitat: Wooded areas of southern Asia
  • Size: 4 to 9 feet long
  • Diet: Rodents, frogs, birds

Keeled rat snakes aren’t afraid to bite when threatened, but they don’t have any venom. Yet, they will usually puff up their necks before striking, and they’re more likely to flee than attack. They’re most active during the day, and they usually stay in wooded areas near water. They’re opportunistic hunters that will eat most small animals. They have a lot of color varieties, so they can be difficult to identify.

19. Keeled Skimmer

Keeled skimmer perched on plant
  • Scientific Name: Orthetrum coerulescens
  • Habitat: Near shallow water across Europe
  • Size: 1.5 to 1.7 inches long
  • Diet: Other insects

Male keeled skimmers have beautiful light blue appearances while females are light brown. These insects spend most of their time resting on plants close to the water with their wings laying forward. They most commonly fly from June to September, but they’re not strong fliers. When they mate, it only lasts 5 to 120 seconds, and females lay their eggs by touching the water’s surface before the male fertilizes them.

20. Keeltail Needlefish

Group of keeltail needlefish
  • Scientific Name: Platybelone argalus
  • Habitat: Tropical waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
  • Size: Up to 20 inches long
  • Diet: Smaller fish

These long, slender fish eat smaller fish but are also preyed on by larger fish. To escape predators, they can reach 37 miles per hour as they jump out of the water, which can be dangerous for nearby humans. They also have strong “needle-like” jaws. However, they rarely harm humans, especially since they spend most of their time hiding in reefs. When they lay their eggs, they attach them to floating objects.

21. Keeshond

Fluffy Keeshond outside
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 31 to 40 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

This dog breed’s name is pronounced “Kays-hond.” Not everyone is familiar with these dogs, but they have been around since the 18th century. They were companions and mouse hunters on Dutch ships in their early days, and they were sometimes kept by royalty. Because of their origin, they have a tendency to chase small animals, but they can be easy to train. Since they have such beautiful, fluffy coats, they can be heavy shedders.

22. Kelp Bass

Kelp bass swimming near aquatic plants
  • Scientific Name: Paralabrax clathratus
  • Habitat: Freshwater from Washington to Baja California
  • Size: Up to 28 inches long
  • Diet: Smaller fish

Despite being called kelp bass, these fish don’t eat kelp as adults. Juveniles feed on kelp and invertebrates found near kelp, but adults mostly eat other fish. These fish don’t mind being alone, but they will often gather together to hunt schools of small fish. Several fish will attack the school from different angles. When hunting, kelp bass might move so fast that they leap out of the water. They usually gather around a large object, such as a rock, pipe, or sunken ship.

23. Kelp Goose

Kelp goose walking on shore
  • Scientific Name: Chloephaga hybrida
  • Habitat: Rocky coasts of Chile and Argentina
  • Size: 4.4 to 5.6 pounds
  • Diet: Aquatic plants, algae, berries

Male and female kelp geese have significantly different appearances. The males are completely white while the females have a pattern of brown, white, and green feathers. They’re called “kelp geese” because they prefer to feed on aquatic plants above all else. They dip their bills in shallow water and pull out plants to eat. They lay clutches of two to seven eggs in tall grass near the water. Their population is stable because they’re rarely hunted and not considered edible for humans.

24. Kelp Gull

Kelp gull squawking
  • Scientific Name: Larus dominicanus
  • Habitat: Coasts of South America, Australia, southern Africa, and parts of Antarctica
  • Size: 21 to 26 inches long, 50 to 56 inch wingspan
  • Diet: Mollusks, crustaceans, fish, amphibians

Kelp gulls often feed along to coast, but they get their name because they sometimes search for prey in kelp forests. They prefer sandy, rocky areas, but they may follow boats to snatch the leftover fish. Like other seagull species, they make loud, repetitive calls to communicate with each other. They live in large colonies of birds, but they’re protective over their individual nests. They may even bite or peck humans to protect their territory.

25. Kelp Rockfish

Kelp rockfish swimming toward camera
  • Scientific Name: Sebastes atrovirens
  • Habitat: In the Pacific Ocean, near the western coast of North America
  • Size: Up to 17 inches
  • Diet: Shrimp, small crabs, squids, small fish

These fish got their name because they spend most of their time near kelp beds. Yet, they prefer to eat other animals instead of plants like kelp. They can be found up to 150 feet below the water’s surface, but they’re more common between 22 and 65 feet. They rarely travel unless they need to move to a cave or deeper water to escape a storm. Their most common predators are humans, who will sometimes catch them for food.

26. Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle underwater
  • Scientific Name: Lepidochelys kempii
  • Habitat: Coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Size: 75 to 100 pounds
  • Diet: Crabs, shrimp, snails, clams

Despite reaching up to 100 pounds, Kemp’s Ridley turtles are the smallest sea turtles in the world. These sea turtles were once abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, but they’re critically endangered today. Their biggest threat is fishing gear. Female sea turtles return to the same beach that they were born at when it’s time for them to lay eggs. They lay eggs in the sand in large groups so the eggs will be better protected against predators. Yet, like other sea turtles, the hatchlings must leave the nest and find their way to the water on their own.

27. Kentucky Warbler

  • Scientific Name: Geothlypis formosa
  • Habitat: Forests of eastern United States and Central America
  • Size: About 5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, spiders

Kentucky warblers spend most of their time on the forest floor searching for invertebrates in the leaf litter. In the winter, it’s common for them to follow ant swarms for meals. They may perch on tall trees when calling to other birds. These birds usually stay in their own territories, but during the mating season, opposite sexes will chase each other to attract a mate. Once their offspring are old enough to leave the nest, mating pairs go their separate ways.

28. Kenyan Sand Boa

Kenyan sand boa face
  • Scientific Name: Gongylophis colubrinus
  • Habitat: Dry areas of eastern Africa
  • Size: 2 to 3 feet long
  • Diet: Rodents, lizards, birds

Kenyan sand boas might look intimidating, but they’re unlikely to harm humans. They’re non-venomous, and if they bite, it might not even break skin. They hunt by hiding in the sand and then striking prey when it passes. Then, before eating their catch, they will tighten their grip around the critter until it can no longer breathe. They have many morphs, which can include a variety of white, brown, black, and orange scales. Since they’re fairly docile in captivity, some people keep them as pets.

29. Kenyi Cichlid

Kenyi cichlid close-up
  • Scientific Name: Maylandia lombardoi
  • Habitat: Lake Malawi in East Africa
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, plankton, crustaceans

Kenyi cichlids, also spelled kennyi, are only native to one lake in the wild, but they’re often kept as pets too. They have dark zebra-like stripes, but the males are yellow/orange while the females are blue/silver. They’re more aggressive than similar species, so they shouldn’t be kept in a tank with smaller fish. They thrive when they’re in groups of only one male and several females because males will often try to kill other males.

30. Kerguelen Petrel

Kerguelen petrel flying
  • Scientific Name: Lugensa brevirostris
  • Habitat: Across the Gough, Marion, Prince Edward, Crozet, and Kerguelen islands
  • Size: About 14 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, crustaceans, squid, krill

Kerguelen petrels spend most of their time solitary at sea, only returning to land to breed. When it’s time to breed, they gather in colonies and create burrows for nests. Most of their breeding sites are on islands that are rarely visited by people. They build their burrows facing away from the wind, and each breeding pair only lays one egg per season. The eggs of these birds are rounder than the eggs of similar species.

31. Kermadec Petrel

Kermadec petrel sitting down
  • Scientific Name: Pterodroma neglecta
  • Habitat: Across the southern Pacific Ocean
  • Size: About 15 inches long
  • Diet: Squid, fish, crustaceans

Kermadec petrels are another species that spends almost all its time at sea. These birds only approach islands if they’re breeding. When foraging, they may try to mimic other birds to trick them and then steal their food. These birds have both light and dark morphs. They build their nests in rock crevices, and both birds in a mating pair care for the eggs and chicks together.

32. Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry blue terrier show dog
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 33 to 40 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Kerry blue terriers get their name because of their blue-gray coats. They were first bred in County Kerry, Ireland, in the 1820s. They have a soft, low-shedding coat that needs to be groomed regularly. In dog shows, these pups have a specific style, which includes longer hair around their face, similar to a schnauzer. They were bred as working dogs to hunt rodents and herd sheep. Today, they’re more commonly bred for appearance and companionship, but they still have lots of energy.

33. Keta Salmon

Keta salmon underwater
  • Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus keta
  • Habitat: Across the northern Pacific Ocean and Arctic coasts
  • Size: 1 to 3 feet long, 10 to 30 pounds
  • Diet: Zooplankton, small fish, mollusks, squid

Keta salmon, also known as chum salmon, is a species commonly caught for human consumption because the meat is high in omega fatty acids. These fish are adaptable to different water temperatures and typically live in water that’s between 32 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These fish hatch in freshwater environments and then migrate to saltwater. When they’re ready to breed, these fish may travel up to 2,000 miles up a river to where they were born. Then, after they lay thousands of eggs, they die before returning to saltwater.

34. Key Deer

Key deer in tall grass
  • Scientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus
  • Habitat: Rocklands, woodlands, and wetlands of the Florida Keys
  • Size: 45 to 85 pounds
  • Diet: Plants

Key deer are the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer in North America. Some people call them “toy deer” because they’re close to the height of a large dog. If they’re spooked, they’ll lift their tails, showing the white side. While other types of deer and abundant, key deer are endangered, with less than 800 remaining. They almost went extinct in the 1950s, but their population has remained consistent in recent years. These deer rarely fear humans.

35. Keyhole Cichlid

Pair of keyhole cichlid fish
  • Scientific Name: Cleithracara maronii
  • Habitat: River basins near South America’s Orinoco River
  • Size: 4 to 4.9 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans

Keyhole cichlids got their name because of a keyhole-shaped marking on their scales. They’re shy, peaceful fish, making them a popular choice for fish keepers. They can even alter the color of their scales to blend in better when frightened. Most of the time, these fish will hide among plants, and they only display aggression when breeding. Key cichlids are monogamous, so they will always mate with the same fish.

36. Khapra Beetle

Khapra beetle close-up
  • Scientific Name: Trogoderma granarium
  • Habitat: Stored grains of Asia, Africa, and North America
  • Size: 0.07 to 0.14 inches long
  • Diet: Grain and cereal products

Khapra beetles are destructive pests that originated in Asia but have since been introduced to other areas. They will feed on any dried plant and animal matter, but they prefer grain and cereal products. These critters are hard to get rid of because they can survive for a long time without food and they need little moisture to thrive. They end up in new locations when they hide in grain containers being shipped. If you’re struggling with an invasion, you’ll need to contact a pest control specialist.

37. Kiang

Kiang grazing on grass
  • Scientific Name: Equus kiang
  • Habitat: Alpine grasslands of central Asia
  • Size: 550 to 660 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, short plants

Kiangs spend most of their time in open terrain because it has short plants for them to eat, and it allows them to see predators coming. If they sense a threat, they can run up to 37 miles per hour to escape. Water sources are rare in their environment, so they can obtain water from plants and snow. They can survive several days without water. Despite being heavy creatures, kiangs love to swim. They will often cross rivers or simply hang out in the water on hot days.

38. Kidako Moray

Kidako moray face
  • Scientific Name: Gymnothorax kidako
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical seas near Japan, Taiwan, and Australia
  • Size: Up to 36 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, octopuses, squids

Like other morays, kidako morays are long, but only their heads are usually seen because they hide in rock crevices. They have sharp teeth that allow them to grab soft-skinned creatures and eat them with ease. They look menacing, but they will not attack humans unless provoked. Kidako morays open and close their mouths while they sit still as a way to move water through their gills. Most morays are nocturnal, but kidako morays are most active during the day.

39. Kiko Goat

Kiko goat outside
  • Scientific Name: Capra aegagrus Hircus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 100 to 300 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, hay, pellet feed

Kiko goats are friendly, docile goats that were first bred in New Zealand. They were created by breeding dairy goats with feral goats. They’re primarily used for meat, but they can also produce milk after the birth of their young. The name “Kiko” even means “meat” in Maori. While these goats are usually calm, they’re not fearful. So, they will stand up for themselves if they’re attacked or threatened. They can be easily trained, but they’re rarely kept as pets.

40. Killdeer

Killdeer wading in water
  • Scientific Name: Charadrius vociferus
  • Habitat: Open ground in North America and northern South America
  • Size: 8 to 11 inches
  • Diet: Insects, worms, spiders, snails

This species’ name might sound intimidating, but they’re harmless little birds. They get their name because their shrill call sounds like they’re saying, “kill-deer.” They build their nests on the ground of open areas so they can keep an eye out for predators in all directions. If a predator comes near the nest, killdeer will sometimes fake injuries to lure them away. Killdeer are excellent swimmers from the moment they’re born. However, they don’t have to live near water to thrive.

41. Killer Whale

Killer whale jumping out of water
  • Scientific Name: Orcinus orca
  • Habitat: Cold water in all oceans
  • Size: 6,600 to 8,800 pounds, 16 to 26 feet long
  • Diet: Fish, squid, seals

Killer whales, more commonly known as orcas, are massive creatures that eat up to 300 pounds of food per day. Each of their teeth is about four inches long. Despite their intimidating name, killer whales rarely harm humans and are not considered dangerous. They’re the largest members of the dolphin family, and they have no natural predators. They’re highly intelligent and use echolocation to hunt underwater. They can adapt to a variety of habitats, but they prefer cold water.

42. King Angelfish

King angelfish up close
  • Scientific Name: Holacanthus passer
  • Habitat: Tropical reefs of the eastern Pacific Ocean
  • Size: 13 to 14 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, seaweed, worms, sponges, plankton

King angelfish are also known as passer angelfish. These fish form monogamous pairs, and the females tend to be more aggressive than the males. Females are usually solitary and scare other females away from their territory while males swim freely without getting chased away. During the day, these fish feed off the plants and animals they find in the reef. At night, they retreat to reef crevices to rest. Juvenile king angelfish act as cleaners for larger creatures like hammerhead sharks and manta rays.

43. King Cobra

King cobra alert
  • Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah
  • Habitat: Forests and shrublands of southeastern Asia
  • Size: 10 to 18 feet long
  • Diet: Lizards, other snakes, birds

King cobras are the longest venomous snakes in the world. One bite has enough venom to kill an elephant. Injecting enough antivenom right after a bite may save a human, but the risk of death is high. When these reptiles feel threatened, they will extend the hood around their head as a warning. The only animal that will hunt a king cobra is a mongoose because they’re immune to the venom. Even so, mongooses usually only target juvenile snakes. King cobras are solitary animals that will avoid interacting with humans if possible.

44. King Colobus

King colobus close-up
  • Scientific Name: Colobus polykomos
  • Habitat: Montane tropical forests of Africa’s western coast
  • Size: 14 to 22 pounds
  • Diet: Leaves, fruit, flowers

While most primates have opposable thumbs, king colobuses have tiny thumbs that serve no purpose. However, the unique trait allows them to move faster when climbing. When these mammals are born, they have completely white fur, but areas of it darken as they age. Some people call these creatures “messengers of God” because they’re regularly seen climbing high in the trees only to come down to the ground shortly after. They make a lot of sounds to communicate with each other, but they usually become quiet when bad weather is approaching.

45. King Eider

King eider swimming
  • Scientific Name: Somateria spectabilis
  • Habitat: Arctic coasts of North America
  • Size: 20 to 28 inches long
  • Diet: Shellfish, crustaceans, echinoderms, and algae

King eiders dive deep underwater to grab prey from the sea floor and the underside of ice. They live in remote areas and they may travel up to 9,000 miles per year. These birds are rarely territorial, but they may raise their feathers if other birds get too close to their nest. Mates stay together for the entirety of the mating season, but in some instances, they may wander off and mate with other females. Mating pairs fly over the tundra together until they find a good nesting location.

46. King Penguin

Three king penguins
  • Scientific Name: Aptenodytes patagonicus
  • Habitat: Rocky islands of Antarctica
  • Size: 21 to 38 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, squid, krill

King penguins grow about as tall as a toddler, making them one of the tallest penguin species, only surpassed by emperor penguins. Young king penguins look much different than adults because they’re short and covered in fluffy brown feathers. When hunting, adult king penguins can dive as deep as 985 feet and stay underwater for 10 minutes at a time. They gather in colonies that can be as large as 200,000 penguins.

47. King Quail

King quail on the ground
  • Scientific Name: Excalfactoria chinensis
  • Habitat: Dense vegetation from southern Asia to Australia
  • Size: 4.9 to 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, grass, flowers, fruit, insects

King quails, also known as blue-breasted quails, are often kept as pets. While quails can be used for meat and eggs, these birds are only used for ornamental purposes. They’re the smallest species of “true quails.” Like most quails, they can fly, but they spend most of their time on the ground. They’re hardy birds that are adaptable to new environments, so they can live up to 13 years with proper care. King quails are sometimes called “button quails,” but they’re not part of the “buttonquail” family.

48. King Rat Snake

King rat snake curled up
  • Scientific Name: Elaphe carinata
  • Habitat: Humid forests of China, Japan, and Taiwan
  • Size: 5 to 6 feet long
  • Diet: Rodents, frogs, birds, lizards, eggs, other snakes

King rat snakes aren’t venomous, but they will produce a foul-smelling substance when threatened. For that reason, they’re sometimes called Taiwan stink snakes. These snakes are immune to most dangerous venom, so they will often prey on other snakes. They look intimidating and have better vision than most snakes, which is why they have an advantage when hunting. Sometimes, they will eat eggs too, and they have a modified neck vertebrate so they can crush eggshells in their mouths.

49. King Vulture

King vulture face close-up
  • Scientific Name: Sarcoramphus papa
  • Habitat: Dense forest areas of southern Mexico to southern Argentina
  • Size: About 2.5 feet tall and 8 pounds
  • Diet: Carrion

Despite being so large and intimidating, these vultures are scavengers that only seek out animals that are already dead. They have sharp beaks and claws that are perfect for tearing apart carrion. Unlike other vultures, they hunt alone or in family groups rather than hovering above carcasses in large groups. Their colorful faces are used to attract mates. The larger and brighter the orange appendage on a male’s face is, the more interested females will be.

50. Kinkajou

Kinkajou hiding in tree
  • Scientific Name: Potos flavus
  • Habitat: Forests of Central and South America
  • Size: 3 to 10 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, nectar, insects

Kinkajous have prehensile tails that allow them to cling to branches using only their tails. They spend most of their time hiding in the trees, and they’re nocturnal, so they’re more commonly heard than seen. They’re classified as carnivores because of their canine teeth, but most of their diet consists of plants. Their tongues are five inches long so they can collect nectar out of flowers. When they travel from flower to flower, they help pollinate plants. They spend most of their time alone, but they’re friendly toward others of their species.

51. Kirk’s Dik-Dik

Kirk's dik-dik in a field
  • Scientific Name: Madoqua kirkii
  • Habitat: Grasslands in parts of Africa
  • Size: 7 to 13 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, leaves, shoots

Kirk’s dik-diks are one of the smallest antelope species in the world. They got their name because their calls sound like they’re saying “dik-dik” in a trumpet-like manner. These mammals travel in pairs, and they usually stay with the same mates their whole lives. Each pair marks their territory using scent glands beneath their eyes. They’re always alert because they have excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing. If they think they’re in danger, they’ll hide rather than run away.

52. Kirtland’s Snake

Kirtland's snake on leaf
  • Scientific Name: Clonophis kirtlandii
  • Habitat: Moist meadows of northeastern United States
  • Size: 14 to 24 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, slugs, frogs

These snakes always live near water, but they don’t swim nearly as much as other water snakes. They’re not dangerous, and they’re more likely to hide or play dead than bite. They’re one of the few reptile species that have a live birth instead of laying eggs. Their backs are covered in brown scales to help them blend in, but they can be distinguished by the red scales on their bellies.

53. Kirtland’s Warbler

Kirtland's warbler
  • Scientific Name: Setophaga kirtlandii
  • Habitat: Pine forests of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario
  • Size: 5.25 to 5.75 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, fruit

These warblers like to live in areas with dense vegetation so they can hide in the underbrush. The males often perch high in pine trees and sing. They use their songs to attract females but they will shoo other males out of their territories. Once a female finds a mate, she searches his territory for a good place to build a nest. If these birds leave their nest unattended for too long, another bird might lay their eggs in the nest and trick the warblers into raising them as their own.

54. Kissing Gourami

Kissing gourami face
  • Scientific Name: Helostoma temminckii
  • Habitat: Rivers of southeastern Asia
  • Size: 6 to 12 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, aquatic plants, insects

Kissing gouramis, also known as kisser fish, have a unique name because they may part their lips and “kiss” each other. The purpose of this behavior is uncertain, but scientists believe it may be a way to assert dominance when defending territory. The “kissing” is more of a pushing action than anything else, and the fish will continue until one gives up. These fish are described as “semi-aggressive,” especially males. Male and female kissing gouramis look almost identical.

55. Kit Fox

Kit fox on sandy ground
  • Scientific Name: Vulpes macrotis
  • Habitat: Grasslands and scrublands of southwestern United States and Mexico
  • Size: 3.5 to 6 pounds
  • Diet: Rodents, rabbits, carrion

Kit foxes are the smallest North American foxes, and as the name implies, they look like young foxes their whole lives. They’re most active at night, and during the day, they hide underground. Several kit foxes may live near each other, but they rarely hunt together. While they prefer to eat meat, they will feed on fruit if prey is scarce. Most kit foxes are monogamous, and both parents work together to raise their young.

56. Kittlitz’s Murrelet

Kittliz's Murrelet taking off
  • Scientific Name: Brachyramphus brevirostris
  • Habitat: Rocky slopes and mountains of coastal Alaska and Siberia
  • Size: 9 to 12 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, krill, crustaceans

These small seabirds often swim underwater while foraging. They stay in cold, shallow waters near the shore, regularly feeding near glaciers. Despite having a small bill, they will still eat full-sized fish. They stay far from humans, but their population is still at risk because of climate change. Breeding adults have mottled feathers while non-breeding adults have patches of gray and white feathers.

57. Kittlitz’s Plover

Kittlitz's plover on rocky shore
  • Scientific Name: Charadrius pecuarius
  • Habitat: Mudflats and open fields of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: 4.7 to 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Beetles, crickets, spiders, worms

They’re most common near the edges of bodies of water. They run around, plucking food from the substrate below them. They can also thrive in areas with less water because they don’t swim. These birds usually stay in groups of about 20 birds, but they may gather in groups of up to 300 when it’s time to migrate. When defending their nests, these birds will stand as tall as possible to assert dominance. Many chicks leave their nest within a few hours of hatching.

58. Klaas’s Cuckoo

Klaas's cuckoo blending into tree
  • Scientific Name: Chrysococcyx klaas
  • Habitat: Wooded areas of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: 6.3 to 7.1 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, fruit

Klaas’s cuckoos have glossy green feathers with white underparts. Yet, females are duller green. They’re common across Africa, and their population is stable. Their feathers help them hide among leaves, but their calls are loud and repetitive. These birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and trick those birds into thinking the eggs are their own. When the eggs hatch, the chicks try to remove other eggs and chicks from the nest. Klaas’s cuckoos lay eggs year-round, but egg-laying is most common in the fall and early winter.

59. Klipspringer

Klipspringer resting on rock
  • Scientific Name: Oreotragus oreotragus
  • Habitat: Rocky areas of southern Africa
  • Size: 22 to 40 pounds
  • Diet: Shrubs, succulents, grass, vines, seeds

The name “klipspringer” comes from an Afrikaans term that translates to “rock jumper.” These mammals spend a lot of their time jumping from rock to rock on rough terrain. They can jump as high as 10 to 12 feet. They have insulated fur that can protect their bodies if they fall. Their hooves are so small that when they move, it looks like they’re walking on their tippy-toes. When klipspringers find a mate, they stay together for life.

60. Kloss’s Gibbon

Kloss's gibbon sitting on branch
  • Scientific Name: Hylobates klossii
  • Habitat: The Mentawai Islands of Indonesia
  • Size: 12 to 13 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, leaves, shoots, insects

Kloss’s gibbons are an endangered primate species with long arms and no tail. They’re often heard before they’re seen because they have a complex call that consists of rising and falling notes. At the start of each day, the males sing, and then the females join in. These primates can also communicate through smells, gestures, and facial expressions. They primarily travel by swinging from tree to tree, and they can jump to trees up to 33 feet away. They sleep sitting up while resting on a tree branch.

61. Klunzinger’s Wrasse

Colorful Klunzinger's Wrasse swimming
  • Scientific Name: Thalassoma rueppellii
  • Habitat: The Red Sea
  • Size: Up to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Snails, crustaceans, sea urchins

In the wild, this species only lives near reefs in the Red Sea. These fish can be found anywhere from 3.3 to 98.4 feet below the water’s surface. They’re often kept in captivity, but they’re only recommended for experienced keepers because they need at least a 120-gallon tank. They don’t handle new fish well, so they may become aggressive if new fish are added to their aquarium, especially if there’s not enough space. Due to their aggression, these fish are usually solitary in the wild.

62. Knight Anole

Knight anole on green background
  • Scientific Name: Anolis equestris
  • Habitat: Forests of Cuba and southern Florida
  • Size: 13 to 20 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, snails, fruits, small vertebrates

Knight anoles are the largest species of anole. They have bright green scales and are often mistaken for small iguanas. They’re solitary reptiles, but they may huddle together during cold temperatures since they’re cold-blooded. They spend most of their time high in trees, but they need to climb down to the ground if they want to climb up a different tree. Like smaller anoles, they may bob their heads and reveal their dewlaps (flaps of skin under the neck) to assert their dominance.

63. Knobbed Hornbill

Knobbed hornbill perched in tree
  • Scientific Name: Aceros cassidix
  • Habitat: Forests of the Sulawesi, Buton, Lembeh, Togian and Muna Islands
  • Size: 5.2 to 5.5 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, insects, eggs

The knobbed hornbill is believed to protect people from evil spirits due to its beautiful appearance. Its loud call can be heard up to 1.2 miles away. These large birds primarily eat fruit off fig trees, and groups of up to 12 birds may forage together. They have the power to attack someone if threatened, but they rarely harm humans. However, they are sometimes poached because their feathers make good fishing lures. They’re also harmed by habitat destruction, so their population is vulnerable.

64. Knysna Turaco

Knysna turaco perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Tauraco corythaix
  • Habitat: Evergreen forests of South Africa and Swaziland
  • Size: 15.7 to 16.5 inches long
  • Diet: Fruit, insects, worms

Knysna turacos are called knysna loeries in South Africa. When perched, these birds look completely green, but when flying, their wings are red. Scientists believe the red wings help them escape predators. When they fly, the predators focus on the red, so when they land and hide their wings, the red disappears, making the bird seem invisible. They stay high in the trees, hopping or flying between branches. Their call is a repetitive “kow” sound.

65. Koala

Koala on eucalyptus tree
  • Scientific Name: Phascolarctos cinereus
  • Habitat: Forests and woodlands of Australia
  • Size: 9 to 33 pounds
  • Diet: Eucalyptus leaves

Despite being known as “koala bears,” koalas are marsupials, not bears. Marsupials have a pouch that they carry their young in. When koalas are born, they’re hairless and have no ears. Adult koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves, and of over 700 eucalyptus species, they’ll only eat 50. They can eat over 2 pounds of plants each day. Most koalas spend 18 to 22 hours of their day sleeping, so they have to eat a lot of leaves in a short amount of time. Like humans, each koala has a fingerprint that’s unique to them.

66. Kob

Kob antelope in grassland
  • Scientific Name: Kobus kob
  • Habitat: Savannas of central Africa
  • Size: 180 to 265 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, reeds

Kobs look like impalas, but they’re not closely related. They prefer to eat short grass, so they wait until larger animals have eaten the grass enough to make it short. While most antelope species have aggressive mating routines, male kobs try to gently convince females to mate. Males will make soft whistling sounds to attract a female. Kobs are social animals that can gather in groups of up to 1,000. They keep returning to the same feeding areas, watering holes, and breeding grounds.

67. Kodiak Bear

Kodiak bear walking through water
  • Scientific Name: Ursus arctos middendorffi
  • Habitat: Across the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago
  • Size: 700 to 1,500 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, berries, deer, elk, carrion

Kodiak bears are a subspecies of brown bear. They only live on the Kodiak islands, and they’ve been separate from other bear species for about 12,000 years. Kodiak bears are the largest bears in the world. Even though they’re intimidating, they usually stay away from people. Only one person in the past 75 years has been killed by a Kodiak bear. A female bear can give birth to two to three cubs at a time, and the cubs stay with the mother for about three years. Sadly, many cubs are killed and eaten by male bears before they leave their mothers.

68. Koi Fish

Group of colorful koi fish
  • Scientific Name: Cyprinus rubrofuscus
  • Habitat: Freshwater ponds worldwide
  • Size: 1 to 2 feet long
  • Diet: Aquatic insects, insect larvae, crustaceans, worms

Koi fish were first bred in Japan, but they have no natural habitat. Instead, these colorful fish have been introduced to small ponds worldwide because of their beautiful scales. There are about 16 types of koi fish, each with its own color pattern. Each color has different symbolism. For example, silver scales are a sign of wealth. Koi fish are a much bigger commitment than other pet fish because they live 25 to 35 years. The oldest koi fish recorded lived to be 226 years old.

69. Koklass Pheasant

Koklass pheasant outside
  • Scientific Name: Pucrasia macrolopha
  • Habitat: Forests from Afghanistan to Nepal
  • Size: 20 to 25 inches long
  • Diet: Nuts, shoots, seeds, insects

Koklass pheasants have tall black/green feathers on the top of their heads that stand upright when they’re startled. The females are duller with shorter head feathers. They usually hide among plants, but they make loud calls around dawn during their breeding seasons. When breeding, they eat insects, especially ants, more than plants. They can fly better than similar species, traveling uphill for many miles at a time.

70. Komodo Dragon

Komodo dragon in nature
  • Scientific Name: Varanus komodoensis
  • Habitat: Tropical savanna forests on some Indonesian islands
  • Size: 150 to 300 pounds, 6.5 to 10 feet long
  • Diet: Deer, wild boar, water buffalo

Komodo dragons are the largest living lizards on this planet. They’re also one of the few venomous lizards, so even if an animal escapes a Komodo dragon, they won’t survive the venom. These reptiles can take down almost any animals they can get their fangs on, and they can eat up to 80% of their weight in one sitting. Sometimes, they will seek out carcasses instead of hunting. They can smell animal carcasses up to six miles away. It’s possible for female Komodo dragons to produce offspring without a male present.

71. Kori Bustard

Kori bustard in dry area
  • Scientific Name: Ardeotis kori
  • Habitat: Grasslands and savannas of southern Africa
  • Size: 12 to 40 pounds
  • Diet: Insects, mollusks, lizards, small mammals

Kori bustards are some of the largest animals able to fly. Yet, these birds spent about 70% of their time on the ground. They hang out in open areas so they have plenty of space to run if they feel threatened. They may act aggressively when defending their territory, and they will raise their crests as a warning sign. They’re not picky eaters, so they will collect almost any food that’s available. They don’t build nests, but instead, females lay their eggs in shallow holes.

72. Kowari

Kowari in dirt
  • Scientific Name: Dasyuroides byrnei
  • Habitat: Sand dunes and grasslands of South Australia and Queensland
  • Size: 0.18 to 0.39 pounds
  • Diet: Insects, arachnids, lizards, small birds

Kowaris, also known as kariris, are small marsupials living in Australia. Despite being small, these mammals are fierce predators that will hunt almost any animals small enough to catch. They can survive in desert environments because they can get all the moisture they need from food without having to drink water. They’re nocturnal, so they spend their daytime burrowing in the sand. On cold days, they may bask in the sun near their burrow entrance to keep warm.

73. Kuhl’s Pipistrelle

Kuhl's pipistrelle on rock
  • Scientific Name: Pipistrellus kuhlii
  • Habitat: Deserts, grasslands, and forests of parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia
  • Size: 3.2 to 3.9 inches long
  • Diet: Flying insects

Kuhl’s pipistrelles are small brown bats that can be found in a wide range of locations and habitats. They often roost in dark crevices of caves or manmade structures. They’re agile creatures that only feed on flying insects, and they catch their prey in mid-flight. When they’re not hunting, they mostly stay still in one place. They roost in colonies that can have up to 1,000 bats.

74. Kultarr

Kultarr looking at camera
  • Scientific Name: Antechinomys laniger
  • Habitat: Arid environments of Australia
  • Size: 2.7 to 3.9 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders

Kultarrs are mouse-like marsupials that live across Australia. They’re most active at night, and they hide in hollow logs during the day. When temperatures drop, kultarrs may go into a decreased physiological state known as torpor. They may stay in that state for up to 16 hours at a time. These critters are currently endangered because they’re hunted by domesticated cats and easily harmed by natural disasters like flooding.

75. Kunekune

Young kunekune pig
  • Scientific Name: Sus scrofa domesticus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 120 to 240 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, fruit, vegetables

Kunekunes are a rare species of pig. Their name means “fat and round” in Maori, so they’re thought to have originated in New Zealand. These pigs can survive off of grass alone, but they love to have other snacks too. They have endless appetites and will keep eating as long as food is available. Kunekunes are curious pigs that can often be trained like dogs, so positive reinforcements work best. Even though they can reach up to 240 pounds, they’re still considered the smallest pig breed.

76. Kurrichane Thrush

Kurrichane thrush on the ground
  • Scientific Name: Turdus libonyana
  • Habitat: Savannas and woodlands of central and southern Africa
  • Size: 8.3 to 9.1 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, spiders, mollusks, seeds, fruit

Both males and females of this species look the same, so they both have orange bellies. Their throats are white with black stripes or spots. They’re not picky with their diets, so they usually search the ground for whatever food they can find. Their normal calls are whistles, but they’ve also been observed mimicking the calls of other birds.

77. Kuvasz

Kuvasz walking in grass
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 77 to 110 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

These working dogs originated in Hungary where they were used as livestock guardians. They were originally popular for livestock owners, but as they became less common, they were only given to people of high status. Today, these dogs are rare because they almost went extinct during World War II when only 30 remained. They closely resemble Great Pyrenees dogs because they’re both large with white fur. However, Great Pyrenees have wider, heavier bones.

The Animal World Continues

Kangaroo, kiwi, and kitten are just a few animal names that might come to mind when you think of the letter K. Yet, those animals have several specific species within those labels. That’s the case for many animals, meaning there are more species in this world than we can ever imagine. So, there’s always more to learn and experience when it comes to animals.