HOME · Biodiversity

19 Animals That Start With U With Pictures and Facts

These animals that start with “U” have some fascinating traits you probably didn't know. This article explores their distinctive characteristics and behaviors, the habitats they call home, their dietary preferences, and their interesting quirks. There is more to them than meets the eye; each creature in this list of “U” animals tells a compelling story. There's also a bunch of animals you might not have heard of to learn about.

Do you want to find animals beginning with more letters of the alphabet? Start your adventure with these interesting animals starting with “A!” 

19 Animals Beginning with U

1. Uakari

uakari eating
Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels

Fun Fact: Uakaris are New World monkeys from the Amazon rainforest with bright red faces. This color results from the high blood flow in their skin, which helps regulate their body temperature in the humid forest. 

The Uakari is also sociable, preferring to live in groups comprising a few individuals or over a hundred. Female Uakaris choose their mates, an anomaly in the primate world. After mating, the female starts the gestation period that lasts approximately six months, usually resulting in a single birth.

Read more: Monkey Facts & Different Types of Monkeys.

2. Uguisu

Photo by Alpsdake on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original)

Fun Fact: The uguisu (also know as the Japanese bush warbler or Japanese nightingale), is a small bird famous for its melodic song, which people have compared to the sound of a flute or a crystal bell. Moreover, the uguisu's song has appeared in traditional Japanese poetry and become a therapy tool to reduce stress and promote relaxation. 

As early spring begins, the Uguisu enters its breeding season, which lasts until the beginning of summer. The female Uguisu crafts a cozy nest among the branches, where she lays 4 to 5 eggs. Both parents devote their time to incubating their future offspring. Though they are city-bound creatures, they skillfully keep their nests hidden from the prying eyes of humans.

3. Uinta Ground Squirrel

uinta ground squirrel
Photo by iTopLoveliness on Pixabay

Fun Fact: The Uinta ground squirrel (scientific name: Spermophilus armatus) cools off during summer by “belly soaking.” They dig shallow holes in the ground and press their bellies against the cool soil, helping them regulate their body temperature. 

Moreover, Uinta ground squirrels are diurnal creatures whose activity peaks during the morning and late afternoon hours. After hibernation from late summer to spring, they forage for food, chatter with fellow creatures, and revel in the renewed environment.

Read more: Squirrel Facts.

4. Ulysses Butterfly

ulysses butterfly
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Fun Fact: The Ulysses Butterfly, or Blue Mountain Swallowtail, is famous for its stunning iridescent blue wings. These vibrant wings are not from blue pigment but rather from light interference caused by the microscopic scales on the butterfly's wings. When light hits these scales, it gets scattered and reflected, creating a mesmerizing blue color that seems to change as the butterfly moves. 

The Ulysses Butterfly (Papilio ulysses) lives in the tropical rainforests and coastal bushlands of Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Its strikingly iridescent blue color is exceptionally bright in males. On the other hand, the females have a mix of brown and white specks against a blue background.

Read more: Butterfly facts and butterfly quotes.

5. Umbrellabird

Photo by Hectonichus on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original)

Fun Fact: The male Umbrellbird has a large umbrella-like crest of feathers on its head, which it can raise or lower depending on its mood. Likewise, the bird can raise or lower its crest to attract mates. This extravagant headdress can measure up to 20 inches in length, one of the most remarkable head adornments in the animal kingdom. 

The Umbrellabird, the largest of the perching bird species, is no stranger to adaptability. Despite having a diet mainly of fruit, the bird doesn't hesitate to snap up insects and small vertebrates. Its varied diet and far-ranging flights mean the Umbrellabird plays a crucial role in seed dispersal2, aiding the growth and survival of countless plant species.

6. Unicornfish

Photo by Balazs Simon on Pexels

Fun Fact: Despite their name, unicornfish are real marine animals in tropical waters worldwide. They have elongated snouts that resemble a unicorn's horn, hence their name. Moreover, they use their sharp beaks to eat algae and small invertebrates on coral reefs. 

Unicornfish live in the coral reefs of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Read more: Different types of fish and fish facts.

7. Unadorned Rock Wallaby

Fun Fact: The unadorned rock wallaby can easily scale steep rock faces thanks to their strong hind legs and sharp claws.  

In the harsh landscapes of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the Unadorned Rock Wallaby (Petrogale inornata) makes its home. Unlike its cousins, who sport distinctive facial markings, this wallaby's face is blank.

However, these animals can leap from rock to rock with terrific grace. Their tail helps them stay balanced while navigating the outback.

8. Upland Sandpiper

upland sandpiper
Photo by Canadian-Nature-Visions on Pixabay

Fun Fact: Unlike its relatives, the upland sandpiper prefers to live in grasslands and open fields rather than near water3. It is often called the "shorebird of the prairies" due to its unique habitat preference.

The Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) is a staple of the North American grasslands; it has a long, slender bill and yellow legs. Moreover, its plumage is a beautiful mix of mottled brown shades on the upper body, contrasting with a stark white underbelly dotted with dark spots.

It also bobs repeatedly, a unique teetering behavior similar to a spotted sandpiper. Additionally, it produces a wolf-like whistle that echoes across the grassland.

9. Ural Owl

ural owl
Photo by Erik_Karits on Pixabay

Fun Fact: The Ural owl (Strix uralensis) is among the largest owl species in Asia and Europe. This owl uses its exceptional hearing and night vision to hunt prey in complete darkness.

The Ural Owl has a  round head devoid of ear tufts and a pale facial disc marked by dark concentric lines.

Read more: Owl Facts & Different Types of Owls.

10. Urutu

Fun Fact: The Urutu is a venomous snake in South America that can change color depending on its environment and ambient temperature. For instance, it can turn brown, gray, or reddish, helping it blend seamlessly into its environment while hunting.

The Urutu snake (Bothrops alternatus) claims territories in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Meanwhile, its body stretches up to 1.5 meters long with diamond-patterned designs. Its head is also a perfect triangle.

11. Ussuri Dhole

ussuri dhole
Photo by Rohit Varma on Unsplash

Fun Fact: The Ussuri dhole also goes by the Ussuri wolf or Eastern Asiatic dhole. It is a highly social and cooperative species living in packs of 10 to 30 individuals. Likewise, they cooperate while hunting and raising offspring. 

The Ussuri Dhole has a reddish-brown coat that helps it blend into the forest undergrowth and sharp ears that keenly catch the slightest movement. At first sight, you might mistake it for an ordinary dog, but it is an exceptional predator with stamina and agility that would put the fastest sprinters to shame1.

12. Uinta Chipmunk

uinta chipmunk
Photo by IndigoBunting on Pixabay

Fun Fact: The Uinta chipmunk also goes by hidden forest chipmunk, and it is endemic to the United States. These medium-sized rodents are territorial and often display aggression toward their kind. However, like other chipmunks, they can swim very well.

As omnivores, these creatures eat seeds, fruits, fungi, insects, and even carrion. They tend to climb trees to look for food or escape predators.

13. Uromastyx Lizard

uromastyx lizard
Photo by Miguel Cuenca on Pexels

Fun Fact: Uromastyx lizards, or spiny-tailed lizards, have tails with spiky scales, a defense mechanism against predators. Moreover, when threatened, the Uromastyx lizard can whip its tail to deter potential attackers. 

Uromastyx scales are also blue, green, and yellow. They are herbivores that feed on leaves, seeds, and desert flowers.

Before finishing this list, here’s a bonus “U” animal: the Urial! They are wild sheep found in the Asian grasslands, from which domesticated sheep descended, Urial's are classified with a vulnerable conservation status due to hunting and habitat loss.

14. Unstriped Ground Squirrel

Unstriped Ground Squirrel
Photo Credit: Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Fun Fact: The unstriped ground squirrel lives only in Africa, preferring dry environments like scrublands and savannas, particularly in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. These animals are also ground dwellers that run to the shade and lie on the earth to cool off.

While not territorial, their social structures follow a hierarchy where males dominate females and younger squirrels. They dig burrows for sleeping and sometimes allow other animals to take shelter.

15. Unexpected Cotton Rat

Fun Fact: The Unexpected Cotton Rat, or Ecuadorean cotton rat, only lives in Ecuador. Likewise, these small rodents live in high elevations, defying scientists’ expectations of finding cotton rats only in tropical or subtropical areas, hence the name. 

While they eat only seeds or grass, the unexpected cotton rat also causes damage to crops and carries diseases. 

16. Underwood’s Long-tongued Bat

Fun Fact: Underwood’s long-tongued bat is the only species under the genus Hylonycteris, and it lives primarily in Central and South America, particularly in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua. 

They are also herbivores that eat pollen, fruits, and nectar. Moreover, to accommodate their diet, they have evolved the ability to hover.

Read more: Bat facts.

17. Ural Field Mouse

Fun Fact: The Ural Field Mouse, or Ural Mountains Vole, survives its harsh mountain habitat through its incredible jumping ability. This rodent uses its hind legs to jump up to 30 times its body length, helping it navigate rocky terrain and escape predators. 

Moreover, this mouse is nocturnal, emerging to feed on seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. It also prepares for winter by stocking food in its burrow.

Read more: Mouse Facts.

18. Utah Prairie Dog

utah prairie dog
Photo by Donald Hobern on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original)

Fun Fact: As the smallest prairie dog species, the Utah prairie dog belongs to the squirrel family. It only lives in southern Utah and is an endangered species due to disease and habitat loss. 

While they are herbivores, Utah prairie dogs won’t turn down the occasional insect when food becomes scarce. Moreover, these rodents are keystone species. They ensure the diversity of vegetation in the environment and aerate the soil, allowing water and nutrients to seep into the ground.

19. Uganda Woodland Warbler

Fun Fact: The Uganda woodland warbler is an Old World warbler that lives across Africa, including Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Guinea, and Gabon.

While they are a species of least concern, their populations are decreasing. They mainly live in subtropical and tropical lowland forests. Their song comprises high-pitched notes that ring out very quickly. 


Animals that start with the letter U may not be the most well-known or common, but they are certainly fascinating creatures. From the Uakari's unique appearance to the Ural Owl's impressive size, these interesting animals offer a glimpse into the diversity and wonder of the natural world. As we continue to learn more about these wild animals and other lesser-known species, we can deepen our appreciation for our planet's incredible variety of life.

More A-Z Animals:


Venkataraman, A. B., Arumugam, R., & Sukumar, R. (1995). The foraging ecology of dhole (Cuon alpinus) in Mudumalai Sanctuary, southern India. Journal of Zoology, 237(4), 543-561. 


Snow, D. W. (1982). The cotingas: bellbirds, umbrellabirds and other species. Cornell University Press. 


Houston, C. S., & Bowen, D. (2001). Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. 

By Mike Gomez, BA.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Chinny Verana, BSc.

Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels
Pin Me:
Pin Image Portrait 19 Animals That Start With U With Pictures and Facts
Sign Up for Updates