Once-between-turns pink powers were first introduced in Wingspan’s Core Set. Each Wingspan Expansion continues to introduce more pink-powered birds to the game.
- As a general rule, Wingspan pink powers increase in usefulness with increasing player counts. For each player in the game, there is more opportunity for a “once between turns” pink power to activate.
- In total there are currently, 22 pink-powered bird cards in the Wingspan game – including the European and Oceania expansions.
- End of Round Teal Powers (introduced in the European Expansion) do not trigger pink powers.
- Pink powers cannot be activated when it is your turn, only when it is an opponent’s turn. Thus the term “Once Between Turns” (as printed the cards).
- Page 10 of the Wingspan Core Set rulebook covers Pink Powers and how to use them.
22. Turkey Vulture
If a Wingspan pink power is situational, the bird it’s attached to needs good general qualities to make it valuable when it’s just sitting there doing nothing. A one-point bird with a one egg nest is not good, even at zero food cost. Action cubes are far too valuable to spend on a bird with a payoff this small.
When designing the vultures, I think they overestimated how good a zero food cost was on these birds. Their powers are very thematic (scavenging the scraps leftover from successful predators) but far too conditional.
For Turkey Vulture to be useful:
- An opponent needs to have a predator.
- They have to use that predator consistently.
- That predator has to succeed with its power consistently. Predator Powers traditionally have low success rates.
To make matters worse, Turkey Vulture qualifies for very few bonus cards. At least it can be played in any habitat. Birds with this power should be played as a direct counter-play to obvious predator use.
As an aside, I think a good “fix” for the Vulture archetype would be to up their point value to three and change their power to trigger whenever an opponent plays a predator bird. Keep everything else the same.
21. Black Vulture
20. Eastern Kingbird
Your opponents will probably play a handful of Forest birds. You have no way of really knowing if this bird’s pink power will be effective in any given game. It’s much less effective in a two-player game, as a single opponent could likely ignore the Forest altogether depending on their cards.
Eastern Kingbird works well with Viticulturalist and Cartographer, meeting 50% of the requirements to reach the bottom three points of those bonus cards, but there are still probably better options.
19. Australian Owlet Night Jar
An opponent needs to take the Gain Food Action, and then you gain a worm IF there is one available in the birdfeeder. At least worms are among the most common food types.
If you have Rodentologist, this becomes a decent play, as the Night Jar becomes four points for one food.
The Cartographer bonus card likes this bird as well.
18. Loggerhead Shrike
At least it’s worth three points and has a four egg nest. If you have Rodentologist, this becomes an average play.
The Anatomist bonus card likes this bird as well.
17. Black Billed Magpie
The issues that plague Turkey Vulture also plague Black Billed Magpie. At least it has a three-egg star nest, so it has some potential to help secure a round bonus and qualify for all nest-based bonus cards.
Its two wild food cost is thematic for a bird that will eat anything. Omnivore Specialist makes this bird a decent play. Its star nest allows it to qualify for all of the nest-specific bonus cards, and it also plays well with Anatomist, Cartographer, and Prairie Manager bonus cards.
One more point, two more eggs, and a star nest make this bird cost two wild food as opposed to the zero food cost of the Black Vulture.
My “fix” for the Magpie would be to reduce its food cost to one wild food.
16. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Your opponent just needs to take the Gain Food Action. Unfortunately, the wheat gain comes from the birdfeeder IF it is available at that moment, but at least it’s a more common food type.
Unlike the Shrike, there isn’t any particular bonus card that makes this an enticing play, although it does get you 50% of the way to the bottom three points of the Cartographer bonus card.
15. Eurasian Golden Oriole
In practice, this bird feels overpriced at a cost of three food. Its redeeming qualities are that it has a star nest (albeit a small one), and it picks up two points from Omnivore Specialist.
Viticulturist, Cartographer, Diet Specialist, and all of the nest-based bonus cards and round goals make this a more desirable play when they’re a factor.
14. Bronzed Cowbird
A lack of a nest reduces its synergy with round bonuses and bonus cards. Nevertheless, if you can adequately support this bird with cup nests, it can be an effective, passive egg layer. This becomes especially important in the Oceania metagame.
The Bronzed Cowbird card is a good drop under Prairie Manager.
13. Common Cuckoo
Pairing it with the Food Web Expert bonus card in Wingspan tacks on two more points.
12. Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo
This bird becomes a decent play if you have either the Food Web Expert or Historian bonus cards, as they make this cuckoo four points for a single food drop. Otherwise, there isn’t anything great to say about this bird.
Once again, the lack of a nest impacts the bird’s ability to synergize with bonus cards and round bonuses.
According to the Passerine Specialist bonus card, about 35% of the birds in the game qualify to receive eggs from this cuckoo’s power. Having its power tied to wingspans and not nest types take away these archetypes’ perk of interacting well with star nests.
Although, it should be noted that several birds in the Oceania Expansion with wild wingspans qualify as a legal target for this bird.
11. Sacred Kingfisher
Your opponent needs to take the Gain Food Action to trigger its power, but this bird has a lot of options to choose from (worms, rats, and fish). However, these benefits come at a price as this bird is worth zero points. The Falconer and Rodentologist bonus cards fix that, tacking on two points each.
The Fishery Manager card also likes this bird.
10. Horned Lark
The Horned Lark is a vanilla bird with mediocre Wingspan pink powers, but five points with a four egg nest are decent for the cost of two food. Bird Counter makes this card worth seven points, which is good.
Your opponents need to play birds in the Grasslands to trigger this power, which is less common in the Oceania Metagame.
Tucking from your hand is sub-optimal, and you don’t even get to replace the tucked card. However, it’s a decent bird to play under Prairie Manager.
9. Belted Kingfisher
In the Core only metagame, this is a decent bird to play for its general qualities alone. Four points and a four egg star nest make this an enticing egg bank for securing multiple round bonuses and receiving eggs from other birds on this list. Omnivore Specialist makes it even better by tacking on two points.
Fishery Manager, Wetland Scientist, and all of the nest-specific bonus cards make a bird card like this an enticing play.
Its pink power is an afterthought. It’s like an Eastern Kingbird but gives you fish when your opponents play birds in the Wetlands. Too bad Eastern Kingbird doesn’t have similar general qualities that make it useful separate from its power.
8. Pheasant Coucal
Dropping this bird early in the game is a great way to potentially ignore laying eggs yourself. This allows you to invest those action cubes into acquiring other resources or building out your Forest or Wetlands.
It has a decent-sized nest, so it can actually leverage its power effectively, unlike other egg-laying birds (I’m looking at you, Thekla’s Lark).
The fact that the Rodentologist bonus card bumps this bird up by two points is just icing on the cake. It also plays well with Prairie Manager.
7. Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is expensive for a five-point bird, but it has its own nest, unlike other parasitic nesters. Too bad it can’t lay eggs in its own nest.
Omnivore Specialist bumps this bird up to seven points which is good. It also plays well with the Diet Specialist and Anatomist bonus cards, as it gets you 50% of the way to the first three points of those cards.
6. American Avocet
5. Barrow’s GoldenEye
The Historian bonus card adds two more points to this bird. It also plays well under Diet Specialist and Fishery Manager.
4. Brown-Headed Cowbird
The power of the Brown-Headed Cowbird comes from its cheap food cost, its raw point value, and its ability to serve as a key element in early game acceleration that ignores the Lay Eggs action. You have to make sure you support it properly with a cup nest or star nest, though.
It plays well under the Anatomist and Prairie Manager bonus cards.
Three victory points for a single food is fairly efficient, as I discuss here: Wingspan Strategy: The 3/6/9 scale
3. Snow Bunting
This bird piggybacks off your opponent’s tucking option by letting you tuck and draw yourself. As long as your opponents are tucking and you manage to keep a card in your hand, this is a great way to passively cycle cards, generate card advantage, and generate points for engines not rooted in the Wetlands.
2. European Goldfinch
European Goldfinch’s pink power lets you piggyback off your opponent’s tucking options. Tucking off the deck is generally better than tucking from your hand as the deck is theoretically infinite; your hand isn’t.
You can set this bird and forget it while improving your board position and letting it harvest a point for you turn-after-turn (as long as an opponent is tucking).
There are only eight birds in the game worth six or more points that also hold four or more eggs; this bird is one of them. It may be worth playing even if your opponents aren’t tucking, especially if it lines up with a bonus card or round bonus. Just make sure to get some eggs on it.
Bird Counter makes this an eight-point drop which is great. It also plays well under Viticulturalist, Diet Specialist, and Cartographer.
As an aside, I’ve always thought this should have been the bird on the front of the European Expansion box instead of the Snowy Owl. It just pops.
1. Spangled Drongo
Spangled Drongo can be garbage or amazing, depending on how many opponents you’re up against. Its general qualities are Vulture-level bad.
It does pick up two points from Omnivore Specialist, and it plays well under Diet Specialist, but you aren’t playing the Drongo for its bonus card interactions. You’re playing it for its power to passively generate one nectar for you from the general supply when an opponent gains nectar themselves by any means.
The only restriction on this power is your opponent’s decision on whether to take nectar or not and let’s face it; someone is taking nectar.
Spangled Drongo is probably the biggest thorn in the side of the Common Raven and the Chihuahuan Raven cards in the Oceania Expansion metagame. It slaps Fish Crow and American Crow around too.
Anyone activating their Hummingbird for nectar is handing you two food that turn. That’s Raven-level resources, and it doesn’t cost you an action cube!
This pink power is the type of power that justifies terrible qualities in all other aspects of a card. If its general qualities were average to great, I would rate it as Tier 0 in our Wingspan Card Tier List. It might even make God Tier along with The Power 4.
Let everyone know what you think about Spangled Drongo by voting in our poll and commenting here: Spangled Drongo Poll.
Wingspan Pink Powers: What’s your favorite?
That’s our ranking of the 22 Wingspan Pink Powers!
I suspect that there will be some debate regarding our top three picks. Regardless, I think it would be hard to argue that those three aren’t the cream of the crop. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to see how we rank Wingspan’s Teal Powered birds.