What kind of bird would I like to be and why? Let me start by stating what kind of bird I would not want to be.
Not a penguin. They cannot fly and most of the best-known species lives in the frozen Antarctic. The Emperor is the largest with an average weight of 77 lbs. They swim in freezing water to catch and eat krill, fish, and squid. That is too much seafood. They stand close in tight masses of hundreds of birds to survive the cold blasts. That is too much togetherness.
Not a high-flying species either. Take the Ruppell Griffin vulture. With a wingspan up to ten feet, it can fly as high as 33,000 feet. The Frigate is a high flier, too. It can sleep while flying, but only in ten second spurts (which closely match the spurts of my sleep on some nights). Then there is the Common Swift which can stay aloft for ten months before coming down for its annual two-month long mating orgy. Ten months is too much time alone.
My choice, if I were given one, would be to live the life of a hummingbird. They come in a variety of colors and are very pretty. They are attracted to flowers and spend all day drinking sweet nectar. When the darker and cooler days of autumn begin, hummingbirds head south to spend winter basking in the sun (just like humans). So yes, make me a hummingbird.