Of all the large (military) transport aircraft the Ilyushin Il-76 - NATO code name Candid - cannot be missed easily. While the noise produced by most versions is already phenomenal, the external appearance is also like no other aircraft. The most recognisable characteristic of the Il-76 is the glass chin under the nose (below which is a bulb with a radar). Also the landing gear is typical with four wheels on a single axis on all five legs, including the nose gear. Finally the big forward pointing bullet fairing on top of the vertical stabiliser is reminisent of the Il-62.
How to distinguish different versions of the Ilyushin 76 will be added later.
Confusion possible with
The Xian Y-20 looks like being composed from several other types, with the wings and engines coming from the Il-76, and the tail and landing gear from the C-17. The Y-20 has a different nose though and no winglets. (photo wc/WikiMedia)
Especially the wings and engines (and possibly the tail) of the Starlifter might confuse you as they look similar to those of the Il-76. However, the C-141 has no glass nose and fewer wheels on the landing gear (ten instead of twenty). Also the fuselage is narrower.
They are part of the same aircraft class but the differences between the C-17 and Il-76 are quite obvious: the C-17 has no glass nose, two wheels on the nose gear, winglets, separate fan exhausts for the engines and no bullet fairing on top of the vertical stabiliser.