National Birds of the World
Without a doubt, most if not all nature lovers out there truly love their birds. Migratory or non-migratory, it is always pleasant when there is a bird that makes a beautiful call, or a non-vagrant bird visits your back yard.
This medium-sized bird is so famous across its range, that it is the national bird of both Nicaragua and El Salvador. As it is much loved, it is called a number of colloquial names such as torogoz in El Salvador, guardabarranco (‘ravine guard’) in Nicaragua, and in the Yucatan it is called pajaro reloj (‘clockbird’). It is known for its colourful plumage. It lives in scrubland, gallery forest, and forest edges. However, the Turquoise-browned Motmot can often be seen perched on top of fences and wires.
This funky little bird is on the most beautiful list as it looks like its got a little haircut. This bird is also special as it is the only bird in the world that has true green and red pigmentation. In fact, if you used a red turaco feather to stir water, the water would then turn pink in colour! It is found only in the humid forests around the highlands of Sudan, South-East Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Despite this, it is said to be the national bird (either formally or informally) of the Ivory Coast. It can commonly be found at altitudes of 2200 – 3200 metres, however it has been observed at lower altitudes of about 800 metres. It eats plant material, fruits, and insects.
This iconic bird is the national bird of Belize. The Keel-billed Toucan is known for its colourful bill. Not only are they flamboyant looking, but they are very social. They travel in flocks of 6 to 30 individuals, and each group has a family structure. In addition, birds will duel with each other for fun using their bills and by throwing fruit into each other’s mouths. As they say, birds of a feather flock together – and these toucans share cramped living quarters with each other in the holes of trees.
Toucans have also been used in advertising or branding.
Also known as the “Man O’War”, the Magnificent Frigatebird is a birds well known fire its speed, aerial piracy of othe birds, speed, and rakish lines. The Magnificent Frigatebird is the national bird of Antigua and Barbuda. It is found all over the tropical Atlantic region, and breeds in the Caribbean, Cape Verde Islands, and Florida, USA. It is also known to breed along the Pacific Coast of the Americas, such as Ecuador and the Galapogas Islands. At the Galapogas Islands, it is where Scientists find this Frigatebirds species truly amazing as is has a unique evolution. For non-Scientists, this is a unique looking black bird with an iridescent red throat pouch.
Also known as the Blue Peafowl, the Indian Peafowl is certainly one of the most famous birds throughout the world. It is also iconic in many cultures, and has been the national bird of India since 1963. In this nation, peacocks have dominated in folk music, poetry, temple art, mythological, and other traditions. It is so well-loved that this bird is associated with the deities of Shiva, Krishna, and Karthikeya. In Buddhism, the peacock represents wisdom. In western culture, it is the logo of the NBC Network in the USA, the main figure in the Kurdish religion, and has been a part of the Greek myth, Juno and Argus. In addition, this colourful bird known for its fan has been also mentioned in the Bible, as King Solomon owned a peacock. Vikin Warriors used the peacock’s flesh to cure them of snake venom, and European knights took the “Vow of the Peacock”. Despite this, the peacock has consistenly baffled Scientists such as Charles Darwin, who could not fathom why the Indian Peacock has its feathers.
Grey Crowned Crane
The Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda. This bird features in both the Ugandan flag and this nation’s coat of arms. This crane is found in the dry savannah land of Africa in the Sahara, although when it nests it is in wetter habitats. It is a non-migratory bird. Its breeding display includes dancing, jumping, and bowing. It also has a honking sound and a booming call which involves inflating its red gular sac.
This bird is famous for its colourful plumage. It can be found from southern Mexico to western Panama. This bird is the national bird of Guatamela, and features on both the Guatemalan flag and coat of arms. It is laso the name of the local currency. This is because the Quetzal has played an important part in Mesoamerican mythologies. This bird was considered a divine bird that was associated with the snake god, Quetzalcoatl. Its iridescent green tail feathers were venerated by both the ancient Aztecs and Maya as it was a symbol for spring plant growth. Some also viewed this bird as the ‘god of the air’ and a symbol of light and goodness. This bird was also the creator god, and the god of wind. Mesoamerican rules as well as some other nobles wore headdresses that were made from the Quetzal’s feathers. It was a crime to kill this bird so its tail feathers were plucked and it was set free. This, amongst other things, is why it is also seen as a symbol of freedom.
Also known as the Impeyan Pheasant or the Impeyan Monal, the Himalayan Monal is a bird that belongs to the pheasant family. It is the national bird of Nepal where it is known as Danfe. It is also the state bird of Uttarakhand.
This bird has been featured in the Disney-Pixaf movie, Up, where the large flightless tropical bird called “Kevin” is based upon the male plumage of this bird. The bird that “Kevin” was based on was actually a bird called Ghengis from the Sacramento Zoo. Sadly, Genghis has since died.
There must be some mix-up with the White-cheeked Turaco being the national bird of Ivory Coast. There are several Turaco species found in Ivory Coast that look similar and I think there must be some name confusion here. The White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) is endemic to North-east Africa and would never have been heard of by most people in the Ivory Coast. There are often birds that have (or more commonly, used to have) the same names as those elsewhere in the world. Perhaps one of the West African species was once known by this name, or has it as a local name. Green Turaco (Tauraco persa) is found in Ivory Coast, looks similar and has white on its cheek, so is the most likely candidate.
Tom Jenner (birdingsudan.blogspot.com)