About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Bald Eagle is the National Symbol of the USA: What are some other Countries' National Birds

The United States started the trend for national birds when it made the Bald Eagle its avian representative over 200 years ago. Eagles are symbols of power and majesty. Is it any wonder that our national bird is the Bald Eagle?

Have you ever wondered what are the national birds of other countries? Some chose bold fierce birds of prey, others more colorful pretty birds, or sometimes it's just the most common bird in the land.

European Robins Erithacus rubecula are one of the only UK birds to be heard singing in the garden on Christmas day. This is because they hold their territories all year round, defending against intruders with song. Their melodious voices, along with their cocky little attitudes, have endeared robin red breasts to the British public, and in 1960 they were crowned the UK's national bird.

The Coq Gaulois or the Gallic Rooster is the unofficial national bird of France. Its association with France dates back from the Middle Age and is due to the play on words in Latin between Gallus, meaning an inhabitant of Gaul, and gallus, meaning rooster.

The Red-crowned Crane is still being considered China's candidate for national bird after years of expert analysis and public polls. It is a bird that Chinese associate as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity but its species name Grus japonensis translates into Japanese Crane. So the decision of a national bird has been deferred.

Peacock (Pavo cristatus), displaying his tail,...Image via Wikipedia
 The Indian Peafowl or Blue Peafowl Pavo cristatus is the national bird of India. Once bred for food, peacocks have now been given full protection. It is believed that when the peacock extends its tail erect like fan, it indicates that rain is near. On seeing the dark clouds, a peacock spreads its tail and starts dancing in rhythmic fashion. Its dance movement has been incorporated in most of the Indian folklore.

The poor DoDo Raphus cucullatus is the national bird to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. It's often used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history and was directly attributable to human activity.

In 2008, Israel declared the pink, black and white-crested Hoopoe Upupa epops its national bird. Environmental groups promoted the bird to draw attention to endangered birds and their habitat. According to Wikipedia Hoopoes are distinctive birds and have made a cultural impact over much of their range. In the Bible, Leviticus 11:13-19, they were listed among the animals that are detestable and should not be eaten. The diet of the Hoopoe includes many species considered to be pests by humans; for example the pupae of the processionary moth, a damaging forest pest. For this reason the species is afforded protection under the law in many countries.

The Harpy Eagle Harpia harpyja is the national bird of Panama. The world's largest eagle by weight, Harpy Eagles are a wonder to behold. They are endangered in Panama and environmentalists are working to save the species. The scientific and common names come from the Greek word, harpe, referring to a bird of prey mentioned in Greek mythology, as winged creature with sharp claws, a woman’s face, and a vulture’s body.

For a list of other national birds, most official, but some unofficial go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_birds
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