10 Fascinating National Birds with their Sounds
Andean Cock-of-the-rock - Official National Bird of Peru
Importance of National Birds
Many countries have adopted a bird called 'national bird' which acts as a symbol or emblem for a particular country. It is normally done officially but sometimes unofficially also and it is considered illegal to hunt such birds in that country. National birds are sacred to a country and many of these birds are chosen not only because they are fascinating by virtue of their plumage, colourful body parts and other features but also because of religious, culture, mythological and other considerations. The significance of these birds can be best understood by the citizens of that particular country.
This Hub showcases national birds of ten countries along with their sounds through videos.
#1. Côte d'Ivoire- White-cheeked Turaco
Part of a wing which is red is visible
White-cheeked Turaco has mainly a green body but has earned the name because of a striking white crescent around its neck. It has a crested head with blue-black hairlike feathers. Eyes are peculiar with red rings around and the bill is orange-red and curved. The capability to move the fourth toe in both the directions, forward and backward, helps to have a better grip. Underside ot their wings is red which may not be visible while the bird is perching.
Fruit and berries are their favourite food though they also eat insects and they are found in highland forests of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
White-cheeked Turaco singing
#2. United States of America - Bald Eagle
Head and Flight shots of Bald Eagle
National Bird of the United States of America, Bald Eagle, is a misnomer as it is not bald, rather it is a beautiful snowy feathered head. Having earned the importance of both a National Bird and National Animal, the one time endangered species due to hunting and DDT-effected reduced ability to reproduce by consuming fish, the nation is proud to have restored its National bird. It is no more endangered.
With dark brown plumage, it has white head and tail but the feet and beak are bright yellow and the beak is large and hooked. Though the toes are short but the talon of the hind toe is exceptionally powerful.
A powerful flier, it can dive even more speedily to catch it prey. Fish, birds and mammals are the primary diet of this opportunistic carnivore. Bald Eagle is found in North America including Canada and Northern Mexico.
#3. India - Peacock
Peacock - Dance and Feather
With crest at the top of the head and blue-green plumage, Peacock is one of the most fascinating birds of South Asia. Indian national bird has cultural significance for Hindus. The covert feathers at the tail are displayed with eyes like spots, also as a part of courtship. The symmetry of these spots clubbed with different colours like blue, gold and red make this bird unique and magnificent.
Peacocks are forest birds and nest on ground. Their main diet is parts of plants, insects, seed heads and other small creatures. They have been kept as pets also
Enjoy Peacock's Sound
Peacock Dance with sound (midway) - A common scene in Indian villages
#4. United Kingdom - European Robin
A tiny bird with orange-red breast and face lined with grey, brown legs, black bill and eyes, olive- brown upper parts and white belly is known for its calls. The lovely sedentary bird is seen in most of Europe and actively hunts insects during nights making use of moon or artificial light. But they are very aggressive on territorial issues. Using leaves and grass they make a cup-shaped nest and lay eggs at secure places like hedges. They stick to many areas of Europe, though some of them migrate to northern and eastern parts of Europe during summer. Their voices are more melodious during breeding season.
European Robin singing
#5. Belize - Keel-billed toucan
Keel-billed Toucan is a large colourful bird with a striking bill. Its oversized bill looks like a banana but is red and blue towards tip and also has oranges shades. This bird has mainly black plumage but the neck and chest are yellow.Toes of its feet help in positioning on trees as two are facing forward and the other two backward. It believes in hopping on trees from branch to branch and normally a part of a group of 6 to 12 birds.
They eat fruit, insects, eggs and even reptiles. Tropical and subtropical rainforests ranging from Southern Mexico to Venezuela and Colombia are the areas for their habitat.
#6. Antigua and Barbuda - Greater Frigate
Greater Frigate in flight
Greater Frigate is a seabird found in Pacific and Indian Oceans. Large in size, it has dark black plumage and is long-winged. Male with red gular sac can be easily distinguished from female with white breast and throat and a red ring around eyes. Female are bigger in size too. Males make constant rattling sound at breeding sites and inflate the red gular sac to attract females. Their bills are quite long and the tips are hooked. They eat mostly flying fishes.
Note the pointed wings during flight. They are held forward from the shoulder.
# 7. Guatemala - Resplendent Quetzal
The National Bird of Guatemala is considered to be one of the most fascinating birds because of its colourful body comprising red, blue and green colours. This is clubbed with a twin trail feathers which may grow up to one meter during mating season. Males have helmet like crest and the female also exhibit brilliancy of their colours. They are found in tropical forests of Central America. This threatened bird of trogon family finds a place in currency called quetzal in Guatemala. They are fruit eaters but also consume insects and small creatures. Royals and priests used its feathers for ceremonial purposes in ancient times.
Monotonous and Unmusical Calls
# 8. Israel - Common Hoopoe
Common Hoopoe is very popular bird in Asia, Europe and North Africa. The main attraction of this small bird is a crown on its head which are all its feathers. Seen taking dust and sand baths, this colourful bird is located in holes of trees, grasslands, cliffs, forests and other places where it finds a cavity for nesting. Preferred diet is insects, seeds, berries, small reptiles, locusts and crickets. Its thin tapering bill is capable of probing the ground for food very fast. Interestingly, it is a replacement of the earlier National Bird of Israel in 2008, which was White-spectacled Bulbul.
#9. National Bird of two countries - Austria and Estonia - Barn Swallow
National bird of two countries, Austria and Estonia, it is distinctive because of its shining bluish upperparts, deeply forked tail and wings which are curved and pointed. Also, it is popular of being widely spread in different parts of the world including Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas. Found quite close to humans for breeding in the man-made structures, these birds have found place in religious and literary works.
#10. Japan - Green Pheasant
National Bird of Japan is also called Japanese Pheasant. Peculiar red facial skin, purple-green tail and violet neck makes it quite an attractive bird. The females, however, are not as brightly coloured as males. They prefer bushy and even grassy areas and eat seeds, plants, worms and insects. They are common visitors to farmlands and human inhabited area but remain restless under captivity. Their eggs are of olive coloured.