Forests, deserts, plains all have distinct forms of wildlife, which play an important role in our eco-system. Birds, fish, plants, land animals; without these creatures, there would be no life on Earth. Let us meet some of nature’s most beautiful and colorful birds, which have been honored as state-birds or national-birds.
Image: Vidhya Narayanan
1. Peacock, India
Peacocks are an ancient symbol of glory and immortality. A graceful bird, it has been honored by being made the national bird of India and is most famous for its iridescent tail pattern. These feathers have a series of colourful ‘eye’ markings of red, gold, blue and other hues and are said to carry spiritual healing powers. Males are more beautiful than females. In Hinduism, peacocks are associated with Laxmi, the goddess of luck, kindness and benevolence. It’s a great experience to watch this beautiful bird when it flares its feathers.
Image: Dave Menke
2. Blue Jay, Canada
A very curious blue bird with a U-shaped black collar around its neck, the Blue Jay is famous as an intelligent bird. It can also make a variety of sounds. Native to North America, the Blue Jay is easy prey for predators as it is a slow flier. The Blue Jay is the provincial bird of Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Image: Luc Viatour
3. East African Crowned Crane, Uganda
A 3.3 ft tall bird with a crown of stiff golden feathers, the East African Crowned Crane is honoured as the national bird of Uganda. It is the most primitive of the living Gruidae. The bird is well known for its colourful display, which includes head bobbing and beautiful dancing. A resident of eastern and southern Africa, it is currently facing the loss of any suitable wetland habitat.
Image: Yathin S K
4. Crimson Sunbird, Singapore
The Crimson Sunbird is an tiny, eye-catching bird with a yellow rump, crimson breast, maroon back and olive belly. This cute little bird is the national bird of Singapore. Very similar to the hummingbird, it is only four inches long.
Image: Robert W. Howington
5. Flamingo, Bahamas
Also known as the Caribbean flamingo, the American flamingo is found mainly in Central America, Southern Mexico and the Caribbean. One very interesting fact about flamingos is that their chicks are born whitish-grey in color and their bright pink coloration comes from consuming algae. The Caribbean flamingo is the only flamingo that naturally inhabits North America. West Indian Flamingos are the national bird of the Bahamas.
Image: Linda De Volder
6. Hoatzin, Guyana
Hoatzin is the national bird of Guyana. It is an attractive bird with a striking, colourful pattern all over its body, but an unusual body shape with a long neck, small head and blue face and maroon eyes. Because of its manure-like odour, it is known as the stinkbird. It is also a noisy bird that grunts, croaks and hisses.
7. Cardinal Bird, USA
Honoured as a state bird of seven states of the US, this bird is easily recognizable from the vibrant shades of warm red all over its body. This song bird also has a reddish bill and a unique crest atop its head. Though some of its species are approaching a threatened status, it can still often be seen in parks and backyards.
Image: E. Kirdler
8. Magnificent Frigate Bird, Antigua and Barbuda
Also known as the weather bird or Man o’War, the magnificent Frigate bird is the national bird of the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. A large bird with a wingspan of about seven feet, the bird is stunning; the male actually inflates its red throat pouches to attract females. Wandering in oceanic coasts, the Frigate bird is the only species of sea bird in which the male and females have strikingly different appearances.
9. Himalayan Monal, Nepal and Uttrakhand, India
A 2-2.5 feet long bird, the Himalayan Monal is the national bird of Nepal, as well as the state bird of Uttrakhand, India. The bird is amazingly attractive as it has a bright blue orbital skin with a glossy green breast. Himalayan Monals also have bluish circles around the eyes. The males have spoon-shaped feathers and a metallic-green head-crest whereas females have dark brown feathers.
Image: David Brezinski
10. Baltimore Oriole, Maryland, USA
The Baltimore Oriole is the state bird of Maryland. This beautiful bird, with a mixed flame of yellow and black colours, is a sign of spring and summer in Canada and the United States. The bird is also known for its well-woven nest, which it builds in tall trees.
Though I have tried to include some colorful and beautiful birds, there are still many birds out there that are much more magnificent. Some are flying freely in the wild, while some are spending each day filled with pain and sorrow in a cage. We should not domesticate wild birds. It is our duty to protect them before they too disappear because of our encroachment upon their territory. It is necessary to take action and preserve wildlife; instead we are continuously interrupting the habitats of nature’s most beautiful creatures.