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One Picture

Birds
Stars, Stripes … and Feathers.
The Caribbean island of Dominica features a beautiful and endangered parrot on its national flag—and it’s just one of many countries whose flags celebrate notable birds along with their national colors.

 

Dominica: sisserou parrot
Central Intelligence Agency

The endangered sisserou, also known as the imperial parrot, was in the original coat of arms when Dominica was a British colony. It now occupies the center of the Dominican flag, where it serves as a symbol meant to inspire the Caribbean nation to fly toward greater heights as a country. The 10 green stars circling the bird represent each of Dominica’s 10 parishes. The circle behind it signifies the rising sun of independence; the red coloring connotes socialism.

 

Ecuador: Andean condor
Central Intelligence Agency

This flag features Ecuador’s national bird, the Andean condor. The condor perches on the Ecuadoran coat of arms with wings outstretched, representing power, courage, and protection over the South American nation.

 

Egypt: gold eagle of Saladin
Central Intelligence Agency

The golden eagle crest on the flag of Egypt alludes to Saladin, a sultan who ruled Egypt and Syria in the 12th century and was famous for recapturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

 

Fiji: dove
Central Intelligence Agency

The coat of arms on Fiji’s flag shows a heraldic lion stretched across the top, holding a cocoa pod. Three sections of the shield depict some of the country’s native agriculture: sugarcane, coconut palm, and bananas. A white dove in the lower left portion of the shield is a reproduction of a dove of peace derived from the flags of Christian missionaries who visited the island.

 

Kiribati: frigate bird
Central Intelligence Agency

The yellow frigate bird soaring over the wavy blue ocean pictured on Kiribati’s flag represents power, freedom, and Kiribati cultural dance patterns. To the natives, the bird is a symbol of kingly birth and sovereignty. Because Kiribati lies so close to the equator, the sun occupies a position on the flag at the horizon line, neither rising nor setting.

 

Uganda: red-crested crane
Central Intelligence Agency

The original British colonial badge of Uganda included the red-crested crane, pictured here; it represents beauty. The crane is also the country’s national symbol, illustrative of Uganda’s diverse wildlife.

 

Papua New Guinea: bird of paradise
Central Intelligence Agency

Each star in the flag of Papua New Guinea represents one of the nation’s islands. The raggiana bird of paradise, unique to the region, faces the “islands” from the red “mainland” portion of the flag to suggest the country’s unity.

 

Guatemala: quetzal
Central Intelligence Agency

In Mayan and Aztec myth, the resplendent quetzal featured on this flag was a divine figure and spirit guide to Tecún Umán, a prince and warrior during Spanish conquest of the region. Because quetzals often kill themselves after being caged, they are also a symbol of liberty.

Can you think of any more flags featuring birds?

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Read related story: "Off the Map"

 
















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