Bangladesh, a country with lush green landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, and bustling cities, is also home to the melodious Magpie Robin, known locally as the Doyel or Doel.
As the national bird of Bangladesh, this species not only exemplifies the country’s rich biodiversity but also holds a special place in its folklore and traditions. Ever heard of a bird appearing on a nation’s currency or inspiring landmarks? Dive in to discover more about this charming creature that sings its way into the hearts of many.
Quick Info About The Magpie Robin
|Scientific Name:||Copsychus saularis|
|Average Size:||19 centimeters (7.5 inches)|
|Average Wingspan:||25-30 centimeters (9.8-11.8 inches)|
|Average Weight:||30-35 grams (1.06-1.23 ounces)|
|Average Lifespan:||5-8 years (in the wild)|
|Geographical Range:||South Asia and parts of Southeast Asia|
|Habitat:||Forests, gardens, and areas with thick vegetation|
|Conservation Status:||Least Concern (IUCN Red List)|
Meet The Magpie Robin, National Bird of Bangladesh
Earning the title of Bangladesh’s national bird is no small feat. The Magpie Robin, with its captivating melody, and distinct appearance, embodies the spirit of the nation. The males, dressed in a sleek black coat with white underparts, and a splash of white on their wings, are natural performers.
Their songs resonate through the rural landscapes of Bangladesh, providing a soothing background score to the country’s daily hustle and bustle. The females, slightly muted in comparison, are grayer with grayish-white underparts, yet share the same zeal and vivacity.
Perhaps one of the most endearing habits of the Magpie Robin is how it keeps its tail up in the air, which elegantly sways as it sings, capturing the attention of both locals and tourists alike.
Whether hopping amidst fallen leaves in search of their next meal or perched atop a branch singing, the Magpie Robin remains one of the most cherished symbols of Bangladesh.
Where Does The Magpie Robin Live?
The Magpie Robin, predominantly an inhabitant of South Asia, finds itself comfortably at home in Bangladesh’s varied environments. The bird thrives in forests, gardens, and places rich with thick vegetation, making the most of Bangladesh’s lush green landscapes.
While they can sometimes be seen in urban areas, the Magpie Robins, being shy by nature, primarily prefer the quiet of rural areas where they can freely breed without the disturbances of human interference.
These birds are versatile and adaptive, which is evident in their geographical range extending to parts of Southeast Asia beyond their South Asian heartland. The climate of these regions, with distinct wet and dry seasons, creates the perfect backdrop for the Magpie Robins’ melodious routines.
Why and When Did The Magpie Robin Become The National Bird of Bangladesh?
The Magpie Robin’s journey to being the national emblem of Bangladesh is rooted deeply in its ubiquity across the country’s towns and villages. Professor Kazi Zakir Hossain of Dhaka University proposed the Magpie Robin as Bangladesh’s national bird, citing its wide presence throughout the nation.
The bird symbolizes the essence of Bangladesh – harmonious, resilient, and beautiful. Designated as the national bird, the Magpie Robin stands as an embodiment of the nation’s rich cultural tapestry and its aspirations.
Its melodious call, reminiscent of traditional Bangladeshi music, evokes a sense of nostalgia and pride among the locals. The bird also represents the simple pleasures of life, echoing the sentiments of the everyday Bangladeshi citizen.
There haven’t been notable controversies regarding its designation. However, there have been ongoing conservation efforts to ensure that urbanization and human activities do not encroach upon its natural habitats.
Where is The Magpie Robin Featured in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, the Magpie Robin isn’t just another bird; it’s a symbol of national identity. The bird holds such esteemed significance that its likeness graces one of the country’s currency notes.
Its melodious call and distinctive presence have not only made it an emblem of pride but also influenced popular culture and landmarks in the country. In Dhaka, the bustling capital city of Bangladesh, there’s a landmark named the Doel Chattar (meaning: Doel Square), inspired by this very bird, which serves as a meeting point and a symbol of communal harmony.
Beyond physical representations, the Magpie Robin also influences local songs, folklore, and stories, weaving itself seamlessly into the fabric of Bangladeshi culture.
Names of The Magpie Robin
The Magpie Robin goes by a plethora of names that reflect its widespread presence and cultural significance across various regions.
- Scientific Name: Copsychus saularis.
- Bangladesh: It is most commonly known as the Doyel or Doel (দোয়েল).
- India: Here, it’s widely known as the Magpie Robin and has several regional names as well, including ‘Shama’ in Hindi.
- Sri Lanka: Locals refer to the Magpie Robin as Polkichcha.
- Thailand: In the southern parts of the country, the bird is locally recognized as Binlha.
There’s also some historical context to the bird’s name; the term “Robin” is believed to come from European robins, given due to the resemblance in their melodious calls, even though the two species aren’t closely related.
Is The Magpie Robin Endangered?
Currently, the Magpie Robin is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, indicating that it isn’t immediately threatened with extinction.
However, the bird does face certain challenges, particularly in urban areas. Rapid urbanization, habitat loss, and the pet trade, especially in parts of Southeast Asia where they are captured for their singing abilities, pose potential threats.
Conservation efforts have been focused on awareness and habitat preservation. In Bangladesh, the bird’s status as a national emblem plays a significant role in its conservation narrative.
Several community-driven initiatives emphasize preserving the Magpie Robin’s habitat and curbing illegal trade. Their portrayal in popular culture and on currency notes further reinforces the importance of their conservation.
Interesting Facts About The Magpie Robin
- Melodious Mimic: One of the most distinctive features of the Magpie Robin is its ability to mimic. They can reproduce a variety of bird species calls, and some have even been observed mimicking human-made sounds.
- Distinctive Tail Movement: The Magpie Robin has a habit of keeping its tail erect, and it often moves up and down while they sing, a unique behavior that makes them stand out.
- Sexual Dimorphism: While both males and females are similar in appearance, females tend to have a grayer hue with grayish-white underparts, differentiating them from the striking black and white of the males.
- Cultural Significance: The bird’s importance isn’t just ecological. In Bangladesh, its melodious call is often associated with the beginning of spring and is considered a harbinger of good times ahead.
- Varied Diet: Beyond insects, they have been observed consuming flower nectar, geckos, leeches, centipedes, seeds, and even fish.
- In Literature: The Magpie Robin’s songs and beauty have inspired poets and writers across South Asia, finding their way into folklore, songs, and stories.
Other Beautiful Birds Native To Bangladesh
Bangladesh, a country endowed with rich biodiversity, has a plethora of bird species that are native and play significant roles in its ecosystem. Here are five other remarkable birds:
- Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula): Known for its melodic songs during flight, this bird is often seen in open fields and grasslands.
- Black-Hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus): With its bright yellow body and contrasting black hood, this bird adds a splash of color to the Bangladeshi forests.
- Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia): A small, lively bird with a melodious call, it has vivid green and yellow plumage which stands out in woodland areas.
- Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis): As the name suggests, this bird primarily feeds on bees and other flying insects. Their vibrant green body and acrobatic flying skills make them a sight to behold.
- Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer): Recognizable by its distinctive topknot and melodious song, this bird is commonly found across the country’s gardens and forests.
What Is Another National Animal of Bangladesh?
The Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the national animal of Bangladesh and holds a place of pride in the country’s heritage. This magnificent creature predominantly resides in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, which straddles between Bangladesh and India.
Characterized by its striking orange coat with black stripes, the Royal Bengal Tiger is not just a symbol of strength and power but also represents the rich biodiversity of Bangladesh. Despite being an apex predator, this species is currently endangered, primarily due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-tiger conflicts. Efforts are underway in Bangladesh to conserve this majestic animal and its habitat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Magpie Robin the national bird of Bangladesh?
The Magpie Robin, or the Doyel, is ubiquitous across towns and villages in Bangladesh. Its melodious call and wide presence made it a favorite for representation. Furthermore, its presence in rural areas, where it thrives without human disturbance, resonates with Bangladesh’s lush countryside.
How does the Magpie Robin differ in appearance between males and females?
While both sexes have similarities, males are predominantly black and white, while females have a grayer hue with grayish-white underparts.
Where can the Magpie Robin typically be found in Bangladesh?
They are primarily found in rural areas, where the environment is quieter, allowing them the freedom to breed without significant human interference.
Does Bangladesh have a national fish or flower?
Yes, the national fish of Bangladesh is the Hilsa (or Ilish) and the national flower is the White Water Lily (or Shapla).
How is Bangladesh working towards the conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger?
Bangladesh has implemented various conservation efforts, including patrolling against poaching, creating awareness campaigns, and engaging in international collaborations to ensure the protection of this endangered species.