North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a country shrouded in mystery and rich in cultural heritage. Amidst its scenic landscapes and towering mountains, resides a bird of prey that epitomizes strength, agility, and the undying spirit of survival: the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).
Known locally as “Chammae,” this raptor has been intertwined with Korean tradition for centuries, serving as both a hunting companion and a symbol of honor. Discover the world of the Northern Goshawk, North Korea’s national bird, and uncover the tales of bravery and endurance that have elevated this avian predator to a status of national reverence.
Join us as we embark on a journey through dense forests and rugged terrains to meet the bird that has captured the heart of a nation.
Quick Info About The Northern Goshawk
|Scientific Name:||Accipiter gentilis|
|Average Size:||21-25 inches (53-64 cm) in length|
|Average Wingspan:||40-46 inches (102-117 cm)|
|Average Weight:||1.1-2.2 lbs (500-1,000 g)|
|Average Lifespan:||10-15 years in the wild, up to 27 years in captivity|
|Geographical Range:||Large parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Northern and central parts of the Korean peninsula, with winter migrations to the south|
|Habitat:||Forests of needle-leaf and broadleaf trees, tablelands around mountains|
|Conservation Status:||Least Concern (IUCN Red List)|
Meet The Northern Goshawk, National Bird of North Korea
The Northern Goshawk is a robust raptor, with a body built for agility and power. Its feathers are predominantly dark brown, creating a striking contrast with its pale underparts and fierce yellow eyes. Sexual dimorphism is present but not overly pronounced, with females being slightly larger than males.
One of the distinctive features of the Northern Goshawk is its short and curved beak, adapted for tearing through the flesh of its prey. Its legs are spindle-shaped, aiding in swift and precise movements, crucial for a bird that hunts in dense foliage.
In the ecosystem, the Northern Goshawk sits near the top of the food chain. It primarily preys on birds and small mammals, including rodents, pheasants, pigeons, and hares. The goshawk’s prowess in hunting has made it a valued companion in falconry, a practice that has deep historical roots in Korean culture.
Despite its formidable hunting skills, the Northern Goshawk is not without its threats. Habitat loss and human disturbance pose challenges to its survival, making its conservation a topic of significance in preserving North Korea’s natural heritage.
Where Does The Northern Goshawk Live?
The Northern Goshawk, a bird adapted to diverse environments, thrives in the lush forests and mountainous terrains of North Korea. In the northern and central parts of the peninsula, it finds refuge amidst needle-leaf and broadleaf trees, which provide ample opportunities for hunting and nesting.
During the winter months, the Goshawk extends its range to the southern regions of the country, adapting to the seasonal changes and variations in prey availability.
In its broader geographic range, the Northern Goshawk is known to inhabit a variety of forested habitats across the Northern Hemisphere, from North America and Europe to Asia.
Its versatility in habitat preference highlights its ability to thrive in different climate conditions, ranging from the cold, temperate forests of Siberia to the milder, mixed woodlands in parts of its North American range.
Why and When Did The Northern Goshawk Become The National Bird of North Korea?
The Northern Goshawk was designated as the national bird of North Korea in 2008, under the rule of former leader Kim Jong-il. The choice of the Goshawk, known locally as “Chammae,” was deeply rooted in its historical and cultural significance to the Korean people.
For centuries, Koreans have utilized the Goshawk in falconry, taking pride in taming this fierce and brave bird for hunting pursuits. The bird’s agility, strength, and striking appearance were seen as a reflection of the Korean spirit, embodying qualities such as bravery, endurance, and determination.
The Northern Goshawk’s close relationship with humans, its role in traditional hunting practices, and its status as a symbol of honor and bravery contributed to its selection as the national bird. It was a choice that resonated with the values and history of the nation, creating a strong symbolic connection between the bird and the Korean identity.
While there have been no notable controversies or debates related to the designation of the Northern Goshawk as a national symbol in North Korea, its status highlights the country’s emphasis on preserving and honoring its natural and cultural heritage.
Where is The Northern Goshawk Featured in North Korea?
The Northern Goshawk, or Chammae, holds a prestigious status in North Korea, and its representation extends beyond the realms of nature and wildlife.
The bird’s name has been used to christen the private jet of the current leader, Kim Jong-un, dubbed “Chammae-1,” a testament to the bird’s significance and the value placed upon it.
While the Goshawk may not be prominently featured on the country’s flag or banknotes, its presence in the naming of such a significant state asset underscores its importance as a national symbol.
The choice of the Northern Goshawk as the national bird, and the incorporation of its name in state assets, reflects North Korea’s dedication to preserving its natural monuments and fostering a sense of national pride through its wildlife.
Names of The Northern Goshawk
The Northern Goshawk, with its scientific name being Accipiter gentilis, is known by several names around the world, owing to its wide geographical range.
In North Korea, it is commonly referred to as “Chammae,” a name that carries significant historical and cultural connotations. The name “Goshawk” itself is derived from Old English, meaning “goose hawk,” and reflects the bird’s prowess in hunting.
In other parts of the world, the Northern Goshawk has been known by various names, often reflecting its hunting abilities, physical characteristics, or the sounds it makes. For example, in some cultures, it has been referred to as the “wood hawk” due to its association with forested habitats.
Is The Northern Goshawk Endangered?
The Northern Goshawk holds a “Least Concern” status according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), indicating that it is not currently at immediate risk of extinction. However, like many raptors, it faces threats from habitat loss, deforestation, and disturbance during the breeding season.
In North Korea, the Northern Goshawk is regarded as a natural monument, reflecting the country’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage. The designation as a natural monument helps in garnering support and resources for conservation efforts, ensuring that the habitats of the Goshawk are protected and maintained.
Efforts to conserve the Northern Goshawk involve monitoring its population, protecting its habitat, and implementing regulations to minimize disturbances, particularly during the breeding season. These conservation strategies are crucial in ensuring the long-term survival of the Goshawk, not just in North Korea, but across its extensive range.
Interesting Facts About The Northern Goshawk
- Fierce Hunter: The Goshawk is renowned for its hunting prowess, capable of navigating through dense forests at high speeds to catch its prey.
- Symbol of Bravery: In Korean culture, the Goshawk has long been associated with bravery and strength, often used in falconry for hunting game birds and small mammals.
- Cultural Significance: The Goshawk’s role in traditional hunting practices has ingrained it in Korean culture, making it a symbol of honor and pride.
- Adaptability: With a range spanning across the Northern Hemisphere, the Goshawk has shown remarkable adaptability to different environments and climates.
- Parental Care: During the breeding season, Goshawks are known for their strong parental instincts, fiercely protecting their nests and providing for their young.
- Longevity: In the wild, Goshawks can live up to 11 years, while in captivity, they have been known to live even longer.
- Cultural Representations: The Goshawk has found its way into literature and art, often depicted as a symbol of freedom and power.
- Unique Communication: Goshawks communicate using a variety of calls and vocalizations, particularly during the breeding season.
- Aerial Acrobatics: Their agile flight and swift maneuvers make them a sight to behold, showcasing their mastery of the skies.
- Integral Ecosystem Role: As top predators, Goshawks play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems, controlling the populations of their prey species.
Other Beautiful Birds Native To North Korea
- Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis): This small raptor migrates through North Korea and is known for its long-distance migration from Asia to Africa. It is recognized for its striking plumage and agile flight.
- Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis): A symbol of longevity and fidelity in many East Asian cultures, the Red-crowned Crane is native to this region. It is known for its elegant dance-like mating rituals and distinctive red patch on its crown.
- Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata): Known for its vibrant and intricate plumage, the Mandarin Duck is a symbol of love and fidelity in Korean culture. It is often found in the wetlands and rivers of North Korea.
- Yellow-throated Bunting (Emberiza elegans): This small passerine bird is common in the forests and grasslands of North Korea. It is known for its melodious song and distinctive yellow throat.
- Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor): This endangered bird species has a significant population in the Korean Peninsula. It is known for its long, flat bill, used for sweeping through shallow waters in search of food.
What Is Another National Animal of North Korea?
North Korea does not have an official national animal, but the Chollima, a mythical winged horse, serves as a prominent national symbol. The Chollima represents speed, strength, and the rapid industrial and economic development of North Korea, particularly during the post-Korean War period.
The Chollima Movement, initiated in the 1950s, encouraged workers to produce at speeds as fast as the mythical horse. A large statue of Chollima is located in Pyongyang, serving as a constant reminder of the country’s ideals and aspirations for swift progress.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the Northern Goshawk chosen as the national bird of North Korea?
The Northern Goshawk, or Chammae in Korean, was chosen as the national bird of North Korea due to its association with bravery, agility, and its esteemed place in traditional falconry practices. It reflects characteristics that are highly valued in North Korean culture.
Can the Northern Goshawk be found in other countries?
Yes, the Northern Goshawk has a wide geographical range and can be found across the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of North America, Europe, and Asia.
What is the conservation status of the Northern Goshawk?
As of the last available data, the Northern Goshawk is classified as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), indicating that it is not currently at an immediate risk of extinction.
What does the Chollima represent in North Korean culture?
The Chollima represents speed, strength, and the rapid industrial and economic progress of North Korea. It is a symbol of the country’s aspiration to move forward swiftly and efficiently.
Are there any conservation efforts in place for the Northern Goshawk in North Korea?
Yes, the Northern Goshawk is considered a natural monument in North Korea, reflecting the country’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage and protecting the habitat and well-being of this species. Efforts include habitat protection, monitoring of populations, and regulations to minimize disturbances, especially during the breeding season.