Thursday, April 14, 2022

Know Your National Bird

A large number of Bhutanese tend to confuse our National Bird - Common Raven (Corvus corax) for the Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). The reason is provably that more than 95% of Bhutanese would not have seen the National Bird because they live at altitudes around 14,000 ft. and upwards. The more common Large-billed Crow can be seen all over the country.

It is really simple to distinguish between the two Ravens.

The Common Raven is much larger and has a flatter head while the Large-billed Crow is smaller and has a domed head, with thicker bill. The national bird has prominent throat-hackles and the feathering extends halfway to the tip of the bill.

They have two distinctly different calls – the national bird’s call is much more louder.

The National Bird: Common Raven (Corvus corax) photographed at the base of Mt. Gangkhar Puensoom in October, 2010

The Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) - found all over the country

The Bhutanese term for the National Bird is Bja Oro while the Large-billed Crow is called Bja Ola.

There is a saying in Bhutanese that goes:

“Ngado Goe Gii Chaag; Kaang Oro Gii Jiip”

Translated into English, the saying would go thus:

“The Raptor cracks open the thigh bone but the Raven gets the marrow”

The wisdom: Someone puts in the hard work but someone else reaps the rewards.

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