Italy has no national bird! How this sad state of affairs could possibly continue is beyond the ken of this bird blogger but it is certainly disturbing that such an illustrious country with such a rich history could lack a feathered ambassador. Some places on the web claim that the national bird of Italy is the “bluebird” but this is so untrue that it does not make sense. (Europe, let alone Italy, doesn’t have bluebirds.)
The lack of a national bird is not because Italy has a paucity of birds or a lack of interest in symbols. Here, for example, is the emblem of Italy, adopted by the Italian Republic in 1948.
The only living creature given “national” status by Italy is the Italian Wolf, which is apparently their national animal. Sadly for Italy, the Italian Wolf is not considered a full species by any scientists. Many don’t even consider it a subspecies any more, but lump it in with the Eurasian Wolf, which is itself the nominate subspecies of the Gray Wolf.
A good candidate for the national bird of Italy is the Pied Avocet. It is already the namesake of the ornithological journal Avocetta which is published by the Centro Italiano Studi Ornitologici (Italian Center of Ornithological Studies). Not only that but the Pied Avocet is a striking bird with an economy of style, much like the best Italian sports cars.
Pied Avocet by Redgannet
What do you think the national bird of Italy should be? Pied Avocet or something else? Let us know in the comments…
Want to see all of the national bird posts on 10,000 Birds? Click on our National Birds page!
Rick, Mike Bergin had mentioned the Blue Rock Thrush as likely to be what was being referred to and I failed to follow up on it. I’m glad you knew what was being referred to and why!
Maybe it should be the magpie. I think they are popular in Italy. There’s even an opera called “La gazza ladra,” which, as the name suggests, has a thieving magpie in it. (Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere else had already claimed the magpie; it’s quite a common bird.)
The Pied Avocet seems appropriate for the Italian ornithological society but the Blue Rock Thrush seems like a better candidate as the national bird- fairly well known, colorful, and a typical species of rocky, southern Mediterranean landscapes.
You have obviously never been to Dover. Bluebirds all over the place!
This is an old post, but since I haven’t been able to find anything else…
Pied Avocet is a good one. However, I don’t think most Italians know what it is, from what I’ve noticed. I think a few better candidates would be Black-winged Stilt (Cavaliere d’Italia, or Knight of Italy) as its Italian name is definitely patriotic and it’s more widespread. When I was in Italy, another one a lot of people seemed to know was European Bee-eater, or gruccione. Definitely another great option!
Wikipedia lists the Italian Sparrow as the national bird of Italy… it’s okay, I guess… It’s a similar problem with the Italian Wolf. For now it’s listed as a species, but a lot of people seem to think otherwise!