Mythical birds: Birds have always amazed people’s imagination. They effortlessly soared high in the sky; in the summer, they moved to distant lands; in a matter of hours, they could reach places a person would get for several days. Unsurprisingly, the birds were endowed with magical abilities.
These are the ten mythical birds
Harpies are the queen of ancient Greek mythology, half women, half birds. They always terrified people and stole human souls and children. The number of harpies varies from 2 to 5 in different sources.
They have a female head and chest, but the legs and wings are vulture-like. They appeared in a thunderstorm or hurricane, spreading a stench around them.
Firebird is a character from fairy tales with gold and silver wings, from which a bright glow emanates. It lives in a golden cage, eats pearls, and steals golden apples at night. Anyone who hears the song of the firebird is cured of any diseases; it returns sight to those who are blind.
If you add a firebird feather to the room, it will replace the lighting, and over time it turns to gold.
Phoenix is a symbol of resurrection and rebirth through fire. This mythological bird burned itself and was then reborn again. Its name comes from the Greek word, which translates as “crimson, fiery”.
In China, it predicted marital fidelity and happy life. But the Chinese description of this bird was unusual: beak – like a rooster, looks like a swan in front, neck like a snake, body – like a turtle, from the back – the image of a unicorn, but with a fishtail.
According to another version, it lives for 500 years near Sunny City and feeds on the Holy Spirit. The bells begin to strike in the allotted time, and the phoenix turns into ashes. In the morning, a chick appears in the same place, which becomes an adult bird in a day.
German scientist F. Wolf wrote that the phoenix is the only one on earth, so they rarely see it. In size, it resembles an eagle with a golden neck, pink feathers in the tail, and a forelock on its head.
This mythical bird was considered the mother of birds that lives in the ocean and sea and breeds its chicks. The whole world is under its right-wing. When it starts up, a storm starts on the sea.
At night, the sun hides under its wing. An ancient handwritten text mentions a Kur that reaches up to the sky with its head, and when the sun begins to wash in the ocean, it feels the swell of the waves, then shouts “kokoreku”.
It was often depicted next to Alkonost. Also, a bird of paradise, the image of which was borrowed from the Greek sirens. It was believed that a man is up to the waist, and below the waist is a bird.
Sometimes she flies out of heaven and begins her sweet-voiced song. It can be heard by anyone, after which he forgets about everything in the world. Listening to her sing, he dies. Or, according to another version, his whole old life disappears from his mind, and he follows her into the desert, where, having lost his way, he dies.
Therefore, even though it is a bird of paradise that tells of imminent bliss, in some legends, it becomes a dark creature.
Onocrotal is also a little-known mythical bird. You can read about it in the book of Laurentius Zizanius, “Lexis” (1596). He says she looks like a swan. But with its nose in the water, it can scream like a donkey or a bear. If a person, hearing her voice, makes a wish and manages to reach home before the first rain, it will come true. He won’t get a second chance if he doesn’t make it.
7. Tawny owl
The tawny owl is the name of a bird from the owl family. But the myths also mention a creature with the same name. According to ancient legends, this oriental bird lives in Egypt.
In appearance, it resembles a stork, but it has a striking plumage, brighter than that of a peacock. Travelers said it could revive the chicks by sprinkling them with its blood. The owl hates snakes because they steal their chicks.
Pliny and Herodotus wrote about it. They had never seen this mysterious creature, but allegedly they were able to describe them from the words of the Scythians.
The ancient Greeks believed that the griffin had the body of a lion and the head, claws, and wings of an eagle, so they were the lords of the earth (lion) and air (eagle). It was huge, 8 times the size of a regular lion. It could easily lift 2 oxen with a plow or a man with a horse.
It is believed that the Scythians were searching for gold in the Gobi desert. There they found the remains of unknown animals, possibly dinosaurs. Some of them might lead them to believe that there was a giant bird that punished anyone who approached its nest. In it, she collected gold.
Gamayun is also a bird of paradise, which the Russian people called “things”. According to legend, it lives in the vast expanses of the sea, flying over them in the sky. Her cry is a harbinger of happiness. Once, it was represented as a legless bird without wings, which moved with the help of its tail. Her fall was a sign that one of the nobles was about to die.
In the Book of Natural History, Gamayun is described as more prominent than a sparrow but without legs or wings. Its feathers are multicolored, and its tail is long (more than 1 m).
But the artist V. Vasnetsov depicted her as a black-winged bird with a female face, anxious and frightened. And, if earlier it was associated with bliss and joy, it became a bird predicting tragedies after this negative image.
Alkonost is a fantastic bird that lives in a Slavic paradise. It is often mentioned in Russian spiritual poems, legends, and legends. Her singing is so beautiful that you forget about everything in the world when you hear it.
Alkonost is depicted with a female face but a bird’s body. The ancient Greeks had their legend about Alcyone, the daughter of Aeolus. She, having learned of the death of her husband, threw herself into the sea, but the gods turned her into a bird named Alcyone (kingfisher). When rewriting the text, the expression “alcyoneus is a bird of the sea” was most likely transformed into the new word “alkonost”.
In the middle of winter, according to legend, it lays its eggs in the sea, where they lie for a week. All this time, the sea is calm. Then the eggs float to the surface, and Alkonost begins to hatch them.