In honor of the Children´s Day, and motivated by the joke of exchanging avatars that was played in Facebook, I decided to write a more casual post for today. It was not difficult to compile a huge list of beloved cartoon characters that make part of the class Aves. Actually, many must be missing… you may add some in the comments!
Everybody knows Snoopy is a beagle. What about Woodstock? What on earth is this bird? Charles Schulz, the creator of the cartoon, had never revealed to which species it belongs. In truth, he even joked with the fans: there is a series of comic strips from 1980 where Snoopy consults a field guide in a trial to identify Woodstock, but he gave up. I guess it is a canary. And I still have fun with its difficulties when trying to build a nest.
Bip Bip!!! The Roadrunner is based on a real bird, the Great Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), a cuculid that lives in the desert of the USA. According to Wikipedia, it is 56 cm long and is able to run up to 30 km/h.
This one was a tip from @rmtakata. The big yellow bird from Sesamo Street was the main theme of a presentation about the application of scientific names, criated by Dr. Mike Dickison, Duke University – USA. Learn more about the Grandicrocavis viasesamensis at this link here.
Blu and his girlfriend Jewel are Spix´s Macaws, the famous species that is already extinguished in nature. Saldanha was distinguished in the representation of this characters and many others that appear along the movie. Some, like the Toco Toucan called Rafael (Ramphastos toco) and the Red-crested Cardinal Pedro (Paroaria coronata) were really faithful to the original species. The G1 site made an interesting article (in Portuguese) comparing the characters to pictures of the original birds. It is a shame that the movie has some faults: the Spix´s Macaw didn´t occur in Rio de Janeiro, it used to be a tipical bird from the caatinga vegetation.
It needs no introduction. This crazy character was created in the 40’s and it seems like a generic woodpecker. In the episode “Dumb like a Fox”, it is suggested that it is the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), a famous species because of its controversial status of extinction. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker was considered extinct in 1994, and nowadays it is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN red list.
“I tawt I taw a puddy tat!”
Hum.. yellow and captive bird… it can only be a canary. In Brazil Tweety is called “Piu-piu”. We have a species whose popular name is piu-piu (Myrmorchilus strigilatus), but it does not looks like the character.
DONALD DUCK & CIA
Could there be a friendlier animal than a duck? No wonder Disney has created an entire city for them: Duckburg. There are many characters: Donald Duck, Daisy, Scrooge McDuck and the brothers Huey, Dewey and Louie (that in my opinion should be yellow, just like every duckling). Other famous anatidae is Gus Goose. We cannot forget Gyro Gearloose, that in the Portuguese version was named as “Professor Pardal” (something like “Professor Sparrow”), which has caused a confusion. Actully, Gyro Gearloose is a fowl. And I couldn´t forget mentioning my favorite character: the disastrous Launchpad McQuack, a pelican. Oh! And there is José Carioca (we call him just Zé Carioca), a parrot criated especially for the Brazilian audience.
Chilly Willy, one of Woody Woodpecker´s friends, must be the most famous penguim from the cartoons. It lives in the South Pole and it is always looking for fish. But I could not forget the penguins from the movies: Surf´s Up and Happy Feet. Moreover, in Happy Feet the species are perfectly represented. Mumble is a chick of Emperor Penguim (Aptenodytes forsteri), Raul and his friends are little Adele Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Lovelace is probably a Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus).
Owls are known as wise and thoughtful animals. They always appear in the cartoons as great masters, that know everything because they can see everything (after all, with those big eyes…). Owl, Pooh´s friend, is no exception. But last year, a movie was released that really moved me. Not because of the plot, but for the special effects. The owls of The Legend of the Guardians are amazingly real. It´s a pity that the majority of the species represented in the movie only occur in North America, with exception of the Barn Owl and the Burrowing Owl.