Discover the Magpie Robin: The National Bird of Bangladesh

Oriental magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis).
© Sumruay Rattanataipob/Shutterstock.com

Written by Cindy Rasmussen

Updated: June 6, 2023

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Bangladesh, just east of India, is a country with diverse habitats accommodating hundreds of species of birds. So how does a nation choose a national bird with so many amazing options? Bangladesh is home to common ducks, geese, pigeons and doves as well as some more unique birds like greater flamingoes, violet cuckoos (yes, they are purple!) and sarus crane (some are almost 6 feet tall). Are any of these the national bird of Bangladesh or is there another species that represents the country better? Read on to find out all about the national bird of Bangladesh!

What is the National Bird of Bangladesh?

The national bird of Bangladesh is the magpie robin. The magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) is a medium-sized songbird that is common in Bangladesh. In country they are referred to as doyel or doel and are honored for their beautiful song. As magpies they can also replicate the song of other birds and are very intelligent. Although they are only 7-11 inches long they are a familiar bird to the Bangladesh people, with the birds being common in both urban and rural areas.

The national bird of Bangladesh is the magpie robin

The national bird of Bangladesh is the magpie robin,

Copsychus saularis

.

©iStock.com/Thien Woei Jiing

What Do Magpie Robins Symbolize?

Magpie robins symbolize good luck and are considered a bird of joy. They really are an intelligent bird and are recognized as a symbol of intelligence and wit. The people of Bangladesh are proud to have such a well-rounded bird represent their country.

Where Do Magpie Robins Live?

Magpie robins live in Bangladesh, India, Singapore, southern China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Eastern Indonesia and eastern Pakistan. It is common to find them living amongst humans in urban, suburban and rural areas although they tend to be shy birds. They make their nests in a hole in a tree or the nooks of old buildings using twigs, grasses, pine needles and roots. They prefer dry, deciduous forests or evergreen trees where they can nestle their nests in the thick branches.

Baby (Oriental magpie robin, Copsychus saularis) in nest.

Magpie robins often make their nests in the holes of trees using twigs, grasses, pine needles and roots.

©iStock.com/Peera_Sathawirawong

Is the Magpie Robin Featured on the Money of Bangladesh?

The Bangladeshi money is called the taka and the banknotes feature a portrait of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the front and the back features a variety of prominent mosques and monuments. The 50 note has a painting from the famous national painter Zainul Abedin called Ploughing.

There was a commemorative 25 taka banknote that was first printed on January 26, 2013 that had a magpie robin on the front along with the National Martyr’s Monument in Savar, banknotes and postage stamps and three spotted deer. Another animal that is featured on one of the commemorative banknotes is the royal Bengal tiger which is on the back of the 100 taka. The tiger is pictured in the Sundarbans mangrove forest. This is one of the latest banknotes being issued on March 18, 2020.

Is the Magpie Robin Featured on the Bangladeshi Flag?

No. The national flag of Bangladesh is a dark green field with a red circle almost in the center (it is offset to the left just a tad). The green is a symbol of the lush vegetation in the country and the red represents the blood-shed of the Bengalis who fought for their country’s freedom. There used to be a map of the outline of the country on the flag, but this was removed when the new flag was initiated on January 13, 1972.

What is the National Animal of Bangladesh?

The national animal of Bangladesh is the Royal Bengal tiger. The tiger represents fearlessness and is greatly respected by the Bengali people. Bengal tigers are a subspecies of tigers and sadly, tigers are considered an endangered species by the IUCN. Habitat loss due to deforestation and hunting has been two of the biggest factors leading to the decline in tiger populations. Bengal tigers, also known as Indian tigers, can get to be 5-6 feet long and weight between 250-500 pounds. The logo of the Bangladesh Cricket Board is a fierce Bengal tiger.

The Royal Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh

The Royal Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh.

©Mary Angela Heys/Shutterstock.com

What is the National Fish of Bangladesh?

The national fish of Bangladesh is the ilish (also known as the elish or hilsha). Similar to salmon that swim upstream to spawn in freshwater, ilish migrate up streams in Indian and Bangladesh with some traveling 30-60 miles or more. They spend most of their lives in the sea before making the migration. Ilish are a silvery fish that can get up to 2 feet long and is a popular food fish (look up a good ilish fish mustard curry recipe!).

What Other Animals Live in Bangladesh?

Besides Bengal tigers there are many exotic animals found in Bangladesh. Look up to the trees to spot Northern pig-tailed macaques or Western Hoolock gibbons. Asian elephants, which are also considered endangered, can be found roaming the forests of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. You can also find crocodiles, Burmese pythons and Indian cobras. Less fierce are cute little jerboa (they jump like tiny kangaroos), long-eared hares and even wild hamsters.

The southern coast of Bangladesh is on the Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world. Here you will find tuna, sardines, mackerel, barracuda, rays, spinner dolphins and massive marlins.

Bay of bengal, southern coast of Bangladesh

The Bay of Bengal is the largest bay in the world and located on the southern coast of Bangladesh.

©Manivannan T/Shutterstock.com

Are there Sharks in the Bay of Bengal off the Coast of Bangladesh?

Yes! There are a variety of species of sharks in the Bay of Bengal. The Bay is located in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. You will find tiger sharks, bull sharks, Ganges shark and the enormous whale sharks (their mouths are 4 feet wide but they only eat plankton, small fish and shrimp!).

What Other Birds Live in Bangladesh?

Other birds that live in Bangladesh include large raptors like eagles and falcons as well as smaller birds like golden orioles, green bee-eaters (yes, they eat bees!) and hoopoes (check out their fancy crest). There are also more common birds like ducks, heron, crane, pheasant and pigeons. The most colorful birds are the parakeets like the ring-necked parakeet which is bright green with a stunning red beak and the plum-headed parakeet with a reddish-purple head and greenish body.

Clearly some worthy bird competition for the people of Bangladesh to choose for their national bird, but the magpie robin, the bird of luck and joy, is an honored representative of the nation!

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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