World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Devil Bird

Article Id: WHEBN0007558519
Reproduction Date:

Title: Devil Bird  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of cryptids, Old Yellow Top, Grassman, Inkanyamba, Malawi terror beast
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Devil Bird

Devil Bird
(Ulama)
Grouping Cryptid
First reported In Folklore
Country Sri Lanka
Habitat Forest

The Devil Bird, locally known as Ulama, is a cryptid of Sri Lanka said to emit bloodcurdling human sounding shrieks in the night from within the jungles. In Sri Lankan folklore, it is believed that the cry of this bird is an omen that portends death. Its precise identity is still a matter of debate although the Spot-bellied Eagle-owl matches the profile of Devil Bird to a large extent, according to a finding in the year 2001.[1]

As the bird is not usually seen and its cry only described in vague terms, Ulama records might refer to the Ceylon Highland Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus kelaarti); the males of the latter are known to have a screaming flight-call atypical for nightjars.

"Devil Bird or Ulama or Ulalena. The precise identity of this bird is one of the mysteries of the Ceylon jungles. Its eerie cries have been attributed to a variety of birds. The most likely candidates however are: the Forest Eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis) for the up country area, the hawk-eagles and the Crested Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis) in the lowland jungles."

Cryptid resolved

There has been a systematic investigation to the idendification of this bird by Dr. R.L. Spittel in his book 'The Far off Things'.[2] Accordingly, the Spot bellied Eagle Owl is one possible contender but Changeable Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus ceylanensis) and Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) are more likely contenders to be the "Devil Bird".

A Spot-bellied Eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis) specimen found by the villagers in 2001 received much publicity in the press as the final resolution of the bird's identitity but the natives who actually have heard the 'true' cry of the Ulama and had seen the bird in action, are certain that its a species of crested eagle, which is more in agreement with the description of the bird in the local folklore. The reason for the confusion is probably the fact that most Sri Lankans have a mistaken perception as to the true cry of the Ulama.[2]

One problem with the Spot-bellied Eagle-owl being the Devil Bird is that in most legends involving the bird, the original Devil Bird was a person in anguish who fled into the forest clutching their head with one hand only indicating that the bird had a crest as opposed to two ear-tufts. Since the Spot-bellied Eagle-owl has very prominent ear-tufts, it may not be the Devil Bird. However, all the legends may have stemmed from one, and all may have got that detail incorrect.

According to R.L Spittel in his book "Far-off Things", the steps that should be taken to identify the bird are; "(a) The cry should be clearly recognized and defined, and not be confused with many weird cries of the jungle. (b) The bird should be shot while actually making the cry, or on the tree from which the cry comes. (c) It should be identified after death by an ornithologist." However, because of heightened awareness of the environment, it may be better to "shoot" the bird in the second step with a camera instead of a gun!

See also

Banshee, a similar omen in Irish mythology that portends death.

References

  1. ^ http://www.cryptozoology.com/glossary/glossary_topic.php?id=251
  2. ^ a b http://www.lankalibrary.com/cul/veddha/spittel.htm
  • Karl Shuker (1997). From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings. Llewellyn, St Paul.
  • Karl Shuker (2007). Extraordinary Animals Revisited. CFZ Press, Bideford.
  • Vanished Trails, The last of the Veddas by R.L. Spittel

External links

  • cryptozoology.com: Devil Bird.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.