- HG - Legal Research
- KFF - Health Facts
- Missing Children
- MW - Geography
- NACo - Counties
- ParkNet - Parks
- State Page
- ZEAL - Directory
Alabama Symbols, State Bird & State Flower
Earn your degree, advance your career, secure your future – all online. University of Phoenix is a true innovator in distance education. Their Business, Technology, Criminal Justice, Nursing, and Education degree programs are designed specifically for busy professionals. Imagine earning the degree you've always wanted – from home, at work, or while traveling.
Click here to learn more.
Alabama State Bird
(Colaptes auratus, Linnaeus)
Adopted on September 6, 1927.
This member of the woodpecker family, also called a flicker (Colaptes Aratus), got its name from the way it hammers trees with its beak and the flash of yellow it displays on the underside of its wings. The bird's colors of gray and yellow were said to resemble the uniform of a Confederate cavalryman, and an Alabama regiment of the Confederate Army wore yellowhammer feathers in their hats. These stories and the widespread abundance of the species led to the yellowhammer's selection as the state bird.
Correct common name of the American Ornithologists Union:
Other names used locally: Yellowhammer, Flicker, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Southern Flicker.
The back of the male of the common flicker is a gray-brown color with broken black bars on the body feathers and with the yellow shafts of the flight feathers partly visible. The rump patch is white and the two-pointed tail is mainly black. The crown and back of the neck is gray with a red band at the nape. The cheeks are pinkish-buff with a black "moustache" and bib below the chin on the throat. The underparts are creamy with many, irregular black spots. The undersides of the wings and tail are bright yellow. The female differs from the male in that she does not have the "moustache". Both sexes have gray legs, a dark gray bill and dark brown eyes. The talons are quite sharp. This helps the bird to easily perch on vertical tree trunks.
The common flicker is found throughout Alabama and is present all the months of the year. It is one of the more common woodpeckers. Other races of the flicker are found over all of the North American Continent. The common flicker breeds from the tree line in Canada and Alaska south and eastward. This range lies generally east of the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Some flickers winter along the Canadian border, but the majority migrate southeastward and winter in the United States.
The common flicker is more terrestrial in habit than are other woodpeckers. On the ground, it has an awkward hopping movement, but this does not slow its ground feeding. It is commonly observed feeding on lawns and is, perhaps, the most obvious woodpecker of the city and suburban areas.
Nesting and Reproduction:
The common flicker begins nesting in April and Alabama records show dependent nestlings as late as July. These dates will be later for the more northern breeding latitudes. The female lays 6 to 10 white colored eggs in a cavity of a dead tree, fence post or occasionally some other site including nest boxes, building roofs and earthern banks or cliffs. One egg is layed each day until the clutch is completed. Incubation of the eggs requires about 17 days and the nestlings are ready to fly (or fledge) about 3 weeks to a month after hatching. Both parents take part in the care and feeding of the young.
Flickers are reported to eat more ants than any other American bird. In addition, they consume most other types of insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars and others. The flicker will also eat many types of vegetative materials including all types of berries, nuts, seeds and fruits. The berries of poison ivy appear to be a favorite.
The relatively large egg clutch indicates a fairly short lived bird. A single band return of just over three years may not be an unreasonable average age. However there is insufficient data to substantiate this as an average life span.
This species of wild bird is subject to predation from owls, hawks and tree climbing snakes. It is also subject to attack by these and mammalian predators when feeding on the ground. However, predation poses no threat to the species.
As with all song birds, the common flicker is protected by provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act entered into by Mexico, Canada and the United States. Feeding habits of the flicker make it reasonably easy to produce food items that are attractive. Production of berries, nuts and seeds will attract other types of birds also. Since this bird will use a nest box for nesting, it lends itself to this phase of management by providing such sites. A box for a flicker should have a 7 x 7 inch floor, be 16 to 18 inches deep and have a 2 1/2 inch diameter entrance located 2 inches from the top. It should be located 6 to 20 feet above ground. The bottom should be covered with wood chips to a depth of 2 inches.
History: The common flicker is the State Bird of Alabama. Alabama has been known as the "Yellowhammer State" since the Civil War. The yellowhammer nickname was applied to the Confederate soldiers from Alabama when a company of young cavalry soldiers from Huntsville, under the command of Rev. D.C. Kelly, arrived at Hopkinsville, KY, where Gen. Forrest's troops were stationed. The officers and men of the Huntsville company wore fine, new uniforms, whereas the soldiers who had long been on the battlefields were dressed in faded, worn uniforms. On the sleeves, collars and coattails of the new calvary troop were bits of brilliant yellow cloth. As the company rode past Company A , Will Arnett cried out in greeting "Yellowhammer, Yellowhammer, flicker, flicker!" The greeting brought a roar of laughter from the men and from that moment the Huntsville soldiers were spoken of as the "yellowhammer company." The term quickly spread throughout the Confederate Army and all Alabama troops were referred to unofficially as the "Yellowhammers."
When the Confederate Veterans in Alabama were organized they took pride in being referred to as the "Yellowhammers" and wore a yellowhammer feather in their caps or lapels during reunions.
||Animalia -- animals
||Chordata -- chordates
||Vertebrata -- vertebrates
||Aves -- birds
||Piciformes -- woodpeckers
||Picidae -- woodpeckers, wrynecks
||Colaptes Vigors, 1825 -- flickers
||Colaptes auratus (Linnaeus, 1758) -- Carpintero de pechera, northern flicker
||Colaptes auratus auratus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Acts of Alabama, September 6, 1927
Alabama State Emblems, Alabama Department of Archives and History, nd.
Davis, James R. Non-Game Birds in Alabama, Wildlife Section, Game and Fish Division, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, n.d.
Flower by: Santalady
(Camellia japonica L.)
Adopted on August 26, 1959.
On February 18, 1893, Alabama adopted the goldenrod as the official flower—of the United States! On September 6, 1927, it was adopted as Alabama's state flower. The yellowhammer was adopted as the state bird on the same day.
In 1927, the goldenrod was designated as state flower, but was replaced by the camellia, an exotic flower, possibly due to the erroneous idea that goldenrod pollen was annoying to those who are allergy-prone (actually, the goldenrod is falsely blamed for reactions caused by ragweed). Camellia colors include white, pink, red, and mixtures. Some have suggested that red and red-and-white camellias represent the state, matching the red and white of the Alabama flag.
Alabama's state flower is the only symbol not native to Alabama. It's from Asia. Camellias are named for G.J. Kamel, a Jesuit priest who traveled in Asia in the seventeenth century. The introduction of Camellia japonica L. in Italy is dated about 1760, but only during the XIXth century this species became popular. Many Italian nurserymen started growing Camellias at that time and soon this business became of remarkable importance. In two areas, the Lucchesia (Tuscany) and the lake Maggiore zone, camellia production was famous, due to the local nurserymen, breeders, and collectors. In these areas camellias were grown in a great number of gardens and still today it is possible to find old specimens.
- A bill introduced in the 1927 legislature by Representative T. E. Martin, Montgomery County, making the goldenrod the state flower, became a law on September 6, 1927.
- House Bill 24, approved August 26, 1959, amended Section 8, Title 55, of the Code of 1940, to read: "The camellia is hereby designated and named as the state flower of Alabama." (Acts 1927, No. 541.)
- In June 1999, the Legislature designated that the camellia, Camellia japonica L., is the official state flower of Alabama
Camillias are evergreen shrubs, bloom in autumn and winter, and very popular because of their great beauty because of their flowers, form and also foliage. They grow in a habit form, have glossy leaves and exquisitve form. Most Camellias at first were imported from Europe but now are grown in gardens from southeastern Virginia thru the Carolinas to Florida an along the Gulf Coast and even along the Pacific coast. They can also be grown in the house or outside.
They belong to the Tea family of plants. There are a number of varieties also and because of duplications in the plants there really isn't an actual count. The classifications are divided into three catagories:
Simple: All stamens central, single, with 5 to 7 petals, semi-double, with more than 7 petals.
Double: All stamens converted to petaloids, imbricated, petals overlapped and Incomplete Imbricated, same as Imbricated but with a large unopened center. Also included are Tiered, petals arranged in tiers, and Irregular, petals in a compact mass without order.
Incomplete Double: Petaloids mixed iwth stamens, Petaloids small, Petaloids large and Petaloids small and large, mixed.
Camillias like a cool winter season, but if you live in an area with high summer temperatures with lots of rainfall and winter with light frosts you can grow Camellias. These plants do best when the thermometer doesn't go below l5 or 20 degrees.
Camellias need an acid soil with organic material and plant nutrients and the soil should be well drained and friable
||Plantae -- Plants
||Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
||Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
||Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
||Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
||Theaceae -- Tea family
||Camellia L. -- camellia P
||Camellia japonica L. -- camellia P
The World Almanac for Kids Online!
Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead National Forests