Birds in Books: Famous Birds in Literature

Updated: Mar. 21, 2024

Birds have appeared in books for centuries, from Shakespeare to Edgar Allan Poe. How many of these birds in famous birds in literature do you recognize?

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mockingbirdCourtesy Rick Cafiero
Northern mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in July 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize as the best work of fiction for that year. Learn how to attract mockingbirds to your backyard.

Romeo and Juliet

In Act 3, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the title characters gently argue over where they hear a nightingale or a lark.

Robinson Crusoe

A parrot named Poll was Robinson Crusoe’s companion after he wrecked his ship on a remote island in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. The author was 60 years old when he wrote the novel. Discover more facts about birds in pop culture.

Ode to a Nightingale

John Keats’ eight-stanza poem Ode to a Nightingale is about the bird that “Singest of summer in full-throated ease.” Do hummingbirds sing? Learn the many sounds of hummingbirds.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll introduced four birds in Chapter 2 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: a duck, a dodo, a lory and an eaglet. The birds are believed to represent different people, with the dodo as the author.

ravenCourtesy Valeri Maisch
Raven at Grand Canyon National Park

The Raven

In The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, the bird speaks one word: “Nevermore.” Check out 8 surprising facts about ravens.

Chicken Little

The folktale Chicken Little has six main characters. Five are birds: Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey. The sixth is Foxy Loxy.

swans Marlon Porter Bnb Bypc2020.jpegCourtesy Marlon Porter
Baby trumpeter swans

The Ugly Duckling

The Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Ugly Duckling was originally published on Nov. 11, 1843, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Discover 6 romantic and fascinating swan facts.