The oozlum bird, also spelled ouzelum, is a legendary creature found in Australian and British folk tales and legends. Some versions have it that, when startled, the bird will take off and fly around in ever-decreasing circles until it manages to fly up itself, disappearing completely, which adds to its rarity. Other sources state that the bird flies backwards so that it can admire its own beautiful tail feathers, or because while it does not know where it is going, it likes to know where it has been.
The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as "[a] mythical bird displaying ridiculous behaviour" and speculates that the word could have been suggested by the word ouzel, meaning a blackbird. The earliest citation recorded by the dictionary dates from 1858.
A variant of the oozlum, possibly a mutation, is the weejy weejy bird, which has only one wing which causes it to fly in tighter, faster, smaller circles until it disappears up its own fundament. The oozlefinch is an American relative without feathers that flies backwards ("to keep dust, trivia, and other inconsequentia out of his eyes") at supersonic speeds, and preys on enemy bombers, which it rips from the sky. The oozlefinch has been adopted as the unofficial mascot of the United States Air Defense Artillery.
The fabulous qualities of the oozlum bird is the subject of a poem by William T. Goodge. In the poem The Oozlum Bird, the bird is said to fly backwards and has the singular ability of being able to fly up in the air while letting the earth turn under it. The bird is said to be large enough to bear the weight of a man.
YOU ARE READING
Do you know what an Ifrit is, or how Will-o'-the-Wisp attract people? Do you want to put a certain mythological creature in your story, but are confused on where to look it up? Well, you've come to the right place! "Mythological Creatures" will take...