Bird – Keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)
Stunningly beautiful to see and very interesting to watch in flight, with its surprisingly short wing span. All you seem to see is the beak! If you see one fly into a tree, look in the direction it came from and you will see its mate fly in 15 to 30 seconds later.
Animal – Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii)
Commonly called a Mountain cow. Its kind of a cross between a cow, a pig and an ant eater to look at. May 5th is National Tapir Day.
Flower – Black orchid (Prosthechea cochleata)
Ok, I’m gonna say it. I was so excited at the prospect of seeing this orchid for the first time, but when I eventually did, my fist thought was “Is that it?” It is small, really small, barely more than half inch across and like all “black” flowers, is really purple.
Tree – Mahogany tree (Swietenia mahagoni)
Remember from my childhood in Britain, that Mahogany was only found in stately homes, palaces and important government building. Now in Belize, my kitchen cupboards are Mahogany, but not at a King’s ransom!
Belize Flag – Natonal Flag
The Belize flag was adopted on September 21, 1981, the country’s first Independence Day. It consists of the coat of arms of Belize on a blue field with red stripes at the top and bottom. The blue & red on the flag are those of the country’s national parties, the People’s United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (UDP).
The coat of arms recalls the logging industry that first led to British settlement. The figures, tools, and mahogany tree represent this industry. The national motto, Sub Umbra Floreo, means “Under the shade I Flourish”. Kind of ironic, since they’re cutting down the trees and anyone who’s visited Belize knows that in urban areas, there is no shade from trees anywhere!