thunderbird

thunderbird

[thuhn-der-burd]

Wooden thunderbird of the Haida tribe, northwest coast of North America, 19th century; in the elipsis

In North American Indian mythology, a powerful spirit in the form of a bird that watered the earth and made vegetation grow. Lightning was believed to flash from its eyes or beak, and the beating of its wings was thought to represent rolling thunder. The thunderbird was often portrayed with an extra head on its abdomen, particularly on totem poles, and it was frequently accompanied by lesser bird spirits. Though it is best known in North America, evidence of similar figures has been found throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Learn more about thunderbird with a free trial on Britannica.com.

for disambiguation of the plural "Thunderbirds" Thunderbird may refer to:

Mythology

  • Thunderbird (mythology), a mythical creature common to indigenous cultures of North America who are believed to protect humans by fighting evil spirits

Zoology

  • Thunderbird (cryptozoology), in cryptozoology, a rumored large flying birdlike creature of the Americas, allegedly the source of the mythical bird.
  • Phorusrhacidae, an extinct family of giant predatory flightless birds of South and Central America
  • Dromornithidae, an extinct family of giant flightless Australian birds

Computers and software

Music

Sports teams

Fiction and entertainment

Food and drink

Transportation

Military

Organizations and places





Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature