Here is postcard from Belize, small but beautiful country in South America. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Belize possesses the lowest population density in Central America

The postcard I got shows 4 national symbols of Belize - The Keel Billed Toucan, The Black Orchid, The Baird's Tapir and the Mahagony Tree.

The Keel Billed Toucan is the National Bird of Belize. It is noted for its great, canoe-shaped bill and its brightly coloured green, blue, red and orange feathers. Toucans are found in open areas of the country with large trees. It is mostly black with bright yellow cheeks and chest, red under the tail and a distinctive white patch at the base of the tail.They make a monotonous frog-like croak. Toucans like fruits, and eat by cutting with the serrated edge of their bills. Toucans nest in holes in trees, using natural holes or holes made by woodpeckers, often enlarging the cavity by removing soft, rotten wood. They lay two to four eggs which are incubated by both parents. The nesting stage lasts from six to seven weeks.

Prosthechea cochleata is the national flower of Belize, where it is known as the Black Orchid.

Belize's National Animal is the Baird's tapir, the largest land mammal of the American tropics. It is also known as the mountain cow, although it is actually related to the horse and the rhinoceros. It is protected under Belizean law.

The National Tree of Belize is the Mahogany Tree, one of the magnificent giants of the Belize rain forest. Rising straight and tall to over a hundred feet from great buttresses at the roots, it emerges above the canopy of the surrounding trees with a crown of large, shining green leaves. In the early months of the year, when the leaves fall and new red-brown growth appears, the tree can be spotted from a great distance. The tree puts out a great flush of small whitish flowers – the blossom for dark fruits, which are pear-shaped capsules about six inches long. When the fruits mature they split into five valves, freeing large winged seeds which are carried away by the wind. They fall on the shaded protection of the forest floor and germinate to begin a new life cycle. The mahogany tree matures in 60 to 80 years. British settlers exploited the Belizean forest for mahogany, beginning around the middle of the 17th century. It was originally exported to the United Kingdom in the form of squared logs, but shipments now consist mainly of sawn lumber. The motto "Sub Umbra Florero" means: Under the shade (of the mahogany tree) I flourish.

Thanks a lot to Debbie, for sharing the beauty of Belize with me! :)

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