Homa: A bird that brings prosperity and happiness

The bird “Homa” holds a significant place in Iranian mythology and is renowned for its association with bringing happiness and prosperity. It is said that if its shadow falls upon someone, that person will attain happiness and prosperity. For this reason, it is known as the “bird of happiness.” Similar to the phoenix in Egyptian and Greek myths, the Homa is a creature of great dignity. In Iranian literature, the Homa symbolizes happiness.

In Iranian literature and proverbs, the Homa is depicted as a harmless, bone-eating bird. The Homa is an actual indigenous bird of Iran that has long been a symbol of happiness and good fortune in the beliefs of the people of this land. In popular belief, it is believed that the Homa brings prosperity to those who are virtuous and good-hearted. Interestingly, in ancient Persian literature, when a king would pass away without a clear heir, people would gather in a field and release a Homa. Whoever the bird landed on would become the king or ruler of the land.


But how does the Homa bird bring happiness and prosperity?

In Persian literature, the Homa bird is considered a symbol of grandeur, happiness, and prosperity. It is believed that if the shadow of the Homa falls upon a person, that person will attain happiness and prosperity. People consider it an auspicious sign and when they find it, they strive to stand in its shadow.

What kind of bird is Homa?

The Homa bird, also known as the Bearded Vulture (scientific name: Gypaetus barbatus), is a large raptor species belonging to the vulture family. It inhabits high mountains in regions of Africa, southern Europe, and Asia, including certain areas of Iran like the protected zone of Gono. The Homa bird remains in one place throughout the year and lays only one or two eggs each breeding season.

This bird primarily feeds on bone marrow and is known for its unique feeding behavior. It picks up large bones and drops them from a height onto rocks to break them into smaller pieces. Occasionally, it also feeds on small live tortoises using the same method. The Homa is the only vulture species with a diet that consists predominantly (70-90%) of bones.

The Bearded Vulture can be found in various colors, ranging from pure white to reddish-orange. The presence of iron oxide in the soil leads the bird’s feathers to take on a terrifying and awe-inspiring appearance. The Homa uses its talons to pick up soil containing iron oxide and rubs it onto its feathers for about an hour, turning them into a fiery orange color, giving it a fearsome appearance.

But where can we find the Homa bird?

The Homa bird inhabits high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet. It nests and reproduces in these regions. The bird’s egg-laying takes place in mid-winter with one or two eggs, which hatch into chicks in early spring. The Homa can be found in highlands and mountainous areas. It thrives at altitudes between 300 to 4500 meters above sea level, with most of its population residing above 2000 meters.

The Homa often chooses abandoned, rocky areas or valleys overlooking grasslands where its prey and scavengers live. Such habitats provide potential access for the bird to reach the carcasses of hunted and dead animals.

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