Peres announces the Hoopoe as Israel's national bird

Israel finally has a national bird. After a nationwide vote, the hoopoe has been named the country's ornithological symbol. President Shimon Peres announced the winner in Jerusalem on Thursday. More than 150,000 Israelis cast ballots leading up to Israel's 60th birthday in May. Environmental groups launched the campaign to draw attention to endangered birds. Some of the 10 nominated birds created controversy. The Griffin Vulture was deemed too violent, and some Israelis had misgivings about making the Palestinian Sunbird the symbol of Israel. The hoopoe is identified by its long beak and red and black crest. Ornithologists describe it as a beautiful, monogamous bird that takes good care of its children and uses creative tactics to defend itself.