Generally, the bird representing a nation is designated from among those which have been very familiar to the people of the relevant country for a long period, or those specific to the country.
Therefore, reflected in the bird are the natural features and culture of the country and the customs of its people.
Goshawk, belonging to the genus Accipiter, is a typical bird of prey. It is resident in mountainous regions of Korea.
It is not so large but has a balanced figure, penetrating eyes, sharp beak and strong talons. It is very clever and resolute, and flies fast.
Goshawk has been familiar to and beloved by the Korean people from olden times and was tamed to hunt wild animals.
Historical records show that during the period of the Three Kingdoms (mid-3rd century BC-AD mid-7th century) goshawk was widely bred even at private houses, and there was a government organ in charge of goshawk breeding during the Koryo (918-1392) period.
Goshawk was also called poramae, phurunmae or kkwongmae in the country.
And it was known in China, Japan and other neighbouring countries as haedongchong, bluish hawk of Korea, and enjoyed a great demand.
Its body varies in colour. Usually a male goshawk is blackish at the crown and back of the head and brownish black at the nape, and has dark-brown wing feathers. Its chest, belly and thighs are fine dark-brown barred white. The female is larger.
It lives on rats, pheasants, pigeons, and hares in the forests. It habitually hovers, scanning ground for prey, and when it discovers one, it swoops down on it.
It is a solitary bird, and pairs only in breeding seasons.
It reaches maturity at three years of age, and mates between early March and late July.
It builds a dish-shaped nest of twigs on top branches of tall trees and lays in a year 2-4 eggs at a brood.
Goshawk was designated as the national bird of the DPRK in April 2008.
Article: Choe Kwang Ho