The Fillamaloo, or Goofus bird

The Goofus bird is a mythical, backwards-flying bird, originating in lumberjack folklore[1] in North America.[2] It is also known variously as the Filla-ma-loo bird or the Flu-fly bird.[3]

The Goofus Bird flies backwards, as it does not care where it's going, only where it's been, and it builds its nest upside down.[4][5] It is described as having a conspicuous appearance, with a turkey-like head, long green neck, with silver scales, a black right wing and a pink left wing.[6]

A person likened to a Goofus Bird is a person low in intellectual curiosity and indifferent to their forward direction.[3] Goofus is a possible origin of the word doofus, slang for a person prone to foolishness or stupidity, perhaps influenced by the German word doof, meaning stupid.[7]

The Goofus bird is one of many fearsome critters of lumberjack folklore, fantastical beasts that were said to inhabit the frontier wilderness of North America, and is an example of a 'tall tale',[8] a story with unbelievable elements related as if it were factual.

See also


  1. ^ Miller, Allison (2008). "Friends, kilts and running". Herald-Sun [Durham, NC].
  2. ^ Burchard, H. (1991). "The creatures from Toledo". The Washington Post. p. 47.
  3. ^ a b Travis, P. (1945). "BIRD LORE OF NEW YORK STATE". New York Folklore Quarterly. 1: 197.
  4. ^ "The Goofus Flies Backward and Builds Its Nest Upside Down". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  5. ^ Borges, Jorge Luis (2005). The Book of Imaginary Beings. Translated by Andrew Hurley; Contributor: Margarita Guerrero. Vintage. p. 83. ISBN 9780670891801.
  6. ^ Tryon, Henry H. (1939). Fearsome Critters. Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press.
  7. ^ Ayto, John; Simpson, J.A. (2008). Stone the crows : Oxford dictionary of modern slang (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199543700. OCLC 191929554.
  8. ^ Sutherland, Zena (1980). The Best in Children's Books: The University of Chicago Guide to Children's Literature, 1973-78. University of Chicago Press. p. 397. ISBN 9780226780597.

Further reading