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The Question:

What is the type or name of the bird on the flag of Mexico?

The Answer:

The bird found in the center of Mexico's flag is an eagle. It and the snake in its mouth are both taken from the official emblem of Mexico.

The emblem, which was first adopted in 1823, is based on an Aztec Indian legend about how the country's capital, Mexico City, was founded.

According to the legend, Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec's supreme deity, instructed the Aztec people to seek a place where an eagle landed on a prickly-pear cactus, eating a snake.

After years of wandering they found the sign on a swampy island called Lake Texcoco. A settlement was established at the site in 1345 and it was named Tenochtitlan ("Place of the Prickly Pear Cactus"). It served as an important Aztec city until it was razed by the Spanish in 1521.

Mexico City is built on the ruins of this ancient metropolis.

To learn more about the flags of the world, check out our Flags From Around the World section.

—The Editors

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