5 Feathered Friends (and One Fowl Fiend) from Disney History

We’ve come to a conclusion here at Celebrations: Disney is for the birds.

Hold on and hear us out. We don’t mean it in a bad way. 

Think about it. How many classic Disney characters are feathered? Both in Disney films and in the parks? The number is surprisingly high. Donald Duck. The Three Caballeros. Iago. Scuttle. Zazu. The birds of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. The list goes on and on. I mean, Pixar even created an Academy Award-winning short film titled, “For the Birds.”

On the next episode of the Celebrations Magazine Podcast, we’ll be talking about some of our favorite Disney birds, but thought we’d take this opportunity to offer a little appetizer to that main course. And what might that be? Well, here’s a look at a few of the lesser-known birds of Disney. 



Clara Cluck

Clara Cluck

While many of Disney’s earlier characters went on to achieve great fame (Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Pluto, to name a few obvious examples), others have languished in relative obscurity. Fortunately, some have returned to the spotlight, such as the irrepressible Clarabelle. 

Thus far, however, Clara Cluck has remained in the wings, waiting for her moment to leap into the spotlight.

The boisterous, opera singing chicken made her debut in the 1934 Mickey Mouse short Orphan’s Benefit. The British actress Florence Gill provided her voice. Gill also provided the voice for The Wise Little Hen, as well as a number of other unnamed poultry in various Disney cartoons.  

Over the years, she made appearances in short films, comics and can even be seen in Mickey’s Christmas Carol. For a time, she was featured in Tokyo Disneyland’s Usatama on the Run! parade, and can now be seen as part of Mickey’s Boo to You Parade in the Magic Kingdom. 



Aracuan Bird

The Aracuan Bird

Described as, “one of the most eccentric birds ever seen,” the Aracuan Bird made its debut in the Aves Raras portion of the 1944 film The Three Caballeros. He would later appear in the film Melody Time, as well as the Donald Duck cartoon Clown of the Jungle. 

Originally voice by Pinto Colvig (who originated the role of Goofy) the Aracuan is a comical character with a rather peculiar, sped-up voice. He doesn’t exactly speak but communicates through a series of rather ridiculous sounds. 

Over the last few decades, he has seen a minor resurgence, with appearances in Mickey Mouse Works, House of Mouse, and The Legend of the Three Caballeros. He was also featured in Disneyland as part of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. 



Von Talon

Von Talon

When discussing Disney’s animated films, the title Valiant doesn’t come up a lot. The 2005 feature film told the story of the pigeons Valiant and Bugsy (portrayed by Ewan McGregor and Ricky Gervais respectively) as they go to work for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service in England during World War II. 

While not a financial success, the film featured a stellar cast of talent including John Hurt, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, and Annette Badland. But it is the film’s villain that makes our list: the fiendish Nazi General Von Talon (a peregrine falcon). And why does such a despicable character bear mention? Because he was voiced by the one and only Tim Curry. The fiendishly talented Mr. Curry portrays the sinister Von Talon with his usual elan. Of course, it isn’t Curry’s first time playing a Disney villain. He was also the voice of Forte in Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, and, of course, Long John Silver in Muppets Treasure Island.  



Amelia Gabble

Lady Kluck/Amelia Gabble

We’re getting a two for one here, because they share a voice. 

Tony Award winning actress Carole Shelley gave voice to Amelia Gabble in Disney’s 1970 film The Aristocats. A minor character in the film, she and her sister Abigail are a tittering pair of busy bodies with feathers for brains who also happen to be the nieces of Uncle Waldo. 

Best known for her roles as Gwendolyn Pigeon in “The Odd Couple” and Madame Morrible in “Wicked,” Shelley very nearly steals the show in Robin Hood, performing as Maid Marian’s lady-in-waiting Lady Kluck. A semi-talented badminton player, Kluck’s true skill lies in her ability to play American football, a skill she demonstrates while battling Prince John’s guards.  

Like Clara Cluck, Lady Kluck can also be seen briefly in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, celebrating at Fezziwig’s Christmas party. 



Orange Bird

Orange Bird

While he may be well known to the Walt Disney World faithful, Orange Bird is still a relatively obscure character when it comes to the grander world of pop culture.

Created in 1969 for the Florida Citrus Commission, Orange Bird initially appeared in television and radio ads. He even had an album released that told his story and included a song written by the Sherman Brothers. His Walt Disney World debut took place at Sunshine Tree Terrace, and for a time he was even a walk-around character in the parks. But after a time, he disappeared. 

It wasn’t until 2012 that he returned to the Magic Kingdom. An April 17 post on Disney’s official blog announced, “Early this morning, D23 representatives announced the return of the historic Orange Bird character live in Adventureland before a small group of D23 members…Beginning today, Orange Bird will return to Sunshine Tree Terrace signage and quirky drink cups, and a new line of Orange Bird merchandise has already appeared on the shelves!”

Since that time, his popularity has begun to climb and shows no sign of stopping. 


Birds of a Feather

There are plenty more birds, known and lesser known, that we could discuss. But then we’d risk stealing the thunder of our podcast crew. You’ll simply have to tune in to hear who else is flying with the flock. 


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