The state bird of the state of Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Red. The state of Rhode Island chose this bird via a state bird election that the Providence Journal Company, the Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs, and the Audobon Society of Rhode Island sponsored. The Rhode Island Red won that election and it became the official state bird of the state of Rhode Island on May 3, 1954, at exactly noon. The two main competitors in that state bird election were the ruby-throated hummingbird and the osprey. The Rhode Island Red is a breed of domestic chicken.
The plumage of the Rhode Island Red can vary in color quite a bit. The plumage of this bird varies from a lustrous deep pink color to a color that is close to black. The tail of the Rhode Island Red is primarily black.
The comb, wattles, and earlobes of the Rhode Island Red are all a bright red color. The Rhode Island Red also has a reddish-brown beak, eyes that are orange and red in color, and yellow legs and feet. The Rhode Island Red frequently has some red coloring on the sides of its shanks and on its toes.
Many chickens are bred and raised either because they provide good meat or because they provide plenty of tasty eggs. However, the Rhode Island Red is a dual-purpose chicken, meaning that it is raised to provide both meat and eggs. However, since roughly 1940, the Rhode Island Red has gone through selective breeding mostly for its egg-laying abilities. The modern version of the industrial Rhode Island Red chicken is a breed created specifically to lay eggs.
The Rhode Island Red is not a chicken that was originally native to the United States. In fact, the Rhode Island Red was created via cross-breeding brown Leghorn birds from the country of Italy with various birds from Asia like the Malay, Java, and Cochin. This cross-breeding took place in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island during the late 1800s. The red plumage is probably the most notable physical characteristic of the Rhode Island Red. The Rhode Island Red got this distinctive red plumage from the Malay.