The chango is a peculiar and common bird in the island of Puerto Rico. It lives in coastal areas as well as urban settings; they are social and intelligent birds that have well adapted to the changes imposed by human intervention. Some historical documentation has been shown of it having lived in large communities in the municipality of Mayagüez, as well as in the municipality of naranjito deemed "el pueblo de los changos" (the chango's village).
In her short essay "El chango como pájaro nacional" (the chango as the national bird), Magali García Ramis shows the parallel relationships between Puerto Ricans and the bird. In it she points at aspects like sociability, musical gestures, nosy behavior, adaptation, activity and relationship to the caribbean context as similar to those of the people of Puerto Rico.
Despite it having a meaningful and similar aspects to Puerto Ricans, a lot of people in the island reject this idea, as they perceive the chango as having a negative or derogative connotation. On the other hand, there also exists a group of people that agree and reinforce this notion, as they look at the bird with a more understanding perception.
The Chango is a controversial bird that, despite its different percetions by the Puerto Rican People, is an essential part of the Puerto Rican context and landscape.
Picture by Javier Román-Nieves / IG @birdsandstars