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Cryptid Wiki

The Fill-ma-loo bird by Henry H Tyron. (1939)

Philamaloo or Phylliloo, also vicariously called the Goofus bird, Fill-ma-loo or the Flu-Fly is a Fearsome critter of American lumberjack folklore in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Earliest published description of the Philamaloo was included in Paul Bunyans Natural History (1935)[1] based on earlier oral accounts & legends: "It had a long beak like a stork and long legs. It had no feathers to spare. It flew upside down the better to keep warm and to avoid rheumatism in its long Hmbs. It laid Grade D eggs."

– He also gives a description of the 'Goofus bird' as a separate critter: "One of the peculiar birds nesting near Paul Bunyan's old time camp on the Big Onion River. It was the opposite of most other birds—it always flew backwards instead of forwards. This curious habit an old lumberjack explained: "It doesn't give a darn where it's going, it only wants to know where it's been." It also built its nest upside down. "


Phillyloo and others 1981

This was later expanded upon by Henry H Tyron in Fearsome Critters (1939) [2] who combined the two: "A bird distinctly low in intellectual curiosity, showing complete and consistent indifference as to where he’s going. He prefers only to see where he’s been; hence he always flies backwards.  A rather rare species, frequently heard of, but seldom seen. Authentic reports are none too common. This is odd, for a turkey-like head on a long bottle-green neck sparsely spangled with large, silvery scales, a black right wing and a pink left one make a color combination hard to miss. The nest is usually built upside down; the eggs (seven to a clutch) are invariably Grade D. The call resembles the clank of a Johnson bar being shoved into reverse."


possibly a wood stork.

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', a story with unbelievable elements related as if it were factual.

its believed that the Critters name might have stemmed from lumbermen misspeaking the word French word for "Feux-Follet" (will-o'-the wisp) though its unclear how the two might be connected.[3]

The story of this creature may be inspired from the observation of the Wood Stork, a bird that has been witnessed briefly flying in this manner.

Further reading[]

"Phylliloo Bird" from Paul Bunyan Natural History (1935) by Charles E. Brown [1]

"Goofus bird" Fearsome Critters (1939) by Henry H Tyron [2]

"Mythical Creatures of Maine" by Christopher Packard. (2021) [1]