The South Bird (サウスバード Sausu Bādo?) is a type of bird found in Jaya and Skypiea. These strange looking birds have an odd habit of always pointing their head south, no matter where they are (much to the amusement of Luffy). In fact, they find it most uncomfortable to point in any other direction. Because of this, they were used in ancient times to navigate. They have a very strange call (jyooooooh) that can control bugs. There are other varieties of birds whose heads point a particular direction, and they are closely related enough for a south bird to mate with a north bird and produce eastern and western birds as a result.
On Jaya the Straw Hats needed a south bird to find their way to the Knock-Up Stream. Mont Blanc Cricket told them they needed a south bird to act like a compass so they could navigate to the Knock-Up Stream. Nico Robin eventually caught the bird and held him for the trip to Skypiea, using her Devil Fruit power. During the voyage to the Knock-Up Stream, The South Bird tried to confuse the Straw Hats by turning its head in a different direction (but failed due it getting antsy whenever facing a direction other than south). After attacking Nami for not setting it free the south bird escaped once the crew made it to Skypiea. In a comedic twist, the south bird came back to the Going Merry. Chopper translated for the bird, stating that he did not want to stay at Skypiea. After Chapter 302, the south bird is not seen again until after the timeskip in a chapter cover.
In the anime, the south bird's role was somewhat extended to play another comedic role as he is annoyed by Vice Admiral Jonathan and attacks him in the G-8 Arc. The south bird was again unseen after that. This variety first appeared in Chapter 230 and Episode 149.
The south birds on Skypiea are much larger than those found on Jaya and seemingly much friendlier. Chopper, Gan Fall, and Pierre were saved from drowning by them after their encounter with Shura. Chopper learns from them that Gan Fall was the previous God of Skypiea. Later, one saved Zoro's life only so it could steal his lunch. It also laughed at Zoro for getting lost (prompting Zoro to throw his backpack at it).
Despite its friendly nature, it's not above sacrificing something at hand to save its own skin (such as when it dropped Zoro so the Giant Python would leave it alone). This variety first appeared in Chapter 251 and Episode 164.
In From the Decks of the World there are shown to be some variants of the bird, named North Bird, Eastern Bird and Western Bird, everyone of them pointing to a different cardinal direction.
- Ironically, a south bird started following Zoro, who was lost at the time and needed to go south, but was going in the opposite direction as indicated by the south bird's head pointing the other way.
- In the anime, there is an error, as south birds are shown with head pointing perpendicular to each other.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 One Piece Manga — Vol. 65 Chapter 644, cover story: From the Decks of the World Vol. 27, North, Eastern and Western Birds are revealed.
- ↑ One Piece Anime — Episode 150, South Birds are seen with their heads pointing perpendicular to each other when they should be parallel.