The danghu-bird is a mythical bird-like creature from China. This creature is said to be so strong that it's capable of flying using solely its whiskers and the feathers of its throat while its wings rest comfortably extended.
According to the Chinese scholar Guo Pu (i.e., Kuo P'u; 276 – 324 AD), if you travel to the Shangshen, the Upper-Shen Mountain, almost at the top, there is a peak where there are no plants or trees, only huge rock.
At the base of this peak grow many hazelnut trees and arrow-thorn bushes. That is the habitat of the danghu birds, the only place in the world where this creatures live. The danghu like to pass the time planing between trees, jumping and flying from branch to branch, searching for the best hazelnuts to eat.
According to descriptions, a danghu looks like an over-grown pheasant, but much more colorful, and capable of flying using not its wings but its throat feathers.
It is said that consuming the meat of the danghu protects from eyesight deterioration and reverses any past lose of it.
In his encomium, Guo Pu describes the way in which the danghu flies:
"Most birds fly with their wings.
But whiskers suffice for the Danghu.
It employs the sparse and eschews the many
Yet has more than enough to make-do.
As the hub allows a wheel to turn on cue,
From emptiness does the greatest use ensue."
In his study of old Chinese mythology and ethnology, Mathieu suggests that this bird could be the masked Japanese grosbeak (Eophona personata), which is nonetheless un-whiskered and un-pheasant-like, but that is abundant near the Shangshen and along the Yellow river.
-Mathieu, R. 1983. Étude sur la mythologie et l’ethnologie de la Chine ancienne. Collège de France, Paris.
-Strassberg, R. E. 2002 A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. University of California Press.