Previously, we took a look at the character known as Birdo, but now it’s time to delver further into her species.
While not immediately apparent in Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo seems to follow the peculiar yet almost distinctly Mario trope of featuring a star character whose name doubles as that of their species. Other particularly notable examples include Toad and Yoshi, whose use of their species as their name has been known to occasionally cause confusion as to whether or not a given appearance is “the” character in question.
In addition to the standard pink Birdo, three other colors have been known to appear in Super Mario Bros. 2. First is Red Birdo (so named in Prima’s official strategy guide for Super Mario Advance), who spits both fireballs and eggs, so that players need to stay on their toes when it comes to which projectiles are safe to jump on. Then there is Green Birdo, who spits nothing but fireballs, thus necessitating an alternate means of taking them out (usually with conveniently-placed Mushroom Blocks). The third color is a grey Birdo, who acts just like Green Birdo, but only appears in the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game.
In their encore appearance in BS Super Mario USA, the Birdos pf Super Mario Bros. 2 were given a little more of an identity by way of the title of the first episode, which translates as “We, the Super-Birdos!” Of course, as that’s the first episode and only the standard pink Birdo appears in the first world, it’s difficult to say whether this title is meant to apply to all three, or just the red and green varieties. Unfortunately, with Satellaview game preservation being what it is, it’s hard to know if we’ll ever have access to the dialogue that would allow us to know for sure.
In both BS Super Mario USA and Super Mario Advance, the red and green Birdos were further differentiated as more distinct characters with different voices and dialogue.
While the pink Birdo would go on to become a standout character in her own right with roles aplenty, others of her species have appeared in games over the years. In fact, it turns out there are many, many more colors than just the four presented in Super Mario Bros. 2.
The Mario sports titles in particular have proven a popular stomping ground for the prehistoric egg-spitters. The above image shows the many different kinds that are playable as team members in Mario Strikers Charged, even going so far as to add several new colors to the mix (though no grey). While they also filled out teams for football and badminton doubles in Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, they’re more commonly found as spectators across everything from Mario Tennis to Mario Kart.
Beyond that, however, the Birdos of varying colors haven’t really appeared much (if at all) in other media and merchandise. As noted before, pink Birdos did appear in the Nintendo Comics System and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! as generic members of the species, but red, green, and grey were left out.
Perhaps if Nintendo ever creates a more direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. 2, we’ll see more varieties appear — maybe even with some new tricks of their own?
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.