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  5. "Más vale pájaro en mano que …

"Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando."

Translation:A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

March 17, 2014



This translates literally as "A bird in the hand is worth more than a hundred in the air".

I've actually seen this idiom play out verbatim in my favourite comic book series, 100 Bullets, in a story arc entitled ¡Contrabandolero! (another play on words).

A Mexican gangster sends two guys on what is thought to be a drug run from El Paso (Texas) to Juarez (Mexico) and back. The two characters collect a truck which is filled with contraband (!) and on their journey back are hijacked and one of them is killed.

Upon returning back to El Paso with the truck, a heated 'Mexican standoff' (!!) takes place around the truck where it's revealed that they were actually smuggling indigenous parrots as the gangster has found this to be safer and more profitable than smuggling drugs. The scene culminates when the one character, upon learning about the death of his friend during the hijacking, fires his gun into the air, scaring all the parrots and causing them to scatter and fly away.

I now have a new found respect for the writers of this series and I hope that Duolingo adds this translation. I have reported this, I just wanted to share the story for an example of the idiom.


In Dutch we say "Beter 1 vogel in de hand dan 10 in de lucht", so "It's better to have 1 bird in the hand than 10 in the air". :)


Spanish speakers value their hand birds more than the Dutch :)


And the english speakers value them less.


I intuited the literal translation; but your explanation has greatly benefitted me and will aid me in learning Spanish. Muchas gracias!


I think the program should stick to literal translations. If English isn't your first language, it will depend on you understanding two idioms instead of just the one it's testing.


In Russian "Лучше синица в руках, чем журавль в небе"


O que!? Falar Russo é muito difícil.

Es muy dificil hablar Russo.

Speaking Russian it is very difficult.


I'm trying to answer "Better a bird in hand than two in the bush", the way I learned it (and the way that is grammatically correct!); but it won't let me!


The birds might beg to differ


In Poland we say: "Lepszy wróbel w garści niż gołąb na dachu"~"A sparrow in the hand is worth more than pigeon on the roof"


Is not cien a hundred?

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