"They're sinister -looking black birds that cry when rain's coming. Wizards used to believe that the Augurey's cry foretold death."
-- Delphi (CC3.16)
The Augurey is a thin and mournful-looking bird somewhat resembling a vulture, greenish-black in color, native to Britain and Ireland. Normally remaining hidden in its nest in brambles and thorns, flying only in heavy rain, the feathers of the Augurey repel ink. Its distinctive cry was once thought to be a death omen, but it is now known that the Augurey’s cry foretells rain. The Augurey eats insects and fairies.
- Uric the Oddball kept 50 Augureys in his house at a time. Their cries of doom convinced him he was a ghost, and he knocked himself out trying to walk through the walls (footnote in FB).
- In 1824, Gulliver Pokeby wrote Why I Didn't Die When the Augurey Cried (footnote in FB).
- The Liechtenstein National Quidditch team's mascot is a huge Augury named Hans who has his own fan club. High-spirited American fans at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup temporarily kidnapped Hans, which prompted the Liechtenstein manager Ferdinand Jägendorf to issue a statement saying‘Das finden wir nicht lustig (‘we don’t find that funny’). Hans was returned after the President of the MACUSA got involved (Pm).
- Death Eater Euphemia Rowle kept a black augurey in a cage while Voldemort's daughter Delphi was growing up. Delphi later adopted the creature as her symbol (CC3.16).
The name Augurey is a play on the word "augury" meaning "omen or portent of the future." Source: Oxford Dictionaries
Bird calls have been used to foretell the future in many cultures. In the U.S., the yellow-billed cuckoo is known as the "rain crow" because it often calls on summer days before thunderstorms. source: Wikipedia