A mythical bird
and the University of Kansas mascot
. The Jayhawk as a mascot
of the University
is depicted as a large smiling bird with a crimson head
and royal blue body
in keeping with university colors.
The term originated in the mid-1800s and came into wide use during the Civil War, when Dr. Charles R. Jennison called his calvary the "Independent Mounted Kansas Jayhawkers." During the civil war, Jayhawk became associated with Kansans who made efforts to keep their state a free state, and in the early 1900s the University of Kansas adopted the term into their school yell.