Northern Flicker (yellowhammer woodpecker) showing a glimpse of bright yellow feathers under tail and wings; photo by Nature's Pic's Online (use permitted with attribution / share alike)
Nicknames for Alabama
Alabama has not designated an official nickname, but it has been called "The Yellowhammer State" since the Civil War, when a company of Alabama soldiers wore uniforms trimmed with yellow cloth and were nicknamed "Yellowhammers" (because of the bright yellow feathers that flash beneath this bird's wings and tail). "Yellowhammer" is the common name for the northern flicker woodpecker, which is also the state bird of Alabama. All State Niknames
The Cotton State
Alabama is also called "The Cotton State." Alabama is centrally located in the cotton belt and cotton production was a major influence in the growth and culture of the state.
The Heart of Dixie
Probably the most familiar nickname for Alabama is "The Heart of Dixie" (originally because Montgomery was the first capital of the Confederate States during the Civil War).
Stars Fell on Alabama
The phrase "Stars Fell on Alabama" was introduced to Alabama license plates in 2002, with the familiar Heart of Dixie emblem reduced to a small size (a 1951 law requires Alabama license plates to display the words "Heart of Dixie" within a heart shape).
"Stars Fell on Alabama," refers to the 1934 song written by Mitchell Parish and Frank Perkins and made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and other artists ("Stars Fell on Alabama" is also the title of a book by Carl Carmer). It also refers to an actual meteor shower that was seen across Alabama on November 12-13, 1833. Quote from then-Governor Don Siegelman: "It is my hope that this design will help send a message that stars have indeed fallen on Alabama and continue to fall on Alabama."