This Is Why The Duolingo Owl Is Looking a Mess Right Now…

This Is Why The Duolingo Owl Is Looking a Mess Right Now…

Today, in news that feels completely bizarre, it’s come to our attention that the internet is increasingly concerned about Duo, the green bird mascot for language app, Duolingo. Taking a quick look online, we’ve discovered that there is a fair bit of discussion about the changes to the Duolingo app icon, with people complaining that Duo (the bird) is looking sad and kind of old…

Why has this happened, you ask? We wondered the same thing. Here’s what we’ve discovered about the green bird’s changing appearance so far.

Why does my Duolingo app icon look old and sad?

In r/duolingo, Reddit user VinceAmonte recently asked folks, “Why is Duo sad? I must have missed the joke, can someone explain it to me?”

He continued on, asking for advice on how “to get a different Duolingo icon on my home screen? I have Superlingo and can only switch between sad Duo and Super Duo.”

People have been quick to reply, sharing that the new Duo look is depressing them and that they hate looking down at their phones to see this little bird staring back at them.

One user, Noellec_c, shared that they “switched to the Streak Society [Duolingo] app icon. It has blazing eyes,” so they could avoid seeing sad, old Duo on their home screen.

TikTok is also noticing the Duolingo bird icon has changed, and loads of people are unsurprisingly freaking the hell out about it.

Duo is more than aware of the concern, too. He has popped into TikTok comments to ask people to “let me live my life” – which, y’know, is his prerogative, I suppose. He has also confirmed that he’s “a bit tired,” which would explain the mood shift and sagging mug.

We reached out to the team at Duolingo to ask what is up with the change in Duo’s face, and they explained that – unsurprisingly – the bird is feeling a little wiped after a busier-than-average start to the year… A spokesperson shared:

“Our iconic mascot Duo the Owl is quite literally exhausted from doing everything he can to remind learners to do their lessons. From ice skating in a 4-hour musical to receiving BBL plastic surgery for the Super Bowl, he’s had an insanely busy few months. His latest strategy? Honesty.”

TikToker @kiwi2.5 has also shared a pretty interesting theory about the change in the app icon for Duolingo, however. She shared that it’s not actually the first time Duo’s face has changed, stating that in the past, the bird has had a melted face or crying face in the app icon, and she highlighted that per some reading she’d been doing, the whole thing is (surprise) a marketing tactic.

The change in face for the bird gets people curious and asking questions (which it has achieved), and as a result, it refreshes interest in the app. This technique is known as the “novelty effect” – which would mean that our pal is, in fact, doing okay.

What do you think? Is there a reason for sad, old Duo to be appearing on our screens? Or is it all marketing?

In any case, if you’d like to swap the app icon over, there are a couple ways to do that.

How to change your Duolingo app icon

If you’re a Super Duolingo or Duolingo Max member, you can click the owl in your top right corner and select ‘turn on’ beneath your app icon.

From here, your app will be updated according to the membership type you have.

You can also change your Duolingo bird icon through your Streak Society dashboard.

To do this, tap the streak flame at the top of your screen, swipe through to find your Streak Society, and select ‘enter now’.

From here, click ‘change app icon’. You should get access to up to three different Duo app icon options here.

Once you’ve changed your app icon, you’ll get a notification saying you’ve successfully done so.

Lead Image Credit: Duolingo/TikTok

This article has been updated since its original publish date to include a statement from Duolingo.

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