Corvidan Species in Melior | World Anvil

Corvidan (KOR-vih-dun)

Feathered yet flightless, these characteristically curious bipedal folk are native to Melior.

Corvidans are flightless bipedal folk native to Melior and are well known for their characteristic curiosity. Their ancestors originally hailed from the Arklendian continent and scholars theorise that they were once able to migrate across the world by long distance flights. Today, corvidans are too heavy and don't have a broad enough wingspan to support flight but some smaller ones (especially children) are light enough to enjoy gliding for short distances.   Corvidan folk have only learnt magic in the last 50 years - as it was introduced to Melior during The Rupture that opened rifts across the world to mysterious planes.  
Corvidan by TJ Trewin

Physical Features

In addition to the long plumage found along their arms and legs, corvidans also have a long tail ending in a fan of wide feathers. It is believed that this helped their ancestors balance better in flight and also in running as they became less dependant on their wings and more agile on the ground as runners.   Corvidans have four digits on each hand and foot, each ending in a sharp black talon. Depending on the culture they were raised in, some folk decide to adorn them with paint and polish whilst others file them or clip them down completely (either for fashion, or practicality).
Ancient Corvidans
Historical depictions of ancient corvidans in bas relief sculptures across Arklend show that their ancestors used both sets of talons for effective hunting and also to climb the highest trees to glide from once the species relied less upon flight.  

Markings & Colourations

Corvidans have little in the way of sexual dimorphism, and many folks find it hard to distinguish sex based on anatomy alone. Instead, corvidans have adapted different social constructs alongside other folk to distinguish cultural representations of their sex and gender expressions (such as jewelery types, colours, types of fabric, and garment shape).   Colouration and markings are different based on their continental ancestors - so whilst Arklendian corvidans typically have a uniformly dark plumage, other corvidans may have stripes or splotches of white, areas of grey, brown or even have bright blue patterns in their flight feathers.


Corvidans as a species are omnivorous and enjoy a rich, diverse diet of food in the cultures they hail from, and they thrive on this diversity of food groups to be healthy and strong.   It's common for many corvidans to have a mild to moderate intolerance to dairy products, so they tend to avoid excessive consumption of milk and cheese.   Customs of cuisine vary from culture to culture, but most corvidan folk enjoy having their food in small, swallowable portions for easier consumption and to avoid getting their beaks dirty.


Corvidans can produce an impressive range and volume of sounds and use this as their primary means of communication. Their vocal talents make them well suited for professions in trading, sailing, military, and music.   They don't have any teeth or lips, so are unable to make labial or dental sounds such as p, b, m, f, v, th, and t.   Despite this, they can speak the language(s) of their nation just fine, and substitute these sounds for close matches or imitation sounds used with other parts of their tongue and beak.


Lifespan & Reproduction

Both male and female corvidans have a cloaca which serves as the opening for their intestinal, urinary, and genital tracts, with the males having a large penis that protrudes from this opening during sexual intercourse.   Due to this anatomy, horrible infections and sexually transmitted diseases can become problematic - especially in settlements with poor hygiene practises. To reduce the risk of infections, many folk intimately bathe each other as a romantic ritual before engaging in sexual activity. With the new discovery of fine rubber, physical contraceptives are helping the promotion of "clean, safe sex".
Corvidan eggs by TJ Trewin
  Courtship and traditions of sexual intimacy vary wildly in different cultures and regions, and there are no biological traditions of monogamy, polygamy, or other relationship dynamics tied to the species as a whole. Corvidans of Arklendian heritage may have come from polyamorous families and have several parents, whilst corvidans of some Jolundrian countries may only have a father figure and no particular mother.   Corvidans are egg-laying folk - after successful copulation, the female typically lays 5-7 eggs in the expectation that two may never hatch, and few will survive their early years due to malnourishment or disease (such as corvidan flu, pox, or pneumonia).   These large eggs vary slightly in shape and colour, though most are speckled and can be seen in pale hues of tan, green, and blue. It takes an incubation period of 32 weeks (8 months) for the eggs to hatch, and during this time they need to be kept at body temperature. Corvidans carefully wrap the eggs and bundle them in a sling over their chest, often including binding their non-dominant arm to cover them further with their wing feathers.   Young corvidans biologically reach adolescence at 16 years of age and are widely considered as mature adults at the age of 32 - though cultures vary wildly across the world on how a 'legal adult' is defined in accorance to local laws.   Sadly many uneducated gutterborn lose their lives in dangerous activities like roof-running and never make it past the age of 14. Age related diseases can cause problems with fragile bones breaking easily in their older years but despite this many healthy corvidans live to a ripe old age of 80 years old, some even exceed that!  
A corvidan parent playfully launches their young child into the sky, where they gleefully daydream of being able to fly like the birds high in the sky above them.
Corvidan parent and child by TJ Trewin
Genetic Ancestor(s)
80 years
Average Height
5' 6" ft
Average Weight
False Stereotypes!
"Ware of these false stereotypes of fine corvidan folk! Seed not these misbeliefs in your children, for they are unjust and untrue.   Firstly, they can speak just fine! And the only time they're going to mimic someone is if you make stupid remarks about them!   Second! Yes they do like shiny things, but no more than any faun, human or other folks in this world! And just because everyone likes trinkets does NOT mean they're going to steal from you! Some of the most respectable scholars in the The Jolundrian Empire are corvidan folk - the only thing they'd steal is a moment of your time for a drink and a chat about their latest discoveries in magic!   Third!!! They're not pure carnivores, and no they don't feast on carrion and rotten things! That's disgusting!! And disrespectful too!! Corvidans enjoy some of the finest cuisine the world can offer, and I can guarantee they enjoy FOOD more than the shiny things in your pocket!   Last of all. Don't touch the damn feathers. Especially the taaaail. Look I know some of you are curious about how they feel or maybe even want to keep a feather - but do you not see how CREEPY that is, imagine if someone kept brushing up against you and then snipped a lock of YOUR hair to caress just because it looked cool? Gross. Try that and you'll feel them all right. Betcha never had a back handed wing-slap to the face before have you? Don't go there."
(Heard from an overbearing guide educating foreign tourists.)

Myths & Religion

Whilst it's completely unknown what the common ancestor between all folks looked like, some corvidans believe that they are the children of Akkra - the god whose form is an astral-winged being that watches from the night sky as he soars around the world.   Akkra is depicted in ancient myths and artworks as being a large humanoid corvid with broad black wings speckled with tiny flecks of white and he is often shown as a fatherly figure, cradling an armful of eggs in a loving embrace. Some say he is the one who guided his children across the oceans to give them space to grow and flourish.   A small percentage of corvidans worldwide still worship Akkra, and identify themselves of the Akkranite faith. Their practise of worship revolves around family values, parenting, and condemns the trimming, plucking, dyeing, or covering of their flight feathers - as to hide them away is to be ashamed that one is a child of Akkra.  

Corvidan Clothing

Due to their longer flight feathers on their arms and legs, corvidans feel comfier wearing loose fitting clothing as part of their cultural traditions.   Their clothes often have very short sleeves (or none at all), and many folk wear tunics and robes - some of which have a vertical cut with fastenings to allow for greater tail comfort and range of motion.   Unless they live in much colder climates, corvidans don't strictly need clothes to be thick or warm (thanks to their feathers providing natural insulation), but they wear them for cultural identity and personal expression.   Footwear depends on local culture and terrain, but the majority of corvidans wear simple leather sandals fastened with either leather laces or coloured cords.  

Poor Swimmers

The majority of corvidans are fast and agile on land, they are well suited to jumping, climbing, and running but are very poorly equipped for swimming.   Their feathers are not waterproof, and when soaked become very heavy. Their longer flight feathers make it challenging and uncomfortable to move through water, so few folks see any advantage in learning to swim unless their profession requires it.   Corvidan children are taught early on to splay their arms out in water and then float on their backs so that the spread feathers create more surface area for bouyancy.   Some corvidans take this natural disadvantage as a challenge and use swimming activities as a form of sportsmanship and physical prowess.  
Introduction to Melior
Generic article | Jan 15, 2023

Fifty years ago, the world of Melior was forcefully introduced to magic during an apocalyptic invasion. Folks are questioning their old traditions and faiths as they struggle to rebuild amidst the new dangers of everyday life.

Cover image: Corvidan header by TJ Trewin


Author's Notes

Are you as curious as a corvidan? What do you want to know about them? Leave me a comment and I'll add it to the article!

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Dec 1, 2021 11:42 by Dimitris Havlidis

Incredible work TJ, good prose, amazing illustration

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Dec 4, 2021 15:33 by TJ Trewin

Thank youuu! I've added some extra lore to this species based on all the wonderful comments below :D

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Dec 1, 2021 11:46 by Heath O'Donnell

Alright, definetly based on birds and I love me some bird peeps. The question becomes: How did they evolve TALONS on their hands? Are there any artworks of ancient Corvidan that shows them flying? Does flight figure in their mythologies or folk tales?

Dec 4, 2021 15:34 by TJ Trewin

Excellent questions! I've added some extra lore to expand on this :D thanks for the inspiration!

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Dec 1, 2021 11:48

I love the artwork! It's so pretty! And I have so many questions already about these Corvidans. How do they mate? Is there a process behind it to win a partner, who lays the eggs (male, female, or another gender?), how are these children brought up, how do they develop (think primary, secondary genitals, how do their wings grow).   I think I rambled enough for now, but if you want more questions just hit me up. ^^   Keep up the good work! :D

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Dec 4, 2021 15:35 by TJ Trewin

Thank you so much!! Your questions were really inspiring, so I've expanded some sections to cover these topics! :D

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Dec 1, 2021 12:00 by Secere Laetes

Greatly done. I would love to see some customs/traditions that are common among them.

Dec 4, 2021 15:36 by TJ Trewin

Thanks so much! I've added some more details about food and clothing in this article now :D

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Dec 4, 2021 15:52 by Secere Laetes

Good. And with the other additions even better now ^^.

Dec 1, 2021 13:30 by M. R. Struble

Very nice article and beautiful artwork! I would love to know about what they eat (Are they carnivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous, insectivorous (bugs), avivorous (other birds.. could be interesting to follow a cannibalistic group of them) piscivorous (fish diet)? Do they eat seeds and nuts, maybe large bugs, or scavenge like vultures… a little bit of everything?) or does it depend on what “type” of bird they evolved from?   (Sorry that went on a bit long haha. I am looking at doing a bird type Faye for my world too… though I don’t hope you have as nice of drawings as you do haha)   I know you will make it come together amazingly and can’t wait to see some updates!

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Dec 4, 2021 15:36 by TJ Trewin

Excellent questions, these were really inspiring and I've expanded the article to answer them :D thanks so much!

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Dec 4, 2021 21:37 by M. R. Struble

That is great! As always your work, art, and design are inspirational! Keep up the great work! I hope to one day get halfway to your level :D I will be posting my first public works this month so fingers crossed!!!

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Dec 1, 2021 15:31

Amazing work as always, TJ. The sidebar with false stereotypes is a nice rebuttal of the usual cliches birdfolk tend to fall into, and I love the egg illustration in particular for some reason   As for questions: how do they deal with water? Swimming, diving, etc. Some birds also have like a waterproof coating; do the Corvidans have anything like that? :O

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Dec 4, 2021 15:37 by TJ Trewin

Thank youuuuu! Amazing question about water, I hadn't thought of that at all! I've now added an extra section that explores the topic further :D

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Dec 1, 2021 17:14 by Ademal

What does a family look like? Do they raise children as a family or a community? Culturally, do they affiliate with any particular faith or culture? As they age, what are some common ailments? Are they usually monogamous, poly, or something else entirely?   Great article!

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Dec 4, 2021 15:38 by TJ Trewin

Thanks Ademal, those are some fantastic questions :D I've updated the article a bit to explore those topics further!

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Dec 1, 2021 18:55 by Dani

Woo! More Folks! I'm glad to see Melior expanding out, and look forward to moooooore. PS: Your art here is easily worth framing on a wall--I adore it SO much.

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Dec 4, 2021 15:38 by TJ Trewin

Aaaaaaa thank you so much Dani! <3

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Dec 1, 2021 22:59

Love these! As far as a question: What are common forms of disease and illness they experience which are outside of the struggles of poverty?

Dec 4, 2021 15:39 by TJ Trewin

Excellent question, I hadn't thought of this! I've expanded a few sections of the article to explore the topic further :D thanks!

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Dec 2, 2021 13:58 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The art is soooo good. <3 I'd love to see more about their social groups and their diets.

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Dec 4, 2021 15:39 by TJ Trewin

Thank youuuuuuu! I've just added some more sections to reflect this :D

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Dec 4, 2021 16:49 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

It's so good! I love the updates!

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Dec 2, 2021 17:12

I love the artwork, but I feel there isn't actually much of an article here yet. What do they eat? They have beaks so their language would obviously different (as well as their eating habits). How different? Is it hard for them to speak human tongues and how do they compensate? I'm assuming the world was mostly ruled by science until 50 years ago with the introduction to magic, so how did their physiology end up so similar to mammalian humanoids? Is it as simple as convergent evolution? The article is a good start but I have way more questions than the article answers.

Dec 4, 2021 15:40 by TJ Trewin

Thanks so much! Those are some fantastic questions, especially about language! :D I've updated the article to expand on these topics further

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Dec 4, 2021 15:51

These are so precious! And I adore the art you made for the article. Great work!!

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Dec 20, 2021 12:27 by TJ Trewin

Thanks! :D

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Dec 4, 2021 16:25 by Morgan Biscup

You have outdone yourself, as always. I have saved this in my list for inspiration when I redo my sapient species, I have trouble thinking of ways to convey what makes them unique and you have done a beautiful job here   The quote on the side by the tour guide was especially fun.

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Dec 20, 2021 12:28 by TJ Trewin

Thank you Solar! :D

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Dec 4, 2021 18:48

Absolutely Fantastically Amazing Article. Images, Writing Style, Information, This article has it all.   Aemon

Dec 20, 2021 12:28 by TJ Trewin

Thanks so much!! :D

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Dec 4, 2021 20:26

Amazing work and beautiful illustrations.

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Dec 20, 2021 12:28 by TJ Trewin

Thank you!!

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Dec 4, 2021 21:29 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Great articles, you have included tons of small interesting details, like the speech, their problems with swimming or the sexually transmittable diseases and that really make those people stand out and appear "real". I particularly like the list of false stereotypes XD

Dec 20, 2021 12:29 by TJ Trewin

Thanks so much! :D

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Dec 5, 2021 23:38

Wonderful. I really like how much thought you put into how their avian aspects affect their lives as a sapient humanoid species.

Dec 20, 2021 12:29 by TJ Trewin

Thank you so much!

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Dec 12, 2021 04:49 by Stormbril

Amazing article TJ! Really amazing :D That art, that *aaaaaaaart*!   The sidebar info stood out to me as really excellent, too. The bit on false stereotypes was excellent, I love how you handled that entire bit.

Dec 20, 2021 12:29 by TJ Trewin

aaaaaaaaaa thanks Stormbril!! :D

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Dec 16, 2021 12:06 by E. Christopher Clark

This is just fantastic work. I aspire to write articles with this level of detail that are also a breeze to read. One problem I end up having with some World Anvil articles is that the main text is so dense that I never get to all the rich detail in the sidebars—but that's not a problem with your articles.   Just really, really well done!

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Dec 20, 2021 12:30 by TJ Trewin

That's great to hear, thank you so much!!

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Jan 2, 2022 16:31 by K.S. Bishoff

Awesome art here! And you have really worked out their physicality. I do have questions, though. Due to their feathers and leg structures in the images, they should be exceptional jumpers. Even heavier adults would not have as much weight as say a human of the same size and girth so falls would not be as damaging so I can see them surviving a fall from a roof unless it's from a tower or top of a castle or something high.   What is their social structure? Do they have castes with gutterborns at/near the bottom? Is education taught to all or to a privileged few? What do they do/make/discover that is unique to them? Do they mimic others?

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Jan 6, 2022 16:10

I see I'm not the only one to wake up in January for my notifications x) Great article. Great art. So many detail. There's a lot on what can happen to poor folks. Here's the question: what kind of special luxury can wealthy corvidans afford? do they have tail ornaments, or do they have use of specially-made couches, or maybe some particular climbing mural or tree in gentry gymmnasiums?

Jan 20, 2022 17:50

Once again another great article from the one and only TJ!   The arts are glorious :D

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Jan 25, 2022 00:19

I really like the amount of detail and the information we get about them

Jan 30, 2022 08:52 by Maybe Stewart

This was truly a delightful read. I particularly loved the sections on intimate rituals and beliefs -- the inclusivity of this species combined with their family values felt so wholesome and real. The inclusion of their evolutionary history, both real and legendary, really lent a lot of depth to them as a whole. And the art, good gods. Well done, TJ!

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