Anatomy & Morphology
Extremely large bird with underdeveloped wings, but well-formed front claws and functional wrists suited for gripping and climbing. Most closely resembles, and descended from, corvids. Kenku cannot fly, but they can glide poorly for short distances.
Kenku, unlike most other sapient species, have very pronounced sexual dimorphism in terms of coloration.
Genetics and Reproduction
Kenku reproduce sexually, but hatch from eggs instead of live birth. They are pregnant for about 2 months, and the egg’s gestation period after laying is approximately 6 weeks. The average size of a clutch is 3 but there are sometimes as many as 7 eggs at a time.
Ecology and Habitats
Kenku evolved deep in the rainforest, but are capable of living pretty much anywhere, in a similar manner to humans. They are very innovative and are capable of quite a bit of technological invention. The most rural kenku rarely have a heavy impact on their environment, but will still build large and complex structures. Urban kenku will often have a similar impact as the majority species in their area.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Kenku are capable of an even broader diet than humans or lizardfolk. However, they prefer fruits, berries, and meats. In rural areas they forage and hunt, in urban areas they purchase food like anybody else. Kenku don’t generally practice intensive gardening, although they will intentionally place seeds or encourage certain plants to grow over others in specified areas.
Kenku posess strong, often darkly pigmented bills suited to their omnivorous diets, and dark round eyes. They often have large heads but appear to have very flat foreheads, although the true shape of their body is often masked by their feathers.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
The kenku population is split about 50/50 between rural (living in the vast rainforest that traverses Tehuantepec, Huehuetlan, the unclaimed wildlands, and the C.A.S.A.) and urban (living in populated areas of the C.A.S.A. and Acatlan). Kenku are especially numerous and protected in Acatlan, where the lizardfolk view them in an almost parental light and are highly dedicated to ensuring they get the support and recognition they deserve.
Civilization and Culture
Kenku names typically consist of a short musical phrase of notes, clicks, and/or whistles. While the sounds used are important, the tempo and spacing between them are just as if not more important overall. In urban areas, they may mimic common city noises such as industrial machinery or the din of a marketplace, while in rural areas they may sound like the calls of other animals, but the majority are original patterns. Other races (humans mainly) have enough difficulty with the names that instead of learning them they may try to simplify them into words, such as high-whistle-two-clicks or a-b-g, but referring to a kenku as such usually results in reactions ranging from grudging resignation to dire insult. Some kenku even retort by refusing to use anything but a tonal simplification of your name! On the other hand, if you make it clear that you are attempting to learn their name, even if you get it comically wrong, they will patiently teach you until you can pronounce it with ease. There is no way to easily record example names here, but it is worth noting that male names seem to include more melodies and female names seem to be more rhythmic or clicked.
The ideal kenku has a smoothly rounded profile, with well-kept feathers that are lustrous and deeply pigmented (in any colors). Their eyes and bill should be bright, and their body free from vermin. Basically, they should look healthy and they’re already beautiful.
Males should attract and woo females through their talents, force of character, health, and good looks. Females have the ultimate say in the relationship, and are allowed to pick their partner from the many competing males. In general, males are expected to take an active role in courtship but a passive role elsewhere. In same-sex couples, it is societally encouraged for one partner to take the flashy “male” role and the other the discerning “female”, but exceptions exist.
Kenku often arrive upon one romantic partner for life, but many sexual partners (including during their romantic relationship). This is considered normal and healthy, and they do not become jealous if their partner is having sex with others. They do become jealous, however, when they begin performing intimate social behaviours such as grooming. Such situations can quickly lead to bitter fights.
Average Technological Level
Kenku were, as a people, pressured into growing up too fast by their neighbors; they didn’t achieve a very high technological level on their own (wood and stone tools, just arriving on horticulture), but were quickly shown the advancements of surrounding civilizations and adopted them. Kenku learned very quickly how to use and manipulate these technologies, and now many are on the forefront of discovery along with the humans and gnomes.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Common Dress Code
Rural kenku do not wear clothes, so it is not an integrated part of their culture. For the comfort of others, urban kenku may wear clothing; however, their eclectic tastes and differing anatomy often means they wear it wrong.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Notably, most kenku are completely incapable of learning or comprehending the languages of sapient mammaloids (e.g. humans, elves, orcs, arguably gnomes). Therefore they have a difficult time communicating with and relating to other cultures, with the exception of lizardfolk (who also have trouble with mammaloids, but to a less extreme extent).
Good: lizardfolk, humans, minority species, orcs.
Tense: coatzitzintin, tabaxi, firbolg.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1, and your Intelligence score increases by 2.
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 9 meters (30 feet).
Vestigial Wings. Provided you have at least 1 1/2 meters (5 feet) of space and your arms aren’t bound, you do not take fall damage. Additionally, your jump distance is tripled, as you can glide for short distances.
Mimicry. You can mimic any sound or voice you have heard. Provided you have studied the sound or voice for at least three minutes, you can improvise similar noises to fit your situation. A creature that hears the sounds you mimic can tell they are imitations with a sucessful Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by your Charisma (Deception) check.
Avian Ingenuity. Once per day, you can apply your Intelligence modifier (minimum of +1) to any skill check, attack roll, or ability contest on top of your normal modifiers. This represents your inventive mind and ability to think of unique solutions to problems that others never considered.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Auran and one other language of your choice.
- 43 years
- Average Height
- 1.2 to 1.5 meters (4 to 5 feet)
- Average Weight
- 18 to 22 kg (40 to 50 pounds)
- Average Physique
- Being birds, kenku are extremely slight beneath their voluminous feathers. They are very light for their size, but have excellent upper body strength. The same cannot be said for the rest of their body, however. Their bones break very easily, as they are partially hollow.
- Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
- Generally, males will be vibrantly, almost garishly, colored, while females will either have more subdued plumage or be earth toned. Colors most commonly found in kenku include blues, greens, purples, yellows, whites and blacks as well as subdued browns and grays. While some populations have nearly identical males and females, these are most common in urban populations (black or black and white). Kenku are also sometimes in posession of feathered crests, which add to their exquisite beauty. For reference, look to the many beautiful variations of the Corvidae family.
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