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Fire Bird

A large silent wading bird

Basic Information

Anatomy

Chest

A red inflatable sack near its neck for courtship rituals and from where it croaks.

Legs

Hollow leg and toe bones make up its skinny legs which are covered in a light brown from its own poop to cool itself.   Its legs also flow out from it body when it flies.

Beaks

Its neck is tucked into an S-shape in order to rest its beak on its shoulder when in flight.   As hatchlings, they have normal proportioned beaks, but as they get older, it begin to take half their face.

Biological Traits

Fire Feathers

The birds' feathers are uncommonly fire resistant due to oils produced under the skin. Though they are still slightly combustible and can be a skin irritant for some people.

Ecology and Habitats

They can be found in wetlands and semi-arid grasslands around the source of the steaming river at the fringes of the Bastards and Giantsfall.   Though they can breed year round; there is a noticeable uptake in the population during the dry season, when the sea recede and the water levels of rivers and ponds are low. During breeding season, several thousands can gather to pair up and mate for life. Nests can be constructed on cliff sides, the tops of trees or directly on burnt ground for three eggs to be incubated by both parents.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Scavenger

They can often be found near human garbage around settlements or flocking to carrion anywhere an animal is killed.

Hunt

Fire birds will eat almost any animal: fish, frogs, lizards, bats, snakes, insects, rats, eggs and even other birds.   The bird is attracted to fires; where they fly ahead of wild blazes to snatch small escaping prey.

Biological Cycle

The Insanity

The Insanity is a nightly event at the peak of the Mountain of Fire where thousands and thousands of bats break out to hunt and are set upon by falcons, who are set upon by banshees inturn.  
A free for all that becomes so hectic, that fires from the mountain side can leap onto those flying too low. And by the path, flying flames crash onto the way and zip through the air in panic. It is dangerous to be on the mountain during Insanity.
When the birds' feathers are burnt black, their wings look like a black cloak when seen from behind.

Additional Information

Social Structure

They are often seen in hunting flocks at night and roosting in pairs during the day to avoid spending energy unnecessarily.

Domestication

War Bird

The odd flock of fire birds is kept by the College of Birds as the most expensive war bird.   Rather than being trained to fish, war birds are brilliant and noticeable messengers set loose above a battlefield to indicate which units are to move and where.
Facial characteristics
A large bill dominates a pink sunburnt head with a clapping bill
Lifespan
25 - 40 years
Average Height
5 feet
Wingspan
10 feet
Average Weight
1.5 stones
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Red roughs and orange tail feathers that molt regularly and turn a resilient black when on fire
Geographic Distribution
Related Organizations
Related Ethnicities

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Comments

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17 Aug, 2022 13:47

Fire resistant birds, nice.
Is it their looks or the nightly insanity that let some people consider them monstrus?


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17 Aug, 2022 23:24

It is largely cultural. During the insanity, their plumage can accidentally catch fire which at night makes it look like this huge monstrous fiery thing that's flying up and down overhead as it hunts its much smaller prey.   Those who live within visual range, and are largely used to them, ascribe an elemental and religious beauty to the spectacle. Going so far as to build their capital in the outline of the bird.   While being scary to everyone else. Come day break, the normally ugly bird with bright feathers transforms into sinister looking homunculus with an ashy black cloak prowling the mountain sides.