Tunasom are highly social, toucan-like birds, often found in small flocks or family groups. Their strong bonds with their kin make them well-suited for domestication, as they can form affectionate connections with their Elf owners. In Soala'Sar, owning a Tunasom is considered a status symbol and a sign of prosperity, guidance, and protection. Traditional Soalan myths tell that if a young hunter becomes lost in the woods, a tunasom will lead them home. Because of these myths, many elves in Soala'Sar keep tunasom as pets and believe their calls can help them find their way home in times of trouble. The myth evolved to include various pieces of the bird as lucky objects. It is uncommon to meet a Soala'Elle who has not owned at some point a lucky relic made from tunasom remains.
The Tunasom is known for its vibrant golden and turquoise feathers. It possesses a magnificent beak that is often a deep shade of yellow, with prominent markings unique to each individual. Due to selective breeding over generations, domesticated Tunasom tend to have even brighter coloration and longer beaks. They are medium-sized birds with a graceful wingspan and a tail that fans out beautifully. Their eyes are bright and keen, enabling them to spot fruits and insects from high treetops.
The average life span of a tunasom in the wild is approximately 20 years. However, when kept in captivity, they can live up to 40 years. As a tunasom ages, their colorful plumage might experience slight changes due to wear and fading. The feathers might lose some vibrancy over time, indicating an individual's age and experience. The average height of a tunasom is about 24 inches (from bill to tail), and they possess an impressive wingspan of 24 inches as well. In terms of weight, these birds exhibit variations depending on age, sex, and health. On average, their weight ranges from 1 pound to 1.71 pounds. Concerning physical appearance, male and female tunasom individuals generally look similar, making it challenging to distinguish between the sexes based on external traits alone. However, slight variations in size and coloration may exist between males and females, with some females being slightly larger or having a subtler plumage. Tunasom pairs work together to build and maintain their nests. Both males and females contribute to nest building, incubation, and feeding of their young and show remarkable coordination during the nesting process. Once the eggs are laid, both parents take turns incubating them and providing food for the chicks after they hatch.
Genetics and Reproduction
Tunasom engage in elaborate courtship displays to attract potential mates. During the breeding season, which typically occurs during the middle of spring, the male Tunasom performs a series of acrobatic and colorful displays to impress females. These displays showcase their vibrant feathers, fluttering their wings in intricate patterns and making melodious calls to demonstrate their health and vitality. Once the female is sufficiently impressed by a male's courtship, they form a monogamous pair bond and find a suitable nesting site. The female lays her eggs in tree hollows, which provide natural protection from predators and the elements. Clutch sizes can vary but usually consist of 2 to 18 eggs, depending on factors such as the availability of food and the health of the breeding pair. After the female lays the eggs, both parents take turns incubating the eggs. The incubation period lasts approximately 2 to 4 weeks, depending on environmental conditions. During this time, the parents remain highly attentive and protective, carefully regulating the temperature of the eggs and ensuring they are safe from harm.
Growth Rate & Stages
Once they hatch from their eggs, the young Tunasom are born blind and featherless, relying entirely on their parents for sustenance and warmth. The chicks develop rapidly, and their parents diligently feed them a diet of regurgitated fruits and insects to help them grow quickly. As the chicks mature and their feathers grow, the parents continue to care for and teach them essential survival skills. It takes several weeks for the fledglings to become fully independent and capable of foraging on their own. During this time, the parents guide and protect their offspring, showing them the best foraging spots and warning them of potential dangers. Once the fledglings can fend for themselves, they usually disperse to find their territories or join flocks of other Tunasom.
Ecology and Habitats
The Tunasom prefers to dwell in the semi-tropical woodlands of Soala Forrest. They make their nests within tree hollows, providing safe and well-hidden shelters for their young. These woodlands are rich in diverse flora and fauna, providing an abundant food supply for the Tunasom's diet of fruits and insects. They are non-migratory birds, staying within the forest's confines throughout the year.
Dietary Needs and Habits
The Tunasom is well-adapted for foraging in the dense canopy of the forest. With its agile flight and keen eyesight, it can easily navigate through the treetops in search of ripe fruits and insects. The bird has a specialized beak, which allows it to pluck fruits and catch insects with precision. It is particularly fond of juicy tropical fruits like berries, figs, and other sweet treats in the woodlands. In addition to fruit, the Tunasom also preys on insects to supplement its diet. It spots insects crawling on leaves or flying in the air and swoops to catch them in its beak. Its long beak and sharp eyes make it a skilled insect hunter, capable of snatching prey with remarkable accuracy. The Tunasom doesn't engage in extensive food storage like some other species. Instead, it relies on the abundance of food in its habitat. The semi-tropical woodlands of Soala'Sar provide a year-round supply of fruits and insects, reducing the need for long-term food storage strategies.
The Tunasom undergoes seasonal changes in its plumage to adapt to the shifts in climate and environment. During the breeding season, the birds' colors intensify, and their feathers become more vibrant and lustrous to attract mates and establish dominance. As the breeding season ends and winter approaches, the Tunasom's plumage may mellow or change slightly to blend in better with the changing colors of the forest, providing better camouflage against potential predators. Unlike many other bird species, the Tunasom is non-migratory, preferring to remain within the confines of the semi-tropical woodlands all year round. However, as the seasons change, some individuals or flocks might engage in short-distance dispersal to find areas with more abundant food sources or to explore new territories within the forest. Soala'Sar might experience milder winters, but during freezing periods, the Tunasom could enter a state of torpor. Torpor is a temporary hibernation-like state where the bird's metabolic rate drops significantly to conserve energy. During this period, they might reduce their activity and become less visible to avoid predators and save energy until the weather becomes more favorable. As the seasons change, the availability of fruits and insects in the woodlands fluctuates. The Tunasom has to adjust its feeding patterns accordingly. During the abundant season, the birds may focus on breeding and raising their young, requiring a more diverse diet to meet the nutritional needs of the chicks. In leaner times, they might forage more strategically and consume specific types of food that are more available.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
The feathers are commonly used for jewelry and ceremonial garments such as cowls, robes, or headdresses. Tunasom skin is sometimes used for small leather goods such as pouches or straps. Large leather goods are uncommon but not unheard of. Notable examples of large leather goods are a pair of boots worn by Ambrose François. Tunasom beaks are a popular source of yellow dyes. When ground, the beak can be used to create vibrant pigments for paints and clothing. Tunasom beaks retain their coloring long past the bird's death and are often harvested from remains of wild tunasom.
20 Years (wild), 40 Years (captivity)
1 pound to 1.71 pounds
24 inches (bill to tail, wingspan)
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Golden yellow with turquoise