A flashraven is a omnivorous, bird-like creature native to the Distal Tesseract. Flashravens are poorly understood by the scientific community of the Manifold Sky setting because, until recently, they have been highly elusive creatures. The creatures have a natural camouflage ability (see below) and have evolved a skittishness around creatures too large for them to take down and eat. However, as Vale Verdial researchers have become a more common sight in the flashravens' natural territories, the bird analogues have begun to harrass people for food and, thus, exposed themselves to more extensive study.
A flashraven's overall body plan is similar to that of a large corvid - hence the name - but there are a few features that set it apart. A flashraven has a somewhat elongated body that supports two sets of feathered wings. The forward set of wings is large and provides most of the lift required for flight, while the rear set are used to provide stability and allow for more precise turns in the air. The head of the flashraven sports two sets of eyes, one just above and behind the other. This arrangement grants the creature and almost completely spherical field of vision, though the forward pair of eyes are more forward-facing to allow for the overlapping fields of view required for a hunter's binocular vision. One of the most unusual features of the flashraven is that its body can shift color in patterns to provide camouflage and even give off flashes of brightly-colored light. The creature's feathers are actually semi-transparent, allowing its color-changing skin to be seen through them.
Genetics and Reproduction
Flashravens mate once per year at the end of the winter season. They are monogamous, but gather in huge rookeries in the canopies of trees at high altitude for maximum protection against ground-based predators.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Flashravens are consummate omnivores, eating meat and vegetable matter no matter its state. The flashraven metabolism has to support a number of energy-intensive systems, including an oversized brain, multiple eyes that can see in wide spectrums, and bioluminesence. As such, flocks of flashravens are constantly hungry and none-too-picky about prospective food. This ravenous appetite makes large clouds of flashravens menaces to even mid-sized creatures - including verdial researchers, with their exposed Caudal lichen symbiotes resembling one of the many plants that hungry flashravens might browse upon. Notably, flashravens are unaffected by capsaicin and pass the undigested seeds of some plants in their feces; for this reason, flashraven foraging is an important part of the reproductive strategy of Distal capsicum analogues, such as the scintillating pepper. Flashravens flock together for both mutual protection and to increase their success at hunting and foraging. While their natural camouflage abilities give them excellent protection from predators and non-Distal researchers alike, their stealth also allows them to sneak up on prospective prey, including isolated Distal polyps and the many flying insect analogues found in the Distal Tesseract. When hunting for small game, including other bird analogues and terrestrial mammal analogues like the windsiever, the flashravens use their iconic light flashes in unison to startle the prey out of hiding. They may also use their flashes to startle competitors away from carcases and piles of debris that may contain forage.