Some Cool Birds:
Yes, I know, everybody and their uncle has seen this one, but every thread like this basically needs to be reminded of Bearded Vultures.
I know I also have an abnormal obsession with grouse and pheasant-like critters. But, they're flashily dressed and they fight each other in flying-kick leap combat and frankly it's a damn shame there aren't movies about them instead of stupid cutesy pigeons and shit. Peacocks and co. are basically even bigger and more bombastic kung fu birds, but I don't like to watch them standing off as much because they're a lot hissier, they don't jump as high, and since they're just bigger in general they probably hurt each other a lot worse instead of just having brief intervals of sky-shoving clawslaps.
For a similar reason, I don't think about ducks this way even though they also tend to have similar social vibes, because they don't really use claws and they don't have the sharpest beaks. So they bite really hard, and they also grapple and *twist* which can cause permanent damage and isn't as innocent to think about as the sort of boxing matches that other birds get into. That's also why I think ducks and geese generally try to get big and scare the other guy off instead. It's not just that they have less weapons to fight with, but the weapons they *do* have leave them vulnerable to some serious problems in the long run.
Also yeah, that colorful bit is all skin. Weird as it is to think about... I can't remember the name, but I know there was an indie game that gave head-crests like these to those giant bird-raptors they dug up somewhere in mongolia.
This one's like an eccentric old wizard! When I still drew things regularly I would sometimes give an old guy an exagerrated one of those "peasant hat" things to look a little like this, just to signify that he was indeed a wizard.
Anyway, I also have a cuteness quota to meet so I'll show some random plovers I found on the internet because aren't they just the birdiest birds you ever saw?
This one is also very cute, but I like to imagine some fantasy-equivalent of this bird being several feet tall and ominously looming over something. I guess the pattern with the shadowy part being on the underside gives him a very 'loomy' feel. Like he's gonna stand over a building that's about to be cursed or something.
Unnecessary ramble about cool birds that don't exist:
One time, for a post-apocalyptic DnD game, I was practicing the movements of various critters (as I often do) because far too often am I too autistic to actually say and describe things in a functional manner using words. I also like to use the body language of NPCs because my library of silly voices that all have accents from the same general area is severely limitted. At present, I was sort of experimenting with how a right-handed person who didn't have full use of his wrist would use everyday items, write words, open doors, etc.
I realized that, in order to keep my hand in an area where I could continually use it on waist/chest high things, I had to draw my arm in a little bit, like a bird closing its wing. Later I was trying to come up with ideas for naturally occurring not-quite-undead creatures that would come about in a Mordor-like area if a Dark Lord started corrupting the land or something. I thought about the hand thing and I also remembered watching videos about killdeer faking injury to draw predators away from their nests, and I came up with a neat idea about some giant-ass moa bird who would fake injury to attract would-be predators... And in turn, eat them.
It was a 5'8" dinosaur-ass motherfucker with oily black feathers and an ostrich-like body structure, but with long, very heavy wings for high jumps and "punching" movements to batter and disorient prey. I imagine, facially, it would look something like a melanistic bearded vulture. I was especially careful to note those crazy white eyes that make them kinda scary and funny at the same time. Since magical healing came from necromancy in this universe, its 'power' was a strange form of regeneration.
It would be virtually impervious to blunt force trauma, and be able to come back from almost any physical injury. Its ability to maintain muscle control even if things were technically broken also allowed them to do things like... Twisting their head around to bite at any angle. Or splaying their legs to kick to the side, turning their joints inways, etc. making it especially difficult to fight one unscathed. Of course, sustained mutilation, fire, and other things that take them apart faster than they could put themselves back together were still an issue for them.
It had no inherent vocal structure, and like a crocodile, could only make noise by quickly forcing air through its mouth and throat. This gave off a deep hissing noise not all too dissimilar to a human man gritting his teeth and stuntedly breathing in pain. Sometimes humans would approach the sound of a staggering man in the night, see the shambling shape of *something* with a broken leg, and if they got closer to investigate... One of the last sounds they'd hear would be the low, rolling crunch of joints dislocating to bury cassowary claws in their guts.
I'm sure I've talked about these before, but I also often used to play with the idea of a "Quicksilver Bird" fairly often. That's just one of the names I've thought of for them, because I have trouble thinking of anything fantasy-ey that really fits the concept. They were essentially a lot like pheasants, but their feathers were metallic and incredibly sharp. They could lacerate things by flying toward them and created sparks whenever they fought each other. In one of the things I failed to help Mizal out with, I was going to have a vampire hunter who had one as a companion, and always kept a supply of tailfeathers in his hat. (He also, quite dangerously, allowed the bird to sit on his shoulder like a parrot.)
No matter where I wrote about them, they were always a rare bird from somewhere else very far away. In skeletons I wrote for the vampire story, the bird was "imported from somewhere in the far east". When I later attempted to write one into a story taking place in an East Asia-Analogue somewhere in my pet fantasy universe, the creature was bought from traders who came from the jungles in the north, which is the general direction of my Legally Distinct from Africa (tm) continent.
I eventually came to the conclusion that these birds were not naturally occurring animals, but rather that they were made from regular pheasants by alchemists and released into the wild by alchemists using a rare skillset. These birds, being highly territorial and now somewhat invincible, would act as a sort of deterrent to travellers sticking their nose where it didn't belong. But aggressive as they tended to be, you could still distract and eventually befriend them by offering them shiny objects to steal and add to their hoard of shiny objects. Or, if you plan on taking the bird and moving somewhere, building an even bigger/shinier nest of things for them to move into. Ideally things that don't necessarily belong to you. They can somehow sense when things are stolen, and these things have a higher value to them.
I'll put a stop to this word vomit real fast because all this bird talk belongs stuffed into a scrivener document, not forced into the eyeballs of an unsuspecting public.
Here's a Dracula Parrot for your troubles!