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Ather Coatl #734

General

Though common in northern forests, travelers are likely to hear an ather coatl long before they see one, as these small feathered serpents use a variety of chirps, trills, and whistles to communicate with one another. Their wingspan typically reaches less than a foot in length, and unusually for quetzalcoatls, ather coatls have fairly short bodies compared to their necks and tails. Their prehensile tails help them grasp branches, while the compact size of their bodies helps them retain heat during the cold winter months. Also aiding in this endeavor are the delicate downy feathers which coat most of their bodies. Ather coatls are distant relatives of the eastern quetzalcoatls, little about their behavior would indicate this. They live in medium to large flocks, often containing several related coatls, and spend most of their time in trees, often nesting in abandoned bird nests and tree hollows. Each coatl hunts individually, usually for small animals like mice and insects, though unusually for quetzalcoatls, ather coatls will also eat berries when they can find them.

Egg

This speckled egg could easily be mistaken for that of a songbird.

Hatchling

Ather coatl hatchlings hatch with exceptionally fluffy down which allows them to stay warm despite their small bodies. Adults incubate their eggs during the early spring, but unlike birds do not feed their offspring, leaving the hatchlings to find their own food shortly after they hatch. Ather coatls are born with fully functional wings and learn to use them quickly, though it takes many months for them to reach the speed and agility of the adults. Flocks remain in the same territory throughout most of the summer, giving the young enough time to grow and build up a layer of fat before the entire flock migrates south to winter in the swamps of Taggelisk.

Adult

Adult ather coatls are surprisingly social, constantly communicating to one another through a variety of complex calls. Their voices can be easily distinguished from forest birds, as they have a more guttural ring and often employ a slight hiss uncommon to birdsong. Ather coatl calls are most often used between members of a single flock to communicate mood or share general ideas, like the location of food, though these small feathered serpents also use sound for territorial disputes, to attract mates, and in response to potential threats. Many an unwary magi has been bombarded by screeching ather coatls after inadvertently wandering near a crowded nesting site, though the quetzalcoatls' mobbing behavior is usually targeted toward more serious predators to their vulnerable young. Although they lack the claws and beaks of birds, ather coatls have a mild venom that is harmless but very painful to large animals.

Notes

Obtained from: Donation, Retired
Breeding: No
Renaming cost: 20000 gold
Release date: January 15th 2017

January 2017 Midmonth Donation Pet

Sprite art: Lazuli | Description: PKGriffin

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