Group: Company of Hippogryphs
General Info: Hippogryphs are magnificent creatures, capable of great ferocity and surprising tenderness. At a glance, they are a blend of bird and equine — their front halves are the former, which determines their rank, and their back halves are the latter. They are about as tall as any good-sized horse, though they do range somewhat in height and weight. Feathers spill down just past the creatures' withers, from which a massive set of wings rises, then give way to their horsey half, sporting any number of natural color combinations and builds.
Though they do not mindspeak in any way, Hippogryphs are on par with Pegasi in terms of general intelligence. They do make a variety of bird noises and posturing to convey their thoughts and feelings. They are occasionally flighty, sometimes proud, but always lovely creatures. Just don't bow to them — it's just a myth that such formalities exist. They're likely to look at you like you're a total moron if you do so.
Mating Info: A Hippogryph's mating ritual is somewhat birdlike. They tend to partake in the frantic displays that their avian cousins do, flashing their feathers and generally prancing around. It is a highly aggressive time for the Hippogryph, and after they finish displaying their feathers in some dance or other, they occasionally break out into a fight. The female will lead her suitors on an intense chase, occasionally pausing to display some more in the midst. There is more posturing involved in a chase than actual chasing, as males and female alike bristle and pace, circling each other warily before taking off again, only to halt again for the tense standoff. In the end, the female will grow too tired to continue. She will either be caught or pick her mate from those still standing, depending on how much energy she has remaining.
Bonding Info: Some time after their mating ritual, the female Hippogryph will make her way to a secluded place to give birth to her foals. It will generally be the cleverest, most out of the way place she can find, for this is where she knows it is safe for the birth of her young — away from all else. The young will be born as foals at a live birth, and will receive care from their mother until they are capable of using their wings to glide, at which point they are officially ready to bond. There is no real ritual to the young Hippogryphs' bonding; they enjoy the tastes of new foods as any baby (though the type of food each foal eats depends on their rank), while shiny things are appreciated as well. They will generally be a little shy, but this wears off as they become acclimated to potential bonders. The mother will usually bring her brood to a secluded area to bond, forcing the candidates to come to them instead of vice versa. Sometimes two mothers may choose to let their children hold a bonding at the same time, although this practice is more common with the lower females who birth low numbers, if at all.
The most imposing of the Hippogryphs, with feathers that range from silvery to reddish brown to nearly gold in coloration, they are naturally the indomitable queens. Hawks have wickedly curved beaks that are often two-toned to some extent, made for hunting as well as keeping their wily subjects in line. Their eyes are sharp and golden, large but not as bulging as those of Owls. They are more commanding than the other Hippogryphs, but also the ones who can loosen up the most. No one governs them, after all, and they do as they please without fear of being reprimanded. They birth up to a dozen scrawny foals, amazingly enough, but most have smaller litters of around six or seven. Hawks tend to choose the austere Falcons as their mates, but once in a while a young female may choose a more unorthodox Owl mainly to irk her elders. Hawks have the strongest personalities, and are able to express their wishes very clearly to their bonded.
Very nearly as imposing as a Hawk, a Falcon is smaller and more streamlined but nonetheless striking. He manages to reach a good height still, and his stark coloring adds to his grandeur. He is generally draped in steely tones, ranging in specific hues, but he wears them proudly. This lordly creature sports a wickedly sharp beak, comparatively small to his Queen's, but all the more deadly for it. It only enhances the severe angularity of his lithe body, the overall illusion that he's smaller than any real lord should be. Don't fall for the illusion; a Falcon protects his title with sharp beak and haughty superiority, rarely allowing any slight on his lordliness.
Owls are more reclusive than their Falcon brothers, but not necessarily shy. They tend to be quiet and more prone to enjoying their alone time, but at the same time they can be very affectionate. Their feathers are what one calls soft, meaning they make absolutely no noise when flying. These slightly smaller lords are usually a pale gray or tawny brown, mixed in with the occasional white. They aren't exactly more intelligent than other Hippogryphs, but some will tell you differently, mistaking their quiet for contemplation. They're not so different than their kin, really — just quiet and slightly introverted, plus the bulging golden eyes and the comical tufts atop their heads, but do not underestimate this Hippogryph. He can be as fierce as the rest!
Tricksters and master pranksters the lot of them, Ravens are commonly thought to be less stately than their lordly brothers. They are incredibly intelligent, but rarely do these occasionally proper birds put that intelligence to any good cause; what fun is a good cause? These cheerful plotters live for fun, and they'll go to great lengths to get their daily dose of good cheer. It might be a good idea to stay on their good side though; in addition to being conniving they are also notoriously vain and materialistic, often to the point where they are more of a chore to be around than a joy. As their name might suggest, a Raven's fowl-half most often resembles that grim bird with the heavy beak and lustrous black feathers, though they also can mimic any of their corvid cousins as well. But look past the dark exterior, people! Er, really, they're not so bad.
What comes to mind when you think of a peacock? With a regal bearing and gleaming sapphire, emerald, and golden gilt feathers that could make a blind man cry with glee or demure and reserved greys and browns, these little ladies can put any fierce Hawk to shame with their grandeur and detailed composure. They are dainty and small, but seem not to know this, carrying themselves with an easy grace. They are nowhere near as vain as their Raven brothers, though anyone with such a beautiful exterior would take the time to appreciate it now and then. They can occasionally be quite bright, and tend to be great schemers when it comes to the sparkly things. Peacocks give birth to only one or two foals after a mating chase, commonly twins if there are two; no foal's rank will exceed that of its father.
The designated caretakers of the species, Doves are the mothers you never had and always wanted. They are gentle and loving, always willing to go the extra ten miles for any of their loved ones. They tend to be a little sensitive and overly skittish, but these are simply minor faults in the grand scheme of things. A Dove will be your best friend, your confidante and your shoulder to lean on unconditionally. Even if she seems jittery around both strangers and familiar faces, the Dove has a deep-seated need to love, to help, to fix scrapes and mend hearts. They are drab in color, soft grey-tans for the most part, occasionally white, with a distinctively coo-like call that is soothing but mournful, almost purred. Treat these little mothers carefully, for they are fragile, but as your reward they will return every affection tenfold. Despite this maternal instinct, Doves are incapable of bearing children.
Flashy and fun-loving, the jungle Macaws can nearly put Peacocks to shame. They have no great love of shiny things or wealth, and prefer to keep things light and cheerful over jealous or plottish — and to be honest, they don't make good caretakers! They tend to try and sell their charges for a bit of fruit, or trade them in a game of poker. So maybe they're a little irresponsible and rash! That's part of the fun of life, isn't it? And life isn't worth it without fun! Whether they take it to extremes (selling babies in poker), or not (toothpasting your face while you sleep), a Macaw is generally up to no good if you don't know where he is. Certainly colorful and sporting a tendency to be as large as the higher ranks, there is almost no color scheme that these brightly colored creatures don't sport — from blue and gold to red and green to stunning indigo-blue all over, they're as eye catching as any Peacock, and probably friendlier. I mean, sure, they have those massive beaks, but they don't usually use them for evil. And don't usually steal all of your shiny things... Usually.