The bird equivalent of Lizard Folk: a race of avian humanoids. Specifically this means a coat of feathers, a beak, scaly legs, talons, etc. They typically have some or all the biological features of birds - hollow bones, good eyesight, fast reflexes, fast metabolism, egg-laying, enhanced vocal power or control, etc. The arms are typically scaly talons like the feet and sometimes wings may be present as a third pair of limbs; less commonly the wings are the arms and the hands are either claws or Feather Fingers. Females may suffer from Non-Mammal Mammaries. Bird People are found in fantasy and science fiction alike. They are frequently a Proud Warrior Race and often carry a Blade on a Stick. They'll often be called "avians," some derivative of that word, or "tengu" after a similar creature in Japanese mythology. Because of the tactical advantage conferred by avian biology (flight, enhanced reflexes) they're usually balanced by making them physically weak (often due to the hollow bones necessary for flight). In video games, they tend to be Glass Cannons. Subtrope of Petting Zoo People. Contrast Winged Humanoid (essentially human except for wings) and Harping on About Harpies (half-bird/half-human in varying degrees).
ExamplesFolklore and Mythology
- Sometimes the tengu from Japanese Mythology is depicted as a bird-headed humanoid and other times as a bird-human hybrid, although a confused history and the ability to shapeshift has led to it having a wide variety of different forms.
- The Haspur in Mercedes Lackey's Bardic Voices series are anthropomorphic eagles who excel at singing.
- China Miéville's Perdido Street Station has Yagharek, a member of a race of bird people called the Garuda.
- One episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures stars the Shansheeth, an alien race of vulture people who act as galactic undertakers.
- The Sixth Xindi race from Star Trek: Enterprise was the Avians, a race of bird people who are extinct by the time of the series. We only see one of their skulls, but given the huge variation in Xindi bodies, it's not too difficult to assume they were birdlike in appearance.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Aarakocra are a humanoid bird species with wings. They're somewhat more on the bird side than the humanoid side, and have claws on their wings instead of separate arms and wings. This prevents them from holding items in their claws while flying, but they have mastered the use of their feet for this purpose. Their preferred weapon is the javelin, which they carry two-at-a-time in their feet, either flinging them at other aerial creatures or diving at ground-based opponents and releasing them at point-blank range into the victim. A group of five Aarakocra can summon an air elemental by chanting and flying through an aerial dance for three minutes.
- The Dire Corby is a subterranean race of huge black bipedal birds about the height of a human being. They have birdlike heads and feet and their hands end in claws. They hunt in flocks, running down their hapless victims while emitting horrifying shrieks.
- Kenku, who are birds in a humanoid shape. They wield quarterstaffs or katanas, and some can cast wizard spells.
- The Aven from Magic: The Gathering are a race of eagle-like humanoids - for example, the Aven Squire.
- Epsilon-Eagle, the protagonist from the Sega Genesis run-and-gun shooter Alien Soldier. He's a wingless birdman, although he has steel wings to compensate for this.
- Reiji's crow form from the Fighting Game Bloody Roar. An example of a non-Glass Cannon fighter, as Reiji is more of a Lightning Bruiser and battling with him is somewhat like trying to fight a giant blender.
- Tengu, a playable race in Dungeon Crawl. They possess beaks and clawed feet but no wings, although they gain magical flight after gaining enough experience in the dungeon. Being a Proud Warrior Race, they have excellent aptitudes for all skills relating to combat, but their avian bodies are somewhat frail, making them Glass Cannons. They were originally named Kenku after the bird race from Dungeons & Dragons, but this was changed to Tengu in a recent version.
- The Ixal from Final Fantasy XIV are vicious race of flightless avian beastmen who worship the mad wind elemental Garuda.
- Tengu from Guild Wars 2.
- The Rito * people in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker are feathered humanoids with beaks who gain wings on adulthood when they receive a scale from the dragon that acts as their guardian deity. They are descendants of the Zora, a race of Fish People who were transformed by the gods after The Great Flood for unknown reasons.
- The Alatien in The Longest Journey are roughly humanoid birds with wings for arms.
- The Raloi in the Mass Effect series are an avian species mentioned in Codex entries, although never seen in-game.
- Storm Eagle is a recurring character in the Mega Man games, an anthropomorphic eagle with mechanical wings.
- The Chozo of the Metroid series are a species of bird-like aliens who raised the protagonist Samus. Their name in English "Chozo" is an anglicisation of their name in Japanese, "chojin-zoku" (bird-folk race).
- Pokémon has a few:
- Blaziken is the final evolution of the starter Pokémon Torchic (a small Fire-type chick). It resembles a tall humanoid with a beak and clawed hands and feet, but no wings (possibly because of its chicken heritage).
- Hawlucha is a Flying/Fighting type, a cross between a hawk and a Masked Luchador.
- The Aviansie (sometimes Aviantese) from RuneScape are a near-extinct race of bird people, recently returned to the world after being discovered frozen in ice.
- Birdmen are a recurring race in the Shining Force games - Balbaroy & Amon in Shining Force 1 and Luke & Screech in Shining Force 2.
- Tengu from Shin Megami Tensei (example: ).
- The Avian race from Starbound.
- The Aracoix in Shadowbane. Unusually, while they are bird-headed, are covered in feathers and have wings, their arms, legs and extremities are like those of humans.
- According to Word of God, the Furry webcomic Las Lindas has bird people, but they haven't been seen yet in the comic. Technically, they're the same race as all the other anthropomorphic species in the comic: Cat People, Cow People, Lizard Folk, etc. They're stated to all be the same race called the "Primes", living on Neo-Earth alongside humans.
- Frafdo, an anthromorphic eagle from Chaotic.
- One episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series features a race of bird people called the Aurelians.
- The original 80s ThunderCats (1985) features Vultureman, a mutant humanoid vulture.
- The 2011 remake of ThunderCats (1985) features an entire race of bird-men of various kinds.
- Obviously there are no birdmen in real life, but the hoatzin is unique among birds for being the only species to retain claws on its wings (at least in its juvenile form), in a manner similar to many fictional bird people.
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