Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Skarmory 
- Skarmory is a large bird type Pokemon. It is a silvery metallic color, with red feathers and a grayish-blue tail, feet, and neck. Their feet have three talons, two on the front and one on the back of each foot. They also have a crest on the top of their heads. Their tail has a notch in it, similar to a bottle opener in appearance.
Notable BiologySkarmory gain their steel like skin because they are raised in bramble bushes or other thorny areas. The constant scratching as they grow up causes their skin to harden into its adult steel like form. This process is a modified form of the typical formation of calluses that humans and many Pokemon experience as a result of repeated irritation to certain parts of the body. As a result of this constant scratching, they also form a very high tolerance to pain. Combined with their steely skin, this makes Skarmory extremely resistant to all types of physical trauma. Trainers notes: If you are breeding Skarmory in captivity, make sure have a bramble bush or other suitable environment for the young to grow up in. Baby Skarmory that do not will never generate their iron hard skin, and will die at a young age, typically after 1 year. In the event no bramble bushes or similar environs are available, there are specially formulated chemical compounds that can be applied to the skin to stimulate the development of the iron callusing process, though these chemicals are costly and difficult to obtain. The feathers of a Skarmory are very sharp, able to cleanly slice a medium size tree in two with enough force. They will get dented and battered due to battle and everyday wear and tear, so once a year, Skarmory will shed it's current feathers and grow new ones. A Skarmory's wings are hollow, to keep its weight down to aid in flight. Also, the front feather is open on the bottom, and Skarmory is able to retract it's other feathers into the top one, acting as a sort of sheath. This light weight and variable wing formation allows Skarmory great amounts of maneuverability in the air, and enables them to hit speeds of up to 190 mph in flight, though such speeds are attained only during fierce battles; typical air speeds average around 100 mph.
HabitatSkarmory can be found near volcanoes and mountains, especially if there's thick brambles nearby. Skarmory make their nests exclusively in bramble bushes or other thorny plants. This serves the dual purpose of ensuring the development of their iron like skin in their young, and also keeping predators away.
DietSkarmory are almost entirely carnivorous. They require a lot of meat in their diet in order to provide them with enough iron for their skin. Skarmory that grow up with an iron poor diet have very weak skin and are not likely to survive long. Skarmory hunt by using their speed and physical resilience to divebomb their prey from above, often outright killing it with the impact. They then either eat where they are, or carry their prey back home if they have young to feed or are in a dangerous area. Should their prey be too large to carry back, they will use their wings to cut it into smaller pieces for easier transport. Skarmory can also be found using their iron hard beaks to dig for metal deposits. Once they find these deposits, they will break off chunks and swallow them. These chucks of metal will sit in their stomach, slowly being digested over the period of 1-2 months, depending on the size of the chunk. In addition to providing Skarmory with a steady supply of minerals for its skin, they also help to grind up food once in the stomach. Metal deposits are the second criteria for determining a good territory for a Skarmory, the first being the presence of bramble bushes.
HazardsSkarmory are very territorial. They will, however, usually attempt to intimidate intruders into fleeing before actually attacking. Should you find yourself accosted by a wild Skarmory, it is advised to slowly back away if you do not have any Pokemon of your own to defend yourself with. Skarmory will generally not pursue intruders once they've left their territory. In the event that a Skarmory does attack, serious injury is likely. Their divebombs can cause serious blunt force trauma, if not proving to be outright fatal. As previously mentioned, a Skarmory's feathers are extremely sharp; attacks with their wings can cause serious lacerations, or even dismemberment. Even trainers should be wary around their Skarmory, especially while it's wings are unsheathed. It is very easy to accidentally cut oneself on their feathers. Pokemon boutiques and other grooming establishments typically offer feather blunting services, thuogh it should be noted that Skarmory do not enjoy having their feathers blunted. Also, Skarmory's territorial nature will extend to their trainer, and they will defend their trainer against any threat, real or perceived. Ensure your Skarmory knows who is a friend so accidental attacks do not occur.
Social StructureBoth male and female Skarmory find and claim their own territory. They will mark their territory by placing their own shed feathers in the ground or in a tree, anywhere where it's visible from the sky. Unlike other Pokemon or humans, who get a warning before being attacked, a Skarmory entering another Skarmory's territory will be immediately attacked on sight. Fighting between Skarmory is the leading cause of wear and tear to a their feathers. Outside of mating and territory disputes, there is not much social interaction between Skarmory.
Courting and Child RearingSkarmory are able to mate year round, but generally only do so once every 2 years. When a female is ready, she will begin placing her feathers that mark her territory in a certain fashion, which differs among populations of Skarmory, indicating that she is looking to mate. Males in any adjacent territories will come and court her. The males engage in a sort of competition, seeing who can most easily carve out the best nest from bramble thickets with their wings. The winner gets to stay with the female, while the losers are driven away. About a week later, the female will lay 1-2 eggs, which will hatch in about 60 days. Both male and female will stay together while the baby Skarmory are growing. Baby Skarmory are voracious, needing large amounts of meat, and some supplementary metal chunks, in order to have enough iron for their skin to harden, in addition to enough nutrients for growing in general. This requires both parents to stick around to hunt. The young will take about 8 months before they are able to fly on their own, and another 8 months before they are finally ready to leave the nest for good. The male/female couple will generally remain together until the female is ready to mate again. At this point, the male is kicked out of the nest, and must try his luck in the courtship competition again. Though they are not technically monogamous, records do exists of long term breeding pairs, the results of males who are particularly good at nest making for the courtship ritual.
In Human CultureHistorical records exist of people using using the shed feathers of Skarmory as knives or swords before metal working was commonplace. Some royalty would even maintain a personal family of Skarmory. They would ensure minimal stress to their Skarmory's wings so that the feathers were in pristine cutting condition when shed. They would then either arm their own guards with them, or sell them to others for very high prices. Though unverified, there even exists a legend of a small community of farmers who were able to fend off an attack from foreign invaders armed only with locally gathered Skarmory feathers. Even today, some people still use Skarmory feathers as cutting tools, either for convenience or financial reasons. Skarmory are very popular in competitive pokemon battling for their ability to withstand tremendous amounts of physical trauma while still maintaining respectable speed and offensive capabilities. They are often paired with Blisseys, pokemon famed for their overall constitution and ability to shrug off mental and elemental attacks, to form a sort of defensive powerhouse. This pairing is colloquially refereed to as Skarmbliss.