THE CALADRIUS BIRD

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE - RESEARCHERS

The Caladrius (the plural form is "Caladrius" as well) is a snow white bird that is usually about one fore tall from head to feet. They are known for their exotic song and stunning beauty. They are one of the more intelligent breeds of birds, even been known to learn several simple voice and sign commands, mostly to amplify their beauty. These birds are originally found in the wild, flying in the areas around the Bolder Forest, but are often kept in captivity by humans, though they are extremly friendly to elves.

Appearance. From their slender talons to the top of their shining white heads, the Caladrius are about one fore tall, and from their chest to the tip of their fanning tail, about 4 palmspans. The wingspan of these gentle birds is about 2 fores. They are smaller than their cousins the Taedrius. These birds are not only bigger, but also more mysterious. They are also white but it is rumoured that a black Taedrius has been seen in the Thaelon, believed to be the "King of the Taedrius ", of course this has never been proven and is assumed to mere myth.

The plumage of the Caladrius is a brilliant white, kept this way through almost continuous preening. Their feathers are constantly being moulted and replaced to keep their familiar ‘glow’. Along with this preening, the Caladrius calls upon the help of the myrmex. They will lie by a nest, with a gift of food, and sing. The myrmex will proceed to exit the nest and climb onto the Caladrius. The myrmex will then preen the bird themselves. They squirt oil on to the feathers to keep them shiny and strong. The common myrmex do this, but the delver myrmex have not been known to do this. This careful care of their feathers gives the birds a shine worth the effort. To see their feathers shimmering in the sunlight is said to be a most beautiful thing. Though they are pleasing to the eye, the Caladrius are not to the touch. Their feathers are hard and rough, an unusual attribute, but necessary to keep their luminescent radiance.

The Caladrius has deep, black eyes that gleam in the light. The contrast of this and their white feathers only furthers their beauty. The colour of their feet and beaks differ between genders. The males have orange beaks and yellow feet, radiating like the sun, whereas the beaks and feet of the females are black.
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Special Abilities. In the wild the Caladrius will find a mate and stay with them for life. Because of this they acquire a strange, extra sense about their partner. They seem to respond to their partner’s emotional state. If its partner is in trouble, a Caladrius will rush to aid. If one is unhappy the other will try to comfort it by singing. And when they are happy they want to be together to celebrate their joy.

When held in captivity a Caladrius chooses its keeper as a partner, but since this bird would always prefer another Caladrius as its partner, they must be kept away from all other Caladrius birds. If they remain partner to their owner, they retain the same abilities as they have for another Caladrius, and respond to the keeper's emotional state similarly.

The Caladrius has an extremely beautiful song. It is rumoured to be most beautiful when a great sadness is on their heart. Their song is their life. They sing on all occasions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear and love. Of course these songs all differ, as does their beauty.
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Territory. Most Caladrius are seen in captivity and are rarely seen in the wild. Though they are found mostly in the Santharian province of Vardýnn, they can also be seen throughout most of the kingdom because they are traded to people who can afford them for their special ability. During most of the day the Caladrius flies around a forest, and rests in the forest. When it wishes to sleep it enters the forest, for a high branch to sleep on.

When kept in captivity, the Caladrius has to be kept in a large aviary, filled with plants, for exercise and sleep. When the Caladrius is released from its aviary it instantly flies to its owner, who it stays with for most of the day. Because of the special ability of the Caladrius, it costs quite a lot of money and so is usually only owned by people in power such as nobles and successful mages.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Caladrius love to show off. They are often seen standing in the sunlight basking in their own magnificence. Everyday they awake early and sing as the sun rises. It is the Taedrius that sings when the sun sets. It is unknown why this is so, but the legend is that they call the sun to spread light so they may be seen, and to farewell it to night, so it will grant them the same favour tomorrow. Because of their obsession with flaunting their beauty, the Caladrius is a friendly bird, rarely shirking from humans, elves etc.

When kept in captivity, the Caladrius is often taught one or two tricks, but these are usually only to show off their beauty in different ways. This is because they don’t have the desire to do much else.

One of the most important moments in a Caladrius’ life is the choosing of a mate. When a Caladrius chooses one, it stays with it for the rest of its life. They then do everything together, hunt together, bask together and sing together. When the couple's egg hatches, and the young emerges, they then join this family, until a partner of their own is found. When a mate dies the Caladrius mourns for days on end, singing a song that brings tears to the eyes of everyone who hears it. This Caladrius will never again seek out another mate, choosing to live alone. This companionship makes the Caladrius ideal for captivity. If caught before a partner is found, the Caladrius will eventually join with its owner. The relationship isn’t the same as in the wild, it lacks the strength of true companionship, but the bird is still besotted with its owner. It is because of this commitment that the old proverb "as loyal as a Caladrius" is said.
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Diet. The Caladrius is omnivorous. It will hunt for insects, frogs, small lizards and small rodents, as well as feed on seeds, fruit and nuts. It will usually start feeding with a hunt and then forage. When working with a partner, the Caladrius' efficiency is much higher. One, usually the male, will shepherd the target, while the other, the female, will fly high into the canopy, so not to be seen, and when almost on top of it, swoop.

When kept in captivity the birds enjoy eating the same things, but it is not feasible to allow them to hunt all the time, so they are usually fed dead food. Their favourites are such fruit as the hearthberry, thought to remind it of the sun, and the kyck-kyck frog.
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Mating. The Caladrius will only ever mate with its partner in spring. They prefer early spring, but if food is too scarce they have been known to wait whole months, until food is plentiful. They start by gathering twigs, bark and leaves, to build a nest. Only once the nest is finished do the birds proceed to mate. They have also been known to find a tree hollow, instead of a nest. Once the nest is made, both of the birds take wing, and soar through the air, working together to display their beauty. They then join in the air.

After this, both are exhausted from their aerial acrobatics, and sleep for the rest of the day. When they wake, beneath the female is a single egg. They then take turns to lie on it, while the other hunts. This is the only time when a partnered Caladrius will hunt alone. After four to five weeks the egg will hatch. The chick has pure black down, the opposite beauty to its parents. Soon the young Caladrius will do everything the parents do, singing to the sun, foraging and hunting, and basking in the light. They will reach full maturity within a year, but will stay with its parents until a partner is found.
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Usages. The main use of the Caladrius is entertainment. Their beauty, to both eye and ear, capture the hearts of many. All of the myth shrouding them persuades people to keep them in captivity. Because of their specific area and high maintenance, and high cost, the Caladrius tend to be exclusively for the rich.
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Myth/Lore. The union of the Caladrius is like marriage, and it is said that any who breaks this bond will destroy their own chances for love. Either they will never marry, or their marriage will break down. The killing or capturing of a partnered Caladrius is said to carry a great curse. In the event of a killing the penalty is even worse, the murderer is cursed with a life without beauty, never again may they look upon anything handsome.

The song of the Caladrius is said to speak to the sun. When it is unhappy so is the sun, and when it is joyous the sun shines with a brighter light. Those that hear it are blessed with a day full of pure sun, to see the true beauty of everything. For this reason the rich often keep at least one, so that their life may be full of beauty.
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Researchers. The main researcher of the Caladrius was Alverin Silaon (631-467 b.S.) of the Meldarhim. He shirked his tribes herding responsibilities to travel through many forests studying birds and animals. Mesmerised by their beauty, he decided to further study them. He first saw them in the Bolder Forest, but also studied the Taedrius from Thaelon Forest. His research has made it possible to keep the Caladrius in captivity successfully. He also provided the Compendium researchers with most of the information contained here. He discovered almost all the prior information. The following is an excerpt from Alverin's journals:

"After studying the Caladrius in the wild I have come to respect these birds. I started my research with simply watching the Caladrius in the Bolder Forest. Their beauty mesmerized me, leaving me staring for hours. The feathers were whiter than the purest Cyhalloi. I often heard their song, but never saw from what it came from, and so I knew not what made this splendour. This song was always most beautiful at sunrise at which it seem they always sang. It wasn’t until I had captured one and actually seen it sing that I truly knew all of their beauty.

My first attempts at capturing a Caladrius had always failed. I only realize why this was until much later. I eventually caught a Caladrius successfully, and named it 'Aelién’aváth', white beauty. It was from this bird that I discovered most of my research. Over time it befriended me, and I soon realised that I had become its partner. Amazing! This was a major discovery.

When my research was completed I set out to Voldar. With my research and Aelién’aváth with me I met many people informing them about my discoveries. At first they were sceptic, but when they saw Aelién’aváth they knew I told the truth. The beauty to eye and ear eventually spread their popularity. It was then that I was enlightened about the Taedrius in the Thaelon Forest. This intrigued me, but I had felt that I had outstayed my welcome in this region, and I was a little home sick, and so I returned to Northern Sarvonia with Aelién’aváth."


-- Alverin Silaon: "Caladrius: White Beauty" Return to the top

 

 Date of last edit 20th Changing Winds 1668 a.S.

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