The Flying Fisherman, as its name suggests, is a large sea bird, and a rare one at that, which is known for gliding over the ocean and snapping up fish with its abnormally large beak. The birds are often sighted by fishermen throwing in their nets a bit off the coast, finding their unique technique of catching fish quite amazing. Another name for the bird is "Angler Bird".
Appearance. The Flying Fisherman is quite a large bird, standing about 1 1/2 peds high when on the ground with a wingspan of up to marvelous 3 1/4 peds. An adult's bird's beak is around 3/4 peds long. It is a very dark orange, nearly red, and is almost perfectly straight apart from the end where it is aquiline like a falcon's beak. Flying Fishermen have black webbed feet and pure white feathers. They also have red crests shaped like a diamond on the back of their heads to balance their beak, the male crests highlight blue during mating season. The females weigh approximately a heb and a hafeb and the males weigh up to three ods more than their female counterparts.
The Flying Fisherman has an abnormally long beak for its size which aids in
hunting. The technique is to glide about half a
ped over the
water, watching with specialised glazed
eyes keenly for fish and gradually move under the
water, beak first, if movement is spotted.
Eventually Flying Fishermen use their webbed feet and wings to very elegantly
swim through the water and snap up the
Apart from the beak which is commonly mistaken for their only special ability they also have a remarkable kind of stomach. This specialised stomach seems to allow them to digest the salt water from the sea which they swallow as they eat the fish.
One of their less known talents of the Flying Fisherman is the abillity to spit acid, called "Anglerspit". This ability is obtained by eating nothing but special kinds of seaweed, to which the male birds restrict themselves before mating. The seaweed, in the bird's unique stomach, can become very acidic and corrosive, capable of burning through smaller objects in less than a minute. The male birds use this spit in order to attack each other during the mating ritual.
Territory. The Flying Fisherman can be found all over the shores of Northern Sarvonia apart from the far north as they cannot stand the cold temperature. Anglers are especially common at the Liben Delta, the Skeleton Coast, but can also be seen near Darooth at the Sea of Tears or Eight Winds Bay in the west. In Santharia you might spot them near the Isles of Ram and the east coast of the Nermeran and Enthronian provinces, at towns like Veltin and Carmalad for example.
Habitat/Behaviour. These birds live in small groups of around two females and four males. Most of the birds meet on the north-eastern Sarvonian coasts every spring for mating, this meeting usually amounts of 200 birds, they are really rare. The small groups before migration gorge themselves on fish before flying, although it weighs them down they can fly hundreds of leagues before needing to eat again.
When a bird is about two months old they are approximately the size of an owl, this is the time when they are taught to fly. As most birds do the mother leads her chicks out of the nest where they spend hours, even days, flapping their wings as fast as possible. The mother doesn't leave the chicks until they get it right as she is very protective, any other females approaching the chicks will be squawked at angrily.
Diet. The birds feast on any fish in the area but during mating season the males eat seaweed, this is what makes the males' crest change colour (the female's crest changes because of a concentrated current of blood is believed). The seaweed, when regurgitated and mixed with bird saliva, turns extremely corrosive in the air. The most common fish which they like to eat is the barsa as it is very filling, one fullgrown fish can last a bird two days.
Mating. During mating season after the males have eaten the coastal seaweed supplies they fly to the females where they have been busy digging ditches. The males make a series of high pitched squeaks and crows to impress the females. The males then approach the females, if within a couple blinks the female crows, then the male has been accepted. Normally a female chooses two or more males, the males duel to the death pecking each other and spitting corrosive acid made by their binge seaweed eating, this kind of conflict is what makes the birds so rare. They mate like normal birds and the females lay bright blue eggs, normally around 14, as big as a man's fist which are then buried in the ditches dug earlier.
The next eightweeks are spent with the male hunting and only eating half the spoils, leaving the rest for the unborn chicks, while the female guards the ditch. When the chicks finally hatch they are around a palmspan tall and weigh about 1/8 od, they are completely featherless. Two to three usually die burrowing out of the sand, the remaining chicks gorge themselves on the pile of fish gathered by the male until they are too large to move. The birds grow incredibly quickly in their first week so after 3 days they grow to around a 1/4 of ped high, the wingspan increases to 3/4 of ped long and their beaks grow to about 1/4 of a ped. At this time they also begin to grow black feathers but these turn white in about two months.
The next 2 months are spent with the chicks completey dependent on the parents eating vasts amount of fish every day.
Usages. There aren't many special uses for the bird apart from its feathers. These make very popular items of clothing such as waist jackets, tunics and boots. They also are often used for quills.
Myth/Lore. There is not much myth or lore surrounding the Flying Fishermen, but one tale says that if you drink the distilled urine of a Flying Fishermen you gain their ability to spit acid. This of course is very likely just a very imaginative story, which has persisted until this very day, just like Erpheronian peasants still believe that the famous warlord Karthach of Ishmarin tried such a "drink" himself. He is said to have drunken the urine a golnome had prepared from him and to have vomited for three days, never getting to test his ability as he spent most of the time in bed recuperating.
One more common myth about the Flying Fisherman is that it is incredibly good luck to see them at their mating gathering. As they are large birds and fight usually far off in the open sea, they can be seen from quite a distance without risking of being spat at.
Researchers. Their is one fisherman, Andrus Voltmer of Nepris, who wrote a couple of notes about these birds who kept snatching up his barsa. This angered him on the one hand, on the other hand it made him write down his oberservations, which we have now accumulated here. Andrus Voltmer doesn't consider himself a researcher, but more of an intrigued observer.
Information provided by Norkin