Ceardian Long Talon
|Ceardian Long Talon|
|Official Name||Ceardian Long Claw|
|Common Nicknames||Ceardian Long Feather|
|Habitat||Regalian Archipelago, Essalonia|
The Ceardian Long Talon is named somewhat ironically as it does not actually have long talons, but rather long feathers. The bird has followed Ceardians for centuries; first in the period of Ceardian Warlords, then to the Regalian Archipelago as trade ties were established between the two nations, and finally to Essalonia after Ceardia itself fell to Void forces. The Long Talon is now a common breed favored among falconers and is unlikely to dip in population unless the forests it calls home are drastically cut down.
The Ceardian Long Talon shares a history with Ceardia and its people. The bird is originally from this region, where shortly after the Cataclysm, some Ceardian Warlords sought to train it for the purpose of falconry. By 50 AC, the bird was found both in the forests and in the battle halls of these men. When Regalia first made contact with the region, the animal was quick to spread outward, either as escaped pets or miraculous journeys following Regalian ships. They reached and soon inhabited various forests across the Regalian Archipelago, resupplying these areas with new predatory birds as falconry practices increased and the original predatory birds were losing ground. Then, following the Destruction of Old Ceardia, the animal made another migration, this time to Carrhen, where many landed and settled in amongst their bretheren who had been there for years. Since that time, the animal has remained a common falconry bird, mainly to common folk as the nobility seek far more beautiful or generally non-Ceardian animals for their hunts and combat. It can typically be found in the wilderness of forests across the Regalian Archipelago and Essalonia.
The Ceardian Long Talon sits at one and a half feet long with a wingspan between three and four feet, holding a weight of two pounds. The other features of the animal are standard for hawks, having broad wings, a long tail, and taloned feet. These talons are un-notable, as the animal was named over three centuries ago when Ceardians had no access to the wider world and thought its talons were the largest and harshest in the world. They are instead average, some three or four inches long. Their heads are small like many birds, featuring two keen eyes that can be yellow, brown, or amber in coloration, and a yellow beak tinged with black at the tip. The entire animal is covered in long black feathers, the only notable feature of the animal being a white band along their tail and near the edges of their wings.
The Ceardian Long Talon is equal in gender distribution and there are no differences worth mentioning in terms of physical characteristics between the bird in different regions.
Life Span and Development
The Ceardian Long Talon is born in a clutch of one to three eggs that are white with brown speckles. The nests they are born into are built at the top of trees, far above the ground. Once hatched, the chicks are covered in a soft, but thin layer of white down feathers. They are also blind and require constant attention from the father while the mother goes out collecting insects and later, small rodents. They gradually grow larger, being able to see after five days, growing in their first feathers which are dark brown. After 40 days, the bird is able to start learning to fly and over the next year grows both to its full size and reaches sexual maturity. At this stage, they mould their dark brown feathers for full black feathers and leave the nest to seek their own mate and territory. Once they have done so, they mate for life and remain together as they raise their own generation of Long Talons. They live for ten to fifteen years in the wild. When domesticated, the animal follows a similar routine, but human caretakers often make raising the babies much easier on the parents. Their nests are also rarely at the top of trees and instead are formed in rookeries. The bird can live up to twenty years in captivity due to the ease of living granted by domestication.
The Ceardian Long Talon is a tamable animal, most only from a young age as older members of the species harden in their attitudes and personalities. In the wild, the Long Talon is a devoted animal to its spouse, but not so much its children once the chick has learned to fly. While the nest is expanded to accommodate them as they grow up, adults will ultimately force their children out of the nest once a year has passed since their birth. They go willingly, and rarely if ever see their parents again. When the bird encounters a possible mate in the wild, it will engage in a ritual talon dance with them, scratching them together as the two flap in the air to support this action. Mating is only interrupted by other males, and females wait to see who the winner is as the two candidates perform a much more aggressive ariel talon fight. Encounters between Long Talons are amicable the rest of the year and the species is not highly territorial. They will, however, defend their nests aggressively and force other adults out of them, especially if there are chicks or adolescents in the family.
When domesticated, these traits are only draw out to their most relaxed. They care for their children the same, but thanks to help from Human falconers and trainers, they can leave the nest more often for regular flights. Adults rarely force their children from their nest or chosen roost as they have been adjusted to be more communal with their own kind. When the mating season comes, the same practices occur, but since they are fitted with leashes and other restraining devices, mating rituals between selected pairs go totally unopposed, unless a rogue Long Talon, suddenly enters the picture. Nests are made communal as well and they are fine with other members of their species resting there or popping in for a peek at the chicks. They do, however, have the ability to discern domesticated Long Talons from wild ones and will never allow wild Long Talons near their nests if they can help it.
Territory and Groupings
The Ceardian Long Talon is not a territorial bird, allowing their chosen territory of a dozen to 30 miles to overlap with that of others of their species. They do express irritation, however, at the presence of other birds of prey such as the Calemberger Black Hawk and the Calemberger Adelaar, yet are ultimately powerless against these larger birds. The Long Talon lives in small nests that gradually expand with time as their chicks grow up and adjustments are needed to accommodate adults.
- The long feathers of the Ceardian Long Talon are commonly used in arrow fletching as their length can sometimes allow for more than one arrow fletch.
- Ceardian Warlords once outfitted this bird with metal claws on top of their natural talons for maximum carnage when on the hunt and out in the field. This practice went out of favor when once such Long Talon attacked his Warlord owner while he was outfitted with the metal talon, severely scarring the man’s face.