|Official Name||Jong-li Nightingale|
|Common Nicknames||Dexai Songbird|
|Habitat||Forests of the Far East|
Jong-li Nightingales are exotic songbirds from Dexai, where they sing a unique warbling tune that has long seen them connected to the afterlife, death, and mourning. Each Dynasty of Sihai has their own beliefs about the bird though, and they are better known to Regalians as a songbird who refuses to sing when they are inside of a cage. Instead, they must be free and open in a space in order to let out their song.
The Jong-li Nightingale has been known to the Sihai since the dawn of their existence. In its early years, it was known as the Singer of Souls in their language, as it was believed that this bird spoke the word of the spiritual realm that existed after death. Iconography from the Early Kingdoms Period attests to such a connection, as it showed the Jong-li Nightingale standing atop grave markers and speaking spectral words. In the millennia that followed, as the Sihai divided further and further, a variety of new beliefs and opinions on the animal formed. While the Common Dynasty went on continuing to believe in the bird as a mouthpiece for the energies of the beyond, the War Dynasty came to see the creature as a general creature of mourning thanks to its black plumage and sleek, serious look. The Frivolous Dynasty came to see the creature as a bringer of gloom, lacking fun and screaming vulgarities to try and get the Dynasty to shut up and stop their fun. Finally, the Greater Dynasty came to view the creature as a unique specimen for study and these Sihai were the first to domesticate it in large numbers. After this point, new beliefs revolving around the bird developed; that to cage it was to repress its ability to commune with the world beyond. For some, this was ideal, but to others it was not, and so for years such arguments have raged between those devoted to either side of the argument.
It was around this time that the Regalian Empire and Songaskian Masaya made contact with the Sihai Empire. They soon learned of the bird, and as outsiders came up with yet another way to view the bird: as a valuable commodity capable of great and beautiful oral outbursts, before requiring rest and care within their cage. For a brief time, the animal was extensively traded with both foreign nations before the Sihai realized to their shock that the numbers they were exporting were actually reducing the bird’s entire local population. Therefore, to keep the animal alive, they ceased trading it for 100 years. Despite this, the foreign view of the bird rebounded back into Dexai, where it joined the huge variety of different interpretations of the creature among the different Dynasties. In 304 AC, trade involving the bird reopened, though the early craze for them had substantially died down. Today, the bird remains populous in Dexai, with a number in captivity, though less than 100 out in wider Aloria today.
The Jong-li Nightingale is a medium-sized songbird, with a wingspan of two to three feet and a height of two to three feet when standing upright. The bird’s head features a small conical beak, a pair of small dark eyes, as well as a plume of feathers around its head that are sleek down to the neck. This sleek look continues onto the rest of the animal’s body; onto its back, wings, and slightly puffed chest, all of which is covered in a coat of black feathers. Their sleek body is then supported on a pair of thin, pale colored feet.
Jong-li Nightingales have only one feature that distinguishes the different genders, and that is the smattering of color on their feathers. Males will have speckles of red along their chest, while females will have white speckles.
Life Span and Development
Jong-li Nightingales are born in clutches of two to five pale beige eggs lacking speckles, within the nest of their parents. When they hatch, they are covered in fuzzy black down, but rapidly mature into their full size within six months. Despite nests sometimes becoming quite crowded, Jong-li Nightingales often remain in the nest for a full year, as it is by that point that their mental development catches up to their physical development. They then leave the nest and form their own with a mate, though those in captivity instead are often placed in new, seperate cages elsewhere and out-of-sight from their parents. The bird has a stunning lifespan of thirty years, regardless of domestication.
The Jong-li Nightingale has a calm, almost sleepy disposition, remaining motionless in its cage or on its perch with its eyes closed for hours at a time, lightly dozing in what Humans would equate to naps. However, at a certain point, they become highly restless and will flit around with enormous energy before erupting out into a long, thrilling, and unique call. However, they will not do this call until they are out in the open, as when they are in an enclosed space (like a cage), they will refuse to make the noise. This has resulted in training of the bird involving the leaving of their cage, though only for short amounts of time before the bird should ideally return to the space. This call has been identified as a repeated “Cou” sound, which repeats several times before ending in a unique arrangement of “La”s, “To”s and “Ee”s. Beyond these activities, the bird displays limited intellect and is easily domesticated if captured when young or trained from birth.
Territory and Groupings
Jong-li Nightingales are a curious bird in that, while they do not flock, they might as well, given that clusters of them live close together in the same area. In domesticated surroundings, this obviously doesn’t happen.
- Jong-li Nightingales can live together in large cages, though no matter how big the space, they still seem to be aware that they are locked in a cage.