|Common Nicknames||Wagglenecks, Moaning Bird|
Mooan are large, wingless birds found roaming the expansive grasslands of Daen. They eat a simple diet of insects and seeds, which is just about as simple as their brain. Known for their distinctive “Mooan” cry that gives them their name and their tactic of falling over as a distraction, the Cielothar have managed to tame a population of the animal in their settlements and overall the Mooan has survived countless harrowing events. It is unlikely that the animal will vanish from the Ularen Wastes that they call home any time soon.
The Mooan, despite their silly appearance and actions, have endured for untold generations in Aloria. The Seraph seem to have hunted the flightless bird for sport as murals from that time show this activity in fragmented scenes. While records of them were lacking over the coming thousands of years, when the Elven Empire emerged on Daen, they discovered the bird in great numbers in the Ularen Wastes. Over the subsequent centuries, the Mooan were bred into captivity and their wild counterparts were gradually hunted to death by Elven princes or those seeking target practice for their magical arts. By the time of the Cataclysm however, the animal had fallen out of favor and was sequestered to a handful of farmland estates in the Wastes’ north. When the Cataclysm hit, the animals were freed from their farms but many soon fell to predators and desperate slaves and former citizens of the crumbling Empire. They then faded from memory and the world. They were not recorded again until 167 AC, when a group of Dwarves seeking adventure and knowledge about the Elven Empire visited one of the ruined farmland estates in the northern Ularen Wastes, which were now half consumed by an encroaching jungle.
To their surprise, they discovered the Mooan still alive inside the tumbled down walls and grain bins, having survived by hiding or fleeing back to the places that kept them alive over a century ago. While not what the Dwarves were looking for, they eventually revealed the information to a group of Cielothar while they continued on their travels. The Cielothar immediately rushed to the aid of the animal, clearing the jungle back and taking many of the birds into their care. Those that escaped or were overlooked quickly returned to the plains life they had once known and by 230 AC became commonplace across the Wastes and Cielothar settlements. While the Ranger Crisis and the events that preceded it did damage their population, none were more devastating than the alliance of the Regalian Empire and the Orc clans. Ollivear spread into the Wastes and harassed their homes, the Avanthar were forced to hunt the bird in greater numbers for supplies, and the Orcs themselves took turns playing childish games with the dull-witted animals. Eventually, the population evened out and surprisingly the Bone Horror Crisis did little to affect their numbers as great herds of Mooan either trampled their unsensible attackers to death or miraculously avoided them due to their random body movements. Today the Mooan remain a staple of the Ularen Wastes, rushing across the plains while their domesticated fellows are often found in and around Cielothar villages.
The Mooan is a fairly large bird despite its inability to fly, standing at five and a half feet while weighing anywhere between 125 to 150 pounds. Their heads are disproportionately small when compared to their larger bodies, with a small dull yellow beak and a pair of large green eyes. Their head is attached to their plump body by a long neck while a pair of equally long legs support them upright on large, three-toed clawed feet (though the claws are often dull). The Mooan possess no tailfan and their wings are almost inconsequential, each barely reaching a foot long though they are rarely if ever extended outside of stressful situations. Their bodies are covered in distinctive feathers with various patches of deep blue, purple, brown and yellow along their bodies and across the two genders.
The Mooan has an equal number of males and females in their population, though individual flocks can skew male or female. Their species has one of the greatest levels of diversity in the animal kingdom. The first difference is that found between genders, as males will possess dark blue, purple and yellow feathers while females have dark blue, purple and brown feathers. In addition to this, there is further diversification within the location of Mooan. Those who live on the plains possess fluffed feathers along their neck and legs while those who live in captivity or domestication possess little to no feathers on these areas.
Life Span and Development
The Mooan is born from a small beige egg with blue speckles laid in clutches of anywhere between ten to twenty. When they emerge from their shells they are tiny, blind, and featherless. Their mother will do her best to help them and for those Mooan who are domesticated, Cielothar often help as well. Over the course of two years, the chicks will grow from their small original size to their full adult one. At this point, they are considered mature though many animal professionals note the curious lack of intellect demonstrated by the Mooan. Some believe that the creature has been permanently scarred from generations of hunting and death by the Seraph and all their successors, resulting in irreversible mental damage. Despite their lacking intellect, Mooan are able to reproduce at the age of two and have the ability to live anywhere between ten and fifteen years.
The Mooan is a dull bird with only basic survival and parental skills intact inside their small heads. They do however possess one interesting mental trait: If a flock is in danger of encirclement or attack, anywhere between two and five of their number will faint, making their trademark “Moo-aaaan” sound to distract and draw the attention of the threat. This either allows the flock to get away, and those Mooan that fell to follow them soon after, or those that fainted will be eaten or attacked as the rest of the flock gets away. To make up for this, pairs of Mooan reproduce every mating season in order to ensure their flock has a stable population. As parents, Mooan are lacking in many areas. While they do show their children how to eat and methods of walking, they frequently intermix their offspring to the point that over the course of a day, a chick can wander through the family of six different pairings. This does have a purpose as by the time they grow up, families will be so mixed that children are incredibly unlikely to mate with their siblings as they often very near to suitable mates. These traits are also present for those Mooan in captivity, though the Cielothar help ensure the animal’s safety and that they mate with proper partners.
Territory and Groupings
Mooan inhabit the grassy Ularen Wastes of Daen and are nomadic creatures. Their flocks often number more than 100 and they move randomly across the grasslands as they consume their diet of insects and seeds. The speed of their running is greatly varied and chicks are sometimes left behind or fall behind the pack, though if they are not swallowed up by some creature of the night, they will have rejoined their flock the next day.
- Supposedly, there has only been one recorded case of a Mooan ever killing a human being. In 274 AC, a Daendroque nobleman sent 100 hunters and trappers into the Wastes to retrieve a large sum of Mooan feathers. To his surprise, one did not return and the hunters reported a startled flock had trampled the man to death instead of parting around him.
- Mooan meat is gamey and unappetizing to most sentient races, so when they are hunted, it is for their feathers and their bones.