|Official Name: Regalian Spriggan.|
|Common Nicknames: Sprigs, Fairies, Spriggans.|
Regalian Spriggans are a herbivorous bird native to the Crown Isle of Regalia. At first glance they can be described as almost fairy-like due to their incessant need to coat their bodies in moss, foliage, and green matter, using a barbed beak to assist with this. They are a common bird in Regalia, but also very difficult to spot due to their camouflaging habits.
First Recorded Encounter
Regalian Spriggans have existed in Regalia for several centuries. The original settlers mistook the birds odd habits, thinking them to be fairies, due to their peculiar way of movement, their vegetative appearance and their call. They were given the name Spriggans after the first of them were caught in an organised hunt by Ailor. The name later changed to Regalian Spriggan when it was noticed they were endemic to the location.
The Regalian Spriggan is fairly common in Regalia, their chirps persisting throughout the day when many of the inhabitants of the bustling city might wish otherwise.
Resembling a small crow, Spriggan are small birds which have sleek black feathers kept oily so to stave off moisture and disease. The Spriggans have thin but muscular legs that allow for them to propel themselves forwards at surprising speeds, despite only being the size of a mug. The Regalian Spriggan’s most noticeable feature would be its peculiar chirp which sounds somewhat like a shrill giggling noise. The females of the species can appear to have green tipped feathers, whilst the males tend to be browner.
Notable Physical Traits
A Spriggan’s oily coating protects them from fungal infections and the like, that might normally be transferred through their feathers from the moss they coat themselves in. However their beaks do not have this same protection and a disease has been known to infect the bird known as ‘beak rot’ wherein the beaks begin to crumble simply due to the corrosive effect it has on the birds.
Origin and Diversity
The Regalian Spriggan seem to be endemic to Regalia's rooftops, that meaning that they have never been sighted nesting anywhere else in the city. They largely sustain themselves on the moss and lichen they cover themselves in that grow on the roofs of Regalia's lower buildings. Their diet is entirely consisting of vegetation, and they will actively avoid areas infested with insects; this is believed to be an adaptation to avoid infestation or disease.
During the long winters the Regalian Spriggans become less active and often return to their nests. Due to lack of vegetation at these times, the Spriggans have been sighted eating bark and twigs, seemingly able to digest these parts and use them to sustain them during barren seasons. On average Spriggans that create their nests in the attics and rooftops of Regalia's houses are less likely to survive the cold winters. It has been suggested that this is primarily due to the expenditure of energy to get to their food.
Life Span and Development
Generally the Regalian Spriggan has a very short life span of around seven years. Spriggans don't have much in protection against predators in the wild except from their mossy camouflage and oily feathers. Only healthy Spriggans will ever mate, making them incredibly picky suitors. Normally the males with the largest nests or mossy coatings will attract the females, whilst Spriggans that don't excel at this will die out.
The season for breeding varies greatly on the climate. The males may call out for a female’s attention five to ten times an hour when it is warm until they find a mate. After hatching from a spotted greenish in colour egg, the young will be helpless and rely on their mother for food and warmth, typically growing quickly and able to fly at three weeks old. After this, anywhere between one and two weeks is all it takes before the Spriggan will leave its nest to fend for itself. More than half the Regalian Spriggan are likely to die in their first year.
Regalian Spriggans are quick to hop away and run, being fairly skittish creatures. They're able to fly quickly but tend to remain grounded, blending amongst the moss and lichen. The Spriggan will rarely fly away from something that startles them, and will instead use their incredible hopping abilities to skitter to a dark hole or crevice, making them quick-thinking in the face of danger. The Spriggan like most birds are overtly wild, though while they can be domesticated with effort, it's unlikely they'd be tamed due to their short lifespan.
Territory and Groupings
Spriggans are generally quite solitary creatures, not living in families and leaving their nests at very young ages. They will however mate for life and very rarely leave a location after nesting there. They are too skittish to be territorial and will not leave an area even if a new predator takes up root.
- In Regalia they have been nicknamed 'Sprigs', or sarcastically called 'fairies' by mothers of small children.
- Sometimes the beaks of Spriggans are sold crushed into a fine powder by merchants as a remedy for a fever. However, this has no certain effect whatsoever.
- Spriggans suffering from beak rot will generally die during the winter due to lacking the ability to forage food.