General[edit | edit source]
Birds in the Magic universe can be of tremendous size and quite intelligent, while some are even anthropomorphic. Natural birds are usually blue or white balanced creatures with flying. Many of them, being blue, have deck searching/drawing abilities. An exception is Birds of Paradise which is a Green, 0/1 with a mana acceleration-related ability.
The first creatures to bear the type Bird were Roc Hatchling and Circling Vultures in Weatherlight. Roc of Kher Ridges from Alpha, Osai Vultures and Mesa Falcon from Legends were later issued errata to become birds as well. The type Bird was eventually solidified in the Grand Creature Type Update.
Types of Birds[edit | edit source]
Aven[edit | edit source]
Otarian Eagle-like aven[edit | edit source]
According to Otarian myths, the aven were created when eagles begged the Ancestor to make them human, with the Ancestor granting half the wish. On the other hand, some believe that the aven were refugees from another plane who settled on Dominaria, while others claim that they evolved naturally from birds such as the Suntail Hawk.
Otarian Aven resemble humanoid eagles, and are tall and strong, possessing arms, legs, and powerful wings capable of flight. Most aven live along Otaria's northern coasts around Balshan Bay as fishers, but many are also found inland on the Daru Plains and other Order-controlled regions. They are militant creatures who make up a significant portion of the Order's members. Many aven are accomplished warriors, wizards, or both. Around the time of the Time Spiral crisis, the aven were reduced to squatters in the continent's ruins.
Owl Aven[edit | edit source]
Although most Otarian aven resemble eagles, some are owl-like in appearance. "Owl aven" seem less militant than eagle aven, specializing as wizards. Some owl aven also inhabited the planes of Dominaria, Ravnica and the Shard of Alara known as Bant.
Mutant Aven[edit | edit source]
As the Mirari's magic washed across Otaria, altering its inhabitants, many aven became taller and more muscular, with long, razor-like talons jutting from their wings. The most advanced of these mutants lost their arms, regressing into huge sentient raptors. On the other hand, mutant owl aven, known as crookclaws, also grew larger and sprouted talons from their wings, but retained independent use of their arms. The crookclaws' magical abilities were also enhanced by the Mirari's emanations. Crookclaws appear to have bred true after the Mirari crisis ended and survived at least until the time of the rifts. It is unknown if eagle avens survived as well.
Elen[edit | edit source]
Hulking, wingless, featherless avian humanoids with gray skin, legs of nearly solid bone, and limited intelligence, elen stand nine to ten feet in height. They are slow-moving creatures who serve as enforcers and infantry for the Order in Otaria.
Kathari[edit | edit source]
The Kathari are a race of scavenging vulture-people native to Grixis.
Raypen[edit | edit source]
Raypen are small, fragile, four-foot-tall bird-people with vestigal wings (whose magical feathers still afford them flight) and thin, withered-looking legs with prehensile feet. They serve as scouts and magical support for the Order in Otaria.
Amonkhet Aven[edit | edit source]
Amonkhet's Aven come in two varieties: ibis-like and falcon-like. Unlike most Aven which are in fact birds, these Aven have human bodies, with only avian heads and wings. They live among the population of Naktamun and prepare for the trials of the five gods like every other race. These Aven delight in flying above their foes, using their superior mobility to confound and outpace their opponents.
Kylem Aven[edit | edit source]
Kylem's Aven are peacock-like.
Tarkir Aven[edit | edit source]
Unlike the Aven of other planes, the Aven from Tarkir are four limbed: the clawed, feathered forelimbs are simultaneously wings and arms, much like the forelimbs of primitive birds. They are associated with the Jeskai Way, the Abzan Houses, the Sultai Brood and the Temur Frontier, having thrived after the extinction of the dragons. Abzan Aven resemble vultures and are an elite that serves the clan's Khan, Anafenza, the Temur Aven resemble ravens, and the Jeskai Aven are crane or falcon-like. Abzan Aven serve Khan Anafenza as her personal elite guards, and are tasked with watching the Lookout Roost to prevent the Sultai Brood from attacking. Jeskai Aven serve Khan Narset, mostly taking the role of windscouts and becoming emissaries between the Jeskai and other clans; they are capable of seeing the enchantments that line the mountain routes, and often live as hermits, flying in intricate patterns around the peaks as a form of meditation. Very little is known about Sultai and Temur Aven, but the former resemble rails and the latter ravens.
In the new timeline, Aven are found among the Ojutai and the Dromoka. Ojutai Aven have an honored place in their society, since their wings allow them a better command over the body language of draconic. They are often used as translators by high-ranking dragons and the voice of Ojutai's personal translator carries the weight of the dragonlord himself. Among the Dromoka, Aven are integrated in the "family units" within the clan, living side by side with humans and ainok, calling each other equals and brothers. Additionally, some of the vulture-like Aven have allied themselves with Silumgar.
Aesthir[edit | edit source]
Aesthirs are giant birds that were used by the Kjeldorans as flying mounts for their elite skyknights. Aesthirs were highly prized by the Kjeldorans, with mistreatment or disrespect towards them being heavily frowned upon. They gradually became extinct after the Ice Age ended and their natural habitat disappeared. It is said that Oriel Kjeldos was the first to train an Aesthir, and that Márton Stromgald was the first to use them in combat against the goblins.
Cranes[edit | edit source]
In Theros cranes are white aligned domesticated birds that fly into the battlefield to supply soldiers with weapons. In contrast, in the Plane of Mountains and Seas they are wild, red aligned fire breathing birds, albeit very distinct from the local phoenixes. Both seem to allude to mythology: cranes are depicted as "soldier-like" by Pliny the Elder, while in chinese mythology the Vermillion Bird is a distinct entity from the Fenghuang (phoenix).
Falcons[edit | edit source]
Mesa Falcons are dangerous birds on Ulgrotha that visit the Serra Aviary. Serra's Falconers are able to communicate directly with the birds. Mardu Horde falconers train massive falcons - which appearently are also Rocs - as aerial steeds, often decorating them with their wing-like banners, giving them "a fearsome four-winged appearence".
Parea[edit | edit source]
The Parea are large, flightless, carnivorous birds living in the east of Jamuraa. They were mostly wiped out in the civilized areas of the continent, but remained a danger in the wastes where they would hunt in packs and prey on travelers. During the Keldon invasion of Jamuraa they were often found following the Keldon war barges looking for carrion and were therefore used to execute worthless prisoners, cowards and traitors. The Darba are enormous relatives of the parea that would attack even well-armed Keldon encampments in search of food. The can grow upwards of twenty-five feet and are capable of picking up oxen in their beaks.
Percher[edit | edit source]
Perchers look nothing like normal birds, but more like flying squid. They were used by the Phyrexians and Rathi to relay messages across long distances, due to their parrot-like ability to memorise and repeat short phrases. New Phyrexia makes use of new types of bird. Most of them are White (Tine Shrike, Shriek Raptor).
Phoenixes are half-animal/half-elemental avians. They are capable of turning their body into fire and flame, and literally rising from their ashes, resurrecting themselves. They are seen on Dominaria in various fire-aligned regions (Shiv, Bogardan), Ravnica, Jund, and used to exist even on Rath. Some phoenixes are called firebirds.
Primoc[edit | edit source]
Roc[edit | edit source]
Rukh[edit | edit source]
Rukhs, also called "stonefeathers", are similar to phoenixes, except their base element is stone, not fire. They look like great vulture-like birds with leathery, dragon-like wings. They are native to Rabiah.
Creature Update[edit | edit source]
Creature types changed into Bird[edit | edit source]
Creature types changed into Bird include:
- Aesthir (Wild Aesthir)
- Albatross (Giant Albatross)
- Chicken / Rooster (Zodiac Rooster)
- Egg (Rukh Egg) (later reversed)
- Erne (Silver Erne)
- Falcon (Windreaper Falcon)
- Mana-Bird (Birds of Paradise)
- Pigeon (Carrier Pigeons)
- Roc (Crimson Roc)
- Vulture (Osai Vultures)
- Whippoorwill (Whippoorwill)
Other bird species included in the Bird type[edit | edit source]
Some examples of other bird species included in the Bird type:
- Screeching Buzzard
- Esper Cormorants
- Messenger Jays
- Skyshroud Condor
- Supply-Line Cranes
- Rainbow Crow
- Stormwatch Eagle
- Hydromorph Gull
- Welkin Hawk
- Moon Heron 
- River Hoopoe
- Cloudchaser Kestrel
- Mercurial Kite
- Sawtooth Loon
- Thieving Magpie
- Hunting Moa
- Coveted Peacock
- Mist Raven
- Baleful Strix
Notable birds[edit | edit source]
Aven[edit | edit source]
Other[edit | edit source]
Bird tokens[edit | edit source]
|Bird||Blue||Creature — Bird||1/1||Flying|
|Blue||Creature — Bird||2/2||Flying|
|Blue||Enchantment Creature — Bird||2/2||Flying|
|Red||Creature — Bird||4/4||Flying|
|White||Creature — Bird||1/1||Flying|
|White||Creature — Bird||3/3||Flying|
|White||Creature — Bird||3/4||Flying|
|White/Blue||Creature — Bird||1/1||Flying|
|Bird Illusion||Blue||Creature — Bird Illusion||1/1||Flying|
|Bird Soldier||White||Creature — Bird Soldier||1/1||Flying|
|Zombie Bird Warrior
named Aven Initiate
|White||Creature — Zombie Bird Warrior||3/2||Flying|
|Zombie Bird Warrior
named Aven Wind Guide
|White||Creature — Zombie Bird Warrior||2/3||Flying, vigilance
Creature tokens you control have flying and vigilance.
|Zombie Bird Soldier
named Oketra's Attendant
|White||Creature — Zombie Bird Soldier||3/3||Flying|
named Storm Crow
|Blue||Creature — Bird||1/2||Flying|
Bird Lords[edit | edit source]
- Aven Brigadier (also Soldiers)
- Kangee, Aerie Keeper - first Lord to grant something based on the number of counters (feather) on it
- Soraya the Falconer - first Lord to grant banding. Originally was a Falcon Lord but after became a Bird Lord after the grand creature type update.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Bird Maidens are an all-female tribe of winged humans.
- Scale Birds are a technique used by artists to make a cebtral figure look bigger.
- Azorius Keyrune is a manstone that can become a 2/2 white and blue Bird artifact creature with flying.
- Glint Hawk Idol can become a 2/2 Bird artifact creature with flying.
References[edit | edit source]
- Magic Arcana. (February 22, 2002.) “Style Guide: Aven”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Plane Shift: Amonkhet
- Wizards of the Coast. Explore the planes: Amonkhet
- Monty Ashley. (November 17, 2011.) “The Heron in the Moon”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (May 25, 2006.) “Dissension Token Art”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley. (August 10, 2011.) “Scale Birds”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Mutant aven. Art by Luca Zontini and Ron Spencer.
Mesa Falcon. Art by Mark Poole.
Darba. Art by Heather Hudson.
Percher. Art by Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Roc. Art by Andi Rusu.