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Noble Songbird

A songbird is a type of “perching bird”. This group contains some 4,000 species found all over the world, in which the vocal organ typically is developed in such a way as to produce a diverse and elaborate bird song.

The song of this type of bird is essentially territorial in that it communicates the identity and whereabouts of an individual to other birds and also signals sexual intentions. It is not to be confused with bird calls which are used for alarms and contact and are especially important in birds that feed or migrate in flocks. While almost all living birds give calls of some sort, well-developed songs are only given by a few lineages outside the songbirds.

Doves are a bird of the pigeon family. There is no scientific difference between a dove and a pigeon, but the term dove usually refers to one of the smaller kinds of pigeon. The dove has a round, soft, sleek head. Its plump, deep-chested body is covered with a dense growth of soft, smooth feathers. Because these birds are deeply affectionate when mated, the dove has become a symbol of faithfulness. The dove bearing an olive branch is a symbol of peace.

The mourning dove is named for its sad, melancholy call. It is a slender, brown bird with a white-bordered tail; it has a 19-inch (48-cm) wingspread and weighs three to six ounces (85 to 170 g). The shy and timid turtledove is of similar size and color. The smaller ground dove has chestnut-colored wing patches, a drab pink chest, and an 11-inch (28-cm) wingspread.

Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges, or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after seven to 28 days. Unlike most birds, both sexes of doves and pigeons produce “crop milk” to feed to their young, secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Young doves and pigeons are called “squabs”. The dove’s lifespan is anywhere from 3–5 years in the wild to 15 years in captivity, though longer-lived specimens have been reported. The main causes of mortality in the wild are predators and persecution by humans.

Mina-birds, also known as Myna, or Mynah, are an eastern starling. Some species have deep, masculine voices and are considered the most talented of all talking birds. Mynas are medium-sized birds usually with black or brown plumage, white wing patches, and yellow or orange feet and bills. They have strong feet and have strong and direct flight. They are gregarious and travel in flocks. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country and feed on grain, fruit, insects, and larvae. Several species live around habitation, and are effectively omnivores.Two clutches of four or five bluish eggs are laid each year in a nest built in a hole in a tree or a crevice of a building. Mina-Birds can live 8-20 years.

The hill myna is about 13 inches (33cm) long, and has black plumage, a rather flat-topped head, and an orange bill. A patch of yellow skin extends from each eye to the back of the neck. The dark-brown common myna is about 10 inches (25 cm) long. It has a patch of yellow skin near each eye. The black crested myna is about 10 ½ inches (27 cm) long.

Species Descriptions

For the noble songbird, every thought, feeling, experience or opinion is best expressed as a song. They have music in their hearts and they burst to share it. Beyond the simple calling out of territory or warnings of danger or courtship calls of their natural cousins, noble songbirds are forever crafting carefully constructed pieces of musical art, sharing them among their fellow nobles, and critiquing the songs of others. This critiquing is never done with malice or contempt, but always in a manner intended to make the other bird a better performer.

This is because, rather than be singled out as better than any other bird, a noble songbird truly wishes to fill the world with beautiful sound.

Noble doves, while not as vocal as noble songbirds, also strive for beauty in the world, but they strive for the beauty of peace. It is no accident that many gods have adopted the dove as a symbol of peace. Sometimes just their presence on a battlefield can spark a cease-fire. When that fails, they attempt to change the hearts of the combatants.

When this fails, they will resort to trickery, magic, or outright falsehood to achieve this end, but never violence.

The noble mina bird is sometimes seen as the poor cousin of the noble parrot. They hate this. They have nothing against noble parrots as a group, but no noble mina bird will ever pass up a chance to show a noble parrot who is the superior mimic.

Noble Songbird Species Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: 1 Strength (Noble songbirds always begin play with a Strength of 1 — this can be increased through level advancement as usual), +4 Dexterity, +4 Wisdom.
  • Size: Diminutive.
  • Base Speed: 10 ft., Fly: 40 (average).
  • Natural Weapons: claws (1d2) (this is a single attack using both claws).
  • Senses: Low-light vision (Ex).
  • Bonus Feat: Weapon Finesse.
  • Skills: +4 racial bonus to Perform (Singing) checks.
  • Family: Avian.
  • Noble Animal Type: Noble songbirds have the noble animal type except where superseded by other species traits and features.
  • Social Group: Flock.
  • Automatic Languages: High Fauna and Songbird.
  • Bonus Languages: Bat, Camel, Canine, Common, Crocodilian, Elephant, Equine, Feline, Herdspeak, Hyena, Lizard, Monitor, Raptor, Rodent, Serpent, Simian, Ursine, and Woodland.

Noble Songbird, Dove Sub-Species Traits

  • Skills: The noble dove does not get the noble songbird’s bonus to Perform (Singing).
  • Social Group: Flock.

In all other ways, the noble dove shares the same species traits as the noble songbird.

Noble Songbird, Mina-Bird Sub-Species Traits

  • Skills: The noble mina-bird does not get the noble songbird’s bonus to Perform (Singing).
  • Social Group: Flock.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, High Fauna, and Songbird.
  • Bonus Languages: Simian, Bat, Camel, Canine, Crocodilian, Elephant, Equine, Feline, Herdspeak, Hyena, Lizard, Monitor, Raptor, Rodent, Serpent, Ursine, and Woodland.

In all other ways, the noble mina-bird shares the same species traits as the noble songbird.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Noble Wild. Copyright 2009 by Lee Garvin and Skirmisher Publishing LLC.