Entity 52 - Archravens

rating: +32+x

Entity Number: 52

Habitat - Any levels with large open spaces for flight, and a stable food source, most notably in Level 9, Level 10, Level 11, Level 37, Level 39, Level 47, Level 797, and Level 817

archraven

Researcher's depiction of an Adult Archraven

Description

Archravens are large birds, visually and behaviorally akin to corvids.1 The most striking features of these entities are their 2 pairs of eyes and wings and jaggedly serrated beak. Adult Archravens are roughly 3 ft tall, reach wingspans of roughly 5'6 feet and 3'6 feet (1.7 meters and 1.1 meters, respectively), and are omnivorous in nature. Their lifespan is estimated to be 10-25 years, based on Frontrooms birds of similar size and diet, but no hard data has been collected yet.

archraven-overhead

Overhead depiction of an Adult Archraven

Like their namesake, Archravens bear significant intellect in comparison to most animal-like entities, currently determined to be roughly the same as that of a 5 year old child. They have been observed capable of basic tool usage and fore-planning, with adult instances having been documented to teach these skills to their fledglings. They, like their Frontrooms counterparts, are known to be able to mimic human speech, and seem fond of confusing nearby Wanderers by doing so.

Development

The life cycle of Archravens is composed of four stages, each with significant changes in behavior and physiology.

Egg

Archraven eggs are roughly the size of a chicken’s, with a dark blue shell with purple spatterings. The shell is particularly thick and lined with bands of collagen, rendering them quite resistant to blunt force impact. Their broods range from 5-12 individuals, depending on the conditions of the level they feed and nest in. Said nests are often built close to the ground, or, in levels without any significant predators, on the ground.

Development is fast, taking only 5-7 days to go from a freshly laid egg to a hatchling. Due to this near cancerous growth rate, stillborn eggs are common.2 Dead eggs are easy to identify by the distinct coldness,3 and Archravens will freely give them away to any interested parties. This process likely serves as a method of satiating potential nest predators, or even an attempt at domestication.4

Nestling

The hatching process is simple. Using the large blade formed on the upper part of their beaks, a hatchling will sever the stretchy collagen protecting the egg, causing it to snap open violently.

A nestling will have light blue and beige feathery fluff, and its beak and feet will be a brown color. They keep the hatching blade, and several nasal passages open along it, permitting unique signaling to be made for communications with its parents and siblings.

Due to how fast they grow, nestlings are ravenous creatures, able to pick apart a Deathrat in under an hour. This stage lasts for 2 weeks, and by the end of it, the nestling will reach roughly the size of a sparrow. Their wings are still underdeveloped, tucked away under their fluffy down.

Fledgling

The transition to this stage is characterized by a notable growth spurt, as well as the replacement of the downy fluff with iridescent black feathers. The hatching blade will be resorbed,5 and the serrations on the beak develop. The wings will also bulk up, with both pairs now having rounded wingtips.6 By the end of the growth spurt, the fledgling will be roughly the size of a turkey vulture.

This stage is when Archravens seem to learn about flight, hunting, migration routes, and other information required for adulthood. One parent will stay behind to teach the fledglings, while another strings together twine and small shiny objects into small bands and bracelets. Once the fledglings begin to transition into adults, the family will gift them one of said bracelets, likely as a coming-of-age ceremony.

Adult

After a month, a fledgling will undergo one final growth spurt, and the black feathers around the throat with be replaced by vibrant crimson ones.7 The secondary wings will also develop a more pointed wingtip, allowing for more efficient high-altitude and long-distance flight.

Eventually, an adult Archraven's bold black feathers will be gradually replaced with more grayed ones, and the prominent throat feathers turn a rusty brown. While there is no precise information about the time frame in which this occurs, it seems to coincide with a decline in fertility and health quality, and is the period where Archravens are most vulnerable to disease (despite their hearty immune systems).

Behavior

Archravens hold complex social structures, with apparent emphasis on familial connections and age. Even after leaving the nest, Archravens have been observed returning to their parents consistently, and even taking care of them once they get too old to do so themselves. In levels with more predators, Archravens will form flocks, often of around 10-30 members. The elderly members spend significant portions of their time watching over the young, since the parents are often gone for several hours at a a time gathering food and such.

Archravens are also capable of forming social bonds with other entities, including humans. While not necessarily needing to be domesticated to become comfortable with being integrated into human society, they are intelligent and independent creatures, so it is advised to simply leave them to their devices, unless one actively seeks contact or interaction.

Forms of fashion have been seen as well. Older individuals tend to have more elaborate and colorful displays, with necklaces made of twine and strung rings, washers, and other bits of scrap metal. Archravens are also known to dye their feathers by rolling in red sand, crushed fruits, and other elements of their environment. The patterns and colors chosen differ per individual, but those in flocks tend to have similar designs.

When threatened, they will flair their wings out and hiss, earning them the alternate name of "Seraphim Birds", alluding to the biblical caste of angels this display is reminiscent of. If possible, they will attempt to mimic whatever sounds known by them belong to their aggressor, in order to either confuse or intimidate them. This display was discovered firsthand, when a M.E.G researcher startled one, promting the Archraven to scream a slurry of English insults, most being rather jumbled mixes of "F#ck" and "B#tch". In packs, they will swoop down at aggressors, making hisses and loud screeches— akin to territorial magpies. If in sufficient numbers, the agitated Archravens may even rip the aggressor to shreds.

Diet, Niche, and Ecology

Archravens are primarily omnivores, feasting on Deathrats, Deathmoths, Nguithr'xurhs, and other small entities, plus the fruits, leaves, seeds, and shoots of most plants. They will also opportunistically eat from carrion, and are even reported to survive consumption of entities infected with The Crawler Fungus and The Disease, giving them almost exclusive rights to all contaminated corpses.

Due to their natural ability to predate on the infected, proposals by concerned M.E.G. officials to introduce them into contaminated areas have been raised. This plan is currently being evaluated for pragmatism.



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