Length: 7 ft.
Weight: 35 lbs
Lifespan: 35+ years
Status: Critically Endangered
Species: Q. trogon
The Quetzin is one of the smaller dragon species native to Argo. It is also one of the most intelligent of species. Archean nomads were among the first persons to rear and train them for use as hunting animals when in search of food. Like dogs, quetzin were loyal and obedient. Even so, their trainers took no chances, and always slipped hoods over their heads, just like falconers of Earth. Often at times, some trainers would release a few of their captive-raised animals into wilder packs to further diversify the gene pool of the species. There are no color mutations known in this species.
The quetzin is roughly the size of a small child. Males and females both have feathers that cover everywhere except for their heads, legs, and wingtips. The feathers from the neck to almost the bases of their tails are green, and half of the tail is colored purple. The last half of their tails are striped black and white, and are used for communication among pack members. The tails are longer than the length of their bodies, an dare carried erect for balance. They all have stiff bristles protruding from teh sides of their tail ends, used like swats. The sides of their wings are white with black stripings, and have a large hooked claw. They have a single killing toe, similar to that of a velociraptor. The irises of both sexes are yellow.
Male quetzins are slightly larger than the females and their bodies are also covered in a network of white stream-like patterns, giving their colors the apprearence of blotched, solid colors of green adn purple. The males' undersides are white, with few small stripes under the chest, and eight orange eyespots on the throats for attracting mates. Males also sport a small stub-like horn on their snouts, and have a beautiful golden mohawk, uses as display and communitation. And in addition to the orange eyespots, the legs of males are striped orange and black, and the undersides of their feathered wing membranes are covered in gold feathers that shine during the brightest days, often used as a confusion towards larger predators.
Females have purple undersides, and lack the mohawk and horn ornamentations that males possess.
The bones of the quetzin are light and hollow for speed and agility.
Quetzins are in the family called 'Dromaeodracids', which also includes one of their their closest relative, the Terror. Yet despite their relation, Terrors are the only member of the family that lacks the sharp, killing toe.
The home range of the Quetzin is found in the tropics, temperates, and grasslands of Meta, and small populations living in Tas. Quetzin living in Tas often have darker plumage.
Quetzin are super effecient pack hunters. Like wolves or hyenas, they operate on a complex scale, with omegas and other lessers flushing out the weakest individual prey items to the alphas, even if they are at least four times their size. The alpha pair is always the first to eat, while the others wait their turns. They will not share their meals with outcasts or rogues, often chasing them away far beyond the borders of their territory.
Quetzin live in social hiearcheis, each pack led by an alpha male or pair. An average pack can consist of over six individuals, though one pack was once recorded at having almost twenty-five pack members. They communication with eachother not only with their body language, but with vocalization of various sounds, clicks, chirps, and other noises. Their greek name "trogon" means "nibbler" due to the fact that pack members will often constantly nibble, or preen, at eachother's feathers to rid of parasites and strengthen bonds.
Omegas are at the bottom of the pecking order, often treated as the first line of defense in case of an attack from larger predators or conflicts with other packs. Very readily do packs accept new recruits, and the alpha must first test their abilities in a hunt in order for a potential pack member to secure a place among the rest.
Quetzins are not only hunters, but they are opportunists. For instance, should a larger dragon, such as a foldon, steal a majority of their kill, they will scavenge for the leftovers. This survival strategy is a proven success. Why fight now than to flee to fight another day?
The wings are very muscular and hollow, but quetzin are incabable of true flight. They can only manage very short bursts of air, and can glide over cliffs. Like all dragons, they have an Argonium deposit in their territories, and it's often from another dragons that they share. They are also incapable of breathing fire.
When if comes to breeding rights, the alpha male always has the first pickings of a potential mate. Other pack mates will find mates after the alpha selects his. When approaching a female, the male is very maticulous in his behavior, because females are picky. The male must be large, strong, and in top condition. If she is curious, the male will strut side to side in front of her, showing off his plumage and flashing his golden mohawk up and down like a cockatoo. If she comes closer, he will face her eye to eye, flapping his wings and reviel that the undersides of his wings are very golden and reflective. At this time, he will attempt playful mock charges at her, sqwaking and screeching as will. Should she accept, she will raise her tail in the air and allow him to mount her. They pair together for life.
The dominant pair's clutch of 8-15 eggs are laid in the center, while other pack members make their nests around them. As an added precaution, many dummy nests with infertile eggs are set around their nests in order to confuse would-be egg theives. The nests are lined with twigs and debris, and both male and female will incubate them with her body, known as brooding, gently sitting over them for at least two months.
When the chicks hatch, they are covered in fluffy white down. Male are are easily osrted away from their sisters by teh presence of a small golden mohawk. Young male dragons will stay with the pack unti they reach about five years of age. Males from the same clutch or pack will often stay together for mutual protection, practicing their hunting skills led by the more dominant of the pack. In time, they may stumble across a pack of females in which to form a new pack led by a dominant male or pair.
Quetzin are critically endangered due to egg collecting, poaching, deforestation, and captured alive by private hunters who will use them as either hunting animals or fighting dragons, an illegal bloodsport.