Jotted and unrefined observations of the Pentecost Rainbow Gryphette.
At some point I might put all this into a readable and organized format. Until then, this is mostly for my own benefit so I don’t forget all this detail I dreamt up.
The Pentecost Rainbow gryphette is a species known as much for its cleverness, curiosity, and industry as for its bright and colorful plumage. Of all known gryphette species, the rainbow variety is among the most intelligent and crafty. It is not at all uncommon to see a rainbow gryphette concocting Rube Goldbergian contraptions to acquire food, building materials, or other objects of interest. They are able to recognize themselves in mirrors, express empathy, and count to around 15; they even know how to play pranks. Rainbow gryphettes have a broad vocabulary consisting of nearly 1,200 identified words and they construct complex sentences. Current science contends that they even name each other. A rainbow gryphette whistling the same song to different family members will premise the song with a certain sound depending upon who the song is directed at. This species has a dense neural network and a highly developed prefrontal cortex, the most likely explanation for its considerable intelligence relative to its small size (a little larger than a raven).
A big male rainbow gryphette might weigh 8oz and have an 18 inch wingspan. Sexual dimorphism is striking with the female being smaller and brown with accents of gold and rusty red. Rainbow gryphettes have opposable thumbs on all four feet and never fail to make use of them for various sorts of mischief, the most common being pilfering assorted nicknacks from humans. If a button has disappeared from a blouse, a shoe has lost its laces, or a belt seems mysteriously buckle-less, it is quite possible to have been lost to a rainbow gryphette. They use pilfered artifacts as a sort of pseudo-currency. Individuals have been observed exchanging objects for food and materials. The ostensible value of currency is primarily based on utility with string, cloth, cotton-balls, and paper being among the most “expensive” items. However, they are also quite fond of iridescent blue or green objects such as the glass baubles people line their fishtanks with.
Rainbow gryphettes construct massive nest complexes in the understory boughs of old growth tropical rainforests. This provides them protection from terrestrial threats while affording decent cover from rain, winds, and aerial predators. Being a gregarious species, a rainbow gryphette nest complex may harbor a colony of up to 300 individuals. There are approximately 5 females for every 1 male, each male having his own harem. Social grooming is a very important aspect of the rainbow gryphette’s life. Individuals who do not participate in social grooming appear to have a lower survival rate and decreased immune response. The females are responsible for socializing and schooling the chicks while the males’ principal responsibilities are gathering food and protecting the colony. Females who age beyond fertility often go out and participate with males in protecting the colony and hunting.
Females will not mate unless the males perform their courtship rituals which consist of methodic flapping, twirling, hopping, fanning, and poofing. Each male has a unique dance and corresponding song that he will perform for his females who will then be receptive to his advances, assuming they are impressed with his display. Any females unimpressed may leave a male’s harem and join another, though they usually don’t unless the male is unhygienic or otherwise displeasing. Females lay 1 to 3 fawny-speckled eggs. Chicks reach maturity at 8 years of age and may live to be 35 in the wild. In captivity they can live even longer.
Rainbow gryphettes subsist mainly on soft seeds, berries, fruit, and insects though the males have been known to pick at fresh carrion when it is available. Being small and conspicuous, they are often predated by falcons, tree-climbing cats, and snakes. Their best defenses are superior intellect and numbers. Occasionally they can mob a predator into submission or tactically dispel an attack. They may also employ a stunningly shrill cry loud as a trumpet to scare predators away.
Rainbow gryphette behavior becomes markedly different and varied when raised by humans. Depending on how they are raised, they may pair-bond with a specific human or with an entire family. Males bond easily where as females are more suspicious, requiring greater efforts to earn their trust. Despite their high intelligence, it can be very difficult to keep them from stealing fancied items. This can be remedied by keeping a robust supply of string, and beads (preferably blue, green, and any shades in between) laying about for them to pirate. Rainbow gryphettes can be house-trained, understand a wide variety of words, and can make great pets but they do require constant attention. One should not endeavor to own a rainbow gryphette unless they are prepared to have a constant companion taking up residence in a pocket or on one’s head. Rainbow gryphettes love to sing and can only be made quiet with food, attention, or putting them to bed – sometimes one will simply have to cope with the fact that rainbow gryphettes are very, very talkative. They like to be petted, scratched, and tickled but especially enjoy preening their humans’ hair.