Schikukao

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The schikukao is a waterfowl native to the region of Taopai that is similar in size to a duck but has a pointed beak. It is a popular food animal for the natives.

Schikukao
Information
Natural Habitat: Taopai and nearby islands
Classification: Bird
Average Size: 3' long
Average Weight: 7 lbs
Coloring: Dark with metallic purple and orange markings on wings
Distinguishing Features: Pointed beak



Description

The schikukao can be identified by its black or dark gray plumage that has metallic purple and orange stripes on the upper wing. This iridescent coloration seems connected to the waterproof nature of their feathers. Their beak is a handspan long, sharp and pointed. They use it to reach into the shells of marine shellfish and barnacles and extract beach and marsh crabs from their holes.

Habitat

Coastal waters and saltwater marshes of Taopai and surrounding islands

Breeding Habits

Schikukao tend toward serial monogamy; they will mate with one partner for years and then shift to another mate for no clear reason. They tend to nest in coastal rocks and the roots of trees in brackish water; their slightly leathery eggs can dry out if they nest too far from the sea.

Husbandry is difficult and domesticated Schikukao tend to need a periodic influx of wild breeding partners to keep family lines fresh. This makes cultivation far from Taopei difficult.

Other Characteristics

The water-resistant skin of the schikukao, while not very large, is sometimes used to decorate and protect scroll cases and similar small containers.