Name: Cloaked Plover (Charadrius Occultatum)
Typical Wingspan: 1’3” (37 cm)
Typical Length: 6” (15 cm)
Typical Weight: 1.2 oz. (50 g)
Physical Description: It is commonly believed that if you can see a Cloaked Plover, it is not doing its job correctly. Formerly an endangered species, the Cloaked Plover has adapted due to the latent magical energy of the Dunes in order to maintain its safety. The Plover has a reflective veil of feathers over its body, allowing it to reflect all light, making it seem almost invisible to the naked eye. When the reflective coating is not active, the creature's true appearance is visible: a small bird, usually standing horizontally with eggshell white feathers, and a sandy yellow beak.
Diet: Having evolved to live by the ocean, the Cloaked Plover usually dines on invertebrates and crustaceans often found on the shoreline. They often dine upon various insects and worms as well.
Behavior: Cloaked Plovers are stealthy and quick creatures, preferring to avoid interaction with all other creatures on the Dunes. However, they are also fiercely territorial around their nests. It has been recorded that some creatures that get too close to their eggs get swarmed by dozens of these small, vicious creatures as they peck and claw at the would be predator. Years of being an endangered species has taught these little birds the value of life, and they are intent on staying alive by any means necessary.
Ecology: Despite their impressive stealth tactics, these small birds are frail, fragile, and, unfortunately for them, incredibly tasty. Brittle bones and flammable reflective feathers cause any Plover that is spotted to not last too long. Their prey, however, knows the Cloaked Plover as an incredibly dangerous and efficient hunter. Due to their reflective feathers, most of their meals never even see them coming, and by the time they realize what is happening, it is far too late for them.
Lifecycle: Cloaked Plovers, despite their powerful cloaking abilities, do not have an impressive lifespan. The oldest recorded creature of this species only lived to about 16 years of age. The life of a Cloaked Plover is a simple one: hatch, grow feathers, mate, protect the eggs, and escape south to live out the rest of their lives in a much warmer climate. Most Cloaked Plovers seen around the Dunes are adolescents or younger.
Human Relations: Because of their impressive feathers, Cloaked Plovers are highly sought after creatures for armor and weapon manufacturers, despite their former endangered status. The feathers continue to be reflective and cloak-like for decades after the birds’ death, so those who have friends in dark places tend to gravitate towards these small creatures. The casing of their eggs shares this feature as well, and scientists across the New England Federation vye for these small objects to study their unusual magic properties.