Race Name: Flits
Homeworld Name: Contura
Main Cities: None
Biology & Diet
Flits are cold blooded, feathered avians closely related to reptiles. The common flit is generally small in size with a lithe build. Their wings are featherless membranes with a crooked thumb claw. They are predominantly gliders, but are capable of taking off from the ground with minimal effort. Not particularly evolved for ground travel, they tend to hop or amble awkwardly with their wing tips pointed up to avoid dragging. They are adept climbers, and spend most of their time living arborially.
Flits are brightly colored both in their scales and plumage. Adults sport 2-3 feathered clusters (crests) along their spinal column, most commonly on the top of the head, at the shoulder blades and fanning out at the tip of their tail. The width of the tail feather-spread enables the Flit stability flying at higher altitudes
Known to subsist on insects and grubs, it is not unheard of for Flits to also consume small mammals and lizards or ocassional plant matter - such as small fruits. There are reports of flocks teaming up to take down larger prey, but in general Flits are solitary in their eating habits and prefer to wait patiently amidst prey before striking out- similar to an Earth amphibian. Flits have shown a clear preference towards eating arthopods, so it's suspected that they derive some essential nutrient from insect carapaces.
Conturian anthropologists working to observe Flit flocks in their natural habitat have come to the conclusion that as a species, Flits must posess some mild form of telepathy which enables them to form and function as a hive mind. The number of Flits greatly influences this formation.
It should be noted that the common Flit is a distinct species from the much larger, predatory and solitary Greater flit. Greater flits do not appear to share the level of advanced intelligence or communicative nature that common Flits have.
Sexual Dimorphism & Reproduction
There has been some difficulty in identifying the secondary sex characteristics in Flits, due to the fact that there are numerous observed subspecies of common Flit all of whom seem comfortable interacting with other flocks and interbreeding. Further complicating matters is the Flit hive mind, meaning individual sex characteristics is something difficult both to communicate and be understood to the flock. As a result, it is generally supposed that individual sex is not something Flits have a concept of. Medical examination has shown that some Flits naturally posess the ability to develop and lay eggs, but Flits themselves seem either to not care or not comprehend these distinctions. It does, however, appear that the more varied and unique an individual's coloration, the more welcome they are to any given partners.
When a new generation of Flits is to be born, the flock builds nests in a particular species of red-leafed Conturian tree. This is possibly due to the tree's natural pollen acting as an antibacterial agent and protecting the eggs and young from potential infections. A Flit egg clutch contains typically 3-5 eggs, and most often are laid at the cusp of the winter season. By spring, the eggs hatch into miniature versions of the adults and are fully mobile and socialized by summer. Juvenille Flits form tight bonds with their brood siblings and it is supposed this is when the formation of a hive-mind begins.
Language & Culture
The language of Flits is highly vocal, consisting of many high pitched short sharp calls. Sounds of "Yeep", "Yee" and "Yii" are ubiquious at dusk and dawn in the Conturian jungle as flocks communicate to one another. These calls are generally to communicate individual experiences both to members of the flock perhaps too far to recieve detailed impressions from the hive mind, as well as other individuals or flocks who are not part of the individual's home hivemind. More than one Flit flock can settle in any given area, but it is up to the desires of the individual flock if they do or do not join together with their neighbors to form a greater hivemind. This, in addition to what appear to be vestigal individual personalities in sole subjects, indicate that although a flock of Flits may function as a hive mind, individuality and individual perspective is clearly favored by the species to optimize their understanding and survival.
Due to the hive mind, however, Flits have developed limited understanding of verbal comminication. This has lead to major misunderstandings with other intelligent beings in the past, where Flits are percieved merely as animals as opposed to true intelligent beings. True telepaths being rare in the known Universe, and Flits being unable to master individual communication beyond simple mimicry, this has lead to an aggressive debate as to if Flits shout be treated as true sentients whose opinions deserve to be weighed in global and universal matters. With few able to aid in representation, it is difficult to understand Flits' feelings on this. While they may not have cities or advanced technology, documentation of flocks aiding lost travellers can be dated back in Conturian history almost two thousand years.
Within a flock of Flits or amidst fellow telepaths, communication no longer need be verbal. Flocks generally consist of 5-30 individuals, and the size of the flock greatly informs the depth of intelligence the Flits within it will display. It appears that the more individuals in a group, the more perspectives on any single occurance exist, and therefore the more likely the chance of understanding any given concept. An individual within the hive mind may range up to a full mile away from the rest of their flock before they begin to lose their group intelligence. The further a Flit strays, the more vague the impressions they receive from the hivemind. Sensations such as danger, excitement or curiousity can be still clearly understood for up to two miles from the larger population.
Flits are an innately curious species, and are often found lurking around the outskirts of Chuian cities or following groups of people beyond city bubble baracades. Though they struggle to communicate with other species who do not share the telepathic bond with them, flocks go to great efforts to ask what is going on. Unfortuantely, most species just interpret this as pesky birds making a lot of noise.
An individual Flit seperated from its flock indefinately will gradually fail to thrive, forgetting essentials for survival. They will lose their ability to hunt, slowly lose their will to fly, and eventually pass away. This has not stopped some ill informed individuals from attempting to remove single Flits from the flock for their own reasons, or those who deny Flits' intelligence from attempting to capture and sell them into the exotic pet trade.
Religion & Rulerism
There appears to be no structured belief system for Flits, and any attempts to induct them into organized religion is received by flocks as a game. Understanding things such as Rulerism and its wider galatic effects does not appear to be possible for smaller flocks, and larger flocks seem to have difficulty communicating their ideas for handling the situation. One flock is reported to have repeatedly broadcast the urge to 'meet & assimilate' the Rulerists (not comprehending how many individuals Rulerism houses perhaps?) and another simply broadcast 'berry' to their advocate.
Rulerists, for their part, ere to the side of the debate that Flits do not qualify as "intelligent aliens" and so have not worked particularly hard to bring them into the fold of the church. They are generally thought by Rulerists to just be spectacularly smart birds. Obviously blessed by the Ruler, obviously meant to be protected and cherished, but not intelligent.
Technology & Alien Cultures
One of the benchmarks for intelligence as it is recognized within the wider universe is the use of tools to solve problems. Flits, even in smaller flocks, are tool users. Though their technique is lacking in finess and their tools lacking in refinement, Flits have been observed using sticks to fish insects out of narrow spaces. They have also been observed catching and storing food in foliage which they then fold for transport, like sacks. This technology, while not advanced, is still a clear marker of the common Flit's conciousness and intelligence.
As this viewpoint is not shared by all aliens, Flits have been subjected to a history of entrapment, hunting and trade due to their visual splendor. In spite of this, Flits do not seem to regard all other aliens as dangerous. It is theorized perhaps that this is because when trapped, an individual is rapidly moved out of range of the flock and so their experiences are not registered into the larger hive conciousness. Most Flits still seem to behave with caution when exposed to any given alien with front-facing (predator) eyes, just as a precaution.
The true supporters of the common Flit as an intelligent species within the greater universe are other species with innate empathetic or telepathic abilities. Morbacks, for example, know Flits to be people and respect their right to exist without being harassed. Flits themselves seem to prefer to associate with beings who are capable of perceiving some of their nonverbal communication between individuals. Some telepaths claim that when in close contact with Flits, they find themselves swept up in the alien personality- but these experiences are difficult to quantify.