I drew two very different Thunderbirds because the two main regions they’re said to have been spotted are vastly different. Not to mention they’re such a cool cryptid. It was a good excuse for me to play with more than one design. However, SC and Arizona are not the only places where the Thunderbird dwells. Anywhere from northern Canada to Central America, the Thunderbird hovers above in the great sky.
The Arizona Thunderbird was inspired by the infamous Teratornis and the vibrant coloration of the terrain in the deserts of the Grand Canyon region. Being very dry, I wanted to incorporate a reptilian look into my design, so I gave it scales on the underbelly. Along with being able to camouflage itself, another defense against predators are the long rods coming out of its wings. These rods use a similar shocking method to an electric eel. The Arizona Thunderbird can produce a lethal shock of .050 amperes. However, most of its predators, such as the carnivorous dinosaurs, are nonexistent.
Many sightings of the South Carolina Thunderbird are described as having a likeness to that of a Pterosaur. Cave drawings of this region depict the very thing. So, this definitely inspired me to go along with that concept idea. This Thunderbird lives in caves anywhere in the eastern region of North America. Its pick-like claws enable it to scale cliffs and slippery cave walls. This cryptid’s hunting patterns are unique being that he only hunts in poor conditions such as foggy, cloudy and stormy weather.
Illustrators Note: It wasn’t my intention to make these two birds so different that their color patterns ended up polar opposites–one being warm tones and that other cool. At first I wasn’t happy with the cliche, but as I dove deeper into their ecology, the mistakes made me very proud of this design.
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Are you familiar with the Thunderbird? Do you have another cryptid that is your favorite?
If you’d like to see more of my creature designs, you can follow me on Instagram @Melcabre2. I’d love to see you there.
Have a great day!