Shiftry is a large brown Pokémon with menacing features. It has a long, shaggy, white mane which covers most of its face and is comparable in appearance to a cobweb. It has long ears, a very long pointed nose, and a large mouth with teeth that are usually gritted. Its eyes are an opaque yellow color, with black sclera and pupils. Its hands consist of three broad leaves with brown "spokes," which it can use to create powerful winds. Its feet are unusual in that they resemble Japanese tengu-geta, footwear with only a single central "tooth" strongly associated with the mythical figure of tengu.
A female's leaves are smaller than a male's.
Shiftry can create powerful winds of close to 100 feet per second with their fan-shaped hands, and therefore can use the moves Whirlwind and Razor Wind. They are also capable of reading their foe's mind, and preemptively able to counter their actions.
Shiftry are said to be cruel creatures that enjoy nothing but deliberately injuring passers-by for no reason whatsoever, however, this view has little basis. They do however lead large groups of Seedot, Nuzleaf and even lower-ranking Shiftry and are quite loyal to their own kind. Amongst humans, Shiftry are feared and regarded as the guardians of the forest. Should Shiftry ever leave their habitats, their ascents are usually known by the accompanying gales of chilling wind which they arrive on.
Shiftry are based on tengu, who are known for their long noses, cruel tricks, ability to read minds, and for wielding a magical fan called a 羽団扇 hauchiwa, known to have the power to stir great winds. The fact that they are known to live in ancient forests and trees hint that they are likely based on 木葉天狗 konoha-tengu of ko-tengu. Shiftry also bears resemblance to a nutcracker.
Shiftry may be a combination of shifty (deceitful) and tree.
Dirteng may be a combination of dark or dirty and 天狗 tengu (tricky Japanese goblins).