Articuno is a large avianPokémon with predominantly sky blue plumage and wings said to be made of ice. On its forehead is a crest that consists of three, darker blue rhombus-shaped feathers. It has circular red eyes, a short gray beak, and long, thin gray legs. Each foot has three forward-facing toes and one that faces backward. On its chest is a mass of pale blue, downy feathers. Its long, streamer-like tail is longer than its body and the same shade of blue as its crest.
Articuno has the power to control ice at will. When Articuno flaps its wings, it can chill the moisture in the air around it, making snow fall. It flies from icy mountain to icy mountain. According to legend, it appears before doomed travelers lost in icy regions. As seen in the anime, Articuno sometimes aids travelers and guides them to safety. Articuno lives in cold, isolated locations such as snowy mountains filled with permafrost.
In Galar, Articuno has a distinct appearance. Its main body has lavender coloration with a black marking covering its chest. Its feet are black with lavender talons. The three feathers of its crest, which are longer, fused, and folded to the back, have the same purple color as its beak and tail. Its eyes glow light blue, appear to be mostly closed, and are surrounded by a black, mask-like facial disc. When Articuno utilizes its psychic power, the entire mask glows the same color as its eyes, as do the white, feather-like blades of condensed psychic power at the edges of its wings.
Galarian Articuno keeps itself airborne with its psychic power, almost never having to use its wings for this purpose. Instead, the blades on its wings can be used to slice through iron as easily as paper. Its eyes can fire beams of psychic energy that leave its opponents stuck in place as if frozen solid — this is what earns this Pokémon the name of its Kantonian counterpart. It also has the ability to create mirages of itself in order to fool its opponent and escape. Its elegant and refined movements belie a cold and callous personality. It can be found in the Crown Tundra once every few decades congregating at Dyna Tree Hill.
Articuno appears in The Legendary Articuno!. It lives atop a mountain used by a ski resort and is rumored to spirit away the lives of lost travelers, but in reality, it is a friendly Pokémon that runs a Snowcone shop. Pikachu, Clefairy and Jigglypuff enter a Snowcone-eating contest at Articuno's shop, and Articuno also rescues an injured Hazel.
Articuno was one of the first four Pokémon designs revealed when the Pokémon 151 brand was first announced. In the shirt design, an Articuno is rising out of the right side with the number 144 on its chest.
When released from a Poké Ball, Articuno will use a Blizzard attack that freezes any opponent that is caught in it for a few seconds.
"Clouds gather, the barometer plunges, and fresh snow falls from the frigid air when this legendary Pokémon takes wing. Graceful and elegant, it boasts long tail feathers that flap in the wind and are lovely to behold. As would be expected, its combat moves are based on its cold nature; they include Ice Beam and Blizzard."
Articuno reappears as a trophy in the 3DS game, but not the Wii U edition.
Articuno trophy in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
NA: The air around Articuno is always cool, and it can make snow fall on even the hottest of days. It must be the perfect Pokémon to have around in summer! Then again, do you really want to be the one to use a Legendary bird Pokémon as an ice machine? Let's just think this through for a minute.
PAL: The air around Articuno is always cool, and it can make snow fall on even the hottest of days. It must be the perfect Pokémon to have around in summer! Then again, do you really want to be the one to use a Legendary Bird Pokémon as an ice machine? You'd just get the cold shoulder from the whole Pokémon community.
In Japanese, the wording 「でんせつの れいとうポケモン」 (Legendary Freezing Pokémon) is found in the Pokédex entry from Pokémon Blue and LeafGreen. This is a reference to Articuno's category (English: Freeze Pokémon; Japanese: れいとうポケモン). However, in the English version of LeafGreen, this was changed to "legendary bird Pokémon" instead, which is an expression also found in several other Pokédex entries of the three Legendary birds.
In the second episode of the anime, there is an engraving on a wall in the Viridian City Pokémon Center that depicts the Legendary birds. Ash mistakes the Articuno engraving as Ho-Oh. While the blue coloration of the stone indicates the Ice type, and the wings and crest feathers are those of Articuno, the multiple tail feathers look nothing like Articuno's tail, being more similar in appearance to those of Ho-Oh.
Articuno and the other two Legendary birds had Australian beetle species named after them: Binburrum articuno, Binburrum zapdos, and Binburrum moltres. The three species were first described in 2020, and were collectively named after the Legendary birds to reflect their rarity.
Articuno seems to take inspiration from various mythical birds such as the Persian Simurgh, Huma, and Roc, or the Chinese Fenghuang. Many of these rare birds were said to live on high mountain peaks and are symbols of good fortune. Tales of their benevolence might be the inspiration behind Articuno’s reputation for rescuing people. Anatomically, it is very similar to the white-throated magpie-jay, and its streamer-like tail feathers are similar to the resplendent quetzal.
As suggested by the Pokédex entries, the three legendary birds appear to be embodiments of seasons, Articuno represents winter, while Zapdos and Moltres represent summer and spring, respectively. Autumn is however unrepresented.
Galarian Articuno’s facial feathers resemble a mask worn at a masquerade ball as well as some form of protective eyewear such as glasses, goggles, or a visor. Its freezing glare might be a reference to the Cockatrice, a mythical reptile/bird monster that could turn people to stone with its gaze. Its Shiny coloration is similar to Kantonian Articuno's regular coloration.
Articuno may be a combination of arctic (northern polar region) and uno (Spanish for one, indicating that it is the first of the KantoLegendary birds).
Freezer is literally freezer (that which freezes).