Legendary birds

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The legendary birds[1][2] (Japanese: 伝説(でんせつ)(とり)ポケモン legendary bird Pokémon), also known as the winged mirages (Japanese: (まぼろし)(つばさ) phantom wings), are a Legendary trio consisting of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. In the Crown Tundra, their Galarian forms are also known as the legendary wings.[3]

Artwork of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres from Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!
Artwork of Galarian Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres from The Crown Tundra

Being the first Legendary trio, the Kantonian legendary birds set the standards for future trios; that is, they all share similar attributes and—in the case of most trios—are considered equal among themselves. Additionally, they share a secondary type, Flying, and an Ability, Pressure. Due to its role in the anime, Lugia is often viewed as the leader of the trio.

In The Crown Tundra, each of the legendary birds received a Galarian form. They all still share the secondary type, Flying, but they each now have different Abilities, and their respective primary types have changed.

Terminology

English

Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres are frequently described as "legendary bird Pokémon" in their Pokédex entries.[4] Uniqely, in Pokémon Red, Moltres is instead described as simply a "legendary bird",[5] but when the same entry was reused in later games this was changed to "legendary bird Pokémon".[6] The term "legendary bird Pokémon" has also been used by characters in the core series games.[7][8]

In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Peony refers to them as "legendary birds",[1] although his Legendary Clue 3 refers to them as the "winged mirages".[3]

In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, they are referred to as the "legendary birds".[2] In the Nintendo Power guidebook Pokémon Gold and Silver: Complete Pokédex, they are referred to as the "Legendary Birds".[9]

In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, Bird Keeper Donald on Route 14 refers to the legendary birds the winged mirages (Japanese: (まぼろし)(つばさ) mirage wings):

  • "Have you heard the legend of the winged mirages?"
  • "Well, the winged mirages are the legendary bird Pokémon. There are three of them: Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres."

Japanese

In Japanese, several core series Pokédex entries refer to them as 伝説(でんせつ)(とり)ポケモン (legendary bird Pokémon).

In particular, the Japanese terms 伝説(でんせつ)のポケモン (Legendary Pokémon) or 伝説(でんせつ)ポケモン (Legend Pokémon) were used in multiple Pokédex entries but translated as (lowercase) legendary bird Pokémon in English. This applies to:

Similarly, those other variations were also in Japanese Pokédex entries but translated as legendary bird Pokémon in English:

History

According to notes found in the Pokémon Mansion (Kanto), the legendary birds were first discovered by and recorded by the Pokémon Research Team.[10] Blaine and Mr. Fuji also recorded notes and sightings of the winged mirages.

In Galar's Crown Tundra, the original legendary birds were thought to periodically travel there, but it's eventually discovered that the trio of birds seen there were in reality, Galarian variants of the original trio, that travelled all over the world but anually flew back to the Crown Tundra's Dyna Tree to feed on its berries and even fight between themselves to have the Berries for themselves. Not much is known about the relation between the Galarian and Kantonian birds, but their Pokédex entries imply that the Galarian ones were either the birds's original appearances or that they're unrelated entirely.

Anime

In the anime, Professor Oak states that Articuno's and Moltres's combined powers of ice and fire are the source and cradle of the oceans, and that Zapdos's electric energy creates the currents and streams, which is why the three ancient creatures are closely bound to the guardian of the ocean, Lugia. It is also the only one capable of stopping the trio's conflict, which causes great natural disaster all over the planet.

Similar movesets

The following are legendary birds' level-up movesets from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Lv.  
Articuno
 Ice  Flying 
 
Articuno
 Psychic  Flying 
 
Zapdos
 Electric  Flying 
 
Zapdos
 Fighting  Flying 
 
Moltres
 Fire  Flying 
 
Moltres
 Dark  Flying 
1 Gust Peck Gust
Mist Thunder Wave Focus Energy Leer
5 Powder Snow Confusion Thunder Shock Rock Smash Ember Payback
10 Reflect Light Screen Safeguard
15 Ice Shard Hypnosis Pluck Wing Attack
20 Agility
25 Ancient Power
30 Tailwind Charge Brick Break Incinerate Sucker Punch
35 Freeze-Dry Psycho Cut Drill Peck Air Slash
40 Roost Recover Roost Quick Guard Roost After You
45 Ice Beam Freezing Glare Discharge Thunderous Kick Heat Wave Fiery Wrath
50 Snowscape Dream Eater Rain Dance Bulk Up Sunny Day Nasty Plot
55 Hurricane Thunder Counter Hurricane
60 Haze Double Team Detect Endure
65 Blizzard Future Sight Magnetic Flux Close Combat Overheat Memento
70 Sheer Cold Trick Room Zap Cannon Reversal Sky Attack
Moves in bold are STAB. Moves in italics do no damage.


Base stat comparison

Pokémon  
Articuno
 
Zapdos
 
Moltres
HP
90
90
90
Attack
85
90
100
Defense
100
85
90
Sp. Atk
95
125
125
Sp. Def
125
90
85
Speed
85
100
90
Total 580 580 580


Galarian forms

Pokémon  
Articuno
 
Zapdos
 
Moltres
HP
90
90
90
Attack
85
125
85
Defense
85
90
90
Sp. Atk
125
85
100
Sp. Def
100
90
125
Speed
95
100
90
Total 580 580 580


In the core series games

Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow

In Generation I, the legendary birds are scattered around the Kanto region in different locations according to their type. Articuno is deep within the Seafoam Islands, Zapdos is in the abandoned Power Plant on Route 10, and Moltres is in Victory Road.

Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

In FireRed and LeafGreen, the legendary birds retain their placement from Generation I, with the exception of Moltres, which has been moved to Mt. Ember in the Sevii Islands from Victory Road.

Pokémon Emerald

While it is impossible to capture any of the birds in Pokémon Emerald, if one challenges Brandon for the Gold Brave Symbol, he has them in his possession.

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness

Greevil's team includes Shadow versions of all three birds.

Pokémon Platinum

While it is impossible to capture the legendary birds in Diamond and Pearl, they can be found roaming the Sinnoh region in Pokémon Platinum. The player may encounter them after visiting Pal Park and then speaking to Professor Oak in Eterna City.

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

The legendary birds appear once more in HeartGold and SoulSilver in the same locations as before, except for Moltres, who has moved to Mt. Silver Cave. Due to the Power Plant no longer being abandoned, Zapdos is found outside the Power Plant and will only appear once all 16 Badges are acquired.

Pokémon X and Y

In Pokémon X and Y, one bird roams around Kalos while the rest are absent. The bird that appears depends on what starter Pokémon is chosen at the beginning of the game: Articuno will roam if players choose Chespin, Zapdos will roam if Fennekin is chosen, and Moltres will roam if Froakie is chosen. It appears on random routes after the player beats the Pokémon League and cannot be battled, but once it is found ten times, it retreats to the Sea Spirit's Den where it can be battled.

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, all three birds can be found in the Ultra Space Wilds by following a red Ultra Wormhole to the Cliff World during the Ultra Warp Ride minigame.

Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!

In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, the three legendary birds appear in the same capacity they do in the Generation I games. Unlike most Pokémon in the game, the player must defeat them in a timed battle before getting the chance to catch them.

Pokémon Sword and Shield

 
Encountering the Galarian legendary birds

In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the three legendary birds found in the Crown Tundra all have Galarian forms with different types and different Abilities. Articuno is a Psychic-type instead of an Ice-type with the Ability Competitive, Zapdos is a Fighting-type instead of an Electric-type with the Ability Defiant, and Moltres is a Dark-type instead of a Fire-type with the Ability Berserk. Unlike their Kantonian equivalents, each one also has a signature move, and each of these signature moves has a name that evokes their Kantonian counterparts' types.

The Kantonian counterparts of the legendary birds can also be encountered and captured in Dynamax Adventures. The Galarian legendary birds can be encountered at Dyna Tree Hill. After a cutscene occurs and A Legendary Tree of a Legendary Three! starts, the birds will scatter all across Galar. Galarian Articuno can be encountered in Crown Tundra and will battle the player after testing them with an illusion. Galarian Zapdos can be found in the Wild Area where the player must catch up to Zapdos. Finally, Galarian Moltres can be found at the Isle of Armor where the player needs to stand in front of Moltres while it circles around the area in order to battle it.

The Shiny forms of all three have similar coloring to the standard coloring of their Kantonian forms.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

In Pokémon Shining Pearl, the Kantonian legendary birds can be encountered at Ramanas Park. They are located in the Kanto Room which is unlocked after capturing the legendary giants. 3 Kanto Slates are needed to unlock them as only one legendary bird can be encountered at a time. Catching all three birds is required to obtain the Squall Slate and catch Lugia; this is the first time that the trio is linked to Lugia within the core series.

The legendary birds are unobtainable in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and must be traded or transferred to the game in order to complete the National Pokédex. Their Galarian forms can't be transferred to either version.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

In The Indigo Disk DLC, the legendary birds can be obtained via snacks from Snacksworth. Their Galarian forms are unobtainable, but present, and can be transferred to these games.

In the spin-off games

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team/Rescue Team DX

In Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team and their remake, Rescue Team DX, each of them guard a dungeon: Zapdos has Mt. Thunder, Moltres has Mt. Blaze, and Articuno has Frosty Forest. Each appear on the last floor of their respective upper dungeon sections as bosses, and cannot be recruited until the credits roll. Once the player recruits all three, and Pitfall Valley and Stormy Sea have been cleared, they can talk to Alakazam and go to their Friend Area, Legendary Island, which will unlock access to Silver Trench, the domain of Lugia, who is often viewed as the leader of the legendary birds .

Pokémon Rumble

In Pokémon Rumble, each bird serves as the S-rank boss of a specific stage in Normal Mode: Articuno has Rocky Cave, Moltres has Fiery Furnace, and Zapdos has Eternal Tower.

Pokémon Battle Trozei

All three birds have a chance to appear on Stage 5 of the Mountain of Order. Only Articuno is initially available as a boss; however, if the player manages to defeat it in one attack, they then get the chance to fight Zapdos. This also applies to beating Zapdos flawlessly, where Moltres can be fought immediately afterward.

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

The legendary birds can be obtained after reaching Platinum Rank in Super Mystery Dungeon, and are challenged consecutively--once one dungeon is beat and the player has connected with the Legendary, they get access to the next, and so on. Articuno is encountered at Blue Point on the Grass Continent, while Moltres is battled at Red Point and Zapdos at Yellow Point, both on the Air Continent. Lugia, often viewed as their leader, is again fought after the legendary birds, in Sea Shrine.

Pokémon Masters EX

Both the Kantonian and Galarian legendary birds are obtainable through Master Fair sync pair scouts, forming sync pairs with the Neo Champions of Kanto and Galar respectively.

Sync Dex Trainer NDex Pokémon Type Weakness Role Base Potential Availability
#119   Champion
Marnie
#146G   Moltres    
Galarian Form
Dark
 
Fairy
 
  ★★★★★☆EX Master Fair Sync Pair Scout
#141   Champion
Hop
#145G   Zapdos    
Galarian Form
Fighting
 
Psychic
 
  ★★★★★☆EX Master Fair Sync Pair Scout
#149   Champion
Bede
#144G   Articuno    
Galarian Form
Psychic
 
Ghost
 
  ★★★★★☆EX Master Fair Sync Pair Scout
#084   Champion
Red
#1441   Articuno    
Ice
 
Rock
 
  ★★★★★☆EX Master Fair Sync Pair Scout
#076   Champion
Leaf
#1461   Moltres    
Fire
 
Water
 
  ★★★★★☆EX Master Fair Sync Pair Scout
#065   Champion
Blue
#1451   Zapdos    
Electric
 
Ice
 
  ★★★★★☆EX Master Fair Sync Pair Scout

In the anime

Main series

  This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Main article: Legendary birds (M02)
 
The legendary birds in the anime

The legendary birds appeared in The Power of One, where they were central to the movie's plot. In it, they were described as the titans of fire, ice, and lightning, guardians over Fire, Ice, and Lightning Islands. They were sought after by a collector, Lawrence III, who intended to use them to draw out Lugia.

Lawrence III succeeded in capturing Moltres first, using strange, electrified rings to contain it, rather than a Poké Ball. He then subsequently kept it on his ship as he hunted out Zapdos, who used Moltres's absence from Fire Island as a signal that it would be able to expand its territory. Shortly after, Ash and his friends discovered this to be the case. Lawrence III captures Zapdos as well, drawing the group in as well, due to their boat's similar size to the birds. The group escaped, and, using their Pokémon, managed to free Zapdos and Moltres. The legendary birds have been infuriated, however, and began fighting, destroying Lawrence III's airship just as he attempted to capture Articuno. The three continued their fight outside, and finally, Lugia revealed itself.

 
Galarian Moltres in the anime

The three birds teamed up to take Lugia down, but it recovered and retured to the surface. As Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres continued to fight, Ash was tasked to bring the treasures from their respective islands to Shamouti Island's shrine in order to help Lugia to quell the fighting and prevent the destruction of the world. Though he almost didn't make it, Ash managed to do so, and the birds made peace, returning to their islands.

Another set of legendary birds appeared in An Electrifying Rage! in a fantasy.

In Pokémon Journeys: The Series, Goh battled in Raid Battle with all Kantonian's three legendary birds. In A Crackling Raid Battle!, Goh battled Zapdos, with the help of Ash and Team Rocket, in Advice to Goh!, Ash, Gary, and Goh encountered a Moltres whilst searching for Ash's Infernape. And finally, in Battling in the Freezing Raid!, Ash, Goh, Gary, and Horace faced an Articuno in a Raid Battle at the Seafoam Islands.

A Galarian Moltres belonging to Lucius appeared in HZ022.

Pokémon Origins

The legendary birds appeared in File 4: Charizard, where Red caught them with Ultra Balls.

In the manga

Magical Pokémon Journey

Only Articuno has appeared in Magical Pokémon Journey, specifically in The Legendary Articuno!.

Movie adaptations

The legendary birds appeared in Mirage Pokémon Lugia's Explosive Birth.

Pokémon Adventures

Main article: legendary birds (Adventures)
 
The legendary birds in Pokémon Adventures
 
The Galarian legendary birds in Pokémon Adventures

Red, Green & Blue arc

The legendary birds were sought by Team Rocket, following their failure to control Mewtwo. Articuno was caught at Seafoam Islands, Zapdos was caught at the Power Plant, and Moltres was caught at Indigo Plateau. They were then placed under the control of Team Rocket's three Commanders; Koga, Lt. Surge, and Sabrina, respectively, who used them against Red, Blue, and Green at Silph Co., using the power of their respective Gym Badges to force them to do their bidding. During the battle, they were accidentally fused together into a single being called the Thu-Fi-Zer. The combination Pokémon was defeated by the Pokédex holders' starter Pokémon, causing it to split up again and freeing the legendary birds.

Gold, Silver & Crystal arc

During the years following their escape, Green caught the legendary birds in order to help her overcome her fear of birds. She used them during the climax of the arc to fight against Lugia and Ho-Oh at Ilex Forest while they were under the Masked Man's control. Following this chapter, it's unknown whether she released them or put them in her Box.

FireRed & LeafGreen arc

In this arc, Green revealed that she had first visited the Sevii Islands years before Red and Blue in order to catch Moltres on Mt. Ember.

Sword & Shield arc

A Galarian Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres appeared in PASS36.

Pokémon Battrio: Aim to be Battrio Master!

Kanto Nankai used the legendary birds during his match against Ryū Tendō in ABM01.

Pokémon Pocket Monsters

Articuno appeared in Will You Risk Your Life To Play The Magic Game?!. It was caught by Red using a Master Ball in The Legendary Pokémon Appears!!.

Zapdos appeared in Regain the Deserted Power Plant!. Another one appeared in PMDP11.

Moltres appeared in The Legendary Moltres Appears!!.

All of the legendary birds appeared in Get Lugia!.

Pokémon Zensho

All of the legendary birds appeared as a silhouette in Saffron City.

In Cinnabar Island, Satoshi helped Blaine to catch Articuno at Seafoam Islands.

Trivia

  • In the localized versions of Generation I games, a Bird Keeper in Route 14 states: "The 3 legendary Pokémon are all birds of prey." However, in the Japanese dialogue, he simply says that they are three birds.
  • In Generation I, the legendary birds all had different base stat totals—Articuno's was 485, Zapdos's was 490, and Moltres's was 495. Since Generation II, when the Special split occurred, all three legendary birds have had an equal base stat total of 580.
  • In the English dub of The Power of One, these Pokémon are referred to as "titans".
  • Although legends are said to be incapable of breeding, Pokémon Snap shows all three birds being born from eggs, which means they were bred in some way.
  • The last part of each of the members' names is a number in the Spanish language—one (Articuno), two (Zapdos), and three (Moltres)—and it reflects their National Pokédex order.
  • Starting with Pokémon Platinum, they are the only Legendary trio to be both fully stationary and roaming as wild Pokémon in the various games they appear in. In comparison, the lake guardians have one of their trio who roams, while Suicune of the Legendary beasts roams in Pokémon Gold and Silver, but is stationary in Pokémon Crystal, as well as in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
  • Since there were only four tracks of battle music in the Generation I games (wild, Trainer, Gym Leader/Elite Four, and Champion), normal wild battle music is played when the legendary birds and Mewtwo are encountered. In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, a special remix of the normal wild battle theme is used for the legendary birds, Mewtwo, and the Legendary beasts when encountered. However, the legendary birds have never had a battle theme composed specifically for them, unlike other Legendary trios.
  • The Shiny Colorations of the legendary birds in their regional forms are colored to match the normal coloration of the Kantonian ones.
  • All of the legendary birds are capable of learning Agility naturally; however, from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl to Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, they were able to learn this move at different levels.
  • Excluding roaming, Moltres is the only one of the trio to change location, and it does so twice.
  • The legendary birds can be caught in the most games of all Legendary Pokémon, as they can be caught in thirteen core series games in Japan (twelve internationally, seven in Korea).
  • Kantonian Zapdos is the only one of the trio not to have a double weakness to Rock (or, for that matter, any double weakness).
    • Kantonian Zapdos is also the only one of the trio to have a weakness to Ice, though Moltres was weak to Ice as well in Generation I.
    • Galarian Zapdos is the only one of the trio not to have a weakness to Rock.
  • The legendary birds are the only Legendary Pokémon to have regional forms.

In other languages

Legendary birds

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 傳說的鳥寶可夢 Chyùhnsyut-dīk Níuh Pokémon
Mandarin 傳說的鳥寶可夢 / 传说的鸟宝可梦 Chuánshuō-de Niǎo Pokémon
  Czech Legendární ptáci
  French Pokémon oiseaux légendaires
  German Legendären Vogel-Pokémon
  Hungarian Legendás madár
  Italian Pokémon leggendari alati
  Korean 전설의 새포켓몬 Jeonseol-ui Sae Pokémon
  Brazilian Portuguese Pássaros Lendários
  Spanish Aves legendarias

Winged mirage

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 幻之翼 Waahn-jī Yihk
Mandarin 幻之翼 Huàn-zhī Yì *
梦幻之翼 Mènghuàn-zhī Yì *
  French Mirages ailés
  German Mythischen Schwingen
  Italian Miraggi alati
  Korean 환상의 날개 Hwansang-ui Nalgae
  Spanish Seres alados

Related articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Peony: "Looks like you've reported all there is to report on Legendary Clue 3 and the legendary birds!" (Pokémon Sword and Shield)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Battle CD 42: "Articuno, Zapdos, & Moltres Side A | The dream team of the legendary birds!" (Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Legendary Clue 3: "When the sun reaches its zenith, it shines directly down upon a great tree with leaves that seem to burn. It is there that the legendary wings come to roost." (Pokémon Sword and Shield)
  4. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Pokédex entries:
    • Articuno: "Articuno is a legendary bird Pokémon that can control ice."
    • Zapdos: "Zapdos is a legendary bird Pokémon that has the ability to control electricity."
    • Moltres: "Moltres is a legendary bird Pokémon that has the ability to control fire."
  5. Moltres Pokédex entry: "Known as the legendary bird of fire. Every flap of its wings creates a dazzling flash of flames." (Pokémon Red)
  6. Moltres Pokédex entry: "It is said to be the legendary bird Pokémon of fire. Every flap of its wings creates a dazzling flare of flames." (Pokémon LeafGreen and X)
  7. Professor Oak: "I've heard that there have been sightings of very rare Pokémon. The legendary bird Pokémon: ARTICUNO, ZAPDOS, and MOLTRES!" (Pokémon Platinum)
  8. Bird Keeper Vance (Route 44): "ARTICUNO, ZAPDOS, and MOLTRES are the three legendary bird Pokémon. I heard there are other legendary birds, though." (Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver)
  9. Pokémon Gold and Silver: Complete Pokédex p. 82 — "Many more Pokémon are unavailable in Pokémon Gold and Silver, including the one-of-a-kind Legendary Birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres."
  10. "There's an e-mail message. … … … There are three legendary bird POKéMON. They are ARTICUNO, ZAPDOS, and MOLTRES. Their whereabouts are unknown. We plan to explore the cavern close to CERULEAN. From: POKéMON RESEARCH TEAM…" (Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen)


Duos:
Trios:
Quartets:
Quintets:


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