Xatu is a green condor-like Pokémon with long, red-and-black tipped white wings that cover most of its front. Underneath its wings are designs that resemble red eyes. Along with its main green coloration, Xatu's design has accents of black, yellow, and red. There is an extra set of yellow stripes on a male Xatu. It has almond eyes, a long, slightly hooked beak, and two long, red feather crests. Xatu's feet have only two toes, one in front and one in back. Xatu's design is similar to a totem pole or a kachina doll.
Xatu tends to stand still all day. One theory explains that Xatu can see into the future with its right eye and the past with its left, and it does not move due to fears of its visions of the future coming true. The anime has shown that it can communicate by moving its wings in a semaphore fashion. Xatu is believed to live in the forests of South America.
Three Xatu debuted in Xatu the Future, under the ownership of Calista, a girl who could predict the weather. They assisted Calista in her predictions.
A Xatu appeared in Me, Myself and Time, under the ownership of another girl named Calista, who traveled back in time to give her younger self a message. It was used to battle Team Rocket and protect Ash and the present-day Calista.
Xatu shares its category with Flygon. They are both known as the Mystic Pokémon in English, and the Spirit Pokémon in Japanese.
Xatu's Silver, FireRed, and SoulSilver Pokédex entries state that it is involved in South American myths, which is a connection between the Pokémon world and the real world.
Xatu seems to be based on a resplendent quetzal with design elements from a Native Americantotem or kachina. Behaviorally, it displays the ancient art of Sun Gazing, a form of spiritual meditation practiced by the Aztec and Mayan peoples in the belief that it would give them supernatural power; this is referenced by the fact that Xatu is part-Psychic.
As revealed in a Penny Arcade Staff Podcast by Jeff Kalles, who assisted in the naming of many Generation II Pokémon, a Xat is a sort of Native American totem pole. Xatu's name arose from The Pokémon Company's desire to have one Pokémon for every letter of the alphabet.