A Magizoologist’s guide for the regular witch and wizard
Today we will be covering: Augurey
Ministry of Magic Classification: XX – Harmless. May be domesticated
The Augurey, also known as Irish Phoenix, is a native of Britain and Ireland, although some also live in Northern Europe. They are thin and mournful looking, with green and black feathers and a sharp beak. Many would say they resemble small, underfed vultures.
Habitat and diet
Augureys are intensely shy creatures. They build their tear-shaped nests in bramble and thorn, and generally remain hidden in them. They are carnivorous creatures, and are known to eat insects or flies. Augureys are also one of the few creatures who feed on fairies.
They only fly and hunt during heavy rain, preferring to remain in their nest as they wait for the next downpour.
An interesting fact is that, since Augureys are uniquely equipped for heavy rain, their feathers repel all kinds of liquids, including ink. This makes the feathers useless as quills but quite entertaining as a joke item.
Myths, beliefs and traditions
Augureys have a distinctively low, throbbing cry which would instill a sense of unease and doom in whomever heard it for a long period of time.
For centuries, witches and wizards considered an Augurey’s mournful cry an omen of death. Many a wizard would die, in fact, upon seeing the bird, from heart failure caused by their fear of death. This, of course, helped cement the belief.
Many pure-blood families kept Augureys in their homes in an attempt to intimidate visitors and present themselves as fearless.
Newt Scamander wrote a related footnote in his most famous book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them. He offered an example of how Uric the Oddball, who owned over fifty pet augureys, lived up to his title.
Then there was the Augurey incident. After waking up in a room with 50 of the wailing birds, Uric naturally thought he’d died and become a ghost. He bought himself a ten-day concussion after attempting to walk through a wall. As you do.
Although many still believe Augureys are omens of death and should be feared, most of the magical community knows better.
Years of patient research revealed that the Augurey’s cry was not, in fact, an omen of death. The birds merely wail when they sense approaching rain.
After these findings, Augureys have enjoyed a vogue as home weather forecasters. However, many find their continual moaning during the winter months difficult to bear.
Interestingly, there are rumours that Hogwarts’ magical Quill of Acceptance comes from an Augurey. This quill records prospective Hogwarts students.