Dragon Bird

Legendary Bird of East Asia.

Variant names: Hai riyo (Japanese), O-gon-cho, Schachi hoko, Tobi tatsu.

Physical description: Golden feathers on wings, body, and tail. Dragonlike head. Bearded. Clawed feet.

Behavior: Call is a blood-curdling howl. Distribution: Japan.

Significant sighting: Every fifty years, in a lake near Kyoto, a white Dragon called Ukisima is said to take the form of a golden songbird called O-gon-cho. Last seen in April 1834, its appearance presaged disease and starvation.

Possible explanation: Said to be the Japanese equivalent of the winged stage of the Chinese Dragon (Ying lung).

Sources: Charles Gould, Mythical Monsters (London: W. H. Allen, 1886), pp. 249-255; Karl Shuker, Dragons: A Natural History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), pp. 92-93.

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