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Avian Ecosystem of Old Roluma - Fauna
Written By: Elizabeth Barrette (Writer), Deirdre / Wyld_Dandelyon (Developer)
In Roluma territory, big flightless birds dominate the ecosystem.

Shard #29 is a large, rich land with a sliver of beachfront. A substantial portion consists of pampas and some other tallgrass prairie plus some savannah and open forest. Denser forests surround rivers and lakes, also skirting the northwestern mountains. The soil and climate are ideal for some types of agriculture. Rich territory supports high species diversity and density.

When the barriers fell at the end of the Sundered Times, Old Roluma became the greatest challenge to the Empire expanding from Inoram, narrowly defeated in war. A significant part of this was due to the large, lush habitat and many useful species. Today, many of the animals have spread beyond their original habitat, both domestic and wild species, some on their own and some with human assistance.

Shard #29 has developed an avian ecosystem. It borders the dryland shard #65. Shard #31 connects to #29 only at the narrow point, but it shares a long side with #65. The barrier between shards #29 and #65 falls first, then when the barrier between #31 and #65 goes down that gives access to both territories. Because the habitats of #29 and #65 are very different -- #29 is rich and moderately wet, while #65 is poor and dry -- the mixing of ecosystems has been toward the low end. But it happens more where the habitats are similar, such as that area near where all the points of different shards come together. That's level, so it's good farmland for crops that can tolerate some dry periods, or for raising livestock.

The avian ecology of shard #29 dominates the rich, varied grasslands including expanses of pampas (spreading grasses up to 12 feet high). Giant, slow flightless oxbirds browse on leaves, twigs, seeds, and fruit preferring brush to grass. Large, somewhat faster omnivorous birds called hurtles eat tender grasses, fruits, broad-leaved plants, insects, and small animals. Giant herbivorous mammals called macetails, similar to the armadillo-like Doedicurus with plated skin and a spike-clubbed tail, graze heavily on tough grasses. Large herbivorous grazer/browsers known as greathorns, similar to Elasmotherium, feed opportunistically on either brush or grass; they have thickly folded skin armor and large horns. There are two types of deathbeaks, terrifying predatory flightless birds. Giant, moderately fast axebeaks are ambush hunters (rather like tigers). Slightly smaller spearbeaks are sprint hunters (rather like cheetahs). Cunning eggthieves are rodents about the size of a small dog, which go after the eggs of all the big birds.

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