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The phoenix is a large swan-sized scarlet bird with red and gold plumage, along with a golden beak and talons, black eyes, and a tail as long as a peacock's. Its scarlet feathers glow faintly in darkness, while its golden tail feathers are hot to the touch. Phoenixes are known for nesting on mountain peaks. They are gentle herbivores and are not known for fighting. As phoenixes approach their burning day they resemble a half-plucked turkey. Also, their eyes become dull, their feathers start to fall out, and it begins to make gagging noises. Then the bird suddenly bursts into flames only to rise from the ashes shortly after. In a number of days, they grow back to full size.[1][2] Hence, phoenixes are practically immortal.

Domesticated phoenixes

Phoenixes are very difficult to domesticate, as Newton Scamander says in his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: "The phoenix gains a XXXX rating not because it is aggressive, but because very few wizards have ever succeeded in domesticating it."[2] There are two known domesticated phoenixes, one Albus Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes[1], and the other Sparky the team mascot for the New Zealand Quidditch team the Moutohora Macaws.[3]

Phoenixes that have been domesticated are extremely loyal to their owners, and would depart to find their own paths if their owners die, rather than finding a new master.

Abilities and traits

"Fascinating creatures, phoenixes. They can carry immensely heavy loads. Their tears have healing powers."
—Professor Albus Dumbledore[src]
Dumbledore and Fawkes

Dumbledore and a reborn Fawkes.

The most startling of the phoenix's abilities is its ability to regenerate itself. It periodically bursts into flames when its body becomes old, and rises from the ashes as a newborn chick. This event is called burning day, and gives these birds a great life span (if not forever), to the point of virtual immortality, as well as the ability to take the full force of a Killing Curse and still be reborn.[4] Phoenixes are immune to the gaze of a basilisk, which would normally kill anyone who has direct eye to eye contact, or petrify through indirect eye contact.[1]

Phoenix fighting

Phoenix blinding Basilisk

The phoenix can also disappear and reappear at will in bursts of flames and take whoever is holding them along, similar to Apparition, and boasts magical tears and song. Their tears have potent healing capabilities. For instance, phoenix tears are the only known antidote of basilisk venom. Their tears are also able to bring a person back even from the brink of death, while the phoenix song will increase the courage of the good and strike fear into the hearts of the evil.[2] Phoenixes are capable of lifting a great weight with their tails, such as being able to effortlessly fly up a distance with four people holding on to its tail.[1] They can also leave messages by bursting into flame to reappear elsewhere, leaving behind a single golden tail feather.[4]

Materials made from phoenix feathers


Phoenix with Harry Potter

Phoenix feathers are a powerful magical substance, and as such are an accepted wand core. Fawkes gave two feathers, which ended up in the wands of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort,[5] which is said to be the reason why they locked in Priori Incantatem when the two wizards attempted to engage in a magical battle in the Little Hangleton graveyard.[6] Phoenix feathers are sometimes used as writing quills.

Albus Dumbledore and the phoenix


Film art sketch of a phoenix

Albus Dumbledore has many connections to the phoenix, starting with his companion Fawkes and illustrated by his phoenix Patronus.[6] He named his anti-Voldemort organisation the Order of the Phoenix,[7] after Fawkes.

Known phoenixes



Main article: Fawkes

Fawkes was a phoenix who was owned by Albus Dumbledore. Fawkes lived with Dumbledore at Hogwarts Castle for a large part of his life. He was instrumental in helping Harry Potter defeat Salazar Slytherin's basilisk. He was also used as a communication between his master and the Order of the Phoenix. Fawkes assisted Dumbledore fighting Lord Voldemort. After Albus Dumbledore's death, Fawkes performed a phoenix lament, which is a mournful song designed to feel like it is inside the listener. After the lament was completed, Fawkes departed Hogwarts as a free phoenix, and was never heard from again.

Main article: Sparky

Sparky is the phoenix mascot of the New Zealand Quidditch team Moutohora Macaws.

Behind the scenes

  • The phoenix is also known as a mystical or mythical creature in other parts of world. In Japan, people knew them as suzaku. In Asian myth, a phoenix is similar to a peacock, with a similar long, and beautiful tail.
  • Besides representing its element of fire, sometimes a phoenix can also represent death, and the element of wind. According to legend, they are always male.


Notes and references

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