What is a Chocobo?
The chocobo is a large, herbivorous bird with powerful legs and a sharp, sturdy beak. Its size and impressive speed make it the most popular type of mount in Vana'diel. Although too small to allow flight, the chocobo's wings assist in keeping balance and also function as a type of brake.
A species native to the La Theine Plateau, the wild chocobo were once seen racing across the plains in great numbers. However, as the people of Vana'diel began to realize the utility of this fleet-footed creature, more and more chocobos were captured and domesticated. A truly wild chocobo is now a rare sight to behold.
Adventurers mainly use the chocobo as a mount, but there are those who are skilled at using gysahl greens to have the animal dig holes, taking advantage of its natural instinct to bury food.
Elvaan have raised chocobos for use in farming, hunting, and general labor since before recorded history.
But once the practice of riding bareback was civilized with the invention of reins and saddles, the number of people using chocobo mounts suddenly soared. Merchants now preferred chocobos for long, overland journeys, and the military adopted the birds for use in highly mobile cavalry units. People began selective breeding programs as the chocobo craze spread to every corner of Vana'diel.
Recently, the chocobo races held at a local level have been elevated to the world stage, garnering unprecedented attention.
These knightly mounts were bred in San d'Oria. They underwent training that allowed them to bear the weight of heavy armor and withstand the shock of cavalry charges. Destriers were characterized by their large, jet-black bodies and thick, powerful legs. With the decline of lance combat and improvements to ranged weaponry, destriers lost their place in battle to the faster coursers. These days, there are no remaining purebred destriers, but it is possible to see their proud bloodlines occasionally reemerge in the birth of rare, black chocobos.
The courser is a larger-than-average chocobo and is the most common breed found in the Kingdom of San d'Oria. They are characterized by their streamlined bodies, and long, graceful legs. They were originally bred for scouting duties, but their adoption into the military was accompanied by a general acceptance of the courser as an everyday mount. On extremely rare occasions, a red-colored courser will be born.
The mid-sized palfreys were bred to withstand the searing air and blazing heat of the desert. They are mainly raised in the Republic of Bastok and on Zepwell Island. With a relatively gentle demeanor, these chocobos are suited for those with who lack advanced riding skills. Palfreys are known to come in both blue and yellow.
This breed of chocobo has been magically reduced in size to provide mounts for the diminutive Tarutaru. They have short legs when compared to other breeds, but like the Tarutaru themselves, jennets are capable of maintaining a rapid pace. Due to a request from the southern Mithra wishing to blend into the jungle, there are some jennets that can be found in a shade of green.
With its huge population of adventurers, Jeuno boasts more frequent use of chocobos than any other nation. The main type of chocobo to be found in the duchy is the mid-sized rounsey. The pride of the famous trainer Brutus and his family, the rounsey is the result of a lengthy breeding program involving wild chocobos. This program has produced a robust mount of somewhat unpredictable temperament that is suited for long, punishing treks.
Illustration by Mitsuhiro Arita