Axe beak

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Axe beak
An axe beak.

Temperate plains
Source: Bestiary 3, pg(s). 29
Ice runner

Source: The Frozen Stars, pg(s). 40

Proposal to move article
It has been proposed below that Axe beak be renamed and moved to Terror bird. Please see the discussion on Talk:Axe beak.

After a decision has been reached, please move the page and remove this notice, or request further assistance on the above discussion page.

Reason: Common axe beaks renamed to terror bird in Pathfinder Second Edition.

An axe beak is an aggressive, flightless bird which possess a fierce hunger for meat. Able to keep up with a horse, axe beaks are fearsome predators.1 The charge of an axe beak is so fast and effective that it often knocks opponents off their feet.1


The axe beak resembles a predatory ostrich. It stands atop two powerful, muscular legs that give the axe beak much of its height. Each of these legs ends in a set of three-toed feet, with each toe tipped with a sharp talon designed to tear flesh. Atop these legs is the axe beak's broad body covered in large feathers and two short, stubby wings that clearly could not support such a large bird in flight. An elongated, feathered neck sprouts from the front of the body, leading to the axe beaks head which is bald like a vulture's and sports the frightening sharp beak for which the creature is named. An axe beaks stands seven feet tall and, despite what their speed would suggest, these creature weigh upwards of five hundred pounds.1

Habitat and ecology

Temperate plains and vast, warm grasslands are the natural home of the axe beak. Here they compete with packs of wolves and big cats to be the area's top natural predator (a title oft claimed by distinctly less than natural creatures). Axe beaks tend to form small hunting packs of up to six birds when roaming the grasslands, but the females nest together in greater numbers in huge nesting areas. Axe beaks normally lay clutches of up to five eggs which take around two months to hatch. There are many different species of axe beak each varying in size, colouration, and build.

Axe beaks, despite their aggressive and highly territorial nature, are highly suited to being trained as mounts, beasts of burden, or guard animals, as they are highly intelligent.1 They are also sometimes taken as animal companions.2


Diatrymas are a smaller variant of axe beaks with orange beaks and dark feathers; terror birds are a larger breed, standing a foot taller than other strains of axe beak and possessing powerful slashing talons.3

A larger, stronger variant of the axe beak known as the ice runner inhabits the distant planet Triaxus. Ice runners stand 10 feet tall and weigh over 500 pounds, with black and white feathers. Ice runners are boreal creatures, supernaturally resistant to cold but vulnerable to fire. They are very aggressive and live in packs.4

On Golarion

Wild axe beaks are known to inhabit the eastern Carpenden Plains of Andoran5 and the Nesmian Plains of southern Nirmathas.6 Domesticated axe beaks are used as mounts in Absalom alongside camels, due to the local centaur population's hatred of equines.7


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Jason Bulmahn & F. Wesley Schneider. Axe Beak” in Bonus Bestiary, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009
  2. Paizo Inc., et al. “Appendix 7: Animal Companions” in Bestiary 3, 311. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 29. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. Matthew Goodall. “The Frozen Stars” in The Frozen Stars, 40. Paizo Inc., 2013
  5. Tim Hitchcock & Jason Nelson. “Bestiary” in Andoran, Birthplace of Freedom, 49. Paizo Inc., 2015
  6. Crystal Frasier. “The Nesmian Plains” in Trail of the Hunted, 65. Paizo Inc., 2017
  7. Owen K.C. Stephens. “Places” in Guide to Absalom, 19. Paizo Inc., 2008

External links

  • Diatryma (real-world genus of extinct animals) on Wikipedia
  • Paraphysornis (real-world genus of extinct animals) on Wikipedia