Contrary to common belief, hippogryphs are not simply domesticated beasts that serve as night elf mounts. They are no less intelligent than most humanoid races, in fact - though they are wary of non-elf races, as kobolds and humans have both attempted to enslave hippogryphs in the past. Most hippogryphs dwell in Ashenvale and other forested regions commonly inhabited by night elves, and have been the staunch partners of the Kaldorei from time immemorial. Indeed, some legends say that hippogryphs may have originally been created by the night elves, or that they were gifts from Cenarius. While kind and generous to their night elf companions, hippogryphs are ferocious and fearsome beasts when fighting any creature they deem hostile.
Night elf Sentinels watch over nests of hippogryph eggs. Likewise, hippogryphs care for the children of the night elves. Though most prefer to stay and protect communities, young hippogryphs taken with the urge to explore and see the forest beyond their nests often serve as willing mounts for night elf windwarriors.
Hippogryphs have a keen awareness of aerial tactics. Without riders, they attack in quick dives, striking with their beaks followed by swipes with their talons. Female hippogryphs avoid direct combat. If trapped on the ground, hippogryphs charge, trying to get space to regain the air. Carrying night elf archers, hippogryphs make careful circling attacks, darting within range long enough for a shot before wheeling away.
In World of Warcraft
In the game, most hippogryphs are found in Kalimdor. While a few of them can be found in Ashenvale, the majority of hippogryphs inhabit the south-western Feralas and the northern Azshara. When Wrath of the Lich King was released, it was also revealed that several hippogryphs are found in the northern Howling Fjords.
The colors of a hippogryph's feathers may vary, and different hippogryphs inhabit different areas. Feralas-hippogryphs are the most colorful, with either dark blue or purple-pink feathers. Most hippogryphs in Azshara and Howling Fjord are white with brown wings, but Azshara also holds a number of green ones with orange wings. The green variant is also common in Ashenvale (though not found on this location in the game), and thus the type chosen by night elves to be their mounts. The white-brown variant is mostly used as a mount within the Argent Crusade. A few hippogryphs are also nearly entirely white, and seems to be the preferred variant used by the Silver Covenant.
While adult hippogryphs are shown to have a common size, there is one notable hippogryph that is easily four to five times bigger. At Orebor Harborage in Zangarmarsh, a flight path hippogryph rests in an equally large nest box, taking up as much room as two regular ones would. The reason why this one is so huge is currently unclear.
Hippogryphs as flying mounts
- Main article: Hippogryph mounts
The Cenarion War Hippogryph is available as a reward from the Cenarion Expedition at exalted as of Patch 2.3.0. Wrath of the Lich King later brought two additional hippogryphs as rewards from the Argent Tournament, the Argent Hippogryph and the Silver Covenant Hippogryph.
The Hippogryph is traditionally the offspring of a mare (female horse) and a gryphon (which in turn is part eagle). See Hippogryph on Wikipedia, The Gryphon in Legend. This is likely not the origin story in the Warcraft universe, as Warcraft gryphons are historically noted for viewing horses as a favored prey animal; even trained mounts must be watched closely when near a stable for any length of time.
Note: Within Warcraft, the spelling is "hippogryph", but outside the World of Warcraft, the spelling "hippogriff" is also valid, as "gryphon" is also spelled "griffin" or "griffon."
- See also