A wyvern is a wolfish-lion with bat wings and a scorpion tail. They can be found living in the harsh cliff-terraces of the Barrens, Stonetalon Mountains, and the Thousand Needles. They hold great enmity for harpies, as the vile creatures like to capture young wyverns for food and to subvert and train as guardians.
Like hippogryphs and gryphons, wyverns are intelligent creatures — as smart as any humanoid. Their fierce predator instincts, as well as their harsh environments, lend little trust for humanoids, however. Despite this, wyverns are new allies to the Horde. The greenskinned orcs proved themselves to wyverns in battle against harpies attempting to kill a Stonetalon Mountains flight. Since then, the two species have a growing respect for one another. Wyverns share respect for the tauren just as they do the orcs, though the former are simply too large to join forces with a flying wyvern. A wyvern may choose an orc with a willingness to take to the air, and the two establish a formidable aerial scouting and combat team. Such orcs are known as wind riders. Wyverns are encountered alone as often as they are found in an orc rider’s presence.
Wyverns share a common ancestry with dragons and gryphons. Wyverns revel in flight, dutifully carrying Horde riders (also called "Wind Riders") along various routes surrounding Thunder Bluff and Orgrimmar for a small fee.
Orcs raise wyverns to serve as steeds both in and out of combat. Not all wyverns are friendly to the horde; some are even enraged. They do not give up their eggs willingly, forcing the Horde to take the eggs to raise the newborn wyvern. Professional wyvern trainers wear thick, elbow-length leather gloves to protect themselves from baby wyverns' deadly stings.
They speak Orcish and Taur-ahe, and are capable of learning Common and other languages.
- Main article: Wyvern mounts
In The Burning Crusade, Armored Wyverns are the epic flying mount of the Horde in Outland, see below. However, in some cases they were apparently trained to accept any rider, as seen by the bombing roosts around Halaa.
Despite their mammalian qualities in Warcraft, wyverns are actually a type of reptilian dragon found in medieval heraldry. Wyverns were easily determined from other dragons by their four, rather than six, limbs, and their clawed tail. Wyverns were bipedal — their wings grew out from their forelimbs. Of course, the Wyverns could breathe flame (typically from the nostrils, whereas dragons were typically able to exhale flame through the mouth). The Wyvern had an even worse reputation than the dragon — while dragons could be benign or wise, Wyverns didn't seem to be sapient. In heraldry, the wyvern was never used for a crest or coat of arms among the greater powers of Europe (though the beast was known as far west as England).
The wyverns of the Warcraft universe share more features with Manticores, than Wyverns. The Manticore was a mythological beast, originally of Persian orgin, that have the body of a lion, was winged, and possessed a reptilian or scorpion's tail, and a human face with a shark-like maw, having three sets of sharp teeth.
The more leonine wyverns of Warcraft were intended to fit the Horde's newer, wiser image, and contrast the evil-looking dragons they stole from Alexstrasza. Like their Earth counterparts, their wings are attached to their forelimbs. The scorpion-like tail is Blizzard's own addition; mythologically, it was possessed by the Manticore, not the Wyvern.