I pictured them to look like Japanese cranes, only instead of black feathers they have scarlet feathers. It's not the most creative vision, but it's easy for me to remember ;D
In the first book, I imagined them about half my size, which is a little bigger than a really large crow, but also fairly 'fat' for a bird. You know how some birds are very thin and stream lined (such as crows) and some are wide (such as chickens). So while I was a little shocked, I just kept my original images and told myself that the one in the cave was a baby and the other was seen from a distance.
In terms of shapes I see something between a finch and a parrot (strange, I know.) and red all over but with darker reds and browns forming a pattern across their backs and wings.
I imagined a bird like a red-tailed hawk, but much bigger and glorious, maybe kinda mixed with what i imagine a pheonix bird to look like, but more brown with a white belly than red.
I was shocked at first as well :P I always imagined them as a fairly large bird, just not that large...sort of like a peacock or phoenix, but in deep reds, greens and golds. Very magestic and beautiful.
I'm pretty sure the Agyllian birds didn't start out being that size though.
I'll spoiler this just in case.
I can't recall which book it's in, and this is going to be a terrible explanation :P But there's a dream Elspeth has of Cassie. It's when Cassie's designing the Twentyfamilies tattoo/govamen symbol, and it takes place within the instituition her father works in, I think. Cassie draws the Agyllian bird which is being kept in a cage, and communicates with it telepathically...the bird tells her that it's so good at using its mind powers since it's been experimented on by the government or something along those lines. This bird is nowhere near as large as the Agyllian Elspeth meets. And then yeah, you've got the stuffed Agyllian bird that Elf sees somewhere and is kinda horrified by...I'm pretty sure that one's only smallish too.
So yeah..perhaps they were genetically manipulated? ??? Or maybe they just evolved over time
I thought that Elspeth had noticed that (TKP) [act] the flame birds were smaller and extrapolated that they had evolved since then, but not in so many words.I got the impression that many animals came out of the great white different to how they were before [/act]
I've always pictured the Agyllians rather like Fawkes was done in the 2nd Harry Potter movie (I'd find a pic, but I'm lazy XP ), or a sort of large, slender scarlet red bird, like you might find in a rainforest. I've always assumed the 'beforetime' version to be some sort of parrot or other South American-type bird, and it's just struck me that Parrots actually can mimick human voices, so perhaps that's where it all began: them learning to speak to humans vocally before the birds (and the humans) learned to communicate mentally?
But anyway, now I'm getting off topic, so I'll hush up.
I just had an idea which would possibly sort out the entire cause of our size confusion.
Arien already mentioned the ancestors of the Agyllians. Well, what if the stuffed bird wasn't a guanate bird, but was actually one of the flamebirds of the beforetime? Taxidermed and preserved such that it lasted through to Elspeth's time? I mean, how would anyone actually manage to capture/kill a Guanate bird? But the scientists at Cassie's father's work had them on hand. Maybe her father had one of them stuffed when it was no longer useful and then Cassie acquired it somehow, so it ended up at the Reichler clinic, where Vega and Alexi found it hundreds of years later.
I had always presumed that that was what it is. A beforetime Flamebird. No idea why.
Me too, now I think of it.
I always imagined Agyllians to be about as big as a swan or goose, but looking like the birds on the newest cover of The Farseekers. :)
I always imagined they looked a bit like birds of paradise, except red with more feather flying out every which way and up to about someone's waist.
Yes. I was shocked, but then I got over it.
I imagined a small bird, but I guess they would have to be big to carry Elspeth around!