The rdava-bird was a species of brightly colored bird native to the planet Garqi. They were small, no larger than the hand of a Human, and had orange and red plumage. Rdava-birds were commonly found in Vlassy Nature Preserve, where they were admired by visiting tourists. Large numbers of rdava-birds began to die off when a leak at an Imperial research station spread a pollen-carried nerve toxin into the nature preserve. Later, a rdava-bird was instrumental in grounding the starfighter of Corran Horn, a former CorSec officer hiding on Garqi.
Biology and appearance
The rdava-bird was a species of avian. They were small and light, with a body slightly smaller than the size of an adult Human hand. Atop a plump body, the rdava-bird had a small, rounded head with a round, black eye on each side and a short, pointed, yellow beak. The bird had a straight tail, about the same length as its body. It had two legs and two wings with a wingspan approximately the same length as its body. With these wings, the rdava-birds were capable of flight. Rdava-birds were brilliantly colored, with red and orange plumage. The tips of the wings and tail were darker, while the underbelly was lighter-colored.
The rdava-birds grouped into small flocks. Those living within the Vlassy Nature Preserve were not shy of visitors and were known to alight on tourists' hands or to approach the sailships that traversed the nature preserve. The rdava-birds were active during both daytime and nighttime hours.
The rdava-bird evolved on Garqi, an agriworld in the Cassander sector. They were particularly found within the Vlassy Nature Preserve, 800 kilometers southwest of Garqi's capital, Pesktda. The nature preserve encompassed the Vlassy River and was unsuitable for agriculture due to its rugged bluffs and canyons. Birdwatchers from the both the native Garqian population and offworld tourists visited the Vlassy Preserve to enjoy the brightly plumed birds.
Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, the Galactic Empire annexed Garqi and the remainder of the Cassandran Worlds. Under the Empire's hegemony, the botanist Chine Gabbard attempted to transform native hafa vines into a host capable of carrying nerve agents.
Some nerve-toxin-loaded hafa pollen escaped from Gabbard's research station and was carried downwind to the nature preserve, where it killed off large numbers of rdava-birds as well as several biologists who tried to investigate the avians' deaths. Several operatives that were hired by the scientists managed to break into Gabbard's facility and obtain the antidote before they succumbed to the nerve agent as well.
In 6 ABY, former Corellian Security Force operative Corran Horn, who was lying low on the planet after quitting CorSec, was flying his X-wing starfighter when a rdava-bird was sucked into his starboard engine. The subsequent damage to his starfighter grounded the Corellian while he stored his X-wing in a djorra-covered vehicle shed to make repairs. Many years later, in 20 ABY, the Jedi Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade traveled to the Vlassy Nature Preserve shortly before their marriage ceremony. While looking out over the preserve from a high ridge, several rdava-birds flew past them, and one alighted on Jade's finger.
Behind the scenes
Michael A. Stackpole created the rdava-birds for his short story "Missed Chance," originally published in Star Wars Adventure Journal 7 in 1995, and later reprinted as part of the Tales from the Empire anthology in 1997. Following this, penciller Robert Teranishi depicted several unidentified, colorful birds in the Vlassy Nature Preserve on Garqi in the comic book Union 1, published in 1999. Jason Fry, in composing the Garqi entry in 2004's Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds, connected the rdava-birds with the nature preserve, thus retroactively identifying the birds in Union as rdava-birds.