- "Twice the size of a Glinthawk, and crackling with lightning. Won't be easy to take down."
- ―Aloy, upon sighting a Stormbird
The Stormbird is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. Capable of high altitude flight and equipped with an array of damaging ranged and melee attacks, Stormbirds are among the largest and most dangerous of the machines. Their ranged attacks are made even more dangerous by the natural superiority of air-based attacks against terrestrial targets.
Stormbirds are very aquiline in appearance. Indeed, while machines generally resemble some form of pre-Faro Plague animal life, the Stormbird's appearance does this more than any other. Its resemblance to a colossal eagle is unmistakable, with aquiline wings and tail, armor plating that resembles feathers, clawed avian feet, and an aquiline head and beak.
Like an eagle, the Stormbird has a large, hooked beak. It has two visual sensors, positioned in the same place as the eyes of an eagle. Above each shoulder is an armored Chillwater canister. Each wing is equipped with three feather-shaped jet engines. For aerodynamic purposes, the wings are also equipped with winglets. An armored Blaze canister is positioned above each hip. The machine possesses two avian legs and feet. Each of the four toes on each foot is equipped with an aquiline talon. In the center of the chest is an armored component known as a Lighting Gun, with which it can fire powerful electrical blasts.
Stormbirds were created by AETHER, a GAIA subroutine tasked with detoxifying the Earth's ravaged atmosphere, allowing life to be reseeded. Presumably, the subroutine HEPHAESTUS remodeled them as Combat machines with the onset of the Derangement. Stormbirds are usually found in the skies above the vast arid regions west of the Nora Sacred Land territory. However, two were encountered by the Nora Brave Aloy in the snowy highlands northwest of the Sacred Land. Unlike any other machine, with the exception of Tallnecks, Stormbirds never congregate together.
Like all machines with the exception of the Tallneck, a Stormbirds attack humans on sight. A Stormbird usually attacks from the air, using the following ranged attacks:
- Lightning Gun Attacks - The Stormbird fires a powerful sphere of electrical energy, similar to that fired by Shell-Walkers. Furthermore, it can rain several of these spheres down on the enemy.
- Air Blast - The Stormbird releases a powerful, damaging blast of compressed air from its mouth.
- Swoop Attack - The Stormbird swoops down atop the enemy.
Apart from aerial attacks, the machine can also land and use melee attacks. It can repeatedly smash its beak down on an enemy, jump and crush an enemy with one of its taloned feet, swipe at an enemy with its tail, and charge at an enemy outright, ramming him/her.
Stormbirds also have a unique air/ground electrical melee attack. While airborne, the Stormbird charges up electrical energy in a shield around its body. Once fully charged, the machine performs a dive bomb to the ground, releasing its charge, causing severe damage and stunning any enemies in a wide radius.
Weaknesses and Tactics
Engaging a Stormbird is always a protracted battle. They have no weaknesses and, along with Thunderjaws and Rockbreakers, they have the highest capacity of any machine to sustain damage before being destroyed. Furthermore, due to the superiority of aerial power against terrestrial targets, their aerial nature automatically puts the player at a disadvantage from the start. It is highly recommended that the player's level be at least in the high twenties before engaging a Stormbird.
Heavy tie-down lines from the Shadow Ropecaster may be used to temporarily restrain the machine and thus negate its attacks. However, it will be necessary to do this every time it breaks free, so the player should have a large stock of resources to replenish lines as he/she runs out. Once immobilized, the player should use Tear Arrows from the Sharpshot Bow or blasts from the Tearblaster to destroy the Lightning Gun, which is the source of the Stormbird's most damaging aerial attacks, in case it again becomes airborne. In addition, the player may use these weapons to remove its engines, preventing it from flying. However, all six engines need to be removed, and the constant movement of its wings and chassis as it struggles against the lines makes this difficult. This also applies to the armored Chillwater canisters on its shoulders and armored Blaze canisters on its hips. However, if the played succeeds in destroying a Blaze canister, the resulting explosion will cause significant damage to the Stormbird. Destroying a Chillwater canister will result in an explosion of cryogenic-liquid that will instantly freeze the Stormbird, making it much more scusceptible to damage. Essentially, it is recommended to keep the Stormbird restrained as much as possible while destroying its fighting ability and simultaneously damaging it.
|Body||Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems.||None||Shock|
|Blaze Canister||Blaze storage canister. Shooting elemental canisters with elemental ammo triggers an explosion that will damage everything nearby. Shoot off this component to collect the resource inside.||Fire |
|Engine||Destroying this component disables the dive melee attack.||Tear||None|
|Freeze Canister||Chillwater can be looted from this canister. Shooting this canister with a Freeze arrow will trigger an explosion Freezing anything in the area.||Freeze |
|Lightning Gun||Destroying this component disables the ranged Shock attacks.||Tear||None|
- Stormbirds bear a resemblance to thunderbirds, a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. They are considered supernatural beings of great power and strength.
- A Stormbird must be fought before gaining entrance to the GAIA Prime facility. If, however, the player heads to this area before the intended time in the story, the cutscene showing the Stormbird's arrival will play, and the machine can be engaged then and there. The Stormbird will stay destroyed and will not need to be fought again later.
|Acquisition Class||Broadhead - Charger - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler|
|Combat Class||Ravager - Sawtooth - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw|
|Recon Class||Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher) - Tallneck|
|Transport Class||Behemoth - Fire Bellowback - Freeze Bellowback - Shell-Walker|
|Chariot Class||Corrupted Machines - Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil|