Distantly related to wind serpents, couatl are rare creatures of great strength. Couatl are distinguished from their smaller cousins by their immense size (nearly twice the length of a normal wind serpent) and the brilliant display of bright yellow and green plumage across their heads and backs in two long rows. Their shorter, feathered tails serve to further distinguish them from wind serpents. Lastly, their wings are much greater and bear more feathers. Couatl nest in trees and crags dotting the coasts of Azeroth. Some are venomous, some are magical, some are both, and some are neither. Couatl occasionally disrupt magic, which makes some people think that they have an understanding or intelligence of it. This idea is incorrect — couatl are nonsentient animals. Recently, naga have returned to the surface of Azeroth and domesticated couatl. The naga breed these tamed couatl in order to optimize the lethality of their venom and train them to be fiercely loyal to their naga masters. Not all couatl are magical beasts. Like wind serpents, couatl vary in more than simply size and color. Some couatl are purely nonmagical in nature, yet still large and highly venomous. These couatl are animals, not magical beasts. ( )
Naga train them in Shrines of Azshara. It is not known how a race that lives underwater can tame a flying creature, which implies that the couatl can swim. It seems couatl are also capable of living, or at least remaining underwater, for extended periods of time, a feature crucial to their employment by the naga.
The confusion likely stems from both Warcraft III and the comic portraying the couatl as looking and acting like aquatic creatures that could fly, something that Dark Factions heavily denounces. Dark Factions states that they live on coasts and that the naga have come onto land to domesticate these land creatures.
Statistics from Warcraft III
This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III.
- 525 HP
- 200 MP
- 42-50 piercing ranged damage
- 3 light armor
- Abolish Magic (damages summons and removes enemy buffs)
The Couatl was probably inspired by Mayan and Aztec legend, as the word itself comes from those languages — it is the last syllable of "Quetzalcoatl", the god who was represented by a Feathered Serpent. The Couatl does make a serpentine sound in the game.
Coatl also stand for "snake" in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.