Obviously giving a creature the ability of flight is much more complicated than just sticking wings on any terrestrial animal. The bones and muscles need to be strong enough to lift the large cat-like creature off of the ground, while also being shaped properly.

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This image features some good examples of different wing shapes and their associated purposes. If we're to look at most historical imagery of sphinxes and manticores, the wings seem particularly small in comparison to the rest of the body. I'm no biologist, but these creatures depicted don't seem capable of flight with the wing size they're given. At best, these creatures would have to have hovering wings, for shorter periods of time spent in the air/sky.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget there are other styles of wings to allow animals to fly such as bats $\endgroup$
    – Joe W
    Oct 23, 2020 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ The example image you've shown matches wings to dlight characteristics. So how do you want you manticore to fly? Should it cruise like a vulture or hover like a hummingbird? In any case, you are right that such a creature would need very large wings. Maybe twice its length in wingspan. And that is assuming it has hollow birdlike bones, otherwise much bigger. $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Oct 23, 2020 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeW And also some insects. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2020 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ Indeed. I think a hummingbird/rodent chimera may make good prey for a sphynx though. $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Oct 23, 2020 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that giant pterosaurs had an unconventional launch strategy of "pole-vaulting" into the air with their wings, putting pretty much all the hard work onto the same muscle groups, making their flight style more efficient. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2020 at 8:16

1 Answer 1


The example image you've shown matches wing types to flight characteristics. One good thing to consider is how you want your manticore to fly. Does it cruise like a vulture? Hover like a hummingbird?

Since they have a lot of physical characteristics in common with large cats who are hunters, I imagine them behaving more like raptors in the sky. With that in mind, looking at the wing style of eagles or hawks seems reasonable.

As far as size, it is worth considering what the bones of this animal are like. Birds have hollow bones and many other weight-saving optimizations that are not found in cats. Also their bodies are bulkier and less aerodynamic than birds, which would increase drag and require greater lift to compensate.

I assume some optimizations like hollow bones would have to be present in a manticore, unless they are imbued with some handwaverian magic that helps them fly.

For the wing proportions, a good starting place is looking at the proportions of raptors, but then perhaps scaling up to compensate for their bulky manticore bodies.

California condor

  • Length: 45in
  • Wingspan: 120in
  • Weight: 22lbs

Bald eagle

  • Length: 32in
  • Wingspan: 80in
  • Weight: 12lbs


  • Length: 22in
  • Wingspan: 54in
  • Weight: 3lbs

Red-tailed hawk

  • Length: 18in
  • Wingspan: 45in
  • Weight: 2.5lbs


  • Length: 6-8ft
  • Weight: 300-400lbs

If the lion's weight can be reduced to something proportionate to a bird of its size, then maybe a 15-20ft wingspan will do. But if it still weighs hundreds of pounds, then you're going to need some ridiculous looking wings, maybe even a jetpack.


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