Birds of Paradise are a class of Fae, with a series of subspecies based upon their location within Tempest. The Birds of Paradise have coloration that is determined by the island they inhabit, and each island's Birds are adapted to the special environments of their island. For many of the islands closest to Vortex, this may include an adaptation to living underwater for extended periods, while those on islands closer to major trade routes may have developed a form of translatable communication. All Birds of Paradise exhibit humanoid, avian, and insectoid qualities in some amount of balance; the larger races tend to show a higher proportion of humanoid features than smaller ones.

All Birds of Paradise are tiny creatures, which vary in size from as small as a bumblebee to as large as a hummingbird. Each species lives in small communities, where they harvest the raw magical energies of their islands and produce æther within their hives. The æther produced on each island shares coloration with that island's Birds of Paradise. Most species of Birds show no significant hierarchy within their hives, but a couple on the edges of Tempest have been studied enough to identify a system involving queens and workers that resembles that of bees.

Birds of Paradise are notoriously difficult to study extensively. While those on outer rim islands may occasionally submit to research if asked politely and after trust is established, the environments of inner islands tend to be too hostile for extended periods of study, cutting off most such attempts before a means of communication can even be formed. The study of these outer rim Birds have yielded sufficiently varied results that it is difficult to extend most findings to other, as yet unstudied islands. Birds of Paradise cannot leave their own islands, and will simply vanish into smoke if taken more than a few yards out to sea. This prevents research from being conducted in more stable environments, and also means that no known race of Birds is aware of, let alone knowledgeable about, races from any other islands.