"Fascinating creatures, phoenixes. They can carry immensely heavy loads, their tears have healing powers, and they make highly faithful pets."
-- Albus Dumbledore (CS12)
The Phoenix is a swan-sized bird with red and gold plumage, golden beak, and golden talons. The XXXX rating given to this gentle creature does not indicate ferocity, but rather the rarity of successful attempts to domesticate it. The phoenix lives to an immense age, as it regenerates from ashes after bursting into flames on its Burning Day. Phoenix tears have healing powers, it can lift immense weight, and its song is magical. It lives in inaccessible mountain regions, probably including the mountains of New Zealand (FB, QA).
Dumbledore not only has a pet phoenix named Fawkes (CS12), but his Patronus is also a phoenix (DH20, JKR), and it is the symbol of his Dark Arts-fighting group, The Order of the Phoenix (OP3). Fawkes leaves the school after Dumbledore's death, but first sings a haunting lament that raises the spirits of those mourning inside Hogwarts (HBP29). At Dumbledore's funeral as the white tomb formed over his body, Harry thought he saw "a phoenix fly joyfully into the blue" (HBP30).
Fawkes uses his tears to heal Harry on several occasions. In the Chamber of Secrets, Fawkes weeps over the wound from the Basilisk fang, healing it almost instantly (CS17). According to Hermione, phoenix tears are the only known antidote to Basilisk venom (DH6). During the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry was wounded by an Acromantula in the maze; when he returned from the Riddle graveyard with Cedric's body, Fawkes heals the wound with his tears (GF36).
When the twin phoenix wand cores of Harry and Voldemort connected during their duel in the graveyard creating a Priori Incantatem effect, the music surrounding them was phoenix song, and reminded Harry of Dumbledore, giving him hope of survival (GF34)
The Moutohora Macaws (New Zealand) have a phoenix for a mascot. His name, appropriately enough, is Sparky (QA8).
The phoenix was mentioned in a song heard by Newt Scamander and his friends at the speakeasy known as the Blind Pig in 1926 New York:
"The phoenix cried fat tears of pearl
When the dragon snapped up his best girl,
And the Billywig forgot to twirl
When his sweetheart left him cold,
And the unicorn done lost his horn,
And the Hippogriff feels all forlorn,
’Cause their lady loves have upped and gawn,
Or that’s what I’ve been told—" (WFT)
Middle English fenix, from Old English, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phoenix )
We assume that the Phoenix is native to New Zealand because it is used as the mascot of that countries premier Quidditch team. Of course, the city of Detroit in Michigan has sports teams named the Lions and the Tigers, neither of which is native to that part of the world, so we can't be certain. Maybe they just think Phoenixes are cool. -- SVA