Cockatrice, also known as a skoffin and kurolishek, is an ornithosaur. It's also the only creature to belong to the order of ornithoreptile according to scholars, but why exactly they decided on this is not revealed. Its central tail feathers are also valuable as they're more durable and sharpen better than regular goose feathers for quills.
- "Cockatrices are born of eggs laid by roosters consorting with other roosters. The egg must be incubated for forty-four days by a toad, which is devoured by the little beast as soon as it hatches. A cockatrice hates everything that lives so fiercely that its glance turns the living to stone. Only a bold adventurer with a mirror can deflect its deadly gaze and defeat the cockatrice."
- Their remains will not contain their feathers until you have this bestiary entry.
- The Beast of the Sewers encountered as part of the Prison Break quest is a Greater cockatrice, and therefore different from the creature described above. It is also one of the two trophy quests in Chapter II, and the only story-required trophy quest in the whole game.
Cockatrices are relatively rare. Other than Shrieker, there are only two known locations: a re-spawning version can be found north of Arette, between the small lake west of Yantra and the coast, and one can be found just northeast of Fornhala on Ard Skellig, right above the large lake.
- Had meself eight heifers, five of 'em milchers. Then this cockatrice sprung up nearby, and now all's I got left's dried patties in an empty field.
– Jethro, peasant from Pindal
- Foolish superstitions claim cockatrices, like basilisks, can kill with their gaze alone. That is utter nonsense, however, a cockatrice's gaze being no more dangerous than that of an angry goose. One should instead watch out for it's sharp beak and long tail, which it can whip to murderous effect.
- Cockatrices thrive in dark caves, abandoned ruins, cobwebbed dungeons and old basements. Though small compared to griffins and manticores, they are more than capable of killing anyone who stumbles across them in a dark corridor.
- Cockatrices do not shun direct fights, in which they strike furiously with wing and tail in an attempt to exhaust their foes. Blows from their beaks are especially dangerous, as they aim with deadly precision at exposed flesh and vital organs and leave bleeding, life-threatening wounds. When fighting them one should make liberal use of draconid oil as well as Grapeshot, whose shrapnel will pierce their delicate wings with ease.
You are definitely going to find this one annoying to deal with, as it effectively combines the speed, flight and ferocity of a Harpy with some of the power and toughness of a Golem. A cockatrice will fight aggressively once the fight begins, to take advantage of this aggression and force them to remain on the ground you should use Aard and/or Grapeshot to your benefit.
First off, while in flight, the Cockatrice like many Wyvern-like creatures will try a set of swooping attacks on you to grab/strike you with the talons on their feet. This is actually very easy to avoid by simply doing a roll to the side, and you can bring the Cockatrice down to the ground to hit it by either using Aard, the crossbow or just wait for it to get bored of missing you and land on its own (usually takes about 3 swooping attacks).
Once it's on the ground, however, this is when it is the most dangerous. It will use its talons, wings and feet to strike against its foe, as well as its razor-sharp beak and tail tip. These attacks are fast, fairly long range as melee attacks go, hit hard and will almost always accurately target vital regions on its victim causing Bleeding that will lead to an inevitable death if not careful. A Witcher should always have the swallow potion ready in order to counteract any wounds sustained. While on the ground, if you back away from them even a small amount they will also frequently do a forward leap-strike; it has dangerously long range, does quite a bit of damage, stuns you and their semi-spread wings as they do it can also cause the hit so it is a very wide strike that can be difficult to roll out of range of. On the defense it has options too; after taking a couple of attacks in a combo if you see it cover its head with its wings, stop attacking as this is effectively a Parry that will do reduced damage to them, stagger you and break Quen if you have it on, and they will quickly follow up with a counterattack. And to top it all off, it's fairly resistant to Axii, though do note that it can burn due to Igni.
The best attack is to try and flank the cockatrice, ideally getting behind its wings to hit it in the back. It can't do a rapid turn and most if not all of its wide range attacks will miss, so it has been possible to put out an unending series of Fast Attacks from here while constantly moving to stay behind it and remain unharmed while inflicting catastrophic damage.