Aarakocra Race Guide 5e – Abilities and History

Last Updated on November 13, 2023


Ability Score Increase: Aarakocra’s Dexterity score increases by 2, and their Wisdom score increases by 1.

Creature Type: Humanoid

Age: Aarakocra reach maturity by age 3 and don’t usually live longer than 30 years. 

Alignment: Most Aarakocra are Good and rarely choose sides when it comes to Law and Chaos. Some members of a tribe, like the leaders and warriors, might tend towards lawful alignments while adventurers might tend towards chaotic alignments.

Size: Aarakocra are about 5 feet tall. They have thin, lightweight bodies that weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Their size is Medium.

Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Flight: Because of your wings, you have a flying speed equal to your walking speed (30). To use this speed, they can’t be wearing medium or heavy armor.

Talons: Aarakocra talons are natural weapons, which they can use to make unarmed strikes. If they hit with them, they deal slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Wind Caller. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the Gust of Wind spell with this trait, without requiring a material component. Once you cast the spell with this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. 

You can also cast the spell using any spell slots you have of 2nd level or higher.

  • Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it when you cast Gust of Wind with this trait (choose when you select this race).

Languages: Aarakocra can speak, read, and write Common, Aarakocra, and Auran.  Alternately, Common and one other language the DM deems appropriate.  (Language List here)

Aarakocra Abilities and Trait Highlights

While most of the traits listed above are fairly standard and are not exceptionally good or poor for your character, the Aarakocra’s ability to fly at level 1 stands out. 

Flight is an incredibly versatile ability that can allow you new tactical options in combat as well as the ability to solve problems outside of combat. 

For example, with flight you gain the ability to travel across chasms, enter buildings through high windows, or drop objects from high above.

When combined with other tools and spells, your utility to the party becomes very high. 

It’s also worth mentioning that if your DM follows the new race rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything then the aarakocra’s racial bonuses to Dexterity and Wisdom can actually be applied to any ability score.

A +2 bonus and a +1 bonus are pretty standard for most races, so with this added rule the Aarakocra can be more easily fit with any class you wish to play. 

What We Know About The Aarakocra Race

The Aarakocra are a Good race from the Elemental Plane of Air. There they fly almost endlessly and so are often loathed to spend time on the ground, or land once they start flying.

Aarakocra Appearance
© Wizards of the Coast

As a whole, the Aarakocra are sworn enemies of creatures of elemental earth.

They bear a particular animosity to gargoyles, flying creatures of stone, and battles between the Aarakocra and gargoyles often rage across the Elemental Plane of Air. 

Aarakocra enjoy living among their community and are usually unmotivated to leave. 

It usually takes a disaster, a great threat to their kind, or a mission of vengeance to take an aarakocra away from their tribe and family. 

An aarakocra might also leave in order to seek out the Rod of Seven Parts, an artifact that dates back to first edition. 

An artifact of Law, the rod is central to a conflict between the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and the Queen of Chaos and her champion, Miska the Wolf-Spider.

Aarakocra are a freedom-loving people, a trait taken to the extreme. They value the sky and flight above almost anything that dwells on the ground, pitying those who cannot fly and therefore cannot understand the joy of the sky. 

What Classes Are Well Suited to the Aarakocra?

When it comes to the Aarakocra, determining what class works best with their features depends heavily on their ability to fly.

The other racial abilities can be said to work well with any class, especially with the new race rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. 

When you can change which ability scores apply to which bonuses, you no longer need to worry about getting ability bonuses that work well with your build. 

Below is an outline of some classes and builds that work well with having a flight speed early on, and a few that don’t. Instead of listing every class we’ve created a general guide, as there are often many ways to play a single class. 

Remember that you can play any class with any race, and there are often excellent roleplaying opportunities for certain character concepts which might involve less mechanically efficient builds. The guide below is not meant to constrain your character building, only to provide mechanical guidance.

The guide is also color-coded for your convenience. 

Red won’t contribute to the power and effectiveness of your character build very much if at all. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful, and might make for an interesting narrative choice, but are largely less effective than other tiers.

Green is a good option – Solid but nothing special, or pretty good but only useful sometimes.  

Blue is an excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective. 

Purple is S Tier. Hugely powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are strongly worth considering when you create your character.

Barbarians and Melee Builds

While 50 feet of flight does make you much more maneuverable, Barbarians and other melee builds need to stay close to the ground for most encounters. Thus, a large advantage of the aarakocra race will be wasted, or at least underutilized. 

In addition, Paladins and Fighters in particular tend to rely on medium and heavy armor to stay alive, which makes it impossible to fly at all. Trying to change in and out of armor as you need will be a real pain. 


While Wizard’s can fly under their own power, they don’t get access to the Fly spell until level 5 and it will cost them a 3rd-level spell slot. Level 1 flight that doesn’t require concentration can allow a Wizard to stay in the far back lines, putting them out of range of most enemies and vastly increasing their survivability.

From these back lines above the party the Wizard is then free to bombard the enemy with spells, and the aarakocra’s 50-ft. fly speed makes it easier for the Wizard to get within range for that perfectly placed Fireball spell. 

Outside of combat, however, the Wizard is already an extremely useful utility class, so the addition of flight is marginal at best.


The monk is often cited as an excellent class to play with the aarakocra, and for good reason. An already mobile class, their speed increases combined with the aarakocra’s flight make for a monk that can cross the battlefield extremely rapidly. 

The Monk’s unarmored defense also works well with the aarakocra’s flying limitations; you’ll never wear armor so you don’t need to worry about being unable to fly when wearing it. 

It’s important to note that a Monk aarakocra attacking with its talons will do slashing damage, and will do only the damage described by the Monk class table or the damage described by the natural weapon racial trait, not both. 

Ranged Builds

Of course, the best use of flight in combat is with ranged characters. Whether you’re a Ranger or Fighter with a longbow or a Warlock who likes to spam Eldritch Blast, flying above the enemy and firing down at them can almost feel broken. 

This is especially effective if you can sit outside the range of your enemies attacks, offering damage that your enemies can’t respond to without making themselves vulnerable to your other party members.

Warlocks with the Eldritch Spear invocation will be especially powerful. This invocation increases the range on your Eldritch Blast to 300 feet, and this could theoretically be 600 feet with the Distant Spell metamagic available to Sorcerers.

600 feet puts you at the limit of longbow range, so the vast majority of attackers won’t be able to reach you. 

Unfortunately, enemies with longbows can still try to hit you, albeit at a disadvantage, but nothing is perfect! 

Aarakocra Names: Male, Female, Neutral

Aarakocra names are a similar length to human names; 2-4 syllables usually. What makes them unique is their frequent inclusion of bird sounds such as whistles and clicks.

Since these are usually difficult for people without the larynx of a bird to say correctly, aarakocra often have nicknames or simplified versions of their names. 

Interestingly, their names are universally unisex. 

Some examples of names from the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion book include Aera, Aial, Aur, Deekek, Errk, Heehk, Ikki, Kleeck, Oorr, Ouss, Quaf, Quierk, Salleek, Urreek, or Zeed.

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