What is evolution but the result of countless mutations to genetic structures over time. Some mutations provide benefits such as the gift of flight, while others can be harmful, such as the burden of allergies. Birds are a beautiful result of evolution in my opinion, and there are plenty here today for you to work with. The following box contains eight constantly mutating birds:
Additionally, there is a single bird that is not mutating. Your goal is simple, discover the hidden bird.
How to Play
Replace each bird with one letter from an alias of your choosing; take the chicken for example. One player might use the word chicken and take the letter c, while another player could decide to use the word broiler (a breed of chicken) to secure the letter b. Both are perfectly acceptable, but once the letter is chosen, that box is locked to that letter and can no longer be changed.
Limitations: The chosen word must be immediately relatable to the image and must be a species or word for the image. Taking the chicken square for an example, you could use chicken, hen, rooster, broiler, silkie, etc. However, slang, additional definitions, and body parts are not allowed. For example, you can't use gizzard or coward.
As I said before, mutations can be dangerous. With each bird you secure, the opposing bird will lose its first three odd indexed letters. Take the owl for example, you secure the owl with the letter w. As a result, the opposing duck loses the characters dc (assuming you choose to use the word duck; if you choose to use mallard instead, you'd lose mla).
Opposing Square Relationships
For simplicity, the following squares impact each other in the aforementioned manner:
SWAN/TURKEY DODO/FLAMINGO PEACOCK/CHICKEN OWL/DUCK
However, relationships can change, if the natural relationship is locked. For example, if you've locked the SWAN square, the turkey's relationship changes:
Important! There's added danger in this scenario in that modifying any of the three birds in that relationship will impact the remaining two.
Note: As pointed out in a comment, once the squares in a relationship are locked, they’re no longer impacted by mutations, outside of the central square described below.
The Central Square
The central square is a special mutation in that you can use it to choose any letter from the alphabet to replace it with. However, it must be used before the 4th square is secured, and, it removes the first letter from every square, regardless of state. For example, if the owl square has already been secured as w prior to using the central mutation, then the owl square will become empty, effectively invalidating the answer.
One Power Mutation
One additional mutation can be used to your advantage, at any point to retain two letters in a single square. They can be any two letters, so long as they remain in their original order. For example, using the peacock square, you could secure pc but not cp.
Note: You cannot use this extra mutation to revive dead cells or add to locked ones. Additionally, this mutation still impacts opposing squares.
The answer is a single word, nine characters long, and is a species of bird.
The bird you seek is native to Hawaii.