How To Catch The Legendary Birds In Pokémon Sword And Shield

Did you know that you can catch the three legendary bird Pokémon from Generation I in Pokémon Sword and Shield? In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to capture the Galarian versions of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres.


Back in the good old days, Pokémon Red and Blue introduced some of the most iconic Pokémon to ever grace the franchise. Pokémon like the three Legendary Birds were introduced in the first generation and were instantly beloved by fans. Now in Pokémon’s eighth generation, these legendary birds are about to make a comeback.

Who are the Legendary Birds?

The Legendary Birds were the original trio of legendary Pokémon that became a franchise staple. Notice how every Pokémon game had three signature legendary Pokémon? That all started with the Legendary Birds. In the original games, they roamed around the Kanto region and could be found roosting in specific areas. Now that they’re in the Galar region, they now have different forms. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.


Articuno was originally an Ice/Flying type back in the Kanto region. It’s Galarian form is a little different. Galarian Articuno is now a Psychic/Flying type with a bunch of new powerful Psychic type moves at its disposal. It’s feathers are now coated with psychic energy and can cut through even the thickest of iron sheets.


This bird Pokémon formerly had complete control over electricity being an Electric/Flying type. It has since changed into a Fighting/Flying type. Now called the Strong Legs Pokémon, Zapdos now specializes in strong Fighting type moves and has significantly increased it’s Attack stat while decreasing it’s Special Attack stat.


This Pokémon used to be a beacon of hope, it’s flames giving light in the darkness. It’s Galarian form traded those bright flames for a more sinister flame-like aura. This Pokémon fully embraced the dark side by becoming a Dark/Flying type and now it burns all those who oppose it until nothing is left but their shadowy remains.

Where can you catch them?

Now that we’ve seen what the legendary birds look like in the Galar region, we bet you’re pretty excited to catch them. The first thing you’ll need is the Crown Tundra Expansion Pass. These legendary Pokémon are only available in Pokémon Sword and Shield’s DLC. Once you’re in the Crown Tundra, you’ll come across a town called Freezington where you’ll meet Peony, a former gym leader turned explorer who looks for legendary Pokémon. His travels led him to the Crown Tundra and he’ll give you a series of quests you need to complete to capture all the Legendary Pokémon in the area. One of these quests is called Legendary Clue 3. The clue says “When the sun reaches its zenith, it shines directly down upon a great tree with leaves that seem to burn. It is there that the legendary wings come to roost.” This means that you have to go to the Legendary Tree located in Ballimere Lake at the Crown Tundra area.

Once there, you’ll trigger a cutscene where you’ll see the three Legendary Birds fighting amongst themselves. Afterwards, all three of them will flee the area. You’ll receive a call from Peony telling you where they are all spotted. Then you can check your clues for their location.

The bird of orange is Zapdos who is now in the Wild Area, the bird of black is Moltres who is now on the Isle of Armor, and the bird of purple is Articuno who remains in the Crown Tundra.

Crown Tundra

Articuno will be flying around across the Crown Tundra. There’s no definite area where it’ll stay so just go around looking for it. Once you get close enough to it, Articuno will try to trick you by creating two illusions of itself. The real Articuno will wave its wing before all three of them spin and descend to the ground. Make sure you keep an eye on it. If you happen to choose one of its illusions, don’t worry, Articuno will just fly away and you can just chase it down until it stops. A good trick to remember is to save before picking an illusion so you could just restart the game instead of chasing it around again.

Wild Area

By now, you should be familiar with the Wild Area, a vast land filled with all sorts of Pokémon and varying biomes with different weather. Fly to the Meetup Spot of the Wild Area and from there, you’ll get a chance to see Zapdos before it sprints off. Just keep chasing it until you reach it to trigger the encounter.

Isle of Armor

The Isle of Armor is the other DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield. Moltres will be heading into this area right after it flees from the Legendary Tree. Moltres has a predetermined path that takes it all around the Isle of Armor. What you need to do is to stop at an area you’re sure it will pass through and wait for it there. A good area to do this is the Master Dojo. Wait by the side and Moltres is sure to head your way. Once it notices you, wait for it to approach you to trigger the encounter. 

Useful Tips

  1. Be sure to stock up on Poké Balls. Poké Balls, Great Balls, Ultra Balls, whatever type of ball that’s readily available to you, make sure to have a lot of them.
  2. Always save your progress just before you trigger your encounter with them. You don’t want to run around chasing after them again if you mess something up. 
  3. Try to bring Pokémon with resistance against the Legendary Birds’ types. Use them so that you can safely whittle down their health without your Pokémon fainting.

So there you have it! All you need to know about catching the Legendary Birds in Pokémon Sword and Shield. We hope this guide helps and make sure to check back with us again for more guides on your favorite games! Have fun!