- "As you can see, we of the Rito tribe are profoundly connected to the sky. We make our livings on the airways. We do so by the graces of the sky spirit, Valoo. When a Rito reaches adulthood, he or she journeys to the top of Dragon Roost to receive a scale from the great dragon. It is this scale that enables the Rito to grow his or her wings."
- — Rito Chieftain
In The Wind Waker, the Rito are revealed to be evolved forms of the Zora race, due to the occurrence of the Great Flood. However in Breath of the Wild, both the Rito and Zora exist as separate races from one another, with little indication of any connection between the two species.
The Rito race are inspired by the Watarara race in the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga (generally considered not to be canon), as revealed in a joined interview of Eiji Aonuma and the manga artist at the end of the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past manga.
Eiji Aonuma states that the design team for The Wind Waker were directly inspired by the Watarara to create the Rito, as he really liked the short story and needed characters who could carry information to Link swiftly across the Great Sea. The Watarara were more like bird-like than the Rito, but had a similar gaining of wings past a certain age and the same chieftain leadership structure.
The Rito people resemble condors, or possibly hawks, with a slight resemblance to Native American culture as well, the most suggestible being Andean culture: males have dark skin and the main theme of the Dragon Roost Island contains some Andean instruments such as zampoña (or pan pipes) and charango.
In the Wind Waker, the Rito are a race of bird-like humans. They have a mix of human and animal biological characteristics, with very distinctive traits. The Rito appear to be covered by dark shaded skin with white hair, yet the only seen female Rito, Medli, has pale skin and brown hair. Most Rito have red colored eyes, although the Rito Chieftain has yellow eyes. They, like many other races in the series, have pointed ears. The Rito have bird-like feet as well, though oddly without talons. Rito also have some sort of beak where a human's nose would be found, though the shape and size of this beak varies through different Rito. Unlike normal birds this beak appears to be only used for smelling, and cannot be used as a mouth; the Rito have a more human-like mouth below this beak. Another biological factor may be the Rito's feet; It is unknown if the bird feet-like pattern on their legs is their true feet, or a tribal piece of clothing such as a cloth wrapped around their leg to symbolize a bird's legs.
Throughout a young Rito's childhood, he or she is called a Fledgling and is flightless without any wings. The difference seems to be noticeable due to certain physical characteristics, such as Prince Komali's hair color which is initially a dark gray-ish white with a brown tip, and seems to become totally pure white later in the game. After a child reaches a certain age they can only receive their wings after they retrieve a scale from the dragon, Valoo. Their wings are unique in that they protrude from their forearms, similar to where a Zora's fins would be. These have an appearance similar to the sleeves of a cloak when a Rito is grounded on the surface. While not in use, the wings of a Rito are mostly white with black colored plumage located along the end. When in flight the top of a Rito's wings are colored brown with black along the edges, while the bottom of the wings contain white colored plumage along the wing's interior. However, Medli has pure white colored wings, possibly suggesting that female Rito have white wings or that her wings have not fully grown yet. It is probable that Ritos lay eggs just like Zora people do.
Most Rito are able to fly over a great distance and can hover in place, but some, like Medli, have trouble flying for long periods of time. This is likely due to her inexperience at flying in comparison to mature Rito. Like humans, Rito's heads are covered by hair that are of different colors and lengths for each person. Most males, however, seem to have white colored hair, even at a young age.
The Rito in Breath of the Wild are no longer humanoid and are now depicted as having a more anthropomorphic bird-like appearance. They are also shown to have wings naturally which are depicted a being prehensile and hand-like allowing them to grab and hold things. Most Rito resemble falcons and eagles, while the Elder Kaneli resembles an owl, though it is unknown if this is simply a variation or the result of old age. Yet Kass is shown to be parrot-like, indicating it is more likely just variation in appearance, much like the Zora who are known to have variations in appearance between members.
Fledglings are shown to have wings and implied to be capable of flying at a much younger age than Komali. It is also implied that the Rito race as a whole can fly naturally, as their is no indication that they require the aid of a deity or dragon such as Dinraal (who is known to fly through the Tabantha region near Rito Village) to do so.
Due to flying at high altitudes and living near the cold Hebra Mountains, the Rito have apparently developed insulating feathers that allow them to endure cold temperatures they would encounter while flying at high altitudes and living near cold regions. Rito feathers occasionally molt which Rito artisans use to make Snowquill Tunics and Snowquill Trousers. Rito feathers are also used to make Rito-down Beds which, according to Cecili, are implied to be even softer than soft stable beds, though this may simply be a marketing tactic.
According to Legend of Zelda director Eiji Aonuma, the Rito are the evolved form of the Zora that appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Evidence of this can be found in the game, such as how it is revealed that Medli shares the bloodline of the Zora Earth Sage, Laruto, similar to how Makar, who is a Korok, is a descendant of the Kokiri Wind Sage, Fado. Also, the symbol of the Zora's Sapphire, which is used as the Zora's royal family symbol, can be seen in multiple places on the Ritos' home of Dragon Roost Island. It is even on the clothes worn by some Ritos. Also, in their general physiology Zoras and Ritos have many similarities, like the fact that the Rito have wings that hang down at their elbows, and the Zoras have fins at the same place. It can be noted that while being descendants of Zoras, Rito at first impression seem to just be a sub-race Hylians with bird-like traits.
It is believed the goddess Din is the one to have transformed the Zora race into an earth and sky dwelling species and thus why they worship Valoo and keep the Din's Pearl, as well as roosting atop Death Mountain's remains. Medli being the Earth Sage although her ancestor Laruto is also an Earth Sage supports this as well.
It is unknown why this change would have occurred since the Zoras in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages have been shown to be able to live in the sea off the coast of the island of Labrynna. However, unlike the Great Sea, the Zoras seemed to be living in a controlled environment without interruption from other sea dwellers. In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the Zora have trouble living in murky water or in water that is not at optimal temperature, thus suggesting that the change in water conditions might have forced them to evolve. This assumes however that Terminian Zora and Hyrulean Zora share the same characteristics. Also, as the Great Sea is quoted as being mainly devoid of fish to catch, it is possible that the Zora's main food source dried up, forcing them to become land creatures. As the Great Sea is filled with numerous monsters and other dangerous sea life, the Zora might have had to evolve to avoid being eaten or constantly attacked. This would explain why they now had to fly over the water rather than swim through it. A small rumor states that the goddesses did not want anyone to find Hyrule hidden beneath the Great Sea, and as Zoras would have found the land quite quickly, the goddesses evolved the Zora on their own. Though because of the appearance of Fishmen, who are also sentient beings that live in water, this appears to be untrue.
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with the Zora race existing alongside them, the Ritos' design was overhauled to further resemble the Watarara of the Ocarina of Time manga as bird-like humanoids. Depending on the timeline that Breath of the Wild takes place, the Rito may have either evolved further becoming more distinct and distant from the Zora race or evolved differently due to their history differing from the Rito of The Wind Waker. Another possibility is that they have no connection with the Zora in the timeline in which Breath of the Wild occurs and have far different origins than the Rito from The Wind Waker.
What appears to be the Rito Emblem in Breath of the Wild appears on the page on Revali's Journal during Champion's Ballad DLC. This emblem does not resemble those of Zora's, and appears to be unique to Rito race.
The Rito race first appear in the franchise as the evolved form of the Zora race after the Great Flood. They are viewed upon by outsiders somewhat dubiously, with some having an inexplicable bigotry directed towards them, perhaps out of jealousy. Still, Rito are widely accepted as mail carriers, as only they can traverse the seas without cumbersome ships. Rito are capable of flying quickly, and full-grown Rito can carry humans for a short time. Their main habitat is on Dragon Roost Island, an island on the Great Sea. They have a tribal elder, with numerous followers and elaborately dressed guards. No Rito is born with wings, and instead, must visit the tribes' guardian, the great Sky Spirit, Valoo, to receive one of his scales which enables them to grow wings. It is a coming of age ceremony of the Rito to journey to the great Valoo to receive their scale.
The first Rito that appears in this game is Quill, a Rito postman who is delivering letters to Outset Island when the Helmaroc King is shot out of the sky by pirates trying to rescue Tetra. Shortly after Aryll's kidnapping by the Helmaroc King, Quill convinces Tetra and her pirates to transport Link to the Forsaken Fortress, so he can save her.
Later in the game Link again runs into Quill on Dragon Roost Island while searching for Din's Pearl. Quill invites him to come into the island and meet the chieftain of the Rito tribe to see what they can do to help Link. After the two meet the Rito Chieftain states the he wants to help Link, but he cannot due to a crisis the Rito are currently in. The Rito's guardian deity, Valoo, had begun acting with hostility and nobody can approach him. Because young Rito can no longer acquire the scale needed to grow their wings, the Rito's very way of life has become threatened.
Therefore, the Rito Chieftain says he needs to attend to the issue before he can help Link. He does, however, ask Link to try and help his son Prince Komali who has come under a stint of depression after his Grandmother had passed away. As he can not personally attend to his son at the time the Rito Chieftain asks Link to deliver a letter he wrote to his son which is being held by Valoo's current attendant Medli. Medli introduces herself to Link, and gives him the letter from the Chieftain to his son, but asks him to meet her again near the entrance to Dragon Roost Cavern.
As Link delivers the letter he notices that Prince Komali is in possession of Din's Pearl. Although Link gives Komali his father's letter it fails to calm him down and instead he acts hostile towards Link. Komali refuses to give Link Din's Pearl, but Link states that he can calm Valoo down. Although Komali believes that Link is lying he says that he will give him anything he wants if he can calm Valoo.
Later Link meets with Medli outside of Dragon Roost Cavern. Medli says that she wants to venture up Dragon Roost Mountain in order to try and find out what is wrong with Valoo. However the bridge connecting the Rito settlement to the cavern has been broken and the spring that once flowed there has been blocked by a volcanic rock. Link helps Medli enter Dragon Roost Cavern by throwing her against the far side of the bridge, allowing her to ride the wind. She gives Link a Bottle and ventures up to the summit of Dragon Roost Mountain.
As Link enters back into the Rito's settlement he learns from Quill that Medli has become captured by monsters on her journey up Dragon Roost. Using the bottle Medli gave him Link uses water to restore a Bomb Flower, which he in turn uses to crush the volcanic boulder, allowing him to swim across to the now-full pond and enter Dragon Roost. After fighting his way through the dungeon Link encounters Medli at the top of Dragon Roost Island where she has been imprisoned by Bokoblins. Link rescues her, and she tells him about the entire situation with Valoo.
Medli concludes that something is harassing the great dragon. In fact, he is being tortured by the tremendous monster, Gohma, hidden within the mountain, beneath Valoo's high peak. As Medli heads down the mountain to tell the other Rito what's happening, she gives Link a Grappling Hook. Link then uses the Grappling Hook to venture into Gohma's layer and slay the monster, finally calming down Valoo from his torment. As Link returns to the base of the island he meets with Medli and Prince Komali.
Komali apologizes for mistrusting Link, stating his desire to be like him. He gives Link his treasured Din's Pearl as a reward and also out of friendship. As Link goes to leave the island Valoo shouts down to him to use the wind gods wind. Medli doesn't understand what Valoo means by this but concludes it must have something to do with the wind shrine on the other side of the island. As Link sets off Komali regains his confidence and ascends to the top of Dragon Roost Mountain to get his scale from the Great Valoo and become a true Rito.
After acquiring the second of the Pearls of the Goddesses Link ventures to Greatfish Isle to get the last pearl from the Water Spirit, Jabun. Upon reaching the island however he discovers that it had been destroyed by Ganondorf's magic. On the Greatfish Isle Quill appears and supplies Link with information about the location of Jabun, but only after accidentally telling Tetra's Pirates about his location: a secret cavern behind Outset Island. Quill states that the island has become cursed and recommends Link not to stay longer than he has to.
Later in the game Quill, along with Prince Komali and Valoo, helps rescue Link and Tetra from Ganondorf at the Forsaken Fortress. Link learns that the Master Sword had lost its power and needs to reawaken the Sages of the Master Sword in order to defeat Ganondorf. After learning from the spirit of the last Sage of Earth, Laruto that Medli is next in her bloodline to become a sage Link travels back to Dragon Roost Island. He then plays the "Earth God's Lyric", a song he learned from Laruto, to Medli. She briefly loses consciousness, sees Laruto in a vision, and awakens as the Sage of Earth.
Medli then comes with Link to the Earth Temple so that they can restore the Master Sword. If Link plays the "Command Melody" while in the Earth Temple near Medli, Link will be able to control her. Link can cause Medli to take flight, or use the harp that she carries to reflect and store strong beams of light. Using their combined abilities to work their way through the dungeon Link defeats the temple's boss, Jalhalla, and Medli restores the edge of the Master Sword.
After the defeat of Ganondorf, Prince Komali, as well as Medli can be seen on Tetra's Pirate Ship, celebrating Link's victory.
The Rito appear as one of several races of Breath of the Wild. They originate from Rito Village in the Tabantha Frontier region of the Hebra province of Hyrule. The village is headed by the Elder Kaneli. Rito are depicted as having a far more bird-like appearance compared to the Rito of The Wind Waker. Revali, the Rito Champion and a skilled aerial fighter living in the skies of Hyrule, is the first Rito shown in the game. One hundred years before the events of the game, this warrior was selected by King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule to pilot the Divine Beast Vah Medoh as a member of the Champions.
During his quest, Link occasionally encounters the traveling Rito minstrel Kass who provides hints leading to Shrines via old legends that he sings. Kass also tells Link an old legend revealing how the Divine Beasts and Guardians where created to help the "Goddess-blood Princess" and a heroic knight defeat and seal Calamity Ganon ten thousand years ago. Kass was the student of Royal Family of Hyrule's court poet a Sheikah who assisted Zelda in a survey of the Shrines and kept a printed Camera Rune photo called the Picture of the Champions which was taken by Purah during the Champions' inauguration ceremony as a treasured memento. Kass reveals his teacher was infatuated with Zelda though apparently she did not share his feelings and Kass' teacher believed she only had eyes for her personal knight though it is unclear if this was true or the teacher simply believed Zelda had feelings for Link. However Kass' teacher respected Link as the Hero and went to his deathbed confident Link would return indicating he was aware of Link's Slumber of Restoration. However Kass' teacher died before Link awoke though he entrusted Kass with the task of learning old songs that revealed the locations of hidden Shrines so he might guide Link to them. Kass' teacher left behind one unfinished work a song called The Champions' Ballad which honored the fallen Champions and was intended to lead Link to the Final Trial overseen by Sheikah Monk Maz Koshia. After aiding Kass in completing his master's unfinished work, Kass rewards Link with his mentor's keepsake the Picture of the Champions recognizing Link as the hero his master believed would return knowing Link would cherish it due to being the Hylian Champion.
During the main quest to free "Divine Beast Vah Medoh", Link receives assistance from the Rito warrior Teba, who flies him up to Vah Medoh and draws its fire while Link secures entry by taking out its cannons.
In Breath of the Wild, the Rito primarily wield light-weight weapons, bows such as the Swallow Bow or Falcon Bow, and shields designed to be used in both ground and aerial combat. They are also known to have crafted Feathered Edges, Feathered Spears and Kite Shields. Revali originally wielded the Great Eagle Bow, which Link can obtain after freeing Vah Medoh, which can be reforged by Rito bowmaker Harth in Rito Village when it breaks making it the only reforgeable bow. The tailor Huck uses the softest and thickest baby Rito feathers to craft the Snowquill Headdress, Tunic and Trousers which grants cold resistance and are sold at the Brazen Beak to tourists and travelers. Once upgraded to two stars or higher wearing the set grants the "Unfreezable" set bonus which makes Link immune to freezing and allows him to pickup Frost Pebblit or climb Frost Talus without melting the ice that covers them. While Zant's Helmet grants Unfreezeable as a standard bonus and both Ruby Circlet and Warm Doublet grant Cold Resist, the fully upgraded Snowquill set is the best armor for extremely cold weather and combat ice elemental enemies due to its defense and unfreezeable set bonus as Zant's Helmet and Warm Doublet have low defense and cannot be upgraded while the Ruby Circlet has the same defense as the Snowquill Headdress Link remains vulnerable to ice and freezing attacks. However the Snowquill set offers no protection from cold water even when fully upgraded. Rito are naturally resistant to cold temperatures and cold at high altitudes thanks to their insulating feathers. However as shown by the Rito Guy this insulation can work against Rito in the desert forcing them to rely on Chilly Elixirs, Frozen Food, and "Chilly" food dishes to keep cool. However some Rito are more capable of dealing with the heat such as Frita a female Rito who flew all the way to Gerudo Town though she notes she is the only Rito to make the trip (Guy was denied entry as with most males) indicating the heat and harsh desert weather cause most Rito to avoid the desert and even hotter places like volcanic areas in the province of Eldin. However they can still survive there unlike the Zora who would have trouble due to its dryness and climate shifts between night and day. This mean Rito have evolved to survive conditions most Zora could not. It is unknown if Rito are shock resistant enough to wield Shock Arrows though Zora Prince Sidon never attempts to recruit one despite archery being popular among the Rito though Rito Village's distance from Zora's Domain and the Rito's own issues with Vah Medoh likely prevented the Rito from assisting the Zora were they able to wield Shock Arrows. According to Molli, in addition to flying Rito are capable mountain climbers which may be an ancient skill inspired by Rito climbing up Dragon Roost Mountain to acquire Valoo's scales in The Wind Waker. Additionally mountain climbing would be a useful skill in Hebra Mountains as fierce snowstorms and blizzards may ground Rito preventing them from flying. It may also help them reach high locations from which to take off from. Rito wings are prehensile allowing them to function as arms and hands, instead of transforming their arms into wings like in The Wind Waker. Rito diet is implied to be omnivorous like Hylians and Gerudo. Despite their birdlike appearance, Rito do enjoy poultry as Frita is disappointed the butcher in Gerudo Town doesn't sell any roasted poultry. However this fits with some Rito resembling birds of prey with some species preying on smaller birds and may have even evolved to prey on birds similar to how Zora prey on fish. If Link purchases all the roasted meat, Frita notes the smell of the meat still lingers and resolves to have two helpings of Roasted Meat and if the smell was poultry she'd want four helpings indicating some Rito may prefer poultry over animal meat. Additionally unlike other races Rito can fly thus they can hunt birds, fish, and animals from the air as well as being potentially able to hunt birds mid-flight. Rito apparently harvest Tabantha Wheat, Cane Sugar, and possibly Goat Butter though they may receive Goat Butter through trade with Hylians and other races as their ability to fly gives them greater access to trade as they are not reliant on land travel though with the exception of Revali, Kass, Frita, Guy, and Fyson, few Rito are seen travelling outside the province of Hebra. Misa's Recipe Book contains recipes for Apple Pie, Nutcake, and Fried Bananas indicating Rito enjoy cooked fruits and nuts as Misa prefers Acorn when making Nutcakes. Due to the availability of Tabantha Wheat and Misa's recipes for cake and pie, Rito presumably can also eat Wheat Bread made with Tabantha Wheat. Amali enjoys cooking healthy meals for her daughters which is one of her greatest joys. It is confirmed by Genli that Rito do feed on Hearty Salmon as Link must make Genli a Hearty Salmon Meunière dish during "Recital at Warbler's Nest". They presumably feed on other fish native to Hebra province such as Voltfin Trout and Chillfin Trout as their spears and bows would be ideal for spear and bowfishing. Chillfin Trout could also be used to create "Chilly" food dishes which Rito like Frita could use to beat the desert heat along with frozen food which Rito can acquire easily in the cold Hebra Mountains. Additionally a diet of fish makes sense as a Zora's diet is primarily fish and seafood, which presumably the Rito retain as vestiges of their Zora ancestry. However it is unclear how well Rito can swim though it is likely they can swim as Rito Village stands above Lake Totori thus Rito are presumably capable of swimming shown they be forced to make a water landing though presumably their swimming ability is not as good as a Zora as Rito have evolved to become extremely adapted to flying. Rito are the only race capable of easily accessing and leaving the isolated Great Plateau as they can fly to and from there without the use of technology, though Kass is the only one to do so as their is little their of interest since the Great Calamity . Unlike The Wind Waker, Rito economy in Breath of the Wild is built on tourism and trade rather than postal work and show no signs of being postal workers, though this could be attributed to the fall of Hyrule's central government during the Great Calamity or changes in Rito culture over the years which has existed in Hyrule for at least 10,000 years.
- "You should be proud. The the only other ones on that level are Rito, and they tend to cheat by flying."
- — Selmie
According to the Hylian Shield Surfing legend Selmie, Rito sometimes engage in Shield Surfing making them one of three races that Shield Surf along with Hylians and Gerudo. If Link gets a good time on the advanced course Selmie notes along with herself Rito tend to be top level surfers though admits they tend to cheat by flying to cut down their surfing time on the advanced course even though Selmie herself doesn't really mind if surfers take flight as Link can Paraglide without issue though presumably some Hylian Shield Surfers consider it cheating or unsportsmanlike behavior as the Hylian surfers are handicapped by their inability to take flight without tools such as a Paraglider thus Hylians consider it cheating as the Rito take advantage of their ability to fly to out perform Hylians unless they are exceptionally skilled like Selmie or have access to a Paraglider like Link.
They are shown to exist in Hyrule along with the Zora who live on the other side of Hyrule in the Lanayru Great Spring region. There is in Breath of the Wild. This is averse to how Rito people are depicted as in The Wind Waker, as it is shown that the reason for the Zora's absence is the Rito evolved from them, for example the ancestor sage to Medli is a Zora. However according to legend it is revealed that the Rito and Zora have coexisted in Hyrule for over 10,000 years as both races are said to have been entrusted with Divine Beasts by the Sheikah 10,000 years before the events of Breath of the Wild indicating the possibly that they may have split off from the Zora so long ago that the connection between the two races has been forgotten or that they have evolved further becoming more distant over time, which would explain the Rito's more bird-like appearance and the shark-like appearance of the Zora in Breath of the Wild. It is also implied that Rito possess wings naturally and no longer need to grow them with the help of a deity like Valoo. It is also implied that Zora's Domain was founded 10,000 years ago, which may have some connection to the split between the Rito and Zora. It should be noted the Kokiri have apparently evolved into Koroks as well and no direct references to the Kokiri are made beyond a passing reference in the description for the Trousers of Time (referred to simply as "people who made their home in the forest".) indicating the Koroks and Rito evolved such a long time ago to the point their races origins have been largely forgotten. The Rito do retain some apparent cultural vestiges of their ancestry as they prefer spears despite having developed Feathered Edge swords which interestingly has the same base attack and durability as the Zora Sword. Additionally their village is located above Lake Totori where their Zora ancestors could have lived before evolving into the Rito or the Rito chose to live there due to the influence of their Zora ancestry culturally or instinctively. Presumably over time they became culturally and biologically distinct adapting to their environment as Rito are more resilient and can handle environmental conditions that could prove potentially fatal for Zora presumably due to the varied climate conditions of Hebra province.
- "I won another archery competition today. As one would expect, the village can't stop talking about my winning streak. In short order, I've managed to break all of the previous records and set an insurmountably high bar. Everywhere I go I receive praise and affirmations that I am the pride of the Rito. I...could get used to this. The elder asked me what I would like as a prize for my achievements. I told him I wish for an archery training ground. If I am to keep this up, I need somewhere to train at varying elevations. I'm hoping to master a new move I've dreamed up... I keep pushing my archery skills to the limit. My dive is ideal, but the ensuing ascent is not as smooth as I wish it was. I must return to the Flight Range again tomorrow. There, I will become stronger. Better. I won't rest until I succeed. The Rito children look up to me. I hear they wish to start training at the Flight Range too. Perhaps it's not a bad idea to allow everyone to use my training space. These are dangerous times, after all. Tomorrow I will try a new strategy I've been devising to control the updraft. I refuse to believe it's impossible. There is a persistent rumor in town that Calamity Ganon's resurrection is imminent. It can't be true... Right? A few years ago, scientists dug up an ancient mechanical beast called Medoh. It was supposedly used to fight Ganon. Hyrule's royal family is in search of someone to pilot the beast. They say to do so requires something beyond skill. They say one's soul must contain an incredible sacred power for a Divine Beast to recognize them as master. They should have just asked for me by name. To control the Divine Beast and defeat the Calamity...would finally allow me to prove myself to the world. Hyrule's princess stopped dawdling and asked me to pilot the Divine Beast. I asked what our plan is. I wish I hadn't. It is completely absurd. The Divine Beasts are little more than backup for some Hylian knight who has the honor of fighting Calamity Ganon. ME! A sidekick! I thought of declining, but then she looked me dead in the eye and held my gaze as she said... "We must protect the precious life of this land from the Calamity's grasp at all costs. Hyrule needs you, Revali." It was so corny, I almost died. But I won't soon forget the look in her eyes. She meant it with all of her heart. I thought Hylians only thought of themselves, but I suppose there's an exception to every rule. I'm going to accept, of course. But out of self-respect, I'm going to let her sweat it out a bit longer. Hyrule's princess is coming by to ask for my answer tomorrow. She will surely be overcome with joy when I accept. And her timing is exceptional. I am close. So close to mastering my new move and showing everyone what I'm capable of. When they see it, they'll know without doubt it should be ME fighting Ganon instead of that pathetic knight. I can see it now. The King and princess... AND the knight...all on their knees, begging me to defeat Ganon for them. They'll say, "Please, Master Revali! Please use your otherworldly skills and intellect to defeat Calamity Ganon!" I look forward to that day."
- — The Diary of Revali
In Breath of the Wild, Rito have a proud warrior culture as exemplified by Revali and Teba. Rito warriors are masters of aerial combat particularly aerial archery as they can snipe enemies from and in the air. Additionally they wield lightweight Kite Shields, Feathered Edge swords, and Feathered Spears so as not to be weighed down. Rito warriors wear lightweight armor padding covered by a cloth similar in design to the armor padding of the Snowquill Tunic. Rito Bows are designed with aerial combat in mind and Rito like Harth specialize in bowmaking indicating many Rito warriors specialize in or prefer archery. Revali even won an archery competition in the past as mentioned in The Diary of Revali requesting a private training ground as a reward. This lead to the construction of the Flight Range near Dronoc's Pass in Hebra Mountains. At first the range was exclusively for Revali's private use where he developed and perfected Revali's Gale and his aerial archery skills. As the young Rito looked up to Revali and wanted to be like him, Revali contemplated open it up to aspiring warriors as he himself recognized the Rito were living in dangerous times thus it couldn't hurt to be prepared. After becoming Champion however, Revali finally allowed aspiring Rito warriors to train there as well due to the threat of Calamity Ganon's return and increased monster activity that coincided with it. After Revali's death, Revali's Landing was named in his honor and use of the Flight Range for training became a tradition among Rito warriors such as Teba. The Great Eagle Bow became a treasured legendary bow among the Rito which was kept safe by the Rito Elder passed down to Kaneli. According to Huck all male Rito are urged to become honorable warriors like Revali who many Rito consider to be the greatest warrior who ever lived despite his death, though some wish to surpass him specifically Teba who encourages his son Tulin become even better warrior than Teba himself and Revali presumably recognizing warriors should strive to be the best. Thus Revali had a strong influence on Rito warrior culture and served as an example Rito warriors aspire to be or in Teba's case surpass. However Revali's pride was his greatest weakness as it made him resent the Hylian Champion and Chosen Hero Link whom Revali disliked playing second fiddle to and was angry that he was relegated to a support role. Link's trademark silence and prodigal skill didn't help matters as Revali worked hard to become the warrior he was though Revali respected Princess Zelda due to her dedication to her training to awaken her powers and strong will as well as sharing her initial resentment towards Link though did consider himself gifted in comparison though tried to be understanding of her situation even admitting so in his diary showing that despite his arrogance he did his best to support her out of respect for her determination as while he found her recruitment speech to the Champions corny he realized how serious she was by seeing the conviction in her eyes. Revali was also dedicated to fighting Calamity Ganon and aspired to be the hero instead of Link. However after his death and Link slaying his killer Thunderblight Ganon, Revali begrudgingly accepted Link as the Hero though maintained his arrogant attitude towards him out of pride. Thanks to Revali's influence the Rito warriors successfully defended Rito Village allowing it to survive the Great Calamity. A century later Rito guards patrol the bridges leading to Rito Village ensuring it is protected from attack. The Flight Range became the traditional training ground for Rito Warriors. Teba also possessed a similar prideful personality but was more accepting of Link's assistance once he proved himself and was capable of open humility a trait which Revali lacked as he refused to show his newfound respect for Link openly. However it is implied Teba's disastrous confrontation with Vah Medoh humbled him. Before Link's arrival, Teba and Harth ignored Kaneli's warnings and approached Vah Medoh leading to an aerial confrontation which left Harth injured leaving Teba who survived uninjured to retreat to the Flight Range to train and gather supplies to confront Vah Medoh alone until Link showed up and joined him in confronting Vah Medoh though while distracting the beast to draw its cannon fire away from Link, Teba was injured though his heroic efforts allowed Link to take out the cannons and enter Vah Medoh. Teba eventually recovers from his wounds and returns to the Flight Range where he runs the Flight Range mini-game with his son Tulin who idolizes his father and hopes to become a warrior greater than Revali much like him. Harth also recognized they should have taken the elder's warning about Vah Medon more seriously after he had been injured and upon his recovery returns to bow making even repairing Revali's Great Eagle Bow when it breaks as he is the only bowsmith alive skilled enough to repair the legendary bow.
However unlike the Zora, Rito warriors are predominantly male and female Rito Laissa wishes she had been a trained soldier implying female Rito are discouraged or barred from becoming warriors, which is in sharp contrast to the Zora as there are several female Zora Knights and even a female Champion Mipha who accepted the position with her father King Dorephan's blessing and approval (however he did regret his support in light of her death). Huck notes only male Rito are urged to become honorable warriors like Revali indicating female Rito are either discouraged or even barred from becoming warriors or there are too many cultural barriers that make becoming Rito warriors extremely difficult for female Rito like Laissa.
In The Wind Waker, all known Rito reside on Dragon Roost Island, a large and mountainous island in the northeast portion of the Great Sea. Here, the Rito's main settlement is built within Dragon Roost Mountain overlooking a small spring in the center of the island. Perched on the peak of the island is the great Sky Spirit, Valoo. Valoo is a spirit in the shape of a large dragon and serves as the guardian deity of the Rito. He is held to the highest of respect by the Rito who have a long line of attendants and caretakers to look after him.
The average Rito wear a dark red tunic with a belt around the waist. The tunic is usually rather plain in color, but often has a more colorful lining around the sleeves and collar. Also it is common to see Rito wearing delivery bags as they cannot carry things while using their wings. Some Rito wear more elaborate clothing, such as the Police Force who customarily wear white tunics with a blue stripe around the waist. Still others, like Medli and the Rito Chieftain, can be seen in unique clothing, likely due to the special jobs that they have on the island.
The Rito were stated to be the tribe that invented Grappling Hooks, which were used before they had obtained wings. Grappling Hooks are still used by Fledglings until they grow wings of their own. Although it is unknown if the Rito also created the Postman Statues or not, said statues clearly depict their race. According to Zunari, the purpose of these statues are to bring Ritos to Windfall Island.
Rito are also known to be musically inclined as Medli was a skilled harpist and Kass in Breath of the Wild is a skilled accordion player and a minstrel by trade. Kheel, Cree, Kotts, Notts, and Genli attend singing practice at Warbler's Nest though Vah Medoh prevents them from going to Warbler's Nest until it is freed.
Government and economy
The Rito appear to be ruled some kind of monarchy style chiefdom. The ruler of the Rito is always a chieftain who oversees everything happening on the island. His son holds the title of prince, and will eventually become the chieftain of the tribe (although since Prince Komali is the current Rito Chieftain's only child in the Wind Waker, it remains to be seen if there could be a female chieftain, or who the chieftain would be if there were multiple children). The chieftain`s rule is also assisted by several guards and other assistants who live on the island to help him and his people.
Given their ability to quickly and safely travel between islands, the Rito have become the foremost postmen throughout the Great Sea. Most Rito appear to be employed as mail carriers or other jobs related to the postal service. Even though most of them appear to be employed this way, there still appear to be a shortage of staff at the Mail Center, which sometimes requires temporary help from a non-Rito, such as Link or Baito.
Once every year the Rito will take a break from their jobs and go to the nearby Flight Control Platform for the annual Bird-Man Contest, which is designed to test who can fly the farthest. Hylians may participate as well, as long as they have something with which to fly.
In Breath of the Wild, the Rito Chieftain is typically the village elder. Revali mentions an unnamed Elder from before the Great Calamity who fulfilled Revali's request for an archery training ground as a reward for winning an archery competition leading to the Flight Range's construction. Revali's Diary also mentions Princess Zelda meeting with the Elder during an official visit to Rito Village with Link accompanying her as her royal bodyguard. Revali apparently did not know what the meeting was about as he took the time to try and talk to Link even showing him Revali's Gale but Link responded with his usual trademark silence to Revali's frustration. However presumably Zelda provided the Elder with information concerning her research into the Divine Beasts as she had with the Zora Royal Family on Vah Ruta. A century later Kaneli is the Rito Elder and is well informed about Vah Medoh and the Champions, even recognizing the Sheikah Slate presumably due to information passed down by his predecessor from a century prior. Kaneli at first believes Link is the Hylian Champion but after thinking about it realizes Link is far too young and concludes he is a descendant of the previous Hero unaware Link's aging had been halted by the Slumber of Restoration. However he notes that only a Champion or a descendant of one can tame Vah Medoh thus enlists Link's aid. He reveals Teba and Harth confronted Vah Medoh despite his warnings and Harth was injured. He suggests Link seek out Teba who is still planning to take on Vah Medoh. After Link destroy Vah Medoh's cannons with Teba's assistance he frees Vah Medoh and Revali's spirit, Kaneli reveals Revali's Great Eagle Bow has been passed down from elder to elder since Revali's death and gives it to Link as a reward which can be rebuilt by the recovered Harth if it breaks. In Breath of the Wild, Rito economy is based on tourism, trade, along with the apparently farming Tabantha Wheat and Cane Sugar. It is also implied they fish for Hearty Salmon native to the region to eat or may even raise them as Hearty Salmon often can be found in a pool atop the island plateau connected to the main island plateau by a bridge which presumably the Rito raise there for easy access. However presumably they can only raise or catch enough to feed themselves thus explaining why Rito do not sell them despite their value.
Like most races, they accept the Rupee as their form of currency.
As part of the Master Wind Waker DLC, Rito Sage Medli from The Wind Waker appears as a DLC character in Hyrule Warriors & Hyrule Warriors Legends. Medli weapon moveset is the Rito Harp. Additionally, there is a Fairy Clothing option called the Rito Mask which is a Mask for Companion Fairies in the design of a Rito's beak-like nose.
References in the series
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, at the very top of the Observation Deck in Castle Town, where a Goron sells arrows, there is a mural that depicts two Rito flanking a woman. This implies they may have existed in Hyrule at the time of Twilight Princess for though are not encountered or were intended to appear at one point but were presumably scrapped or replaced with the bird-like Oocca with the mural being the only reference to Rito being retained. Regardless this is the only reference to the race in the game.
In the Japanese language, the race is known as the "Ri-To", and the Japanese word "tori" means bird. 'Rito' could also be a play on the name of Ruto, the Princess of the Zoras, the race from which the Rito evolved.