Origin: H.P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction) (1926).
They were not any birds or bats known elsewhere on earth or in dreamland, for they were larger than elephants and had heads like a horse's. Carter knew that they must be the shantak-birds of ill rumour, and wondered no more what evil guardians and nameless sentinels made men avoid the boreal rock desert.
- —H. P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)
A shantak is a huge, scaly, birdlike creature with a horselike head, batlike wings, slimy skin, and two strong talons. Shantaks lives in the Cold Waste of Earth's Dreamlands, serving Nyarlathotep. Shantaks are sometimes summoned to serve as steeds. They are hunted by the Elder God Nodens and greatly fear Nightgaunts.