Zelda fans believe they are closer than ever to pinning down Breath of the Wild's place in the series' timeline - thanks to the recent confirmation of the game's bird race.

Japanese magazine Famitsu has this week revealed the feathered species, briefly seen in the game's latest trailer, as the Rito. (There had been confusion whether this was the case, since their appearance differs somewhat from their previous look.)

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Reebal (right), was first seen in Breath of the Wild's latest trailer.

The Rito previously appeared in Zelda: Wind Waker. They lived on Dragon Roost Island, acted as messengers across the game's submerged world, and were evolved from the series' regular Zora race of aquatic allies.

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Medli, your Rito sidekick in Wind Waker.

Rito have not appeared in any other Zelda games to date - and fans have considered them unique to the series' timeline branch in which Wind Waker sits.

The same can be said of the Koroks, an evolved form of the Kokiri tribe, which were also previously shown in Breath of the Wild.

Wind Waker's Great Deku Tree and shopkeeper Beedle are also back in Breath of the Wild, although have also appeared in other games.

For those uninitiated in Zelda timeline lore, the series is known to follow a linear structure until the N64's Ocarina of Time, after which it splits into three separate branches.

One timeline branch follows the adult Link from Ocarina, which is the story branch that results in Wind Waker and its direct sequels Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. Another timeline branch follows the child Link from Ocarina who is sent back in time, as seen in Majora's Mask and then Twilight Princess.

Finally, A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, and the original The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link fall into a timeline where Link did not beat Ganon in Ocarina at all.

Fans have suggested that Breath of the Wild is another sequel to Wind Waker, set long after, when the sea has been drained from Hyrule - a process you began by helping the Korok tribe begin a forest to dry Hyrule's lands.

And it's clear from the various descriptions of this world being scarred by repeated incursions by Ganon that Breath of the Wild is set after many other games. It begins some 100 years after an earlier invasion was defeated, with Hyrule still in recovery.

For more, we recently asked Zelda series boss Eiji Aonuma about the game's timeline, about the game's mammoth development across two Nintendo platforms and about Link almost being female this time around.

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Tom Phillips

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