I have a book concept I am working on, and it involves a race of non-human characters. They basically look like a kind of hybrid between birds and people. The story is set entirely in the realm this race lives in, so there are no humans.
That is a tough question. Since the characters are familiar with their own looks, they wouldn’t say to each other, “Hey, you have wings! So do I!” You can, however, sprinkle in tidbits of descriptions here and there by mentioning flight with wings or whatever else they might do. Even then, readers will have a tough time painting a full picture early on.
In a case like this, I think two options might help. First, you can show a couple of different kinds of creatures on your cover and/or an interior illustration. Second, you can include a description section before the story begins, just a quick list of the most important creatures and what they look like. Once these characteristics are established by an illustration or by a glossary-type entry, you can write the story in a natural way without worrying about detailed descriptions.
If anyone has any ideas, please comment.