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A D12-class bird-of-prey firing on the USS Enterprise-D

The Klingon bird-of-prey was a classification of starship used by the Klingon Empire. They were typically small and agile classes of ships which made up a significant proportion of the Klingon fleet along side the larger classes.


The Klingons produced numerous classes of starships designated Bird-of-Prey, traditionally these were smaller classes used as scouts. Over time the designation was expanded to be used on larger classes with a similar design to traditional birds-of-prey. (TOS movie: The Search for Spock; TNG episode: "Yesterday's Enterprise")

A 22nd century bird-of-prey

The typical Bird-of-Prey design featured a primary hull with a long protruding neck at the front with a command bulb at the end. Usually a photon torpedo tube was located on the lower side of the command bulb. To either side of the main hull are wings with disruptor cannons mounted at the end. Certain classes featured additional armaments such as rear firing torpedoes and additional disruptors. (TOS movie: The Search for Spock; TNG episode: "Yesterday's Enterprise"; ENT episode: "The Expanse", et al.)


In tlhIngan Hol, a Bird-of-Prey type ship is called a toQDuj. The word can be broken down into toQ, "bird-of-prey", and Duj, "ship". (tlhIngan Hol reference: The Klingon Dictionary)

The D'Gavama-class gets its name from a klingonaase word meaning "bird-of-prey". (FASA RPG module: Klingon Ship Recognition Manual)

In analyzing the word D'Gavama, the reader may also wish to consider these other ship names from the Klingon Ship Recognition Manual: d'ama ("predator"), z'gavva ("stronger bird") and z'gavasta ("great bird").


The earliest known classes of Bird-of-Prey were in operation in the mid-22nd century. (ENT episode: "The Expanse")


A B'rel-class bird-of-prey

By 2270 the Empire had introduced one of the most successful and long serving class of Bird-of-Prey, the B'rel-class. The B'rel-class was designed from Romulan concepts obtained in the Klingon-Romulan Alliance, the most notable technology integrated into the vessel from that alliance being a cloaking device. (TOS comic: "Trekkers"; ST reference: Starship Spotter)

The B'rel-class was a highly successful design and served long into the 24th century. It also spawned several other Bird-of-Prey classes of near identical design, including the D12-class and K'vort-class. Though the K'vort, and later Chuq'Beh-class were notably larger than the original B'rel design. (ST reference: Starship Spotter; TNG movie: Generations; TNG video game: Armada II, et al.)


Klingonese name standard designation alphanumeric designation classification known service period
Vo'n'talk-class 22nd century bird-of-prey 2150s
M'Chla-class 2230s -- 2250s
2260s bird-of-prey 2260s
Z'gavva-class Stronger Bird-class D32-class cruiser
D'Gavama-class Bird of Prey-class K22A-class far scout
B'rel-class K22B-class scout 2270s -- late-24th century
QuD-class Insurrection-class heavy destroyer 2290s
Taj-class Bird of Prey-class scout 2293
Z'gavasta-class Great Bird-class L42-class frigate
K'vort-class light cruiser 2nd quarter 24th century -- late-24th century
D12-class scout 2350s
Khitomer-class 24th century
Chuq'Beh-class 2370s
QulDun-class 2409
Norgh-class 2409
Ki'tang-class 2409
Hegh'ta-class 2409


Bird-of-prey classes
Romulan birds-of-prey 2150slate-2150s bird-of-prey22nd century23rd century (Kelvin timeline)24th centuryT'varoT'LissVas HathamTemar Vastaram Romulan insignia image.
Reman birds-of-prey T'varo Romulan insignia image.
Klingon birds-of-prey 22nd century2260s23rd century (Kelvin timeline)M'ChlaB'relChuq'BehD12D'GavamaE4E6G2KhitomerK'vortQuDZ'gavastaZ'gavvaQulDunNorghKi'tangHegh'ta Klingon insignia image.