Pokemon X and Y – How to Capture Articuno, Zapdos or Moltres


The three legendary birds of Kanto are amongst the most famous of all the Legendaries in Pokemon X and Y, probably because of how prominently they featured in Pokemon: The Movie 2000.

Either way, they’re pretty freaking awesome, and are always fun to have in your squad.

For more help on Pokemon X and Y, read our Elite Four, Gym Leaders and Shiny Pokemon Guide.

Unfortunately, you can only capture one of the three in your game, and the choice of which one is decided as early as when you pick your starter Pokemon. If you picked Froakie, you’ll be able to capture Moltres.

If you started with Chespin, Articuno will be your bird, and if you chose Fennekin then you’ll be able to snag Zapdos.

The way this is done is that after defeating the Elite Four you encounter your bird. This puts its entry into the Pokedex and enables you to track it using the location feature on the device.

The location given will only tell you of the route it is on. Once there, you need to wander around in the bushes hoping for a random encounter.

If you do manage to find it, prepare to be disappointed, because it’ll immediately run/fly away.

You’ll have to track it down again. This cycle will continue for 10 turns, before the flighty bird settles in the Sea Spirit’s Den where you can capture it in peace.

Each of the birds have different type weaknesses and strengths, Articuno is super weak to Rock attacks, and also to Steel, Fire and Electric. Zapdos is Weak to Rock and Ice attacks and Moltres is super weak to Rock, while also being weak to Water and Electric.

All three are resistant to Bug and Grass type attacks. Remember that the other two legendary birds cannot be obtained except through trading.

By Salman Hamid

Yet another one of our many staff and a long-time contributor (We need all the staff, how do you think we keep it so busy around here?), Salman is one of our many news writers. He's a fan of the Thief series of games and his PC is his favourite platform for gaming.


Around The Network
    • Jose Nieves

      I’m not a fan of Articuno at all. So if you catch your legendary bird, and I catch Articuno, we can just trade.

      • Kate

        I’ve only just seen this! That’s a possibility! :)

    • Dark

      I did the same way you did, the way I found it was entering the bushes at Termius Cave

    • Harii x

      This process is very tedious, I’ve encountered him 4 out if the 10 times. Slowing getting there!!

      I know its def worth it though!

    • dragonkx

      An easy way to catch it, rather than chasing it all over town, is to just wait at one city, like snowbelle city. look at your pokedex and whatever bird it is, see if it is left or right of the city, if not use fly to the snowbelle city again, look at pokedex and repeat process until it shows up or moves to the cave. If he shows up to the right, usualy its at the first patch of flowers, if to the left he is on the second patch of flowers under the small stone

    • guest

      Say you go through all that, and the Kanto bird you’ve been longing for and hoping for all this time faints, and while you rage massively, your mom comes in, saves the game, and turns it off. Then what?

      • Eric Carras

        I am pretty sure if you defeat the Elite Four again, the bird you killed will return.

    • Connor J

      What do I do if I ran away from zapdos the first time because I was out of ultra balls. How do I get to him again?

      • Ben Mikell

        Just like any of the 50 legendary battles before hand, SAVE THE GAME before you battle.

        Although recently, you would have to defeat the Elite Four + Champion again to have it Spring up.

    • Mike

      Ok I finally got him but I think it’s dumb that they thing you are gonna travel from one side of the map to the other. I didn’t do that though. I kept flying to random places hoping he would be nearby

    • Mike

      Thing is when I fly to the route he is on he isn’t there at all and he is on a different route

    • Maivy

      I was looking for an Eevee when I suddenly finds Moltres didn’t really read anything about how to get any legendaries or other Pokemon to keep the fun, so I didn’t expect that one xD

      • drew

        same thing happened to me i was shocked

    • Kriston Harris

      i ran into zapdos when going for the “Z” pokemon and was like wtf

    • lololol

      Thank You For Telling Me This I Am Very Greatful To You =D