Can I assume everyone knows what a dragon is?
A wyvern is a similar creature to — some say a sub-species of — the dragon. It stands on two legs instead of four, and its tail is often seen as arching over its head, scorpion-like, so that it can use the spade-shaped tip to poison it’s enemies.
They’re often depicted in English heraldry on flags and shields and coats-of-arms (such as this flag of the Ancient Kingdom of Wessex, located today in England).
Some people feel they’re interchangeable creatures – but wyverns lack the intelligence of dragons – so you won’t find them starring in any thoughtful stories. In fact, it’s pretty rare to see them “starring” at all.
I’ve written both dragon stories and wyvern stories. I tend to use dragons for “intelligent” tales and wyverns when I need a fierce creature who acts on base instinct…but it seems a shame to me that such a fine (if evil and nasty) creature gets pushed out of the limelight by its more intelligent cousin.
I’m sticking with the intelligence theory: that it’s this lack of smarts that makes the wyvern so unattractive in stories, though it could easily be that it’s not popular because a wyvern has less versatile “artillery” than that of various dragons (and is therefore less useful, in a story).
Or, maybe the wyvern is not used as much because fewer people are aware of the myth.
What’s your take? And which do you like better: dragons or wyverns?