|Date of Birth:||1809|
|Breed:||Chequered Nettle & Parnassian cross|
|Appearance:||Initally, mottled brown and gray, covered in spikes with huge curved claws; later, began to develop golden scales and spikes hardened into horns; rounder, less serpentine than typical of dragons; "roly poly"|
Kulingile was born out of a too-small egg. As a result, he came out small, without his air-sacs being inflated, and unable to fly. Many of the aviators present for his birth, including Jeremy Rankin, wished to euthanize the dragonet but William Laurence would not allow it. As none of the more senior aviators would attempt to harness Kulingile, Demane took responsibility for him and soon became his "captain" though few had hope that he would be able to fly or hunt for himself. Demane named the dragonet "Kulingile," which mean "All is well" in the Xhosa language.
Despite the grim predictions upon his hatching, Kulingile survived longer than expected. He ate a great deal and put on a lot of weight, making him a burden for Caesar to carry. While he was trying to pull out Temeraire from the Bunyips' trap, Kulingile's air sacs inflated. Dorset announced that Kulingile had been eating so much because he would become a heavyweight dragon, and compared him to a Regal Copper. Shortly after the inflation of his air sacs, Kulingile began to fly--though in an irregular fashion. After this pronouncement, the aviators who had initially wanted Kulingile killed became jealous and resentful of Demane, but the dragon had already formed an attachment with the boy.
Kulingile was sad to have a "reedy" voice at hatching, and it never much deepened as he grew. Instead, it was described much like and echo or several people speaking at once.
Not formally part of the Aerial Corps, Demane and Kulingile were free to journey with Temeraire and Laurence to South America in hopes of restoring peace between the Tswana and the Portuguese colonies there. While en route, aboard the HMS Allegiance, the ship was sunk due to the negligence of the drunken crew (formed by former convicts). Kulingile, Iskierka and Temeraire were forced to flee with the only remaining survivors, only to be captured by a French dragon transport ship.
De Guignes, who had been sent by Napoleon to treat with the Incan Empress, decided to maroon the survivors on a deserted island, rather than bring them to negotiations. While stuck on the desolated island, the sailors became agitated. Starving and believing the aviators were keeping extra rations for themselves, the sailors attempted to kidnap the three captains: Demane, Granby and Laurence to force the dragons to obey them. The aviators managed to protect Granby and Laurence using themselves as human shields. But--despite the valiant efforts of Emily Roland--several managed to get their hands on Demane.
Enraged, Kulingile flung himself on top of the sailors, crushing most of them to death. Thereafter, he would rarely permit Demane to leave his sight or his presence.