Greek and Roman Mythology
Phoenixes are birds of fire that look akin to larger versions of the shoebill stork with russet feathers. Like their smaller brethren one must bow before them/in response to them/mimic their greeting in order to gain respect of the bird.
When a phoenix dies it turns to ash and if the ashes are kept in a safe place, it will be reborn. After it's hundredth death/rebirth cycle it gains the ability to turn into a human form.