Moltres takes the form of a large bird with flame-colored plumage, resembling a phoenix. Its dazzling wings and elaborate head crest are engulfed in fire. It has a straight, pointed brown beak, which is the same colour as its feet. It can shoot out powerful, overwhelming fire. Those who see it are encased by its fiery wings. Moltres is part of the Legendary Bird trio along with Articuno and Zapdos. Compared to the other legendary birds, it has the smallest feet and legs. However, it is the largest of the legendary birds, though its flames make up a good portion of its bulk. Moltres' name comes from combining the terms "mol" (from molten, as in lava) and "tres", which is Spanish for three. The other two birds have similar naming conventions.
Moltres, along with Articuno and Zapdos, can be seen chasing Ash and Gary in the cutscene prior to Mt. Moon 2. When Ash escapes to Cerulean City, Gary is left alone to fight the birds. Gary escapes in the cutscene before Diglett's Cave them by having his Alakazam use Gravity and flying away with Fearow.