Wing Riders are Sky Elves who ride Rocs, giant seabirds that live on the Westland coast. All Wing Riders are male, and although not every Sky Elf is a Wing Rider, the two terms are often used interchangeably.
A small minority of Elves in Arborlon and the surrounding communities did not agree with the Elves' use of magic, and they decided to leave Arborlon and live apart from the rest of the Elves. They established a community on the south coast of the Westland, where the sea cliffs were populated with large birds called Rocs.
Over the years these Elves learned to tame and ride these Rocs: those who rode Rocs were called Wing Riders, and the Elven community was named Wing Hove. The Elves of Wing Hove soon saw themselves as a separate people and referred to themselves as the Sky Elves, differentiating themselves from the Land Elves of Arborlon who used magic and were not able to ride Rocs.
In the time of the legendary Elf King Eventine Elessedil, no Wing Rider had come to Arborlon in the last hundred years. However, the failing of the Ellcrys and the knowledge that the Druid Allanon had joined the Elessedils to fight the oncoming horde of Demons motivated Herrol, a Sky Elf, to send five Wing Riders to Arborlon to assist Ander Elessedil.
In the time of Wren Elessedil, Wing Hove had disappeared. About a century earlier the Land Elves had moved Arborlon and the entire Elven nation to the island of Morrowindl, a few days' ride off the coast of the Westland, in order to escape Federation aggression. Twenty years later, Sky Elves left Wing Hove for the same reasons, and they settled on smaller islands closer to the coast. When Wren and her mentor Garth went to Wing Hove, all they found were the abandoned plots of land where homes used to be.
Once Wren restored Arborlon and the Elves to their rightful place back in the Westland, she led the Elves and their allies in a successful defense of the Westland against the Federation. The Sky Elves moved back to Wing Hove and repopulated the community. Although the Land Elves and Sky Elves traditionally never had much interaction with each other, Wren established a lasting alliance between both groups, one that remains strong centuries later. Pursuant to a contract drawn up in the early years of Wren's rule, the Wing Riders serve the Land Elves as scouts and messengers along the eastern edges of the Blue Divide in exchange for goods and money.
- Perk — A young Wing Rider in training, still practically a child; his Roc is called Genewen. He meets Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil in the Wilderun during their quest to find the Bloodfire and restore the dying Ellcrys. Before they part company Perk gives Wil and Amberle the whistle he uses to call Genewen, which allows the pair to return to Arborlon incredibly swiftly after they emerge from Spire's Reach.
- Herrol — Perk's grandfather. Herrol rides Genewen but is too old to fly regularly. He is an old friend of Allanon and feels a closer connection to the Land Elves than most other Sky Elves. For these reasons, he sends five Wing Riders to Arborlon when he learns that Allanon has allied himself with the Elessedils to fight the Demons. As Genewen had been lent to Perk for training, Herrol is unable to go himself.
- Dayn — Son of Herrol and uncle to Perk; his Roc is named Dancer. Dayn travels to Arborlon at Herrol's behest with four other Wing Riders to fight with the Land Elves against the Demons.
- Tiger Ty — A middle-aged Wing Rider who rides a Roc named Spirit. He flies Wren Elessedil and Garth to Morrowindl, and later saves Wren and the entire Elven nation by rescuing her from the island before it is destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Once Wren restores Arborlon to the Westland, he becomes one of her staunchest allies in the fight against the Federation and the Shadowen.
- Erring Rift — A tall, stoop-shouldered Wing Rider with a shaggy black beard, thinning hair, and eyes like chips of obsidian; his Roc is called Grayl. He is the leader of the Wing Riders who join Wren Elessedil in defending the Westland from the Federation invasion. Erring and Grayl are killed by Tib Arne and Gloon when they abduct Wren.
- Gill — One of the Wing Riders that accompanied the airship Jerle Shannara during Walker Boh's voyage to Parkasia; his Roc is called Tashin. Gill and Tashin were killed by War Shrikes after inadvertently flying over their nesting grounds on Shrike Island.