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Alignment Usually Neutral Evil
Type humanoid
Image image
Publication history
Source books Monster Manual III, Creatures of Rokugan, Fortunes and Winds, 1E Fiend Folio, Monstrous Manual, Dragon #329 (ecology of), Black Spine

The kenku is a bird-like, humanoid creature in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game.

Publication history[edit]

The kenku originally appeared in the first edition's Fiend Folio (1981).[1]

The kenku appeared in the second edition's Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[2] and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[3]

The kenku and the kenku sneak appeared in the Monster Manual III (2004).[4] The kenku was further developed in Dragon #329 (March 2005).[5] An adventure involving kenku appeared in Dungeon #120.[6]

The kenku appears in the game's fourth edition in Monster Manual 2 (2009).

The kenku also appears in the fifth edition in the Monster Manual , the Dungeon Master's Guide (2014), and as a playable race in Volo's Guide to Monsters.



Typical physical characteristics[edit]

Kenku are depicted as hawk or crow like humanoids with wings capable of flight and human like arms, with talons in place of feet.[1][2] In later editions, kenku lack wings.[4] Kenku are covered in russet-brown feathers and have black beaks, but have a relatively humanoid build. Though more agile than humans, they tend to be physically weaker as well. They have yellow eyes in 2nd edition,[2] or small black beady eyes in subsequent editions. They are light for their size due to their hollow bones. They are between five and seven feet in height and weigh roughly 75 pounds (32 kilos).

Kenku commonly wear brown robes held in place by sashes of the same color. Kenku often conceal weapons beneath these robes.


In 1st and 2nd Editions, Kenku were neutral. In D&D 3.5 they are usually neutral evil. In 4th Edition, they are Unaligned. In 5th edition they are chaotic neutral.


Kenku typically work as gangs in large cities, where they gather riches through theft and robbery. They are not particularly strong, and therefore tend to use cunning rather than force.

Most kenku worship the demon prince Pazuzu, though Quorlinn is worshipped by those not so disposed toward evil. Kenku clerics usually venerate Vecna.

  • Quorlinn is the kenku deity of trickery, disguise, and thievery. His symbol is a mask with a large false nose. Quorlinn was first detailed in the book Monster Mythology (1992), including details about his priesthood.[7] Quorlinn appears as a typical kenku wearing a black mask and fairly nondescript clothing. Quorlinn is a likable, roguish trickster. He has a tinge of malice about him at times, but he has also aided races other than his own. He spends much of his time whining about the responsibilities imposed upon him by a race he did not choose to have created in his image.

Campaign settings[edit]


A group of kenku fought to possess a silver statue in "Tamara Belongs to Me," one of the adventure cards in From the Ashes (1992).[8]

In the Flanaess, kenku have been encountered from the Duchy of Berghof in the Hold of the Sea Princes, to the Gnarley Forest, to the Cairn Hills.


  1. ^ a b Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio (TSR, 1981)
  2. ^ a b c Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  3. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  4. ^ a b Burlew, Rich, et al. Monster Manual III (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  5. ^ Cagle, Eric. "Ecology of the Kenku." Dragon #329 (Paizo Publishing, 2005)
  6. ^ Haener, Timothy J. "The Forsaken Arch." Dungeon #120. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2005
  7. ^ Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology (TSR, 1992)
  8. ^ Sargent, Carl. From the Ashes, p. 42. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1992