Kenku first introduced in Dungeons and Dragons 3e as simple cackling monsters are accursed people that have been haunted by an ancient crime that also robbed them of their voices and wings and subsequently their flight ability. Now, oftentimes they live their lives in self-pity and regrets. They now as hopeless beings wander the material plane. Just like the goblins, they have eyes for both material and abstract things such as precious stones, ornaments, coins, and culture and are sly thieves lacking a creative voice of their own but perfecting the art of mimicry and forgery.

The actual origins of the Kenku are not known. It is believed that the Kenku had started as bird-folks with wings and screeching voices until they attempted to betray the dark master which they served by stealing a valuable which he treasured. This made the Master to give them an all-in-one punishment by stripping them of their ability to fly and a voice to sing and whistle and drove them out of his empire to suffer and eventually be annihilated. This material comes in handy while planning your campaign.

Kenku Features

Source: Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age: Kenku has shorter lifespans than humans. They reach maturity at about 12 years old and can live to 60.

Alignment: Kenku are chaotic creatures, rarely making enduring commitments, and they care mostly for preserving their own hides. They are generally chaotic neutral in outlook.

Size: Kenku is around 5 feet tall and weighs between 90 and 120 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Forgery: You can duplicate other creatures’ handwriting and craftwork. You have an advantage on all checks made to produce forgeries or duplicates of existing objects.

Kenku Training: You are proficient in your choice of two of the following skills: Acrobatics, Deception, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand.

Mimicry: You can mimic sounds you have heard, including voices. A creature that hears the sounds you make can tell they are imitations with a successful Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by your Charisma (Deception) check:

Languages: You can read and write Common and Auran, but you can speak only by using your Mimicry trait.


Unlike most Dungeons and Dragons race that has a generic description, this is not true for Kenku. While the Aarakocras are called the bird folks, the Goblin humanoid creatures, the Locathah the fish folks; Kenku are very limited in their appearance. They are raven-like in appearance with beaks and claws like that of an eagle. However, their hands are more likely humanoid than bird-like.



Kenku names are not gender-based. They are mostly profession-related; more likely sound effects than what can be written down. Swimmers bear names that may portray a splash of water or a flapping sound that a swimmer makes while swimming. Fighters take a name that relates to the sound of a clanging sword or the eerie sound of a piercing arrow in the air. Owing to their mimicry, it can range from the sound of a gunshot to the eruption of a volcano, to the ebbing sound of a tide.

As expected, no one can reproduce such sounds. So other folks tend to call them by the name the sounds suggest. I will give a few examples to get you started. If a Kenku is a warrior with a name that sounds like a scream from a savage warrior, such is called a Screamer. If a Kenku is a warrior with a name that sounds like the slicing sound of a sword, such is called a Slicer. Now you get the point.

 The contains the literal non-kenku translations for many Kenku names:

Gnasher, Chewer, Clapper, Duck Quacks, Gnasher, Lute String, Mallet Smash, Mauler, Potion Crash, Barker, Rat Squeak, Scrubber, Splitter, Tree Creak.

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