A cloaked humanoid clings to the shadows. It has birdlike talons instead of hands and feet, and beneath the cowl of its robe you can discern avian features—beady black eyes, a black beak, and russet-brown feathers.
Kenkus evolved from avians, although they no longer possess wings or the ability to fly. Soft, dark feathers cover a kenku’s head and torso, although its scrawny arms and legs remain bare.
Selfish and secretive in their dealings, kenkus gather in large cities, lurk in dark alleys, and hoard purloined gold. They rarely travel alone, instead preferring to roam the streets in small gangs, all the while hatching plots to amass more wealth and power. Due to their penchant for shady ventures, they are often employed as thugs, thieves, spies, and assassins.
A kenku averages 5 feet in height. Because its bones are partly hollow, it weighs a mere 75 pounds. Kenkus speak Common and their own language, Kenku.
Beneath their unremarkable brown robes, kenkus conceal a variety of useful tools and weapons. Vicious but cowardly, kenkus usually flee or surrender the instant things start to go badly for them.

Kenkus hatch like birds and dwell in family aeries and nests, most of which are located in or near large cities. At age nine, a young adult kenku leaves the home-nest forever and strikes out on its own, usually falling in with small groups of like-minded kenkus. Adult kenkus remain with these groups for mutual protection and gain. A few strike out on their own or partner with other types of creatures who value the services a kenku can provide.


Kenku characters tend toward neutrality; although most kenkus are evil, neutral and neutral good kenkus also exist. Kenkus favor the rogue class and often pursue the assassin prestige class. Kenku clerics are rare, but those that exist typically worship Vecna, the god of secrets. Kenkus possess the following racial traits.

  • +2 Dexterity, –2 Strength.
  • A kenku’s base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Great Ally (Ex): Kenkus work exceptionally well with their allies. When successfully aided on a skill check or attack roll by an ally, or when aiding another, a kenku applies or gains a +3 bonus on its check or attack roll (instead of the normal +2 bonus). Furthermore, a kenku gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls against an opponent flanked by an ally (instead of the normal +2 bonus).
  • Mimicry (Ex): A kenku can perfectly mimic familiar sounds, voices, and accents. This ability does not enable the kenku to speak languages it can’t normally speak. To duplicate a specific individual’s voice, a kenku makes a Bluff check; a listener familiar with the voice being imitated must succeed on an opposed Sense Motive check to discern that the voice isn’t genuine.
  • Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d3).
  • +2 racial bonus on Hide checks and Move Silently checks.
  • Low-light vision.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Kenku. Bonus Languages: Auran, Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling.
  • Favored Class: Rogue.
  • Level adjustment +0.


A network of kenku spies calling themselves the Nightswift has infiltrated various metropolitan cities across Khorvaire. The Nightswift maintains secret meeting halls (called “eyries”) in Zarash’ak (the Shadow Marches), the Great Crag (Droaam), Sharn and Starilaskur (Breland), Wyvernskull (Darguun), Taer Valaestas (Valenar), and Newthrone (Q’barra). Guilds of kenku thieves and assassins are equally prevalent; the largest of these is called Shadoweye’s Flock, based in Starilaskur. The stately guildmaster, Shadoweye (NE female kenku rogue 8/assassin 4), has white plumage that testifies to her advanced age, and rumor is she’s looking for a worthy successor.


Kenku inhabit cities across southern Faerûn, with a large but loose guild of thieves and assassins called the Daggertalons based in Zazesspur. Kenku living in the eastern nations of Veldorn and Estagund trace their ancestry even farther east, to Kara-Tur.

Source: Monster Manual 3

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License