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“Take cover, team! Nitpicker beaks are poisonous.”
Kevin Keene, Captain N: The Game Master

DKJR NitSmall.png
Artwork of a Nitpicker for Donkey Kong Jr.
First Appearance Donkey Kong Jr. (1982)
Latest Appearance NES Remix (2013)
Related Species

Nitpickers[1], also simply known as birds[2], are flying avian enemies that make their debut in the original arcade game, Donkey Kong Jr.. Ever since their original appearance, Nitpickers remained largely unchanged in behavior but continued to star scarcely in more recent games. Diverse malicious creatures took their role instead and appeared in various games that succeed and closely follow the gameplay of the arcade classic.


Donkey Kong Jr.[edit]

In Donkey Kong Jr., a flock of Nitpickers is held captive by Mario, who commands them to undermine and impede Donkey Kong Jr. from progressing in stage 2. The birds are depicted yellow, having a distinct magenta coloration on their wings and beaks; likewise, they are slender and bear an unflinching attitude. They proceed in flying in a straight line after getting struck by Mario's whip, and travel along a wide platform. They descend into the platfrom's small opening after traveling further to the right, continuing their flight thereafter in the opposite direction. Occasionally, Nitpickers drop eggs when turning left. The eggs, as well as the birds themselves, are harmful for Donkey Kong Jr. and can drain one of his lives upon coming into contact. On the other hand, Nitpickers can be defeated by having fruit dropped on them.

Also in Donkey Kong Jr. exists a species of bird enemies which display a similar demeanor to that of Nitpickers. Along with Snapjaws, they are used by Mario in stage 4. The aerodynamic foes in question fly horizontally across the screen, descending progressively as they meet its margins. They flee off-screen after performing four such flights. Unlike the earlier-introduced Nitpickers, they do not bombard Donkey Kong Jr. with eggs, and are designed to look more like ravens, given their dark coloration and chubby structure. They can be defeated the same way as Nitpickers nonetheless, as falling fruit can put an end to them.

Nitpickers return in the Game & Watch edition of Donkey Kong Jr., where they only follow a straight path from left to right and pass by a set of vines located at the bottom of the screen. They spawn at the left side of the screen, do not drop eggs and do not steer back like they did in the original game, merely disappearing after encountering the right side of the screen.

Captain N: The Game Master[edit]

Nitpickers are featured as minor impediments in the episode "The Lost City of Kongoland" of Captain N: The Game Master, where they resemble vultures. They are depicted with long tubular beaks, tapering heads, and bulging eyes, as well as straight and focused looks. In the show, Nitpickers are summoned after Simon Belmont blows into a flute while he and the rest of the N Team are cruising down a river in Kongoland. Their beaks are said to be poisonous, and Kevin warns his crew to take cover. The birds immediately prevail and try to raid the team's vessel, but as they swoop down, Princess Lana draws a bazooka off-camera and counter-attacks them with large cork projectiles.

Donkey Kong[edit]

Neither Nitpickers nor the raven-resembling foes from stage 4 of Donkey Kong Jr. return in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy. However, they are replaced by three species of bird enemies that retain and mix their behaviors, these being Kaibādo, Hōkusu, and Kuro, listed here according to their order of debut in the game. They spawn from nests that are mostly placed high above the ground, subsequently performing three flights across the room. The end of one flight is marked by their encounter with one of the room's margins, after which they descend a little and change direction. They occasionally drop lethal eggs on Mario, provided the protagonist walks beneath the bird enemies.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong series[edit]

The Mario vs. Donkey Kong series features Nitpickers in a more modern appearance, with yellow feathers and an orange beak. Fiery Nitpickers are introduced in Fire Mountain.

They appear again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis where they behave in the same way as in the last game, however this time around they appear to be more mechanical than in previous appearances.

Nitpickers reappear again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! but only in two boss battles.


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ニットピッカー[3]


  1. ^ Donkey Kong Jr. NES instruction booklet, page 5
  2. ^ "Defeat 2 birds with fruit!" – in-game instructions for a mission in NES Remix
  3. ^ Mario character book, page 143
  4. ^ Mario vs. Donkey Kong Shogakukan book