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Expresso, as he appears in Donkey Kong Country.
Species Ostrich
First appearance Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Latest appearance Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (spirit cameo) (2018)
“This crazy bird is a valuable animal to find. Although he can't really fly, he can run even faster than Rambi and can make long, wing assisted leaps. Expresso's legs, being long and spindly, are not suitable for jumping on enemies. Smaller enemies will crawl right under him, but larger ones are trouble. You can make Expresso flap his wings by repeatedly pressing the B Button Button.”
Donkey Kong Country instruction booklet, page 24

Expresso is an ostrich Animal Friend first appearing in Donkey Kong Country. Expresso has the appearance of a regular male ostrich, complete with black and white feathers, but he also wears a pair of sports sneakers. Expresso can run fast and glide through the air by flapping his wings. His name is a portmanteau of "express" and "espresso," a type of coffee drink.


Donkey Kong Country series[edit]

Donkey Kong Country[edit]

The Kongs riding Expresso in Orang-utan Gang

In Donkey Kong Country, Expresso only appears in a few of the later levels, including Temple Tempest, Orang-utan Gang, Ice Age Alley, and lastly Misty Mine. He cannot defeat enemies by jumping on them, and attempting it even harms him. Expresso is unaffected by Klaptraps, which pass through his long legs. Expresso's main ability is gliding distances while flapping his wings. Like the other Animal Friends, Expresso has his own bonus stage (named Expresso Bonus! in the Game Boy Advance version), and the Kongs can enter it by obtaining three Expresso Tokens. The bonus stage is set in a jungle-themed area, and like other Animal Friend stages, Expresso must collect as many mini Expresso Tokens within the time limit in exchange for extra lives. The sound effect of when Expresso hits an enemy is identical to the one of a Mini-Necky being defeated.

Donkey Kong Country 2 (Game Boy Advance)[edit]

Expresso Racing
Expresso competing in Expresso Racing in Donkey Kong Country 2's Game Boy Advance version

In Donkey Kong Country 2, Expresso is the starring and titular character of the minigame, Expresso's Racing. Both Cranky and his pet Expresso are at Cranky's Hut, and before the game's events, Cranky used the "vast fortune" he made from his "starring role" in Donkey Kong Country to buy Expresso as a pet. However, Cranky wishes to raise Expresso as a racing bird, but his Expresso is too small and weak for racing competitions, so Cranky asks Diddy and Dixie Kong to find and obtain golden feathers, which each increase a bar of Expresso's Power, Speed, Acceleration, or Boost for the Expresso's Racing challenges. Expresso becomes increasingly larger each time a golden feather is given to him. Any time Expresso wins first place in Expresso's Racing, he wins a gold trophy, and when all six trophies are won, Cranky rewards Diddy and Dixie with a photograph of himself for the Scrapbook. Additionally, a photograph of Expresso appears in Animal Antics, and collecting the photograph causes it to appear under the thirteenth page of the Scrapbook.

Donkey Kong Land[edit]

Expresso makes his second appearance in Donkey Kong Land as one of the two Animal Buddies, the other one being Rambi the Rhino. Like Donkey Kong Country, Expresso also appears in four levels, in this case, Deck Trek, Mountain Mayhem, Landslide Leap, and Collapsing Clouds, however mostly just in Bonus Levels. A difference with Expresso is that he can now defeat enemies by jumping on them, even if they are Zingers.

Donkey Kong in: Banana Day 24[edit]

In the German Club Nintendo magazine comic "Donkey Kong in: Banana Day 24", Diddy and Dixie Kong are briefly seen riding Expresso to an airport.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Expresso makes a few cameos in the Super Smash Bros. series. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Expresso has a trophy that can be unlocked by collecting it when it appears at random in any of the game's modes, such as Vs. matches or the Home-Run Contest. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, there is another collectible trophy of Expresso. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Expresso is a Novice-class support spirit that takes up one support slot, and during battles, fighters who use the Expresso spirit begin with 30% damage but have increased movement speed.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle[edit]

In the Donkey Kong Adventure story of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Expresso makes a cameo appearance as one of Rabbid Cranky's Boombow weapons, the Expresso Atomizer. The weapon is described as officially licensed Expresso the Ostrich merch. The description also mentions that it has double kneecaps for authenticity, referencing how bird legs are composed of two intermediary articulations, although they only have one kneecap for each leg.

Other appearances[edit]

In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, golden statue of Expresso appears in the background inside the Monkey Museum.

Expresso appears in Picross NP Vol. 8 as one of the images that must be cleared.

An Expresso appears in the Banjo-Pilot course Jinxy's Dunes. This was a leftover from the Plain Pursuit stage from the 2003 build of Diddy Kong Pilot.

A street name in New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey is "Expresso Street". One of the store signs on the side of the buildings reads "Expresso Espresso".

Unused appearances[edit]

Donkey Kong Racing[edit]

Expresso in the canceled Donkey Kong Racing

A stampede of Expressos appears at the start of the trailer for the canceled Nintendo GameCube title Donkey Kong Racing.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Appears in:
SNES Donkey Kong Country
GBA Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest[sic]
How to unlock: Random
An ostrich friend with sneakers on both feet. Riding Expresso allows for high-speed dashing. As an ostrich, Expresso can't fly, but rapid button pressing can put extra distance on his jumps. This can be used to help Donkey Kong reach distant places.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS[edit]

Expresso the Ostrich Trophy.png
Category: Series Related
How to unlock:
His name is no joke—this bird is fast! Despite his size, Expresso is light as a feather and loves to glide through the air. In fact, he was too light to hurt enemies at first! He got a little stronger in Donkey Kong Land, and now jumping on foes is a piece of cake! (American English)
Just as fast as his name implies! Expresso can't fly, but his running and jumping make up for it. Try not to step on any enemies, though, or he'll get hurt! Unless you're playing the Game Boy title Donkey Kong Land, that is. If you are, he can stomp on fiendish foes to his heart's content! (British English)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate spirit[edit]

# Name Image Series / game Type Class Strength / effect(s) How to obtain Spirit battle
Opponent(s) Battle conditions Stage Song
153 Expresso Expresso.png Donkey Kong Series Support (1) Novice Trade-Off Speed ↑ World of Light (Light Realm); Spirit Board Falco Rule: Slippery Stage
  • The stage's platforms are really slippery
  • The enemy has increased move speed
  • The enemy falls slowly
Green Hill Zone The Map Page / Bonus Level


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Expresso.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese エクスプレッソ

Russian Экспрессо

Spanish Expresso


  • Cranky Kong references Expresso in the Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest instruction booklet by saying, "A more tragic looking bunch of useless no-hopers you'll never see! I liked Expresso and Winky--where have they gone?", as well as in the Donkey Kong 64 instruction booklet with, "I just hope they've included poor old Winky and Expresso this time instead of that bone-brained rhino that always seems to get in the games."