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DKJ Nitpicker Artwork.png
Artwork of a Nitpicker for Donkey Kong Jr.
First appearance Donkey Kong Jr. (1982)
Latest appearance WarioWare: Move It! (2023)
“Take cover, team! Nitpicker beaks are poisonous.”
Kevin Keene, Captain N: The Game Master

Nitpickers are flying avian enemies that make their debut in the Donkey Kong Jr. arcade game. Ever since their original appearance, Nitpickers and their successors remained largely unchanged in behavior.


Donkey Kong series

Donkey Kong Jr.

Donkey Kong Jr. (game)
Artwork from the arcade title
Sprite of a Nitpicker from Donkey Kong Jr.
Sprite of a Nitpicker from the Nintendo Entertainment System port of Donkey Kong Jr.

In Donkey Kong Jr., a flock of Nitpickers[1][2][3] (also known as Stookybirds)[4] is released by Mario to impede Donkey Kong Jr. from progressing in the Jump Board Scene. 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 being sent by Mario, traveling along a wide platform. They then descend into the small opening in the platform, continuing their flight thereafter in the opposite direction, under the platform. Occasionally, Nitpickers drop eggs when turning the other direction. The eggs, as well as the birds themselves, are harmful to 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.

Along with Snapjaws, Mario employs another flock of Nitpickers (also known as Birds) in the Chain Scene. In the Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, and Coleco Adam ports, the two types share the same sprite. A Nitpicker also appears on the arcade cabinet instructionsMedia:DKJ Instruction Banner.jpg.

Nitpickers, referred to as birds,[5] return in Donkey Kong Jr. for the Game & Watch. In the New Wide Screen version, they follow only 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 as they did in the original game, merely disappearing after encountering the right side of the screen. In the Table Top/Panorama Screen version, they come from the top and zigzag their way down the screen. In Donkey Kong II, birds from the previous game's New Wide Screen version reappear for the top screen in which they zigzag downwards.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

A single Nitpicker appears in the +-×÷ Exercise mode of Donkey Kong Jr. Math. It flies over the problem numbers on the left side of the screen. When Donkey Kong Jr. solves a problem, it will drop an egg next to the corresponding number. This bird is absent from the equivalent mode in Donkey Kong Jr. + Jr. Sansū Lesson.

Donkey Kong (Game Boy)

Nitpicker Nest(compressed)

In Donkey Kong for the Game Boy, Nitpickers are succeeded by several birds that retain and mix their behaviors. In order of appearance, these consist of Hawks, Kaibādo, and the ostensibly returning Birds. 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 underneath it.

Captain N: The Game Master

Nitpickers in Captain N: The Game Master.

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 from Dr. Wright 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 show and try to raid the team's vessel, but as they swoop down, Princess Lana draws a bazooka and counter-attacks them with large cork projectiles.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong series

While the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series does not feature the original Nitpickers, it does feature a toy-based variation.

WarioWare Gold

In WarioWare Gold, one Nitpicker has to be avoided by Donkey Kong Jr. as he climbs two ropes in the second difficulty of the Donkey Kong Jr. microgame. It flies on a straight line from left to right, across the ropes.

Other appearances

In Ice Climber and VS. Ice Climber, Nitpickers[6] are red and one of the main enemies in the game. They can fly between levels on each mountain, unlike other enemies that are locked to one level, and loosely pursue Popo and Nana. A single hammer hit defeats them. This depiction of Nitpicker is absent from Super Smash Bros. Melee, unlike other Ice Climber enemies, but they still do appear in some Ice Climber-themed microgames in the WarioWare series.


Perfect Ban Mario Character Daijiten

種族 フライ族
性格 無責任
登場ゲーム JR.

Tribe: Fly clan
Disposition: Irresponsible
Game appearances: Jr.
Strange bird discarding its eggs
A bird monster that attacks Junior at Mario's command. It is an extraordinary bird monster that uses its own eggs as weapons. It is slow-moving, so as long as you remember where it drops its eggs, it is not a threat.


Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ニットピッカー[7]


Bird (Game & Watch and Famicom Remix)

Chinese (simplified) 乌鸦[12]

French Casse-pied[9]
Bec d'acier[10]
Slang meaning annoying pest or pain in the neck
Steel beak
German Nittpicker[9]
Italian Pestifero[9]
Volatile (NES Remix)
Bird, it's a word mostly used for unspecified flying creatures
Spanish Testarudo[9]


  1. ^ Donkey Kong Jr. NES instruction booklet, page 5.
  2. ^ Instruction manual for Atari 8-bit port
  3. ^ Instruction manual for Atari 7800 port
  4. ^ Instruction manuals for ColecoVision, Intellivision, and Coleco Adam ports
  5. ^ Game & Watch Donkey Kong Jr. English instruction.
  6. ^ Ice Climber instruction booklet, page 5.
  7. ^ a b Shogakukan. 1994.「パーフェクト版 マリオキャラクター大事典」 (Perfect Ban Mario Character Daijiten), page 143.
  8. ^ Game & Watch Donkey Kong Jr. Japanese instruction.
  9. ^ a b c d Donkey Kong Junior Atari computer version manual (International)
  10. ^ French ColecoVision manual
  11. ^ German ColecoVision manual
  12. ^ GAME&WATCH. Retrieved June 27, 2021.