Are you looking up for what a particular animal is called in Igbo Language or just seeking general knowledge about common Igbo nomenclature?
This post is for you to learn the Igbo names of many animals you are familiar with.
Pictures and a short description may be included in some places to enable better understanding. General and common names in English are mostly used, except where individual species are represented.
For example, there are about three distinct guineafowl species in Nigeria but the general common name “guineafowl” will be used to represent all of them.
This is the right thing to do especially as the Igbo Language, in many cases, do not have separate names for individual species, unless in cases where the creatures are remarkably dissimilar.
A good example of this situation is the species of domestic fowl called “avuke” in Igbo Language which are quite very distinct and easy to recognize.
This is also seen in snakes nomenclature. All snakes are called “agwo” in Igbo, but there are also separate names for individual snake species like ubi (mole viper), avuana (black-necked spitting cobra), echi eteka (puff adder), etc.
Here is a comprehensive list of Igbo names of different animals:
1. Cow – Ehi (called efi in some dialects)
2. Chicken – Okuko
3. Cock/rooster – Egbene or Oke-okpa
4. Hen – Nnekwu
Almost as in English, there are words to distinguish the age and reproductive status of animals in Igbo Language too.
A hen that is yet to lay eggs (pullet) is called ‘agboyo’ while a cock that is yet to crow (cockerel) is called ‘akati-ikoro’ (dialects may differ).
4. Chick – Uriom okuko
5. Dove – Nduru
6. Duck – Obogwu
7. Quail – Okwa
8. Guineafowl – Ogazi
9. Turkey – Tolo-tolo
10. Squirrel – Osa
11. Rabbit – Oke-oyibo
12. Elephant – Enyi
13. Eagle – Ugo
14. Ostrich – Enyi nnunu
15. Antelope – Ene
16. Owl – Ikwikwi
17. Horse – Inyinya
18. Grasscutter – Nchi
19. Dog – Nkita
20. Hyena – Nkita-ohia
21. Pussycat – Nwamba
22. Sparrow bird – Nza
*** It appears every tiny colourful bird is called “nza” in Igbo Language irrespective of order and species. For example, “nza” is often used to refer to weavers, sparrows, wagtails, finches and even sunbirds.
23. Pig – Ezi
24. Lion – Odum
25. Leopard – Agu owuru
26. Monkey – Enwe
27. Chimpanzee – Adaka
28. Gorilla – Ozodimgba
29. Giant rat – Ewi
30. Swift bird – Eneke-nti-oba
*** Eneke-nti-oba is sometimes used to refer to swallow birds. Swifts and swallows are very closely related so it is understandable why this happens.
The Igbo name – “eneke-nti-oba” suggests that the bird has wide ears, but this is untrue. The suggestion actually comes from the appearance of the swift bird when in flight when the wings spread out from each side of the body to look like ears.
“Eneke-nti-oba” is also known in Igboland as the bird that never perches. Chinua Achebe wrote about the popular Igbo proverb in his novel – Arrow of God.
“…But I am like the bird Eneke-nti-oba. When his friends asked him why he was always on the wing he replied: ‘Men of today have learnt to shoot without missing and so I have learned to fly without perching.”
This is very accurate. Swifts and swallows are excellent flyers and hardly ever perches.
31. Parrot – Iche-oku
32. Bushbaby – Ikili
33. Egret/herons – Chekeleke
34. Tortoise – Mbe
35. Turtle – Mbe mmili
36. Buffalo – Atu
37. Monitor lizard – Aghu
38. Hawk – Nkwo
39. Kite – Egbe
40. Earthworm – Idide
41. Woodpecker – Oturu-kpookpoo
42. Bat – Usu
43. Housefly – Ijiji
44. Cockroach – Uchicha
45. Scorpion – Akpi
46. Spider – Ududo
47. Vulture – Udene
48. Cricket – Abuzu
49. Crab – Nshiko
50. Rock python – Eke ogba
52. Millipede – Alili
53. Wasp – Evu
54. Weaver ant – Ido
55. Porcupine – Obiogwu
We are researching further to get the names of these two Igbo birds. If you have any idea, you can help us.
a. Kpanakwukwu – a type of lowland flying bird that makes the distinctive kpanakwukwu call.
b. Ngele oma – a rarely-seen Nigerian bird revered for its beauty.
This article will be updated as more information comes. Daniel Nkado and Gloria Ezeh contributed to this article.
9 Comments on “Igbo names of ALL Nigerian animals with pictures”
Kpankuku or mbelekuku(smaller looking wild dove) is Turtle dove. Thank you.
Thank you so much, George. We will confirm your information and the post will be updated accordingly.
Daalu rinne. I nwaka.
KPALAKWUKWU is pigeon, while Ugboma is crow.
Pigeon is domestic bird, while kpalakuku is wild bird. Also, pigeon is bigger than kpalakuku. Pigeon is multiple coloured but kpalakuku is ash coloured or in between ash and dull brown
Ngele oma is called hornbill
Thank you so much, Ebube. We will confirm your information and the post will be updated accordingly.
I am looking for the picture of the birt called edegama.thax