ugly african animals

9 Ugly African Animals to See on Safari: Weird Birds, Mammals shares the best travel insights, facts, and photos. When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Africa is home to stunning natural attractions, including deserts and jungles. And the continent is home to many beautiful and unique animals. What are some of the ugly African animals?

Some sites list just five ugly animals in Africa. I think that there are (many) more than just five. Here are my picks for the ugliest African animals. They include marabou storks, warthogs, hyenas, vultures (2 types), okapi, wildebeests, buffalo, and aardvarks.

ugly african animals

Africa includes Mesopotamia and the cradle of civilization, making it a unique location for plant and animal life. Read on to learn more about ugly African animals that are unlike any other animals in the world. 

The following animals have unique features that make them stand out. To some visitors, they might be cute. And to others, they are not that nice to look at. To me, I love to see them all. My favorite? It is the first one – the weird and disheveled marabou stork.

9 Ugly African Animals to See

There are many ugly African animals, but these animals are among the ugliest in the world. Have one to add? Let me know in the comment section at the end of the post.

Ready? Let’s get started!

marabou stork ugly african bird
Marabou stork – one of the ugliest animals in Africa

1. Marabou Stork

Scientific name: Leptoptilos crumeniferus

The marabou stork is also known as the undertaker bird because of its appearance. From behind, it appears to be wearing a cloak.

You can find the marabou stork in tropical Africa. It has been called the unofficial bird of Uganda.

Weird features:

  1. It squirts excrement on its legs to cool down.
  2. When there is a grass fire, it flies toward the flames to catch small animals fleeing the fire.
  3. It can’t sing or chirp like most birds. Instead, it makes a clacking noise with its bill or croaking sounds with its throat pouch.
An old warthog

2. Warthog

Scientific name: Phacochoerus africanus

Some may think warthogs look fierce and they can be. They have tusks that can pierce the skin and flesh of any threat that challenges them. However, warthogs are herbivores, and they may live for up to 15 years.

Warthogs may challenge others when they feel threatened, and their hefty size can make them a dangerous foe.

They can weigh up to 250 pounds, and it won’t hesitate to use its tusks and weight against you.

laughing hyena
Spotted hyena surrounded by small flying insects

3. Hyenas

Scientific name: Family Hyaenidae

There are four types of hyenas – and they all have unique ugly features. Spotted hyenas are known for laughing.

Strandwolves have long hair with spotted legs. They are also known as brown hyenas.

Striped hyenas are omnivores who can live up to 12 years. These dog-like creatures can grow up to 28 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 50 to 90 pounds, depending on their diet. Striped hyenas with plenty of access to protein sources will generally retain more muscle mass and look even uglier.

Hyenas are one of the top predators in Africa and have a complicated structure to their social hierarchy.

Egyptian vulture
Egyptian vulture

4. Egyptian Vulture

Scientific name: Neophron percnopterus

The Egyptian vulture is also called pharaoh’s chicken and white scavenger vulture.

It is found in North Africa, southern Europe, and as far east as India.

While their feathers are always white, wild birds are often shades of brown or rust because of the soil in their habitat. White plumage is reserved for captive individuals that aren’t exposed to soil.

There are many vulture species native to Africa. They can weigh up to 24 pounds and have a wide wingspan that keeps them airborne easily.

Vultures eat dead animals and rarely eat vegetation. These creatures are among the ugliest in the world, especially after they’ve eaten a big, bloody meal.

The unusual features of an okapi

5. Okapi

Scientific name: Okapia johnstoni

The okapi is in the giraffe family, chews the cud, and has hooves. This animal looks like an ugly cross between a zebra and a giraffe. It resides in the Congo rainforests and was discovered between 1890 and 1901.

An okapi has a much shorter neck than a giraffe, although the two are related. The males of this creature have horns, but the females don’t. Okapi prefers to hide among leaves, shrubs, and trees.

Okapi are African ungulates and are often classified alongside antelope.


6. Wildebeest

Scientific name: C. gnou and C. Taurinus

Wildebeest are among the top ugly animals in Africa due to their long faces and large size. Although these creatures can live for 20 years, they can weigh up to nearly 600 pounds, making them slow but dangerous.

Wildebeest are herbivores and rely on vegetation for meals, making them the ideal prey for lions, cheetahs, and hyenas.

Wildebeest are antelopes by classification. And they are some of the largest African antelopes.

hooded vulture
Hooded vulture

7. Hooded Vulture

Scientific name: Necrosyrtes monachus

Hooded vultures are scavengers like other vultures. They also feed on insects and gather in large numbers to feast on termites.

They often feed in large flocks of 50 to 250 individuals. In West Africa, they live closely with humans, often becoming a nuisance.

45% of students at these (Ghanaian) campuses are defecated on by hooded vultures at least once a month, according to interviews.

Vulture News, Wikipedia
African cape buffalo

8. African Buffalo

Scientific name: Syncerus caffer

The African cape buffalo has long, rounded horns and wrinkled faces, making them look almost like bulls or other large mammals. The African buffalo are herbivores and live up to 22 years but may live nearly 30 years in a captive environment.

This buffalo can weigh up to nearly 1,900 pounds, making it not only ugly but also dangerous for poachers, hunters, and wild predators.


9. Aardvark

Scientific name: Orycteropus afer

Aardvarks are quite small but have similarities to elephants and anteaters. This animal looks similar to a small pig but has a longer snout that they use to smell, eat, and dig into the sand or dirt.

These strange-looking creatures are offputting, especially since they can weigh up to 181 pounds and live for nearly 25 years.

Aardvarks primarily eat insects. And they are often prey for lions and hyenas.

Keep reading: 12 Ugly Insects to Avoid

Your turn

Unfortunately, warthogs and hyenas are less adorable in person than in cartoons. Along with these creatures are many other ugly African animals, including the wildebeest and okapi, which look like they belong on another planet.

Africa is known for its deep culture and history. And this continent is also full of many natural wonders – including some of the strangest and ugliest animals in the world.

What do you think? Do you agree with my choices? Which animal do you nominate to be included in the next update? Which is your favorite weird-looking animal? Join me in the comments below!

See our huge guide: 28 Ugliest Animals on Earth

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