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The Ugly Five animals of Africa

Meet the Ugly Five - the 'other' big five

When we think of African game, we almost always think of the most famous animals around, the Big Five. The Big Five includes the lion, the buffalo, the elephant, the leopard and the rhino.

But did you know? There is also a group of animals called the Ugly Five. The ugly five are awarded the title of the ugliest animals found in Africa.

The members of this most exclusive of clubs are the hyena, wildebeest, vulture, warthog and the marabou stork.

Although they do not get nearly the same well deserved recognition as the Big Five, they are featured in many wildlife documentaries. We have all seen documentaries showing hyenas and lions battling it out over dominance of a kill, or a flock of vulture busy feasting on the remains of an elephant. The Ugly Five definitely adds to the experience of going on safari in South Africa.

It is in part due to the contribution of these animals in nature that the Big Five can be projected in such a positive light in so many wildlife films.

ugly five hyena
Hyena - almost always seen as the backstabbing opportunist
ugly five vulture
Vulture - Depicted as the scavenger that will eat anything
ugly five wildebeest
Wildebeest - Lunch for the Lion
Warthog - The cut pig, always being chased and bullied by a leopard
marabou stork
Marabou Stork - The old, crinkly bird watching events unfold from the sidelines