Kifaru is a character that appears in The Lion Guard.
Kifaru is a light grey rhinoceros with a rugged and stocky build. His toes are dark grey, and the bottom of his legs are dappled with grey spots and a wavy grey pattern. His face is covered in wrinkles, and his muzzle is grey. His eyes are a faded blue. He has two horns of two sizes, both of which are worn. His inner ears are grey and dark grey, with several notches present on both. He has a short tail with a grey tuft of fur at the end. His body also has several off-white spots.
Kifaru is a fairly stubborn rhino with abnormally poor eyesight for his species. He habitually takes others for granted and will blame others for his own mistakes, and only truly realises what he has after he has lost it. Although asinine and easily upset, he has incredible physical strength. When his friends are in severe danger, he will put aside any quarrels he may have had with them and loyally try to defend them. He is also somewhat oblivious to how others may feel.
Role in the series
When his tickbird Mwenzi flies away, Kifaru charges through Nyani Grove in an attempt to make his way to Lake Matope. But during his accidental rampage, he charges into Big Baboon Tree and his horn becomes lodged. The Lion Guard approach Kifaru, who reacts irritably to Kion's order to stop shaking the tree. He softens when Beshte approaches him and questions him on what he's doing. Kifaru answers that he's stuck. He is reassured that the Lion Guard will get him out, to which he is grateful for. With Beshte pushing the tree one way, Onowatching his horn and the others moving Kifaru the other way, they are able to pull Kifaru loose. Once free, Kifaru thanks the Guard for their assistance, telling them that they had no idea how it felt to be stuck like that. Bunga then squeaks that he does, since Kifaru lands on top of him. Kifaru raises himself and apologises.
Kion asks why he's causing trouble, and the rhino reveals that he was unaware of any trouble that he was causing, despite the baboons' cries and the masses of logs on the floor. He starts to move forward but almost jabs Bunga with his horn. He apologises and turns to walk the other way, nearly hitting Fuli instead. He issues another apology before walking away, heading straight for a tree. When the Guard question his behavior, Ono notices that his tickbird is missing.
Ono swoops down and inquires about his tickbird. With a hefty sigh, Kifaru mentions Mwenzi. Beshte recalls how they were such good friends and were always together, but the rhino informs them that Mwenzi left him for no reason. Ono then realises why he's been acting so strangely, and proceeds to tell a curious Bunga that rhinos have poor eyesight. Although Bunga fears that it will upset him, Kifaru admits that his eyesight is worse than most other rhino's. Ono continues imparting his knowledge and how, due to their eyesight, rhinos will often pair up with tickbirds, who will guide them and warn them of dangers they can't see. Fuli asks what's in it for the tickbirds, and she discovers that it is literally ticks and other insects that crawl on the rhino's back. Bunga then decides it's a great idea, to which Kifaru agrees. He then sings about his friendship, sighing lamentably at the end.
Beshte concludes that he didn't mean to cause all the trouble, and Kifaru apologises again and explains how he was trying to get to the Tamasha. When Fuli asks about it, Kifaru explains that Tamasha is an event that occurs during the wet season, and it is when the rhinos gather near Lake Matope to spar in the mud. As he is speaking, he walks away tearfully. Kion decides that they will find Mwenzi, although Fuli doubts that they can find him in time. Bunga suggests a temporary tickbird to take him there - himself. He leaps onto Kifaru's back and announces his new role. Although surprised since Bunga is not a bird, Kifaru accepts his offer and the rhino starts to walk away with Bunga snacking on the bugs on his back.
Just after Beshte fares Bunga goodbye, Ono spots a problem. He immediately flies towards Kifaru, who is heading for a cliff. With one leg over the edge, Ono orders him to move back slowly and Kifaru obeys. Bunga then apologises for missing his mark, while Kion comments that Kifaru really listened to Ono. The Lion Guard then decide to appoint Ono the task of being Kifaru's tickbird, much to his dismay. Bunga attempts to offer advice, but Ono refuses before settling on Kifaru's back. Fuli and Kion then sniff the rhino to pick up Mwenzi's scent and, after acquiring it, they rush off, with Bunga asking Ono to save him some ticks. After they leave, Kifaru jollily asks Ono which way to go. Ono orders him to turn right, but Kifaru heads for the cliff again, prompting Ono to call out '(your) other right'. The egret sighs, stating that it will be a long trip.
With Kifaru grunting constantly, Ono starts to become agitated. Despite claiming to be fine when the rhino queries his status, Ono begins to yell at Kifaru after he performs the same error of turning the wrong way. Kifaru becomes upset, stating that Mwenzi would never shout at him before running away sobbing. Ono apologises for shouting, but bumps into his behind by accident. Kifaru then tells Ono that he has an itch and that tickbirds usually scratch it for them, adding that Mwenzi always did it for him. Hesitantly, Ono asks where the itch is, and Kifaru responds that it's in his ear. Ono gently scratches his ear and asks for them to proceed, but Kifaru tells him that he didn't get it. Ono flies back up and scratches it again, with Kifaru giving instructions. But Ono grows tired quickly and once again decides to continue the journey. The rhino mentions that Mwenzi would never stop scratching until he tells him to. Deflated, the egret asserts that he is not Mwenzi. Kifaru agrees just before belching loudly, knocking Ono off his feet. After Ono flies back onto him Kifaru apologises, and Ono hopes out loud that the Guard find him soon. Kifaru then comments that Mwenzi would never mutter under his breath, and Ono issues him with an apology.
Later, Ono brings Kifaru some jackalberry leaves, though he finds out that Kifaru prefers the dark leaves, something which Mwenzi knows. Ono once again points out that he's not Mwenzi and turns his back to the rhino. Thinking deeply, Kifaru offers him Ono thanks, because after having him as his tickbird, he has learnt to truly appreciate Mwenzi. Ono initially accepts, until he realises what he meant. Kifaru then collapses from the heat, and when Ono asks, he explains that Mwenzi usually guides him near mud. In desperation, he tries to dig for mud himself. Thinking swiftly, Ono starts to fan him with his wings to cool him off. Kifaru is more than happy with this, finally admitting that Ono can do something better than Mwenzi.
But just as he admits that Mwenzi would not be able to do such a thing, the Guard return with the tickbird in tow. He overhears Kifaru call Ono the best, and questions Kion on how lost Kifaru really is without him. Despite Kion trying to assure him that he was when they left him, Mwenzi swoops over to the rhino. Although Kifaru is overjoyed that Mwenzi is back, he merely states that it's to say goodbye forever before taking off. After a distraught Kifaru cries out for his companion, he tells Ono that he will have to be his tickbird from now on, prompting a worried cry from Ono. Although Kion reminds him that Kifaru shouldn't be left alone, Ono flies off anyway, ordering them to keep an eye on him. Bunga is initially excited at the prospect of more bugs as he leaps onto his back, but disappointment soon sweeps over him when he realises there are none left. The Lion Guard then decide to cheer Kifaru up by guiding him to Tamasha. However, Kifaru starts to wander the wrong way. The Guard quickly set him back on track.
Soon, they finally reach Tamasha. But before he can join in, Ono swoops down and exclaims that Mwenzi is in trouble. Kifaru, still annoyed with him, claims not to care, until Ono mentions that Makuu is involved. Kifaru shows immediate concern, and rushes off to save him. He crashes through several trees in his rush, but Ono confirms that he is at least going the right way. The Lion Guard decide that they need to go with him, and hurry after the rhino.
With Makuu trying to knock the tickbird off a tree, Kifaru charges straight for the crocodile, warning him away from his friend. Unable to see, he rushes straight past him and crashes into a hollow tree stump. With his horn trapped, Makuu summons three members of his float, and they start to approach Kifaru. Before they can attack, the Lion Guard arrive on the scene. Annoyed, Makuu warns Kion to back off. When he refuses to comply, Makuu pins the lion cub down to the ground. The rest of the Lion Guard then tackle the other crocodiles, with Beshte forcefully ejecting two of them from the area.
Mwenzi then notices that Kifaru is still struggling and leaps down. He directs Kifaru with some simple instructions, and Kifaru manages to get the stump loose. Just as a crocodile tries to attack Mwenzi, Kifaru turns around at the sound of his friend's worried cry, knocking him away. He apologises, but Mwenzi encourages him to keep going. Kifaru then charges ahead, knocking the crocodiles away from the struggling Lion Guard members. Before he can get to Makuu, the leader retreats, claiming the meal not to be worth it. But Kifaru charges him away anyway, furious at him for trying to hurt his friend in the first place.
With the crocodiles leaving, Kion expresses his gratitude to the rhino, who passes the credit to his tickbird, who passes it back to him. The two then share a brief song together, nuzzling. Kifaru then turns to Ono, regretfully informing him that he can no longer be his tickbird, and that he hopes he won't be too upset. Though Ono isn't bothered at all by his words.
Back at Tamasha, the Lion Guard decide to join Kifaru and Mwenzi from nearby. When Kifaru cheers the wrong way, Mwenzi whispers into his ear for him to face the correct way, where two rhinos are engaged in a friendly spar. Another tickbird mentions that he didn't expect to see him there, and that he had heard they had split up. The friends deny such a thing, and enjoy the show, reunited as inseparable friends.
- "Kifaru" is the Swahili word for "Rhinoceros".
- Unlike most rhinos in the series which are black rhinoceroses, as distinguished by their pointed upper lip, Kifaru is a white rhinoceros, for he has a squared upper lip instead.