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(Latin Perosus latrunculus)
Biological information


Physical description

6.08 feet (185 cm) [1]


195 (88.5 kg)

Skin color

Orange, Dark Green, Pale Brown, etc.


Tall, slender, and skinny with large pale eyes. Claws and razor-sharp teeth.

Military and Political information

Jackal Point Defense Gauntlet, Head gear


Covenant, later Covenant Loyalists

Notable Individuals
Other Nomenclature
  • Buzzard
  • Chicken
  • Jackal
  • Vulture
  • Turkey
  • Crow
  • Tree-Turkey
  • Bug Eyed Sniper
  • Killer Bird
"Jackals may be superior marksmen and they’re very sneaky, but that doesn’t make them excellent snipers — they’re way too bloodthirsty for that."
— Anonymous UNSC serviceman

The Kig-yar (Latin: Perosus latrunculus, translated to "Hateful Highwayman"[2]) are a saurian species[3] which would serve the Covenant as mercenaries, and later the Covenant Loyalists. Humans have termed these vicious creatures Jackals, as they are known for their swiftness, viciousness and dexterity, even though they aren't the strongest Covenant race. Jackals will either serve as snipers or scouts within the Covenant due to their excellent sense of sight, smell and hearing. They were the first Covenant species encountered by UNSC forces.[4]



This section requires expansion.



Anatomy and Physiology

A closeup on a Jackal's face. Notice the razor-sharp teeth and scaly skin.

Jackals are avian in appearance, with feather-like quills on their heads and arms on males and calloused plates on females for protection from males during mating, and bird-like feet with deadly talons. In Halo: Contact Harvest, they are stated to have larger spines on their back if male. If they are female, they have thick, callus-like plates on their head and shoulders, and their beaks are longer and crocked upwards. They have three fingers on each hand with razor-sharp claws. Jackals have exhibited both beaks and razor sharp teeth that can easily rip flesh apart. Such a great variation may be indicative of a similar condition in saurids where the morphology differs wildly from birth to adulthood (lack of teeth in young and lack of feathers in adults) or something close to human races where different morphology may be a result of living in different environments. Though they are mainly carnivorous in appearance and indeed are known to consume flesh, apparently even that of other sentient beings, the Kig-Yar is omnivorous. They will eat fruits including an unknown type of melon that may be native to their homeworld.

Though they are not a low-g species, they do have many qualities that are shared with species from low-g worlds. The female of the species lack the spiny plumage (said plumage's color serving as indication of the Jackal's mood)[5] of the male; replacing it with calloistic plates at the forearms and the rear of the head. The "callous like" skin helps protect the female during courtship. When mating, the male can choose to fertilize the egg, in which a male is produced, whereas if the eggs are not fertilized a female is produced. Aside from the obvious differences in reproductive organs, the male and female of the species are more or less identical in appearance with no physical disparity or mass distribution between the sexes.

A great variance in skin tone and color has been seen among Jackals, usually a dark orange or green, and some are mottled or spotted with markings of various color. The purpose of color variation in Jackals is unknown, though it has been speculated to be tribal tattooing or camouflage suitable for their home world. Although the Jackals vary in skin color, their blood is purple in color similar to that of the Sangheili, possibly showing a similar genetic or chemical makeup.

The lack of calcium in their skeletons also makes them a poor source of food for potential Flood forms. However, they have been observed as Combat Forms in Halo Wars.

This section requires expansion.


Main article: Skirmisher

Skirmishers are a sub-species of Kig-yar, deployed on the ground for their viciousness and fierce tactics. While very similar to normal Kig-yar in appearance, their heads are noticeably different. Skirmishers have strong, beak-like jaws, with very sharp teeth. They develop thick, mane-like plumage around their head and neck and have several horns protruding from said plumage. So far, they have only been seen deployed in the Battle of Reach.


Unlike races such as the Grunts, the Kig-yar was space-faring long before joining the Covenant. As such the Jackals are unique among Covenant races: rather than faithful followers of the Prophets' religion, they are mercenaries paid by the Covenant. However, due to the long time they have been in the Covenant, a large number of them have accepted the Covenant religion. Jackals can live fairly peaceful lives with Humans, as is seen in the Cole Protocol. When they were finally ordered by the Prophets to attack and destroy the Humans of the Rubble, many of them even regretted the order. This is likely due to the pragmatic, merchant culture of their race. They can likely live happily with anyone in a relationship of trade.


Once, the Kig-Yar culture was centered around rival clans sailing across Eayn's seas as pirates, raiding the encampments and settlements of rival clans. As the distances between the clans grew less, so too did the differences, and a united Kig-Yar race reached out to the stars in spacecrafts, beginning to populate small asteroids around Chu'ot. Some of these saw opportunity, and became pirates once more, raiding merchant ships. These were apparently the Kig-Yar's only effective response to the overwhelming Covenant military juggernaut when they arrived in their home-system in 1342.The war between the two factions apparently culminating around sieges of redoubts on the asteroids surrounding their world. Though eventually in order to survive they accepted letters of marque: commissions from the Ministry of Tranquility to engage in the services of the Covenant, though often this was merely used as an excuse to continue raiding. This time preying on the ships of the Covenant's enemies, such as the humans.

When inducted into the Covenant, the Kig-yar were intended to fill the role later assigned to the Grunts as the Covenant's foot soldiers, however the temperament of the Jackals made this impractical. Instead, they were placed in roles that suited their abilities better such as scouts and being in teams of commando units which allowed the exploitation of their fine senses in the battlefield. They are also deployed as police forces on occupied worlds, although this was always done under the supervision of a member of the higher castes. The reason for this duty was unclear - it is not known if the Covenant feel that the Grunts could not be trusted with such roles or if the predatory nature of the Jackals allowed them a greater ability to police planets.

Jackals have little status in the Covenant hierarchy and are subservient to all but the Grunts. Although they technically stand as equals with the Grunts, the reality is that Jackals are usually in an elevated position. While the other races consider the Grunts beneath notice. The Jackals are often purposefully cruel to them in order to assure themselves of their own superiority. The Jackals are not represented on the High Council but are instead vetted by the Ministry of Concert. However, unlike the other castes, the Kig-yar do not vocally complain about their position but instead have selected to siphon off resources to their brothers. Whether the Covenant leadership was aware of this is currently unknown. After the Great Schism, they were promoted to where the Drones once were.

The ranking authorities in Covenant society have been known to let Jackals eat prisoners alive, perhaps indicating that the Jackals are much more bloodthirsty and cruel than previously seen in combat. This probability is supported by the vicious screeches, squawks, and squalls that Jackals make in combat, and the UNSC remark stating that Jackals were "too bloodthirsty" to really be called snipers. The Jackals are despised by most Elites for their devious nature.


The Kig-yar government type is postindustrial capitalism, with a population of 978 million.[6] It is also described as an Ochlocracy, a system of government best described as a government by mob, or the intimidation of constitutional authorities. Presumably, this implies that whatever form of local government the Kig-Yar possess is ineffective and ignored.

This section requires expansion.


Jackals are not permitted by the Elites to have more than one name, but Jackal society had never placed a premium on such things, so they don't care. Jackal names are invariably single syllable, with two consonants and one vowel, such as Yeg, Jak and Bok.


Main article: Eayn

Eayn is the homeworld of the Kig-Yar species and is the primary satellite of the planet Chu'ot. It is characterized by its single equatorial ocean, sparse volcanism, and almost total lack of glaciation. Only about one-third of all Kig-Yar who still reside in the Y'deio system call Eayn their home; many have chosen to live among the minor planets within the asteroid belt since their initial contact with the Covenant.

Rank Structure

Known Jackal Ranks
Minor · Major · Sniper · Ranger · Zealot
This section requires expansion.


  • Jackals were the first Covenant species fought by human beings. Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne fought two and killed both of them shortly before the Battle of Harvest.
  • The name Jackal comes from a wild dog that is similar to the wolf, and is a reference to their scavenger-like appearance and nature.
  • "Kig-yar" is Breton for "chicken" and Phonetic Welsh for "chicken meat".[citation needed]
  • Although Jackals carry grenades in Halo 2 , they are never seen using them. This is possibly because of the fact that, in terms of game mechanics, they 'dual-wield' their energy shield with whatever other weapon they are carrying.
  • All Jackals shoot left handed, including the use of sniper weapons, and are the only Covenant species to do so (with the exception of Rtas 'Vadum).
  • The only known female Jackals are Chur'R-Yar and Chur 'R-Mut, who were both Ship Master/Ship Mistresses of Covenant Ships. They are also the only Jackals known to have multiple syllables in their names and the first female members of the Covenant mentioned in Halo canon. Speculation leads to that Jackals may have a naming system based on sex, rank or both.
  • Like birds, female Jackals lay lots of eggs and male Jackals have feather-like protrusions (on males, presumably for display during mating season). Ship Mistress Chur'R-Yar hinted to this in Halo: Contact Harvest. Females, however, have extremely thick callouses on their backs and the back of their neck.
  • They were firstly seen by Avery Johnson and then by Spartan-IIs, John, along with Sam and Kelly, aboard an unnamed Covenant ship (it was later destroyed thanks to Sam's sacrifice).[4] The Kig-yar was easily eliminated, as Sam remarks "They sure aren't as tough as their ships".
  • A dead Jackal is also found in the book Halo: Fall of Reach when John was examining the Covenant with a large bootprint imprinted on its back. It was apparently killed by an impatient Hunter who crushed it to death. This eventually led to the UNSC discerning their caste system, a major breakthrough in knowing the nature of their enemies.
  • There was a group of Jackals trained as rangers, eventually being replaced by the Drones as they were more suited for combat in space.
  • Jackals are described as having a salty, occasionally acrid, smell associated with them.[3]
  • A cousin species to the Jackals, the Skirmisher, Is set to appear in Halo: Reach.


  • In Halo: The Fall of Reach their blood is said to be blue when in game it was purple.[7]
  • The first time you see a Jackal in the Halo video games is in Halo: Combat Evolved, on the level Halo. They do not appear in the first level, Pillar of Autumn, due to the Covenant's mistrust of them on Enemy vessels because of their pirating ways. However, in the book "Halo: The Flood", they were mentioned as boarding the Pillar of Autumn during their initial attack.



  1. Halo Encyclopedia, page 147
  2. HBO Forums
  3. 3.0 3.1 ODST Guide
  4. 4.0 4.1 Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 125/126
  5. 5.0 5.1 Halo: Contact Harvest, pages 56/58
  6. Bestiarum
  7. The Fall of Reach, page 327

See Also

Kig-yar in the Games

This article uses material from the "Kig-yar" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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