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A Winged (aka) Flying Monkey.

"The bright western sun disappeared as the sky quickly darkened, and a low rumbling sound was heard in the humid air. There was a swift rushing of many feathered wings, yet not of bird. A great chattering and laughing filled the atmosphere and when the hot sun came out again, the light showed the Wicked Witch of the West that she was surrounded by a large crowd of wild monkeys, each with a pair of immense and powerful wings on his shoulders."
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book) (1900)

The Winged Monkeys (aka Flying Monkeys), are fictional creatures created by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz Legacy. They first appeared in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900 and are introduced in the twelfth chapter of the novel titled The Search for the Wicked Witch. These specific monkeys are a unique and very rare race of animal species who only inhabit the magical Land of Oz. Unlike the iconic 1939 musical movie The Wizard of Oz, Baum's Winged Monkeys are not slaves nor minions of the Wicked Witch of the West, but slaves to the charmed Golden Cap that the Wicked Witch temporarily owned to call upon them to do her dirty work when fighting her battles.

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The Winged Monkeys of Oz 1900.

These creatures all bare an immense pair of powerful and strong feathered wings on their backs and shoulders and can fly high into the air in long distances and soar like a bird or a hawk. They are a very mysterious band who come from unknown origins and are neither of good nor evil, yet somewhere more in between, being undeniably mischievous and playful. They can do either bad or good depending on the situation and whoever owns the Golden Cap, who they must obey three times, much like rubbing a magic lamp to get three wishes from a Genie.


Magic Golden Cap (1900).


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)[]

Thousands of years ago, the Winged Monkeys were all once a free band of animals, who were living in the jungles and forests in the enchanted Land of Oz doing as they pleased. They were truly a loyal yet carefree bunch who mostly kept to themselves and stuck with their own kind. They had a King, who was the ruler of the clan, and he was their leader who was the largest and most strongest Monkey of them all. But the Monkeys were also rather mischievous by nature, always looking to get into some innocent fun. However, one fateful day in Oz the King of the Winged Monkeys, decided as a prank, to toss a richly dressed man named Quelala into a raging river, soaking him from head to toe and completely ruining his handsome costume of soft golden silk and velvet.

The man was good natured enough and did not mind the prank and thought it to be rather funny. But Gayelette, his fiancée, was distraught and ever so furious. Gayelette was a beautiful princess and the ruler of the Northern Gillikin Country and lived in a small jeweled palace.

Gayelette was angry at the Winged Monkeys because the day they chose to play the prank on Quelala, was the same day of his and Gayellette's royal wedding. And what the Winged Monkeys did not know, was that Gayellette also happened to be a great sorceress who practiced magic. And she was so upset for all the unwanted monkey business, she punished the King Monkey and his entire group of winged creatures forever, cursing them all by making them the eternal slaves to whoever wore the Golden Cap upon their head. And whoever wore it could command them to do any deed they wished three times.

Now, Gayelette originally had this cap prepared as a valuable and authentic wedding present for her beloved betrothed. And the cap itself was a beautiful one indeed, being made out of real solid gold and adorned with real diamonds and rubies that ran all around the 24 karat gold brim. It is rumored that this cap alone cost princess Gayellette half of her kingdom and sorcery to construct.

When finally given the cap to wear after the wedding, Quelala then used It's powerful charm only once and once only, commanding the Winged Monkeys to stay far away from Gayelette, in fear that his new wife might punish the Winged Monkeys even more severely due to her short temper. So, as the years went by, they did as they were told and never came too close to Gayelette's Gillikin kingdom or her subjects ever again. After this, the band disappeared for a long time.

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Winged Monkey. 1900.

But the magic chant of the Golden Cap was set, and had even been engraved on the inside of the cap. The incantation of the charm that called the Winged Monkeys was:

  • First, stand upon the left foot and say "Ep-pe, Pep-pe, Kak-ke."
  • Then, stand upon the right foot and say "Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo."
  • Finally, stand on both feet and shout "Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"

Whenever those words were properly spoken out loud, the Winged Monkeys stopped what they were doing, abandoned their work or play at once and immediately came to assist their temporary master.


Winged Monkeys of Oz

As time went on--many centuries later the magic cap fell into the hands of the Wicked Witch of the West, who was already a powerful figure in the western quadrant in Oz known as the Winkie Country. She wickedly used her first wish with the Winged Monkeys to help her conquer all of the west lands and enslave the majority of the native people who lived in the west called Winkies. Her second wish was to defeat the Great Oz, by having the Winged Monkeys run the man out of her territory when he dared to challenge her. So, as revenge the Wizard eventually sent a lost little girl named Dorothy to kill her in exchange for being sent back home to Kansas after being taken to Oz unexpectedly by a cyclone. But the Wicked Witch used the magic cap for the last time and had the Winged Monkeys capture the girl, her dog named Toto and the Cowardly Lion to imprison them in her castle as her personal servants.

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The Winged Monkeys attack! (1900)

She also had the Monkeys destroy the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman who had also accompanied them.

After the Wicked Witch was ultimately killed by being liquefied and melted away by Dorothy after she tried to steal one of the girl's magic Silver Shoes, the Winkies were set free from the Witch's wrath and to thank Dorothy, they restored the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Dorothy then took the cap as her own to wear and eventually used it too.

The first time, Dorothy commanded the Winged Monkeys to carry her and her companions back to the Emerald City. After the Wizard was discovered to be a humbug, Dorothy used the cap to ask them to carry her and Toto home to Kansas instead, but to the girls dismay they could not because the creatures were forbidden by the laws of the universe to travel beyond the magical realm of Oz. Thus, resulting in Dorothy wasting one request and command of the cap's magic charm. Afterwards, Dorothy made her third and final request. Which was for the Monkeys to safely carry her and her friends over the very rocky hill of the unfriendly creatures known as Hammer-Heads while on her journey to the Quadling Country to see the beautiful Good Witch named Glinda, who was her last hope and resort to find a way home.

Before leaving Oz, Dorothy finally gave the cap to Glinda, who in exchange let Dorothy in on the secret charm of the Silver Shoes she was wearing which would take her and her dog home again. Glinda then ordered the Monkeys to carry Dorothy's companions back to their new homes in Oz after Dorothy's departure and then to cease to bother people. Glinda then gave the winged creatures the cap as their own, to free them forever, ending the curse of Gayelette. After that the Winged Monkeys disappeared to live a life of freedom and peace somewhere within Oz as they had once did many centuries prior. And the Winged Monkeys learned a very valuable lesson, to never play pranks on anyone ever again.

Depictions in modern fiction[]

In Alexander Volkov's Magic Land series, they appear in one more book after the first (By Stella's request, they delivered the analogue of the Magic Picture to Strashila, who was suffering from boredom), and are mentioned once more. The latter case makes it obvious that their reputation is quite ancient, since the mere mention forced a giant witch to reconsider fighting Stella - and the witch in question was asleep for five thousand years. While not bound to serve anyone, they are friendly to Stella. The story of Gaylette isn't told in the series, with the Monkeys merely stating that they had once "offended a mighty sorceress". The leader of the Monkeys is named Worra.

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Chistery from Wicked.

In Gregory Maguire's revisionist novels Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Son of a Witch, the flying monkeys were created by Elphaba (the Witch) as part of her experiments on the nature of the soul and what distinguishes non-speaking animals from intelligent, speaking Animals. In these novels, most of the flying monkeys cannot speak, but Elphaba's favorite (named Chistery) has a distinctive speech pattern characterized by the repetition of similar-sounding words. In the musical adaptation, the monkeys gain wings as part of a magic spell gone awry.

The Monkeys play a large role in Donald Abbott's How the Wizard Came to Oz.

David Hulan's story "The Gauds of Oz" offers an explanation for how the Wicked Witch obtained the Golden Cap and so gained control over the winged monkeys. Other modern Oz writers also exploit the monkeys - see Dennis Anfuso's The Winged Monkeys of Oz, Chris Dulabone's The Marvelous Monkeys of Oz, and Peter Schulenburg's The Unwinged Monkey of Oz.


The Wizard of Oz (1939)[]

The Flying Monkeys

Flying Monkeys of 1939.

The monkeys in the classic Judy Garland film, are purple monkeys, with purple wings that wear elaborate caps and matching vests. They are simply the creatures of the Wicked Witch of the West. The monkey leader is named Nikko. They do not speak, or act independently of the Witch's will.

The Golden Cap can be seen, making a cameo appearance in the Witch's castle chamber, but she does not wear it nor say its charm. The Witch sends the monkeys out to apprehend Dorothy Gale and her companions, but they only get Dorothy and Toto and scatter the Scarecrow's straw. They disappear from the story after the Witch has been melted. Most likely just like the Winkie guards, they were all finally set free from her bondage after she died. (The Wizard of Oz)

The Wiz[]

"No No, not the Flying Monkeys!"
―The Winkies in The Wiz (1978)

In the all-African-American musical version of the story, the flying monkeys were Evillene's sassy henchmen who obeyed her every command.

In the 1978 movie they were made a motorcycle gang led by their leader, Cheetah. They often use wise cracks that can upset Evillene as well having a very unpleasant smell, which Witch and the Winkies could not stand at all.

In The Wiz Live! they are called Winged Warriors. The actors would walk and leap on stilts specially made for the performance. Unlike their previous appearances they have no lines and appear briefly and never appear again or are mentioned.

The are absent from the 2024 Broadway revival as Dorothy and her friends travel to Evillene's lair by themselves.

The Oz Kids (1996)[]

A young flying monkey named Toby makes an appearance in the episode The Return of Mombi.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)[]

"I want Glinda and that Wizard torn to shreds, do not fail me a second time... FLY! "
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A winged Baboon attacks!

In this Disney version which is a prequel to the 1939 movie, there's three different races of winged and flying monkeys. The evil and scary Winged Baboons with sharp teeth and claws are strictly controlled by the Witch of the East Evanora. The only representative of the other race of monkeys is Finley, who is smaller than the winged baboons and much more intelligent and intellectual. The purple monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West- Theodora, have not emerged yet.

Characters finley


Finley is a very friendly and timid young monkey who works as a Bell-Boy in the Emerald City. Finley becomes a loyal friend of Oscar Diggs, whom he believes to be the prophesied Wizard.

Finley, whom he owes a life debt for saving him from a Cowardly Lion. Finley chooses to help Oz on his journey and carries the Wizard's bag and becomes a member of his party to safe Oz.

The Winged Baboons, meanwhile, are much more uglier and larger and are very ferocious. The power hungry Witch Evanora controls an entire Army of them, which she uses to bully, victimize and ultimately terrorize and then destroy various races and settlements all throughout parts of Oz, including the Dainty China Country which was completely destroyed by them. Leaving only one known-lucky survivor, who was the China Girl. (Oz the Great and Powerful)

Once Upon A Time (2014)[]

In the popular ABC TV series Once Upon A Time, Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, turns the Wizard of Oz (who in this version is a failed circus performer named Walsh) into a Winged Monkey as punishment for being a Humbug.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014)[]

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The Flying Monkeys as seen in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

Flying Monkeys appear in the CGI children's film Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return. The monkeys are now all ruled by the evil Jester who is the brother of their previous owner the Wicked Witch of the West who was melted by Dorothy Gale.

Guardians of Oz (2015)[]

A little flying monkey named Ozzy is unable to follow Eviline's rules. After running away with the broom that contains all his powers, he embarks on an adventure with an apprentice witch named Gabby to find the legendary Guardians of Oz and stop the wicked witch of the West, who also bewitched his father.

Emerald City (2016)[]


In the NBC show "Emerald City" Flying Monkeys are mechanical creatures the Wizard uses to spy on his subjects. They can record and play what they have seen.



The Winged Monkeys, as seen in the Marvel Comics adaptation.

In Marvel's graphic novel adaptation the Winged Monkeys were dressed like soldiers. They still serve the Wicked Witch of the West, as she owns the hat that controls them. Their role in the story is identical to that in the original book, but with a new visual spin on them.

A green Winged Monkey named Bufkin serves as the librarian in Fabletown. He is a winged monkey with a drinking problem, who works as a librarian in Fabletown. (Fables)

Video Games[]

Winged Monkey Oz Run

A winged monkey, as seen in Oz Run.


Bufkin (The Wolf Among Us)

In the i0s game Oz Run, Winged Monkeys are among the two types of enemy to avoid, the other being Wicked Witches.


The title screen, showing some Winged Baboons.

In Temple Run: Oz, Evanora's Winged Baboons replace the Temple Run series' standard Demon Monkeys as the main enemies chasing the player. They chase Oz through the Whimsie Woods, and also through the Dark Forest. They also swoop down at Oz, forcing him to duck under them. Finley also appears, giving Oz boosts by flying him over the terrain.

Flying Monkeys of Oz

The title screen from Flying Monkeys of Oz.

A Flying Monkey rebels against the Wicked Witch in the i0s game Flying Monkeys of Oz. The Witch shoots fireballs at him, while swirling energy ambushes him from all sides as the Emerald City passes in the background. Dorothy Gale later joins him and rides on his back.

The 2013 video game The Wolf Amoung Us featured the character Bufkin from the Fables comics.


In Todd McFarlane's action figure line "The Twisted Land of Oz," two flying monkey action figures (with a bloated Munchkin) are available as part of the "Collector's Club." According to the accompanying story, they are the Wizard's minions, transformed into steampunk cyborgs due to "Ozmic power."

Political interpretations[]

Some historians who interpret The Wizard of Oz as a political allegory suggest the Winged Monkeys represent African-Americans, oppressed by an overbearing force and who are relieved to be free of that bondage when the evil force is terminated. Others see them as hired Pinkerton Agents who worked for the Trusts in the 1890s and hounded labor unions. (L. Frank Baum made an explicit reference to Pinkerton agents in a later book, The Lost Princess of Oz, p 211)

Oz Gallery[]

References in pop culture[]

These characters have had enough impact, between the books and the 1939 film, to have taken their own place in pop culture, regularly referenced in comedic or ironic situations as a source of evil or fear.

  • Flying monkeys have appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Simpsons.
  • The Wayne's World catch-phrase "and monkeys might fly out of my butt!" may be a reference, at least incidentally, to the winged monkeys.
  • In the movie Jumanji, monkeys see inside a TV shop on a television the winged monkeys from the Wizard of Oz, so they break inside the shop and steal TV sets.
  • In the 1973 movie Hunter, actual footage from the Wizard of Oz movie is used to brainwash a race-car driver, terrorizing him until he screamed the line "Stop the monkeys! PLEASE Stop the monkeys!"
  • The music video for "Heretics & Killers" by Protest The Hero opens with a shot of the front page of a newspaper stating 'The Witch is Dead: Flying Monkeys Out of Work'. The remainder of the video features the band members dressed as the Flying Monkeys, trying (and failing) at various jobs, begging on the street, getting thrown out of a bar, and rocking out.
  • In the DCOM movie Halloweentown High Debbie Reynolds' character Aggie Cromwell say "Whoever heard of hockey without Flying Monkeys".
  • In the movie Inkheart, flying monkeys made their appearances as black monkeys with large eagle wings. They were with other animals in the dungeon after Darius used to read and said these words. Darius released them with other animals to attack Capricorn and his goons before they were returned to the Wizard of Oz book by Meggy who created her own words to send animals back to the books in the end of the movie.
  • The Flying Monkeys appeared in Dora's Birthday Adventure!
  • Although not a direct adaptation to the literature itself, the 2013 Super Sentai series, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger features the Deboth Army's members being themed after the characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Resentful Knight Endolf is designed with the motif of winged monkeys, whose possession of Dogold's shock restrains parallels his source of inspiration's fate of being enslaved to the Golden Cap.
  • That '70s Show episode "Tornado Prom" has Eric Forman becomes a Flying Monkey in Jackie Burkhart's Oz dream. The appearance of all the Oz characters, including the Flying Monkey, are based off of W. W. Denslow's original illustrations instead of the 1939 MGM musical.


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