Sometimes, I dream I'm a tiger, but I always wake up a hyena.
~ Tabaqui.

Tabaqui is the secondary antagonist of the 2018 Netflix live action adventure drama film Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. He is a deranged striped hyena who serves as Shere Khan's right-hand and spy.

He was voiced and motion-captured by Tom Hollander, who also played Lord Cutler Beckett in the Pirates of the Caribbean films Gary in the other Netflix live action film Bird Box and Isaacs in Hanna and had a cameo role in Muppets: Most Wanted.


Tabaqui is first seen approaching the wolves Nisha and Vihaan while searching for the man-cub under Shere Khan's orders. Upon finding him and being threatened by the two wolves, he is called back by his master. After informing him that he found the man-cub, he is alongside Shere Khan when confronting the wolf pack for the cub. After Akela threatens Shere Khan off while declaring him that the man-cub is under the protection of the pack as long as he is leader, Tabaqui flees with his master as the two knew they would be overpowered.

Years later, Tabaqui is seen approaching a man-made monument only to catch his tail on fire. After putting it out at a river, he meets the man-cub, now called Mowgli, and explains to him about fire and how his kind (man) uses it. The meeting then invokes Mowgli with doubt about his true nature.

The next day, Tabaqui orders the monkeys to kidnap Mowgli and take them to their hideout for Shere Khan. He is then seen alongside Shere Khan, who then attempts to kill him. The tiger was however stopped and confronted by Baloo, Bagheera and later Kaa, who demanded that he leaves the man-cub alone. This forces the two to leave. After Akela misses his kill, Tabaqui is alongside Shere Khan as the latter mocks Akela for losing leadership of the pack.

During the final fight, Shere Khan and Tabaqui approach Mowgli outside the man-village, who then calls out for the elephants. This catches the two off-guard and, fearing for his life, Tabaqui retreats and leaves Shere Khan to his eventual fate. He is not seen again afterwards as his fate is left unknown.


In all of his appearances, Tabaqui has displayed himself to be sadistic, unstable, arrogant, cowardly and psychopathic. He enjoys tormenting his enemies, as he openly mocked Akela for missing his kill and therefore losing both the leadership of the pack and the insured safety of Mowgli. He is fiercely loyal to Shere Khan and obeys his every instructions without question. However, at the beginning of Shere Khan's final fight with Mowgli as the elephants charged at them, Tabaqui was smart to know when it was no longer worth it and ended up leaving his master to his fate.


Tabaqui: Evening Nisha, Vihaan. It's a lovely, isn't it?
Vihaan: What is it that you want, Tabaqui?
Vihaan: What's that I smell, fresh kill?
Nisha: If it's bones you're after, look elsewhere. We have enough mouths to feed.
Tabaqui: I mean no trouble, Nisha. *sees man-cub* Oh. *Shere Khan roars*
Nisha: Your master calls. You best go quickly. He sounds a little tempered tonight.
Tabaqui: That he does, that he does. And with good reason. *takes off* I found the man-cub! I found the man-cub!
~ Tabaqui confronted by Nisha and Vihaan after finding the man-cub.
Tabaqui: Did you smell the blood, man-cub?
Mowgli: What is it? The creature that did that to your tail.
Tabaqui: It's called "fire". It's hotter than the sun, and it's quicker than a panther. Your kind use dark magic, man-cub.
Mowgli: They're not my kind.
Tabaqui: *laughs* Sometimes, I dream I'm a tiger, but I always wake up a hyena.
~ Tabaqui meeting Mowgli and explaining to him about man's usage of fire.
Akela's missed his kill! Akela's missed his kill!
~ Tabaqui mocking Akeela for losing his leadership over the pack.
What's he doing!?
~ Tabaqui's last words before he retreats in terror and leaves Shere Khan to his fate.



  • While Tabaqui is a striped hyena in the film, he was a golden jackal in the novel written by Rudyard Kipling.




The Jungle Book 1 & 2

The Jungle Book (1994)

The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story

The Jungle Book (2016)

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Tabaqui Sees Mowgli

Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli


Jungle Cubs

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