In South Africa traditional beliefs and legend says that there is a creature called the Impundulu (or izulu) aka “lightening bird”, which is a winged bird-like creature which can masquerade as a human. Most of the time it recognizable as a huge black and white bird of prey which has the ability to strike lightening from its talons. The Impundulu is believed to do the bidding of witches and so is considered a witch’s familiar. Many also consider it an extremely evil creature, some referring to it as a demon, or a vampdemon. If a witch sends an Impundulu after someone, it can cause illness and bad luck to that person.
The Impundulu is considered to be a type of vampire bird since it is said that it feeds off blood. This creature would not be the first vampire bird ever found – in fact, there does exist an actual well-documented bird (undisputed by biologists) that is vampiric in nature – the vampire finch. And of course, another popular winged creature that feeds off blood that everyone knows of also exists – the vampire bat.
As for the Impundulu, the creature is a little bit more controversial as it has another similarity to vampires – it is said that the creature is immortal. Because it outlives its masters, is said to be passed down in a witch’s family from mother to daughter, doing the bidding of its owner. The creature does however have one known weakness – it is said that the creature can be destroyed by fire. Belief in the Impundulu is very common especially in South African tribes – specifically with the Zulu.