Nigel is greedy, arrogant, and treacherous. He is an intelligent, manipulative, malevolent, cunning, and vengeful cockatoo who exhibited highly antisocial behavior. He almost breaks the fourth wall as he clearly enjoys the fact that he is a villain and states it when he topples over and outranks Big Boss as he says "No one steals MY scene!"
He is very violent, dangerous, and destructive, constantly seen using physical force to injure or terrorize other characters. For instance, Nigel threatened to give Mauro and his subordinates "flying lessons" in order to coerce the monkeys into helping him find Blu and Jewel. After the battle in the samba club, Nigel arrived at the scene and terrorized another bird into telling him where the blue macaws went by threatening to "pop" or "crack" her head.
He is also extremely cruel, sadistic, and egotistical, often taking great joy and pleasure in others' suffering. For example, he was shown in the smugglers' lair to terrorize the captured birds, and he later ridiculed Jewel when her wing was injured. In both situations, he laughed maniacally in response to seeing his victims' fear and injury.
He is also very unsympathetic and ruthless; he shows no pity or mercy to his victims and enemies, and holds no remorse for his evil deeds.
However, in the second film, he is more comedic and more focused on acting and his performance. In fact, when he gets to the island, he doesn't even acknowledge Blu's presence when he walks near and he doesn't interact with Blu until the last-minute fight.
Role in the film
Nigel is first seen as a "patient" at Tulio's aviary. However, his sickness is quickly revealed to be a front; that night, he tricks a guard into picking him up by pretending to be injured, then knocks him out with a chloroform-soaked rag and steals his keys. He then lets Fernando in and he steals Blu and Jewel and brings them to Marcel's hideout. When Jewel tries to escape, Nigel pins her down and starts choking her, taunting her by asking, "What's the matter? Cockatoo got your throat?". However, Marcel orders him to bring her back alive, so the cockatoo returns her to the cage. After Blu and Jewel are locked up, Nigel comes to them and explains the motivation of his evil nature through the song "Pretty Bird," saying that he plans on making them "ugly" as well. He then bids them sweet nightmares and flies off, laughing evilly.
Later, Nigel hears the macaws trying to escape and tries to stop them. The chase leads into the slums of Rio de Janeiro, where Nigel collides with an electrical transformer, blacking out the whole city of Rio in the process. After recovering, Nigel heads back to the smugglers' hideout.
Nigel is sent by Marcel to retrieve Blu and Jewel, while Marcel and the other smugglers (Tipa and Armando) plan to use the Carnival show to hide the smuggling of the birds to get to the nearest airport.
Nigel hires a group of mischievous marmosets to help him catch Blu and Jewel, in doing so, he abuses their leader Mauro, and threatens to give them "flying lessons" if they do not find them by the end of the day.
Mauro and his henchmen manage to find Blu and Jewel, but they get into a battle with the Samba Club birds and they fail to capture them. When Nigel arrives at the place where the battle had been he finds a green bird and asks her a question on the whereabouts of the Blue Macaws. Nigel then abuses Mauro for his failure, then goes after Blu and Jewel himself. He eventually captures Jewel and uses her as bait to lure in Blu and his best friends. The plan works and he locks them all in cages.
After the captives are loaded into the smugglers' plane, the plane takes off. But, Blu later manages to free himself and all the other birds, letting them escape out of the plane. However, as Blu tries to get over his fear of flying, Nigel attacks Blu, pins him and attempts to strangle him. Jewel tries to help, but Nigel throws her aside, causing a cage to fall on Jewel's wing, injuring it. Nigel darkly mocks the macaws, but an angered Blu manages to hook a fire extinguisher onto the cockatoo's foot and sets it off. Nigel is blasted out of the plane and manages to get the extinguisher off. However, a propeller flies at him, seemingly killing him and eventually causing the plane to fall. Blu finally learns how to fly, and escapes the crashing plane with Jewel. Marcel and the smugglers escape the plane as well.
Some time later, Nigel is revealed to have survived, but has lost most of his feathers and is humiliated by a "photo finish" by Mauro as payback for his abuse against him and the other marmosets earlier.
Nigel returns in the second film as the central antagonist.
A few years after the first film, Nigel, who suffered the most undignified of indignities (defeated by what he calls "the pretty birds" and losing his feathers in the process), is back. However, he now flies like a chicken and wears an Elizabethan vest (which hides a large bald patch on his chest) due to his previous accident. Shortly after the plane crash at the end of the first film, he was found by humans, taken into a veterinary surgery and operated on. The head surgeon commented that "he'll live, but he'll never fly again". After that, Nigel began working as a fortune-teller's assistant at a third-rate street fair. Nigel is at the lowest point in his life and he isn't happy about it at all.
When Nigel sees the blue birds that have caused him so much misery, he seeks vengeance. He follows them to the Amazon and is now hungry for payback. Along the way he liberates a big mute anteater called Charlie and a poison dart frog named Gabi from the street-fair. He enlists them as his minions and together they track Blu and Jewel to the Amazon and plan Nigel's revenge.
Nigel's predominant passions are Shakespeare, evil, alliteration, revenge, and attention. For Nigel, revenge is a dish best served cold, and with lots of blood-stained feathers.
Nigel's dreams of show business glory take flight in a particularly telling moment. As he prepares to deal with Blu once and for all, Nigel ends up taking center stage, in disguise, at the auditions overseen by Nico, Pedro and Rafael. Nigel comes up with an act, on the fly, which sparks his inner artist. He goes under the name of Bob the bird to avoid the suspicion of Nico, Pedro and Rafael as they point out that he looked familiar to them.
He uses his new found attention to his advantage as he wins the audition, and plots to kill Blu with a poisonous dart, using a porcupine quill as a dart, Gabi's venom for poison and Charlie's long snout to fire the dart.
His performance is cancelled, as the loggers attack the jungle and a battle ensues between the loggers and the jungle animals. During the battle, Nigel attempts to shoot Blu with the poisoned dart, but fails. When Blu removes a strap of lit TNT from a site of designated trees to be demolished, Nigel prevents Big Boss, the head logger, from stopping him, wanting Blu for himself. As Blu flies the TNT upwards into the air, Nigel grabs on and attacks him, revealing himself to Blu just as the TNT blows up. However, both Nigel and Blu survive the explosion and end up tangled in vines, upside-down and unconscious. When they both regain consciousnesses, Nigel attacks Blu and they have a feather fight. Gabi and Charlie try to help Nigel by shooting Blu with another poison dart, but it accidentally hits Nigel. Nigel, thinking that he is about to die, gives an Elizabethan death speech, then seemingly dies and falls off a branch to the ground below. Gabi, thinking that she killed Nigel and unwilling to live without him, drinks a drop of her own poison and presumably dies. However, it is revealed that Gabi is not poisonous at all, but was convinced that she was as a child. Nigel, still alive, tries to attack Blu and Jewel one last time, but Gabi drags Nigel away and showers him with affection against his will.
Nigel and Gabi are later captured by Tulio, and taken back to Rio to be observed.