The Shadow Lord, while he was still a human sorcerer, discovered an egg high on the mountain border of the Land of Dragons and Pirra. Mistaking it for a dragon's egg, he cared for it until it hatched, revealing it to be, to his great disappointment, a strange bird. Though initially intending to kill the creature, he decided to make use of the bird for now if he could not have a dragon. This creature - which the Shadow Lord realizes is not native to the Land of Dragons, most likely having come from overseas - eventually produced the seven Ak-Baba, whom the Shadow Lord further altered and "perfected" into completely loyal killing machines.
The seven Ak-Baba first appeared in the skies of the Land of Dragons suring the Shadow Lord's firstattempt to conquer the land. They were initially named "dragon birds", but were later named "Ak-Baba" due to their resemblance to similar birds of that name sailors had seen overseas. They killed dragons where they could and acted as spies for the Shadow Lord, searching the Land of Dragons from the skies and relaying the information to his forces. Their presence was also occasionally used against the Shadow Lord, as they acted as his hearalds. The Ralads built a decoy version of their city after seeing an Ak-Baba in the skies, saving them from conquest. One Ak-Baba nearly finds Adin, as well as the Torans Zara, Shim, and Kayan outside the walls of Tora, but is tricked by Toran magic. The seven Ak-Baba later join the rest of the Shadow Army in the Battle for Deltora, but are forced to focus their attention on an opal dragon early in the conflict. They later retreat to the Shadowlands at the end of the Battle.
The book Deltora Quest describes the Ak-Baba as massive, reptilian birds that resemble vultures. Illustrations depict them as having long necks, with hairless heads, along with sharp beaks filled with teeth. They also have large talons, feathery wings, and feathery tails.
In the anime, the Ak-Baba are far more reptilian completely lacking in feathers, having more draconic wings and long tails. They also have blue and orange scales with light reflecting off of them, that appear black and red without light. They also don't have beaks, instead possessing reptilian heads.
The Ak-Baba are able to hear and follow the Shadow Lord's orders no matter where they are. They hunt like packs of wolves; they often isolate a target, some act as distractions by charging the target, and the reamining Ak-Baba finish the target off from behind. They were so fierce that they were capable of killing dragons, though they never faced more than two at a time because the dragons were much stronger. Battles with dragons often consisted of four or five Ak-Baba against one or two dragons. The Ak-Baba were quick to flee back to the Shadowlands when outmatched, provided their master allowed them to.