Elephant Bird

Vorombe titan, a type of elephant bird, is the largest bird that ever lived
Elephant Bird Scientific Classification
Elephant Bird Physical Characteristics
1,600–1,900 pounds
Elephant Bird Distribition


Elephant birds are an extinct family of flightless birds. They were thought to have actually fed on the islands of Madagascar throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. They went extinct around 1000– 1200 CE. The New Zealand Kiwi is their closest modern-day family member that is still out there. Elephant birds come from the ratite family, Aepyornithidae, and make up the Mullerornis, Vorombe, and Aepyornis category. Various other ratite birds consist of ostrich, emu, rhea, and cassowary.

Summary and Dimension

The elephant birds were enormous (in contrast to modern-day birds). Actually, the beginning of their usual name is a recommendation to their dimension. The Venetian traveler Marco Polo, that had actually released a summary of the bird, declared that the eagle- like bird was solid sufficient to “confiscate an elephant with its talons.” While this was likely an overestimation, the name has actually stuck to them.

They come from the ratite team, that includes a number of big flightless birds characterized by their lengthy neck and legs. Elephant birds had cone-shaped beaks, 2 brief legs, 3- toed feet, and little wings. The wings were worthless in the feeling that they can not fly. Although they had lengthy legs, elephant birds were likewise slow-moving joggers.

3 category of elephant birds have actually been explained, and they differ somewhat in dimension. The biggest of them is the Vorombe titan, which is usually taken into consideration the globe’s biggest bird. It evaluated in between 1,600 and 1,900 extra pounds. Participants of the Aepyornis genus depended on 9.8 feet high and evaluated in between 770 to 1,100 extra pounds. The tiniest elephant birds were participants of the Mullerornis genus.

Provided their substantial dimension, elephant birds laid significant eggs. Actually, they had the biggest bird eggs ever before located. Every one was as high as 13 inches long and evaluated approximately 22 extra pounds with a quantity that was as high as 160 times above a chicken’s egg.

Cassowary Size - Elephant Bird
The biggest elephant bird, the Vorombe titan, is usually taken into consideration the globe’s biggest bird.Nicolas Primola/Shutterstock. com


Elephant birds were herbivores. They consumed the plant seeds and leaves that expanded in their indigenous environment on the islands of Madagascar. The rain forest fruits had thick layers, however fossil proof has actually revealed that the intestines of large birds were well adjusted to permit these fruits to travel through. Professionals assume the elephant birds played a necessary duty in the dispersal of fruit- bearing plants on the island.


The elephant birds resided on the Island of Madagascar along the African shore of the Indian Sea throughout the late Pleistocene. Étienne de Flacourt, the initial French guv of Madagascar, composed the initially extensive record on the birds. He likewise declared that a “large bird” can still be viewed in some components of the island in the mid- seventeenth century.

The enormous birds occupied the southerly timbers of Madagascar prior to humans moved to the place 2,000 years back. Elephant bird species that resided in forested environments had a much more industrialized feeling of scent contrasted to those that resided in open environments.

Professionals assume the elephant birds may have lived a nighttime way of life, like their living family members, the kiwis. They made this verdict based upon the minimized dimension of their optic wattles, which is a sign of an energetic night life. Participants of the Mullerornis genus possibly lived a crepuscular way of life due to the fact that their optic wattle had not been as minimized as the others.

Risks and Predators

Humans were the major danger to elephant birds. Before the arrival of the humans on the island, the population of these birds grew. When humans emerged, they pursued and eliminated elephant birds for food, and their tasks damaged the birds’ environments. It appeared the eggs of the large birds went to the greatest danger. Archeologists have actually located traces of human fires with eggshell continues to be. This caused the verdict that eggs should have functioned as routine food for human households during that time.

As the humans resolved in, they lowered numerous trees and began woodland fires. These tasks had negative results on the all-natural environments of the elephant birds. The land they inhabited minimized an increasing number of, and they were required to conceal as their numbers considerably diminished.

Discoveries and Fossils

Fossils of the elephant birds are extremely bountiful, possibly due to the fact that they just came to be extinct lately. The initial collection of their remains was located in the western component of Madagascar back in the 19th century. Isidore Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire, a French zoologist, released the initial total summary of the bird. Originally, the elephant birds were categorized right into 13 various species. However with even more extensive researches, the number has actually been minimized to 4 to 8 species separated right into 3 category.


There are some unpredictabilities concerning the local time the elephant birds went extinct. The determination of the large bird tales down numerous centuries might have added to the uncertainty. Some individuals assume that they entered into termination in the 17th century. Various other resources mention they vanished long previously after that (possibly in between 1000 and 1200 CE.).

Elephant birds were when bountiful on the island of Madagascar. It is commonly thought that human tasks created the large birds, particularly the Aepyornis, to pass away out. There are a number of items of proof on behalf of the concept that flightless birds were pursued which their environments were damaged.

Bones from the recouped remains usually reveal device marks that recommend humans pursued them. Nevertheless, some researchers often tend to contest this concept. The moment framework in between the arrival of humans on the island and the bird’s termination appears as well brief to be the only source of their termination.

One more termination concept is that human tasks developed negative additional results that added to the loss of the elephant birds. Along with environment loss as a result of human tasks, the animals that were trained by male (e.g., chickens) might have contaminated the large birds with active illness that created their fatality in numbers.

Similar Animals to the Elephant Bird

Similar animals to the elephant birds consist of:

  • Moa – The Moa is an extinct flightless bird belonging to New Zealand. They are a lot more slim and smaller sized than the elephant birds. Male and female Moa birds were incorrectly categorized in the past as various species as a result of the considerable distinction in between them.
  • Kiwi – Kiwis are the tiniest birds in the ratites family. Generally, they have to do with the exact same dimension as modern-day residential chickens. Researches have actually revealed that kiwis are a lot more very closely pertaining to elephant birds than Moa.
  • Ostrich – Ostriches are the biggest flightless bird still out there, along with among the earliest. They are belonging to some components of Africa and can achieve a shocking rate of 43.5 miles per hr many thanks to their lengthy legs.


  1. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/elephant-bird
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_bird
  3. Encyclopedia, Available here: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/elephant-birds-aepyornithidae

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