Extinct Elephant Bird Facts
The Elephant Bird, that inhabited the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa, was the largest bird that ever lived. This now extinct bird was once plentiful on
Madagascar. On this page of Extinct Animal List you will find an interesting list of information on this huge animal including how it became extinct and when it was
Elephant Bird Characteristics Facts
- This birds height was an amazing 10 feet (3 meters).
- The Elephant Bird's weight was approximately 1,000 pounds (455 Kilograms).
- These animals had long and powerful legs but it is believed they were not fast runners.
- They had small heads relative to their huge bodies.
- They had very small wings which served no purpose; this bird was flightless.
Interesting Elephant Bird Facts
- The Elephant Bird is also called Aepyornis which is Greek for "tall bird".
- Exactly when this huge animal species vanished from the earth is unknown but there were documented sightings in the mid-1600s and it is widely believed it became
extinct before the year 1700.
- The Elephant Bird was related to ostriches and emus.
- The Elephant Bird (Aepyornis) that became extinct in the 1600's was only one of the numerous species of Elephant Birds that once roamed Madagascar. Fossils of many
other Elephant Bird species have been discovered on this island; most of which died out way before the first humans emerged on the earth. Most of these species were
smaller than Aepyornis.
- This animal's diet consisted of plants.
- Although this bird's cousin the extinct Moa Bird could be taller
the Elephant Bird was much heavier.
- Their eggs were huge, in fact often three times as large as the biggest dinosaur eggs. These eggs were approximately thirteen inches (33 centimeters) long with a
circumference of about 3 feet (91 centimeters).
- The famous explorer Marco Polo (1254 to 1324) wrote about extremely large birds he encountered on his journeys to the East in the 12th and 13th centuries. Historians
believe he is describing Elephant Birds.
Elephant Bird Extinction Facts
- Hunting, especially by European settlers, was most likely the main reason for this species demise. They had survived for nearly 2,000 years with the native human
population of Madagascar but did not last long after the arrival of Europeans on their island. European settlers (Dutch and French) established settlements along the
coast of Madagascar in the early 1500s and over the next 100 years slowly moved inland.
- European settlers valued this bird's egg as a food source. This coupled with the fact that this bird probably laid only a few eggs at a time made it difficult to
replenish its population.
- Settlers from Europe destroyed a significant amount of this bird's habitat for settlement making it harder for this animal to hide from hunters and find safe places to lay eggs.
- Certainly the Elephant Birds expected lack of speed, where it could not readily escape from hunters, would have been a major factor leading to its extinction.
- It is possible that diseases present in the animals, such as chickens and rats, brought to the Elephant Bird's habitat by European settlers may have been a factor in