Elephant Bird Facts!

Life restoration of Mullerornis agilis by DFoidl, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Elephant Bird Facts!

Life restoration of Mullerornis agilis by DFoidl, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The elephant bird, as the name suggests, was a large flightless bird that used to inhabit Madagascar. Today there are only some remaining bones and eggs. The closest living relative of elephant birds are kiwis.

Elephant birds are thought to have resembled ostriches in appearance, only a lot larger. The tallest of the elephant birds were 10 feet (3 meters) in height and probably weighed around 882 pounds (400 kilograms). Their eggs consisted of the largest single cells in the animal kingdom. The eggs were around 13 inches (33 centimeters) in length and it is estimated that it held a liquid content of 7.9 quarts (7.5 liters).


Eggs in Grant Museum of Zoology, London. From left to right: Elephant bird (Aepyornis maximus) and Ostrich (Struthio camelus). Image credit: Emőke Dénes, (CC BY-SA 2.5)

The reason elephant birds became extinct is uncertain, but it is believed that human activity was the cause. There is evidence that leads some to believe that humans hunted these birds. Researchers have found evidence that indicates that humans ate elephant bird eggs. One of these giant eggs could have fed an entire family.

The elephant bird is featured in the following book:
25 Extinct Animals… since the Birth of Mankind!

The YouTube video below is a video about an Elephant bird egg. Details of the video featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Elephant bird: Giant egg goes up for auction at Christie’s in London by ITN


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