Megavitiornis altirostris Worthy

Deep-billed ‘Megapode’ (Megavitiornis altirostris)

This enigmatic extinct species, described in 2000 from subfossil remains, is in fact not a megapode but a member of a not well known family, the Sylviornitidae, whose only other member is the likewise enigmatic and extinct New Caledonian Giant ‘Megapode’ (Sylviornis neocaledoniae Poplin) from New Caledonia.

The Deep-billed ‘Megapode’ was a large, flightless bird, that probably fed particularely on plants and invertebrates, and is so far known only from the island of Viti Levu, Fiji.

The species of course was a very rewarding target for the first human settlers and hunters on the Fijian Islands, and thus was very fast wiped out by them. [1][2]



[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006
[2] Trevor H. Worthy; Miyess Mitri; Warren D. Handley; Michael S. Y. Lee; Atholl Anderson; Christophe Sand: Osteology supports a stem-galliform affinity for the giant extinct flightless bird Sylviornis neocaledoniae (Sylviornithidae, Galloanseres). PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150871. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150871. 2016


edited: 22.04.2016

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