10 Prehistoric Birds That Are Thankfully Extinct
6 Kelenken – flightless but a giant prehistoric bird, 7.4 to 9.84 feet tall
Kelenken guillermoi was a species of giant, flightless, predatory birds belonging to the extinct family of “terror birds”. It lived some fifteen million years ago in Argentina and is the tallest terror bird known. Kelenken had the largest head of any known bird with a skull length of 71.6 centimeters (28.2 inches). Its beak alone was 45.7 centimeters long.
Kelenken was attributed to a variety of killing techniques. As a large flightless carnivore, Kelenken likely chased down its prey. Then it killed its prey with several, bone-shattering blows from its massive beak. Another possibility is that it may have picked up its prey and then proceeded to shake it vigorously. This vigorous shaking was done in order to break the back of the creature. Also, it may have been a scavenger, driving off other predators from their kills with its impressive size. (source)
7 Brontornis – large prehistoric bird(flightless), 9.2 feet tall
Brontornis was a genus of giant, flightless, predatory birds that lived in Patagonia. Its weight is estimated to have been 350–400 kilograms (770–880 pounds), making it the third-heaviest bird ever known. Due to its bulk, it probably lived a lifestyle somewhere between an ambush predator and one that actively chased prey.
It pounced on its prey from a hideout and brought it down by the sheer force of attack after a short chase. Brontornis was able to kill large animals such as the elephant-like Astrapotherium. It apparently became extinct before the appearance of the immense Argentavis. (source)
8 Titanis – flightless bird, 8.2 feet tall
Titanis walleri was a 8.2 feet tall, flightless, carnivorous bird endemic to North America. It lived approximately two to five million years ago and was a part of the “terror bird” group. Only fragments of its skeleton have been found in the form of fossils. Its skull has not been found to this date. Comparing with the fossils of other preserved phorusrhacids, it most probably would have been large, with a huge, axe-like beak, like its relatives.
Titanis relied upon its eyesight for everything from prey identification to gauging distances between itself and prey. Fossils shows that it had very strong legs and hence could match any other animal in ecosystem for speed. Its beak ended in a pointed tip which curved down abruptly to a sharp point.
While killing a prey, it brought down the pointed beak on the neck, back, or head of the prey. The penetrating strike would cause death of the prey, and then it pulled off bite-size chunks using the tip of its beak. Smaller prey were probably swallowed whole.(1, 2)
9 Phorusrhacos – flightless bird, 8.2 feet tall
The giant flightless bird, Phorusrhacos, lived in the woodlands and grasslands. It grew up to 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) tall and weighed approximately 130 kilograms (290 pounds). They had enormous skulls up to sixty centimeters long, armed with powerful, hook-tipped beaks. The structure of the beak and the large claws on the toes indicate that they were carnivorous. Its wings had sharp hooks that seem to be suited for gripping.
The beak was the primary tool of Phorusrhacos for killing prey. It killed its prey in two main possible ways. The first method was by picking up prey in its beak and then violently throwing it against the ground. The second method was by striking its prey on the back of the skull. After killing, the bird would tear up the carcass and eat the bite-sized chunks.(1,2)
10 Physornis – flightless bird, 6.5 feet tall
Between twenty-three to twenty-eight million years ago during the Oligocene Era, the flightless bird, Physornis, roamed the earth in South America. It was one of the larger and more robust members of a larger group, the Phorusrhacidae. It roamed around Argentina and was one of the earliest terror birds.Unfortunately, not a lot of information have been gathered about the now extinct Physornis. Nevertheless it is still considered to have been a significantly dangerous carnivorous bird. (1, 2)
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