Story: Extinctions

North Island adzebill

North Island adzebill

Standing about 80 centimetres tall, the North Island adzebill (Aptornis otidiformis) was a large flightless bird with a down-curved bill. The size of the bill suggests that the bird was a predator, possibly eating large invertebrates, lizards, tuatara and nesting birds.

Fossils have been found at a few sites around the North Island, in open country. The birds are thought to have died out soon after human settlement, probably because they were hunted.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Artwork by Paul Martinson

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How to cite this page:

Richard Holdaway, 'Extinctions - Extinction of large birds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 June 2024)

Story by Richard Holdaway, published 24 Sep 2007