Genyornis and its relatives have been nick-named the 'demon ducks'.
Meaning of scientific name
Genyornis = "jaw bird".
Height: 2.2m, Weight: 200-250kg.
Genyornis was a large flightless bird. It stood about as tall as a male ostrich, but was twice the weight. It had an enormous beak, which appears to be similar in design to the nut-cracking beaks of seed- and fruit-eating birds like parrots. Its toes had hoof-like claws on the tips.
They are known from several sites in the centre and south of Australia.
Genyornis fossils have been found in the south and east of Australia, in areas that were arid at the time the bird lived. Desert grasslands or scrub, and perhaps dry woodlands, would have been Genyornis’ habitat.
They were primarily herbivores, but many have supplemented their diet by scavenging or grabbing small prey. Because they had no teeth, they had to swallow stones to assist in grinding up food in their gizzards.
They were browsers, taking advantage of their height to feed on the higher branches of trees and shrubs. As they were very heavily built they were not fast movers.
Fossils of Genyornis eggs have been found.
Genyornis are extinct.
Best place to see
Skeletons of Genyornis are on display at Monash Science Centre, Monash University, Clayton in Victoria State, Australia and the South Australia Museum, Adelaide.
Ducks and geese (Anseriformes) are the closest relatives of Genyornis.