Aepyornis maximus Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1851:104

Giant elephant bird



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Aepornis maximus Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1851:104; Aepyornis medius Milne-Edwards and Grandidier, 1869:97


Conservation Status


Last record: Holocene


It is generally believed that Aepyornis maximus was the last surviving of the family Aepyornithidae (genera Aepyornis, Mullerornis and the newly described Vorombe). Étienne de Flacourt, the first French Governor of Madagascar, may have seen the bird in 1658, although it is equally plausible to suggest that he was relying upon another source for his account (Fuller, 1988).





Biology & Ecology




WAM 93.9.1. (the "Cervantes egg")






Original scientific description:

Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, I. (1851). Note sur des ossements et des oeufs trouvés à Madagascar, dans des alluvions modernes, et provenant d'un oiseau gigantesque. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l'Académie des Sciences (Paris) 32(4):101-107.


Other references:

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Ando T; Mukoyama H; Yoshida A; Akishinonomiya F; Yamagishi S. (2004). Chemical identification of brownish stain adhered to the eggshell surface of extinct Elephantbird, Aepyornis, from Madagascar. J. Yamashina Inst. Ornithol. 35: 203-206.

Andrews, C. W. (1896). On the skull, sternum, and shoulder-girdle of Æpyornis. Ibis 38: 376-389.

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