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Re: Brontornis again
>But is is not so easy, of course. In all birds, food is processed in the
>stomach, not in their mouth as in mammals. So a bird would only need a jaw
>that is sufficient to TAKE UP the food - this is why even large vegetarian
>birds like ostriches and moas, only have small heads: They don't need a
>larger head for their kind of food.
Actually, this is untrue. There are quite a few frugivorous and
seed-eating birds with very strong bills and large heads - any number of
finches, for example, or parrots. Perhaps closer to the idea of Brontornis
is the Takahe of New Zealand, a very large-billed gallinule; I am not at
home and cannot consult my references, but I believe it uses its bill to
unearth tubers of aquatic plants, an action that may reqiure the ability to
bring a good deal of force to bear.
Of course the bill of a large macaw or cockatoo can be a very powerful tool
indeed; a hyacinth macaw can break your arm without trouble.
The problem is not picking up the food - it is getting at it. Coconuts are
not the only fruits with thick, fibrous rinds and tough seed coats, and
roots and tubers have to be worked free of the ground.
I have no idea what Brontornis ate, but it is quite incorrect to rule out
herbivorous habits on the basis of a strong jaw apparatus or a large head
International Wildlife Coalition
(currently on vacation in Florida)