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Re: New Zealand's Giant Eagle Showed Rapid Size Gain



Christopher Taylor wrote:

It has also been suggested that the
flightless and deeply weird adzebill (_Aptornis_) may have been a predator.
[snip] The adzebill is a trickier case - like
many an omnivorous bird (such as the ostrich), I guess it may have worked
on a 'swallow first, decide if it was edible later' basis.

_Aptornis_ is deeply weird for other reasons. Like many large island-dwelling birds, the adzebill has proven difficult to pin down phylogenetically. Livezey (1998) put it in the Gruiformes, close to the kagu (_Rhynochetos_), noting that _Aptornis_ was extremely autapomorphic. Earlier, Weber and Hesse (1995) posited that it was close to the Galloanserae.

(Thanks, Chris, for some interesting stuff on NZ birds.)