Scientists discover fossil of world’s largest parrot in New Zealand

Aug 07 , 2019. KYODO NEWS.

(This image shows a reconstruction of the giant parrot Heracles inexpectatus.)
[Illustration courtesy of Brian Choo]

SYDNEY – The Heracles inexpectatus was roughly twice the size of the critically endangered kakapo, a flightless bird also from New Zealand that is the world’s largest living parrot.

Trevor Worthy, associate professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, said in a statement that while New Zealand is well known for its giant birds, including the now-extinct flightless moa, “until now, no one has ever found an extinct giant parrot — anywhere.”

Researcher Mike Archer, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said the ancient bird’s size meant it would have sat higher in the food chain compared to other parrots.

“Heracles, as the largest parrot ever, no doubt, with a massive parrot beak that could crack wide open anything it fancied, may well have dined on more than conventional parrot foods, perhaps even other parrots,” he said.

(This graphic shows a silhouette of the giant parrot Heracles inexpectatus next to an average height person and an Australian magpie.)
[Image courtesy of Paul Scofield]