Drawn and described by Wolphart Harmanszoon during voyage
in 1601-2. First described 1866 by ornithologist Richard
Owen from imperfect skeleton parts (gonys) discovered in
Mare aux Songes the previous year.
Birds were large and were poor fliers (but not flightless)
and consequently heavily hunted.
No skins known in museums but
Note: illustration above from Rothschild's Extinct Birds
(1907) very close to Harmanszoon's drawing in library of
General plumage greyish-blue, striking crest of feathers
rising just above upper mandible; massive head and very
large, broad bill; wings disproportionately short; bill
and feet probably dark grey or black; X-ray analyses of
skeletal remains suggest bill very weak despite size
Length: estimated at least 70 cm (28 ins)
Female probably as male, but smaller, perhaps considerably
Probably flightless; possibly nocturnal; no further information
available. Natural diet: weak bill structure suggests soft
fruits and other soft food. Breeding behaviour: not known,
but probably nested on ground.
Extinct; probably soon after discovery of island by Europeans
in first decades of 17th century; main causes possibly hunting
for food and predation by introduced mammals; Hoffman, writing
in 1680 based on observations in 1673–1675, gave the last
definite reports of the species.