elephant bird


: any of a group (genus Aepyornis or order Aepyornithiformes) of gigantic flightless ratite birds known only from remains found in Madagascar

Examples of elephant bird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Few creatures capture the imagination quite like the elephant bird. Jake Parks, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 As settlers expanded their footprint into Madagascar, the elephant bird's habitat began to shrink. Jake Parks, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 The team set out to collect elephant bird eggshells in 2006 from the southern half of Madagascar. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023 Differences between eggshells and skeletal remains The scientists said there are large gaps in the fossil record for Madagascar’s extinct elephant birds. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023 Winner by a Beak Previously, the title of largest-ever bird belonged to another elephant bird species, Vorombe titan, which won the honor thanks to a 2018 study that analyzed elephant bird bones from around the world. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 2 Mar. 2023 But largest of all was the elephant bird Aepyornis maximus, a flightless creature that lived on Madagascar more than a thousand years ago. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Apr. 2023 While several elephant bird species grew to prodigious sizes, Aepyornis maximus was the biggest of all. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Apr. 2023 According to him, scientists haven't been able to figure out why the elephant bird disappeared. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'elephant bird.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elephant bird was circa 1889

Dictionary Entries Near elephant bird

Cite this Entry

“Elephant bird.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elephant%20bird. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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