|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
They are known from fossil and subfossil remains only, and in a few cases may be remembered in folk memory. Such birds are here presented in 2 articles, separated according to the rough date of extinction and the possibility of human influence in their extinction:
- Fossil birds deals with birds from pre-human prehistory, from the earliest Proto-birds to the ancestors of modern species. Famous examples are Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis, Hesperornis, the "terror birds", Osteodontornis, and Argentavis.
- Late Quaternary prehistoric birds are birds which have gone extinct in the last 30-10,000 years or so, and in most cases human activity is at least complicit in their disappearance. Some are known from native tales, others are tentatively suggested to have lasted into the age of written history. These include, for example, a species of mihirung, the moa and Haast's Eagle, and Merriam's Teratorn.