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Temporal range: Early Pliocene - Late Pleistocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cathartiformes (disputed)
Family: Teratornithidae
Genus: Aiolornis
Campbell, Scott & Springer, 1999
Species: A. incredibilis
Binomial name
Aiolornis incredibilis
(Howard, 1952)

Aiornis (a very common lapsus)
Teratornis incredibilis Howard, 1952

Aiolornis incredibilis (formerly Teratornis incredibilis), of the teratorn family, was the largest known North American flight-capable bird, with a wingspan of up to approximately 5 m (16 ft) and a huge, deep, powerful bill. The typical body mass of this bird was estimated to be 23 kg (51 lb), significantly heavier than any extant flying bird.[1] A. incredibilis presumably became extinct at the same time as the other megafauna in North America. It is sometimes called the giant condor because of its resemblance to the modern condors of California and South America, although it is bigger and in a different family. It is not well known but is quite similar to Teratornis merriami, although about 40% larger overall. Fossils have been found from the Early Pliocene to the Late Pleistocene in various locales in the southwestern and western-central part of the USA; it is not certain that all belong to the same species given the large time range and the lack of complete specimens.


  • Campbell, Kenneth E. Jr.; Scott, E. & Springer, K. B. (1999) A new genus for the Incredible Teratorn (Aves: Teratornithidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 89: 169–175. PDF fulltext (File size 128 MB!)
  • Howard, Hildegarde (1952): The prehistoric avifauna of Smith Creek Cave, Nevada, with a description of a new gigantic raptor. Bull. S. Calif. Acad. Sci. 51: 50-54

External links[edit]

  1. ^ [1]