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Apteribis sp. (5212794163).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Threskiornithidae
Subfamily: Threskiornithinae
Genus: Apteribis
Olson & Wetmore, 1976

See text

Apteribis is an extinct genus of flightless birds in the ibis subfamily that was endemic to the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean.


The remains of the small ibises in the genus have only been found on the islands of Maui and Molokai, which formed part of the prehistoric island of Maui Nui until about 200,000 years ago when rising sea levels fragmented it. Olson and James speculate that the genus was endemic to Maui Nui, that the ibises were birds of the forest floor, that because of their flightlessness they were susceptible to becoming trapped in lava tubes, and that they may have exerted heavy predation pressure on Maui Nui’s land snails.[1]


Analysis of the feathers show an affinity to New World ibises of the genus Eudocimus.[2]


Two species have been described:

  • A. glenos Olson & Wetmore, 1976 “Molokai apteribis”
  • A. brevis Olson & James, 1991 “Maui upland apteribis”

Fossil material collected on Maui indicates that a third species apparently occurred there; it was generally larger in size and occurred at lower elevations than A. brevis, and has been referred to as the “Maui lowland apteribis”.[1]



  1. ^ a b Olson & James (1991).
  2. ^ "Fossil feathers from a Hawaiian cave help reveal lineage of extinct, flightless ibis". Smithsonian Science. Smithsonian Institution. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 


  • Olson, Storrs; James, Helen (1991). "Descriptions of Thirty-Two New Species of Birds from the Hawaiian Islands Part I. Non-Passeriformes". Ornithological Monographs. 7. doi:10.2307/40166794. 
  • Godino, F.M.J. (2011). "Maui Upland Apteribis". The Extinction Website. Retrieved 2011-01-07.