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Temporal range: Middle Miocene
Skull of Bullockornis planei
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gastornithiformes
Family: Dromornithidae
Genus: Bullockornis
P. Rich, 1979
B. planei
Binomial name
Bullockornis planei
P. Rich, 1979

Bullockornis planei, nicknamed the demon-duck of doom or thunderduck, is an extinct flightless bird that lived in the Middle Miocene, approximately 15 million years ago, in what is now Australia.[1] As traditionally recognized, it was classified in its own genus, but some classify it as a species of Dromornis.

Bullockornis stood approximately 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) tall. It may have weighed up to 250 kg (550 lb). Features of Bullockornis's skull, including a very large beak suited to shearing, have made some researchers consider that the bird may have been carnivorous, but most currently agree that it was an herbivore.[2] The bird's skull is larger than that of small horses.[3]

Some paleontologists, including Peter Murray of the Central Australian Museum, believe that Bullockornis was related to geese and ducks.[citation needed] This, in addition to the bird's tremendous size and earlier misclassification as a carnivore, gave rise to its colourful nickname. It may be somewhat inaccurate, however, as other studies have recovered dromornithids as more closely related to Galliformes.

The bird's generic name is improperly translated as "ox-bird",[3] but was named instead for the type locality for the genus at Bullock Creek, Australia.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Rich, P. (1979)
  2. ^ Peter F. Murray, Patricia Vickers-Rich, Magnificent Mihirungs: The Colossal Flightless Birds of the Australian Dreamtime
  3. ^ a b Ellis, R. (2004)


  • Ellis, R. (2004) No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 102. ISBN 0-06-055804-0.
  • Rich, P. (1979) "The Dromornithidae, an extinct family of large ground birds endemic to Australia". Bureau of National Resources, Geology and Geophysics Bulletin 184: 1–196.

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