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Temporal range: Miocene, 15 Ma
Life restoration
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cariamiformes
Family: Phorusrhacidae
Genus: Kelenken
Bertelli et al., 2007
Species: K. guillermoi
Binomial name
Kelenken guillermoi
Bertelli et al., 2007

Kelenken guillermoi is a species of giant flightless predatory birds of the extinct family Phorusrhacidae, or "terror birds".


Kelenken (dark green) compared to other predators.

K. guillermoi lived in the Langhian stage of the Miocene, some 15 million years ago, in Argentina.

With a skull 71.6 cm (28.2 inches) long, it had the largest head of any known bird. It is the largest species of phorusrhacid. The tarsometatarsus is about 43.7 cm (17.2 inches) long.[1]



It is not entirely clear how Kelenken captured and killed its prey. As a large flightless carnivore, Kelenken likely chased down and killed its prey with several bone-shattering blows from its massive beak. Another possibility is that it may have picked up its prey item, then proceeded to shake it vigorously in order to break its back. It is also possible that Kelenken may have also been a scavenger, driving off other predators from their kills with its impressive size.


  1. ^ Bertelli, S.; Chiappe, L. M.; Tambussi, C. (2007). "A new phorusrhacid (Aves: Cariamae) from the middle Miocene of Patagonia, Argentina". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 27 (2): 409. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2007)27[409:ANPACF]2.0.CO;2.