STL Science Center

STL Science Center

29 June 2012

Wading Birds? Waterfowl?

Wading birds and other waterfowl sometimes, not always of course, fall under the general order of anseriformes; notable exceptions being the crane and heron families. Also, in general, long time readers know that I am going to try to hit every dinosaur, or bird, it's still June, with its own week of information until I cannot possibly find a new animal, at which time, I may be about 96. This week, in respect of both waterfowl and my undying urge to dig up whatever I can on even the least popular paleocreatures this earth has hidden away in its rocks, I bring you one of the oldest anseriformes, Presbyornis.
From Wikipedia, the pose is a near mirror image of Scott Hartman's skeletal drawing of Presbyornis.
Presbyornis was thought to be an ancestral flamingo when first found, but over time and studying of the fossils it has come to be considered a rather tall, for what it is related to, duck. Not much larger than your average toddler and certainly small enough to keep as a pet, though modern ducks chasing you through the park may make you think twice, Presbyornis was a waterfowl all the way. Its bill was certainly made for the dabbling that can be seen in ducks, anseriformes, of today. The genus itself consists of two accepted species, P. pervetus (Earliest specimen: Early Eocene) and P. isoni (Earliest specimen: Late Paleocene). Presbyornis is believed to have lived in colonies around the water's edge.


  1. presby is latin for old
    ornis means bird.
    henceforth the name means old bird

    1. Presbys is actually Greek, not Latin, but that is correct.