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Legendary Man-eating Bird

The native Maori of New Zealand tell of a giant man-eating bird called Te Hokioi. Now scientists have identified a real bird that fits the description. Haast’s Eagle has been extinct for only 500 years, and may be the source of the Maori tales. The bird with up to a four meter wingspan was first discovered in 1870, but until recently was thought to be a scavenger. Recent scans show the bird to be strong enough to kill prey much larger than itself.
"It was certainly capable of swooping down and taking a child," said Paul Scofield, the curator of vertebrate zoology at the Canterbury Museum.

"They had the ability to not only strike with their talons but to close the talons and put them through quite solid objects such as a pelvis. It was designed as a killing machine."

Its main prey would have been moa, flightless birds which grew to as much as 250kg and 2.5 metres tall.

"In some fossil sites, moa bones have been found with signs of eagle predation," Dr Scofield said.

Link -via the Presurfer

(image credit: John Megahan/PLoS Biology)

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Eagles are often overlooked as serious predators. Like owls.

Christophe - I remember that video from a couple years ago. Here's another one... Yikes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAsXtDKdU0Q
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