Fossil Birds

Fossil birds are rare in the Fossil Record, because their bones are so fragile. Avian fossils begin, in Florida, in the early Miocene Period, 20 Million Years ago. Most have been discovered from the Thomas Farm Site. A ground dove is most commonly found there, but others include anginga, a chachalaca, a hawk, an ancient turkey, ibis, and more.

A large number of skeletons (over 1,600 specimens) have been collected in the late Pliocene Sarasota quarries. They were mostly an extinct species of Cormorant, that may have died from a “Red Tide” kill and then washed-up into a lagoon.

In Marion County, the Reddick fissure-fills yielded over 10,000 late Pleistocene individuals.

Many of them have been discovered from aquatic environments. These include anhingas, auks, boobies, cormorants, cranes, ducks, geese, grebes, and herons.

The Phosphate Mines of Bone Valley have produced a number of avian fossils, as has the Leisey Shell Pits and the Haile Quarries.

Terror Bird

Terror Bird

Other Prehistoric Birds included the incredible Terror Bird, Titanus walleri – a 7ft. tall Giant Flightless Carnivorous Bird.

Many of the ancient avians are still alive today, while others have gone extinct for various reasons.


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