The giant owl and those giant claws

While the giant owl would probably have been unsuitable for falconry, it still would have been amazing to see alive.


When we talk of megafauna we tend to think of the wild and wonderful mammals of the Pleistocene and Pliocene. Megafauna are all the fabulous big and familiar exciting beasts, like mammoths, giant sloths and sabre-tooths, right? Wrong. We don’t automatically think of avian taxa, but we really should as some of them are truly wonderful! Like this chappie here; Ornimegalonyx, the Giant Cuban Owl.

If Hedwig had been an Ornimegalonyx, I suspect Harry would not have had as much grief from Dementors! Standing at over a metre high, with ferocious claws (the Latin name translates as ‘The Bird of the Giant Claws’), this Pleistocene feathered friend was not to be messed with. Ornimegalonyx spp were the biggest owls ever to walk the earth. Remains of these giant flightless birds have been found at rare locations in Cuba. One of these was Sierra de Sumadero, which…

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