Quick Titanis Facts
- Lived from the Pliocene-Early Pleistocene Period
- Lived in North America
- Could run faster than Secretariat
- Was taller than the average Christmas tree
- Weighed almost as much as a panda bear
- Was Carnivorous
Titanis is a large carnivorous bird that was native to North America and lived approximately from 5 to 2 million years ago – from the Pliocene to the Early Pleistocene Period. In 1963, it was described and named by Pierce Brodkorb. This bird’s name is a reference to the Titans – the Ancient Greek gods which preceded the Olympians.
You can tell just how scary this bird was just by looking at Titanis pictures. Images portray it as a large, ostrich-like bird with sharp claws and a huge heavy beak. Which it was. Perhaps it wasn’t as scary as the Elephant Bird, but it is definitely a bird you wouldn’t want to run into.
Titanis was approximately 8 feet tall and weighed around 300 pounds. It stood on two powerful legs which allowed it to run at a speed of about 40 miles per hour. Which is about the same speed as a European hare and almost as fast as a gazelle. This would mean that it would have been impossible to outrun.
One of the most fascinating facts about Titanis is just how they hunted. It is believed they would run up to their prey and grab it with its talons. Then it would break the prey to its beak and hold it while it bashed it repeatedly off of the ground. And then, if it were small enough, it would try to swallow it whole. If it did that, it would then probably just spit out the fur, feathers or bones it ingested.
It is currently unknown why Titanis went extinct. Some people attribute to changing climate conditions and others attribute it to increased competition for resources in North America. Regardless of the reason for it going extinct, one thing is for sure. It’s probably a good thing that it isn’t around people today.