Vangulifer mirandus Olson & James

Kiwi Shovel-billed Finch (Vangulifer mirandus)

The Kiwi Shovel-billed Finch is one of the many bird species that were extirpated by the first humans arriving on the Hawaiian Islands and which are known only by subfossil remains.


The Kiwi Shovel-billed Finch had a very strange beak, it appeared to have been to long and to weak for seed cracking, to deep and to broad for probing, and too short for nectar feeding; it had a very bluntly rounded tip; the ventral surface and the lateral edges of the upper beak were richly supplied with blood vessels and apparently also with nerve endings, a characteristic which is otherwise only known in the Apterygiformes (Kiwis).

The bird obviously used its beak to detect its food, likely living creatures like insects and other invertebrates, in some kind of substrate.



[1] S. L. Olson; H. F. James: Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part II. Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 45: 1-91. 1991


edited: 04.10.2020