Art by Michelle
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Afroaves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Grallistrix

Grallistrix auceps
Grallistrix erdmani
Grallistrix geleches
Grallistrix orion

The stilt-owls (Grallistrix) are a genus of true owls which contains four species, all of which lived on the Hawaiian Islands but are now extinct.

Grallistrix can be loosely translated as "owl on stilts". The genus received this name due to the long legs and presumably terrestrial habits which they evolved in the absence of mammalian predators on their island homes. They fed on smaller birds such as Hawaiian honeycreepers. While they were well able to fly, they may have stalked sleeping birds on foot, or raided seabird colonies at night.

When the islands were settled by humans since the late 1st millennium AD, the owls presumably rapidly succumbed to the depredations of introduced pigs and possibly Polynesian Rats, as well as habitat destruction for agriculture. They were never seen alive by scientists, being known only from subfossil bones.


See also


  • Kay, E. Alison (1994). A Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands: Selected Readings II. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1659-5. 
  • Ziegler, Alan C. (2002). Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2190-4. 

External links

Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.

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