An illustration of the extinct heron Xenerodiops, standing in shallow water with its back turned slightly towards the viewer. It has a thick downward-curving greyish beak, a medium-length neck with white plumage and black markings, and a grey body built like a modern night heron.

Xenerodiops mycter was an unusual heron from the Oligocene (~30 million years ago) of what is now Egypt.

Known only from a partial skull and an arm bone, it’s estimated to have stood around 70cm tall (~2’4″) and was probably fairly similar in overall appearance to modern night herons. Its beak was powerfully built and had a distinctive downwards curve, shaped more like some types of stork than other herons – suggesting it may have had a convergently stork-like lifestyle, slowly walking through its marshy habitat probing around for prey and snapping up whatever its beak came into contact with.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *