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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.

Temporal range: Holocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Grallistrix

Grallistrix auceps
Grallistrix erdmani
Grallistrix geleches
Grallistrix orion

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 in 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 alsoEdit


  • 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 linksEdit