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Du

Although Silviornis is considered to have died out several thousand years ago, reports of a very similar bird persist deep in the New Caledonian mountains.

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Du

Bird

Taxonomy
Geography

New Caledonian cryptid, Melanesian cryptid

Habitat

Rainforest-dwelling, Mountain-dwelling

Descriptors

Flightless bird, Herbivore, Featured in Native folklore, Lazarus taxon

The Du is an unknown flightless bird reported in the tropical rainforests on the island of Grande Terre. Being, the largest island of New Caledonia, at 16,372 square kilometres in size, many species on the island are likely undescribed to this day.


In 1976, The Bulletin of Historical Studies of New Caledonia published a paper by historian Dr. Paul Griscelli, who revealed that, according to oral traditions of the Houailou people of the remote mountainous interior, that there’s a species of unknown bird called the Du. It was large with a long neck and a large beak and had brown feathers. It was slightly shorter than a human, but was very aggressive and had a star-shaped bony casque on its head. Although unable to fly, it could run very swiftly, usually with its wings outstretched. It laid a single egg, which took four months to hatch.


The du's description is identical to the Sylviornis neocaledoniae, a species of 5.6 foot-tall galliform-like bird that lived on New Caledonia as recently as 3,500 years ago. The only major difference between Silviornis and the du is that up to 50% of silviornis remains are juvenile, suggesting they must have laid several eggs, unlike the du, which is said to lay only one.