Four distinct and remarkable carrion stork species have evolved with featherless heads for digging deep into carcasses, and specialized beaks suited to specific tasks.
- Profanornis sordicus (3-4 feet tall at the hip). Gruesome-looking birds, the large, flightless Profanornis sordicus is an opportunist feeder, bulk-loading chunks of carrion meat in its distended crop when available, but also actively hunting small reptiles, large insects, unguarded chicks of other birds, or even non-avian dinosaur young. Nesting in scrub, the young hatch precocial, being mobile and perfectly capable of feeding themselves, though they stay with their parents for the first year of their life for protection. Indiscriminate feeders, even other Profanornis sordicus are a potential threat to young individuals (acting cannibalistic), necessitating close parental supervision. Profanornis sordicus have long, curving lower jaws designed for scooping up small prey whole or lifting heavy cover (rocks and logs) to expose invertebrates beneath. The long crests of the males turn a bluish tinge in the breeding season.
- Profanornis spinosus (5-6 feet tall at the hip). The largest of Skull Island’s four carrion storks, Profanornis spinosus is named for the thorny projections on the tip of its bill. It tends to live in and around the rivers that cross the lowland regions. The tooth-like projections on its beak help it catch small bony fish and amphibians, such as Swamp-wings. It also readily eats carrion. Young are dependent upon their parents for the first months after hatching, following them around the shallow waterways and neighboring grasslands as they learn to hunt for themselves. Both males and females sport crests, though these are larger and more colorful in males.
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