“Imagine an ostrich with larger, more powerful legs and neck, armed with massive claws,” said Herculano Alvarenga, a terror-bird expert at the Museu de HistÃ³ria Natural in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
“An ostrich, the largest living bird, can swallow an apple. But a phorusrhacid could swallow a medium-sized dog in one gulp,” Alvarenga said.
The smallest known terror bird, Psilopterus lemoinei, was the size of a harpy eagle and weighed about 18 pounds (8 kilograms). The largest terror bird was the gargantuan Brontornis burmeisteri, which stood nearly 10 feet (3 meters) tall and weighed a whopping 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms).