Reconstruction of Pelagornis sandersi
An artist's illustration of Pelagornis sandersi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: †Odontopterygiformes
Family: †Pelagornithidae
Genus: Pelagornis
Lartet, 1857
Type species
Pelagornis miocaenus
Lartet, 1857
Referred species
  • Pelagornis chilensis (Mayr & Rubilar, 2010)
  • Pelagornis mauretanicus (Mourer-Chauviré & Geraads, 2008)
  • Pelagornis miocaenus (Lartet, 1857)
  • Pelagornis sandersi (Ksepka, 2014)

Pelagornis is a widespread genus of the prehistoric pseudotooth birds belonging to the order Odontopterygiformes. Along with multiple other closely related genera, they form the extinct family of Pelagornithidae.


Pelagornis is one of the largest flying birds to have ever existed, with the species P. sandersi having an estimated average wingspan of 6.7 meters (22 feet), making it the largest wingspan of any flying bird yet discovered; nearly twice the wingspan of the snowy albatross, which possesses the largest wingspan of any extant bird. The type species P. miocaenus is also not a small bird, being estimated to have a wingspan of around 5 to 6 meters (16 to 20 feet), making it close to the size of the previous wingspan record-holding avian Argentavis.


Four species have been formally described, but several other named taxa of pseudotooth birds might belong in Pelagornis too. The type species is Pelagornis miocaenus, with more species such as P. mauretanicus,and P. sandersi, as well as P. chilensis. Pelagornis resides within the family Pelagornithidae, a family which includes closely-related pseudotooth birds. Throughout its recent history, Pelagornis has had numerous synonyms, the most famous of which being P. delfortrii. The genus Pseudodontornis is also thought to be synonymous with Pelagornis, however as of now, this cannot be truly proven.

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