Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Reconstruction of Yixianornis by Scott Reid
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Dinosauria
Family: Songlingornithidae
Genus: Yixianornis
Zhou & Zhang, 2001
Type species
Yixianornis grabaui
Zhou & Zhang, 2001

Yixianornis (“Yixian Bird”) is an Advanced Short-Tailed Avialian from early Cretaceous China. The type species is Y. grabaui.


The Yixianornis holotype, which is the only specimen, has a keel, showing the ability to fly. It had a thin lower jaw filled with peg-like teeth without serrations. The wrist bones of Yixianornis were joined together, unlike the free wrist bones of more primitive birds. The hallux was pointed backwards. The hip and hind limbs of Yixianornis were more primitive compared to the rest of the body.

Yixianornis was around 35 centimeters long, with the tail feathers included, and had a wingspan of about 60 centimeters. Yixianornis weighed between 250 and 300 grams

Yixianornis was close relative of Yanornis and Songlingornis.


Yixianornis was a diurnal bird, due to analysis of its scleral rings. It probably preferred dense forests as habitats, due to having wings that suited maneuverability. With long legs and slender toes, Yixianornis may have been semi aquatic as well.