Fun Citipati Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Nov 28, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Sep 28, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amazing Citipati facts that everyone will love.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

Citipati osmolskae (meaning funeral pyre lord) was a species of dinosaur, from the genus Citipati, who lived in Asia during the Late Cretaceous period about 71 to 71 million years ago. They belonged to the Djadokhta Formation and were mainly known from the Ukhaa Tolgod locality. The oviraptorids also resided on various trees, nesting among deep forests. At first, their remains were collected in the 1990s, and the name Citipati osmolskae was described in 2001. They are also the best-known oviraptorids and most of the specimens of this genus were related to oviraptors.

The well-preserved specimens of these dinosaurs, when discovered, were found along with other birds in brooding position at an atop nest of their eggs. Citipati oviraptor nesting formed a link between non-avian dinosaurs and birds. This taxon of dinosaurs has been classified as an oviraptorid, a group of bird-like feathered dinosaurs, that also had robust parrot-like jaws. The oviraptorid specimens also preserved nesting specimens and it is quite possible that small Brontosaurus also hatched in the Citipati nest.

To learn more about dinosaurs, you can also visit these Crichtonsaurus and Harpactognathus.

Citipati Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Citipati'?

It is pronounced as 'sit-uh-PAH-tee.' You may also find videos on YouTube to learn the pronunciation of this species of dinosaurs who lived in the Djadokhta Formation, mainly known from the Ukhaa Tolgod locality.

What type of dinosaur was a Citipati?

Citipati osmolskae was a large size oviraptorid, with the specimens discovered as emu-sized animals and their skeletons were the largest and most famous amongst oviraptorosaurs until the Gigantoraptor came into existence. Their fossils are found in the museum of natural history. According to the Citipati dinosaur facts, their first specimen was briefly described by Norell and colleagues in 2001 and when the name was given, Norell and the team decide to refer to this small embryo as a 'new large species from Ukhaa Tolgod.' The second most famous specimen was identified by Clark and the team in 1999 before the naming of Citipati.

In which geological period did the Citipati roam the Earth?

Citipati osmolskae (funeral pyre lord) roamed the Earth 71-75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. Their specimen was collected in the 1990s and were named till 2001 by Norell and Clark and the team.

When did the Citipati become extinct?

Citipati osmolskae (funeral pyre lord) dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago and were recorded in the museum of natural history. If a comparison is made between Citipati osmolskae and oviraptor, they looked very similar. Still, later, the adult Citipati was discovered in a nest, brooding, or sitting, with its arms spread to protect the eggs as birds do.

Where did a Citipati live?

Citipati osmolskae was an oviraptor of the species oviraptorid and mostly lived in Mongolia, and is known from several nearly complete skeletons and these dinosaurs lived around 80 million years ago. Citipati was mainly from Ukhaa Tolgod as per the discovery at the Djadokhta Formation, Gobi Desert, during the Mongolian Academy of Sciences-American Museum of Natural History paleontological project. The name Citipati was named in 2001 and according to vertebrate paleontology, they were nicknamed Big Mama by the press named the New York Times.

What was a Citipati's habitat?

Oviraptors (Citipati) were found in deserts, like the Gobi Desert, which is not so dry compared to other deserts. In the event of rain, water gathered in temporary streams that drained the water to basins and oases, and there were some animals who lived alongside the Citipati which included everyone’s favorite small theropod Velociraptor. Lindsay Kastroll is a volunteer and paleontology student working in the Section of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History who also worked and researched on the skeleton and found the major details about their habitat and appearance.

Who did a Citipati live with?

During the early period, and also in modern times, they were found to be living in a group of four to five dinosaurs and also remained in pairs when brooding and making nests.

How long did a Citipati live?

The average lifespan of non-avian dinosaurs is nearly seven to nine years and these theropod dinosaurs survived on earth in the late cretaceous period.

How did they reproduce?

The reproduction process of this dinosaur was through the embryo-bearing eggs, which were identical to other oviraptorid eggs in shell structure and were found in isolated nests. Norell suggested that the juvenile Troodonts generally raid theCitipati nest or that an adult Byronosaurus had laid eggs in a Citipati nest as an act of nest parasitism. Citipati eggs were about 22 in number in one clutch and in the nests of Citipati. The eggs of the oviraptor are only up to 5.51 in (14 cm) long. These dinosaurs often showed courtship displays to attract their mating partner. In order to evaluate the reason for the elongation and development of wing and tail feathers. W. Scott, in 2014, described the courtship display and nesting pattern of these dinosaurs. It has been noticed that among these dinosaurs, the tail is muscular and had pronounced flexibility, which may have aided in courtship movement. However, details of the incubation and maturation period of their young have not been determined yet.

Citipati Fun Facts

What did a Citipati look like?

The Citipati size is around 9.5 ft (2.9 m) in length and weighs around 165–183 lb (75-83 kg). According to scientific records, Citipati's skull was unusual, short and highly pneumatized, riddled with air-spaced openings, ending in a stout, toothless beak. The dinosaur was a large-bodied oviraptorid and was one of the largest known oviraptorosaurs. They also had a long neck and short tail, compared to the brooding positions of other specimens of Citipati, indicating the presence of large wings and tail feathers and plumage. Many other theropod birds, oviraptorids, and oviraptorosaurs are also known to have been feathered. This dinosaur was taller, with a prominent notch in the front margin. They resemble ostriches and turkey birds.

Citipati resembled birds like turkey.

How many bones did a Citipati have?

The dinosaur had many bones and preserved patterns of the skull. Their bones modification is done based on their skeleton observation done by scientists. It was discovered that they might have bones spread even on their arms. The oviraptorids have bone spread on their head covered with keratin and is seen when they make various positions during nesting and brooding.

How did they communicate?

They make loud noises when mating and hunting.

How big was a Citipati?

Citipati osmolskae body length range was around 114.17 in (290 cm), which was sometimes confused between the oviraptorid who was described as the same as these dinosaurs and belonged to Oviraptoridae animals. The skull is small in size for these birds.

How fast could a Citipati move?

They were speedy dinosaurs and moved faster than other dinosaurs or Oviraptoridae.

How much did a Citipati weigh?

Citipati's weight is about  165.3–183 lb (75–83 kg). This discovery was made in early times by Barsbold, Clark who named the Citipati.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the species of male and female Citipati dinosaurs; therefore, they are called male Citipati and female Citipati.

What would you call a baby Citipati?

The baby Citipati is called chicks or the young Citipati.

What did they eat?

Citipati were omnivore dinosaurs who used to feed on plants, small mammals, animals, and sometimes even on eggs.

How aggressive were they?

They were not so aggressive in modern times but rather in the Late Cretaceous period, which was found out by Barsbold Novacek, Clark, and Norell.

Did you know...

The name Citipati was named by Barsbold Novacek, Clark, Norell in 2001, and they were known for eating their own eggs.

Who discovered Citipati?

In the modern period, discoveries were made about the name and it was identified that their name came from Sanskrit and was known from folklore, Buddhist, and Tibetan monks. Their fossils were found in the forests from the Late Cretaceous period by the Buddhists.

Is a Citipati a carnivore?

No, Citipati is not a carnivore bird. They are omnivore dinosaurs studied in Dinosauria science as they feed on plants as well as small animals and sometimes even on eggs. It was known by the Buddhist monks in the early times in folklore that they sometimes stole eggs and fed on them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Metriorhynchus facts and Homalocephale facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Citipati coloring pages.


Main image by PaleoNeolitic.

Second image by Jordi Payà.

Citipati Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plant, egg, meat

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

22 eggs

What Did They Look Like?

Black and red

How Much Did They Weigh?

165.3–183 lb (75–83 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

114.17 in (290 cm)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Citipati osmolskae

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Ukhaa Tolgod locality and Gobi desert

Where Did They Live?

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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