Fun Rahonavis Facts For Kids

Nidhi Sahai
Nov 29, 2022 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Sep 23, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
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Rahonavis facts!

Rahonavis belonged to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and clade Dinosauria. Their scientific name was Rahonavis ostromi.

Rahonavis was a genus of theropods that looked liked birds that existed in the Late Cretaceous period (Maastrichtian, about 70 mya). They used to live in that region which is in present-day called as northwestern Madagascar.

Catherine Forster and her colleagues in the Maevarano Formation rocks at some quarry, which is somewhere near Berivotra, Mahajanga Province, found the partial skeleton of this dinosaur. Rahonavis was a very small predator which was about 2.3 ft (70 cm) long and weighed 1.0-5.0 lb (0.45-2.27 kg).

They had a closely related dinosaur species called 'Archaeopteryx'.

They were very good at repeating the sounds which different animals make and that has been very useful for these creatures in protecting themselves from other dinosaurs or predators. The specimen shows the Rahonavis skeleton as consisting of the hind limbs, trunk, portions of the tail as well as portions of the wing bones and shoulder bones.

Rahonavis skeleton has quill knobs on its ulna (forearm material). It had a typical Velociraptor-like raised sickle claw present on the second toe.

You can get more insight on Austroraptor and Ostafrikasaurus here.

Rahonavis Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Rahonavis'?

The name Rahonavis means "cloud menace bird". The specific name, R.ostromi, was coined in honor of John Ostrom. Hence we can pronounce it as "Rae-hoe-nay-viss". 

What type of dinosaur was a Rahonavis?

It was a flying dinosaur. The specimen recovered of the Rahonavis had a partial axial column that consisted of dorsal, causal vertebrae, cervicodorsal, sacral, and chevrons.

It also had a pelvis, hind limbs, partial forelimb (ulna, scapula, and radius). Rahonavis used to catch its prey by using its shoulder bones and wings. The prey of this bird was usually found from large trees in the forests.

In which geological period did the Rahonavis roam the earth?

Genus Rahonavis' prehistoric appearance was in the Late cretaceous period its geological period was 70 mya in what is now north-west Madagascar in Maevarano formation rocks at a quarry near Berivotra, Mahajanga Province.

When did the Rahonavis become extinct?

The theropod Rahonavis became extinct around 150 million years ago. They had a closely related dinosaur species called 'Archaeopteryx'. These birds had quill knobs on their ulna (forearm material).  

Where did a Rahonavis live?

This bird-like creature lived in the grasslands of northwest Madagascar with a large range as found in Rahonavis fossils. Rahonavis flight was more clumsy in the air, unlike modern birds.

What was a Rahonavis' habitat?

They were omnivores and were found in the grasslands of northwest Madagascar where food like insects, seeds, lizards, were found in abundance.

Who did a Rahonavis live with?

According to the many fossils found of these animals, they had an active social behavior as compared to other types of dinosaurs. The Rahonavis feather was a body feature that helped to protect them from predators.

How long did a Rahonavis live?

According to studies, the overall community of theropods lived for about 100 years, but the exact time range of Rahonavis's lifespan is not known yet. They lived in the geological period of 75-60 million years ago. The specimen shows the Rahonavis skeleton consisted the trunk, hind limbs, few parts of win and shoulder bones as well as a tail.

How did they reproduce?

There is not much information available on the reproduction pattern of the theropods but the pattern of laying their eggs has been found. They used to lay eggs while walking in a linear motion on the grasslands.

They didn't have any nest or a particular territory for that. They laid eggs and didn't diplay any parental care during the growing stage.

Rahonavis Fun Facts

What did a Rahonavis look like?

The Rahonavis dinosaur species was a bird-like creature. It had plumage and could even flap its wings weakly, but could glide from one tree branch to another branch.

It had teeth but a beak was absent unlike a bird, had a long tail as well. They had large eyes and were comparatively smarter than other dinosaurs. The big eyes helped it to see clearly in the dark.

They were almost the size of a hawk but can be called advanced in terms of dinosaurs. The specimen shows the Rahonavis skeleton as consisting of the hind limbs, trunk, portions of the tail as well as portions of the wing and shoulder bones.

The closely related species of Archaeopteryx was one-fifth smaller than the Rahonavis.

How many bones did a Rahonavis have?

These birds had several quill knobs on the forearm region. According to the scientists, the resting skeleton of Rahonavis was that of a dromaeosaurid type. Not much is known from the skeleton of the number of bones nor the Rahonavis fossil.

How did they communicate?

There is not much information available on the communication methods of this dinosaur. Dinosaurs mostly used verbal communication ways to interact with their mates.

How big was a Rahonavis?

The Rahonavis size of clade Theropoda was small at 2.1 ft ( 70 cm). The taxon under which Rahonavis was included, Unenlagiinae, is the sister taxon of the Unenlagia.

The primary predator of Rahonavis, a medium-sized theropod called Majungasaurus used to be 19.7–23.0 ft (6–7 m) long but also can increase its length up to 26.2 ft (8 m). This dinosaur used to present in the forests and shrublands of northwestern Madagascar.

How fast could a Rahonavis move?

The Rahonavis was not very fast in movement but with its forearm bone, it can clumsily climb on trees for its prey, and despite their small size the movements were restricted.

How much did a Rahonavis weigh?

The weight of Rahonavis was very small compared to other theropods of the time at 1-5 lb (0.45kg-2.27 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and the female of this species of birds.

What would you call a baby Rahonavis?

The babies of these dinosaur birds do not have any particular name to get called by. They were called 'baby Rahonavis'.

What did they eat?

Being an omnivore, this creature of the late cretaceous period ate insects, seeds, small lizards, and small mammals. With its wing and shoulder bones, Rahonavis caught its prey as it was mostly found in forests and on trees.

How aggressive were they?

There are not many pieces of evidence of these dinosaur birds showing aggressive behavior. They moved in small groups.

Did you know...

The meaning of its name is "cloud menace bird" comes from Malagasy rahona (RA-hoo-na, "cloud" or "menace") + Latin avis "bird". The scientific name (R. ostromi) which this bird has was given in the honor of John Ostrom.

Could the Rahonavis fly?

Yes, Rahonavis can fly but the flight would have been very clumsy as the structure is not suited for flying. The Rahonavis was not very fast in movement but with its forearm bone.

How was the Rahonavis discovered?

The remains of this dinosaur-bird Rahonavis (R. ostromi) were found from the Maevarano Formation in present-day northwestern Madagascar in the year 1995. A joint expedition led by the University of Antananarivo and SUNY nearby a small village called Berivotra.

Because of the thick grass cover of this region, the fossils found here are difficult to study. While finding the fossils of a bigger dinosaur Titanosaur, the remains of Rahonavis were discovered with the bones of this dinosaur. The closely related species of Archaeopteryx was one-fifth smaller than the Rahonavis.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable facts, check out these Heterodontosaurus facts and Zuniceratops fun facts pages.

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

*The first image is an illustration by Nobu Tamura.

*The second image was taken by Bernard Sandler.

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

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Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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