Fun Jinfengopteryx Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 29, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Jinfengopteryx facts are about the early birds of pre-historical times.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Scientists from all over the world are of the view that birds somehow evolved from dinosaurs. Believed to be the first avialan bird to have existed in China, Jinfengopteryx elegans is one of the dinosaur species that marks the evolution of birds. In Chinese folklore, it is considered to be the queen of birds, and hence, the dinosaur is referred to as 'Jinfeng' or the 'golden phoenix'. However, this bird-like dinosaur that inhabited the earth about 122 million years ago was first rendered identification as a basal bird, often being contrasted with Archaeopteryx. It was Luis Chiappe who first indicated that the species drew resemblance with the troodontids as the second toe projected a longish claw curved like a sickle. Norell and Xu followed suit, and in 2006 they underscored that the body plan, as well as the dental structure, was also identical to that of troodontids. In 2007, it was classified as the first specimen of a troodontid to exhibit feather impressions like birds.

Read along to know more about this non-avian dinosaur species. Also, don't forget to check out these mind-boggling facts about other dinosaurs like the judiceratops and probactrosaurus.

Jinfengopteryx Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'jinfengopteryx'?

The pronunciation of the non-avian bird goes like 'Jin-feng-op-the-riks'. The term is a combination of the terms 'Jinfeng' and 'feather'. 'Jinfeng' stands for 'golden phoenix' in Chinese. Also, in the Greek language, the word 'πτερυξ' or 'pteryx' translates to 'feather'.

What type of dinosaur was a jinfengopteryx?

Jinfengopteryx was a troodontid that was initially mistaken for birds because of the presence of feathers on the body. It was a small theropod dinosaur that had the appearance and size of a bird. The charismatic appeal of the species is associated with the Chinese term 'Jinfeng' that implies 'golden phoenix'. As per Chinese folklore, it was the queen of birds.

In which geological period did the jinfengopteryx roam the earth?

The species dwelled on this earth in the Early Aptian stage of the Lower Cretaceous epoch more than 120 million years back.

When did the jinfengopteryx become extinct?

Jinfengopteryx elegans inhabited the Chinese territory about 122 million years ago, but the time frame within which the existence of the species was completely erased off still remains to be unraveled.

Where did a jinfengopteryx live?

Skeletal remains of the troodontid extracted from the Huajiying Formation in the northern Hebei Province imply that these dinosaurs inhabited modern-day China.

What was a jinfengopteryx's habitat?

One of the most interesting facts about the species is that it was accustomed to a terrestrial habitat in spite of having feathers. The preserved feather impressions actually threw the scientists off the scent, and as a result, it was previously considered to be the first avialan bird of China, but later discoveries suggested that it wasn't a bird at all but a ground-dwelling dinosaur.

Who did a jinfengopteryx live with?

Jinfengopteryx existed millions of years ago, so its social behavior couldn't be analyzed. There's no concrete evidence to prove whether the dinosaur preferred to remain aloof or dwelled in groups or pairs.

How long did a jinfengopteryx live?

It is pretty difficult to figure out the average lifespan of these troodontids since extensive research is lacking in this field.

How did they reproduce?

Jinfengopteryx, like other dinosaurs, engaged in oviparous reproduction where females laid eggs post-copulation. Specific details related to reproduction such as the clutch size, breeding behavior, and courtship rituals could not be deciphered till now. However, it can be inferred that the young were capable enough to survive on their own right after hatching since they were not showered with parental care post-birth.

Jinfengopteryx Fun Facts

What did a jinfengopteryx look like?

As revealed by the fossilized troodontid specimen, the dinosaur possessed a small-sized body with a robust snout, small forelimbs, and a triangular skull. Originally, the species was considered a basal bird of the Archaeopterygidae family, but it was identified to be a troodontid based on the enlarged claws that projected out of the second toe. The presence of pennaceous feathers could be traced in the fossil remains. However, the hind legs lack flight feathers that make them incapacitated for aerial ventures. Both tail and tail feathers were long like that of Archaeopteryx. According to an analysis made in 2020, the species also projected similarities with other non-avian theropod dinosaurs such as Rahonavis and Microraptor.

Jinfengopteryx facts are about the Chinese queen of birds.

How many bones did a jinfengopteryx have?

The total number of bones that constructed the entire body structure cannot be mentioned with accuracy. However, the well-preserved skeletal remains of this theropod dinosaur known from a single specimen were almost complete. Although feather impressions were found on the slabs, they were not compatible for flight.

How did they communicate?

The primary mode of communication among these troodontids was through vocalizations. It is not known for sure whether they engaged in bodily displays or gestures for interacting with each other.

How big was a jinfengopteryx?

The average length of Jinfengopteryx elegans was about 1.8 ft (55 cm). This implies that the troodontid species was rather small for a dinosaur. It was slightly larger than Archaeopteryx that measured approximately 1.6 ft (48.8 cm) in length.

How fast could a jinfengopteryx move?

Despite the presence of feathers, the small-sized dinosaur was a ground-dwelling one, and it lacked the adaptations required for flight. However, these dinosaurs, much like Tyrannosaurus rex, indulged in bipedal movements utilizing their hind legs. It can be assumed that these dinosaurs were thrifty in their movements. Nevertheless, the accurate speed range of these troodontids is shrouded in the cloud of mystery.

How much did a jinfengopteryx weigh?

Jinfengopteryx elegans was initially thought to be a bird because of the feather impressions preserved on the fossils. The weight of the species was akin to that of a modern-day chicken. Therefore, the approximate weight is somewhere around 1 lb (0.4 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The males and females have not been designated with sex-specific names, so they are simply regarded as male and female dinosaurs, respectively.

What would you call a baby jinfengopteryx?

Although the baby of Jinfengopteryx doesn't have any singular attributions, it can be called a young or hatchling since, like a bird, the babies hatch from eggs.

What did they eat?

The species is considered to be an omnivore, but like all theropods, it also possessed carnivorous inclinations. However, the dietary habits of the dinosaur are debatable because some researchers are of the view that it could have been entirely herbivorous. Impression of oval structures identified as seeds indicates that the species was most probably omnivorous.

How aggressive were they?

The behaviorism of the species towards its own lot as well as others is undetermined.

Did you know...

The fossilized imprints of this first avialan bird of China displayed feather impressions on several parts of the body, including hips, tail, upper hindlimbs, and others. The feathers on the upper legs, hips, and neck were rather short and simple.

Did jinfengopteryx have teeth?

The dental structure of the dinosaur helped in its identification as a troodontid. The tooth crowns were conical, while the teeth were closely packed but not serrated. The maxillary teeth were comparatively curved than those of the premaxillary.

Where was the jinfengopteryx discovered?

The world came to know of the existence of the golden phoenix, aka Jinfengopteryx elegans of the Lower Cretaceous period after its fossilized remains were excavated from the Huajiying Formation site of Hebei Province in China. However, only one specimen, that is, CAGS-IG-04-0801 with an almost complete skeletal framework, could be retrieved from the site.

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 panoplosaurus facts or albalophosaurus facts for kids.

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

Main image by Kumiko

Second image by Matt Martyniuk

Jinfengopteryx Facts

What Did They Prey On?


what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

Approximately 1 lb (0.4 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

Around 1.8 ft (55 cm)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Jinfengopteryx elegans

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial ecosystem

Where Did They Live?

China (Huajiying Formation)
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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