Fun Nyctosaurus Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Oct 20, 2022 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Sep 29, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
How many fun Nyctosaurus facts do you know about? Check them out here, and brush up on your knowledge!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The Nyctosaurus is one of the many dinosaurs that roamed the earth in the prehistoric era. However, unlike many other dinosaurs, this one could fly! Its wings were quite long. With an adult Nyctosaurus wingspan of 6.6 ft (2 m) and a maximum weight of roughly 4 lb (1.8 kg), it was smaller than Pteranodon. The doubtful species 'N. lamegoi' was estimated to have a wingspan of roughly 13 ft (4 m). This pterosaur's jaws were massive and highly pointed. The jaw points were slender and needle-sharp, and they are frequently broken off within fossil specimens, creating the impression that one jaw is larger than the other, although they were likely equal in length in life. The wing fingers of this pterosaur were also similar to those of its relative Pteranodon. According to the studies, the first, second, and third carpal bones have lost contact with carpus.

If you want to learn more about Nyctosaurus walk, see pictures of the Nyctosaurus walking, and about the Nyctosaurus membrane then just read along! If you are interested in other unique dinosaurs like the Puertasaurus and Hesperosaurus, then just tap on them and take a deep dive into your next prehistoric adventure today!

Nyctosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Nyctosaurus'?

The word Nyctosaurus is pronounced at 'Nick-toe-sore-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Nyctosaurus?

Nyctosaurus (meaning 'bat lizard' or 'night lizard') is a genus of nyctosaurid pterosaurs that lived during the Late Cretaceous.

In which geological period did the Nyctosaurus roam the earth?

Before 85-65 million years ago, N gracilis lived in the Late Cretaceous period of the Niobrara Formation in the mid-western United States of America.

When did the Nyctosaurus become extinct?

The Late Cretaceous period came to an end 66 million years ago. This is usually when it is assumed that the N gracilis with huge crests became extinct.

Where did a Nyctosaurus live?

Othniel Charles Marsh unearthed the first Nyctosaurus fossil (Nyctosaurus skeletal) in the Smoky Hill River dig site (Kansas) in 1876. It has subsequently undergone multiple taxonomic changes revisions, as does almost every organism.

What was a Nyctosaurus's habitat?

Species N pterosaurs, crested specimens, the fossils of which have been located in the Niobrara Formation of North America, which, during the Late Cretaceous era, was engulfed by a large shallow sea. This implies that this dinosaur with an unusual crest was preferred to live along the shores.

Who did a Nyctosaurus live with?

Like all pterosaurs, crested Nyctosaurus with a large crest existed in flocks. The Nyctosaurus crest, like a peacock's tail, was employed for display.

How long did a Nyctosaurus live?

Those early fossils didn't have bizarre crests. Within its first year, infants matured to adulthood. After this stage, it's believed that the head crest began to grow, and adult specimens have a life-span of 10 years or more.

How did they reproduce?

Like all dinosaurs, these crested specimens with an enormous head crest utilized to attract mates were oviparous and breeding by laying eggs.

Nyctosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Nyctosaurus look like?

Some skull specimens had a large crest that stands at least 1.8 ft (0.5 m) tall in elderly individuals and were enormous compared to the rest of the body, measuring nearly triple the length of the head. Two long, notched spars, one directed upward and another backward, rise from a single base jutting up and back from the rear of the head to form the crest. The two spars of the head were approximately equal in length, and each was nearly as long as or larger than the overall length of their body. The upward-pointing crest spar measured at least 1.38 ft (0.4 m) in length, while the backward-pointing spar measured at least 1.05 ft (0.3 m). Thus, the antler-like crest may have been developing throughout the complete adult life.

Leading scientists believed it spent most of its time on the wing and only landed on rare occasions. It would have been hard for it to climb or cling to cliffs and tree trunks due to the lack of claws to grab surfaces.

*We've been unable to source an image of Nyctosaurus and have used a sketch of a herbivorous dinosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Nyctosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did a Nyctosaurus have?

Since there is no accountability for the complete body skeleton of these cretaceous dinosaurs with crests, it is impossible to deduce how many bones they had.

How did they communicate?

Due to a lack of research, its communication skills are unexplored.

How big was a Nyctosaurus?

The Nyctosaurus size (wildlife) was about 14.4 in (36.5 cm).

How fast could a Nyctosaurus move?

Scientists utilized assumptions based on complete specimens to determine the weight and Nyctosaurus wing area and calculate its total wing loading. Then, based on the projected musculature, they calculated the entire available flight power. Finally, using these estimations, they measured the flying speed of Nyctosaurus crestlessas 21.4 mph (34.4 kph).

How much did a Nyctosaurus weigh?

The sleeping Nyctosaurus weight was around 4 lb (1.8 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female of this medium-sized body animal with a unique crest and having average flying speed have no special name.

What would you call a baby Nyctosaurus?

The baby of this pterosaur with only three osseins in the wing finger with a bizarre crest and is related to the Ornithocheiroidea group doesn't have any specific name.

What did they eat?

Nesodden nyctosaurus, having pointing crest spar and lacked teeth, ate fish like all other pterosaurs. They could skim over the swells of the water, gaze nearer to see a fish, and then grab one with a quick snap. Its diet was presumably similar to that of a bald eagle.

How aggressive were they?

This pterosaur, possessing unique pointing spar (upward-pointing and downward-pointing) and large crest but lack of claws, was not very aggressive.

Did you know...

This dinosaur of the cretaceous era with unusual crests has been featured in a prehistoric park. Nyctosaurus is also part of many other series, movies, and games.

There's some debate about whether that divided 'antler' was simply an antler or a sail with a piece of skin running from top to bottom. According to specialists, such a sail would be fragile and worthless for flight. No pterosaurs have any form of skin membrane between their crest spars.

Nyctosaurus, having large crests, seems to be the only pterosaur to be have lost its claw 'fingers', except for the wing-finger, which is thought to have hampered its mobility on the ground.

Nyctosaurus' classification changed in 2003, which is one of the fascinating things about it. Before 2003, this creature was classified as a Pteranodon for over a century. However, when a fresh fossil was discovered that year, the classification was revised. Scientists determined that the fossil had a massive head crest, indicating that the animal was a pterosaur.

What was the Nyctosaurus's wingspan?

Nyctosaurus had wings with a high aspect rate and lower wing loadings, similar to its relative Pteranodon. The wing structure is similar to that of a modern albatross, and it thus flies similarly. Unlike the related Pteranodon, these dinosaurs were significantly smaller, with a wingspan of 6.6 ft (2 m); however, it was still enormous compared to prior pterosaurs.

Who discovered the Nyctosaurus?

Othniel Charles Marsh identified the first Nyctosaurus fossils in 1876, based on fragmented evidence from the Smoky Hill River. Marsh identified the specimen as Pteranodon gracilis, a member of his newly genus Pteranodon. Marsh classed the species with its own genus, Nyctosaurus, which means 'bat lizard' or 'night lizard', about its wing structure, similar to bats. Samuel Wendell Williston presented the complete Nyctosaurus skeleton in 1902, unearthed by H. T. Martin in 1901.

Llewellyn Ivor Price, a Brazilian paleontologist, identified a fragmentary humerus N. lamegoi in 1953. Lamegoi N wingspan is believed to be 13 ft (4 m). Pteranodon nanus (Marsh 1881), 'the dwarf', was renamed Nyctosaurus nanus by Robert Milton Schoch in 1984. Kenneth Jenkins found two Nyctosaurus specimens in the early 2000s, which were the first to show convincingly that this species was crested. The crest in adult specimens was huge and complex.

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 Velociraptor facts, and Tupuxuara facts for kids.

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

Main image by Ryan Somma.

Nyctosaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish and smaller animals

what Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore or Piscivore

Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

4 lb (1.8 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

14.4 in (36.5 cm) Wingspan: 6.6 ft (2 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Nyctosaurus gracilis

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Niobrara Formation

Where Did They Live?

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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