Child-sized parrot once lived in New Zealand

Scientists found fossilised bones that belonged to the biggest parrot that ever lived. It was probably as tall as a three-year-old child and weighed around eight kilograms. The researchers found the fossils in New Zealand. They called the new parrot Hercules, a name from Greek mythology. The scientists studied the leg bones and said Hercules was about a metre tall. This is twice the size of all other known parrots. The largest parrot scientists know of is the kakapo. This is a flightless bird that also lives in New Zealand. The kakapo is on the critically endangered species list.

New Zealand is famous for its birds. The kiwi is its national symbol. Scientists say kiwis could become endangered if their environment does not change. Another famous New Zealand bird is the 3.6-metre-tall moa. These flightless birds were the biggest birds that ever lived. They became extinct in the 15th century. Hercules lived about 19 million years ago. It probably ate nuts, fruit and seeds, and even other parrots. A researcher said: "Until now, no one has ever found an extinct giant parrot, anywhere. There are many more unexpected species yet to be discovered."