This object is on permanent display in the Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land exhibit, located on the center island in the Pliocene Epoch.


Terror Bird (Titanis walleri)
Sculpture based on fossils from Citrus & Columbia Co., Florida
Lived ~2.3-1.8 million years ago


Vertebrate Paleontology


The Florida Terror Bird, scientifically Titanis walleri, was first discovered in the Santa Fe River in the early 1960s. Since then we’ve accumulated several dozen bones of the animal, but we’re not able to fully reconstruct its skeleton. Therefore, a sculptor was hired to produce this artistic endeavor, trying to use as much of the real bones as he could to create a lifelike, life-size reconstruction of Titanis walleri. Terror Birds evolved in South America and crossed into North America via the Panamanian land bridge about 5 million years ago. This species is only known from fossils from Texas and Florida.

Richard Hulbert
Collection Manager, Vertebrate Paleontology*
Florida Museum of Natural History

Additional Information

More about: Titanis walleri


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: Always on Display

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

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