The largest egg on record weighed 2.589kg and was laid by an ostrich in Sweden in 2008. However, one now-extinct bird laid much bigger eggs – the Aepyornis, or elephant bird.

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The largest bird in the world

The fate of the elephant bird is one of Madagascar’s great natural-history riddles. A flightless giant standing 4m tall, this was the biggest bird ever to walk the Earth. It once thrived across the island, but vanished several centuries ago.

No one is sure what caused it to die out, but it was probably ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ – a combination of egg collection by humans (though there is no proof of this), habitat loss and climate change.

Amazingly, remains of elephant bird eggs can still be found on a remote beach at Cap Sainte Marie, the island’s windswept southernmost point. These broken, creamy-white eggshells, each obviously the remains of a huge nest several metres wide, may have lain on this beach for 1,000 years – the last echo of an astonishing animal.


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Main image: Aepyornis © Getty Images

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