Running inland from protective fjords, Three Saints Bay in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska looks like a calm lake on a still day. The refuge is home to a spectacular variety of landscapes and wildlife. With mountains, rivers, tundra, forests, wetlands and coastline, it’s like seeing all of Alaska on a single island. Photo by Robin Corcoran, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The turtle-jawed moa-nalo (Chelychelynechen quassus) was a large flightless goose-like duck from the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. About 90cm tall (3′) and weighing around 7kg (15lbs), these birds and their relatives were descended from dabbling ducks and existed on most of the larger Hawaiian islands for the last 3 million years or so – before going extinct around 1000 years ago following the arrival of Polynesian settlers.
Chelychelynechen had an unusually-shaped bill, tall and broad with vertically-oriented nostrils, convergently similar to the beak of a turtle. It would have occupied the same sort of ecological niche as giant tortoises on other islands, filling the role of large herbivore in the absence of mammals.