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Changchengornis hengdaoziensis
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Changchengornis, the Great Wall Bird, was a close relative of the more well known Confuciusornis. It was smaller than Confuciusornis, and lacked some of its relatives more distinctive features, including the characteristic long, straight beak. The beak bore a large hook at the tip, larger than the hook found in C. dui (which was composed only of keratin--here, the hook had bony support). The wings of the Great Wall Bird were also shorter and broader, not the extremely long, pointed, swift-like wings found in Confuciusornis. Like Confuciusornis, it had a pair of elongated ribbon-like tail feathers, though they're incomplete in the only known specimen. Notably, Changchengornis had a huge mass of feathers preserved around its head, interpreted as a a crest or crown similar to the one in Anchiornis and some modern birds.

Changchengornis was probably primarily a ground bird, since it lacked significant perching adaptations, though it had a larger hallux than in Confuciusornis so may have spent more time in the trees. The hooked bill suggests that, like Confuciusornis, it was primarily a fish eater.

Since this is one of the most basal birds to preserve vaned contour feathers all over the body, I took a leap of imagination and gave it some blue structural coloration. Confuciusornis is notable for having feathers that vary in color across the vane, so I threw in some splashes of rufous, as may have been present in its cousin.

References:
* Skeletal from [link]
* Ji, Chiappe and Ji, 1999. A new Late Mesozoic confuciusornithid bird from China. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 19(1), 1-7.
* Chiappe, Ji, Ji and Norell, 1999. Anatomy and systematics of the Confuciusornithidae (Theropoda: Aves) from the Late Mesozoic of Northeastern China. Bulletin of American Museum of Natural History. 242, 1-89.
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Comments (7)
CartoonBen's avatar
CartoonBen|Student Digital Artist
Did you get some influence from the feathers of a paradise bird and a Victoria crowned pigeon? Because that looks absolutely beautiful, MattMart.
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Albertonykus's avatar
Have you been stealth updating these? XD ([link])
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Maybe... :D
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babbletrish's avatar
babbletrish|Professional Traditional Artist
Great reconstruction! Love the sweet face!
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pilsator's avatar
pilsator|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful.
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Albertonykus's avatar
It's got scaly fingers?
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, maybe. Chiappe et al make a point of noting that Confuciusornis never preserves any alular feathers, which, given the sample size, pretty strongly implies digit 1 was unfeathered. In the Changchegornis holotype the digits are all well within the halo of extensive contour feathers, so it's impossible to tell if the condition was the same or not. I went with Caudipteryx style scaly digits to be save.
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