Evolution of early birds produced some odd species. It can be hard to imagine the real, three dimensional bird from the often flattened and compressed fossils, but in an interview at the Wired Science blog, Luis Chiappe describes what some early birds might have looked like to time-traveling birders and shows photos of the fossil specimens.
I’m not a big fan of Wired Science’s slideshows–mostly I don’t like to click to move ahead to each picture and description. But in this slideshow in particular, I think they should have also shown reconstructions of the bird taxa to better accompany Chiappe’s descriptions. I found a number of free-use images online of early bird reconstructions. Some of these may not be accurate reconstructions, but they seem to fit the fossils illustrated on the blog post linked above.
Sapeornis chaoyangensis by Peter Gryz, found at BirdWatching.pl.
Rapaxavis pani by Peter Gryz, found at BirdWatching.pl.
Hongshanornis longicresta by unknown artist found at desnaikhsandra.blogspot.com.
Eoenantiornis redrawn by Peter Gryz from Picture Book of Chinese Fossil Birds by Hou (2000), found at birdwatching.pl.
A few more taxa not included in the blog post:
Iberomesornis reconstruction at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid. Photo by José-Manuel Benito Álvarez who placed it in the public domain.