Named By: Andrew N. Iwaniuk, Storrs L. Olson & Helen F. James - 2009.
Classification: Chordata, Aves, Anseriformes, Anatidae.
Species: T. lippa (type).
Known locations: Hawaii, Kauai, Makauwahi Cave.
Time period: Holocene at least up to about 8000 years ago.
Fossil representation: Partial remains including skull and leg bones.
As far as strange birds go, they don’t come much more bizarre than Talpanas lippa, better known as the Kaua'i mole duck. Discovered on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the Kaua'i mole duck had short legs and a skull which had very small orbital openings, meaning that Kaua'i mole duck would have been nearly if not actually blind. However, the Kaua'i mole duck also had an enhanced nerve structure, leading researchers to consider that the Kaua'i mole duck may have felt its way about while looking for small insects to eat.
- Extraordinary cranial specialization in a new genus of extinct duck (Aves: Anseriformes) from Kauai, Hawaiian Islands. - Zootaxa (Auckland, New Zealand: Magnolia Press) 2296: 47–67. - Andrew N. Iwaniuk, Storrs L. Olson & Helen F. James - 2009.