Wellington-A giant parrot that roamed New Zealand about 19 million years ago had a height of 1m (3ft 2in) - more than half the average height of a human, a new study has found.

The remains of the parrot were found near St Bathans in New Zealand’s southern Otago region.

Given its size, the parrot is believed to have been flightless and carnivorous, unlike most birds today.

A study of the bird was published on Tuesday in the journal Biology Letters.

Weighing just over one stone (7kg), the bird would have been two times heavier than the kākāpo, previously the largest known parrot.

“There are no other giant parrots in the world,” Professor Trevor Worthy, a palaeontologist at Flinders University in Australia and lead author of the study, told the BBC. “Finding one is very significant.”

Palaeontologists have dubbed the new species Heracles inexpectatus in recognition of its unusual size and strength.

The bones - initially believed to belong to an eagle or duck - were kept in storage for 11 years until earlier this year, when a team of palaeontologists reanalysed them.

Prof Worthy said one of his students came across the parrot’s bones by chance in his laboratory during a research project.

A graphic showing the size of the giant parrot in comparison to a human Image copyrightPA Media

The parrot’s beak would have been so big, Mike Archer of the University of NSW Palaeontology said, it “could crack wide open anything it fancied”.

The professor told AFP news agency the parrot “may well have dined on more than conventional parrot foods, perhaps even other parrots”.

However, because the parrot had no predators, it is unlikely that it was aggressive, Prof Worthy told the BBC.