Azhdarchids are characterized by their long legs and extremely long necks, made up of elongated neck vertebrae which are round in cross section. Most species of azhdarchids are still known mainly from their distinctive neck bones and not much else. The few azhdarchids that are known from reasonably good skeletons include Zhejiangopterus and Quetzalcoatlus. Azhdarchids are also distinguished by their relatively large heads and long, spear-like jaws. There are two major types of azhdarchid morphologies: the "blunt-beaked" forms with shorter and deeper bills and the "slender-beaked" forms with longer and thinner jaws.
It had been suggested azhdarchids were skimmers, but further research has cast doubt on this idea, demonstrating that azhdarchids lacked the necessary adaptations for a skim-feeding lifestyle, and that they may have led a more terrestrial existence similar to modern storks and ground hornbills. Most large azhdarchids probably fed on small prey, including hatchling and small dinosaurs; in an unusual modification of the azhdarchid bodyplan, the robust Hatzegopteryx may have tackled larger prey as the apex predator in its ecosystem. In another departure from typical azhdarchid lifestyles, the jaw of Alanqa may possibly be an adaptation to crushing shellfish and other hard foodstuffs.
Azhdarchids are generally medium- to large-sized pterosaurs, with the largest achieving wingspans of 10–12 metres (33–39 ft), but several small-sized species have recently been discovered. Another azhdarchid that is currently unnamed, recently discovered in Transylvania, may be the largest representative of the family thus far discovered. This unnamed specimen (nicknamed "Dracula" by paleontologists), currently on display in the Altmühltal Dinosaur Museum in Bavaria is estimated to have a wingspan of 12–20 m (39–66 ft), although similarities to the contemporary azhdarchid Hatzegopteryx have also been noted.
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