The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution

Gary W. Kaiser: The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution. UBC Press 2007

*********************

Ich muss gestehen, dass dieses Buch so überhaupt nicht das ist was ich eigentlich erwartet hatte, ich hatte mir nämlich so eine Art „Welcher-Knochen-am-Skelett-heißt-wie-Buch“ vorgestellt.

In diesem Buch geht es aber viel mehr darum wie Vögel funktionieren, und zwar im wahrsten Sinne des Titels – im Inneren, und hierbei sind vor allem die Knochen von Interesse.

Sehr viel mehr kann ich momentan noch nicht sagen/schreiben, weil ich mich noch nicht komplett durch gelesen habe.

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bearbeitet: 27.12.2019

Remiornis

Remiornis heberti Lemoine, ein rätselhafter Ratit aus dem oberen Paläozän, der wahrscheinlich nicht näher mit den heutigen Straußen verwandt war.

Rekonstruktion; oder eher eine Skizze einer Rekonstruktion

Der Vogel ähnelte wohl am ehesten einem plumpen Tinamu und war wohl flugunfähig.

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bearbeitet: 25.12.2019

Fossilrekord der Ordnung Odontopterygiformes

Pelagornithidae

Caspiodontornis kobystanicus Aslanova & Burchak-Abramovich

Cyphornis magnus Cope

Dasornis emuinus (Bowerbank)

Gigantornis eaglesomei Andrews

Macrodontopteryx oweni Harrison & C. A. Walker

Odontopteryx toliapica Owen

Osteodontornis orri Howard

Palaeochenoides mioceanus Shufeldt

Pelagornis miocaenus Lartet
Pelagornis mauretanicus Mourer-Chauviré & Geraads
Pelagornis chilensis Mayr & Rubilar
Pelagornis sandersi Ksepka

Protodontopteryx ruthae Mayr et. al.

Pseudodontornis longidentata Harrison & C. A. Walker
Pseudodontornis longirostris (Spulski)
Pseudodontornis stirtoni Howard & Warter
Pseudodontornis tenuirostris Harrison
Pseudodontornis tshulensis (Averianov, Panteleev, Potapova & Nesov)

Tympanonesiotes wetmorei Hopson

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bearbeitet: 25.12.2019

Fossilrekord der Ordnung Sphenisciformes

Spheniscidae

Anthropodyptes gilli Simpson 

Anthropornis grandis Wiman
Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi Wiman

Aprosdokitos mikrotero Acosta-Hospitaleche et al.

Aptenodytes ridgeni Simpson
Apterodytes ictus Ameghino

Archaeospheniscus lopdelli Marples
Archaeospheniscus lowei Marples
Archaeospheniscus wimani Marples

Arthrodytes andrewsi Ameghino

Crossvallia unienwillia Tambussi et al.
Crossvallia (?) waiparensis Mayr, De Pietri, Love, Mannering & Scofield

Dege hendeyi Simpson

Delphinornis arctowskii Myrcha et al.
Delphinornis larseni Wiman

Duntroonornis parvus Marples

Icadyptes salasi Clarke et al.

Inguza predemersus Simpson

Kaiika maxwelli Fordyce & Thomas

Kairuku grebneffi Ksepka, Fordyce, Ando & Jones
Kairuku waitaki Ksepka, Fordyce, Ando & Jones

Korora oliveri Marples

Kumimanu biceae Mayr et al.

Kupoupou stilwelli Blokland, Reid, Worthy, Tennyson, Clarke & Scofield

Madrynornis mirandus Acosta-Hospitaleche et al.

Marambiornis exilis Myrcha et al.

Marplesornis novaezealandiae Marples

Mesetaornis polaris Myrcha et al.

Muriwaimanu tuatahi Slack et al.

Nucleornis insolitus Simpson

Orthopteryx gigas Wiman

Pachydyptes ponderosus Oliver
Pachydyptes simpsoni Jenkins

Palaeeudyptes antarcticus Huxley
Palaeeudyptes gunnari Wiman
Palaeeudyptes klekowskii Myrcha et al.
Palaeeudyptes marplesi Brodkorb

Paraptenodytes antarcticus Moreno & Mercerat
Paraptenodytes brodkorbi Simpson
Paraptenodytes robustus Ameghino

Perudyptes devriesi Clarke et al.

Platydyptes amiesi Marples
Platydyptes marplesi Simpson
Platydyptes novaezealandiae Oliver

Pseudaptenodytes macraei Simpson
Pseudaptenodytes minor Simpson

Pygoscelis calderensis Acosta-Hospitaleche, Chávez & Fritis
Pygoscelis grandis Walsh & Suarez
Pygoscelis tyreei Simpson

Sequiwaimanu rosieae Mayr et al.

Spheniscidae gen. & sp. ‘Burnside Formation, Neuseeland’

Spheniscus chilensis Emslie & Correa 
Spheniscus megaramphus Stucchi et al.
Spheniscus muizoni Gohlich
Spheniscus urbinai Stucchi

Tonniornis mesetaensis Tambussi et al.
Tonniornis minimum Tambussi et al.

Waimanu manneringi Slack, Jones, Ando, Harrison, Fordyce, Arnason & Penny

Wimanornis seymourensis Simpson

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bearbeitet: 23.12.2019

Fossilrekord der Ordnung Passeriformes

Familie incertae sedis

Certhiops rummeli Manegold

Corvitalusoides grandiculus Boles

Jamna szybiaki Bocheński, Tomek, Bujoczek & Wertz

Kischinskinia scandens Volkova & Zelenkov

Resoviaornis jamrozi Bocheński, Tomek, Wertz & Świdnicka

Sylvosimadaravis janossyi (Kessler et Hír)

Wieslochia weissi Mayr & Manegold

Winnicavis gorskii Bocheński, Tomek, Wertz, Happ, Bujoczek & Świdnicka

Acanthisittidae

Kuiornis indicator Worthy et al.

Acanthizidae

Acanthizidae gen. & sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Acrocephalidae

Acrocephalus major Kessler
Acrocephalus minor Kessler
Acrocephalus kordosi Kessler
Acrocephalus kretzoii Kessler
Acrocephalus sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Hippolais veterior Kessler

Aegithalidae

Aegithalos congruis Kessler
Aegithalos gaspariki Kessler

Alaudidae

Alauda trivadari Kessler

Calandrella gali Kessler

Galerida cserhatensis Kessler & Hír
Galerida pannonica Kessler

Lullula minor Kessler
Lullula minuscula Kessler
Lullula neogradensis Kessler & Hír
Lullula parva Kessler

Melanocorypha minor Kessler

Praealauda hevesensis Kessler & Hír

Artamidae

Kurrartapu johnnguyeni Nguyen et al.

Bombycillidae

Bombycilla brevia Kessler
Bombycilla hamori Kessler & Hír
Bombycilla kubinyii Kessler

Cardinalidae

Passerina sp. ‘Yepómera, Mexiko’

Certhiidae

Certhia immensa Kessler

Cettidae

Cettia janossyi Kessler
Cettia kalmani Kessler

Cinclidae

Cinclus gaspariki Kessler
Cinclus major Kessler & Hír
Cinclus minor Kessler

Cinclosomatidae

Cinclosoma elachum Nguyen, Archer & Hand

Climacteridae

Climacteris sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Cormobates sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Corvidae

Corvus annectens Shufeldt
Corvus harkanyensis
 Kessler
Corvus hungaricus Lambrecht
Corvus pliocaenicus (Portis)
Corvus praecorax Depéret
Corvus shufeldti Sharpe

Henocitta brodkorbi Holman

Miocitta galbraethi Brodkorb

Miocorvus larteti (Milne-Edwards)

Miopica paradoxa Kurotschkin & Sobolew

Pica pica ssp. major Mourer-Chauviré
Pica mourerae Seguí

Protocitta ajax Brodkorb
Protocitta dixi Brodkorb

Pyrrhocorax graculus ssp. vetus Kretzoi

Dasyornithidae

Dasyornis walterbolesi Nguyen

Emberizidae

Emberiza bartkoi Kessler & Hír
Emberiza gaspariki Kessler
Emberiza media Kessler
Emberiza pannonica Kessler
Emberiza parva Kessler
Emberiza polgardiensis Kessler

Pedinorhis stirpsarcana Olson & McKittrick

Plectrophenax veterior Kessler

Estrildidae

Estrildidae gen. & sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Eurylaimidae

Eurylaimidae gen. & sp. ‘Wintersdorf, Deutschland’

Fringillidae

Carduelis kretzoii Kessler
Carduelis lambrechti Kessler
Carduelis medius Kessler
Carduelis parvulus Kessler

Coccothraustes balcanicus Boev
Coccothraustes major Kessler
Coccothraustes simeonovi Boev

Fringilla kormosi Kessler
Fringilla petenyii Kessler

Loxia csarnotanus Kessler
Loxia patevi Boev

Pinicola kubinyii Kessler

Pyrrhula gali Kessler
Pyrrhula minor Kessler

Furnariidae

Pseudoseisuropsis nehuen Noriega
Pseudoseisuropsis cuelloi Claramunt & Rinderknecht
Pseudoseisuropsis wintu Stefanini et al.

Hirundinidae

Delichon major Kessler
Delichon polgardiensis Kessler
Delichon pusillus Kessler

Hirundinidae gen. & sp. ‘Langebaanweg, Südafrika’ (mehrere spp.)

Hirundo aprica Feduccia
Hirundo gracilis Kessler
Hirundo major Kessler

Riparia minor Kessler

Icteridae

Cremaster tytthus (Brodkorb)

Euphagus magnirostris
 (Miller)

Icterus sp.
 ‘Talara, Peru’

Molothrus sp.
 ‘Talara, Peru’

Pandanaris convexa
 (Miller)

Pyelorhamphus molothroides
 (Miller)

Laniidae

Lanius capeki Kessler
Lanius hungaricus Kessler
Lanius intermedius Kessler
Lanius major Kessler
Lantus schreteri Kessler & Hír

Leiotrichidae

Turdoides borealis Jánossy

Locustellidae

Locustella janossyi Kessler
Locustella kordosi Kessler
Locustella mana Kessler

Locustellidae gen. & sp.
 ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Megalurus sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Maluridae

Maluridae gen. & sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Meliphagidae

Meliphagidae gen. & sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’ (mehrere spp.)

Menuridae

Menura tyawanoides Boles

Motacillidae

Anthus antecedens Kessler & Hír
Anthus baranensis Kessler
Anthus hiri Kessler

Motacilla intermedia Kessler
Motacilla minor Kessler
Motacilla robusta Kessler

Muscicapidae

Erithacus horusitzkyi Kessler & Hír
Erithacus minor Kessler

Luscinia denesi Kessler
Luscinia pliocaenica Kessler
Luscinia praeluscinia Kessler & Hír

Monticola pongraczii Kessler

Muscicapa leganyii Kessler & Hír
Muscicapa miklosi
 Kessler
Muscicapa petenyii Kessler

Oenanthe kormosi Kessler
Oenanthe pongraczi Kessler

Phoenicurus baranensis Kessler
Phoenicurus erikai Kessler

Saxicola baranensis Kessler
Saxicola lambrechti Kessler
Saxicola magna Kessler
Saxicola parva Kessler

Neosittidae

Daphoenositta trevorworthyi Nguyen

Oriolidae

Longimornis robustirostrata Boles

Oriolus beremendensis Kessler

Orthonychidae

Orthonyx kaldowinyeri Boles

Palaeoscinidae (?)

Palaeoscinis turdirostris Howard

Paridae

Parus medius Kessler
Parus parvulus Kessler
Parus robustus Kessler

Passerellidae

Ammodramus eurius Brodkorb
Ammodramus hatcheri (Shufeldt)

Passeridae

Passer hiri Kessler
Passer minusculus Kessler
Passer pannonicus Kessler

Petroicidae

Petroicidae gen. & sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australien’

Phylloscopidae

Phylloscopus miocaenicus Kessler & Hír
Phylloscopus pliocaenicus Kessler
Phylloscopus venczeli Kessler

Pomatostomidae

Pomatostomus sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australia’

Prunellidae

Prunella freudenthali Kessler
Prunella kormosi Kessler

Psittacopedidae

Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi Mayr, Ksepka & Grande
Eofringillirostrum parvulum Mayr, Ksepka & Grande

Morsoravis sedilis Bertelli, Lindow, Dyke & Chiappe

Psittacopes lepidus Mayr & Daniels

Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr

Regulidae

Regulus bulgaricus Boev
Regulus pliocaenicus Kessler

Sittidae

Sitta gracilis Kessler
Sitta pusilla Kessler
Sitta senogalliensis Portis
Sitta villanyensis Kessler

Sturnidae

Sturnus baranensis Kessler
Sturnus brevis Kessler
Sturnus kretzoii Kessler & Hír
Sturnus pliocaenicus Kessler

Sylviidae

Sylvia intermedia Kessler
Sylvia pussila Kessler

Tichodromidae

Tichodroma apeki Kessler

Troglodytidae

Troglodytes robustus Kessler

Turdidae

Meridiocichla salotti Louchart

Turdicus minor Kessler & Hír
Turdicus pannonicus Kessler

Turdus major Kessler
Turdus medius Kessler
Turdus minor Kessler
Turdus miocaenicus Kessler
Turdus polgardiensis Kessler

Zygodactylidae

Eozygodactylus americanus Weidig

Primoscens minutus Harrison & Walker

Primozygodactylus ballmanni Mayr
Primozygodactylus danielsi Mayr
Primozygodactylus eunjooae Mayr & Zelenkov
Primozygodactylus longibrachium Mayr
Primozygodactylus major Mayr
Primozygodactylus quintus Mayr

Zygodactylus grandei Smith, DeBee & Clarke
Zygodactylus grivensis Ballmann
Zygodactylus ignotus Ballmann
Zygodactylus luberonensis Mayr
Zygodactylus ochlurus Hieronymus, Waugh & Clarke

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[1] Jeno Kessler; János Hír: The avifauna in North Hungary during the Miocene Part II. Földtani Közlöny 142(2): 149-168. 2012
[2] Nikita V. Zelenkov: The revised avian fauna of Rudabànya (Hungary, Late Miocene). Contribuciones del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturalis “Bernardino Rivadavia” 7: 253-266. 2017

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bearbeitet: 23.12.2019

Paläozän – das ‚verfluchte‘ Zeitalter

Das Paläozän, das ist die Zeitperiode die unmittelbar der Kreidezeit folgt, deren Ende durch das berühmteste Massenaussterben der Erdgeschichte gekennzeichnet ist, jenes Massenaussterben dem auch sämtliche non-avialen Dinosaurier zum Opfer fielen.

***

Nun, was wissen wir über die Vogelwelt dieser Zeitperiode? NICHTS! Nun ja, zumindest recht wenig.
Ich nenne das Paläozän ‚das verfluchte Zeitalter‘ da, wenngleich sehr wohl einige Überreste von Vögeln bekannt sind, so sind diese nahezu immer sehr fragmentarisch, sehr schlecht erhalten und oft genug nicht wirklich aussagekräftig … und, obendrein scheint es nahezu unmöglich zu sein irgendwelche Informationen über diese wenigen Reste zu finden.

Die meisten Vögel, die wir aus dieser Zeitperiode kennen waren wasserbewohnende Arten, as liegt vor allem daran, dass Überreste von Wasservögeln bessere Voraussetzungen zur Fossilisierung haben als Landvögel.

***

So, welche Arten kennen wir denn nun überhaupt? 

Hier eine kleine Aufzählung aller mir bekannten Formen, der Einfachheit halber habe ich sie in alphabetischer Reihenfolge angeordnet.:

Anseriformes (Gänsevögel)

Conflicto antarcticus
 Tambussi et al. 
Naranbulagornis khun Zelenkov
Presbyornis isoni Olson

Cariamaformes (Seriemaartige)

Gradiornis walbeckensis Mayr
Itaboravis elaphrocnemoides Mayr et al.
Paleopsilopterus itaboraiensis Alvarenga
cf. Cariamaformes gen. & sp. ‚Templeuve, Frankreich‘

eine rätselhafte form aus China, Qianshanornis rapax Mayr et al., gehört wohl auch hier her

cf. Charadriformes (Regenpfeiferartige)

drei sehr rätselhafte Formen, die entlang der K/T-Grenze gelebt haben:

Graculavus augustus
 Hope
Palaeotringa littoralis Marsh
Palaeotringa vagans Marsh

Coliiformes (Mausvögel)

Tsidiiyazhi abini Ksepka et al. 

eine bislang nicht beschriebene Form, MNT-11-7952 ‚Menat, Frankreich‘, erscheint mir persönlich ebenfalls sehr mausvogelartig

Gaviiformes (Seetaucher) 

cf. Colymbiculus sp. ‚Templeuve, Frankreich‘

Gastornithiformes (ausgestorbene Familie)

Gastornis russelli Martin
Gastornis sp. ‚Louvois, Frankreich‘, [2016]
Gastornis sp. ‚Maret, Belgien‘

Gruiformes (Kranichvögel) 

Walbeckornis creber Mayr
Wanshuina lii Hou 
cf. Ralloidea gen. & sp. ‚Maret, Belgien‘
cf. Songziidae gen. & sp. ‚Menat, Frankreich‘

Leptosomatiformes (Kurole)

cf. Leptosomatiformes gen. & sp. ‚Templeuve, Frankreich‘

Lithornithiformes (ausgestorbene Familie):

Fissuravis weigelti Mayr
Lithornis celetius Houde 
Lithornithidae gen. & sp. ‚Maret, Belgien‘
Lithornithidae gen. & sp. ‚Templeuve, Frankreich‘

Odontopterygiformes (ausgestorbene Familie)

Pelagornithidae gen. & sp. ‚Templeuve, Frankreich‘

Phaethornithiformes (Tropikvögel)

Lithoptila abdounensis Bourdon, E. et al.
Novacaesareala hungerfordi Parris & Hope 

sowie mindestens eine bislang noch unbeschriebe Form aus Neuseeland

Phoenicopteriformes (Flamingos)

Scaniornis lundgreni Dames 

Piciformes (Spechtvögel)

Eutreptodactylus itaboraiensis Baird & Vickers-Rich (?)

Procellariiformes (Röhrennasen)

Tytthostonyx glauconiticus Olson & Parris (?)

Psittaciformes (Papageienvögel)

Calcardea junnei Gingerich 
Halcyornithidae/Messelasturidae gen. & sp. ‚Menat, Frankreich‘

cf. Rheiformes (Nandus)

Diogenornis fragilis Alvarenga

Sphenisciformes (Pinguine)

Crossvallia unienwillia Tambussi et al.
Kumimanu biceae Mayr
Kupoupou stilwelli Blokland, Reid, Worthy, Tennyson, Clarke & Scofield
Muriwaimanu tuatahi Ando, Jones & Fordyce
Sequiwaimanu rosieae Mayr et al.
Waimanu manneringi Slack, Jones, Ando, Harrison, Fordyce, Arnason & Penny

Strigiformes (Eulenvögel)

Berruornis orbisantiqui Mourer-Chauviré
Ogygoptynx wetmorei Rich & Bohaska

cf. Struthioformes (Strauße)

Remiornis heberti Lemoine

Vegaviiformes (ausgestorbene Familie)

Australornis lovei Mayr & Scofield

***

Zum Schluß folgt noch der seltsamste Vogel in dieser Liste, und einer der am wenigsten bekannten.: 

Qinornis paleocenica Xue aus China scheint ein Überbleibsel der kreidezeitlichen non-Neornithes zu sein und würde damit außerhalb aller noch existierenden Vogelarten stehen, da diese durchweg zu den Neornithes gehören.

***  

Nach einigen Recherchen habe ich herausgefunden das der angebliche Flamingoverwandte Scaniornis lundgreni nur anhand von drei Knochenteilen bekannt ist, die nicht wirklich irgendeiner Vogelgruppe zugeordnet werden können und daher mittlerweile als nomen dubium gelten. 

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Referenzen:

[1] Cécile Mourer-Chauviré; Estelle Bourdon: The Gastornis (Aves, Gastornithidae) from the Late Paleocene of Louvois (Marne, France). Swiss Journal of Palaeontology 135(2): 327-341. 2016
[2] Jacob C. Blokland; Catherine M. Reid; Trevor H. Worthy; Alan J. D. Tennyson; Julia A. Clarke & R. Paul Scofield: Chatham Island Paleocene fossils provide insight into the palaeobiology, evolution, and diversity of early penguins (Aves, Sphenisciformes). Palaeontologia Electronica 22.3.78: 1-92. 2019
[3] Gerald Mayr; Thierry Smith: New Paleocene bird from the North Sea Basin in Belgium and france. Geologica Belgica 22(1-2): 35-46. 2019
[4] Gerald Mayr; Sophie Hervet; Eric Buffetaut: On the diverse and widely ignored Paleocene avifauna of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France): new taxonomic records and unusual soft tissue preservation. Geological Magazine 156(03): 1-13. 2019

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bearbeitet: 23.12.2019

Vogelfüße

Vögel besitzen eine erstaunliche Vielfalt an verschiedensten Fußformen, von denen ich hier die sechs häufigsten vorstellen möchte.

Der Hallux (1. Zeh) besitzt zwei Phalangen, von denen die hintere jedoch meist reduziert und oft mit dem eigentlichen Fußknochen verschmolzen ist. Die restlichen Zehen besitzen jeweils eine ihrer Anordnung am Fuß entsprechende Anzahl an Phalangen, d.h. der 2. Zeh besitzt zwei, der 3. Zeh drei und der 4. Zeh vier Phalangen.

***

Die folgenden Skizzen zeigen jeweils einen rechten Fuß von oben betrachtet.

Anisodactylie – die weitaus häufigste Zehenstellung, mit einem rückwärts gerichteten Hallux und vorwärts gerichtetem ersten, zweiten und dritten Zeh
Tridactylie – Hallux zurückgebildet; z.B. bei den Casuariiformes (Emus/Kasuare) und einigen Arten der Ordnung Charadriiformes (Regenpfeiferartige)
Didactylie – Hallux und zweiter Zeh zurückgebildet; findet sich heutzutage ausschließlich bei den Struthioniformes (Strauße)
Zygodactylie – Hallux und vierter Zeh rückwärts gerichtet; z.B. bei den Piciformes (Spechtvögel) Psittaciformes (Papageien)
Heterodactylie – Hallux und zweiter Zeh rückwärts gerichtet; findet sich (soweit bisher bekannt) nur bei den Trogoniformes (Trogone)
Pamprodactylie – alle Zehen mehr oder weniger vorwärts gerichtet; findet sich bei heutigen Vögeln nur bei den Apodidae/Apodiformes (Segler) und Coliiformes (Mausvögel) und bei diesen beiden Gruppen auch nur fakultativ

Es gibt noch weitere Fußformen, bei diesen handelt es sich aber Varianten der oben abgebildeten Formen (Tridactylie bei gleichzeitiger Zygodactylie bei einigen Spechtarten), so dass ich dieses Thema hier (zumindest momentan) erst einmal nicht weiter vertiefen werde.

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bearbeitet: 22.12.2019

Fossilrekord der Ordnung Pelecaniformes

Ardeidae

Ardea aurelianensis Milne-Edwards
Ardea brunhuberi von Ammon
Ardea effosa von Meyer
Ardea formosa Milne-Edwards
Ardea latipes von Meyer
Ardea lignitum Gibel
Ardea paloccidentalis Shufeldt
Ardea perplexa Milne-Edwards
Ardea piveteaui Brunet
Ardea polkensis Brodkorb

Ardeagradis arborea Autor ?

Egretta subfluvia Becker

Gnotornis aramiellus Wetmore

Matuku otagoense Scofield et al.

Nycticorax fidens Brodkorb 
Nycticorax sp. ‚Fayyum, Ägypten‘

Palaeophoyx columbiana McCoy

Pikaihao bartlei Worthy et al.

„Proardea“ deschutteri Mayr, De Pietri, Scofield & Smith

Proardeola walkeri Harrison

Zeltornis ginsburgi Balouet

Pelecanidae

Pelecanus cadimurka Rich & Van Tets
Pelecanus cautleyi Davies
Pelecanus fraasi Lyddeker
Pelecanus gracilis Milne-Edwards
Pelecanus grandiceps Des Vis
Pelecanus halieus Wetmore
Pelecanus intermedius Fraas
Pelecanus odessanus Widhalm
Pelecanus proavus De Vis
Pelecanus schreiberi Olson
Pelecanus sivalensis Davies
Pelecanus tirarensis Miller

Threskiornithidae

Actiornis anglicus Lydekker

Ajaja chione Emslie

Eudocimus leiseyi Emslie
Eudocimus peruvianus Campbell

Gerandibis pagana (Milne-Edwards)

Geronticus cf. calvus (Boddaert) ‚Gauteng, Südafrika‘

Ibidopodia palustris Milne-Edwards

Milnea gracilis Lydekker

Minggangia changgouensis Hou

Protibis cnemialis Ameghino

Rhynchaeites messelensis Wittich
Rhynchaeites sp. ‚Fur Formation, Dänemark‘
Rhynchaeites tanta (Waterhouse et al.)

Sanshuiornis zhangi Wang, Mayr, Zhang & Zhou

Vadaravis brownae Smith, Grande & Clarke

*********************

bearbeitet: 19.12.2019

Seltsame Kreidezeit-Füße – Teil 2: DIP-V-15105a/b

DIP-V-15105a und DIP-V-15105b sind zwei Bernsteinfossilien, einmal ein fast vollständig erhaltener Fuß und zum anderen Teile eines Flügels, bzw. dessen Federn, beide gehören ziemlich wahrscheinlich zueinander.

DIP-V-15105a/b erreichte die Größe eines Kolibris, genauer gesagt eines winzigen Kolibris.

Der Fuß (es ist der rechte Fuß) ist interessanterweise bis fast zu den Zehen befiedert, wobei sich hier sogar zwei verschiedene Federformen finden, etwas längere, offenbar bräunlich gefärbte, dicht stehende Federn auf der Fußoberseite sowie vereinzelte, winzige borstenartige Federchen auf den eigentlichen Zehen selbst. 

Dem Fußbau nach zu urteilen war dieser Vogel einem heutigen Baumläufer oder Kleiber vergleichbar, lebte also in den Wipfeln der Bäume und hielt sich bevorzugt an den größeren Ästen und den Stämmen auf wo er auf der Suche nach Insektenbeute schließlich mit dem Fuß in ausgetretenem Baumharz kleben blieb und so einen grausigen Tod fand.  

*********************  

Referenzen:

[1] Lida Xing; Ryan C. McKellar; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Ming Bai; Kuowei Tseng; Luis M. Chiappe: A fully feathered enantiornithine foot and wing fragment preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. Scientific Reports 9(129): 1-9. 2019

Rekonstruktion des Fußes; ich habe die Federn in der vermutlichen Originalfarbe wiedergegeben
Rekonstruktion des gesamten Vogels; hier wohlgemerkt in etwa in Lebensgröße – Gummibärchen zum Größenvergleich
meine letzte Rekonstruktion; wenn die Proportionen stimmen erreichte dieses ‚Ding‘ die gigantische Größe von 4 cm, VIER ZENTIMETER!!!

leider habe ich gerade kein Gummibärchen zur Hand ….

*********************  

bearbeitet: 13.07.2019; 13.12.2019; 15.12.2019

Fossilrekord der Ordnung Anseriformes

Family incertae sedis

Conflicto antarcticus Tambussi et al.

Eoneornis australis Ameghino

Eutelornis patagonicus Ameghino

Kookne yeutensis Novas et. al. (?)

Naranbulagornis khun Zelenkov

„Oxyura“ doksana Mlíkovský

Palaeopapia eous Harrison & Walker
Palaeopapia hamstaeadiensis Harrison & Walker

Paracygnopterus scotti Harrison & Walker

Paranyroca magna Miller & Compton

Petropluvialis simplex Harrison & Walker

Anatidae

Afrocygnus chauvireae Louchart, Vignaud, Likius, Mackaye & Brunet

Aix praeclara Zelenkoy & Kurochkin

Aldabranas cabri Harrison & Walker

Aminornis excavatus Ameghino

Anabernicula gracilenta Ross
Anabernicula oregonensis Howard

Anas amotape Campbell
Anas apscheronica Burchak-Abramovich
Anas basaltica Bayer
Anas crassa Milne-Edwards
Anas isarensis Lambrecht
Anas itchtucknee McCoy
Anas kurochkini Zelenkov & Panteleyev
Anas luederitzensis Lambrecht
Anas macroptera Milne-Edwards
Anas meyeri Milne-Edwards
Anas pachyscelus Wetmore
Anas risgoviensis von Ammon
Anas robusta Milne-Edwards
Anas sanctaehelenae Campbell
Anas schneideri Emslie
Anas skalicensis Bayer
Anas soporata Kurochkin
Anas talarae Campbell

Ankonetta larriestrai Cenizo & Agnolín

Anser arenosus Bickart
Anser arizonae Bickart
Anser atavus Fraas
Anser azerbaidzhanicus Serebrovskii
Anser cygniformis Fraas
Anser devjatkini Kuročkin
Anser eldaricus Burchak-Abramovich & Gadzyev
Anser oeningensis (Meyer)
Anser pratensis (Short)
Anser pressus (Brodkorb)
Anser tchikoicus Kuročkin
Anser thompsoni Martin & Mengel
Anser thraceiensis Burchak-Abramovich & Nikolov

Anserobranta robusta (Milne-Edwards)
Anserobranta tarabukinii (Kurochkin & Ganea)

Archaeocycnus lacustris De Vis

Australotadorna alecwilsoni Worthy

Aythya denesi (Kessler)

Branta dickeyi Miller
Branta esmeralda (Burt)
Branta howardae Miller
Branta hypsibata (Cope)
Branta propinqua Shufeldt
Branta thessaliensis Boev & Koufos
Branta woolfendeni Bickart

Cayaoa bruneti Tonni

Chendytes milleri Howard

Chenoanas asiatica Zelenkov et al.
Chenoanas deserta Zelenkov
Chenoanas sansaniensis (Milne-Edwards)

Chenopis nanus De Vis

Cygnavus formosus Kurochkin
Cygnavus senckenbergi Lambrecht

Cygnopterus affinis (Van Beneden)

Cygnus atavus (Fraas)
Cygnus csakvarensis Lambrecht
Cygnus equitum Bate
Cygnus falconeri Parker
Cygnus hibbardi Brodkorb
Cygnus lacustris (De Vis)
Cygnus liskunae (Kuročkin)
Cygnus mariae Bickart
Cygnus paloregonus Cope
Cygnus pristinus Kurochkin
Cygnus sp. ‘Dursunlu, Turkey’
Cygnus verae Boev

Dendrochen robusta Miller

Dunstanetta johnstoneorum Worthy, Tennyson, Jones, McNamara & Douglas

Eonessa anaticula Wetmore

Eremochen russelli Brodkorb

Garganornis ballmanni H. J. M. Meyer

Guguschia nailiae Aslanova & Burczak-Abramovicz

Loxornis clivus Ameghino

Manuherikia douglasi Worthy, Tennyson, Hand & Scofield
Manuherikia lacustrina Worthy, Tennyson, Jones, McNamara & Douglas
Manuherikia minuta Worthy, Tennyson, Jones, McNamara & Douglas

Matanas enrighti Worthy, Tennyson, Jones, McNamara & Douglas

Megalodytes morejohni Howard

Mergellus mochanovi Zelenkov & Kurochkin

Mionetta blanchardi (Milne-Edwards)
Mionetta consobrina (Milne-Edwards)
Mionetta eversa (Wetmore)
Mionetta natator (Milne-Edwards)

Miotadorna sanctibathansi Worthy, Tennyson, Jones, McNamara & Douglas

Nettapus anatoides Depéret

Nogusunna conflictoides Zelenkov

Oxyura bessomi Howard
Oxyura hulberti Emslie
Oxyura zapatanima Alvarez

Pinpanetta fromensis Worthy
Pinpanetta tedfordi Worthy
Pinpanetta vickersrichae Worthy

Protomelanitta bakeri Stidham & Zelenkov
Protomelanitta gracilis Zelenkov

Romainvillia kazakhstanensis Zelenkov
Romainvillia stehlini
 Ledebinsky

Saintandrea chenoides Mayr & De Pietri

Sharganetta mongolica Zelenkov

Sinanas diatomas Yeh

Telornis impressus Ameghino

Tirarinetta kanuka Worthy

Anhimidae

Chaunoides antiquus Alvarenga

Anseranatidae

Anatalavix oxfordi Olson
Anatalavis rex (Shufeldt)

Anserpica kiliani Mourer-Chauviré

Eoanseranas handae Worthy & Scanlon

Brontornithidae

Brontornis burmeisteri Moreno & Mercerat

Presbyornithidae

Haedonornis hantoniensis Harrison & Walker

Presbyornis isoni Olson
Presbyornis mongoliensis Kurochkin & Dyke
Presbyornis pervetus Wetmore
Presbyornis recurvirostrus Hardy

Telmabates antiquus Howard
Telmabates howardae Cracraft

Teviornis gobiensis Kurochkin et al.

Wilaru prideauxi De Pietri et al.
Wilaru tedfordi Boles et al.

Zhylgaia aestiflua Nessov

*********************

bearbeitet: 15.12.2019

Fossilrekord der Ordnung Charadriiformes

Family incertae sedis

Becassius charadriioides De Pietri & Mayr

Cherevychnavis umanskae Bochenski, Wertz, Tomek, & Gorobets

Chionoides australiensis De Pietri et al.

Elorius limosoides De Pietri & Mayr
Elorius paludicola Milne-Edwards

Hakawai melvillei De Pietri, Scofiled, Tennyson, Hand & Worthy

Jiliniornis huadianensis Hou & Ericson

Neilus sansomae De Pietri et al.

Palintropus retusus (Marsh)

Parvelorius calidris De Pietri & Mayr
Parvelorius gracilis (Milne-Edwards)

Scandiavis mikkelseni Bertelli, Lindow, Dyke & Mayr

Scolopacimilis lartetianus (Milne-Edwards)
Scolopacimilis sp. ‚Saint-Gerand-le-Puy, Frankreich‘

Sternalara milneedwardsi De Pietri et al.
Sternalara minuta De Pietri et al.

“Totanus” teruelensis Villata

Vanolimicola longihallucis Mayr

Alcidae/Pan-Alcidae

Aethia barnesi Smith
Aethia rossmoori Howard
Aethia storei Smith

Alca ausonia Portis
Alca carolinensis Smith & Clarke
Alca grandis Brodkorb
Alca minor Smith & Clarke
Alca olsoni Smith & Clarke
Alca stewarti Martin et al.

Alcodes ulnulus Howard

Brachyramphus dunkeli Chandler
Brachyramphus pliocenum Howard

Cepphus olsoni Howard

Cerorhinca dubia Miller
Cerorhinca minor Howard
Cerorhinca reai Chandler

Divisulcus demerei Smith

Fratercula dowi Guthrie et al.

Hydrotherikornis oregonus Miller

Mancalla californiensis Lucas
Mancalla cedrosensis Howard
“Mancalla” diegensis Miller
“Mancalla” emlongi Olson
Mancalla lucasi Smith
“Mancalla” milleri Howard
Mancalla vegrandis Smith

Miocepphus blowi Wijnker & Olson
Miocepphus bohaskai Wijnker & Olson
Miocepphus mcclungi Wetmore
Miocepphus mergulellus Wijnker & Olson

Miomancalla howardi (Smith)
Miomancalla wetmorei (Howard)

Praemancalla lagunensis Howard

Pseudocepphus teres Wijnker & Olson

Synthliboramphus rineyi Chandler

Uria affinis Marsh
Uria brodkorbi Howard
Uria paleohesperis Howard
Uria troile Lydekker

Burhinidae

Burhinus lucorum Bickart

Genucrassum bransatensis De Pietri & Scofield

Charadriidae

Charadrius lambrechti Kessler

Vanellus liffyae De Pietri, Scofield, Prideaux & Worthy

Cimolopterygidae (?)

Ceramornis major Brodkorb

Cimolopteryx maxima Brodkorb
Cimolopteryx rara Marsh

Lamarqueavis australis Agnolin
Lamarqueavis minima (Brodkorb)
Lamarqueavis petra (Hope)

Glareolidae

Becassius charadriioides De Pietri, Mayr & Scofield

Boutersemia belgica Mayr & Smith
Boutersemia parvula Mayr & Smith

“Gallinago” veterior Jánossy

Glareola neogena Ballmann

Mioglareola dolnicensis (Švec)
Mioglareola gregaria Ballmann

Paractiornis perpusillus Wetmore

Pinguinus alfrednewtoni Olson

Graculavidae (?)

Dakotornis cooperi Erickson

Graculavus augustus Hope
Graculavus velox (Marsh)

Palaeotringa littoralis Marsh
Palaeotringa vagans Marsh

Scaniornis lundgreni Dames

Telmatornis priscus Marsh

Zhylgaia aestiflua Nesov

Haematopodidae

Haematopus sulcatus (Brodkorb)

Jacanidae

Jacana farrandi Olson

Janipes nymphaeobates Rasmussen et al.

Nupharanassa bulotorum Rasmussen et al.
Nupharanassa tolutaria Rasmussen et al.

Laornithidae (?)

Laornis edvardsianus Marsh

Laricolidae

Laricola desnoyersii (Milne-Edwards)
Laricola elegans (Milne-Edwards)
Laricola intermedia De Pietri et al.
Laricola robusta De Pietri et al.
Laricola totanoides (Milne-Edwards)

Laridae

Larus dolnicensis Švec
Larus elmorei Brodkorb
Larus lacus Emslie
Larus perpetuus Emslie
Larus pristinus Shufeldt
Larus oregonus Shufeldt
Larus robustus Shufeldt

Pedionomidae

Oligonomus milleri De Pietri, Camens & Worthy

Recurvirostridae

Fluviatilavis antunesi Harrison

Himantopus brevipes Milne-Edwards

Rostratulidae

Rostratula minator Olson & Eller

Scolopacidae

Bartramia umatilla Brodkorb

Calidris binagadensis Serebrovsky
Calidris janossyi Kessler
Calidris pacis Brodkorb

Erolia penepusilla Brodkorb

Ereunetes rayi Brodkorb

Gallinago veterior Jánossy

Micropalama chapmani Campbell
Micropalama hesternus Wetmore

Scolopax baranensis Jánossy
Scolopax carmesinae Seguí

Stercorariidae

Stercorarius shufeldti Howard

Thinocoridae

Thinocorus koepckae Campbell

Turnipacidae

Cerestenia pulchrapenna Mayr

Turnipax dissipata Mayr
Turnipax oechslerorum Mayr & Knopf

*********************

bearbeitet: 15.12.2019

Seltsame Kreidezeit-Füße – Teil 4: YLSNHM01001

YLSNHM01001 ist ein winziges Bernsteinfossil (ca. 2,5 x 1,8 cm), das Teile eines Vogelfußes bzw. Reste der Haut die diesen Fuß einst umgab, inklusive einer der Fußkrallen sowie Teile der Schwanzfedern umfasst.

Trotz der schlechten Erhaltung steht fest, dass es sich hierbei um einen enantiornithiden Vogel handelt sowie ebenfalls um eine bislang unbekannte Art.

Der Fuß (inklusive der Krallen) hat eine Länge von ca. 1,5 cm. Der vierte Zeh des Fußes ist in seinem Umfang etwa doppelt so groß wie die übrigen Zehen, so weit diese zu erkennen sind. Er erscheint auffällig geschwollen, und eventuell litt dieser Vogel an einer Infektion dieses Zehs. Es ist aber auch möglich, dass es sich hierbei um Verwesungsspuren handelt, worauf auch zahlreiche warzenartig aussehende Blasen hindeuten, die sich entlang der erhaltenen Hautpartien erkennen lassen.

Der Gesamtbau des Fußes lässt darauf schließen, dass YLSNHM01001 ein kleiner insektenfangender Miniaturraubvogel gewesen sein dürfte. [1]

*********************

Referenzen: 

[1] Lida Xing; Ryan C. McKellar; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Kecheng Niu: A mid-Cretaceous enantiornithine foot and tail feather preserved in amber. Scientific Reports 9 (1): 1–8. 2019

YLSNHM01001
Rekonstruktion des Fußes; links: linker Fuß von der linken Körperseite betrachtet, rechts: rechter Fuß von oben betrachtet
Rekonstruktion des gesamten Vogels; er erreicht hier eine Gesamtlänge von ca 22 cm, ist also gar nicht so winzig wie ich ursprünglich gedacht hatte

an den Füßen und den Schwanzfedern muss ich noch mal arbeiten …

*********************

bearbeitet: 13.12.2019

SDSM 64281

SDSM 64281, also known as „Ornithurine C“ is mentioned in a study from 2011 that deals with the extinction of several bird clades at the end of the Cretaceous. [1]

This form is apparently known from at least one fragmented coracoid and comes from a bird that in life must have had a weight of about 3 kg. Unfortunatley the study fails to inform if this form is known from only the aforementioned single coracoid, and if not, if its remains were recovered only from the earliest Paleocene layers or if they were also recovered from the lates Cretaceous layers as it is the case with all other bird remains in the study.:

One of these species, Ornithurine C, is [also or only?] known from the Paleocene and therefore represents the only Maastrichtian bird known to cross the K–Pg boundary.“ 

***

Apparently, this species is known from at least four coracoids or remains of such, and they are named as  „SDSM 64281A“, „SDSM 64281B“, „UCMP 175251“, and  „MOR 2918“ and most are indeed of Late Cretaceous age, but just not all of them.

According to the authors this species might be identical with a species that was named as Graculavus augustus Hope, a bird that apparently belongs to the Charadriiformes but was very much unlike any of the charadriiform birds living today, in life it may have appeared like some kind of giant stone-curlew aka. thick-knee. [2]

*********************

References:

[1] Nicholas R. Longrich; Tim Tokaryk; Daniel J. Field: Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. PNAS 108 (37) 15253-15257. 2011 
[2] Nicholas R. Longrich; Tim Tokaryk; Daniel J. Field: Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. PNAS 108 (37) 15253-15257. 2011. Supplementary Information

*********************

edited: 09.12.2019

Te Puia o Whakaari

Today the volcano Te Puia o Whakaari, aka. White Islands has erupted – up to now at least five tourists have died there.

I have one question:

White Island does not harbor an active volcano, it is an active volcano, if you stay there and something happens, you find yourself captured in a deadly trap! So, why would anyone with a clear mind set even a single foot on this active volcano?

Fossil record of the Accipitriformes

Accipitridae

Anchigyps voorhiesi Zhang, Feduccia & James

Apatosagittarius terrenus Feduccia & Voorhies

Garganoaetus freudenthali Ballmann
Garganoaetus murivorus Ballmann

Gyps bochenskii Boev
Gyps melitensis Lydekker

Neogyps errans Miller

Neophrontops americanus Miller
Neophrontops slaughteri Feduccia
Neophrontops vallecitoensis Howard
Neophrontops vetustus Wetmore

Horusornithidae

Horusornis vianeyliaudae Mourer-Chauviré

Pandionidae

Pandion homalopteron Warter
Pandion lovensis Becker
Pandion pannonicus Kessler

Pandionidae gen. & sp. ‚Bad Münster am Stein, Germany‘

Sagittariidae

Amanuensis pickfordi Mourer-Chauviré

Pelargopappus magnus Milne-Edwards

*********************

edited: 09.12.2019

Fossil record of the Opisthocomiformes

Opisthocomidae

Hoazinavis lacustris Mayr et al.

Hoazinoides magdalenae Miller

Namibiavis senutae Mourer-Chauviré

Protoazin parisiensis Mayr & De Pietri

*********************

edited: 09.12.2019

Elal’s Mountain Swan – Kookne yeutensis

This new bird has recently been reported from Argentinia, and its name apparently is taken from the Aonikenk language, which is or was spoken by the Mapuche of southern Argentinia and its translation is given in the title.

***

The new genus and species is known so far from a single bone, an incomplete right coracoid, whose „combination of characters strongly suggests anseriform affinities“.

That means that this species obvioulsy was an anseriform, some duck- or goose-like bird, more or less similar to other Late Cretaceous or Early Paleocene species.

Let’s see if there will be more remains to be discovered in the future.

*********************

References:

[1] Fernando. E. Novas; Federico. L. Agnolin; Sebastián Rozadilla; Alexis M. Aranciaga-Rolando; Federico Brisson-Egli; Matias J. Motta; Mauricio Cerroni; Martín D. Ezcurra; Agustín G. Martinelli; Julia S. d ́Angelo; Gerardo Alvarez-Herrera; Adriel R. Gentil; Sergio Bogan; Nicolás R. Chimento; Jordi A. García-Marasà; Gastón Lo Coco; Sergio E. Miquel; Fátima F. Brito; Ezequiel I. Vera; Valeria S. Perez Loinaze; Mariela S. Fernández & Leonardo Salgado: Paleontological discoveries in the Chorrillo Formation (upper Campanian-lower Maastrichtian, Upper Cretaceous), Santa Cruz Province, Patagonia, Argentina. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, n. s. 21(2): 217-293. 2019

*********************

edited: 07.12.2019

Fossil record of the Eoenantiornithiformes

Family incertae sedis 

Cruralispennia multidonta Wang, O’Connor, Pan & Zhou

Eocathyornis walkeri Zhou

Eoenantiornis buhleri Hou, Zhou & Feduccia

Fortunguavis xiaotaizicus Wang, O’Connor & Zhou

Bohaiornithidae

Bohaiornis guoi Hu, Li, Hou & Xu 

Parabohaiornis martini Wang, Zhou, O’Connor & Zelenkov

Longusunguis kurochkini Wang, Zhou, O’Connor & Zelenkov

Shenqiornis mengi Wang, O’Connor, Zhao, Chiappe, Gao & Cheng

Sulcavis geeorum O’Connor, Zhang, Chiappe, Meng, Quanguo & Di

Zhouornis hani Zhang, Chiappe, Han & Chinsamy

Cathayornithidae

Cathayornis yandica Zhou, Jin & Zhang

Houornis caudatus (Hou)

Noguerornis gonzalezi Lasaca-Ruiz

Sinornis santensis Sereno & Rao (?)

Vascornis hebeiensis Zhang, Ericson & Zhou

Longipterygidae

Bolouchia zhengi Zhou 

Longipteryx chaoyangensis Zhang, Zhou, Hou & Gu 

Longirostravis hani Hou, Chiappe, Zhang, Chuong

Rapaxavis pani Morschhauser, Varricchio, Gao, Liu, Wang, Cheng & Meng

Shanweiniao cooperorum O’Connor, Gao & Chiappe 

Shengjingornis yangi  Li, Wang, Zhang & Hou

*********************

edited: 07.12.2019

FMNH PA789

This is a small bird from the Eocene of Wyoming, USA, it was only about 10 cm long and is so far known from a complete skeleton with most of the feathers preserved as well.

The bird is not yet described but is apparently currently under study, it may turn out to be related to Morsoravis sedilis Bertelli, Lindow, Dyke & Chiappe, and to belong into a new family, probably named the Morsorornithidae or alike, which then again are perhaps somehow related to the mousebird/parrot/songbird ‘orbit’.

The reconstruction shows it while somewhat stretching its left wing, it was ‘fun’ to draw all this wing feathers, and I probably will do that NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!   😉

*********************

*********************

A little update here:

This bird is now apparently included into the genus Morsoravis. [2]

*********************

References:

[1] Lance Grande: The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time. University of Chicago Press 2013
[2] Daniel T. Ksepka; Lance Grande; Gerald Mayr: Oldest finch-beaked birds reveal parallel ecological radiations in the earliest evolution of passerines. Current Evolution 29(4): 657-663. 2019

*********************

edited: 23.01.2018; 07.12.2019

Fossil record of the Avisauriformes (?)

Avisauridae

Avisaurus archibaldi Brett-Surman & Paul

Bauxitornis mindszentyae Dyke & Ősi

Concornis lacustris Sanz & Buscalioni

Enantiophoenix electrophyla Cau & Arduini

Gettya gloriae (Varrichio and Chiappe)

Halimornis thompsoni Chiappe, Lamb & Ericson

Intiornis inexpectatus Novas et al.

Mirarce eatoni Atterholt et al.

Neuquenornis volans Chiappe & Calvo

Soroavisaurus australis Chiappe

*********************

edited: 06.12.2019

***

Note that this order may not be valid.

Fossil record of the Pengornithiformes (?)

Pengornithidae

Chiappeavis magnapremaxillo O’Connor et al.

Eopengornis martini Wang et al.

Parapengornis eurycaudatus Hu et. al.

Pengornis houi Zhou, Clarke, & Zhang

*********************

edited: 04.12.2019

***

Note that this order may not be valid.

A very snappy bird with strange trousers – Cruralispennia multidonta Wang et al.

This tiny thing could be called the „Cretaceous Nicobar Pigeon“, it had somewhat elongated neck feathers, the typical short tail, or rather a not-a-tail-at-all tail so typical for many of those strange Cretaceous enantiornithine birds that we now already know.

The strange-feathered creature comes from China, where it lived some 130 Million years ago in the late Early Cretaceous.

The genus name refers to its crural feathers (bird trousers) which are actually found in many birds, but here they are shaped like nothing ever seen before, maybe like a thin sheet of ceratin with a chewed end, or brush-like end, not at all like a feather. The species name again refers to its multi-toothed beak.

*********************

a sketch of which I hope that I can produce a painting from some day ….

The bird reached a size of about 10 to maybe 11 or 12 cm when fully grown. The body feathers appear to have been more hair- than feather-like, and they may have been dark, while those on its neck were somewhat elongated and apparently were even glossy [1] … why not. 

***

Unfortunatly I could not find any plant species from the same place and time.

*********************

References:

[1] Min Wang; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Yanhong Pan; Zhonghe Zhou: A bizarre Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird with unique crural feathers and an ornithuromorph plough-shaped pygostyle. Nature Communications 8: 1-12. 2017

*********************

edited: 22.01.2019; 22.03.2019; 19.11.2019

Fossil record of the Casuariiformes

Casuariidae

Casuarius lydekkeri Rothschild

Dromaius arleyekweke Yates & Worthy

Emuarius gidju (Patterson & Rich)

Hypselornis sivalensis Lydekker (?)

*********************

edited: 17.03.2019; 18.11.2019

A kingfisher-like bird from Messel – Quasisyndactylus longibrachis Mayr

This tiny bird is thought to be the ancestor of the kingfishers or of the todies, or of both.

Quasisyndactylus longibrachis was very small, only about 10 cm long, its legs were quite long, very much like in today’s todies (Todidae) and its feet were syndactyl (that means two of the toes, toes 3 and 4, are fused together), like those of all known Coraciiformes showing that it was a member of that order.

The species is known from several specimens, some of which also still harbor their feathering, showing that this species had rather roundish wings and a rather long tail.

*********************

References:

[1] G. Mayr: „Coraciiforme“ und „piciforme“ Kleinvögel aus dem Mittel-Eozän der Grube Messel (Hessen, Deutschland). Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Band 205. 1998

*********************

Photo: Ghedoghedo

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

*********************

my reconstruction, following a specimen with well preserved feathers; it’s only a sketch so far

*********************

edited: 05.11.2019; 06.11.2019

Adanson’s – and Latreille’s Bee-eaters

Here I want to write a bit about two enigmatic birds that allegedly both were collected in Africa at the beginning of the 19th century; these are Adanson’s Bee-eater and Latreille’s Bee-eater.

*********************

Adanson’s Bee-eater (Merops adansonii)

Depictions from: „François Le Vaillant: Histoire naturelle des promerops, et des guêpiers: faisant suite à celle des oiseaux de paradis par la même. A Paris, chez denné le jeune, Libraire, Rue Vivienne, N° 10. 1807“ 
(public domain)

Adanson’s Bee-eater is an enigmatic bird known only from a single specimen which is commonly thought to have been an artificially specimen, assembled from several bird parts, a practice that was rather common in these olden days when collectors were keen to have in their collections the most rare exhibition pieces.

The following French texts are all from François Le Vaillant, they describe this ’species‘ and give us some additional information about its wehereabouts. [1]

Ce guêpier à queue en flèche ayant été méconnu par Buffon qui l’a, donné comme une simple variété de climat de son guêpier marron et bleu, ou de l’Isle-de-France, espèce que nous avons décrite dans notre précédent n°, sous la dénomination de guêpier Latreille, nous avons dû encore lui donner un nom distinctif, et nous ne pouvions à cet égard mieux faire, je pense, que de choisir celui du célebre voyageur qui l’ayant rapporté du Sénégal, l’a le premier fait connoître en Europe. Il suffira, je pense, de comparer les figures exactes que nous avons publiées de ces deux oiseaux, pour être d’abord et du premier coup-d’œil convaincu de la méprise de Buffon à leur égard, et être persuadé enfin qu’ils forment deux espèces très distinctes, bien loin de n’être l’un qu’une variété de l’autre; on ne conçoit même pas, en voyant les figures qui représentent dans les planches enluminées de Buffon ces deux oiseaux, l’un sous le nom de guêpier de l’Isle-de-France, n° 252, et l’autre, n° 314, sous celui de guêpier à longue queue du Sénégal, comment il a été possible de commettre cette erreur, et encore moins qu’elle ait été perpétuée par tous les ornithologistes qui ont écrit sur les oiseaux depuis Buffon. On conçoit en effet d’autant moins cette méprise, que ces deux figures, d’ailleurs très mauvaises , different bien plus l’une de l’autre encore, que ne différent réellement ces deux oiseaux eux-mêmes entre eux, mais assez cependant pour être bien sûr qu’ils ne peuvent être confondus ensemble comme appartenant à une seule et même espèce.

translation:

This spiny-tailed bee-eater was ignored by Buffon who gave it as a simple climate variety of its brown and blue bee-eater, or Isle-de-France [bee-eater], a species that we described in our previous issue. Under the denomination of Latreille, we have had to give it a distinctive name, and we could not, in this respect, have done better, I suppose, than the guide of the traveler who brought it back from Senegal, the first to make it known in Europe. It will suffice, I think, to compare the exact figures which we have published of these two birds, to be first and for the first glance convinced of Buffon’s mistake with regard to them, and to be finally persuaded that they form two very distinct species, far from being one variety of the other; it is not even conceivable, seeing the figures which represent, in the bright plates of Buffon, these two birds, one under the name of the Isle-de-France bee-eater, No. 252, and the other, No. 314, under that of long-tailed bee-eater from Senegal, how it was possible to make this mistake, let alone that it has been perpetuated by all the ornithologists who have written about birds since Buffon. This misunderstanding is all the less so conceived, that these two figures, which are, moreover, very bad, differ much more from one another than the two birds themselves really differ from one another, but enough, however, to be sure that they can not be confused as belonging to one and the same species.

So, in short, these two birds were originally thought to be specifically identical, what they of course are not.

***

Le guêpier Adanson est d’un tiers au moins plus fort que le guêpier Latreille, ainsi qu’on peut le voir d’ailleurs, en comparant les portraits de grandeur naturelle que nous en avons donné: il a le front ceint d’un large bandeau bleu qui, se prolongeant au-dessus des yeux, couvre les joues, les côtés et tout le devant du cou, la poitrine, et enfin tout le dessous du corps, en y comprenant les couvertures siqjéricures et inférieures de la queue, et le croupion; mais ce bleu s’affoiblit toujours davantage à mesure qu’il approche du bas-ventre; le dessus de la tête, à partir du bleu du front, ainsi que le derrière du cou, le manteau, les scapulaires, toutes les couvertures des ailes, et même les pennes de ces dernières, ainsi que toutes celles de la queue, sont couleur marron; seulement la partie excédante des deux pennes prolongées de la queue, ainsi que le bout des premières pennes des ailes, sont noirâtres; et les dernières plumes des ailes, proche le dos, sont en partie du même bleu que celui du dessous du corps; le bec est noir; les pieds sont bruns rougeàtres. Nous ignorons la couleur des yeux, n’ayant vu que la dépouille de cet oiseau, que je n’ai rencontré dans aucune des parties de l’Afrique dans laquelle j’ai pénétré; je n’ai même vu de cette espèce que le seul individu qu’en avoit rapporté Adanson du Sénégal, où il l’avoit recueilli durant ses voyages.

translation:

The Adanson bee-eater is at least a third stronger than the Latreille bee-eater, as can be seen elsewhere, by comparing the life-size portraits we have given: it has at its forehead a blue band which, extending above the eyes, covers the cheeks, the sides and all the front of the neck, the chest, and finally the whole underbody, including the undertail coverts of the tail, and the rump; but this blue becomes more and more feeble as it approaches the lower abdomen; the top of the head, from the blue of the forehead, as well as the back of the neck, the mantle, the scapulars, all the coverts of the wings, and even the feathers of these, as well as those of the tail, are colored brown; only the exceeding part of the two elongated feathers of the tail, as well as the end of the first primaries of the wings, are blackish; and the last feathers of the wings, near the back, are partly of the same blue as that of the underbody; the bill is black; the feet are reddish brown. We are ignorant of the color of the eyes, having seen only the remains of this bird, which I have not met in any part of Africa into which I have penetrated; I have not even seen of this species the only individual who had been brought back from Adanson of Senegal, where he had collected it during his travels.

The author clearly states here that he did only see remains of this bird, but also that he did not see it at all, that is somewhat irritating to me.

But what was Adanson’s Bee-eater actually?

Well, the bird’s upper side looks almost exactly like that of the Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides Des Mus & Pucheran) or the Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus Gmelin), the underside and forepart of the hea, however, come from another bird that, since the original specimen is now lost, will forever be unidentifiable.

*********************

Latreille’s Bee-eater (Merops latreillei)

Depictions from: „François Le Vaillant: Histoire naturelle des promerops, et des guêpiers: faisant suite à celle des oiseaux de paradis par la même. A Paris, chez denné le jeune, Libraire, Rue Vivienne, N° 10. 1807“ 
(public domain)

Latreille’s Bee-eater, of which I won’t give any text because it isn’t really necessary, is said in its description to come from the Isle-de-France, known today as Mauritius but being far more widespread all over Africa. This ’species‘ might actually have been a Rufous-crowned Bee-eater (Merops americanus Statius Müller) or a Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis L.), both exclusively from Asia by the way. Again, the colors won’t fit completely, so again some parts of other birds might have been added to the depicted specimen. That was apparently a quite common practice in former times, the more rare and unique a specimen was the higher was its price …. 

My personal conclusion is that both these ’species‘ never have existed.

*********************

References:

[1] François Le Vaillant: Histoire naturelle des promerops, et des guêpiers: faisant suite à celle des oiseaux de paradis par la même. A Paris, chez denné le jeune, Libraire, Rue Vivienne, N° 10. 1807

*********************

edited: 05.11.2019

Black-fronted Parakeet – lesser known depictions

This Tahitian parakeet is one of my favorite birds, unfortunately it doesn’t exist any longer because it was wiped out by introduced cats, dogs and rats.

Here are two depictions that were both made in the year 1792, when the HMS Providence stayed at the island of Tahiti with the mission to collect breadfruit trees and other botanical specimens from the Pacific to be transported to the West Indies.

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This depiction was made by a George Tobin, Lieutenant on board the HMS Providence
(public domain)

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This depiction apparently was made by William Bligh himself, Captain of the HMS Providence
(public domain)

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edited: 27.10.2019

Miller’s Rail

Miller’s Rail is one of the more commonly known so-called mysterious birds.

This species is actually known exclusively from a single drawing made by Georg Forster sometimes between 1772 and 75 during the second voyage of James Cook [and a copy of it made by John Frederick Miller, who described the bird as a new species in 1784]. The annotation just states that it is a Rallus minutus, [a small rail], [called] Maho, [and coming from] Taheitee, [Tahiti]. 

The drawing is rather a crude one, not „fieldguide-suitable“ and shows a small bird, clearly identifiable as a crake, with rather dark, almost black feathers, sitting on its red legs.

The bird could very well just be a Spotless Crake (Zapornia tabuensis (Gmelin)), which today is still [patchily these days] distributed all over Polynesia, and of course was even more so 250 years ago!

***

There is yet another quite detailed description supposed to be of this species, made by John Latham in 1785 from the actual type, that is now lost.:

Otaheite R[ail].

LENGTH six inches. Bill three quarters of an inch, black: the head, neck, and all the under parts of the body, dark ash-colour: palest on the chin: the upper parts, and wing coverts, deep red brown: quills dusky, edged with white: edge of the wing, and the first quill feather, white: tail an inch and a half long, rounded in shape, and black: legs dusky yellow. Claws black.
Inhabits Otaheite, and the Friendly Isles. Sir Joseph Banks.
“ [2]

***

The same book contains the description of a variety of the Tabuan rail [now Spottless Crake (Zapornia tabuensis)] from the island of Tanna in the Solomon Islands chain which is often regarded to as being the description of the actual type specimen of Miller’s Rail, however, the description differs quite significantly from G. Forster’s depiction.:

This varies in having the plumage more inclined to brown: the vent white, transversely barred with black lines: legs red.
Inhabits the island of Tanna. Sir Joseph Banks.
” [1]

The island of Tanna, mentioned here as place of origin of this bird, was just one of several islands that were visited by Cook and his entourage in the middle of the 18th century, and the place names given by J. Latham are very often completely wrong, however, the descriptions on the other hand are rather complete and trustworthy.

It has to be taken into account that such old books most often lack any kind of register and that they mostly just use common names but lack scientific ones, searching inside them is a long-term venture.

***

It is now quite well known that in former times probably all of the islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean were inhabited by endemic rails, with several islands being known to have been inhabited by more than one species, and in many cases these were congeneric species, meaning species from one and the same genus – something that today is extremely rare, which, however, is a relict situation, left behind by human-induced extictions. [3]

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[1] John Latham: A General Synopsis of Birds 3(1): 235. Leigh & Sotheby, London 1785
[2] John Latham: A General Synopsis of Birds 3(1): 236. Leigh & Sotheby, London 1785
[3] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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Depiction by Georg Forster, 1772-75
(public domain)

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edited: 23.10.2019

Some Micronesian beauties

A while ago I found this Japanese book about the birds of Micronesia online while searching for I don’t no what, it originally probably included more than these three plates, however, these are the only ones that I could find and I want to share them here because they are so exceedingly beautiful.:

Tokutaro Momiyama: Horyo Nanyo Shoto-san chorui. Tokyo: Nihon Chogakkai: Taisho 11. 1922
(public domain)

***

I will name the birds with their current names in the order in which they are depicted.

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White-throated Ground Dove (Alopecoenas xanthonurus ), female and male 
Caroline Ground Dove (Alopecoenas kubaryi)
White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinereus)
Pohnpei Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubiginosus)
Purple-capped Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus ponapensis)
Micronesian Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula oceanica ssp. monacha)
Kosrae Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus hernsheimi), juvenile
Truk Monarch (Monarcha rugensis), young male, adult male, and female
Yap Olive White-eye (Zosterops oleagineus)
Truk White-eye (Rukia ruki)

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edited: 20.10.2019

A Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs

Matthew P. Martyniuk: A Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs. Pan Aves 2012

*********************

Ich habe dieses Buch schon ein paar Monate, und ich muss gestehen, ich weiß nicht recht wie ich es einordnen soll.

Die Idee des Autors war es, sein Buch wie einen herkömmlichen Field Guide, ein Bestimmungsbuch für unterwegs, aufzubauen und genau das ist ihm auch gelungen. Das Buch umasst hierbei alles was im Mesozoikum gelebt hat und (sowohl wahrscheinlich wie auch tatsächlich) Federn besessen hat (nicht alles davon würde heutzutage als Vogel durchgehen). 

In der Einleitung erfährt man, was genau ein Vogel ist, oder, anders ausgedrückt, wie weit man diesen Begriff dehnen kann (… alles was Federn hat ….). Es folgen einige Informationen über den Ursprung der Vögel, den Ursprung der Federn und, vor allem, ein kleiner Überblick über die Vielfalt, die innerhalb dieser Tiergruppe bereits im Mesozoikum geherrscht hat.  

Fast jede der vorgestellten Arten ist mit einer Abbildung versehen, die jeweils auf aktuellen wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen beruht, weshalb man sich nicht wundern darf, dass die allermeisten Abbildungen eher weniger farbenfroh ausfallen (“Carotinoids be damned” schreibt der Autor hierzu schon als Vorwort).

Ich kann dieses Buch nur empfehlen! 😛

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bearbeitet: 20.10.2019

Fossil record of the Suliformes

Anhingidae

Anhinga beckeri Emslie
Anhinga fraileyi Campbell
Anhinga hadarensis Brodkorb & Mourer-Chauviré
Anhinga pannonica Lambrecht
Anhinga subvolans (Brodkorb)
Anhinga walterbolesi Worthy

Macranhinga paranensis Noriega

Meganhinga chilensis Alvarenga

Fregatidae

Limnofregata azygosternon Olson
Limnofregata hasegawai Olson & Matsuoka
Limnofregata hutchisoni Stidham

Phalacrocoracidae

Borvocarbo guilloti Mourer-Chauviré
Borvocarbo stoeffelensis Mayr
Borvocarbo tardatus Gohlich & Mourer-Cauviré

Limicorallus saiensis Kurochkin

Oligocorax littoralis Lambrecht
Oligocorax miocaenus Milne-Edwards

Paracorax destefanii Regalia

Phalacrocorax anatolicus Paicheler et al. 
Phalacrocorax chapalensis Alvarez
Phalacrocorax femoralis Miller
Phalacrocorax filyawi Emslie
Phalacrocorax goletensis Howard
Phalacrocorax idahensis Marsh
Phalacrocorax intermedius Milne-Edwards
Phalacrocorax kennelli Howard
Phalacrocorax leptopus Brodkorb
Phalacrocorax longipes Tugarinov
Phalacrocorax macer Brodkorb
Phalacrocorax macropus Cope
Phalacrocorax marinavis Shufeldt
Phalacrocorax mediterraneus Shufeldt
Phalacrocorax mongoliensis Kurochkin
Phalacrocorax novaezealandiae Forbes
Phalacrocorax praecarbo von Ammon
Phalacrocorax reliquus Kurochkin
Phalacrocorax risgoviensis Fraas
Phalacrocorax rogersi Howard
Phalacrocorax wetmorei Brodkorb

Piscator tenuirostris Harrison & Walker

Stictocarbo kumeyaay Chandler

Plotopteridae

Copepteryx hexeris Olson & Hasegawa
Copepteryx titan Olson & Hasegawa

Hokkaidornis abashiriensis Sakurai et al.

Klallamornis abyssa Mayr & Goedert
Klallamornis clarki Mayr & Goedert

Phocavis maritimus Goedert

Plotopterum joaquinensis Howard

Stemec suntokum Kaiser et al.

Tonsala buchanani Dyke et al.
Tonsala hildegardae Olson

Protoplotidae

Protoplotus beauforti Lambrecht

Sulidae

Bimbisula melanodactylos Benson & Erickson

Empheresula arvernensis Milne-Edwards

Eostega lebedinskyi Lambrecht

Masillastega rectirostris Mayr

Microsula pygmaea Milne-Edwards

Miosula media Miller

Morus atlanticus Shufeldt
Morus avitus Wetmore
Morus humeralis Miller & Bowman
Morus lompocanus Miller
Morus loxostylus Cope
Morus magnus Howard
Morus peninsularis Brodkorb
Morus peruvianus Stucchi
Morus recentior Howard
Morus reyana Howard
Morus vagabundus Wetmore

Paleosula stocktoni Miller

Prophalacrocorax ronzoni Gervais

Ramphastosula aguierrei Stucchi et al.
Ramphastosula ramirezi Stucchi & Urbina

Sarmatosula dobrogensis Grigorescu & Kessler

Sula arvernensis Milne-Edwards
Sula brandi Stucchi et al.
Sula clarki Chandler
Sula figueroae Stucchi et al.
Sula guano Brodkorb
Sula magna Stucchi
Sula phosphata Brodkorb
Sula pohli Howard
Sula sulita Stucchi
Sula universitatis Brodkorb
Sula willetti Miller

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edited: 16.08.2019

Winnicavis gorskii Bocheński, Tomek, Wertz, Happ, Bujoczek & Świdnicka

This is the “newest” of the European Oligocene birds with “brittly limbs”, this time only the wingbones are preserved. These are unlike the wingbones of any other passerine bird known so far, extant or extinct.

The bird was small, about the size of a Great Tit (Parus major L.), I will see if I am able to make some kind of reconstruction, whatsoever. [1]

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References:

[1] Zbigniew M. Bocheński, Teresa Tomek, Krzysztof Wertz, Johannes Happ, Małgorzata Bujoczek & Ewa Świdnicka: Articulated avian remains from the early Oligocene of Poland adds to our understanding of Passerine evolution. Palaeontologia Electronica 21(2). 2018

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Let’s have a little update here.

I’ve made a little sketch, based on a Great Tit, however, knowing that this bird was not related to any of the modern Passeriformes, I thought of a little songbird-like creature resembling some of the Australian/Papuan “primitive” songbirds.

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my reconstruction, the bird reached a size of about 15 cm or in other words was indeed about the size of a Great Tit; remember, only the wing bones and some impressions of several wing feathers are known

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edited: 24.09.2018; 14.08.2019

Rufous Antpitta x six

The Rufous Antpitta is a more or less completely plain rufous-colored typical Antpitta that inhabits the dense forests of the Andes and their foothills from northern Bolivia to parts of southern Venezuela.

The bird reaches sizes from about 14,5 to 15 cm.

The species is split into six subspecies all of which are now about to be upgraded to species status, they will then probably be named as:

Bolivian Antpitta (Grallaria cochabambae J. Bond & Meyer de Schauensee)
Cajamarca Antpitta (Grallaria cajamarcae (Chapman))
North Peruvian Antpitta (Grallaria obscura Berlepsch & Stolzmann)
Rufous Antpitta (Grallaria rufula Lafresnaye)
Sierra Nevada Antpitta (Grallaria spatiator Bangs)
South Peruvian Antpitta (Grallaria occabambae (Chapman))

These future-former subspecies differ slightly in the the hue of their rufous-colored plumage, but very likely more so in their DNA.

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Rufous Antpitta (Grallaria (rufula ssp.) rufula … most likely)

Photo: Nigel Voaden

(under creative commons license (2.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

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bearbeitet: 14.08.2019

ZPALWr. A/4003

We spoke about Oligocene birds with brittly legs before … this one is a small fossil, a slab and its counter slab of course containing a single foot, a ca. 3,6 cm long right foot only retaining the first and the second toe.

This partial foot was compared to many other bird forms and it was found that it most closely resembled the foot of columbiform birds, that is pigeons and doves.

If this indeed was a columbiform bird it is now the oldest known of its kind – since true pigeons and doves actually apear in the fossil record quite late, with the oldest remains coming from the Miocene era respectively from the border of the Late Oligocene and the Early Miocene.

However, ZPALWr. A/4003, being only a partial foot, is not enough to fully constitute its taxonomic affinities. [1]

***

Assuming that this fossil indeed is of a true a pigeon, it must have reached a life size of about 25 cm.

*********************

References:

[1] Zbigniew M. Bocheński; Teresa Tomek; Ewa Świdnicka: A columbid-like avian foot from the Oligocene of Poland. Acta Ornithologica 45(2): 233-236. 2010

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edited: 11.08.2019

Heracles inexpectatus Worthy, Hand, Archer, Scofield & De Pietri

Heracles inexpectatus, the unexpected Hercules, is a fossil parrot from the St. Bathans fossil site in New Zealand, that just has been described. [1]

The species is known from only two remains, or rather remains of remains to be more precicely, these are a partial left tibiotarsus and a partial right tibiotarsus, that’s just all. The species can be reconstructed as having reached a size of around 1 m, making it the largest known parrot species, dead or alive.

***

Unfortunately, one of the authors of this remarkable species apparently seem to think that the new find isn’t appetizing enough for the press, so added a „fierce beak“ to the description and is even speculating that this species, because of it’s size, must have been a predatory bird, which, of course, is complete bullshit. 

According to the paper, the species apparently was a member of the Nestoridae, a family of parrots endemic to New Zealand, and within this family its closest relative appears to be the Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus Grey), a strict herbivor. So, I personally have no idea why one of the authors does such silly speculations. 

Whatsoever … there was once a giant parrot rumbling the forests of new Zealand around 19 Million years ago, and that is remarkable enough, at least for me.

*********************

References:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Suzanne J. Hand; Michael Archer; R. Paul Scofield; Vanessa L. De Pietri

*********************  

I need to write some kind of update here since the British- but also the German press apparently need to call this new species a “Cannibal” and a “Horror-Papagei”, and even claim that some scientist allegedly has suggested that this parrot was eating its smaller conspecific mates.  

What a big load of shit, let’s say it together: “SHIT!!!” Which fucking scientist, as they claim, has ever said such a bullshit???  

This was, and I bet my left hand for that, a large kakapo, nothing but a harmless, flightless, vegetarian creature, and the press apparently degenerates more and more to a shitpot full of idiots and arseholes.  

Many Thanks!

*********************

edited: 07.08.2019; 08.08.2019

Fossil record of the Psittaciformes

Cacatuidae

Cacatua sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australia’

Halcyornithidae

Cyrilavis colburnorum Ksepka et al.
Cyrilavis olsoni Feduccia & Martin

Halcyornis toliapicus König

Pseudasturides macrocephalus (Mayr)

Pulchrapollia gracilis (Dyke & Cooper)

Serudaptus pohli Mayr

Messelasturidae

Messelastur gratulator Peters

Tynskya eocaena Mayr

Nestoridae

Heracles inexpectatus Worthy, Hand, Archer, Scofield & De Pietri

Nelepsittacus daphneleeae Worthy et al.
Nelepsittacus donmertoni Worthy et al.
Nelepsittacus minimus Worthy et al.
Nelepsittacus (?) sp. ‘Croc Site Layer, New Zealand’

Psittacidae

Agapornis atlanticus Mourer-Chauviré
Agapornis attenboroughi
 Manegold
Agapornis sp.
 ‘Kromdraai B, South Africa’
Agapornis sp. ‘Plovers Lake, South Africa’

Aratinga roosevelti Spillman

Archaeopsittacus verreauxi Milne-Edwards

Bavaripsitta ballmanni Mayr & Göhlich

Conuropsis fratercula Wetmore

Khwenena leopoldinae Manegold

Melopsittacus undulatus (ssp. ‘Pliocene’ ?)

Mogontiacopsitta miocaena Mayr

Namapsitta praeruptorum Mourer-Chauviré et al.

Nandayus vorohuensis Tonni & Noriega

Psittacidae gen. & sp. ‘Baikal Lake, Russia’

Xenopsitta feifari Mlíkovsky

Quercypsittidae

Quercypsitta ivani Mourer-Chauviré
Quercypsitta sp. ‘Walton-on-the-Naze, Great Britain’
Quercypsitta sudrei Mourer-Chauviré

Vastanavidae (?)

Vastanavis cambayensis Mayr et al.
Vastanavis eocaena Mayr et al.

*********************

edited: 07.08.2019

Perplexicervix microcephalon Mayr

This species was described in 2010, it is known from five or six specimens found in the Messel shale, five of which include cervical vertebrae which again all bear strange small tubercles unknown in any other bird dead or alive.

The bird may or may not be related to the so-called screamers (Anhimidae), it had a quite small head compared to its body and had very large and strong wing bones, thus apparently was good at flying, its feet have short toes which appear to have been somewhat flattened – and my gut feeling tells me that they may have had been webbed ….

*********************

a humble reconstruction, note that I forgot to draw the halluces (big toes) onto the feet

Fossil record of the Cariamiformes

Family incertae sedis

Elaphrocnemus brodkorbi Milne-Edwards
Elaphrocnemus crex
 Milne-Edwards
Elaphrocnemus phasianus Milne-Edwards

Gradiornis walbeckensis Mayr

Itaboravis elaphrocnemoides Mayr et al.

Lavocatavis africana Mourer-Chauviré et al.

Ameghinornithae

Ameghinornis minor Gaillard

Ameghinornithidae gen. & sp. ‘Jebel Qatrani Formation, Egypt’
Ameghinornithidae gen. & sp. ‘Nei Mongol, China’

Strigogyps dubius Gaillard
Strigogyps robustus (Lambrecht)
Strigogyps sapea (Peters)
Strigogyps sp. ‘Eckfelder Maar, Germany’

Bathornithidae

Bathornis celeripes Wetmore
Bathornis cursor Wetmore
Bathornis fricki Ostrom
Bathornis geographicus Wetmore
Bathornis grallator Olson
Bathornis veredus Wetmore

Eutreptornis uintae (Cracraft)

Paracrax antiqua Shufeldt
Paracrax gigantea Cracraft
Paracrax wetmorei Cracraft

Cariamidae

Cariama santacrucensis Noriega et al.

Cariamidae gen. & sp. ‘Alto Río Bandurrias, Chile’

Chunga incertis (Tonni)

Noriegavis santacrucensis (Noriega et al.)

Riacama caliginea Ameghino

Idiornithidae

Gypsornis cuvieri Milne-Edwards

Idiornis gaillardi Cracraft

Oblitavis insolitus Mourer-Chauviré

Occitaniavis elatus (Milne-Edwards)

Propelargus cayluxensis Lydekker
Propelargus edwardsi Lydekker
Propelargus olseni Brodkorb

Phorusrhacidae

Andalgalornis steulleti (Kraglievich)

Andrewsornis abbotti Patterson

Devincenzia pozzii (Kraglievich)

Eleutherornis cotei Gaillard

Hermosiornis australis Moreno

Kelenken guillermoi Bertelli, Chiappe & Tambussi

Llallawavis scagliai Degrange et al.

Mesembriornis incertus Rovereto
Mesembriornis milneedwardsi Moreno

Paleopsilopterus itaboraiensis Alvarenga

Paraphysornis brasiliensis (Alvarenga)

Patagornis marshi Moreno & Mercerat

Phorusrhacos longissimus Ameghino

Physornis fortis Ameghino

Procariama simplex Rovereto

Psilopterus bachmanni (Moreno & Mercerat)
Psilopterus lemoinei (Moreno & Mercerat)
Psilopterus affinis (Ameghino)
Psilopterus colzecus Tonni & Tambussi

Titanis walleri Brodkorb

Salmilidae

Salmila robusta Mayr
Salmilidae gen. & sp. `Green River Formation, USA`

*********************

edited: 11.03.2019; 05.08.2019

Vanolimicola longihallucis Mayr

This species was described in 2017, it is one of the many birds from the Messel shale, that are somehow related to living ones but on the other hand again … are completely different.  

This one is thought to be related to the Charadriiformes, and it may indeed have been a member of the jacana family (Jacanidae).   

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my reconstruction sketch, which turns out very much jacana-unlike

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BTW: I only recently learned that the age of the Messel shale spans from the upper Early – to the lower Middle Eocene.  

So not every bird from there is from the Middle Eocene.

*********************

edited:

04.08.2019

Eutreptodactylus itaboraiensis Baird & Vickers-Rich

This enigmatic bird from the Late Paleocene of Brazil is known only from a single, broken tarsometatarsus, which, however, apparently can be assigned to the cuckoos.

I cannot say that much about this bird, it appears to have been quite large for a Paleocene bird species, and it may indeed have been a real cuckoo or it may have been something completely different.

***

A little (long overdue) update … since this species is now thought to be closely related to – or even included within the family Gracilitarsidae.

The bird in my reconstruction still is about 15 cm long, about one third larger than Gracilitarsus mirabilis Mayr, the sole known species of its genus.

reconstruction

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edited: 28.07.2019

The fossil record of birds from the James Ross Basin, West Antarctica

You may know that I’m a bit obsessed with the birds of the Paleocene era, partly because we know so much of a nothing about them, especially about those from the Early Paleocene, the beginning of the „T-time“, the time immediately after the K/T extinction event.

Now, there’s now a new paper out that is somewhat a review of the birds that existed at around exactly this time, the K/T boundary … on the continent of Antarctica to be more precicely, but also beyond that time up to the Oligocene. [1]

***

I have not yet read it completely, but since nearly all bird fossils from that area are limited to single bones or sometimes partial skeletons, it does not shed so much new light on the previous records.

*********************

References:

[1] Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche; Piotr Jadwiszczak; Julia A. Clarke; Marcos Cenizo: The fossil record of birds from the James Ross Basin, West Antarctica. Advances in Polar science 30(3): 250-272. 2019

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edited: 25.07.2019

MNT-11-7952

MNT-11-7952 is a remarkable fossil of an enigmatic bird with an exceptional preservation; imprints of the tail feathers preserved showing a bluish gray hue, the legs and feet still showing traces of their soft tissue.

This, however, is all that’s known so far, the two slabs contain nothing but the arse, sorry, the rump, the legs and the tail feathers.

The feathers are very long and narrow, reminding on the tail feathers of recent mousebirds (Coliiformes), yet the feet appear to be anisodactyl, unlike in any known mousebird, extinct or extant.

sketch of the whole fossil (I missed some of the feathers around the knee of the left leg)
sketch of the left leg

The fossil dates to the Middle Paleocene, thus has an age of 60 to 61 Millions of years, and in my opinion, my indeed be a Coliiform bird.

I’ll try to reconstruct this as much as possible. 🙂

*********************

how this bird may have looked like, almost like a modern mousebird, yet with proportionally somewhat shorter tail feathers

Here is now a little sketchy try to reconstruct that bird, including its nearly 20 cm long tail feathers, it may have reached a total length of about 34 cm, which is very well within the size range of modern mousebirds!

*********************

References:

[1] Gerald Mayr; Sophie Hervet; Eric Buffetaut: On the diverse and widely ignored Paleocene avifauna of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France): new taxonomic records and unusual soft tissue preservation. Geological Magazine: 1-13. 2018

*********************

edited: 07.03.2019; 24.07.2019

Fossil record of the Leptosomiformes

Leptosomidae

Plesiocathartes europaeus Gaillard
Plesiocathartes geiselensis Mayr
Plesiocathartes kelleri Mayr
Plesiocathartes major Weidig
Plesiocathartes (?) sp. ‘Egem, Belgium’
Plesiocathartes (?) sp. ‘India’
Plesiocathartes (?) sp. ‘Rivecourt-Petit Pâtis, France’
Plesiocathartes wyomingensis Weidig

*********************

edited: 24.07.2019

New Paleocene birds

There is a new paper out in which several new bird remains are described, however, unfortunately without describing any species because these remains are just too fragmentary. The remains themselves descent from the Middle Paleocene of Belgium and from the Late Paleocene of France.

There’s a very small Gastornis sp., a lithornithid, a ralloid, and a unassignable „higher landbird“ all from Belgium, and there are another lithornithid, an pelagornithid, a possible leptosomatiform and a probable cariamaform all from France.

Well, and that’s almost all.

*********************

References:

[1] Gerald Mayr; Thierry Smith: New Paleocene bird fossils from the North Sea Basin in Belgium and France. Geologica Belgica 22(1-2): 35-46. 2019

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edited: 21.07.2019

Fossil record of the Procellariiformes

Family incertae sedis

Makahala mirae Mayr

Diomedeidae

Aldiomedes angustirostris Mayr & Tennyson  

Diomedea milleri Howard
Diomedea thyridata Wilkinson

Diomedavus knapptonensis Mayr & Goedert

Murunkus subitus Panteleyev & Nessov (?)

Notoleptos giglii Acosta Hospitaleche & Gelfo

Phoebastria anglica Lydekker
Phoebastria immutabilis Rothschild
Phoebastria rexularum Olson & Rasmussen

Plotornis arvernensis (Milne-Edwards in Shufeldt)
Plotornis delfortrii Milne-Edwards
Plotornis graculoides Portis

Tydea septentrionalis Mayr & Smith

Diomedeoididae

Diomedeoides babaheydariensis Peters & Hamedani
Diomedeoides brodkorbi Cheneval

Rupelornis definitus van Beneden

Hydrobatidae

Oceanodroma hubbsi Miller

Pelecanoididae 

Pelecanoides cymatotrypetes Olson 
Pelecanoides miokuaka Worthy et al.

Procellariidae

Ardenna conradi Marsh
Ardenna davealleni Tennyson & Mannering
Ardenna gilmorei Chandler

Argyrodyptes microtarsus Ameghino

Calonectris krantzi Olson & Rasmussen
Calonectris kurodai Olson
Calonectris wingatei Olson

Eopuffinus kazachstanensis Nessov

Fulmarus hammeri Howard
Fulmarus miocaenus Howard

Hydrornis natator Milne-Edwards

Oestrelata vociferans Shufeldt

Pachyptila salax Olson

Procellaria antiqua Milne-Edwards

Pterodroma kurodai Harrison & Walker

Pterodromoides minoricensis Segui et al.

Puffinus barnesi Howard 
Puffinus calhouni Howard
Puffinus diatomicus Miller
Puffinus eyermani Shufeldt
Puffinus felthami Howard
Puffinus inceptor Wetmore
Puffinus kanakoffi Howard
Puffinus micraulax Brodkorb
Puffinus mitchelli Miller
Puffinus nestori Alcover
Puffinus parvus Shufeldt
Puffinus priscus Miller
Puffinus raemdonckii (van Beneden)
Puffinus sp. ‘Lee Creek Mine, USA 1’
Puffinus sp. ‘Lee Creek Mine, USA 2’
Puffinus tedfordi Howard

Tytthostonychidae

Tytthostonyx glauconiticus Olson & Parris

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edited: 17.07.2019

Strange feet from the Cretaceous – Part 3

Enantiophoenix electrophyla Cau & Arduini from the Late Cretaceous of Lebanon, roughly the size of a recent European Starling.

*********************

somewhat more than just a sketch, this piece took me some hours

This species is known from parts of a foot and some very few further remains.

********************

References:

[1] Andrea Cau & Paolo Arduini: Enantiophoenix electrophyla gen. et sp. nov. (Aves, Enantiornithes) from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) of Lebanon and its phylogenetic relationships. ATTI della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 149(2): 293-324. 2008

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edited: 14.07.2019

Strange feet from the Cretaceous – Part 1

Elektorornis chenguangi Xing, O’Connor, Chiappe, McKellar, Carroll, Hu, Bai & Lei, a bird from the Cretaceous era described just now.

*********************

just a quick life-sized (!) sketch, gummy bear for size comparison

This bird is known only by a single leg with an unusually elongated middle toe and parts of the wing.

I will come back to that bird somewhat later ….

*********************

References:

[1] Lida Xing; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Luis M. Chiappe; Ryan C. McKellar; Nathan Carroll; Han Hu; Ming Bai; Fuming Lei: A new enantiornithine bird with unusual pedal proportions found in amber. Current Biology 29: 1-6. 2019

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edited: 12.07.2019

Fossil record of the Podicipediformes

Podicipedidae

Aechmophorus elasson Murray

Miobaptus huzhiricus Zelenkov
Miobaptus walteri Švec

Miodytes serbicus Dimitreijevich, Gál & Kessler

Pliolymbus baryosteus Murray
Pliolymbus lanquisti Brodkorb

Podicepidae gen. & sp. ‘Truckee A’
Podicepidae gen. & sp. ‘Truckee B’

Podiceps oligocaenus (Shufeldt)
Podiceps arndti Chandler
Podiceps caspicus (Habizl)
Podiceps csarnotatus Kessler
Podiceps discors Murray
Podiceps dixi Brodkorp
Podiceps miocenicus Kessler
Podiceps oligocaenus (Shufeldt)
Podiceps parvus (Shufeldt)
Podiceps sociata (Navás) 
Podiceps solidus Kuročkin
Podiceps subparvus (Miller & Bowman)

Podilymbus mujusculus Murray
Podylimbus wetmorei Storer

*********************

edited: 01.07.2019

Fossil record of the Hesperornithiformes

Family incertae sedis 

Chupkaornis keraorum Tanaka et al.

Judinornis nogotsavensis Nessov & Borkin

Pasquiaornis hardiei Todaryk, Cumbaa & Storer
Pasquiaornis tankei Todaryk, Cumbaa & Storer

Potamornis skutchi Elzanowski, Paul & Stidham

Baptornithidae 

Baptornis advenus Marsh

Brodavidae

Brodavis americanus Martin et al.
Brodavis baileyi Martin et al.
Brodavis mongoliensis Martin et al.
Brodavis varneri (Martin & Cordes-Person)

Enaliornithidae

Enaliornis barretti Seeley
Enaliornis sedgwicki Seeley
Enaliornis seeleyi Galton & Martin

Hesperornithidae

Asiahesperornis bazhanovi Nesov & Prizemlin

Canadaga arctica Hou

Fumicollis hoffmani Bell & Chiappe

Hesperornis altus (Marsh)
Hesperornis bairdi Martin & Lim
Hesperornis chowi Martin & Lim
Hesperornis crassipes (Marsh)
Hesperornis gracilis Marsh
Hesperornis lumgairi Aotsuka & Sato
Hesperornis macdonaldi Martin & Lim
Hesperornis mengeli Martin & Lim
Hesperornis montana Schufeldt
Hesperornis regalis Marsh
Hesperornis rossicus Nesov & Yarkov

Parahesperornis bazhanovi Nessov & Prizemlin

*********************

edited: 30.06.2019

Fossil record of the Galliformes

Family incertae sedis

Archaealectrornis sibleyi Crowe & Short

Archaeophasianus mioceanus Lambrecht
Archaeophasianus roberti (Stone)

Argillipes aurorum Harrison & Walker
Argillipes paralectoris Harrison & Walker

Austinornis lentus Marsh

Chambiortyx cristata Mourer-Chauviré

Coturnipes cooperi Harrison & Walker

Namaortyx sperrgebietensis Mourer-Chauviré

Palaeonossax senectus Wetmore

Palaeorallus alienus Kuročkin

Sobniogallus albinojamrozi Tomek et al.

Procrax brevipes Tordoff & Macdonald

Cracidae

Boreortalis laesslei Brodkorb

Ortalis affinis Feduccia & Wilson

Gallinuloididae

Gallinuloides wyomingensis Eastman

Paraortygoides messelensis Mayr
Paraortygoides radagasti Dyke & Gulas

Megapodidae

Garrdimalga mcnamarai Shute, Prideaux & Worthy

Latagallina naracoortensis Shute, Prideaux & Worthy
Latagallina olsoni Shute, Prideaux & Worthy

Progura campestris Shute, Prideaux & Worthy
Progura gallinacea De Vis

Ngawupodius minya Boles & Ivison

Numididae

Telecrex grangeri Wetmore

Odontophoridae

Cyrtonyx tedfordi Miller

Miortyx aldeni Howard
Miortyx teres Miller

Nanortyx inexpectatus Weigel

Neortyx peninsularis Holman

Paraortygidae

Paraortyx brancoi Gaillard
Paraortyx lorteti Gaillard

Pirortyx major (Gaillard)

Scopelortyx klinghardtensis Mourer-Chauvire et al.

Taoperdix miocaena Ballman
Taoperdix pessieti Gervais

Xorazmortyx turkestanensis Zelenkov & Panteleyev

Phasianidae

Alectoris baryosefi Černov
Alectoris peii Author ?
“Alectoris” pliocaena Tugarinov

Bantamyx georgicus Kurochkin

Bonasa praebonasia (Jánossy)

Dendragapus gilli (Shufeldt)
Dendragapus lucasi Howard
Dendragapus nanus (Shufeldt)

Diangallus mious Hou

Eurobambusicola turolicus Zelenkov

“Gallus” aesculapii Jánossy
“Gallus” beremendensis Jánossy
“Gallus” europaeus Harrison
Gallus georgicus Author ?
Gallus imereticus Author ?
Gallus karabachensis Baryšnikov & Potapova
Gallus kudarensis Burčak-Abramovič & Potapova
Gallus meschtscheriensis Author ?
Gallus sp. ‘Trinka Cave, Moldovia’
Gallus sp. ‘Krivtcha Cave, Ukraine’
Gallus tamanensis Author ?

Lagopus atavus Jánossy
Lagopus balcanicus Boev
Lagopus lagopus ssp. noaillensis Mourer-Chauviré
Lagopus mutus ssp. correzensis Mourer-Chauviré

Linquornis gigantis Yeh

Lophogallus naranbulakensis Zelenkov & Kurochkin

Megalocoturnix cordoni Sánchez Marco

Meleagris altus Marsh
Meleagris californica (Miller)
Meleagris celer Marsh
Meleagris leopoldi Miller & Bowman
Meleagris richmondi Shufeldt
Meleagris tridens Wetmore

Miophasianus altus Milne-Edwards
Miophasianus desnoyersi Milne-Edwards
Miophasianus medius Milne-Edwards

Mioryaba magyarica Zelenkov

Palaeocryptonyx depereti Gaillard
Palaeocryptonyx donnezani Deperet
Palaeocryptonyx gaillardi Ennouchi
Palaeocryptonyx grivensis Ennouchi

Palaeoperdix longipes Milne-Edwards
Palaeoperdix prisca Milne-Edwards
Palaeoperdix sansaniensis Milne-Edwards

Palaeortyx blanchardi Milne-Edwards
Palaeortyx brevipes Milne-Edwards
Palaeortyx caluxyensis Lydekker
Palaeortyx depereti Ennouchi
Palaeortyx edwardsi Depéret
Palaeortyx gaillardi Lambrecht
Palaeortyx gallica Milne-Edwards
Palaeortyx grivensis Lydekker
Palaeortyx intermedia Ballman
Palaeortyx joleaudi Ennouchi
Palaeortyx major Gaillard
Palaeortyx maxima Lydekker
Palaeortyx media Milne-Edwards
Palaeortyx miocaena Gaillard
Palaeortyx ocyptera Milne-Edwards
Palaeortyx phasianoides Milne-Edwards
Palaeortyx volans Gohlich & Pavia

Panraogallus hezhengensis Li et. al.

Pavo bravardi (Gervais)
Pavo moldovicus (Bocheński & Kurochkin)
Pavo sp. ‘Aramis, Ethiopia’

Pediocetes lucasi Shufeldt
Pediocetes nanus Shufeldt

Perdix palaeoperdix Mourer-Chauviré

Plioperdix hungarica Jánossy

Proagriocharis kimballensis Martin & Tate

Rhegminornis calobates Wetmore

Rustaviornis georgicus Burchak-Abramovich & Meladze

Schaubortyx keltica Eastman

Shandongornis shanwangensis Yeh
Shandongornis yinanensis Yeh

Shanxiornis fenyinis Wang et al.

Syrmaticus phasianoides (Jánossy)

Tetrao conjugens Jánossy
Tetrao macropus Jánossy
Tetrao partium (Kretzoi)
Tetrao praeurogallus Jánossy
Tetrao rhodopensis Boev

Tologuica aurorae Zelenkov & Kurochkin
Tologuica karhui Zelenkov & Kurochkin

“Tympanuchus” lulli Shufeldt
“Tympanuchus” stirtoni Miller

Quercymegapodiidae

Ameripodius alexis Mourer-Chauviré
Ameripodius silvasantosi Alvarenga

Ludiortyx hoffmanni (Gervais)

Quercymegapodius brodkorbi Mourer-Chauviré
Quercymegapodius depereti (Gaillard)

Taubacrex granivora Alvarenga

***

Note that this list is far from being complete.

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edited: 18.06.2019

Starling sketches

I made some sketches today, they’re supposed to be Rarotongan Starlings (Aplonis cinerascens).

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a somewhat transformed copy

I personally prefer these freehand sketches, at least the one on the right side, it somehow looks more life-like than the drawing above.

some freehanded sketches

Oooh – sketching in the zoo!

We were in the little zoo in Gotha today where we go almost once a year, and for the first time I took my sketchbook with me, which, however, wasn’t a great idea since there were way too many people and I could not really take the time to sketch something beside that one.:

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… it’s a Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus)

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Fossil record of the Otidiformes

Otididae

Chlamydotis khosatzkii Bocheński & Kurochkin – new
Chlamydotis mesetaria
 Sánchez Marco

Gryzaja odessana Zubareva

Ioriotis gabunii Burchak-Abramovich & Vekua

Miootis compactus Umanskaya

Otis affinis Lydekker
Otis bessarabicus Kessler & Gál
Otis hellenica Boev, Lazaridis & Tsoukala
Otis khozatzki ssp. beremendensis Jánossy

Pleotis liui Hou

*********************

edited: 05.06.2019

Micronesia – (not so) hypothetical species mentioned in accounts

Oh well, I did some research, and actually still do … here are the results I got so far.:

The first account dates from November 30th, 1895 and is given by a Dr. Georg Irmer, who was the Imperial German Government District Administrator in the Marshall Islands, which were a German overseas colony back then.

In his account he gives a bit information of some birds he saw when he inspected the Taongi Atoll (now Bokok) to collect guano samples for analysis and to reaffirm the German claim to the island, he mentiones seabirds and a large ground-dwelling bird which he named a ‘Trappe‘, the German term for a bustard. He gives no further description or whatsoever, but it is thought that he might not have seen any of the birds commonly known from the Marshall Islands because neither he nor his Marshallese crew were able to identify that bird.

Given his name for the bird, ‘Trappe‘, it is quite likely that he indeed saw a rail of the genus Gallirallus, very much like the one that once inhabited the Wake Atoll to the north of the Marshall Islands. [4]

***

The second account comes from the natives of the Marshall Islands and was forwarded by them to the German ‘anthropologists’ who explored these islands at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is a bird named as the anang-, annan-, or annang. This is said to have been a very small bird (the size of a butterfly (!)), and to have possessed a pleasant smell, it is said to have lived among the rocks around the shores of the northern Marshall Islands. The bird is known from oral traditions at least from the Jaluit-, and the Wotho Atoll, and it is always said to have been a ground-dwelling singing bird.

This may in fact be a description of a Turnstone (Arenaria interpres (L.)), a species that winters in Micronesia and that was very much appreciated, for example by the inhabitants of Nauru, who cought them not to eat them but to tame them and keep them as pets.

Or it is the description of a small crake or a reed-warbler, mixed with some phantastic components. [4]

***

The third account comes from Paul Hambruch, a German ethnologist that researched the life of the natives of the island of Nauru, his accounts are merely stories that were told him by a native named Auuiyeda, and which he translated into German.

Let’s read them.:

Es gibt auch Vögel auf Nauru, wie Fregattvogel, schwarze Seeschwalbe, weiße Seeschwalbe, Regenpfeifer, Brachvogel, Möve, Schnepfe, Uferläufer, Ralle, Lachmöve und Rohrdrossel.” [1]

translation:

There are also birds on Nauru, as frigate bird, black tern, white tern, plover, curlew, gull, snipe, sandpiper, rail, black-headed gull and reed thrush.

And he goes on.:

Die Vogelwelt ist nach Zahl und Art reicher. Der Fregattvogel (Tachypetes aquila), itsi, die schwarze Seeschwalbe (Anous), doror, die weiße Seeschwalbe (Gygis), dagiagia, werden als Haustiere gehalten; der erste galt früher als heiliger Vogel, mit den beiden anderen werden Kampfspiele veranstaltet. Am Strande trifft man den Steinwälzer (Strepsilas interpres), dagiduba, den Regenpfeifer (Numenius), den Uferläufer (Tringoides), ibibito, die Schnepfe, ikirer, den Brachvogel ikiuoi, den Strandreiter iuji, die Ralle, earero bauo und zwei Möwenarten (Sterna), igogora und ederakui.
Im Busche beobachtet man an den Blüten der Kokospalme den kleinen Honigsauger raigide, die Rohrdrossel (Calamoherpe syrinx), itirir und den Fliegenschnäpper (Rhipidura), temarubi.
” [1]

translation:

The bird world is richer by number and species, The frigate bird (Tachypetes aquila), itsi, the black tern (Anous), doror, the white tern (Gygis), dagiagia, are kept as pets; the first one was formerly considered a holy bird, with the two others are used for fighting games. At the beach one mets with the turnstone (Strepsilas interpres), dagiduba, the plover (Numenius), the sandpiper (Tringoides), ibibito, the snipe, ikirer, the curlew, ikiuoi, the beach rider [?] iuji, the rail, earero bauo and two gull species (Sterna), igogora and ederakui.
In the bush one observes on the flowers of the coconut palm the small honeyeater raigide, the reed thrush (Calamoherpe syrinx), itirir and the flycatcher (Rhipidura), temarubi.


The author is usually thought to have misinterpreted the things he was told by Auuiyeda, but I personally doubt that somehow, all the mentioned landbirds make in fact sence for georaphical reasons, so, why not?

Nauru is now almost deserted, the whole island looks like a building site – and it actually is one! There are some sad rests of the forest that once covered the whole island, and indeed some landbirds still manage to survive in small numbers, one of them, the Nauru Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus rehsei (Finsch)) is even an endemic species, there’s no reason not to accept the former presense of a fantail, a honeyeater, and especially a rail, no reason at all!

These birds, especially the rail, may already have been extirpated by the beginning of the 20th century, leaving only memories and storys told by the islanders. 

***

And last but not least, here the fourth account of birds from the Namoluk Atoll, Chuuk, that were enumerated by Max Girschner, another German who had lived in Micronesia at the beginning of the 20th century, he was a colonial offical, a doctor, and a ethnologist.

I have no access to his accounts, but I can give you quotations of them by Mac Marshall from 1971, here they are.:

Ponape Lory (no Namoluk name)

Trichoglossus rubiginosus

Extinct breeder.

According to Girschner (1912:126), this species was blown to Namoluk in a typhoon in 1905, and apparently it still occurred on the atoll at the time of his visit. there are no lories at present on Namoluk nor can anyone alive on the atoll in 1971 remember seeing them.
” [2]

According to Donald W. Buden this whole information is unlikely, and if these parrots have ever occurred on the Namoluk Atoll at all, they must have been brought there by people. [3]

I personally think … why not, typhoons may indeed blow parrots from one island to another, or how did the loris themselves came to end up on the island of Pohnpei in the first place?

But wait, there’s more.:

A second bird mentioned by Girschner that no longer is found on Namoluk is “a small black and white bird” for which he gives the name lipukepuk.” [2]

The author states that this can only be the description of a New Hanover Mannikin (Lonchura (hunsteini ssp.) nigerrima (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert)), which does not occur anywhere in Micronesia and which is not black and white by the way. The bird he is actually referring to is Hunstein’s Mannikin (Lonchura hunsteini ssp. minor (Yamashina)), which again is very well occuring in Micronesia, at least on the island of Pohnpei (yes, again), and which is at least blackish and greyish …. 

To me the whole account sounds very much like a nice description of the Truk Monarch (Monarcha rugensis (Hombron & Jacquinot)), and given the fact that most island-dwelling birds in Micronesia also occur on nearby atolls it is quite possible that there once was a native population of this bird here as well.

But we will probably never know for sure.

***

The most interesting things that I found out so far are.: 

1: Micronesian bird names are odd (to my ears and eyes), I mean the Palau Ground Dove (Alopecoenas canifrons (Hartlaub & Finsch)) for example is named omekrengukl, I do not even know how to pronounce that.   🙂

2: Micronesia harbors only 148 native breeding bird species (including the extinct ones!).

3: The Micronesian landbirds do not only occur on the higher islands but also on the atolls, even on those atolls that are quite far away from the next high islands, a situation that is completely different from Polynesia, where the high islands almost entirely harbor a different avifauna than the atolls. 

There may have been more species once, especially when we fill some of the illogical gaps between the islands and island groups.

*********************

References:

[1] Paul Hambruch: Nauru. Ergebnisse der Südsee-Expedition 1908-1910. II. Ethnographie: B. Mikronesien, band 1.1 Halbband. Hamburg, Friedrichsen 1914
[2] Mac Marshall: The natural history of namoluk Atoll, eastern Caroline Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 189: 1-53. 1975
[3] Donald W. Buden: The birds of Satawan Atoll and the Mortlock Islands, Chuuk, including the first record of Tree Martin Hirundo nigricans in Micronesia. Bulletin on the British Ornithologists’ Club 126(2): 137-152. 2006
[4] Dirk H. R. Spennemann: Extinctions and extirpations in Marshall Islands avifauna since European contact – a review of historic evidence. Micronesia 38(2): 253-266. 2006

*********************

edited: 04.06.2019

Micronesia – the state of our knowledge of its native birds

Have you ever heard of Lamotrek, Ngulu, or Woleai? 

No? 

Neither did I ….

These are the names of some of the atolls that form a squadron-like swarm around the Yap Islands – you have also never heard of the Yap Islands?

Well, let me help you out here, the Yap Islands are a part of the Federated States of Micronesia, which again are a part of Micronesia which is a name for the region of small islands that lie east of the Philippines, north of New Guinea, the Solomons and Vanuatu, and west of Polynesia.

***

I asked for the name Woleai especially because I only recently found out that the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus (Pennant)) ‚recently‘ expanded its area of distribution from Southeast Asia to exactly this part of Micronesia. [1]

The photo below shows that species, the name of the photographer is just a coincidence, I swear.   🙂

I wrote ‚recently‘ in quotation marks because this bird apparently appeared here already in the 1970s, but no one took any notice of that until 2009, when some westerners cought one bird on the Woleai atoll.

This event is a very good exemplary for the whole state of the ornithological research in that region – we just do not know anything.

*********************

References:

[1] Donald W. Buden; Stanley Retogral: Range expansion of the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) into Micronesia. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122(4): 784-788. 2010

*********************

Photo: Lip Kee Yap

(under creative commons license (2.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

*********************

edited: 01.06.2019

Jurassic Bird – Alcmonavis poeschli Rauhut, Tischlinger & Foth

Having just been described, this new bird is known only from wing elements so far, which, in shape, at least for my eyes, are very similar to those of Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi Kundrát et al. and Wellnhoferia grandis Elżanowski in shape, or maybe even more similar to that of Jeholornis prima Zhou & Zhang from China.

***

The ’new‘ bird lived at what was the Solnhofen Archipelago back then about 150 million years ago, alongside the more famous Archaeopterygidae, but apparently was not a close relative of them.

The few bones known so far show that the bird apparently was better adapted for flying than the contemporaneous archaeopterygian birds, but besides this it superficially might have looked very similar to them in life.

***

Up to now only the remains of a single arm, respectively wing, are known – let’s hope there’s more to come.

*********************

References:

[1] Oliver W. M. Rauhut; Helmut Tischlinger; Christian Foth: A non-archaeopterygid avialan theropod from the Late Jurassic of southern Germany eLife DOI: 10.7554/eLife.43789.001. 2019 

*********************

edited: 15.05.2019

The rail that (not) existed two times

During the last few days the online newspapers were trying to outdo each other with silly headlines, headlines like … :   

The bird that came back from the dead” or: “Extinct species of bird came back from the dead, scientists find” or, the worst of them all: “Scientists discover bird that came back from the dead – A species which became extinct 136,000 years ago in a rare flood on an Indian Ocean atoll has now re-emerged in the same place“  

***  

What is wrong with that?  

Well, a lot, but let’s just start with the statement that their isn’t any species that really goes extinct and then comes back, also not a rail species!  

We actually deal with two distinct species here, or let’s rather say, with two distinct taxa, since they may not be species but subspecies.  

***  

May I introduce the White-throated Rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri (Pucheran)), a very beautiful rail species that is endemic to the island of Madagascar and that apparently has also colonized the island of Mayotte northeast of Madagascar.    

Photo: Bernard Dupont  

(under creative commons license (2.0)) 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0 

This species obviously is the source of several other flightless species and subspecies that are known to have existed on many of the islands around Madagascar, such forms are known from the islands of Mauritius and Réunion west of Madagascar and others from some of the atolls that belong to the Seychelles north of Madagascar, including the Aldabra atoll.  

And the Aldabra atoll in fact is the only place where such a flightless form (subspecies or species if you want) still survives until today, this is the Aldabra Rail (Dryolimnas (cuvieri ssp.) aldabranus (Günther)).  

***  

Long time ago, some White-throated Rails for which reason ever, took a flight to the atoll to find it uninhabited (by rails) and decided to stay there … over time the rails that were born on this predator-free island stopped using their wings and their descendants again finally became completely flightless.  

But then the Aldabra atoll just disappeared due to total inundation in the middle Pleistocene, about 340000 years before present, leading to the extinction of all endemic animals and plants, including this ‘First’ Aldabra Rails.  

***  

Then again, around 100000 years before present, the sea-level begun to sink and the Aldabra atoll reemerged.  

Again, some White-throated Rails left their home island of Madagascar and took a flight to the north to find a new home on the now rail-free Aldabra atoll, and the story took the same direction as thousands of years before, and the final result are the recent endemic, flightless Aldabra Rails that one can see when visiting the atoll.  

***  

So, the Aldabra atoll was inhabited by two distinct lineages of flightless rails at two different times in history, respectively prehistory, that, despite both descenting from one and the same ancestor species, still represent two completely distinct forms, whether they are referred to as subspecies or as species.  

*********************  

References:  

[1] Julian P. Hume; David Martill: Repeated evolution of flightlessness in dryolimnas rails (Aves: Rallidae) after extinction and recolonization on Aldabra. Zoolocigal Journal of the linnean Society 20: 1-7. 2019  

*********************  

edited: 10.05.2019

Fossil record of the Confuciusornithiformes

Confuciusornithidae

Changchengornis hengdaoziensis Ji, Chiappe & Ji

Confuciusornis sanctus Hou et al.
Confuciusornis dui Hou et al.

Eoconfuciusornis zhengi
 Zhang, Zhou & Benton

Yangavis confucii Wang & Zhou

*********************

edited: 05.04.2019

Fossil record of the Phoenicopteriformes

Agnopteridae

Agnopterus hantoniensis Lydekker
Agnopterus laurillardi Milne-Edwards
Agnopterus turgaiensis Turgarinov

Palaelodidae

Adelalopus hoogbutseliensis Mayr & Smith

Megapaloelodus connectens Miller
Megapaloelodus goliath Milne-Edwards
Megapaloelodus opsigonus Brodkorb
Megapaloelodus peiranoi Agnolin

Palaelodus ambiguus Milne-Edwards
Palaelodus aotearoa Worthy et al.
Palaelodus crassipes Milne-Edwards
Palaelodus germanicus (Lambrecht)
Palaelodus gracilipes Milne-Edwards
Palaelodus kurochkini Zelenkov
Palaelodus minutus Milne-Edwards
Palaelodus pledgei Baird & Vickers-Rich
Palaelodus steinheimensis Fraas
Palaelodus wilsoni Baird & Vickers-Rich

Phoenicopteridae

Elornis anglicus Aymard
Elornis grandis Milne-Edwards
Elornis littoralis Milne-Edwards

Harrisonavis croizeti (Gervais)

Juncitarsus gracillimus Olson & Feduccia
Juncitarsus merkeli Peters

Leakeyornis aethiopicus (Harrison & Walker)

Phoeniconaias gracilis Miller

Phoeniconotius eyrensis Miller

Phoenicopterus copei Shufeldt
Phoenicopterus floridanus Brodkorb
Phoenicopterus minutus Howard
Phoenicopterus novaehollandiae Miller
Phoenicopterus siamensis Cheneval
Phoenicopterus stocki (Miller)

*********************

edited: 01.04.2019

Fossil record of the Cathartiformes

Cathartidae

Aizenogyps toomeyae Emslie

Brasilogyps faustoi Alvarenga

Breagyps clarki Miller

Diatropornis ellioti (Milne-Edwards)

Coragyps occidentalis Miller

Geronogyps reliquus Campbell

Gymnogyps amplus Miller
Gymnogyps howardae Campbell
Gymnogyps kofordi Emslie
Gymnogyps varonai (Arredondo)

Hadrogyps aigialeus Emslie

Perugyps diazi Stucchi & Emslie

Phasmagyps patritus Wetmore

Pleistovultur nevesi Alvarenga et al.

Pliogyps charon Becker
Pliogyps fisheri Tordoff

Sarcoramphus fisheri Campbell

Wingegyps cartellei Alvarenga & Olson

Teratornithidae

Aiolornis incredibilis (Howard)

Argentavis magnificens Campbell & Tonni

Cathartornis gracilis Miller

Taubatornis campbelli Olson & Alvarenga

Teratornis merriami Millner
Teratornis woodburnensis Campbell & Stenger

*********************

edited: 25.03.2019

Fossil record of the Falconiformes

Falconidae

Asturaetus furcillatus De Vis

Badiostes patagonicus Ameghino

Baza gracilis De Vis

Caracara creightoni Brodkorb
Caracara latebrosus Brodkorb
Caracara major Jones, Rinderknecht, Migotto & Blanco
Caracara seymouri Suárez & Olson
Caracara sp. ‘Río Quequén Grande, Argentinia’

Falco ramenta Wetmore
Falco pisanus Portis

Foetopterus ambiguus Moreno & Mercerat

Lagopterus minutus Moreno & Mercerat

Milvago brodkorbi Campbell

Polyborus latebrosus Wetmore

Sushkinia pliocaenica Tugarinov

Taphaetus brachialis De Vis
Taphaetus lacertosus De Vis

Thegornis debilis Ameghino
Thegornis musculosus Ameghino

Masillaraptoridae (?)

Masillaraptor parvunguis Mayr

*********************

edited: 24.03.2019

Fossil record of the Yanornithiformes

Hongshanornithidae (?)

Archaeornithura meemannae Wang et al.

Hongshanornis longicresta Zhou & Zhang

Longicrusavis houi O’Connor et al.

Parahongshanornis chaoyangensis Li et al.

Tianyuornis cheni Zheng et al.

Songlingornithidae

Piscivoravis lii Zhou et al.

Songlingornis linghensis Hou

Yanornis martini Zhou & Zhang
Yanornis guozhangi Wang et al.

Yixianornis grabaui Zhou & Zhang

*********************

edited: 22.03.2019

Fossil record of the Tinamiformes

Tinamidae

Crypturellus reai Chandler

Eudromia intermedia (Rovereto)
Eudromia olsoni Tambussi & Tonni

Nothura paludosa Mercerat
Nothura parvula (Rovereto)

Querandiornis romani Rusconi

*********************

edited: 19.03.2019

Fossil record of the Lithornithiformes

Lithornithidae

Calciavis grandei Nesbitt

Fissuravis weigelti Mayr

Lithornis celetius Houde
Lithornis hookeri (Harrison)
Lithornis nasi (Harrison)
Lithornis plebius Houde
Lithornis promiscuous Houde
Lithornis vulturinus Owen

Paracathartes howardae Harrison

Pseudocrypturus cercanaxius Houde

*********************

edited: 18.03.2019

Fossil record of the Rheiformes

Opisthodactylidae

Diogenornis fragilis de Alvarenga (?)

Opisthodactylus horacioperezi Agnolin & Chafrat
Opisthodactylus kirchneri Noriega et al.
Opisthodactylus patagonicus Ameghino

Rheidae

Heterorhea dabbeni Rovereto

Hinasuri nehuensis Tambussi

Rhea anchorenense (Ameghino & Rusconi)
Rhea fossilis Moreno & Mercerat
Rhea mesopotamica (Agnolín & Noriega)
Rhea subpampeana Moreno & Mercerat

*********************

edited: 16.03.2019

Fossil record of the Ciconiiformes

Ciconiidae

Ciconia gaudryi Lambrecht
Ciconia kahli Haarhoff
Ciconia louisebolesae Boles
Ciconia lucida Kurochkin
Ciconia maltha Miller
Ciconia minor Harrison
Ciconia nana (De Vis)
Ciconia sarmatica Grigorescu & Kessler
Ciconia sp. ‘Las Breas de San Felipe, Cuba’
Ciconia sp. 1 ‘Lee Creek Mine, USA’
Ciconia sp. 2 ‘Lee Creek Mine, USA’
Ciconia stehlini Jánossy

Eociconia sangequanensis Hou (?)

Leptoptilus arvernensis Milne-Edwards
Leptoptilos falconeri Milne-Edwards
Leptoptilos indicus (Harrison)
Leptoptilos lüi Zhang et al.
Leptoptilos patagonicus Noriega & Cladera
Leptoptilos pliocenicus Zubareva
Leptoptilos richae Harrison
Leptoptilos robustus Meijer & Awe Due
Leptoptilos siwalicensis Harrison
Leptoptilos sp. ‘Baringo District, Kenya’
Leptoptilos titan Wetmore

Mycteria milleri (Short)
Mycteria wetmorei Howard

Palaeoephippiorhynchus dietrichi Lambrecht

Palaeopelargus nobilis De Vis

Pelargodes magna Milne-Edwards
Pelargopsis stehlini Gaillard
Pelargopsis trouessarti Gaillard

Pseudotantalus milneedwardsii Shufeldt

Tantalus breselensis Marmora

Xenorhynchopsis minor De Vis
Xenorhynchopsis tibialis De Vis

Xenerodiopidae (?)

Xenerodiops mycter Rasmussen

*********************

edited: 14.03.2019

Fossil record of the Caprimulgiformes

Family incertae sedis

Palaeopsittacus georgei Harrison

Protocypselomorphus manfredkelleri Mayr

Archaeotrogonidae

Archaeotrogon cayluxensis Gaillard
Archaeotrogon hoffstetteri Mourer-Chauviré
Archaeotrogon nocturnus Mlíkovský
Archaeotrogon venustus Milne-Edwards
Archaeotrogon zitteli Gaillard

Hassiavis laticauda Mayr

Caprimulgidae

Ventivorus ragei Mourer-Chauviré (?)

Fluvioviridavidae

Eurofluvioviridavis robustipes Mayr

Fluvioviridavis platyrhamphus Mayr & Daniels

Nyctibiidae

Euronyctibius kurochkini Mourer-Chauviré

Paraprefica kelleri Mayr
Paraprefica major Mayr

Steatornithidae

Prefica nivea Olson

Podargidae

Masillapodargus longipes Mayr

Quercypodargus olsoni Mourer-Chauviré

*********************

edited: 12.03.2019

Fossil record of the Cuculiformes

Family incertae sedis

Eocuculus cherpinae Chandler

Cuculidae

Centropus antiquus Gervais
Centropus colossus Baird

Chambicuculus pusillus Mourer-Chauvire, Tabuce, Essid, Marivaux, Khayati, Vianey-Liaud & Ben Haj Ali

Cuculus csarnotanus Jánossy
Cuculus pannonicus Kessler

Cursoricoccyx geraldinae Martin & Megel

Eocuculus cherpinae (Chandler) (?)

Geococcyx conklingi Howard

Neococcyx mccorquodalei Weigel

Thomasococcyx philohippus Steadman

*********************

edited: 10.03.2019

Fossil record of the Piciformes

Family incertae sedis

Picavus litencicensis Mayr & Gregorova

Piciformes gen. & sp. ‘Herrlingen, Germany’

Capitonidae

Capitonides europaeus Ballmann
Capitonides protractus Ballmann

Galbulidae (?)

“Neanis” kistneri (Feduccia)

Gracilitarsidae

Eutreptodactylus itaboraiensis Baird & Vickers-Rich (?)

Gracilitarsus mirabilis Mayr

Lybiidae

Pogoniolus (?) sp. ‘Kohfidisch, Austria’

Picidae

Australopicus nelsonmandelai Manegold & Louchart

Dendrocopos major ssp. submajor Jánossy
Dendrocopos praemedius Jánossy

Palaeonerpes shorti Cracraft & morony

Picus peregrinabundus Umanska
Picus pliocaenicus Kessler

Pliopicus brodkorbi Feduccia & Wilson

Ramphastidae (?)

Rupelramphastoides kopfi Mayr

Sylphornithidae

Oligosylphe mourerchauvireae Mayr & Smith

Palaegithalus cuvieri (Gervais)

Sylphornis bretouensis Mourer-Chauviré

*********************

edited: 08.03.2019

Fossil record of the Strigiformes

Heterostrigidae

Heterostrix tatsinensis Kurochkin & Dyke

Ogygoptyngidae

Ogygoptynx wetmorei Rich & Bohaska

Palaeoglaucidae

Palaeoglaux artophoron Peters
Palaeoglaux perrierensis Mourer-Chauviré

Protostrigidae

Eostrix gulottai Mayr
Eostrix martinellii Wetmore
Eostrix mimica (Wetmore)
Eostrix tsaganica Kurochkin & Dyke
“Eostrix” vincenti Harrison

Minerva antiqua (Shufeldt)
Minerva californiensis (Howard)
Minerva leptosteus (Marsh)
Minerva lydekkeri Shufeldt
Minerva saurodosis Wetmore

Oligostrix rupeliensis Fischer

Sophiornithidae

Berruornis halbedeli Mayr
Berruornis orbisantiqui Mourer-Chauviré

Palaeobyas cracrafti Mourer-Chauviré

Palaeotyto cadurcensis Mouer-Chauviré

Sophiornis quercynus Mourer-Chauviré

Strigidae

Aegolius funereus (L.)

Alasio collongensis (Ballmann)

Asio brevipes Ford & Murray
“Asio” henrici Milne-Edwards
Asio longaevus (Umanskaya)
Asio priscus Howard

Athene angelis Mourer-Chauviré
Athene cretensis Weesie
Athene cunicularia ssp. intermedia Feduccia
Athene megalopeza (Ford)
Athene noctua ssp. lunellensis Mourer-Chauviré
Athene noctua ssp. veta Jánossy
Athene trinacriae Pavia & Mourer-Chauviré

Bubo binagadensis Burchak-Abramovich
Bubo bubo ssp. davidi Mourer-Chauviré
Bubo (?) florianae Kretzoi
Bubo ibericus Meijer, Pavia, Madurell-Malapeira & Alba
Bubo leakeyae Brodkorb & Mourer-Chauviré
Bubo lignitum Giebel
Bubo osvaldoi Arrendondo & Olson
Bubo perpasta Ballmann
Bubo scandiacus ssp. gallicus (Mourer-Chauviré)
Bubo sp. ‘Soave Cava Sud, Italy’
Bubo zeylonensis ssp. lamarmorae Mlíkovský

Glaucidium explorator Emslie

Intulula brevis (Ballmann)
Intulula tinnipara Mlíkovský

Mioglaux debellatrix Mlíkovský
Mioglaux poirrieri (Milne-Edwards)

Ornimegalonyx acevedoi Arredondo
Ornimegalonyx gigas Arredondo
Ornimegalonyx minor Arredondo

Otus guildayi Brodkorb & Mourer-Chauviré
Otus wintershofensis (Ballmann)

Pulsatrix arredondoi Brodkorb

Strix brea Howard
“Strix” brevis Ballmann
Strix collongensis Ballman
Strix dakota A. H. Miller
Strix edwardsi (Ennouchi)
Strix intermedia Jánossy
Strix sp. ‘Ladds, USA’

Surnia capeki Jánossy
Surnia robusta Jánossy

Tytonidae

Basityto rummeli Mlíkovský

Miotyto montispetrosi Göhlich & Ballmann

Necrobyas arvernensis (Milne-Edwards)
Necrobyas harpax Milne-Edwards

Nocturnavis incerta (Milne-Edwards)

Prosybris antiqua (Milne-Edwards)
Prosybris media (Mourer-Chauviré)

Selenornis henrici (Milne-Edwards)

Tyto balearica (Mourer-Chauviré)
Tyto balearica ssp. cyrneichnusae Louchart
Tyto campiterrae Jánossy
Tyto gigantea Ballmann
Tyto jinniushanensis Hou
Tyto mourerchauvireae Pavia
Tyto robusta Ballmann
Tyto sanctialbani (Lydekker)

***

Note that this list is far from being complete.

*********************

edited: 27.02.2019; 06.03.2019

Fossil record of the Coliiformes

Family incertae sedis

Botauroides parvus Shufeldt

Eocolius walkeri Dyke & Waterhouse

Palaeospiza bella Allen

Chascacocoliidae

Chascacocolius cacicirostris Mayr
Chascacocolius oscitans Houde & Olson

Selmeidae 

Selmes absurdipes Peters

Sandcoleidae 

Anneavis anneae Houde & Olson

Eobucco brodkorbi Feduccia & Martin

Eoglaucidium pallas Fischer
Eoglaucidium sp. ‘Messel, Germany’

Sandcoleidae gen. & sp. ‘Messel, Germany’

Sandcoleus copiosus Houde & Olson

Tsidiiyazhi abini Ksepka et al.

Uintornis lucaris Brodkorb
Uintornis marionae Feduccia & Martin

Coliidae 

Celericolius acriala Ksepka & Clarke

Coliidae gen. & sp. ‘Hoogbutsel, Belgium’
Coliidae gen. & sp. ‘Moncucco Torinese, Italy’
Coliidae gen. & sp. ‘Grillental, Namibia’

Colius hendeyi Vickers-Rich & Haarhoff
Colius palustris (Milne-Edwards)

Limnatornis archiaci Milne-Edwards
Limnatornis consobrinus Milne-Edwards
Limnatornis paludicola Milne-Edwards

Masillacolius brevidactylus Mayr & Peters

Oligocolius brevitarsus Mayr
Oligocolius psittacocephalon Mayr

Primocolius minor Mourer-Chauviré
Primocolius sigei Mourer-Chauviré

*********************

edited: 05.03.2019

Fossil record of the Trogoniformes

Family incertae sedis (?)

Foshanornis songi Zhao, Mayr, Wang & Wang

Trogonidae

Masillatrogon pumilio Mayr

Paratrogon gallicus Milne-Edwards

Primotrogon (?) sp. ‘Steendorp, Belgium’
Primotrogon wintersteini Mayr

Septentrogon madseni Kristoffersen

Trogonidae gen. & sp. ‘Matt, Switzerland’

*********************

edited: 02.03.2019

Fossil record of the Apodiformes

Aegialornithidae

Aegialornis broweri Collins
Aegialornis gallicus Lydekker
Aegialornis leehnardti Gaillard
Aegialornis wetmorei Collins

Primapus lacki Harrison & Walker

Procuculus minutus Harrison & Walker (?)

Aegothelidae

Quipollornis koniberi Rich & McEvey

Apodidae

Apus baranensis Jánossy
Apus gaillardi Ennouchi
Apus submelba Jánossy
Apus wetmorei Ballmann

Chaetura baconica Jánossy

Collocalia buday Boles

Procypseloides ignotus (Milne-Edwards)

Scaniacypselus szarskii (Peters)
Scaniacypselus wardi Harrison

Tachornis uranoceles Olson

Cypselavidae

Argornis caucasicus Karhu

Cypselavus gaillardi Ennouchi
Cypselavus gallicus Gaillard
Cypselavus intermedius Gaillard

Parargornis messelensis Mayr

Eocypselidae

Eocypselus rowei Ksepka et al.
Eocypselus vincenti Harrison

Jungornithidae

Jungornis geraldmayri Mourer-Chauviré & Sigé
Jungornis tesselatus Karhu

Palescyvus escampensis Karhu

Trochilidae

Eurotrochilus inexpectatus Mayr
Eurotrochilus noniewiczi Bochenski
Eurotrochilus sp. ‘ Lubéron, France’

*********************

edited: 26.02.2019

Certhiops rummeli Manegold

Diese Art wurde 2008 beschrieben, so weit ich weiß anhand eines einzigen Knochens, eines vollständig erhaltenen rechten Tarsometatarsus, der immerhin der Überfamilie Certhioidea zugeordnet werden kann, nicht aber einer der rezenten Formen dieser Gruppe (Baumläufer, Mückenfänger, Zaunkönige) 

Meiner Meinung nach ähnelt der einzige bekannte Knochen jedoch am ehesten dem entsrechenden Knochen eines Kleibers.

Der Vogel wird eine Gesamtgröße von etwa 15 cm erreicht haben, war also größer als die meisten Baumläufer und kleiner als ein durchschnittlicher Kleiber.

Es handelt sich hierbei tatsächlich um den (bis jetzt) ältesten bekannten echten Singvogel der in Europa gefunden wurde.  

*********************  

Referenzen:  

[1] Albrecht Manegold: Earliest fossil record of the Certhioidea (treecreepers and allies) from the Early Miocene of Germany. Journal of Ornithology 149(2): 223-228. 2008  

Rekonstruktion; die Art erinnerte wohl am ehesten an einen Baumläufer/Kleiber-Mix

*********************  

bearbeitet: 25.02.2019

Fossil record of the Columbiformes

Columbidae

Arenicolumba prattae (Becker & Brodkorb)

Columba melitensis Lydekker (?)
Columba omnisanctorum Ballmann
Columba sp. ‘Varshets, Bulgaria’

Deliaphaps zealandiensis De Pietri, Scofield, Tennyson, Hand & Worthy

Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos Olson

Gerandia calcaria (Milne-Edwards)

Lithophaps ulnaris De Vis

Patagioenas micula Stirton

Primophaps schoddei Worthy

Rupephaps taketake Worthy et al.

*********************

edited: 24.02.2019

Fossil record of the Bucerotiformes

Bucerotidae

Bucorvus brailloni (Brunet)

Euroceros bulgaricus
 Bojev & Kovačev

Laurillardiidae (?)

Laurillardia longirostris Milne-Edwards
Laurillardia munieri Flot
Laurillardia smoleni Bochenski, Mayr, Tomek, Wertz, Bienkowska-Wasiluk & Manegold

Messelirrisoridae

Messelirrisor grandis Mayr
Messelirrisor halcyrostris Mayr
Messelirrisor grandis Mayr

Phoeniculidae

Phirriculus pinicola Mlíkovský & Göhlich

Upupidae

Upupa phoeniculides Jánossy

*********************

edited: 19.02.2019

Fossil record of bird Coraciiformes

Family incertae sedis

Paracoracias occidentalis Clarke et al.

Quasisyndactylus longibrachis Mayr

Alcedinidae

Halcyoninae gen. & sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australia’

Coraciidae

Eurystomus beremendensis Kessler

Miocoracias chenevali
 Mourer-Chauviré, Peyrouse & Hugueney

Eocoraciidae

Eocoracias brachyptera Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré

Geranopteridae

Geranopterus alatus Milne-Edwards
Geranopterus bohemicus Mlikovský
Geranopterus milneedwardsi Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré

Meropidae

Merops radobojensis (Meyer)

Momotidae

Momotidae gen. & sp. ‘Florida, USA’

Protornis glarniensis
 von Meyer (?)

Primobucconidae

Primobucco frugilegus Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré
Primobucco mcgrewi Brodkorb
Primobucco perneri Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré

Septencoracias morsensis
 Bourdon et al.

Todidae

Palaeotodus emryi Olson
Palaeotodus escampsiensis Mourer-Chauviré
Palaeotodus itardiensis Mourer-Chauviré

*********************

edited: 18.02.2019

Hezheng-Fasan – Panraogallus hezhengensis Li et. al.

Der Hezheng-Fasan wurde im Jahr 2018 beschrieben, er war sehr nah mit den heutigen Fasanen verwandt.

Das einzige bisher bekannte Fossil ist bemerkenswert da bei ihm die Trochlea erhalten geblieben ist, was darauf hindeutet, dass der Vogel zu Lebzeiten recht stimmgewaltig gewesen sein muss (ganz wie heutige Fasanenarten)

Rekonstruktion; ich habe allerdings die Sporen vergessen, die beim Fossil sehr gut zu erkennen sind

*********************

Referenzen:

[1] Zhiheng Li; Julia A. Clarke; Chad M. Eliason; Thomas A. Stidham; Tao Deng & Zhonghe Zhou: Vocal specialization through tracheal elongation in an extinct Miocene pheasant from China. Scientific Reports 8(1): 1-12. 2018

*********************

bearbeiten: 02.02.2019

The Raiatea Swamphen

Swamphens (genus Porphyrio) are distributed worldwide (except of course Antarctica), five species are currently officially recognized. In my opinion there are actually more species, 11 to be exact, namely if the Purple Swamphen (species complex) is split into the distinct species which it actually consists of.

And then there are the extinct members including five described species and seven not-yet-described ones.

***

And … then there are the hypothetical ones … two so far, one of which I have already written about here:

The Tahitian Mountain Goose

The other one is way less mysterious and on the other hand much more mysterious, it is a swamphen from Ra’iatea, Society Islands.

The island of Ra’iatea lies 50 km east of Huahine, the home island of McNab’s Swamphen (Porphyrio mcnabiKirchman & Steadman), one of 12 the extinct swamphen forms known on the basis of subfossil bones only.

***

What do we actually known about the mysterious bird of today’s post?

Not much. There is a little note among a big listing of Polynesian (including Melanesian and Micronesian) birds, which says the following.:

319.* Porphyrio sp.
Porphyrio sp. (Schmeltz), Cat. Mus. Godef. 1874 V, p. XVI; Garrett, 1. C. note.
Island of Raiatea, Society Is. (Garrett).
This species is known from two young specimens only.
“ [1]

***

And that’s it.

I could not find out anything else.

But … the Australian Swamphen is known to be a trampy species and has colonized new Zealand only quite recently, maybe only after the colonization of the islands by the first Polynesians. The same species has also colonized parts of Oceania, where the ssp. pelewensis Hartlaub & Finsch has evolved in Palau and the ssp. samoensis Peale (including. ssp. vitiensis Peale) in western Polynesia.

So, the two Ra’iatean birds may in fact not have been collected on Ra’iatea at all but on another island, or they may have been taken there but may have originated from another place, maybe from Samoa, the closest place where swamphens still exist today.
… or the Ra’iatean birds were indeed a distinct subspecies or perhaps rather species that survived into the 19th century.

*********************

[1] Lionel K. Wiglesworth: Aves polynesiae: a catalogue of the birds of the Polynesian subregion (not including the Sandwich Islands). Berlin: R. Friedlaender & Sohn 1891 In: Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königl. Zoologischen und Anthropologisch-Etnographischen Museums zu Dresden Bd. 3: 1-84. 1890/91. herausgegeben von Hofrath Dr. A. B. Meyer, Director des Museums

*********************

edited: 07.10.2018; 01.01.2019

Avian Musings – blog post from January 23, 2019

In his great blog (that I actually – and that’s no lie – look into at least once a week), Paul Cianfaglione writes about many bird-related things, including fine book reviews, very interesting insights into bird anatomy and everything else.

But his latest post is just unbeatable: he did make an extremely close inspection of a bird fossil from Messel that he owns.:

Messel Bird Fossil offers unique feather preservation, and more” from January 23, 2019

***

I personally have never seen close-ups of a bird fossil that are so razor-sharp and detailed!

And his bird shows features not known in any living bird – at least not all of them together in one bird.:

The beak is very big and hooked like the beak of a bird of prey or a owl, and it appears to have had sensory pits, the body feathers appear somewhat hair-like, the wing coverts are fluffy, also probably somewhat like the feather edges of recent owls, and the primaries have extremely strange appendages not known in that way from any other bird, living or extinct, but somewhat reminding on the wings of a waxwing.

What kind of a bird was that?

Well, I could try to do a reconstruction, should I?

That is just a doodle, maybe I have more time tomorrow to make a complete drawing.

Gosh, this is so exciting!   🙂

***

Take 2.:

***

Take 3.:

*********************

edited: 26.01.2019; 27.01.2019

A reed warbler from Raivavae?

Hi there!

While reading some stuff in my ‚reed warbler book‘ [3] last night, I suddenly remembered that there was a sighting or rather a ‚hearing‘ of a reed warbler on an island where no such reed warbler was known to exist, and I was quite sure that this was one of the Cook Islands, but could not find any mention of it.

But then, i found it, and it was one of the Austral Islands, namely Raivavae, where a reed warbler was recorded in 1968, and it was apparently indeed not seen but heard only, but it was at least identified as being a reed warbler.

The island of Raivavae has no surviving endemic land bird species today, but of course did have some of them in the past, among them very, very, veeery likely also a reed warbler species, and in my humble opinion this appears to have survived until the mid 20th century at least.

***

So, I’ve checked my ‚usual suspects‘ and found some furter informations, but not really that much, unfortunately.

Te Manu: Bulletin de la Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie. Nr 24. September 1998:

Une espèce non identifiée d’Acrocephalus a été notée à Raivavae en 1968 mais n’a pas été retrouvé en 1990 (Seitre et Seitre 1991) et pouvait donc être un oiseau erratique.

translation:

An unidentified species of Acrocephalus was recorded at Raivavae in 1968 but was not found in 1990 (Seitre and Seitre 1991) and could therefore be an erratic bird.

This record obviously is mentioned by D. T. Holyoak; J.-C. Thibault in 1984 [1] but I was not able to read it myself, however, I’m rather convinced that the ‚erratic bird‘ more likely is meant to be what in German is called a „Irrgast“, a migratory bird that appeared on the island inadvertently while flying from one point to another.

But are there migratory reed warblers flying over the Austral Islands? No, because if they fly from north to south or back, they just do not cross the middle of the Pacific Ocean since the migratory reed warbler species only inhabit the continents of the ‚Old World‘ and those inhabiting the Polynesian islands do not migrate, as far as I know.

***

In chapter 7 of David W. Steadman’s ‚Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific birds‘ from 2006 [2] it is mentioned as Acrocephalus vaughani and as a ‚M, modern record‘ from Raivavae. How could I actually miss that until today?

****

I personally are rather sure that this single record from the island of Raivavae is indeed the last record of a former existing population of native, probably endemic, Raivavae Reed Warblers which now join the ever-growing list of extinct taxa. 

*********************

References:

[1] D. T. Holyoak; J.-C. Thibault: Contribution à l’étude des oiseaux de Polynésie orientale. Mémoire du MNHN, Série A Zoologie 27: 121-122. 1984
[2] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006
[3] David Pearson; Peter Kennerly: Reed and Bush Warblers. Christopher Helm 2009

*********************

edited: 20.01.2019

Rapa Nui – was there an endemic goose?

When James Richard Hill MacFarlane [unfortunately I could not find out who that actually was] stayed on Easter Island in February 1884, he made the following statement, which, however, appears to be very reliable after all.:

The only birds I saw in the crater [Rano Kao] were three ruddy-coloured Geese, but I was unable to get anywhere near them.“ [1]

There were at least three geese on the island, straying around in the crater of the extinct Rano Kao volcano, but what can we make of this observation?

***

Well, given the date of this observation, 1884, these geese certainly were not an endemic species now lost, but given the recorded color they may also not have been feral geese, which are always either gray or white or mottled gray and white.

The authors of the most recent listing of native and introduced birds found on Rapa Nui, Manuel Marin and Pablo Caceres, think that what Mr. McFarlane saw may have been female Upland Geese (Chloephaga picta (Gmelin)), a species that inhabits southern South America and that either may have stranded on the island after they lost their route during a flight or, probably more likely, were imported to the island by humans. [2]

***

I will possibly post more interesting [I hope it is] stuff about this very, very isolated island in 2019.

*********************

References:

[1] J. R. H. MacFarlane: Notes on birds in the western Pacific, made in H. M. S. ‚Constance‘, 1883-5. Ibis 5(5): 201-215. 1887
[2] Manuel Marin; Pablo Caceres: Sobre las aves de Isla de Pascua. Boletín del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Chile 59: 75-95. 2010

*********************

edited: 08.12.2018

Prehistoric Gambier Islands

A new paper, that was just published [1], deals with the subfossil remains that had been excavated on the Gambier Islands far, far in the almost easternmost corner of Polynesia, more easterly are only the Pitcairn Islands and the well known Rapa Nui.

The Gambier Islands, for those who don’t know them, are basically a more or less sunken atoll, a so called ‚almost atoll‘ like the better known Aitutaki atoll in the Cook Islands. This ‚almost atoll‘ consists of a larger but still relatively small main island, Mangareva, and several other smaller islets surounding it, all of them of volcanic origin and merely the meager remains of a former large volcano. The whole group of islands is encircled by a fringe of coral islands, which again are formed by lifted coral reefs. There are some other real atolls (only coral islands without remains of former volcanoes) that belong to the Gambier group, these are Maria (Est), Marutea (Sud), Matureivavao, Morane, Temoe, Tenararo, Tenarunga, Vahanga.

***

The authors describe one new species, a pigeon, and mention several others, mostly pigeons and of course seabirds, we are on a island group here after all.   😛

***

The first surprise is Bountyphaps, very likely the same Bountyphaps obsoleta Worthy & Wragg that was originally described from Henderson Island, Pitcairn Islands. Its remains were found on Kamaka Island, one of the numerous small or very small islands within the group. The remains are interpreted as probably having been transported from the Pitcairn Islands to the Gambiers by Polynesian settlers, which indeed are known to have captured and tamed parrots and pigeons, at least in olden times when there still were parrots and pigeons to be found.

The next bird is the newly described pigeon species, Ducula tihonireasini Rigal, Kirch & Worthy, its remains were found on Taravai Island, the second largest of the islands in the group, and it probably was endemic to the Gambier Islands.

Then there are a Ptilinopus sp. which may be identical to the Atoll Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus coralensis Peale), and a Columbidae gen. & sp., probably Macropygia sp., which would extend the distributional area of that genus far to the east and to the south.

There are of course remains of the Pacific Reef Egret (Egretta sacra ssp. sacra (Gmelin)), the most common land bird in whole Polynesia today.

And off we go to the seabirds, here we have the remains of Red- and White-tailed Tropicbirds, a rather small Pseudobulweria sp., apparently also a new species, three unspecified Pterodroma spp., three Puffinus spp., the Wedge-tailed Shearwater, the Polynesian Storm-Petrel, the Great- and the Lesser Frigatebird, the White Tern, and finally another tern, probably the Blue Noddy.

***

All of these birds are known to have occurred on the Gambier Islands at least since 2005 when their first remains were found (except for Bountyphaps obsoleta, whose remains were wrongly assigned to another pigeon species, Alopecoenas nui (Steadman)). But only now their subfossil bones were scientifically investigated.

*********************

References:

[1] Stanislas Rigal; Patrick V. Kirch; Trevor H. Worthy: New prehistoric avifaunas from the Gambier Group, French Polynesia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.3.4A 1-35. 2018

*********************

edited: 07.12.2018

Psittacus pacificus – what if …?

… some thoughts about my favorite parrot genus – Cyanoramphus, I think about them very often ….   😉

***

28.* Cyanoramphus erythronotus.

Society Is.: Tahiti and Raiatea (Forster)
“ [1]

and

30.* Cyanoramphus ulietanus.

?Ulietea or Raiatea, Society Islands (Lath.). – ?Tanna, New Hebrides (Bullock Coll. Brit. Mus.).
If the Parrot, P. ulieteanns Gm., really came from Ulietea as stated by Latham, it may prove to be the young of P. pacificus Forst. = erythronotus Kuhl.
“ [1]

***

Number 28., the Black-fronted- or Tahiti-Parakeet is now named as Cyanoramphus zealandicus (Latham), what if the two species, the black-fronted and the Society Islands Parakeet, where indeed only one species?

The Black-fronted Parakeet appears to be very much like the remainder of the Cyanoramphus species, more or less completely green, with bluish wing feathers, and some red feathers behind the eye, but the other species, the Society Islands Parakeet, has a completely different coloration, being brownish olive-colored with a completely blackish head, it is completely unlike any of ist congeners.

The dull form may indeed have been the juvenile of the green one, yet all other species in the genus lack a special juvenile plumage, the young birds look exactly like the adult ones, and the only two known specimens of the Society Islands Parakeet appear to be adult birds – so no, this theory is invalid.

***

The origin of the two species is another question, it is not that much for certain, that in historical times one was found only on the island of Tahiti and the other one only on Ra’iatea, let alone the prehistorical times …! The only thing absolutely for sure is that the Black-fronted Parakeet indeed inhabited Tahiti.

Can you still follow me?

The genus is very rich in species in New Zealand and occurs there almost everywhere with at least two sympatrical species, and even as much as three on the large South Island (Yellow-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps), Orange-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi), Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezealandiae)).

So why should the island of Tahiti not have harbored two species as well? And why should these two species not have occurred on other islands within the Society archipelago as well? We will probably never know that for sure.

***

There are still so many mysteries surrounding this genus, one is the very disjunct distribution, with giant gaps of which one was only recently filled with the discovery of subfossil remains on the island of Rapa, Austral archipelago.

But this is another story for another day.   🙂

*********************

source:  

[1] Lionel K. Wiglesworth: Aves polynesiae: a catalogue of the birds of the Polynesian subregion (not including the Sandwich Islands). Berlin: R. Friedlaender & Sohn 1891 In: Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königl. Zoologischen und Anthropologisch-Etnographischen Museums zu Dresden Bd. 3: 1-84. 1890/91. herausgegeben von Hofrath Dr. A. B. Meyer, Director des Museums

*********************

edited: 24.10.2018

Amsterdam Island Rail – gone with the wind

When C. Jouanin and P. Paulian surveyed beds of subfossil bones on Île Amsterdam in the subantarctic Indian Ocean in 1960, they found almost only bones of seabirds, but also some bones of what later was described as the Amsterdam Island Duck (Anas marecula Olson & Jouventin) – and – the mummified body of a middle-sized rail.  

The two just wrote some kind of short note [1], that later, in 1977, was translated by Storrs L. Olson.:  

A mummy of a small rail was discovered in a tunnel in a lava flow, under a block that had no doubt protected it from moisture. A sketch was made in situ, as well as taking measurements of the beak (22 mm), the tarsus (40) and the middle toe without claw (34), but the mummy fell to dust when an attempt was made to pick it up. In this case one cannot infer the former existence of a rail peculiar to New Amsterdam, although it would be perfectly likely (endemic species of this order exist on most isolated islands), for the measurements cited coincide with those of a skin of a Corncrake (Crex crex Linnaeus) in the British Museum collected 100 miles to the south of Madagascar. Still, this identification is not wholly satisfactory: the mummy did not have the bulk nor the heavy bill of a Corncrake, and it is most regrettable not to have been able to remove it.“ [2]  

The Amsterdam Island Rail very, very, very likely, if not absolutely definitely, was an endemic species, that indeed may have descended from the trampy Corncrake, a species that inhabits parts of western Asia and Europe, but on its migrations, pops up almost everywhere on Earth!  

***  

Imagine how many such endmic rails may have existed before mankind spread all over the planet, it must have been thousands …!  

*********************  

References:  

[1] C. Jouanin; P. Paulian: Recherche das ossements d’oiseaux provenant de l’île Nouvelle-Amsterdam (Océan Indien). Proceedings of the XIIth International Ornithological Congress, Helsinki: 368-372. 1960 
[2] Storrs L. Olson: A synopsis of the fossil Rallidae. In: Sidney Dillon Ripley: Rails of the World – A Monograph of the family Rallidae. Codline. Boston 1977  

*********************  

edited: 15.10.2018

Cook Islands Sandpiper ?

I just found an interesting account from the 19th century that mentions the Kiribati / Tuamotu Sandpiper (Prosobonia cancellata Peale / parvirostris J. F. Gmelin) as Phegornis cancellatus from the Hervey Islands (today the atoll Manuae in the northern Cook Islands). [1]

Is this just an error, or is it a report of a last population of the subfossil Prosobonia sp. that is known from Mangaia, Cook Islands?

I wish I had more time for all that, but sadly I have to work for a living (… it’s actually more work than living ….).

*********************

[1] Lionel K. Wiglesworth: Aves polynesiae: a catalogue of the birds of the Polynesian subregion (not including the Sandwich Islands). Berlin: R. Friedlaender & Sohn 1891 In: Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königl. Zoologischen und Anthropologisch-Etnographischen Museums zu Dresden Bd. 3: 1-84. 1890/91. herausgegeben von Hofrath Dr. A. B. Meyer, Director des Museums

*********************

edited: 10.10.2018

Saint Paul Duck … a species that never was?

Saint Paul Duck  (Anas sp. ‚Île Saint-Paul‘)

While describing a new extinct birb, the Amsterdam Island Wigeon (Anas marecula) in 1996, the two authors Storrs L. Olson and Pierre Jouventin mentioned an account from the middle of the 18th century, and quoted another author, W. R. P. Bourne.:

Of far greater interest, however, is the report of the explorer John Barrow, who was on St. Paul Island on 2 February 1793, where he mentioned the presence of „a small brown duck, not much larger than a thrush“ that was „the favorite food of the five sealers living on the island“ (quotes brom Bourne et al. 1983).“ [2][3]

To me, it seems, the two authors did not actually check the original source, John Barrow, here.

Well, but I did, I checked it!   😉

***

By the way; another well-known author of bird/extinction-related books, Julian P. Hume (in Extinct Birds; in the 2012 – or in the 2017 edition), even gives a completely wrong source.:

„John Barrow: Some Account of the Public Life, and a Selection from the Unpublished Writings, of the Earl of Macartney. Amsterdam London: T. Cadell and W. Davies. 1806“

I checked that source too!   😉

***

But back to the actual source, what does it really say?

Page 140:

On the 1st of February we discovered the two islands of St. Paul and Amsterdam, and on the evening of the same day anchored on the eastern side of he latter, at the distance of about a mile from the shore. …“ [1]

The latter one is Amsterdam Island, right?

What follos are several descriptions of the island, of its geology, and some quite interesting philosophical reflections about the fact that some parts of the planet appear to be older/younger than others, and that islands apparently can just appear out of nothing or disappear into nothing, obviously without aid of an unearthly higher being (remember; Darwin’s ‚On the Origin of Species‘ first appeared 66 years after).

… oh, and a list of birds of course.:

Page 147/148:

The number of birds was likewise astonishing, and the two causeways were strewed with teir eggs. During our short stay on shore we obtained the fossowing birds:

Anas, A small brown Duck, not much larger than a thrush, and apparently not described by naturalists.
“ [1]

The author still speaks about Amsterdam Island here, so this is the Amsterdam Island Duck (Anas marecula Olson & Jouventin)!

Its this little passage – „A small brown Duck, not much larger than a thrush“ – that apparently was copied again and again by several authors without checking the original source.

***

On page 155 resp. 156, the author reports about five seal hunters, that „all lived in a small miserable hut, as dirty and offensive as that of an Hottentot; and it was surrounded on every side by the dead carcasses of seals and sea-lions.“ [1]

Page 155:

If the smoke and the fires of Amsterdam Island had excited our curiosity, the discovery of two or three human being running along the shore, as our ships approached it, on so miserable a spot, and so distant from any other land except the little neighboring island of St. Paul, caused a still greater degree of astonishment. …“ [1]

This passage clearly still refers to Amsterdam Island! 

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Page 156:

The birds, they observed, had a strong fishy taste, to which, however, long habit had reconciled them: those that were the least so were the blue petrel and the little brown duck.“ [1]

There again, the small duck from Amsterdam Island! 

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The Amsterdam Island Wigeon clearly survived into the 18th century, since it is clearly that bird that is mentioned in the so often (incorrectly) cited quotes. There may a duck have existed on the Île Saint-Paul, however, up to now there is no proof for that assumption!

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References: 

[1] John Barrow: A voyage to Cochinchina, in the years 1792 and 1793. To which is annexed an account of a journey made in the years 1801 and 1802, to the residence of the chief of the Booshuana nation. London: printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies 1806
[2] W. R. P. Bourne; A. C. F. David; C. Jouanin: Probable Garganey on St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands, Indian Ocean. Wildfowl 34: 127-129. 1983
[3] Storrs L. Olson; Pierre Jouventin: A new species of small flightless duck from Amsterdam Island, southern Indian Ocean (Anatidae: Anas). The Condor 98(1): 1-9. 1996

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edited: 08.10.2018

Hurra!

The family Aepyornithidae has finally been revised properly!   🙂

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Up to 15 species were accepted for some time, after the last revision about 50 years [!] ago, there were only seven species left.:

Aepyornis gracilis Monnier
Aepyornis hildebrandti Burckhardt
Aepyornis maximus Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
Aepyornis medius Milne-Edwards & Grandidier

Mullerornis agilis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier
Mullerornis betsilei Milne-Edwards & Grandidier
Mullerornis rudis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier

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And now, after the latest revision [1] only four species are left, and one of them is transferred into a new genus.:

Aepyornis hildebrandti Burckhardt
Aepyornis maximus Geoffroy Saint Hilaire

Mullerornis modestus (Milne-Edwards & Grandidier)

Vorombe titan (Andrews)

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References:

[1] James P. Hansford; Samuel T. Turvey: Unexpected diversity within the extinct elephant birds (Aves: Aepyornithidae) and a new identity fort he world’s largest birds. Royal Society Open Science, 2018; 5(9): 181295 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181295

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edited: 27.09.2018