Schlagwort-Archive: Neuseeland

Zealandornis relictus Worthy et al.

Dieser Vogel lebte in Neuseeland vor 19 bis 16 Millionen Jahren, ist bisher aber nur anhand eines Knochenbruchstücks bekannt.

eine höchstspekulative Rekonstruktion

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

Quelle:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; R. Paul Scofield; Steven W. Salisbury; Suzanne J. Hard; Vanesa L. De Pietri; Michael Archer: Two new neoavian taxa with contrasting palaeobiogeographical implications from the early Miocene St Bathans Fauna, New Zealand. Journal of Ornithology http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10336-022-01981-6. 2022

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

bearbeitet: 08.03.2022

Zealandornithidae – eine neue fossile Familie neuseeländischer Vögel

Es ist eine einigermaßen bekannte Tatsache, dass Neuseeland auch heute noch einige Reliktpopulationen ansonsten längst ausgestorbener Lebensformen beherbergt, dies war aber bereits in der Vergangenheit so.

Die fossile Fauna der St Bathans-Fundstelle hat nun eine weitere solche Reliktlinie hervorgebracht, die Familie der „Zealandia-Vögel“, benannt anhand eines distalen Endstücks eines Humerus eines Vogels, der sich keiner bekannten Familie zuordnen lässt (Zealandornis relictus Worthy et al.). [1]

Dieser Vogel dürfte in etwa die Größe eines durchschnittlichen Finken erreicht haben und könnte mit den Mausvögeln verwandt gewesen sein, ohne dabei zu den Mausvögeln selbst zu gehören. Es ist möglich, dass seine Familie gondwanischen Ursprungs ist und in Neuseeland ihr letztes Refugium gefunden hatte, oder, wie etliche andere neuseeländische Vogelformen auch, ursprünglich aus Australien zugewandert ist. Wie so oft gilt auch hier, es sind weitere Funde notwendig um genauere Angaben zum Aussehen und zu den Verwandtschaftsverhältnissen dieser Art/Familie zu machen. [1]

Eine Rekonstruktion ist derzeit nicht wirklich möglich, bzw. wäre rein spekulativ.

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

Quelle:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; R. Paul Scofield; Steven W. Salisbury; Suzanne J. Hard; Vanesa L. De Pietri; Michael Archer: Two new neoavian taxa with contrasting palaeobiogeographical implications from the early Miocene St Bathans Fauna, New Zealand. Journal of Ornithology http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10336-022-01981-6. 2022

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

bearbeitet: 08.03.2022

What is/was Strix parvissima Ellman?

Little Owl (Ruruwekau), Strix parvissima. A very scarce bird, not larger than a starling. The head is very large. I have never obtained a specimen, but have seen it among the forests. It is an exceedingly shy bird.” [1] 

***

In this division there is a most remarkable little owl, the smallest in the world. It is known to the natives as the ruru wekau; it has an unusually large head, flies by day, is exceedingly shy, and is about half the size of the common ruru. It inhabits dense forests.” [2]

***

No. 6. – Strix parvissima, Ellman. (Zool., 1861)
Little Owl

Amongst the desiderata of our collections the Little Owl has for some time held a place; many doubt its existence, few have seen it, still fewer have preserved any note or observation concerning it. From the information that has been gleaned about this rare bird, it would appear that its habitat must be the bushes about the Rangitata River 
[Canterbury Region, South Island].
One correspondent saw it on the bank of a creek at no great distance from Mount Peel Forest, it was between the roots of a large tree; observation was drawn to it by the proceedings of several tuis, who were persecuting it to the best of their ability; it was whilst its attention was engaged by these noisy assailants that the bird was secured. It was about the size of a kingfisher, and its captor felt quite certain of its being an adult specimen; it was carried home to be shown as a curiosity, and was afterwards liberated. Unlike the more-pork, when captured it was exceedingly gentle.
Another specimen was procured by a gentleman in one of the bushes far above the Rangitata Gorge; on being observed on a branch of a tree, it was knocked down and caught during its fall; there was fur on its beak, as though it had not long before devoured a mouse; this bird was also set at liberty.
Two other instances of its occurrence have been communicated, but without further information. It may be mentioned that one of these was again on the Rangitata.
At Shepherd Bush Station, on the Rangitata, opposite Peel Forest, a specimen was observed in the house, greatly resembling A. Novae Zelandiae 
[ruru (Ninox novaeseelandiae)], except in size, which was about that of a kingfisher; it was most gentle in its habits, remaining quiet during the daytime and sallied forth in the evening, regaining its perch by entering through a broken window. This pretty little visitor thus frequented the house for about a fortnight; it should be added that the house stands close to a small bush composed chiefly of Leptospermum, Griselinia, etc., of which there are many aged specimens.
From these notices it may be safely inferred that the Little Owl is arboreal in its habits, and possibly not so strictly nocturnal as its better known congeners; whether it is to be considered identical with either of the species referred to by Dr. Finsch is, of course, at present unknown; it is certain it is not a tufted species, or such a remarkable form would have been noticed.
” [3]

***

What can we make of this little owl that apparently once existed in New Zealand?

Are these accounts referring to an actual owl or rather to some other bird, maybe even to a last surviving population of the New Zealand Owlet-Nightjar (Aegotheles novaezealandiae (Scarlett))?

This nightjar species is known only from subfossil remains that date to 1200 AD and which usually are not found in association with Maori middens, it was also not necessarily a small bird and may have been quite the same size as the ruru and only slightly smaller than the larger whēkau (Ninox albifacies); furthermore it is thought to have been flightless or at least nearly so. 

There is, however, a slight chance that these eyewitness accounts indeed refer to a last surviving population of this now extinct creature, we will probably never know for sure.

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

References:

[1] J. B. Ellman: Brief Notes on the Birds of New Zealand. The Zoologist 19: 7464-7473. 1861
[2] J. B. Ellman: Correspondence. The Press 3(136): 2. 1863
[3] T. H. Potts: On the birds of New Zealand (Part II.) Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 3: 59-109. 1870

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

New Zealand Owlet-Nightjar (Aegotheles novaezealandiae)

Depiction: Paul Martinson

under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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

edited: 05.11.2021

Are there Maori traditions about the extinct Moa(s)? part: 2

The Maori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand), have a very rich oral tradition that actually dates back to the time when their ancestors first arrived at the shores of the islands!

These traditions, however, have greatly been influenced by Europeans settlers, especially by missionaries, who tried to destroy the Maori by banning everything Maori: traditional clothing, traditional musical instruments, songs, religious beliefs, even the Maori language itself, everything was banned and violations were punished severely. 

No one can say how much knowledge was destroyed during these times.

“…
Kotahi tonue tama 
Te tiaki whenua, 
Ko te kuranui
Te manu a Rua-kapanga, 
Itahuna e to tupuna, e Tamatea 
Ki te ahi tawhito, 
Ki te ahi tupua, 
Ki te ahi na Mahuika. 
Na Maui i whakaputa ki te ao 
Ka mate i whare huki o Repo-roa, 
Ka rere te momo, e tama e!

This is the end part of a large Maori poem that can be dated back to the 14th century, around the time when the first Maori settlers arrived at the shores of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

The poem mentions the kuranui, the bird of Rua-kapanga, which is said to have been the first person to have spotted the bird; te kuranui might be translated as ‘the large red one’, ‘the large precious one’ or maybe as ‘the most precious one’.

Furthermore it also informs us about the fate of these kuranui(s): “… destroyed by your ancestor, Tamatea, with underground and supernatural fire, the fire of Mahuika (a fire goddess), brought to this world by Maui; they were driven into the swamps and perished …” [1]

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

References:

[1] Otto Krösche: Die Moa-Strausse, Neuseelands ausgestorbene Riesenvögel: Die neue Brehm-Bücherei 322. A. Ziemsen Verlag 1963

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

edited: 02.11.2021

Are there Maori traditions about the extinct Moa(s)?

This is a very interesting question that was asked by many scientists – what does Maori lore tell us about the now extinct megafauna of New Zealand? The results of all previous investigations are rather sobering, all so-called traditional accounts seem to date to the time following the arrival of the Europeans in New Zealand.

I want to mention only one of them here.

The first account dates from the middle of the 19th century.:

The natives speak of another member of this family, which they name the kiwi papa whenua, a still larger species, which they describe as having been full seven feet high; it likewise had a very long bill, with which it made large holes in the ground, in search after worms. This bird is now extinct, but there are persons living who have seen it. Rauparaha told me he had eaten it in his youth, which might be about seventy years ago [ca. 1785], and when that Chief died, his corpse was said to have been ornamented with some of its feathers.” [1] 

***

This second account refers to the first one and was made just ten years later.:

Kiwi Papa Whenua. Seven feet [ca. 2 m] high. One of the last birds to disappear. There are still men who have hunted it.” [2]

***

The Kiwi papa whenua accounts may indeed refer to one of the smaller or middle-sized moa species, one that was about 2 m tall and that may have survived longer than most of the other moa species, but probably not into the early- or middle 18th century; it might thus be referring to the so-called Upland Moa (Megalapteryx didinus (Owen)), a species that officially died out around 1500 AD.. However, when reading the first account, it is very clear that this description has been mixed with that of a typical kiwi, thus it is quite clear that these accounts are no eyewitness reports.

The term Kiwi papa whenua might be translated as ‘Ground kiwi’ or maybe ‘Kiwi of the land’ which is not very meaningful. It is furthermore rather unlikely that the Maori would have connected the diurnal, rather large, long-necked moa species with the completely distinct kiwi(s), thus it is very unlikely that the term ‘kiwi’ would have been used for any of these species.

Nevertheless, such old accounts remain very interesting, and I will go on posting more of them in the future.   

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

References:

[1] Richard Taylor: Te Ika a Maui: or, New Zealand and its inhabitants, illustrating the origin, manners, customs, mythology, religion, rites, songs, proverbs, fables, and language of the natives: together with the geology, natural history, productions, and climate of the country; its state as regards Christianity; sketches of the principal chiefs, and their present position; with a map and numerous illustrations. London: Wertheim and Macintosh, 24, Paternoster-Row. 1855
[2] J. B. Ellman: Brief Notes on the Birds of New Zealand. The Zoologist 19: 7464-7473. 1861

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

edited: 01.11.2021

Moa feather

This little feather comes from an Elephant-foot Moa (Pachyornis elephantopus (Owen)), which was found on the South Island of New Zealand and was exterminated about 600 to 500 years ago through hunting and habitat destruction.

reconstruction of a ca. 500 years old, subfossil feather

The feather is approx. 3.5 cm long and incomplete, but the original colors have been preserved to this day. [1]

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

References:

[1] Nicolas J. Rawlence; Jamie R. Wood; Kyle N. Armstrong; Alan Cooper: DNA content and distribution in ancient feathers and potential to reconstruct the plumage of extinct avian taxa. Proceedings of the Royal Society 276: 3395-3402. 2009

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

edited: 21.11.2020

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: 08.08.2019

Say >Hello< to New Zealand’s newest bird species!

The Whenua Hou Diving Petrel was named after Whenua Hou [Codfish Island] a small island offshore the northwest coast of Stewart Island, New Zealand, where now the last remaining breeding population of this species, some 150 individuals at the most, remains.

The species did once breed on other New Zealand islands as well, including Dundas Island and Enderby Island (Auckland Islands), the Chatham Islands, South Island, and Stewart Island. It may also have bred on Macquarie Island.

The birds of that population are just now recognized as a distinct species, differing from the South Georgia Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides georgicus Murphy & Harper), with which they were until recently considered conspecific, and even consubspecific [if such a word exists] since this species was thought to be monotypic.

The Whenua Hou Diving Petrel can be distinguished from the South Georgia birds by several external features, especially by its more contrasting plumage.

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

Photo: TheyLookLikeUs

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

Leider sind mittlerweile nahezu alle Seevögelarten mehr oder weniger stark vom Unfortunately all sea bird species are more or less threated with extinction right now, mainly because of the increasing plastic pollution of the world’s oceans.

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

References:

[1] Johannes H. Fischer, Igor Debski, Colin M. Miskelly, Charles A. Bost, Aymeric Fromant, Alan J. D. Tennyson, Jake Tessler, Rosalind Cole, Johanna H. Hiscock, Graeme A. Taylor, Heiko U. Wittmer: Analyses of phenotypic differentiations among South Georgian Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides georgicus) populations reveal an undescribed and highly endangered species from New Zealand. PLoS ONE 13(6): e0197766. 2018

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

edited: 28.06.2018

Kui’s Wren – Kuiornis indicator Worthy et al.

New Zealand during the early Miocene (about 19 to 16 million years ago): a tiny Kui’s Wren is sitting on a flowering Fuchsia twig.

The Kui’s Wren is the oldest known member of the Acanthisittidae, a bird family that is only known from New Zealand. It is said to have been similar in size to the Riflemean (Acanthisitta chloris (Sparrmann)), on of only two surviving members of this family, it was indeed a preatty tiny bird.

The flowers belong to Fuchsia antiqua D. E. Lee, Conran, Bannister, U. Kaulfuss & Mildenh., itself being the oldest known Fuchsia species. I wanted to represent it as a tree-like species, a bit like the recent Tree Fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata (J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) L. f.).

*********************  

References:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Suzanne J. Hand; Jacqueline M. T. Nguyen; Alan J. D. Tennyson; Jennifer P. Worthy; R. Paul Scofield; Walter E. Boles; Michael Archer: Biogeographical and Phylogenetic Implications of an Early Miocene Wren (Aves: Passeriformes: Acanthisittidae) from New Zealand. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(2): 479-498. 2010 
[2] Daphne E. Lee; John G. Conran; Jennifer M. Bannister; Uwe Kaulfuss; Dallas C. Mildenhall: A fossil Fuchsia (Onagraceae) flower and an anther mass with in situ pollen from the early Miocene of New Zealand. American Journal of Botany 100(10): 2052-2065. 2013

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

edited: 08.01.2017