Schlagwort-Archive: Pelecaniformes

Photo safari

We used the little sunshine today ….

A Carrion Crow along the way was playing with- or trying to eat a walnut.

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone ssp. corone)

Along the river we saw at least three herons, two of them were wearing their breading plumage which differs by the redder beak and the blue instead of yellow skin around the eye.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea ssp. cinerea) in non-breeding plumage, note the rather orange colored beak and the yellow skin around the eye
Grey Heron in nearly full breeding plumage
Grey Heron in full breeding plumage

A tiny Blue Tit was willing to be photographed, however, I could get only one photo … well, better than nothing. 🙂

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caerulea ssp. caerulea)

Fossil record of the Pelecaniformes


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


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


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


edited: 19.12.2019

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 island of 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 (East), Marutea (South), Matureivavao, Morane, Temoe, Tenararo, Tenarunga, and 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.

The next bird is a 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.


Most 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.



[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