Category Archives: birds

Fossil record of the Plataleiformes


Actiornis anglicus Lydekker

Ajaja chione Emslie

Eudocimus leiseyi Emslie
Eudocimus peruvianus Campbell

Gerandibis pagana (Milne-Edwards)

Geronticus thackerayi Pavia – new

Ibidopodia palustris Milne-Edwards

Milnea gracilis Lydekker

Minggangia changgouensis Hou

Protibis cnemialis Ameghino

Rhynchaeites messelensis Wittich
Rhynchaeites sp. ‘Fur Formation, Denmark’
Rhynchaeites tanta (Waterhouse et al.)

Sanshuiornis zhangi Wang, Mayr, Zhang & Zhou

Vadaravis brownae Smith, Grande & Clarke


edited: 03.09.2019


Fossil record of the Suliformes


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


Limnofregata azygosternon Olson
Limnofregata hasegawai Olson & Matsuoka
Limnofregata hutchisoni Stidham


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


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


Protoplotus beauforti Lambrecht


Bimbisula melanodactylos Benson & Erickson – new

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


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]



[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


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.

a 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


edited: 24.09.2018; 14.08.2019

Rufous Antpitta x six + more

The Rufous Antpitta (Grallaria rufula) 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.

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

Photo: Nigel Voaden

(under creative commons license (2.0))


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:

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

Now, there apparently are even more cryptical species hidden within this species-complex, it is believed that at least six species are found in Colombia alone and several more in the rest of the “species'” distributional area.

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


bearbeitet: 14.08.2019

Fossil record of the Sphenisciformes


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 – new

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.

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, New Zealand’

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

Tereingaornis moisleyi Scarlett

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

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

Wimanornis seymourensis Simpson


edited: 13.08.2019

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.

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 from a true a pigeon, the complete bird must have reached a life size of about 25 cm.



[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


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.



[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 Columbiformes


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 – new

Rupephaps taketake Worthy et al.


edited: 24.02.2019

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 Psittaciformes


Cacatua sp. ‘Riversleigh, Australia’


Cyrilavis colburnorum Ksepka et al.
Cyrilavis olsoni Feduccia & Martin

Halcyornis toliapicus König

Pseudasturides macrocephalus (Mayr)

Pulchrapollia gracilis (Dyke & Cooper)

Serudaptus pohli Mayr


Messelastur gratulator Peters

Tynskya eocaena Mayr


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

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


Agapornis atlanticus Mourer-Chauviré
Agapornis attenboroughi
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


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