Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Mid-Holocene Falkland Islands bird bones from a peat deposit, including a new species of caracara

Mark P. Adams A C and Robin W. Woods B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Bird Group, Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 6AP, UK.

B 68 Aller Park Road, Newton Abbot, Devonshire, TQ12 4NQ, UK.

C Corresponding author. Email: m.adams@nhm.ac.uk

Emu 116(4) 370-378 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU15129
Submitted: 19 December 2015  Accepted: 19 February 2016   Published: 20 June 2016

Abstract

The modern avifauna of the Falkland Islands is well documented, but very little is known of the islands before the first recorded human settlement in 1764. Since then, peat was cut and used widely as fuel throughout the Falkland Islands until the late 20th century. From as early as the 1930s bones were noticed in peat deposits on West Point Island and were briefly documented in 1950. This paper provides a more detailed analysis of more recent focussed excavations of these subfossil remains. It summarises their known history and dates them at over 5000 years before present. Eighteen avian species are identified and comparison is made with the extant bird fauna of the Falkland Islands including the description of a new species of caracara (Aves: Falconidae: Phalcoboenus).

Additional keywords: birds, peat deposits, Phalcoboenus, sub-fossil, West Point Island.


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