Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An extinct Austral snipe (Aves : Coenocorypha) from New Caledonia

Trevor H. Worthy A D , Atholl Anderson B and Christophe Sand C

A School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, GPO 2100, SA 5001, Australia.

B Archaeology and Natural History, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia. Email: atholl.anderson@anu.edu.au

C Institut d’Archéologie de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et du Pacifique, 65 Rue T. de Laubarède, BP 11423, 98802 Nouméa Cedex, New Caledonia. Email: christophe.sand@iancp.nc

D Corresponding author. Email: trevor.worthy@flinders.edu.au

Emu 113(4) 383-393 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU13019
Submitted: 14 March 2013  Accepted: 29 May 2013   Published: 27 November 2013

Abstract

A new and extinct species of Austral snipe (Aves : Scolopacidae : Coenocorypha) is described from late Holocene cave deposits in New Caledonia. The new species is larger than all congeners in the New Zealand archipelago, including its subantarctic islands, but is slightly smaller than C. miratropica from Viti Levu, Fiji. Better developed ligamental sulci and attachment processes on the humerus suggest that this new species was perhaps the strongest flier in the genus. Nevertheless, it went extinct within c. 1000 years of human arrival in New Caledonia, probably as a result of depredation by the rats that arrived with humans.

Additional keywords: extinction, Grand Terre, owl deposits, prehuman avifauna, Scolopacidae.


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