Tag Archives: Accipitridae

Stephanoaetus mahery Goodman

Malagasy Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus mahery)

The Malagasy Crowned Eagle was described in 1994 based on subfossil remains found on the island of Madagascar.

The species was quite similar to the African Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus (L.)), one of the largest eagles in the world, but was probably even slightly larger.

The eagle inhabited the forested areas of Madagascar until around 1500 AD. And was wiped out by humans.

***

Like its African cousin this species was able to hunt for the middle-sized to large primate species, the lemures, and apparently was one of the apex predators on the island; in fact the recent lemures still show a distinct raptor avoidance behavior that dates back to the time when their biggest enemy was still alive.

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


Photo: Bernard Dupont

(under creative commons license (2.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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

edited: 25.05.2021

Accipiter quartus Balouet & Olson

Gracile Goshawk (Accipiter quartus)

This species was described in 1989; it is known only by subfossil remains that were recovered from cave deposits on the island of Grande Terre, New Caledonia. [1]

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

References:

[1] J. C. Balouet; Storrs L. Olson: Fossil birds from Late Quaternary deposits in New Caledonia. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 469: 23-27. 1989

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

edited: 23.02.2022

Accipitridae gen. & sp. ‘Hispaniola’

Hispaniolan Eagle (Accipitridae gen. & sp.)

The Hispaniolan Eagle is an undescribed bird of prey that inhabited the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean; it was first recognized as a new taxon in 2019.

The species reached the same dimensions as the largest living eagle species, the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetus (L.)) and the Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyia (L.)), which both are known to feed on middle-sized mammals.

The Hispaniolan Eagle certainly preyed upon arboreal sloths, primates and caviomorph rodents, which all disappeared during the mid-Holocene after the arrival of humans. It is thus very likely that this eagle also died out after its prey animals vanished. [1]

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

References:

[1] David W. Steadman; Juan N. Almonte Milan; Alexis M. Mychajliw: An extinct eagle (Aves: Accipitridae) from the Quaternary of Hispaniola. JJournal of Raptor Research 53(3): 319-333. 2019

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

edited: 14.11.2021

Bermuteo avivorus Olson

Bermuda Hawk (Bermuteo avivorus)

As its name implies, this species was endemic to the Bermuda Islands; it is known from subfossil remains and apparently from a contemporaneous account made by captain Diego Ramírez who spend some time ashore for repairing his ship(s) in 1603 and which mentions handsome sparrowhawks that are so stupid that they could easily be clubbed to death. [1]

The species must have disappeared very shortly after that date, since no other traveler subsequently mentions any hawks from the Bermuda Islands.

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

References:

[1] Storrs L. Olson: A New Genus and Species of Buteonine Hawk from Quaternary Deposits in Bermuda (Aves: Accipitridae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 121(1): 130–141. 2008

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

edited: 16.05.2022

Accipiter efficax Balouet & Olson

Powerful Goshawk (Accipiter efficax)

This species was described in 1989; it is known only by subfossil remains that were recovered from cave deposits on the island of Grande Terre, New Caledonia. [1]

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

References:

[1] J. C. Balouet; Storrs L. Olson: Fossil birds from Late Quaternary deposits in New Caledonia. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 469: 23-27. 1989

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

edited: 23.01.2022

Amplibuteo woodwardi (Miller)

Woodward’s Giant Buzzard (Amplibuteo woodwardi)  

Woodward’s Giant Buzzard was originally known from fossil bones recovered from the late Pleistocene deposits of the tar pits at Rancho La Brea in California, USA, however, in 2004 subfossil bones found in Cuba were assigned to the same species.  

The species appears to have survived in Cuba into the early Holocene period, when it was already extinct on the North American mainland. [1]  

***

Woodward’s Giant Buzzard or Woodward’s Eagle was one of the largest species of bird of prey known to have existed.  

*********************  

References:  

[1] William Suárez: The Identity of the Fossil Raptor of the Genus Amplibuteo (Aves: Accipitridae) from the Quaternary of Cuba. Caribbean Journal of Science 40(1): 120-125. 2004  

*********************  

edited: 23.03.2018

Haliaeetus sp. ‘Hawai’i Islands’

Hawaiian Eagle (Haliaeetus sp.)  

This form is known only based on subfossil remains that were found on the islands of Maui, Moloka’i, and O’ahu.  

The Hawaiian Eagle was the largest predator on the Hawaiian Islands and was capable of killing even the largest Hawaiian birds, the so-called Moa-nalo (Ptaiochen, and Tambetochen). [1]  

The eagle appears to have become extinct before humans arrived on the Hawaiian Islands. [2]  

***

The Hawaiian form was originally thought to be identical with the Eurasian White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla L.), but is now thought to represent a morphologically similar but genetically distinct form. [2]  

*********************  

References:  

[1] Storrs L. Olson & Helen F. James: Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part I. Non-Passeriformes. In: Ornithological Monographs 45. 1991 
[2] Frank Hailer; Helen F. James; Storrs L. Olson; Robert C. Fleischer: Distinct and extinct: Genetic differentiation of the Hawaiian eagle. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 83: 40-43. 2015  

*********************  

edited: 23.10.2016