Tag Archives: St. Croix

Corvus pumilis Wetmore

Puerto Rican Crow (Corvus pumilis)

The Puerto Rican Crow, described in 1920, is known only from subfossil remains that were found on Puerto Rico, where it lived sympatrically with the White-necked Crow (Corvus leucognaphalus Daudin) (see photo below), as well as on St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.

The reasons for its extinction are not known and it appears to have disappeared already before the islands were settled by humans.


Photo: ZankaM



[1] Alexander Wetmore: Ancient records of birds from the island of St. Croix with observations on extinct and living birds of Puerto Rico”. The Journal of Agricultural of the University of Puerto Rico 21(1): 5-16. 1937


edited: 10.01.2024

Ara autochthones Wetmore

Saint Croix Macaw (Ara autochthones)  

This species was described in 1937 based on a single tibiotarsus of an adult-sized immature that was found during archeological excavations on St. Croix Island, US Virgin Islands, Lesser Antilles.  

The species was subsequently found in an archaeological site in south-central Puerto Rico too. [2][3]  

The Saint Croix Macaw may have been native to Puerto Rico and its adjacent islands, or it may have been native to the whole Lesser Antilles. All remains, known so far, originate from archaeological contexts, so are from birds that have to be connected to human activities, they may have been hunted to be cooked and eaten, or they may have been kept as pet birds, having been transported from one island to another etc..  

This will probably never be resolved.  


I personally think that there may once have been only two endemic macaw species inhabiting the Caribbean region, one restricted to the Greater – and one to the Lesser Antilles; and these most likely were descendants of the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao (L.)), the only red macaw in Middle America.  



[1] Matthew I. Williams; David W. Steadman: The Historic and Prehistoric Distribution of Parrots (Psittacidae) in the West Indies. pages 175–189 in: Charles A. Woods; Florence E. Sergile (eds.): Biogeography of the West Indies. CRC Press 2001
[2] S. L. Olson; E. J. Maíz López: New evidence of Ara autochthones from an archeological site in Puerto Rico: a valid species of West Indian macaw of unknown geographical origin (Aves: Psittacidae). Caribbean Journal of Science 44: 215–222. 2008
[3] James W. Wiley; Guy M. Kirwan: The extinct macaws of the West Indies, with special reference to Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor. Bulletin of the British Ornithologist’s Club 133(2): 125-156. 2013  


edited: 26.03.2017

Isolobodon portoricensis Allen

Puerto Rican Hutia (Isolobodon portoricensis 

The Puerto Rican Hutia was described on the basis of remains found in aboriginal midden remains on the island of Puerto Rico.  

The species, however, was actually native only to the island of Hispaniola, perhaps including some small offshore islands, this is known from fossil remains that were found at sites without anthropogenic relations  

The Puerto Rican Hutia was imported by the natives to other islands for nutrition purposes, and indeed all bone remains of this species found outside the island of Hispaniola were found in the litter of former natives settlements.  

The species disappeared at around 1280 to 1425 A.D..  



[1] Storrs L. Olson: Fossil Vertebrates from the Bahamas. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 48. 1982 
[2] Clare Flemming; R. D. E. MacPhee: Redetermination of holotype of Isolobodon portoricensis (Rodentia, Capromyidae), with notes on recent mammalian extinctions in Puerto Rico. American Museum Novitates 3278: 1-11. 1999 
[3] Donald A. McFarlane; Abel Vale; Keith Christenson; Joyce Lundberg; Gabriel Atilles; Stein-Erik Lauritzen: New specimens of Late Quaternary extinct mammals from caves in Sanchez Ramirez Province, Dominican Republic. Caribbean Journal of Science 36: 163-166. 2000  



Photo from: ‘Gerrit S. Miller, Jr.: Bones of mammals from Indian sites in Cuba and Santo Domingo. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 66(12): 1-10. 1916’ 

(public domain)


edited: 06.09.2019