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New Species of Rails (Aves: Rallidae) from an Archaeological Site on Huahine, Society Islands

From: Pacific Science
Volume 60, Number 2, April 2006
pp. 281-297 | 10.1353/psc.2006.0007


We examined 50 bones previously assigned to "Gallirallus new sp." from the prehistoric (1,250–750 yr B.P.) Fa'ahia archaeological site on Huahine, Society Islands. Most of these specimens (n = 47), representing nearly all major cranial and postcranial skeletal elements, belong to a medium-sized flightless rail that we name Gallirallus storrsolsoni. Three femora represent a second species of extinct rail that we name Porphyrio mcnabi. With the description of these two species of rails, the total number of extinct species of land birds from the Fa'ahia site stands at seven, consisting of two rails, two doves, two parrots, and a starling. Fa'ahia also has yielded bones of six other species of land birds that no longer exist on Huahine but survive elsewhere in Oceania.