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Published: 2017-06-27

A new extinct species of large bullfinch (Aves: Fringillidae: Pyrrhula) from Graciosa Island (Azores, North Atlantic Ocean)

Finca Tenerosa. Camino El Rincón S/N. E-34480 Buenavista del Norte. Tenerife. Canary Islands.
Ulmenstr. 21, D–24223 Schwentinental (Germany).
Division of Birds, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 20560.
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (Ce3C) and Azorean Biodiversity Group, Universidade dos Açores, Rua Capitão João d´Ávila, Pico da Urze, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Açores, Portugal.
Departament de Biodiversitat i Conservació, Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Cr Miquel Marquès 21, 07190 Esporles, Mallorca, Balearic Islands (Spain).
Aves Fringillidae Pyrrhula


A new species of extinct bullfinch, Pyrrhula crassa n. sp., is described from bones found in Furna do Calcinhas, a small cave situated at Caldeira, a volcano located in the southeastern portion of the Graciosa Island (Azores archipelago, North Atlantic Ocean). It is the first extinct passerine bird to be described from this archipelago. Both skull and post-cranial bones are larger in the new species than in its relatives, the Eurasian Bullfinch (P. pyrrhula) and the Azores Bullfinch or “Priolo” from São Miguel Island (P. murina), the new species being the largest known in this genus. The morphology of its humerus and the estimated wing length and surface area seem to indicate a flying ability similar to that of the extant P. murina. The possible sources of colonization of the genus into Azores, causes and chronology of extinction of the new species are discussed



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