New data and an overview of the past avifaunas from the Canary Islands

Authors: Antonio SÁNCHEZ MARCO


Published: Volume 57(1), June 2010. Pages 13-40.

Language: English

Keywords: biogeography, Canary Islands, endemism, extinctions, fossil birds, insularity and Quaternary


Fossil bones from 16 outcrops have been identified. These outcrops belong to three islands and one islet. Previous data are reconsidered. New taxonomical identifications enlarge the number of known species existing in the past, and the understanding of their geographical distributions. On the same islands, the phenomena of phylogenetic diversification show different strengths and extent in birds than in some other vertebrates. The Canarian fossil record of birds shows differences from those from some other oceanic islands regarding the rate of extinct endemisms, disappearance (extinction plus local extirpation) rates and other frequent phenomena related to insular conditions. There is no unquestionable evidence for bird extinctions after the European contact. First settlers in the Canaries did not exert as much pressure on the avifauna as has been recorded for other oceanic islands.

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