The Quaternary fossil avifauna of Southland, South Island, New Zealand

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All known Late Quaternary fossil avifaunas derived, at various times during the last century, from cave, swamp and dune deposits in Southland, South Island, New Zealand, are described Fifty eight native bird species are recorded from the deposits, notably including the fourth record of Dendroscansor decurvirostris The few leiopelmatid and sphenodontid bones are also listed Taphonomic biases limit comparison of faunal compositions across site‐types to moas However, the moa faunas reveal that quite different avifaunas lived in each of the dunes, alluvial swamplands and the well‐drained low hills, which probably reflects different vegetation communities in each Southland supported a mosaic of grassland, shrubland and tall, closed‐canopy podocarp forest during the Holocene Radiocarbon dates on bone gelatin are presented that indicate the fauna of Castle Rocks is of Late‐Holocene age, the fauna from Hamiltons Swamp at Winton is of mid‐Holocene age, and that from Kauana is >37 080 years old It is the oldest swamp fauna so far identified in New Zealand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-589
Number of pages53
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Quaternary fossil avifaunas caves swamps dunes
  • Southland New Zealand


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