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BOOK: Extinct and rediscovered weavers

2013-09-09 (416)

Hume JP, Walters M. 2012. Extinct birds. London: Bloomsbury Publishing (T & AD Poyser).

This is a comprehensive book, covering hundreds of bird species and subspecies that have become extinct over the last 700 years. The list contains a sobering 493 species and subspecies of birds. The authors cover both familiar icons of extinction such as the Dodo Raphus cucullatus, Great Auk Pinguinus impennis and Passenger Pigeon Ectopistes migratorius, as well as hundreds of obscure birds, and hundreds of species from the subfossil record.

Two extinct fodies are listed. The Reunion Fody Foudia delloni was last recorded in 1672 and is only known from the accounts of early travellers to Reunion. It was first mentioned by Gabriel Dellon in 1668. Introduced Black rats may have been a cause for the decline of this fody.
Daubenton's Fody Foudia bruante was illustrated by Daubenton, based on a specimen that no longer exists. Initially it was thought to be an extinct fody species, but is now considered to have been a variant of the Red Fody Foudia madagascariensis.

The book also lists rediscovered birds. Table 1 lists birds rediscovered prior to 1990 and includes the Golden-naped Weaver. The Lake Lufira Weaver Ploceus ruweti is a main entry. It was common in 1960 but was only described as a new species in 1982, based on specimens. It was thought to possibly be extinct but was rediscovered in 2009 (read more about its rediscovery and range).

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