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Museum specimens of Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor known or suspected to have originated as zoo captives or cagebirds. 

Museum specimens of Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor known or suspected to have originated as zoo captives or cagebirds. 

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The best-known species of West Indian macaw, and the only one for which skin specimens exist, is Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor, although at least seven and sometimes as many as 15 different species of Ara and Anodorhynchus have been speculated to have formerly occurred in the Greater and Lesser Antilles. We review available historical and prehistorical...

Citations

... One record from a cave deposit in Mayabeque province (Arredondo & Arredondo 2002b: Jiménez & Orihuela (2021: 171-172). For a summary of its distribution in historical times, natural history, taxonomy, phylogenetic position and skin specimens in collections, see Wiley & Kirwan (2013), Hume (2017), Johansson et al. (2018), Provost et al. (2018) and Kirkconnell et al. (2020). ...
... The number is potentially even higher than this considering that many species probably became extinct before they could be described by scientists (e.g., Lees & Pimm, 2015). For a small subset of extinct species, no specimen exists, and our knowledge of them rests solely on illustrations or descriptions by early naturalists (e. g., Fuller, 2002, Wiley & Kirwan, 2013. ...
Article
Romilio (2021) used a taxonomic scoring system to compare differences between three species of geese (Anseriformes) depicted in the Chapel of Itet, one of which he speculated might represent an undescribed (presumably now extinct) species. Despite some apparently distinctive features, the depiction has traditionally been associated with the well-known modern species, red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis). We discuss limitations in applying the Tobias et al. (2010) scoring system to cases such as this, for which it was not designed, and we outline the many pitfalls that must be considered when attempting to identify historical artwork of birds using examples discussed recently in the ornithological literature. We conclude that the illustrations proposed by Romilio to represent a new Branta goose species are within the range of known plumage variation and potential artistic licence for red-breasted goose, and that this very probably is the species upon which the artwork was based. More generally, we caution against applying the Tobias criteria to cases where a series of specimens cannot be measured, and highlight the difficulties of using illustrations to inform taxonomy.
... Wetherbee's ideas in general have already been questioned as fanciful by several authors (for example, Walters 1995, Wiley and Kirwan 2013, Olson 2015, and our investigations amply confirm the previous doubts expressed. What was missed by Wetherbee, but shown in the next voyage captained by Baudin, to Australia and Timor from 1800 to 1804, is the fact that many specimens were purchased at markets or received as donations (Jansen 2014, 2018). ...
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The results of archival and collection research into the expedition led by Nicolas-Thomas Baudin in 1796–1798 to Tenerife, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico are herein presented. The expedition brought home at least 296 specimens and was the first to collect in St. Thomas, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico. Of these, at least 140 specimens still survive, the largest single-voyage collection from pre-1800 still available. Accounts of these specimens and those known to have vanished are presented here for the first time, adding to our knowledge of early Caribbean ornithology. The arguments of David K. Wetherbee (1985, 1986) that thefts by the Baudin expedition took place during a foray into Hispaniola are all shown to be suspect. Molecular and morphological work identified a Barn Owl (Tyto alba ssp) supposedly collected in Puerto Rico, thus providing the first possible documentation of the Barn Owl in Puerto Rico, but its exact taxonomic status remains unresolved. Our data thus cannot exclude the genuine Puerto Rican origin for this specimen.
... Remarks: Other fossil localities include the Casimba en Los Buentes, where it was associated with remains of Tigrisoma mexicanum (Olson & Suárez 2008). Extinct since the mid-late 19 th century (Garrido & Kirkconnell 2000, Wiley & Kirwan 2013. ...
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Within the Antilles, Cuba has a peculiarly diverse fossil avifauna. However, information on this avifauna is scattered among the specialized literature. Here I provide an updated annotated taxonomic list of the fossil birds from Cuba. This list includes 35 taxa, of which 17 are endemic, 12 actually extirpated, and 6 are undefined species identified only to genus level. The list is richly diverse in raptors with varied adaptations, including giant owls with limited flight and four large barn-owls, all with anatomical adaptations that suggest pronounced ground-dwelling. The raptor list includes five hawks, five falcons, and three vultures. There are also records of an egret, a stork, a crane, a snipe, and a nighthawk. Most species seem to have become extinct in Cuba, probably during the Late Holocene. Resumen · Lista de la avifauna fósil de Cuba Cuba tiene una avifauna fósil peculiarmente diversa. No obstante, la información taxonómica al respecto se encuentra dispersa en la literatu-ra especializada. Se presenta aquí una lista actualizada sobre la taxonomía de la avifauna fósil de Cuba, reconociéndose 35 taxones extintos, incluyendo 17 endémicos y 12 taxones localmente extinguidos o extirpados y 6 taxones identificados solo al nivel de género. Entre la fauna extinguida conocida prevalecen las aves rapaces, incluyendo búhos gigantes, lechuzas y, un teratornítido con adaptaciones que indican capa-cidades nulas o limitadas de vuelo. Además, hay cinco gavilanes, cinco halcones y tres buitres. También se registran una grulla, una cigüeña, una garza, un alcaraván y otras aves que se han extinguido localmente, posiblemente durante el Holoceno tardío o periodo colonial. Lista de la avifauna fósil de Cuba Cuba tiene una avifauna fósil peculiarmente diversa. No obstante, la información taxonómica al respecto se encuentra dispersa en la literatura especializada. Se presenta aquí una lista actualizada sobre la taxonomía de la avifauna fósil de Cuba, reconociéndose 35 taxones extintos, incluyendo 17 endémicos y 12 taxones localmente extinguidos o extirpados y 6 taxones identificados solo al nivel de género. Entre la fauna extinguida conocida prevalecen las aves rapaces, incluyendo búhos gigantes, lechuzas y, un teratornítido con adaptaciones que indican capacidades nulas o limitadas de vuelo. Además, hay cinco gavilanes, cinco halcones y tres buitres. También se registran una grulla, una cigüeña, una garza, un alcaraván y otras aves que se han extinguido localmente, posiblemente durante el Holoceno tardío o periodo colonial.
... Macaws of the genera Ara, Primolius, Orthopsittaca and Cyanopsitta form a monophyletic group (Tavares et al. 2006, Schirtzinger et al. 2012 comprising 13 species distributed across Central America and northern South America. Although no macaws exist in the West Indies today, accounts written by early travellers and settlers suggest that macaws were present in the region in historical times, with some 15 species having been identified (Williams & Steadman 2001, Wiley & Kirwan 2013. However, the majority of these species are known only from very vague accounts and the existence of several of these putative species has been refuted (Olson 2005, Wiley & Kirwan 2013. ...
... Although no macaws exist in the West Indies today, accounts written by early travellers and settlers suggest that macaws were present in the region in historical times, with some 15 species having been identified (Williams & Steadman 2001, Wiley & Kirwan 2013. However, the majority of these species are known only from very vague accounts and the existence of several of these putative species has been refuted (Olson 2005, Wiley & Kirwan 2013. Furthermore, the natural distribution of macaws on the Antilles is obscured by the extensive trade in parrots that historically occurred between the Caribbean and the South American continent, as well as among different islands. ...
... Furthermore, the natural distribution of macaws on the Antilles is obscured by the extensive trade in parrots that historically occurred between the Caribbean and the South American continent, as well as among different islands. Thus, many of the historical reports may refer to escaped cage birds (Olson & Ma ız L opez 2008, Wiley & Kirwan 2013. ...
Article
The Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor was a species of macaw native to Cuba and Isla de la Juventud in the Caribbean that became extinct in the 1860s. Morphologically it was similar to, but distinctively smaller than the large red macaws – Scarlet Macaw A. macao and Red-and-green Macaw A. chloropterus. A close affinity with the Scarlet Macaw has been suggested based on plumage similarities. In this study we use complete mitochondrial genome sequences to examine the phylogenetic position of the Cuban Macaw. Our results do not indicate a sister-species relationship with the Scarlet Macaw, but place the Cuban Macaw sister to the two red species and the two large green macaws, the Military Macaw A. militaris and the Great Green Macaw A. ambiguus. Divergence estimates suggests that the Cuban Macaw separated from this group approximately 4 million years ago. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... This practice continued, albeit at a much lower level, into the 19 th and 20 th centuries, acquiring something of a bad name when certain authors (e.g. Schlegel 1858; Rothschild 1907a,b;Clark 1905a,b;Hachisuka 1937aHachisuka , 1937bHachisuka , 1953 named birds based on inadequate or misinterpreted accounts (Cheke & Hume 2008: 27-28;Hume 2007;Olson & Maíz López 2008;Wiley & Kirwan 2013). Nonetheless this is an acceptable and necessary procedure where appropriate, e.g. ...
Article
An essential requirement of the current edition of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999) is to designate a holotype or syntypes for a species or subspecies newly described after 1999. Where specimens exist this makes sense (and is indeed essential), but is meaningless when describing a species-group taxon from an old illustration or written account in which specimens were not preserved or even necessarily taken at all. The naming of two species which one or both of us described post-1999 from old accounts without designating types has been singled out as invalid on this basis. As the revisers of the ICZN apparently did not anticipate further naming of taxa from old accounts, and thus allowed a logical paradox to arise, we strongly recommend that, in respect of descriptions from old accounts with no specimens, this rule be waived by a retrospective amendment, as it is likely that other similar cases exist, and it serves no-ones’ interest to strike down otherwise properly described names on a pointless technicality. Prior to our proposed change in the Code, in this note Foudia delloni Cheke & Hume sp. nov. (Aves: Passeriformes: Ploceidae), from Réunion Island, and Diplomesodon sonnerati Cheke sp. nov. (Mammalia: Soricomorpha: Soricidae), from southern India, are named anew using the same names and the original diagnoses.
... Of its four extinct birds, which have disappeared since the Spanish colonization, the Cuban macaw was one of the world's smallest macaws. It became extinct in the beginning of the 19th century, although it was very common in the early 1500s, as noted by Christopher Colombus ( Wiley and Kirwan, 2013). According to the Global Information Systems for Coral Reefs, Cuba also has the most extensive insular coral reef of the Caribbean Sea, with an area totalling 329,000 ha which supports more than 465 coral fish species ( Reefbase, 2016).These ecosystems contain six to eight times more fish biomass per area unit than other Caribbean reefs ( Pennisi, 2015). ...
Article
The island of Cuba and surrounding cays are a major repository of biodiversity in the Caribbean archipelago. Although Cuba is widely recognized for its high biodiversity and endemism, much of the country's conservation experiences have been overlooked by the global conservation scientific community. Here we particularly highlight decades of governance efforts that built and strengthened forest and biodiversity protection policies, resulting in the second largest rate of forest cover recovery worldwide, doubling of both marine and terrestrial protected area networks in recent years, as well as developing a unique agroecological matrix management. These conservation strategies combined with the constraints on infrastructure development as a result of the decades long U.S. embargo, has had the indirect result of placing Cuba in a unique position in the Caribbean region. Nevertheless, despite these advances, significant part of the Cuban biota suffers from deforestation and habitat degradation. Major threats include booming tourism, spread of introduced species, climate change and increasing frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes associated to global warming. We also point out for Cuba's future challenges, as well as lessons that could be applied in other tropical countries.
... Il ajoute que cet oiseau a les pieds jaunes, le bec et les yeux rougeâtres, et quíl ne se tient que dans l'intérieur des terres" no original (vide Buffon, 1779). De certa forma, a curiosa referência sobre os "selvagens da Guiana" conhecerem uma "arara negra" recorda a polêmica em torno de Anodorhynchus purpurascens Rothschild, 1907, a hipotética espécie de arara-azul da ilha de Guadalupe, Antilhas Francesas (vide Rothschild, 1905Rothschild, , 1907Wiley & Kirwan, 2013;Williams & Steadman, 2001 ...
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Since the Antiquity, parrots, parakeets and their relatives (Psittacidae) aroused a great interest in Europe, both for their colours as for their notorious capacity of interacting with human beings. With the discovery of the Americas, new species would be introduced in the traffic of exotic animals a long time ago established by Europeans with Africa and the East. Effectively, even before Columbus finished his fourth and last voyage (1502-1504), neotropical parrots had already made their appearance in chronicles, in the cartography and the fine arts. Although the oldest notices about blue macaws of the genus Anodorhynchus date from the end of the 16th century, and the first image from the beginning of the 17th century, those birds would be better known by Europeans only in the second half of the 18th century. In a general way, the sources examined herein proved to be especially significant for Anodorhynchus glaucus, as all the first hand information about the biology and the behavior of this macaw are registered in testimonies prior the 20th century. It is not impossible to suppose, therefore, that further details about this species and a better understanding of its mysterious disappearance could be obtained from the perusal of the vast documentary collection about the Rio de la Plata basin left by Jesuits, as well as from a more accurate reading of the reports by travelers and naturalists which, such as Friedrich Sellow and Auguste de Saint Hilaire, journeyed through Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil.
... However, the lack of fossil or museum specimens renders these descriptions questionable (Olson 2005, Olson andMaíz López 2008). While the existence of the Lesser Antillean Macaw is considered possible or probable by most researchers (Snyder et al. 1987, Williams and Steadman 2001, Wiley et al. 2004, Hume and Walters 2012, Wiley and Kirwan 2013, this is not the case for the Violet Macaw. Consequently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recommended a re-evaluation of historical documentation and archaeological surveys to determine the credibility of this purported species (BirdLife International 2012). ...
... The detailed description provided by Du Tertre (1667) nevertheless allowed Clark (1905) to recognize specific color features, particularly its full-red tail. This feature, combined with other documentary sources, including those of Labat (1722), and its docile nature compared to the mainland macaw, led numerous researchers to consider the possibility that Guadeloupe once had an endemic macaw (Snyder et al. 1987, Williams and Steadman 2001, Wiley et al. 2004, Hume and Walters 2012, Wiley and Kirwan 2013. The existence of the Violet Macaw is, however, much more doubtful due both to the short description provided by Rothschild (1905Rothschild ( , 1907a and the inability to trace his historical sources (Greenway 1967, Williams and Steadman 2001, Wiley and Kirwan 2013. ...
... This feature, combined with other documentary sources, including those of Labat (1722), and its docile nature compared to the mainland macaw, led numerous researchers to consider the possibility that Guadeloupe once had an endemic macaw (Snyder et al. 1987, Williams and Steadman 2001, Wiley et al. 2004, Hume and Walters 2012, Wiley and Kirwan 2013. The existence of the Violet Macaw is, however, much more doubtful due both to the short description provided by Rothschild (1905Rothschild ( , 1907a and the inability to trace his historical sources (Greenway 1967, Williams and Steadman 2001, Wiley and Kirwan 2013. It has therefore been suggested that Rothschild relied on a poor description of the Guadeloupe Amazon (Amazona violacea Gmelin, 1789), or on an example of a Hyacinth (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) or Indigo Macaw (A. leari) introduced from South America (Snyder et al. 1987). ...
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Seventeenth-century French historical accounts from Guadeloupe reveal Rothschild’s (1905, 1907a) description of the Violet Macaw (Anodorhynchus purpurascens Rothschild, 1905) to be based on a poor depiction of the Guadeloupe Amazon (Amazona violacea Gmelin, 1789). There is therefore no evidence supporting the existence of such a parrot in Guadeloupe. However, the island may have been home to a macaw, the Lesser Antillean Macaw (Ara guadeloupensis Clark, 1905). In fact, the same historical accounts clearly distinguish this bird from its continental counterpart, the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), lending credibility to the hypothesis of a now-extinct endemic macaw once inhabiting Guadeloupe.
... In 2007, thieves again raided the collection, this time making off with sever al Gundlachcollected birds. Tragically, the only Cuban Macaw (Ara tricolor) specimen in Cuba (and one of 19 known specimens worldwide; Wiley and Kirwan 2013) was taken by the thieves, who also stole air condition ers and other valuable items essential for maintaining the collections. The specimens were most likely taken not for their scientific value or for their value to rogue pri vate collectors, but rather for use in local spiritual rituals. ...
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The German naturalist Juan Cristóbal Gundlach (1810–1896) conducted, while a resident of Cuba, two expeditions to Puerto Rico in 1873 and 1875–6, where he explored the southwestern, western, and northeastern regions of this island. Gundlach made representative collections of the island’s fauna, which formed the nucleus of the first natural history museums in Puerto Rico. When the natural history museums closed, only a few specimens were passed to other institutions, including foreign museums. None of Gundlach’s and few of his contemporaries’ specimens have survived in Puerto Rico. We located 191 bird specimens (43 species) collected there by Gundlach, all of which are in foreign institutions, especially Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. Here we list all located specimens and include data associated with them. Six new species were described out of the Gundlach collections from Puerto Rico, three of which are still taxonomically recognized today. Information about the types of those taxa is given.