Island Biology Interest Group
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New species of Pyrrhula described for Graciosa Island

A new species of extinct bullfinch, Pyrrhula crassa n. sp., is described from bones found in a small cave situated at Caldeira, Graciosa Island, on the recent published article from Zootaxa entitled “A new extinct species of large bullfinch (Aves: Fringillidae: Pyrrhula) from Graciosa Island (Azores, North Atlantic Ocean)”.

On this article, a team of researchers, that includes Fernando Pereira from Azorean Biodiversity Group - Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, describes the first extinct passerine bird from Azores archipelago.

They found that 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 (P. murina) from São Miguel Island. The new species is 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, also, discussed on the article.