Bartle's bittern

Pikaihao bartlei T.H. Worthy, J.P. Worthy, Tennyson & Scofield, 2013

Order: Ciconiiformes

Family: Ardeidae

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

Other names: St Bathans bittern, Saint Bathans bittern

 
Bartle's bittern. Left and top right, holotype left tarsometatarsus, NMNZ S.53345. Lower right, four views of paratype part coracoid. Left scale bar 20 mm; right scale bars 5 mm. St Bathans. Image © Trevor Worthy by Trevor Worthy

Bartle's bittern. Left and top right, holotype left tarsometatarsus, NMNZ S.53345. Lower right, four views of paratype part coracoid. Left scale bar 20 mm; right scale bars 5 mm. St Bathans. Image © Trevor Worthy by Trevor Worthy

Bartle’s bittern was described from two fossil bones recovered from 19-16 million-year-old (early Miocene) lake-bed deposits along the true left bank of the Manuherikia River, St Bathans, central Otago. The bones recovered were a tarsometatarsus, and a part coracoid.

Bartle’s bittern was a small bittern species possibly related to the little bitterns (genus Ixobrychus), and was considerably smaller than the St Bathans heron (Matuku otagense) that it lived alongside. The genus name Pikaihao is based on Māori words meaning ‘a small fisherman’. The species name bartlei honours J.A. (Sandy) Bartle, retired curator of birds at the National Museum of New Zealand and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa from 1976 to 2009.

The holotype (NMNZ S.53345) is an immature left tarsometatarsus. Both the bones referred to the species are held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

References

Worthy, T.H.; Worthy, J.P.; Tennyson, A.J.D.; Scofield, R.P. 2013. A bittern (Aves: Ardeidae) from the early Miocene of New Zealand. Palaeontological Journal 47: 1331-1343.

Recommended citation

Miskelly, C.M. 2014. Bartle’s bittern. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Bartle's bittern

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