Small rails from the late Quaternary of the Southern High Plains and their palaeoenvironmental context

John A. Moretti, Eileen Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The fossil record of birds from the Quaternary Period (2.58 mya to present) of North America sheds light on modern patterns of diversity and geographical distribution. Fossils from the late Pleistocene and early Holocene document the presence of multiple species of small rails on the Southern High Plains. Black Rails, Virginia Rails and Soras occurred throughout regional drainages from ~ 11 000 to 8500 years ago. Age and palaeoenvironmental data associated with the rail remains provide temporal and ecological context. Those data link the past populations to extant populations occurring as migrants to the region today. The total record reveals that Black Rails, Virginia Rails and Soras occur on the Southern High Plains today despite major changes in climate, environments, biota and habitats since the late Pleistocene–early Holocene. Anthropogenic changes to regional wetlands in the present day threaten the occurrence of small rails across the Southern High Plains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1280-1295
Number of pages16
JournalIbis
Volume165
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Laterallus
  • Pleistocene
  • Porzana
  • Rallidae
  • biogeography
  • migration
  • palaeoenvironments
  • wetlands

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