Fauna focus: Miranda cormorant
Bird bones were found near Miranda on the western shore of the Firth of Thames in the North Island of New Zealand. These bones were donated to the teaching collection of Massey University, New Zealand, for use in two of our Zoology undergraduate courses: 199.212 Vertebrate Zoology and 199.330 Ornithology.
The bones most likely belong to one of the five cormorant species that have been spotted at Miranda: little shag, black shag, pied shag, little black shag, or spotted shag. Our aim is to figure out exactly which species these bones belong to.
These mystery bones present a good teaching opportunity for some taxonomic detective work, so let's see if we can identify the species.
The first step is to get some basic measurement data from the skull of our mystery bird and the skulls of our candidate species (...coming soon!)
The skull of a species that is yet to be determined. Max length is 12.1 cm.