Birds from the Baynunah Formation
Authors: Louchart, A., Bibi, F. and Stewart, J.R.
The late Miocene Baynunah Formation in western Abu Dhabi Emirate (United Arab Emirates) has yielded new bird fossils, including both skeletal and eggshell remains that we describe here, together with a revision and summary of previous findings. A ratite pelvis is characterized by its larger size compared with extant ostriches and is assigned to Struthio cf. karatheodoris. Fossil eggshells belong to the ootaxon Diamantornis laini as well as to an aepyornithoid type. Diamantornis laini is previously recorded from contemporaneous sites in Africa, and aepyornithoid eggshells are widespread across Neogene sites in Eurasia and Africa. Neognath birds are represented by three taxa, a cormorant Phalacrocorax sp. (size of P. fuscicollis), a darter Anhinga cf. hadarensis, and a heron of the tribe Nycticoracini. The darter attests to a link with Africa, being tentatively referred to a fossil species known from East Africa. The Baynunah birds provide valuable information on the biogeographic origins of different components of the avifauna in the late Miocene, near the junction between the Palaearctic, Indomalayan and Afrotropical zoogeographical regions.