Archaeological records of a gadfly petrel Pterodroma sp. from Scotland in the first millennium A.D.
Documenta Archaeobiologiae, 3, (Proceedings of ), .
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Eleven bones from a petrel species not previously recorded in Britain have been recovered from archaeological sites in the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland. They are from three different settlements: the Udal [North Uist, Outer Hebrides], Kilellan Farm [Islay, Inner Hebrides], and Brettaness [Rousay, Orkney], and all are from deposits which date from broadly the first millennium A.D.. Ten are from a medium-sized gadfly petrel, Pterodroma sp. Comparisons with the North Atlantic petrels suggest that they are probably P. feae, a near threatened species which today breeds only on one small island off Madeira and another in the South Atlantic. Alternatively they may be from an extinct Pterodroma similar in size and shape to P. feae. The eleventh bone is a from a related but smaller unidentified species. In each case the bones were found with other bird bones among the food remains from the settlements. No species of gadfly petrel breeds around the British Isles today and the species are only rarely seen offshore, but the context and associations of the finds suggest that they were caught for food, in which case gadfly petrels must have bred around the coast of Scotland in the past
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