Ornithology

Research


The research focus of the section is on the early evolution and higher-level phylogeny of birds.

In the past years, more than 130 new species of fossil birds were described from Paleogene (65-25 million years ago) deposits. Among these are numerous avian groups new to science, whose description extended the known diversity of the Paleogene avifauna. Many of these fossils further contributed to a better understanding of the evolution and historical biogeography of extant groups of birds.

List of newly described bird species (as at January 2023):

Messel:

  1. Hassiavis laticauda Mayr, 1998
  2. Primozygodactylus danielsi Mayr, 1998
  3. Primozygodactylus major Mayr, 1998
  4. Primozygodactylus ballmanni Mayr, 1998
  5. Messelirrisor parvus Mayr, 1998
  6. Messelirrisor halcyrostris Mayr, 1998
  7. Gracilitarsus mirabilis Mayr, 1998
  8. Quasisyndactylus longibrachis Mayr, 1998
  9. Masillacolius brevidactylus Mayr & Peters, 1998
  10. Psittacopes lepidus Mayr & Daniels, 1998
  11. Pseudasturides macrocephalus (Mayr, 1998)
  12. Masillapodargus longipes Mayr, 1999
  13. Paraprefica kelleri Mayr, 1999
  14. Paraprefica major Mayr, 1999
  15. Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr, 1999
  16. Salmila robusta Mayr, 2000
  17. Eocoracias brachyptera Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré, 2000
  18. Messelirrisor grandis Mayr, 2000
  19. Serudaptus pohli Mayr, 2000
  20. Plesiocathartes kelleri Mayr, 2002
  21. Masillastega rectirostris Mayr, 2002
  22. Parargornis messelensis Mayr, 2003
  23. Primobucco perneri Mayr, Mourer-Chauviré & Weidig, 2004
  24. Primobucco frugilegus Mayr, Mourer-Chauviré & Weidig, 2004
  25. Protocypselomorphus manfredkelleri Mayr, 2005
  26. Chascacocolius cacicirostris Mayr, 2005
  27. Masillatrogon pumilio (Mayr, 2005)
  28. Eurofluvioviridavis robustipes Mayr, 2005
  29. Masillaraptor parvunguis Mayr, 2006
  30. Primozygodactylus eunjooae Mayr & Zelenkov, 2009
  31. Perplexicervix microcephalon Mayr, 2010
  32. Eopachypteryx praeterita Mayr, 2015
  33. Primozygodactylus quintus Mayr, 2017
  34. Primozygodactylus longibrachium Mayr, 2017
  35. Vanolimicola longihallucis Mayr, 2017

Other localities:

  1. Tynskya eocaena Mayr, 2000
  2. Primotrogon wintersteini Mayr, 1999
  3. Oligocolius brevitarsus Mayr, 2000
  4. Miopico benimellalensis Mayr, 1998
  5. Geranopterus milneedwardsi Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré, 2000
  6. Cerestenia pulchrapenna Mayr, 2000
  7. Turnipax dissipata Mayr, 2000
  8. Fluvioviridavis platyrhamphus Mayr & Daniels, 2001
  9. Boutersemia belgica Mayr & Smith, 2001
  10. Boutersemia parvula Mayr & Smith, 2001
  11. Belgirallus oligocaenus Mayr & Smith, 2001
  12. Belgirallus minutus Mayr & Smith, 2001
  13. Adelalopus hoogbutseliensis Mayr & Smith, 2002
  14. Colymboides belgicus Mayr & Smith, 2002
  15. Oligosylphe mourerchauvireae Mayr & Smith, 2002
  16. Plesiocathartes geiselensis Mayr, 2002
  17. ?Idiornis anthracinus Mayr, 2002
  18. Bavaripsitta ballmanni Mayr & Göhlich, 2004
  19. Eurotrochilus inexpectatus Mayr, 2004
  20. ?Colymboides metzleri Mayr, 2004
  21. Rupelramphastoides knopfi Mayr, 2005
  22. Parvigrus pohli Mayr, 2005
  23. Wieslochia weissi Mayr & Manegold, 2006
  24. Vastanavis eocaena Mayr, Rana, Sahni & Smith, 2007
  25. Walbeckornis creber Mayr, 2007
  26. Gradiornis walbeckensis Mayr, 2007
  27. Berruornis halbedeli Mayr, 2007
  28. Fissuravis weigelti Mayr, 2007
  29. Turnipax oechslerorum Mayr & Knopf, 2007
  30. ?Borvocarbo stoeffelensis Mayr, 2007
  31. ?Limicorallus carbunculus Mayr, 2009
  32. Selenornis steendorpensis Mayr, 2009
  33. Vastanavis cambayensis Mayr et al., 2010
  34. Pelagornis chilensis Mayr and Rubilar, 2010
  35. Mogontiacopsitta miocaena Mayr, 2010
  36. Rhenanorallus rhenanus Mayr, 2010
  37. Laricola intermedia De Pietri, Costeur, Güntert & Mayr, 2011
  38. Laricola robusta De Pietri, Costeur, Güntert & Mayr, 2011
  39. Sternalara minuta De Pietri, Costeur, Güntert & Mayr, 2011
  40. Sternalara milneedwardsi De Pietri, Costeur, Güntert & Mayr, 2011
  41. Piculoides saulcetensis De Pietri, Manegold, Costeur, & Mayr, 2011
  42. Itaboravis elaphrocnemoides Mayr, Alvarenga & Clarke, 2011
  43. Colymbiculus udovichenkoi Mayr & Zvonok, 2011
  44. Hoazinavis lacustris Alvarenga, Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré, 2011
  45. Pellornis mikkelseni Bertelli, Chiappe & Mayr, 2011
  46. Sanshuiornis zhangi Wang, Mayr, Zhang & Zhou
  47. Tydea septentrionalis Mayr & Smith, 2012
  48. Lutetodontopteryx tethyensis Mayr & Zvonok, 2012
  49. ?Elorius limosoides De Pietri & Mayr, 2012
  50. ?Parvelorius calidris De Pietri & Mayr, 2012
  51. Picavus litencicensis Mayr & Gregorová, 2012
  52. Songzia acutunguis Wang, Mayr, Zhang & Zhou, 2012
  53. Qianshanornis rapax Mayr, Yang, de Bast, Li & Smith, 2013
  54. Saintandrea chenoides Mayr & De Pietri, 2013
  55. Oligocolius psittacocephalon Mayr, 2013
  56. Scandiavis mikkelseni Bertelli, Lindow, Dyke & Mayr, 2013
  57. Australornis lowei Mayr & Scofield, 2014
  58. Protoazin parisiensis Mayr & De Pietri, 2014
  59. Nectornis africanus Mayr, 2014
  60. Nupharanassa mabokoensis Mayr, 2014
  61. Baselrallus intermedius De Pietri & Mayr, 2014
  62. Ibidopodia minuta De Pietri & Mayr, 2014
  63. Ibidopodia chavorchensis De Pietri & Mayr, 2014
  64. Makahala mirae Mayr, 2015
  65. Foshanornis songi Zhao, Mayr, Wang & Wang, 2015
  66. Ypresiglaux (Eostrix) gulottai Mayr, 2015
  67. Olympidytes thieli Mayr & Goedert, 2016
  68. Klallamornis abyssa Mayr & Goedert, 2016
  69. ?Klallamornis clarki Mayr & Goedert, 2016
  70. Diomedavus knapptonensis Mayr & Goedert, 2017
  71. Kumimanu biceae Mayr et al., 2017
  72. Muriwaimanu Mayr et al., 2017
  73. Sequiwaimanu rosieae Mayr et al., 2018
  74. ?Proardea deschutteri Mayr, De Pietri, Scofield & Smith, 2018
  75. Miocariama patagonica Noriega & Mayr, 2018
  76. Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi Ksepka, Mayr & Grande, 2019
  77. Eofringillirostrum parvulum Mayr, Ksepka & Grande, 2019
  78. ?Crossvallia waiparensis Mayr, De Pietri, Love, Mannering & Scofield, 2019
  79. Carpathiavis meniliticus Mayr, 2019
  80. Aldiomedes angustirostris Mayr & Tennyson, 2020
  81. Primoptynx poliotauros Mayr, Gingerich & Smith, 2020
  82. Palaeoplancus dammanni Mayr & Perner, 2020
  83. ?Laurillardia smoleni Bochenski, Mayr, Tomek, Wertz, Bienkowska-Wasiluk & Manegold, 2020
  84. Aviraptor oligocaenus Mayr & Hurum, 2020
  85. Parapsittacopes bergdahli Mayr, 2020
  86. Protodontopteryx ruthae Mayr, De Pietri, Love, Mannering & Scofield, 2021
  87. Tynskya waltonensis Mayr, 2021
  88. Archaeodromus anglicus Mayr, 2021
  89. Allgoviachen tortonica Mayr, Lechner & Böhme, 2022
  90. Danielsraptor phorusrhacoides Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  91. Nasidytes ypresianus Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  92. Ypresiglaux michaeldanielsi Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  93. Primoscens carolinae Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  94. Minutornis primoscenoides Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  95. Psittacomimus eos Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  96. ?Psittacopes occidentalis Mayr & Kitchener
  97. Waltonavis paraleptosomus Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  98. Waltonavis danielsi Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  99. Lutavis platysomus Mayr & Kitchener, 2022
  100. Plesiocathartes insolitipes Mayr & Kitchener, 2022

 

In order to assess the phylogenetic affinities of these birds, the higher level phylogeny of extant birds also constitutes a research focus. New and meanwhile widely accepted phylogenetic hypotheses concern the affinities of, for example, owlet-nightjars (Aegothelidae) (Mayr 2002) and flamingos (Phoenicopteriformes) (Mayr 2004).

The head of the section is Associate Editor of the journal The Auk.