Author: Steadman, David W.; Justice, Leonora J.
Title: Prehistoric exploitation of birds on Mangareva, Gambier islands, French Polynesia
Journal: Man and Culture in Oceania
Keywords: Polynesia; Mangareva; zooarchaeology; birds; extinction
Abstract: We identified 215 bird bones from five archaeological sites on the islands of Mangareva, Aukena, and Kamaka in the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. The bones, which are from birds that were killed for their flesh, feathers, or bones by prehistoric Polynesians, represent 15 species of seabirds (most or all resident) including Bulweria cf. B. fallax, three species of resident landbirds (the heron Egretta sacra and two extirpated columbids Gallicolumba erythroptera and G. nui), a migrant shorebird Numenius tahitiensis, and the non-native chicken Gallus gallus. Of the 18 certain or presumed resident species, at least four and perhaps as many as eight species no longer occur on Mangareva. While informative, this sample of bones is too small to estimate the true extent of the prehistoric extinction of birds on Mangareva.