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The History of British Birds$

Derek Yalden and Umberto Albarella

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217519

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217519.001.0001

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(p.203) Appendix: An annotated historical list of British birds

(p.203) Appendix: An annotated historical list of British birds

The History of British Birds
Oxford University Press

This list attempts to summarise the historical record of each species, list all the regular breeding and wintering birds, and provide a list of the scientific names of birds mentioned in the text. For many smaller birds there is no useful historical record, and they are simply listed.

The cautions offered in Chapter 1, about having to accept published identifications at face value and the difficulties of identifying closely related species, for example, in Anser, Anas, Tringa, Turdus, particularly apply here. The numbers of records quoted are those in our database, about 9,000 in all as of December 2007, covering as comprehensive a record as we could accumulate, from middle Pleistocene (Cromerian) onwards. We loosely refer to this as the archaeological record, though many sites are strictly not archaeological sites (do not contain Human remains or artefacts). Dating and the periods we quote are discussed in Chapter 1. Where possible, we refer back to earlier tables.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

Once supposed to be a Mediaeval introduction, but in fact a native species with a good archaeological record, 59 sites from Late Glacial and Mesolithic onwards (table 4.3).

Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus

Thinly recorded in the archaeological record, 13 reports, several from Late Pleistocene cave sites, and then from Iron Age Meare and Danebury, Roman York and Longthorpe, and Early Christian Lagore.

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus

Better recorded, from 33 sites, including Cromerian Boxgrove, Mesolithic Gough's Cave, 3 Neolithic, 1 Bronze Age, 3 Iron Age, 6 Roman and 10 later sites. Mostly N sites, but, for example, Iron Age Meare, Roman Silchester, suggest not very different from modern wintering range.

Bean Goose Anser fabalis

Only claimed from six definite records: Ipswichian Bacon Hole, two Late Glacial caves, Bronze Age Elsay Broch, Roman Towcester and Early Christian Lagore; also three possible (Bean/Greylag) records.

Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus

With 23 records and another 4 uncertain Pink-footed/White-fronted Geese, reasonably well recorded. Identified at Devensian Pinhole and Late Glacial Robin Hood's Cave, also (p.204) St Brelade's Bay, and at Neolithic Rousay, Dunagoil, Iron Age Bu, Harston Mill, Roman York, London Wall, Saxon Flixborough, Mediaeval Perth, Beverley, Northampton, Kings Lynn.

White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons

The 23 records span Wolstonian Swanscombe, Ipswichian Ilford, Devensian Pinhole, Robin Hood and Langwith Caves, to Mesolithic Port Eynon, Iron Age Howe, Meare, Saxon West Stow, N Elmhan, York (Coppergate), Mediaeval Dyserth Castle. In Ireland, at several poorly dated cave sites (Alice, Keshcorran, Catacomb, Castletownroche, Newhall) and from late Christian Lagore, Mediaeval Valencia.

Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus

Reported from Late Glacial Soldier's Hole.

Greylag Goose Anser anser

With 67 records, well reported, from Cromerian West Runton, Boxgrove, Ipswichian Kirkdale Cavern, numerous Late Glacial, Mesolithic and later records (summarised with other wild geese in table 5.1).

Domestic Goose Anser anser domesticus

Certainly kept by the Romans, arguable whether they had domestic geese in Britain; certainly common from Anglo-Saxon times onwards, the common table bird at feasts through Anglo-Saxon to Mediaeval times, until supplanted by Turkey (see table 5.1).

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Introduced from Canada around 1660, present St James Park 1665; establishing in the wild by early nineteenth century. Now second only to Pheasant in biomass of introduced wild species (see table 8.5).

Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis

Well recorded, for a bird with a limited modern distribution and status: 53 records, ranging from the Wolstonian (at Swanscombe) and Late Glacial caves (Inchnadamph, Robin Hood, Port Eynon) to Mediaeval; many records northern (Orkney S to York), but also, for example, Iron Age Meare, Mediaeval Oxford. In Ireland at Shandon Cave and Lagore, where commoner even than Domestic Fowl. Identifications mostly OK, because much larger than Brent, and Branta has distinctions from Anser, though difficulties indicated by additional seven uncertain Barnacle/White-front and four Barnacle/Brent. Molecular confirmation of identity at Flixborough.

Brent Goose Branta bernicla

Distinctively smaller than Barnacle, much larger and morphologically distinct from Shelduck. Present at 29 sites, from Ipswichian Tornewton Cave, Late Glacial Pinhole, Robin Hood's Cave and St Brelade's Bay, Jersey; then Mesolithic Star Carr, Iron Age Bu, Howe, through to Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Mediaeval and later sites. Many coastal (Lindisfarne, Caldicot, Flixborough) matching present distribution, but also inland at, for example, York, Lincoln, presumably traded for food. In Ireland, present at Lagore, also in later Clonmacnoise, Carrickfergus, Dublin.

(p.205) Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis

Reported twice, from Ipswichian Grays and from post-Mediaeval Newcastle (Mansion House); now rare winter visitor.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea

Recorded from four caves, Ipswichian Tornewton, and Devensian/Late Devensian Pinhole, Robin Hood and Ossiferous Fissure C8 at Creswell. Now a rare vagrant from SE Europe.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Recorded 29 times, from Wolstonian and Ipswichian Tornewton Cave, Late Glacial Neale's Cave, Torbryan Cave and Kent's Cavern. From Mesolithic Port Eynon, Neolithic Oronsay, Links of Noltland, Iron Age Meare, Skaill through Roman (Lincoln, Portchester), Saxon/Norse (N Elmham Park, Buckquoy, Jarlshof) to Mediaeval times (Lincoln, Thetford, Abingdon, Oxford).

Mandarin Aix galericulata

Claimed from Cromerian West Runton. Modern populations of this Chinese species derive from releases/escapes in 1930s and later.

Wigeon Anas penelope

Recorded 75 times, so presumably formerly as numerous in winter as now. Earliest Cromerian West Runton, then Boxgrove, Ipswichian, Tornewton Cave. In Late Glacial caves (e.g. Walton, Soldier's Hole, Pinhole, Kirkdale), Mesolithic Inchnadamph. At 6 Iron Age, 13 Roman, 9 Saxon/Norse, 20 Mediaeval or later sites. In Ireland, at three cave sites (uncertainly dated), Mesolithic Mount Sandel and Christian Lagore.

Gadwall Anas strepera

Reported from 20 sites, Ipswichian Waterhall Farm, then from Mesolithic Demen's Dale through 4 Iron Age and 4 Roman sites to 6 Mediaeval sites (e.g. Oxford, King's Lynn, Coventry, Beverley).

Teal Anas crecca

With 173 records, well documented because distinctively smaller, though two more “Teal/Garganey” records add a caution over id. From Cromerian West Runton, post-Cromerian Boxgrove, Devensian Pinhole, Tornewton, Late Glacial Robin Hood's, Cat Hole, then Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Inchnadamph, Neolithic Point of Cott, Dowel Cave, but mostly Roman (45) and Mediaeval/post-Mediaeval (78) records.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

With 251 records, as abundant in the archaeological record as the modern landscape. Recorded in post Cromerian Boxgrove, Westbury, then Devensian Chelm's Combe, Late Glacial Merlin's Cave, Pinhole. Numerous in Roman and Mediaeval sites (see table 5.1).

Domestic Duck Anas platyrhynchos domesticus

Difficult to distinguish from its wild ancestor. Romans certainly had domestic ducks, argued whether they brought them to GB. Numerical analysis (table 5.1) suggests they did, uncertain if known to Saxons, alternative view that not domesticated in GB till early Mediaeval period.

(p.206) Pintail Anas acuta

Of 19 records, earliest are Mesolithic Star Carr, Demen's Dale. Later sites include Neolithic Mount Pleasant, Bronze Age Caldicot, Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Howe, Roman Caerwent, Barnsley Park, Saxon Westminster Abbey, Portchester and Mediaeval Barnard Castle, Kings Lynn. Also, in Ireland, at Newhall Cave (undated), Keshcorran Cave, Ballinderry and Lagore crannogs.

Garganey Anas querquedula

Marginally larger wing bones, and some morphological details, sometimes allow differentiation from very similar Teal. Recorded at Cromerian Boxgrove, Devensian Pinhole, Mesolithic Demen's Dale, and at a range of Roman -Mediaeval sites. An additional three Garganey/Teal records attest to that obvious uncertainty.

Shoveler Anas clypeata

With 20 records, from Hoxnian Swanscombe, Devensian Chelme's Combe, Kent's Cavern, also Ightham Fissure (date?), then well scattered through Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Iron Age Meare, Scatness, Roman York, Caeseromagnus, Saxon Thetford to Mediaeval Carisbrooke and Baynard's Castles.

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina

Twice reported from Cromerian (West Runton, Ostend), also from Iron Age Glastonbury.

Pochard Aythya ferina

Reported 25 times, from Cromerian Ostend, West Runton, then Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Gough's Cave; Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Howe; Roman Fishbourne, Barnsley Park, Longthorpe, Verulamium; 12 later sites, and 2 undated Irish caves (Newhall, Catacomb).

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

With 34 records, the most common diving duck, as in the present fauna. Known from Cromerian West Runton, Devensian Pinhole, Late Glacial Walthamstow, Gough's Old Cave, Kent's Cavern; then Mesolithic Inchnadamph, Demen's Dale. No Neolithic records, but at Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Danebury, Roman Godmanchester, Colchester, Lincoln, 12 later records.

Scaup Aythya marila

Recorded eight times, but unusually more Irish than British records: Castlepook and Keshcorran Caves (dates uncertain), Ballinderry crannog (both Bronze Age and Early Christian), Lagore (Late Christian); also Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury and post-Mediaeval Peel (Man).

Eider Somateria mollissima

Of 20 records, 18 from N Scotland, mostly Orkney and Shetland, Mesolithic Inchnadamph to Norse Buckquoy: only two further S (Mediaeval Hartlepool, undated Whitrig Bog, Wigton). Suggests that never widespread, but surprising that apparently no Late Glacial records from S.

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis

Only six records, from the Norwich Crag at Southwold, then Late Glacial Inchnadamph, Mesolithic Port Eynon, Roman Wroxeter, Longthorpe and Postmediaeval Peel.

(p.207) Common Scoter Melanitta nigra

For a relatively scarce modern duck, well represented, 23 records, from Cromerian Mundesley and Wolstonian Swanscombe, Late Glacial Inchnadamph and Merlin's Cave, then from Mesolithic Star Carr to Mediaeval Lindisfarne. Three Mediaeval “scoter sp.” (Hartlepool, King's Lynn, Oxford) are probably also this species.

Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca

Only seven or eight records, from Mesolithic Port Eynon Caves, Inchnadamph, Neolithic Links of Noltland, Papa Westray, Iron Age Howe, Viking Jarlshof, post-Mediaeval Lindisfarne.

Goldeneye Bucephala clangula

An osteologically distinctive species with 24 records, from Cromerian West Runton, Boxgrove, through Late Glacial Pinhole, Robin Hood's Cave and Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Thatcham to Mediaeval York, Beverley and Norwich. Found on S sites (Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury) as well as N sites (Iron Age Howe, Norse Buckquoy), so probably wintered further S, bred further N, just as now.

Smew Mergellus albellus

Recorded 15 times, from Cromerian West Runton, Ipswichian Crayford, Late Glacial Merlin's cave, Chudleigh Fissure, Mesolithic Port Eynon, Bronze Age Burwell Fen, Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Howe, Saxon Lincoln to Mediaeval Leicester, Beverley. Only Irish record Keshcorran cave, date uncertain.

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

The 16 records range from Cromerian West Runton, Hoxnian Swanscombe, Late Glacial Merlin's Cave through Mesolithic (Star Carr, Risga), Neolithic (Point of Cott, Oronsay), Iron Age (Meare, Glastonbury, Howe) to Mediaeval Baynard's Castle, later Lindisfarne. In Ireland, at Lagore.

Goosander Mergus merganser

Has 15 records, from Wolstonian Tornewton, mid-Devensian Pinhole, Late Glacial Robin Hood's, Gough's Old Caves, Mesolithic Demen's Dale and a scatter in time and space from Iron Age Howe and Meare to Mediaeval Baynard's Castle, Post-Mediaeval Peel.

Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica

Earliest post-Cromerian Westbury; with 54 records, present in most (20) Devensian/Late Glacial caves; well distributed in N and W, as far S as Iron Age Danebury, Meare. Few Roman (Corbridge, Great Staughton), Saxon (Ipswich) or Mediaeval (York (Bedern), Castle Sween, Freswick Castle) records. Numerous records from Neolithic to Norse Orkney (Bu, Skaill, Isbister, Howe, Buckquoy, Quanterness); in Ireland, from Castlepook, Ballynamintra and Alice caves (undated), Mesolithic Mount Sandel.

Ptarmigan Lagopus muta

With 29 records, widely distributed in space, but not time. Earliest record, post-Cromerian Westbury. Numerous in Devensian/Late Glacial period, as far S as St Brelade's Bay (Jersey), and in various caves in Devon, Somerset, Derby. Latest records Mesolithic (Demen's Dale, Gough's Cave, Inchnadamph) and Neolithic Elbolton Cave, Yorkshire. Known from two caves in Ireland (Shandon, Ballynamintra) but dating uncertain.

(p.208) Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus

Quite well represented archaeologically, with 27 records; from Wolstonian Swanscombe, then Late Glacial Kent's and Kirkdale Caverns; present in Mesolithic Wetton Mill, Dowel Cave, Neolithic Fox Hole, through to Mediaeval York, Leicester; in Ireland, from Mesolithic Mount Sandel, Anglo-Norman Trim Castle to Mediaeval Dublin, Waterford, Wexford and later Carrickfergus, Galway (see table 6.6).

Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix

Well represented archaeologically, by 63 records; in time, spread from Late Glacial caves (Gough's Old Cave, Ossom's Soldier's Hole, Pin Hole) to Mediaeval; geographically, many N records, but as far S as Iron Age Meare. One dubious record from Ireland, Ballynamintra Cave.

Hazel Hen Bonasia bonasus

Five records: Post-Cromerian Westbury and then four Late Glacial records which suggest that was native to S Britain for a short period (see table 3.1).

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix

With 126 records, one of the best recorded wild birds: a common bird of open ground throughout its long history (table 3.6), and popular prey for both Humans and other predators. Known from post-Cromerian Boxgrove. Frequent in Glacial and Late Glacial cave sites. Fewer Mesolithic-Iron Age records, common from Roman times onwards. Seems a good indicator of more open conditions, from earlier tundra to farmland when it became more available.

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

Claimed from Late Glacial St Brelade's Bay, Jersey, perhaps just within its native range, and from Roman Fishbourne. Latter a likely import for food, was illustrated in Roman mosaics. Modern populations date from introductions for hunting, especially to Suffolk, from 1790 onwards.

Quail Coturnix coturnix

Recorded 23 times, from Devensian Torbryan, Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Merlin's Cave; then Neolithic Quanterness, Iron Age Bu, Roman Frocester, Great Staughton, Maxey, York and 10 later records. From Ireland, reported from Newhall and Castlepook caves (undated), Trim and Armoy.

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

If some dubious early records are ignored, known from a few Roman sites, but only numerous from Late Saxon through Mediaeval and later times. Some 58 records (see table 5.3).

Domestic Fowl Gallus domesticus

Domesticated in China by 7000 bp, reached Britain in Late Iron Age about 100 BC, common and widespread ever since; our most common bird, by a wide margin (see table 5.1).

Guineafowl Numida meleagris

Known to the Romans in N Africa, but no evidence in the British archaeological record.

(p.209) Peacock Pavo cristatus

An Indian bird, known to the Romans; a scatter of early British records from Roman (Portchester, Great Staughton) and Anglo-Norman (Thetford, Faccombe Nettleton, York) times, rather more in Mediaeval and later times, 35 in all (see table 5.1).

Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

Nearly all of 47 records late or post-Mediaeval, as expected from known historical date of introduction from America around 1530 (see table 5.1). Just five earlier records: “hoodwinks” or misidentified?

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata

Recorded from 12 sites, earliest Cromerian Mundesley, then Mesolithic Star Carr; Iron Age Meare, Scalloway, Viking Jarlshof, Skaill. Also in Ireland, at Newhall and Shandon caves (undated), Mesolithic Mount Sandel, Christian Lagore, later Dublin (Wood's Quay).

Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica

Recorded from six sites: mid Devensian Pinhole Cave, Mesolithic Port Eynon Cave, then Neolithic Papa Westray, Roman Brancaster, Mediaeval Baynard's Castle, Exeter; also one possible record, of Black/Red-throated Diver from Viking Brough of Birsay.

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer

With 18 records from Neolithic Papa Westray and Links of Noltland onwards, surprisingly well represented. While 10 records are from N sites (mostly Orkney), also recorded from Iron Age Meare, Roman Halangy Down, Saxon Southampton and three layers at Porchester. One Irish record, undated Catacomb Cave.

Dabchick (Little Grebe) Tachybaptus ruficollis

Only nine records: Mesolithic Star Carr, Neolithic Papa Westray, Bronze Age Caldicot, Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, later London Wall, and Norwich (Castle Mall), plus two undated Irish records (Newhall and Catacomb Caves).

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

A thin archaeological record, including four from Irish cave sites, with dubious dates, then Mesolithic Star Carr, Iron Age Meare, Christian Lagore, Mediaeval Poole and Beverley, and later Lindisfarne. Its heavy exploitation in Victorian times is not matched by evidence of heavy earlier killing.

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena

Reported from Neolithic Embo, Sutherland.

Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus

Reported from Iron Age Howe and tenth to eleventh century Jarlshof.

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

Historically only occurred on St Kilda in the nineteenth century, then spread widely round British coasts during the twentieth century. However, 20 records span from Mesolithic Morton through to numerous N sites in Neolithic and Iron Age, especially in Orkney. Perhaps nearly exterminated by Human overhunting (see table 4.2).

(p.210) Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea

A single record, from Ipswichian Bacon Hole; a southern/Mediterranean species which appears regularly offshore in SW Britain. Was this an early example of a wrecked bird, or an indication of its presence here in warmer times?

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus

With 39 records, from Late Glacial Potter's Cave, numerous N sites, for example, Neolithic Papa Westray, Links of Noltland, Bronze Age Nornour, Elsay Broch, Iron Age Crosskirk, Scatness, Howe. At several high status Mediaeval sites (Iona, Castletown, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Launceston and Dudley Castles). Three “shearwater sp.” (Neolithic Westray, Papa Westray; Iron Age Glastonbury) probably belong here.

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus

Reported from Happaway Cave (date uncertain) and Iron Age Howe; since substantially larger than Manx (which also recorded at Howe) id safe enough, but significance of this S Atlantic breeder unclear. Regular now off British coasts in late summer, so storm-driven?

Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus

Only recorded from Bronze Age Jarlshof.

Leach's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorrhoa

Two records, from Neolithic Quanterness and Norse Jarlshof.

Fea's Petrel? Pterodroma cf. feae

A small Pterodroma recorded from three sites in the Scottish isles (The Udal, N Uist; Kilellan Farm, Islay; Brettaness, Rousay) is closest to P feae. All Scottish Iron Age, but probably contemporary with Anglo-Saxon England. Mixed with the bones of other seabirds that had been eaten, so presumably also food (see Chapter 6).

Gannet Morus bassanus

A distinctive species, on size and morphology, recorded 55 times; mostly from N/island sites, as expected; from Late Glacial Paviland, Mesolithic Morton, Risga and Port Eynon Cave through to Mediaeval sites (see table 4.1); but records from, for example, Mediaeval Launceston and Okehampton Castles, Hereford, indicate some trading inland.

Cormorant Phalocrocorax carbo

Well represented, 81 records, from Hoxnian Swanscombe, Mesolithic Risga, Morton; common in northern and coastal sites, but also inland, for example, Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Roman Stonea. Also five uncertain Cormorant/Shag records, all coastal.

Shag Phalocrocorax aristotelis

Also well represented, 54 records, though only one early (Devensian Kent's Cavern); then Mesolithic Risga, Morton, Port Eynon Cave, Neolithic Point of Cott, Links of Noltland, Rousay, etc. Forty-two later sites. Mostly coastal, from Shetland (Jarlshof) to Guernsey (Le Dehus) but, for example, Roman Stonea, Mediaeval Stafford Castle suggest some trading inland for food.

Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus

A single record, a pair of distinctive metacarpi from fifteenth to sixteenth century Abingdon (table 4.4). Now no nearer than Balkans. Traded, wild or a pet?

(p.211) Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus

Bred in the fenlands of East Anglia and Somerset in Bronze and Iron Age times, where known from 10 records (see table 4.4). Now no nearer than Balkans.

Bittern Botaurus stellaris

Recorded from about 21 sites; well-dated records from Mesolithic Star Carr, Neolithic Rousay, and through Bronze Age to Mediaeval times (see table 4.4). Surprisingly, no Irish archaeological records, despite known historical occurrence.

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Only two records, Roman London Wall and Postmediaeval Royal Navy Victualling Yard (table 4.4); historical documentation suggests that frequently eaten (and known as Brewes; imported or native?) in late Mediaeval period.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

A single record, probably of Roman date, from London Wall; historical documentation suggests that frequently eaten in late Mediaeval period. Barely recorded before 1950, but increasingly regular from then, started breeding England 1996, Ireland 1997.

Heron Ardea cinerea

Distinctive size and morphology, plus targeted hunting, give this species a good record, from 84 sites. Scarce in caves (Devensian Walton, Ossiferous Fissure C8, Pinhole), apparently no Mesolithic or Neolithic records, but more common from Bronze Age (Nornour, Caldicot, Jarlshof) and later times. Numerous Mediaeval-Post Mediaeval records from high-status sites (e.g. Stafford, Baynard's, Hertford and Okehampton Castles, Faccombe Netherton), presumably indicating hawking (see table 6.4).

White Stork Ciconia ciconia

Recorded 10 times, from Wolstonian Tornewton Cave, Mid-Late Devensian Pinhole, Robin Hood Caves, Bronze Age Nornour, Jarlshof, Iron Age Harston Mill, Dragonby, Roman Silchester, Saxon London (Westminster Abbey). Only Mediaeval record, Oxford (St Ebbes), but three records of “stork sp.”, from Leicester (Little Lane), Beaurepaire and Poole probably belong here.

Black Stork Ciconia nigra

Two possible records of this solitary woodland species, from Devensian Tornewton Cave and from Lynx Cave. Clwyd, dated by C14 to 2,945 bp; identification is difficult, however, but these would be interesting indicators of former wooded conditions.

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia

Only two records, Mediaeval Castle Rising Castle and Southampton (Cuckoo Lane).

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus

Scarce at best as a breeding bird. Ought to have been more numerous in wooded Mesolithic Britain, but no archaeological record. Overlooked, or never common? (see table 3.5).

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla

Well recorded, much more widespread and numerous than Golden Eagle; 58 records, from Wolstonian Tornewton Cave, Devensian Soldier's Hole, Walton Cave, Walthamstow, (p.212) Mesolithic Skipsea, Port Eynon. Numerous records from N and W islands (Isbister, Links of Noltland, Iona), but as far S as Iron Age Meare, Dragonby, Roman Leicester. In Ireland, from Neolithic Lough Gur, Dublin (Dalkey Island), Christian Lagore, Mediaeval Waterford, Dublin (Woods Quay) (see Tables 6.3 and 6.7).

Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus

Monk (Black) Vulture Aegypius monachus

Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier) Gypaetus barbatus

Bonelli's/Booted Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus/pennatus

One record of one or other of these similar-sized relatives from Ightham Fissures, of uncertain date.

Red Kite Milvus milvus

Well recorded, 71 sites; first from Ipswichian Bacon Hole. Absent from Glacial/Late Glacial/Mesolithic sites. Present from Neolithic Durrington Walls, Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Danebury, Howe, onwards. At 14 Roman, 8 Saxon, 40 Mediaeval/post-Mediaeval sites (see table 6.3); evidently responded to the development of open farmland and towns – a sign of scavenging? In Ireland, present at four Mediaeval sites in Dublin, also Dundrum and post-Mediaeval Roscrea.

Black Kite Milvus nigra

No archaeological evidence of this smaller species, now a scarce but regular migrant.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Only 15 records, all relatively late: Iron Age Meare, Glastonbury, Harston Mill, Saxon Flixborough, London (Westminster Abbey), Mediaeval Beverley, Portchester, Faccombe Netherton. In Ireland, from Neolithic to Mediaeval Lough Gur, Ballinderry and Dublin (table 4.4).

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus

Only seven records, from Iron Age Gussage All Saints, Saxon Ossom's Eyrie, West Stow and Ipswich, Mediaeval Royal Naval Victualling Yard and twice from Dublin.

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus

Reported from Iron Age Meare. Appreciably smaller than Hen Harrier, particularly in hind limb, so probably well identified.

Goshawk Accipiter gentilis

Mostly Saxon – Mediaeval records (23/44 records), but with a scatter back to Late Glacial (Pinhole and Robin Hood's Caves), Mesolithic (Mount Sandel), Neolithic, Iron Age and Roman (see table 6.3).

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

Scarce in early periods (Late Glacial Soldier's Hole, Mesolithic Port Eynon Cave), no Neolithic-Iron Age records; present Roman Barton Court, Boreham, Colchester, then 38/45 records from Saxon or later date (see table 6.3).

(p.213) Buzzard Buteo buteo

Well recorded, from 111 archaeological sites. Earliest possibly Walton, otherwise scarce/absent in Late Glacial cave sites; present Mesolithic Star Carr, Wetton Mill, Neolithic Rousay, Westray, Papa Westray, Links of Noltland; more numerous and widespread in Iron Age, Roman and later sites (see Tables 3.5 and 6.3).

Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus

Just four records, from Devensian Pinhole Cave, Ightham Fissures (date uncertain), Iron Age Howe and Neolithic Links of Noltland. Wing bones average larger than Common Buzzard, hind limbs have shorter tarsometatarsus but longer femur, so plausibly identifiable from good material.

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos

Only 15 records, 5 of them Late Glacial cave sites (Robin Hood's, Pinhole, Gough's Old, Cat Hole, Aveline's Hole) and also post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie Cave. Records from Iron Age Howe, Christian and Mediaeval Iona, Mediaeval Stafford Castle hint at a wider range, but all records are essentially from upland/northern sites.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Reported only seven times, from Late Glacial Pinhole and Robin Hood's Caves, Iron Age Meare, Pictish Buckquoy, two sites in Mediaeval Dublin, and Post-Mediaeval Exeter.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

With 45 records, one of the better known raptors. Given its nesting habits, perhaps unsurprising that present in many cave sites, from Ipswichian and Wolstonian Tornewton, Late Glacial Aveline's Hole, Merlin's, Dowel, Robin Hood's, Pinhole; then Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Neolithic Links of Noltland, Isbister and Dowel Cave, numerous later records.

Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus

Merlin Falco columbarius

Recorded 10 times, from Late Glacial (Soldier's Hole, Robin Hood's, Pinhole, Cat Hole), then Iron Age Bu, Howe, Norse Buckquoy, Mediaeval Lincoln, Copt Hay; also Darfur Crag of uncertain date.

Hobby Falco subbuteo

Only three records, from Ipswichian Bacon Hole, Late Glacial Gough's Old Cave, and Mediaeval Stoney Middleton. Presumably always rather scarce, and not a major species in falconry, though a few falconers specialised in using it to hunt larks.

Eleanora's Falcon Falco eleanorae

Peregrine Falco peregrinus

Around 26 records, from Late Glacial Aveline's and Soldier's Hole, through Mesolithic Gough's and Port Eynon Caves, to a scatter of later sites (Iron Age Barrington, Danebury, Meare, Howe; Roman Heybridge; Saxon Ramsbury, Ipswich; Viking Jarlshof); then 13 Mediaeval or later sites, documenting the increase in falconry (see Tables 6.3 and 6.4).

(p.214) Gyr Falcon Falco rusticola

Possible record (Gyr/Peregrine) from Late Glacial Potter's Cave; two from the royal mews at Mediaeval Winchester, presumably imported.

Baillon's Crake/Little Crake Porzana pusilla/parva

A single record of a small crake from Neolithic Tideslow, Derbyshire.

Spotted Crake Porzana porzana

Recorded four times, from Ightham Fissures (date uncertain), Neolithic Papa Westray and Iron Age Bu, Howe. As a widely scattered but scarce resident of wetlands, likely to have been more common formerly than now.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus

The 25 records range from Late Glacial Merlin's Cave and Ightham Fissure (uncertain date), through Mesolithic Risga, Dowel Cave, Neolithic Oronsay, Iron Age Skaill, Howe, Old Scatness, Meare to Roman Thenford, Wroxeter, Filey, Caerleon. Only three later records, Buckquoy (Norse), Castle Acre (Norman) and Camber (post-Medieval) Castles. Known in Ireland from four caves, dates uncertain (Newhall, Alice, Catacomb, Barntick) and Iron Age Newgrange.

Corncrake Crex crex

Recorded from 24 sites, ranging from Mesolithic Port Eynon, Demen's Dale to late Mediaeval Stafford Castle; many sites northern/islands, but also, for example, Roman Colchester, Rudston, Dorchester, Saxon Wraysbury, Late Christian Lagore. At Raystown, Co. Meath, more common in seventh to eighth century than Gallus.

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Known from 33 sites, back to Cromerian West Runton, post-Cromerian Boxgrove, Ipswichian London. From Late Glacial caves (e.g. Pinhole, Robin Hood's), Mesolithic Soldier's Hole, Neolithic Dowel Cave, to a scatter of later sites (e.g. Iron Age Dinorben, Meare, Howe, Bronze Age Burwell Fen, Roman Lincoln, Cirencester, Saxon West Stow, Mediaeval Norwich, Oxford, Stafford and Barnard Castle). In Ireland, from Catacomb, Newhall and Castlepook Caves and Lagore.

Coot Fulica atra

A strong archaeological record, 42 sites, from Ipswichian Crayford, Late Glacial Merlin's Cave, Mesolithic Mt Sandel, frequent Iron Age, Roman and Mediaeval records. Distinctive size, among rails, and presumably eaten widely.

Common Crane Grus grus

Well recorded, from 131 sites. Large, osteologically distinctive, and a popular dietary item. Rare/absent in Late Glacial cave sites (Newhall Cave, Catacomb Cave, undated). Present in Mesolithic Star Carr, Thatcham; only Neolithic records, Mount Pleasant and footprints at Formby Point, but more widespread from Bronze Age onwards (see table 6.5). A supposed Sarus Crane (Longthorpe, Iron Age) is surely a large male Common Crane.

Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo

A single record, an unmistakable bill from the mid-Devensian of Pinhole Cave.

(p.215) Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax

A single record, from Devensian Tornewton Cave. In recent history, used to occur as a vagrant regularly, to around 1950, now scarce and irregular.

Great Bustard Otis tarda

Despite a strong historical documentary record, only five archaeological sites, three of them Late Glacial; Roman Fishbourne needs confirmation, but the femur from Baynard's Castle, Late Mediaeval, seems secure (see Chapters 3 and 7). Still occurs occasionally as a vagrant, reintroduction being attempted.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

With 29 reports, from Neolithic Point of Cott, Quanterness, Papa Westray and Isbister, through Bronze Age Midhowe, Iron Age Bu, Old Scatness Broch, Skaill, to 4 Roman, 4 Viking, 1 Saxon and 12 Mediaeval or later sites, well recorded in later times, but strangely absent earlier.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Only two archaeological records, Roman Caerleon and post-Mediaeval Camber Castle.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus

Only recorded from Bronze Age Nornour, an unlikely provenance.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Only eight records, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Pinhole, Walton, Robin Hood caves, Neolithic Oronsay, Mediaeval Writtle, London (Greyfriars), but too similar in size to several other small waders, probably under-recorded.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

Dotterel Charadrius morinellus

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

With 100 records, and a further 16 “Golden/Grey Plover”, well recorded, a testimony to its abundance, wide range and popularity as a food item. A few early records (e.g. Ipswichian Bacon Hole, Late Glacial Robin Hood's, Pinhole and Inchnadamph), but mostly Roman (30) and Mediaeval/post-Mediaeval (38).

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Has 29 records, from Late Glacial Pinhole, Robin Hood's Cave, Aveline's Hole, then Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Inchnadamph, Port Eynon Cave, but mostly Roman to Mediaeval sites. Some bones appreciably longer, more slender than Golden Plover, so id probably secure. By no means confined to coastal sites, so presumably traded, for example, to Mediaeval Lincoln, London Baynard's Castle and Greyfriars.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Recorded 78 times, including Late Glacial (Chudleigh Fissure, Gough's Old, Pinhole, Robin Hood's Caves), Mesolithic Star Carr, Neolithic Embo, Point of Cott, Quanterness, 11 Roman sites, 7 Saxon, 35 Mediaeval and later.

(p.216) Knot Calidris canuta

Recorded from 18 sites, from Devensian Pinhole, Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Robin Hood's Cave, then Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Neolithic Westray (Point of Cott), Bronze Age Nornour, through to Roman Camulodunum, several Mediaeval and later sites.

Sanderling Calidris alba

Claimed only from Mediaeval Castle Rising Castle, but no doubt difficult to distinguish from other small waders.

Dunlin Calidris alpina

With 18 records (plus two uncertain Dunlin/Ringed Plover, Dunlin/Sandpiper), ranging from Ipswichian Bacon Hole, Minchin Hole, Devensian Torbryan to Mesolithic, Iron Age, Roman and Mediaeval, moderately well represented. Probably always the commonest small wader in winter, but confident identification always difficult, in death as in life.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea

Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Only reported four or five times, from Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Iron Age Howe, Bronze Age Nornour, Mediaeval Oxford (The Hamel) and possibly from Mediaeval Portchester.

Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus

Recorded six times, from Devensian Torbryan Cave, Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Cat Hole and Merlin's Cave, then from Norse Buckquoy and Mediaeval Iona.

Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Well represented, 69 records, but few early dates (Devensian Pinhole, Late Glacial Kirkdale, Chudleigh Fissure, Mesolithic Demen's Dale). More common from Neolithic (Quanterness, Links of Noltland, Point of Cott) onwards; 11 Roman, 6 Saxon, 22 Mediaeval and 8 later sites. Does this indicate a N species, spreading S as wet farmland was created, or a record of increasing exploitation?

Great Snipe Gallinago media

Reported from post-Cromerian Westbury-sub-Mendip.

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola

With 230 records, the most frequently recorded wader; distinctive and convenient size, specialised hunting techniques and culinary value all contribute, but must have been at least as frequent as now. Scant early record (Late Glacial Cat Hole, Neolithic Isbister, Durrington Walls) but regular from Iron Age onwards. Mostly Roman (68) and Mediaeval or later (119).

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

Only six records of this former, now returned, breeder: Late Glacial Soldier's Hole, Neolithic Quanterness, Roman Colchester, Barnsley Park, and Mediaeval Colchester, Stafford Castle. An additional eight “godwit sp.” could belong to this or the next sp.; they fall largely in the same time and space range, though one from Bronze Age Nornour is intriguing.

(p.217) Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

19 records: from Late Glacial Chudleigh, and then nothing until 1 Iron Age (Scalloway), 2 Roman (Ilchester, Colchester), 1 Saxon (Portchester) and 13 Mediaeval or later records. Mostly in SE England, except Scalloway and Woods Quay, Dublin.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Fourteen records, well scattered in time and space: Devensian Pinhole, Walton, Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, then Iron Age Crosskirk, Roman Colchester, Norse Buckquoy, Mediaeval Castle Rising Castle, Castletown (Man), Lincoln (Flaxengate, and three levels (Saxon, Mediaeval, post-Mediaeval) at Portchester.

Curlew Numenius arquata

Predictably, this largest of waders has a good representation, 89 records; a few early records (Late Glacial Aveline's Hole, Cat Hole), then a gap till Neolithic Rousay, Isbister, Papa Westray, more numerous and widespread from Iron Age through Roman, Saxon and especially Mediaeval times. Strongly suggests that not so common or widespread in pre-Roman times, but might reflect changes in harvesting techniques.

Redshank Tringa totanus

Only 23 records, and none earlier than Neolithic Links of Noltland, Bronze Age Nornour; 4 Iron Age, 1 Roman, 2 Saxon sites. Many (10) records from high-status Mediaeval sites (e.g. Launceston, Castle Rising, Barnard and Baynard's Castles, Portchester, Perth). In Ireland, from Alice and Keshcorran Caves.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

Only reported twice, from Neolithic Papa Westray and Mediaeval Baynard's Castle, London.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Recorded 11 times, from Devensian Pinhole Cave, then Neolithic Dowel Cave, Links of Noltland and Quanterness, Iron Age Bu and Howe, Roman Ower, Over Purbeck, Saxon West Stow, Norse Buckquoy to Mediaeval Baynard's Castle, London. Also two uncertain Greenshank/Redshank from Saxon and Mediaeval Jarrow.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Has 10 records, from Cromerian West Runton, Late Glacial Merlin's Cave, Mesolithic Demen's Dale through Iron Age Howe and Roman Thenford to Mediaeval and later Exeter, London – Baynard's Castle and Greyfriars; also one uncertain Green Sandpiper/Turnstone from Roman Waddon Hill.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareolus

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

With 14 records, from Ipswichian Bacon Hole, Late Glacial Walton, Robin Hood, Pinhole Caves, Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Port Eynon Cave, Neolithic Papa Westray, Bronze Age Jarlshof, Iron Age Howe, Bu, Mediaeval Barnard's Castle, Castletown, well scattered in time, mostly in N and coastal sites.

(p.218) Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus

Recorded from Iron Age Bu, Orkney, within its recent range.

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius

Reported from Norse Buckquoy.

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus

Reported from Norse Buckquoy.

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus

Only recorded from Rousay, of uncertain post-glacial date.

Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus

A single record, from Soldier's Hole, mid-Devensian.

Great Skua Catharacta skua

Only three records, predictably all in N: Neolithic Papa Westray, Iron Age Bu and Viking Old Scatness Broch.

Little Gull Larus minutus

Only one record, Mediaeval Baynard's Castle, London. A regular migrant past the coasts, and has attempted to breed four times, not yet successfully.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Recorded from Cromerian Boxgrove, but then not till Neolithic Orkney (Quanterness, Links of Noltland); also Iron Age Howe, Norse Buckquoy, Jarshof, but mostly Mediaeval sites; only 18 records in all, much less numerous than its present-day status might suggest.

Common Gull Larus canus

Slightly better represented than ridibundus, 26 records. Late Glacial Walton, Pinhole, Soldier's Hole, but otherwise from Neolithic (Isbister, Links of Noltland), Iron Age (Howe, Pennyland, Poundbury) and later. Geographically, reported widely, from Portchester to Orkney.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

Reported 10 times, from a variety of sites: Late Glacial Castlepook Cave, Neolithic Links of Noltland and Papa Westray, Iron Age Meare, Howe, Saxon Flixborough, Viking Brough of Birsay, Mediaeval Dyserth Castle, Battle Abbey and later Exeter; but unlikely to be distinguishable from Herring Gull skeletally.

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Claimed from 25 sites, but osteologically indistinguishable from Lesser Black-backed Gull, as indicated by the further 36 more cautious “Herring/LBB” records. Only one Late Glacial (Aveline's Hole) and no early post-glacial records – a S species, late returning? Widespread in time and geographically from Mesolithic/Neolithic Ferriter's Cove onwards.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus

Unlikely to be distinguishable osteologically from GBB; two records claimed, Mediaeval Iona, Bronze Age Maitresse Ile, Jersey; and six more cautious Glaucous/GBB all from Orkney.

(p.219) Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

Recorded from 33 mostly coastal sites (but note preceding caution), back to Mesolithic Morton, but also at, for example, Iron Age Meare, Roman Exeter.

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

Thinly recorded, from post-Cromerian Boxgrove, then not till Mesolithic Morton, Neolithic and Bronze Age Westray (Point of Cott, Bu), Iron Age (Scatness, Scalloway, Danebury, Gussage All Saints). No Roman or Saxon records; several Mediaeval and later records include Exeter, Brentford, York – traded?

Little Tern Sterna albifrons

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

Recorded only three times, from Neolithic Papa Westray, Neolithic Bu and Mediaeval London (Baynard's Castle).

Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

A limited record, five sites, but a good time spread from Late Glacial Merlin's Cave and Mesolithic Risga to Neolithic Oronsay, Roman and Saxon Portchester.

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea

Guillemot Uria aalge

Recorded from 66 sites, plus eight uncertain Guillemot/Razorbill records. Earliest Pastonian Chillesford, then Late Glacial Paviland Cave and Chudleigh Fissure. More evident in Mesolithic (Morton, Risga, Ferriter's Cave), Neolithic (Embo, Point of Cott, Rousay, Links of Noltland, Quanterness, Oronsay) and later. Mostly coastal sites, especially in the N. Three from Anglo-Scandinavian and Mediaeval York suggest trade inland.

Razorbill Alca torda

Recorded from 40 sites, from Pastonian Bacton, Ipswichian Minchin Hole, Bacon Hole; surprisingly absent in Late Glacial record, but present again in Mesolithic (Risga, Morton, Port Eynon Cave), Neolithic (Oronsay, Point of Cott, Links of Noltland) and later sites. Present as far S as Jersey (Bronze Age Maitresse Ile) and Guernsey (Le Dehus, undated). Mostly coastal, especially N and W isles, but, for example, three records from York suggest trading, Bronze Age Burwell Fen suggests “wreck”.

Great Auk Pinguinus impennis

Moderately well recorded, back to Cromerian Boxgrove and Late Glacial St Brelade's Bay, Jersey. Of 40 records, most Neolithic – Iron Age (21), thinning into later times. Regular on N sites, especially on islands, but as far S as Roman Halangy Down, Scilly (see table 7.3).

Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle

Recorded from 11 sites, from Late Glacial caves (Pinhole, Robin Hood's) to several Orkney sites of Neolithic to Viking age (Papa Westray, Bu, Howe, Buckquoy), and as far S as Roman Filey.

(p.220) Little Auk Alle alle

For a relatively small and unfamiliar species, well recorded, 24 times: from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Cat Hole and Merlin's Caves, through Mesolithic Inchnadamph, Port Eynon Cave to 3 Neolithic, 7 Iron Age sites, all in N or W islands; few later records (Pictish Buckquoy, Viking Old Scatness Broch, Skaill and post-Mediaeval Lindisfarne). Presumably storm-driven, or does the frequency imply that it once bred here? Nearest modern breeding sites are N Iceland, but thought to have retreated from S breeding range.

Puffin Fratercula arctica

Recorded from 35 sites, mostly coastal and northern: five Late Glacial caves (Chudleigh Fissure, Potter's, Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Creag nan Uamph); Mesolithic Port Eynon, Morton, Inchnadamph; later sites mostly Orkney, Shetland, but also Roman Filey, sixteenth century Castle Rising Castle.

Pallas’ Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus

Rock Dove Columba livia

Impossible to distinguish wild Rock Doves from Domestic Pigeons osteologically, and distinction from Stock Dove difficult. Collectively, some 70 records. Historical evidence indicates that the Romans had domestic doves; the numerical record (see table 5.1) implies that they might have introduced them to GB, but the historical record implies that dovecotes were a Norman import.

Stock Dove Columba oenas

Claimed from 48 sites, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Pinhole, Merlin's, Robin Hood's Caves onwards. Common in Roman (18) and Mediaeval (13) sites; but cautions above apply.

Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus

With 86 records, the best recorded pigeon. Earliest Hoxnian Barnham, and a few Late Glacial (Pinhole, Potter's Cave) and Mesolithic caves (Port Eynon). Mostly Roman (17), Saxon (10) and Mediaeval (37) sites (see table 5.1 for combined record of pigeons).

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur

Only two records, Late Glacial Pinhole and Roman Staines.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Ringed Dove Streptopelia risoria

Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Only archaeological record from Roman Exeter; a distinctive skeleton, but not a species likely to be encountered (not food, not a scavenger). The AS name geac, which became the old name gowk, supplanted by cuckoo by time of Chaucer.

Barn Owl Tyto alba

Well represented archaeologically with 43 records; from Late Glacial caves (Robin Hood's, Cat Hole, Pinhole, Inchnadamph), and numerous Neolithic, Roman and later sites; no Mesolithic records (too wooded, or too few sites?). Recorded in Ireland from Catacomb Cave and Lagore.

(p.221) Snowy Owl Bubo scandiaca

Surprisingly, only one certain record, Devensian Kent's Cavern, despite abundant records of lemmings, and abundance of this species, for example, in French cave sites.

Eagle Owl Bubo bubo

No more than 10 records, but a long history, ranging from Pastonian East Runton, Hoxnian Swanscombe, Wolstonian Tornewton, then Late Glacial Langwith, Ossom's and Merlin's Cave. Status as recent native species best attested from Mesolithic Demen's Dale; possibly Iron Age Meare (see table 3.1). Present breeding pair or two likely to be descended from escaped aviary birds.

Hawk Owl Surnia ulula

Two Late Glacial records, from Pinhole and Robin Hood's Caves, Creswell Crags.

Little Owl Athene noctua

One early record of this largely S European species, from post-Cromerian Westbury, is believable but two later ones, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Aveline's Hole, need checking. Hoodwinks? or misidentified? Present population dates from introductions in 1870–1880s.

Tawny Owl Strix aluco

The 28 records have an odd time spread: post-Cromerian Boxgrove, Devensian/Late Glacial Langwith, Pinhole, Robin Hood's and Ossom's Caves, Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Wetton Mill, Iron Age Howe, Dowel Cave, Slaughterford; then a gap through Roman and early Saxon times, but 3 late Saxon (Faccombe Netherton, Flixborough), 12 Mediaeval or later records. Used as a decoy in hunting or hawking?

Long-eared Owl Asio otus

Only four records, from Late Glacial Soldier's Hole, Iron Age Danebury, Roman Wroxeter, and undated Teesdale Cave. Difficult to distinguish osteologically from the next species. Possible Irish record (Asio sp.) from Mediaeval Baltrasna.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus

Recorded 17 times, including post-Cromerian Westbury and 8 Glacial/Late Glacial caves (e.g. Pinhole, Robin Hood, Merlin's, Dowel, Aveline's and Soldier's Holes) when appropriate open conditions, with lemmings, would have suited it. Later, mostly from N sites: Neolithic Isbister, Links of Noltland, Bronze Age Hindlow Cairn, Iron Age Skaill, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie, but also Norse York (Coppergate). No sure Irish records.

Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereus

Two Late Glacial records, from Pinhole and Robin Hood Caves, Creswell, of this N species.

Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus

One record from Late Glacial Merlin's Cave, one from Early Christian Raystown, Co. Meath.

Swift Apus apus

Only five records, from post-Cromerian Boxgrove, Late Glacial Walton, and Roman Winterbourne, Mediaeval Middleton Stoney, Canterbury Cathedral. When nested principally in old hollow trees (as in Białowieża), unlikely to be fossilised.

(p.222) Alpine Swift Apus melba

A single mid-Devensian record, from Pinhole Cave; unmistakeably large carpometacarpus and tarsometatarsus leave no doubt on id.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Only two records, from Devensian Pinhole Cave and Late Glacial Merlin's Cave.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster

Hoopoe Upupa epops

Wryneck Jynx torquilla

Only two records, from Neolithic Quanterness and sixth to seventh century Raystown, Co. Meath.

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

Only two records, from Late Glacial caves: Chelm's Combe and Merlin's.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Only nine records, all from cave sites; six of these probably Late Glacial (Chudleigh Fissure, Gough's Old, Dowel, Langwith, Pinhole, Robin Hood's); then Neolithic Fox Hole, but two important Irish records, Alice and Newhall, one with a C14 date in the Bronze Age.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor

Only two records, from Late Glacial Pinhole and Robin Hood's Caves, Creswell, Derbyshire.

White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos

Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius

Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra

Mentioned by Chaucer, but presumably from French sources or experience.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata

Recorded from five cave sites, probably all Late Glacial (Ightham Fissures, Chudleigh Fissure, Torbryan, Happaway, Merlin's), and Mediaeval Portchester. Given abundance just S of the Channel, surprising that appears never to have colonised in modern times, and only 16 vagrants have been reported. Essentially sedentary, but predicted to be a likely coloniser if climate changes.

Skylark Alauda arvensis

Well recorded, 54 sites from Ipswichian Bacon and Minchin Holes, Devensian Bridged Pot, Torbryan and Tornewton caves, to Late Glacial, for example, Pinhole, Robin Hood and Merlin's Caves. Possibly missing in wooded Mesolithic, but then continuously from Neolithic (e.g. Quanterness, Papa Westray, Fox Hole) through to Mediaeval (e.g. Loughor, Barnard's and Rumney Castles) and later (e.g. Exeter, York (Aldwark, Coffee Yard)) (see table 3.6).

Wood Lark Lullula arborea

Reported four times: Devensian Pinhole Cave, Roman Hambledon, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie and Mediaeval Portchester.

(p.223) Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris

Two records, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure and Ightham Fissures (date uncertain, probably similar), when it might well have been a breeding bird.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia

Only claimed from Bronze/Iron Age Wilsford Shaft on Salisbury Plain.

Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Recorded from three Late Glacial caves at Creswell Crags: Robin Hood's, Pinhole and Ossiferous Fissure C8. A S species with only four recent records; was it open but warmer at times in Late Glacial?

Swallow Hirundo rustica

Recorded 22 times, from post-Cromerian Westbury, Ipswichian Bacon Hole, Devensian Pinhole, Torbryan, Ossiferous Fissure C8, Late Glacial Robin Hood's, Merlin's Caves. In Postglacial, from Neolithic Carding Mill, Links of Noltland, Iron Age Wilsford Shaft, Howe, Roman Cirencester, Tiddington to Saxon York (Fishergate), Ossom's Eyrie. More common in cave sites (mostly early) than buildings, perhaps skewing record.

House Martin Delichon urbica

Only five records, including undated Newhall Cave, Neolithic Dowel Cave, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie, Saxon York – Fishergate, and sixteenth to seventeenth century Naval Victualling Yard. Naturally cliff-dwelling, might have been expected more often in wide-mouthed caves.

Richard's Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae

Reported from Late Glacial Aveline's Hole. A plausible species to have occurred in open tundra-like conditions.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis

Only four records, from Ipswichian Tornewton Cave, Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Iron Age Bu, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

Only 15 records, mostly from Devensian/Late Glacial caves (Chelm's Combe, Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Langwith, Neale's, Ossiferous Fissure C8), also Saxon Lewes, Ipswich, Mediaeval Thrislington.

Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus

Only claimed from four caves, Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Aveline's Hole and Langwith, and Mesolithic Port Eynon, and (Water Pipit) Mediaeval Portchester.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

Reported from Ightham Fissures, of uncertain date.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Reported from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie.

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba

Reported from seven sites, mostly caves: Late Glacial Merlin's, Chudleigh Fissure, Aveline's Hole, undated Ightham, Mesolithic Port Eynon, also Iron Age Bu, Newgrange.

(p.224) Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Only two records, from Devensian Pinhole and Iron Age Howe.

Dipper Cinclus cinclus

Only seven subfossil records, mostly Late Glacial cave sites (Robin Hood's, Pinhole, Torbryan, Merlin's, Chudleigh Fissure, plus St Brelade's Bay, Jersey) and Neolithic Dowel Cave.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

A scatter of 16 records, from Late Glacial caves (Pinhole, Robin Hood, Chudleigh Fissure), Mesolithic Hazleton Long Cairn, Neolithic Quanterness, Dowel Cave, Bronze Age Borwick, Iron Age Howe to Roman Filey, Caerwent, Winterbourne, Saxon Wraysbury, York (Fishergate) and Mediaeval Thrislington.

Hedge Sparrow (Dunnock) Prunella modularis

A single record of an Accentor sp. claimed from Roman Birdoswald, and unlikely to be any other species. Reported from 18 sites: Cromerian Boxgrove, then several records from Late Glacial cave sites (including Aveline's Hole, Soldier's Hole, Merlins, Pinhole, Robin Hood's) and a scatter of later records. The alternative Saxon name dunnock implies that it was recognised early; Chaucer refers to it as the heysoge, while Shakespeare calls it the hedge-sparrow, and refers to it as a cuckoo's host.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Of 28 records of this distinctively long-legged chat, most are Glacial/Late Glacial cave sites: Torbryan, Hoe Grange, Langwith, Pinhole, Robin Hood, Chudleigh Fissure, Aveline's Hole or later cave sites: Mesolithic Wetton Mill, Neolithic Fox Hole, Dowel Cave, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie. Recorded at Roman Frocester, Dorchester, Caerwent, Mediaeval London (Greyfriars), later York (Lawrence St).

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos

Reported twice, from Late Glacial Langwith Cave and Chudleigh Fissure.

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Reported nine times, mostly from cave sites (better preservation? hardly a habitat choice); mostly Late Glacial (Robin Hood's, Aveline's Hole, Pinhole, Chudleigh Fissure), but also Mesolithic Wetton Mill, Neolithic Dowel; two non-cave sites, Iron Age Dun Mor Vaul and Mediaeval Barnard's Castle.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra

Reported from six sites, mostly Late Glacial caves (Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Merlin's, Aveline's Hole) also Keshcorran (date?) and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie. A further eight records of Chat sp., which might be this or the next species, also mostly Late Glacial caves, plus Mesolithic and Neolithic Dowel, Neolithic Quanterness.

Stonechat Saxicola torquata

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

Of 14 records, mostly cave sites: Ipswichian Bacon Hole, Glacial/Late Glacial Walton, Robin Hood, Chudleigh Fissure, Merlin's, Langwith, Ightham Fissure, Mesolithic Port Eynon. Later from Neolithic Dowel Cave, Quanterness, Links of Noltland, Iron Age Glastonbury, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie.

(p.225) Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus

Only 11 records, mostly caves: Late Glacial Robin Hood, Pinhole, Chelm's Combe, Merlin's, Soldier's Hole, also Neolithic Dowel, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie, undated Hathaway. Elsewhere, at Neolithic Quanterness, Iron Age Howe.

Blackbird Turdus merula

One of the commonest passerines in archaeological sites, reflecting both its ubiquity and its culinary value. At least 85 records, back to Cromerian West Runton; present from Late Glacial caves (Dowel, Cat Hole, Merlin's, Robin Hood's) and Mesolithic (Demen's Dale, Wetton Mill, Doghole Fissure). Numerous in Roman and Mediaeval sites. Identification difficulties with similar species indicated by an additional Blackbird/Fieldfare (Stafford Castle) and 13 Blackbird/Ring Ouzel records, mostly from Late Glacial cave sites. Present in several Irish cave sites, of uncertain date, and from Iron Age sites at Newgrange and Dalkey Island.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

Claimed from 34 sites, though identification rarely explained. At least nine Late Glacial records (Aveline's Hole, Pinhole, Soldier's Hole, etc.), through Mesolithic (Port Eynon, Gough's Old Caves), Neolithic (e.g. Dowel Cave), Iron Age (Dorchester, Howe) to Mediaeval Abingdon, Hertford Castle.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

With 66 records, numerous throughout, from Late Glacial (e.g. Gough's Old, Robin Hood, Merlin's caves, Soldier's and Aveline's Holes), through Mesolithic Wetton Mill to Neolithic Dowel Cave, Grime's Graves, Quanterness, Mount Pleasant; present at 7 Iron Age, 9 Roman, 3 Saxon, 13 Mediaeval or later sites. In Ireland, present at several cave sites, date uncertain (Keshcorran, Newhall, Barntick, etc.), Mesolithic Mount Sandel and Iron Age Newgrange. A further 91 records of “thrush sp.” indicate the difficulties of identification in this genus.

Redwing Turdus iliacus

Reported 50 times, plus another 12 uncertain Redwing/Song Thrush. From 12 Devensian/Late Glacial caves (e.g. Walton, Pinhole, Robin Hood, Cat Hole, Chudleigh Fissure), Neolithic Quanterness, Dowel Cave, Iron Age Danebury, Slaughterford. At several later high status sites (e.g. Roman Uley Shrines, Cirencester, Shakenoak, Colchester; Saxon Southampton; Mediaeval Dryslwyn and Castle Rising Castles), presumably eaten.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus

With 42 sites, well recorded, due to its distinctive size, probably also its value as food. In numerous Late Glacial caves (e.g. Merlin's, Aveline's Hole, Robin Hood's,Pinhole, Neale's), Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Port Eynon Cave), Neolithic Grime's Graves, Tideslow, Mount Pleasant, Iron Age Bu, Howe, Roman Colchester, Frocester, Chew Valley to Mediaeval London (Greyfriars); also in Ireland, from undated Castlepook and Alice Caves, Iron Age Keshcorran, Neolithic Newgrange.

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis

Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinoides

(p.226) Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

A single record, from Late Glacial Aveline's Hole; unlikely on climate and habitat.

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca

Reported from Iron Age Bu.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis

Reported from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie Cave.

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin

Reported from Hoxnian Swanscombe and Mediaeval London, Greyfriars.

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

Uncertain that the various similar-sized Sylvia could be reliably distinguished skeletally, but there are six records from Late Glacial cave sites (Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Aveline's Hole, Neale, Doghole, Chelms Combe).

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Improbably, there are three records, from Late Glacial Cat Hole and Neolithic Quanterness, Dowel Cave. Given its size, identifications probably correct (would not be possible to rule out Firecrest), but these records say more about the abilities of excavators than about historical ecology of the species.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Reported from Devensian Torbryan Cave, Mesolithic Wetton Mill Rockshelter and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie.

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis

Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Reported four times, from three Late Glacial caves on the Derby/Nottingham border (Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Ossiferous Fissure C8) and Mesolithic Dog Hole Fissure.

Marsh Tit Poecile palustris

Willow Tit Poecile montanus

Coal Tit Periparus ater

One record claimed, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure.

(p.227) Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

Rarely recorded, only three records: Neolithic Dowel Cave, post-Roman Ossom's Eyre and Mediaeval Barnard Castle. Too small to be found routinely, and likely to be confused with other Paridae.

Great Tit Parus major

Recorded 18 times, mostly from cave sites: 11 Late Glacial (e.g. Chelm's Combe, Chudleigh Fissure, Robin Hood's), but then from Mesolithic Dowel Cave, Wetton Mill, Iron Age Howe, Roman Chew Valley Lake.

Crested Tit Parus cristatus

Nuthatch Sitta europaea

Recorded from nine sites: Cromerian West Runton, Devensian Langwith and Ossiferous Fissure C8, Late Glacial Pinhole, Robin Hood's Cave, Merlin's Cave, Aveline's Hole and Chudleigh Fissure, and Neolithic Fox Hole Cave.

Treecreeper Certhia familiaris

Only three records, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Mesolithic Wetton Mill and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie.

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio

Present at Ightham Fissure (date uncertain) and Neolithic Dowel Cave. Uncertain “shrike sp.” at Iron Age Danebury, Mediaeval Launceston Castle may be this species.

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor

Recorded from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure; also claimed from Neolithic Dowel Cave, but is in fact Red-backed Shrike. Possibly present Neolithic Howe (as an uncertain shrike/thrush), and Roman Colchester (as “grey shrike”). Portrayal in the Selborne Missal and probable mention by Chaucer suggest that it has been a conspicuous if uncommon winter visitor since at least Mediaeval times.

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Forty-three records (plus an uncertain Jay/Magpie, Flixborough), from Cromerian West Runton, Late Glacial caves (Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Soldier's Hole, Chudleigh Fissure), Mesolithic (Wetton Mill, Demen's Dale) and later sites. S distribution, no further N than York; no Scottish records. In Ireland, at Catacomb, Keshcorran and Newhall Caves, of uncertain date, and at Iron Age Balinderry crannog, Mediaeval Dublin.

Siberian Jay Perisoreus infaustus

Magpie Pica pica

Forty-six records, ranging from Late Glacial (e.g. Pinhole, Robin Hood's, Soldier's Hole, Cat Hole, Merlin's Caves) through Neolithic Fox Hole, Roman (e.g. Uley, Wroxeter, Bancroft Villa) to Mediaeval (e.g. Nantwich, Lewes, Middleton Stoney). In Ireland, at undated sites (Castlepook, Catacomb, Newhall, Alice Caves) and late Mediaeval Johnstown.

Azure-winged magpie Cyanopicus cyanus

Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes

One record, from Late Glacial Robin Hood's Cave.

(p.228) Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

A thin scatter of 15 records, from Ipswichian Kirkdale Cavern, Late Glacial Paviland Cave, Goughs’ Old Cave, Cat Hole and Chudleigh Fissure, through Mesolithic Port Eynon, Iron Ae Bu to Mediaeval Exeter. In Ireland, from Lagore, and on Man from Perwick Bay (“Roman”) and Castletown (seventeenth century).

Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Well recorded, 177 times, plus 14 less certain Jackdaw/Jay (1), Jackdaw/Magpie (12) and Jackdaw/Chough (1). Numerous in Late Glacial caves (Aveline's Hole, Soldier's Hole, Ossom's, Merlin's); scarce in Mesolithic (Dog Hole Fissure) and Neolithic (Fox Hole); common in Roman and Mediaeval sites. Absent from the early Scottish island and coastal sites.

Rook Corvus frugilegus

Most of the 47 records are late; only 2 Late Glacial (Pinhole, Aveline's Hole), no Mesolithic or Neolithic sites. More common as farming increased: Iron Age Meare, Danebury, Budbury, Thornton-le-Dale, 17 Roman, 20 Saxon-Mediaeval and later records.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

Reported from 22 records, including, Devensian Tornewton, then 3 Iron Age (Glastonbury, Dun Mor Vaul, Scatness), and then 9 Roman records, 4 Mediaeval. Symbolic significance, or eaten? Also 3 Carrion/Hooded Crow, which would certainly not be distinguishable osteologically, and another 78 cautious “Crow sp.” which presumably reflects this uncertainty. The 159 records of “Crow/Rook” indicate a further uncertainty, but adding all these together confirms the relative abundance and widespread presence of large corvids. Abundance in Roman and Mediaeval sites presumably indicates that they were eaten regularly, though might simply reflect their scavenger status round habitations.

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

Two records of Hooded Crow were presumably identified from their distribution as much as from their bones – Late Iron Age Scalloway and ninth century Jarlshof.

Raven Corvus corax

Among the best recorded of wild birds: 267 records. Earliest Wolstonian and Ipswichian Tornewton; only 5 Late Glacial, no Mesolithic records, but 23 Iron Age, 93 Roman (symbolic significance?), 106 later records (scavenger?).

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

With 109 records, well documented. Earliest Cromerian West Runton, post-Cromerian Boxgrove, Ipswichian Bacon and Minchin Holes. Numerous Late Glacial records (e.g. Chudleigh Fissure, Merlin's, Robin Hood's, Pinhole Caves). In post-Glacial, continuous record, from Mesolithic Port Eynon Cave, Hazleton Long Cairn, Wetton Mill; Neolithic Embo, Point of Cott, Papa Westray, Links of Noltland; 10 Iron Age, 22 Roman, 9 Saxon/Viking, 35 Mediaeval or later records. Many Neolithic-Iron Age and later records from N isles, perhaps supporting the notion that colonised mainland Scotland in nineteenth century from them.

(p.229) House Sparrow Passer domesticus

With 42 records, remarkably well represented. Four Late Glacial records (Aveline's Hole, Merlin's Cave, Pinhole, Robin Hood's; also perhaps Langwith) imply an early presence, but might be misidentified. Apparently absent in Mesolithic, Neolithic. Numerous from Iron Age (Abingdon, Harston Mill, Danebury, Old Scatness Broch), Roman and later times. A further 10 Bronze Age-Mediaeval “sparrow sp.” are as likely to be this sp. as not.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Snow Finch Montifringilla nivalis

Claimed only from Devensian Pinhole Cave.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Known from 24 records, including several Late Glacial cave sites (Robin Hood's, Pinhole, Inchnadamph, Aveline's Hole, Merlin's, Langwith), Mesolithic Wetton Mill, Neolithic Dowel Cave, Roman and later York.

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla

Claimed from four sites: Late Glacial Pinhole, Robin Hood's Cave, Neolithic Quanterness, and Mediaeval Baynard's Castle; possibly also (Brambling/Chaffinch) from Port Eynon Cave. Bones perceptibly larger than Chaffinch, nearer Greenfinch, so identifications plausible.

Serin Serinus serinus

Reported from Hoxnian Swanscombe.

Greenfinch Chloris chloris

One of the better recorded small passerines, 16 sites from Late Glacial Walton, Pinhole, Chelm's Combe, Neolithic Dowel Cave to Roman York (colonia, General Accident) and Mediaeval Battle Abbey; in Ireland, from Neolithic Newgrange, later Keshcorran Caves.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Only recorded six times (Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure, Neolithic Dowel Cave, Iron Age Gussage All Saints, post-Roman Ossom's Eyre, post-Mediaeval Peel, Beverley), but probably under-recorded, due to small size and potential confusion with other similar-sized finches, especially Linnet.

Siskin Carduelis spinus

Linnet Carduelis cannabina

Recorded only seven or eight times, from three Late Glacial caves (Pinhole, Aveline's Hole, Chudleigh Fissure), Neolithic Quanterness, Dowel Cave and possibly Links of Noltland, and Mediaeval Stoney Middleton; also Keshcorran Caves (date?) in Co Sligo.

Twite Carduelis flavirostris

A single record, from Neolithic Quanterness.

Redpoll Carduelis flammea

Reported from three caves, Late Glacial Merlin's, Mesolithic Dog Hole and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie.

(p.230) White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera

Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

Only four records, assumed to be this species, from Wolstonian Tornewton Cave, Devensian Creswell Crags, Merlin's Cave and post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie (see discussion in Chapter 3).

Scottish Crossbill Loxia scotica

Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus

Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator

Only three records, from Devensian Torbryan and Late Glacial Merlin's and Robin Hood's Caves. A Boreal species whose presence in colder times is perhaps as expected.

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Only nine records, mostly Late Glacial cave sites (Aveline's Hole, Pinhole, Robin Hood's) or uncertainly dated (Catacomb, Newhall, Keshcorran, Ireland), but also Neolithic Dowel Cave, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie, Mediaeval Caerleon.

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes

Recorded from 16 sites, mostly caves; mostly Late Glacial (9 records, including Robin Hood's, Merlin's, Pinhole, Chudleigh), but also Mesolithic Demen's Dale, Neolithic Dowel Cave, Iron Age Abigndon, Roman Oxford. Also Newhall Cave, Ireland, of uncertain date, but another indication of loss of woodlands there and their birds.

Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus

Recorded from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure.

Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis

Ten records, all from Devensian/Late Glacial caves (Aveline's and Soldier's Holes, Pinhole, Robin Hood's, etc), except Iron Age Howe.

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

Only nine records, from Late Glacial Chudleigh Fissure and Aveline's Hole, Roman Uley Shrines, post-Roman Ossom's Eyrie, Norse York (Coppergate) and Mediaeval Portchester, Middleton Stoney and Lincoln. Another seven records of “bunting sp. (4), bunting/finch (2), bunting/lark” could belong anywhere among the short-winged passerines.

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Only four records, from three Late Glacial caves (Pinhole, Robin Hood, Chudleigh Fissure) and Iron Age Howe.

Corn Bunting Miliaris calandra

Only five records claimed, four Late Glacial (Chudleigh Fissure, Aveline's Hole, Pinhole, Robin Hood's Cave) and Iron Age Howe. Distinctively bigger than other buntings.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheuticus ludovicianus

Reported from two Late Glacial cave sites at Creswell Crags, Ossiferous Fissure C8 and Robin Hood's, but an American vagrant seems an unlikely species, and a misidentification must be suspected.