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Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 147, Issue 4, pp 565–568 | Cite as

Archaeozoological records and distribution history of the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in Central Europe

  • F. E. ZachosEmail author
  • U. Schmölcke
Original Article

Abstract

A review of the Holocene records of the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in Central Europe indicates an immigration around 10,000 years BP at the latest. During the middle Holocene—9,000–5,000 years BP—the species seems to have been common in the south-western Baltic region and perhaps also in Switzerland, but scarce in the rest of Central Europe. After a complete lack of osprey remains for nearly 4,000 years up to medieval times, a few records again suggest a sporadic distribution of this species in the south-western Baltic. In early modern times, the osprey recolonised north-eastern Germany and, during the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century, bred in colony-like densities. Because of relentless persecution and, later, contamination with pesticides, osprey populations collapsed. Recently, the Central European populations have been slowly increasing again. The significance of the subfossil findings is discussed and possible reasons for their scarcity are outlined.

Keywords

Archaeozoology Central Europe Osprey Pandion haliaetus 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank A. von den Driesch, Munich, Germany, for access to the database mentioned in the text and R. Lücht, Kiel, Germany, for help in accumulating the osprey data from it. Advice and help from B.-U. Meyburg, Berlin, Germany, in our literature research is also gratefully acknowledged. Moreover, we thank T. Tyrberg, Kimstad, Sweden, who kindly provided us with data from his book on Pleistocene birds of the Palearctic and further information on fossil and subfossil ospreys.

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zoologisches Institut (Haustierkunde)Christian-Albrechts-University KielKielGermany

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