Swiss Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 187–197

An assessment of the Cenozoic avifauna of Switzerland, with a description of two fossil owls (Aves, Strigiformes)

  • V. L. De Pietri
  • C. Mourer-Chauviré
  • U. Menkveld-Gfeller
  • C. A. Meyer
  • L. Costeur

DOI: 10.1007/s00015-013-0127-7

Cite this article as:
De Pietri, V.L., Mourer-Chauviré, C., Menkveld-Gfeller, U. et al. Swiss J Geosci (2013) 106: 187. doi:10.1007/s00015-013-0127-7


The fossil skeletal record of birds from the Cenozoic of Switzerland is rather poor, despite the fact that avian tracks have been described from twenty tracksites. We review the Swiss fossil skeletal avifauna with emphasis put on new material discovered in the collection of the Natural History Museum Basel. This material includes two new owls (Strigiformes), one from a Late Eocene fissure filling from the Gösgen canal, and another from the Late Oligocene of Mümliswil. The Eocene owl specimen consists of a partial, distal tarsometatarsus, and is therefore too incompletely preserved to allow for reliable hypotheses concerning its taxonomic affinities. It does, however, display features resembling members of the extinct family Palaeoglaucidae. The Oligocene specimen is tentatively attributed to the genus Oligostrix, and it is the youngest representative of the extinct family Protostrigidae. Based on the first complete tarsometatarsus for this family, we erect a new species, ?Oligostrix bergeri. These two specimens represent the first record of fossil owls from Switzerland.


Fossil birds Protostrigidae Avian tracks Vertebrate ichnology Swiss Molasse Oligostrix bergeri sp. nov. Eocene Oligocene 



Naturhistorisches Museum Basel


Paläontologisches Institut und Museum der Universität Zürich


Mammal Neogene


Mammal Palaeogene

Supplementary material

15_2013_127_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)
15_2013_127_MOESM2_ESM.xls (40 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLS 40 kb)

Copyright information

© Swiss Geological Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. L. De Pietri
    • 1
  • C. Mourer-Chauviré
    • 2
  • U. Menkveld-Gfeller
    • 3
  • C. A. Meyer
    • 1
  • L. Costeur
    • 1
  1. 1.Naturhistorisches Museum BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon: Terre, Planètes et Environnement, CNRS UMR 5276Université Lyon 1Villeurbanne CedexFrance
  3. 3.Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde BernBernSwitzerland

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