Last week I gave you this particularly tricky mystery object from the Dead Zoo to have a go at identifying over Christmas:
It turned out to be far more difficult to identify than expected, with most people thinking of some kind of corvid, which it certainly looks like from the side. However, it’s too small for any but the smallest of the crows and from the top and bottom view, the bill isn’t the right shape for any of them – being too broad, with a long mandibular symphysis (which is where the two halves of the mandible fuse together).
I have spent a good deal of the Christmas week scanning through the images of skulls on Skullsite.com in an effort to narrow it down, but although I’ve seen a few families of birds that have some similarities, I’ve not found anything that matches all that well in terms of size and shape.
The closest species in terms of bill shape are probably in the Eurylaimidae, which are the Broadbills, but the specimens I’ve seen are still not quite right and all are smaller than this mystery specimen. I am wondering if a species like the Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus (Raffles, 1822) might be a better match on size and shape, but it’s proving hard to find comparative specimens. I will keep searching…
Have a very happy New Year!