Resources to identify remains in bird pellets (regurgitations)

Hello everyone!

Recently me and my colleagues collected a couple of bird pellets (regurgitations produced by birds, containing the remains of their preys). We’d like to identify which prey species (or higher taxonomic entities) are present in each pellet.

Does anyone know about any resources that we could used to ID such remains? We collected them in Portugal, so european works would be great!

I very recently found an owl pellet & am working on identifying some rodent lower mandibles. This chart from a UK site was the most useful site I found for mammals. It’s probably good enough for higher-level identification (to family or sub-family) even in Portugal.

I’ve had a look through a few mammal identification guides and there’s a bit of a dearth of good illustrations of skulls and mandibles. The best I’ve found is in Die Saeugetiere Baden-Wuerttembergs, which oddly is one of the better accounts of British terrestrial mammals (not many seals, dolphins & whales in BW). It also has an excellent annotation of nomenclature of mammalian skulls, including standard ways to make various measurements (based on the diagram from a multi-volume treatment of European Mammals). The Collins Guide has smaller thumbnails of skulls in the plates, as do some of the other guides.

For Birds there is a very good guide to tracks and signs, which also includes a lot of advice on general principles.

So far I’ve not found much on iNaturalist itself.

For mammals there has long been a scientific literature on measuring various parts of the skull to investigate genetic diversity both across & within species. About 40 years ago I shared a laboratory with someone doing this on mice.

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