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Aztec Emperor Auitzotl and the Great-Tailed Grackle

Paul D. Haemig
Biotropica
Vol. 10, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 11-17
DOI: 10.2307/2388099
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388099
Page Count: 7
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Aztec Emperor Auitzotl and the Great-Tailed Grackle
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Abstract

Sometime between the years 1486 and 1502 A.D., the great-tailed grackle Quiscalus mexicanus, an exotic tropical bird from Veracruz, was introduced into the Valley of Mexico by Aztec Emperor Auitzotl. From there, this species spread to other areas of the Central Highlands, and is today one of the most common birds in that part of Mexico. The example of the great-tailed grackle, along with our knowledge of the extensive traffic of exotic birds that occurred during pre-Columbian times, leads us to suspect that the ancient Indians may have altered the ranges of other Latin American birds. The strange disjunctions and extraordinary distributions that we see today, and which have baffled ecologists for so long, are possibly the result of disturbance to the natural fauna long ago by Indians.

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