Oct 22, 2008

Fiji Petrel

Dr Dick Watling MareqetiViti (NatureFiji)
Critically Endangered Fiji Petrel was previously known from just one specimen collected in 1855 on Gau Island, Fiji.
Zoom I

Search continues for Fiji Petrel…


An expedition in search of Fiji’s only endemic seabird - Critically Endangered Fiji Petrel Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi – had to be aborted. Conservation action now continues to focus upon working alongside local communities to locate and protect their elusive breeding grounds.

The rare petrel was previously known from just one specimen collected in 1855 on Gau Island, Fiji. However, there have been more sightings in recent years from the small island, and a bird was captured and released there in 1984 by Dr Dick Watling of MareqetiViti (NatureFiji).

The recent voyage aimed to provide the first confirmed reports of Fiji Petrel at sea. The scientists were also keen to test the possibility of catching and fitting adults with radio transmittors. However, the trip had to be abandoned after three days due to mechanical problems with the survey vessel.

Hadoram Shirihai – an ornithologist on the expedition - commented: “It was most frustrating for us to leave prematurely without confirmed sightings of this elusive bird”. However, the crew did manage to view some impressive seabirds. Sightings included the first confirmed White-throated Storm-petrel Nesofregetta fuliginosa (Vulnerable) in the Fiji and Samoa biogeographical region for 132 years. Also observed were the first and second confirmed Fijian sightings respectively of White-bellied Storm-petrel Fregetta grallaria and Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta. “It is evident from our records the real possibilities for groundbreaking research in this marine area”, noted Mr Shirihai.

Read full report here: Fiji Petrel