Our Beautiful World

Gadfly Petrels, Pterodroma

Zino’s Petrel, Pterodroma madeira

The gadfly petrels are seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes. These medium to large petrels feed on food items picked from the ocean surface.

The short, sturdy bills of the Pterodroma species in this group, about 35 altogether, are adapted for soft prey taken at the surface; they have twisted intestines for digesting marine animals which have unusual biochemistries.

Their complex wing and face marking are probably for interspecific recognition.

These birds nest in colonies on islands and are pelagic when not breeding. One white egg is laid usually in a
burrow or on open ground. They are nocturnal at the breeding colonies.

Engelsk Norsk Latinsk
Phoenix Petrel Phoenixpetrell Pterodroma alba
Herald Petrel Trindadepetrell Pterodroma arminjoniana
Mascarene Petrel Reunionpetrell Pterodroma aterrima
Henderson Petrel Hendersonpetrell Pterodroma atrata
Chatham Petrel Chathampetrell Pterodroma axillaris
Barau's Petrel Rodriguespetrell Pterodroma baraui
Bermuda Petrel Bermudapetrell Pterodroma cahow
White-necked Petrel Macauleypetrell Pterodroma cervicalis
Cook's Petrel Flaggermuspetrell Pterodroma cookii
Defilippe's Petrel Masatierrapetrell Pterodroma defilippiana
Juan Fernandez Petrel Juanfernandezpetrell Pterodroma externa
Cape Verde (Fea's) Petrel Kappverdepetrell Pterodroma feae
Black-capped Petrel Vestindiapetrell Pterodroma hasitata
Bonin Petrel Boninpetrell Pterodroma hypoleuca
Atlantic Petrel Hvitbukpetrell Pterodroma incerta
Mottled Petrel Gråbukpetrell Pterodroma inexpectata
White-headed Petrel Hvithodepetrell Pterodroma lessonii
Gould's Petrel Sotkragepetrell Pterodroma leucoptera
Stejneger's Petrel Sotnakkepetrell Pterodroma longirostris
Fiji Petrel Fijipetrell Pterodroma macgillivrayi
Great-winged Petrel Storvingepetrell Pterodroma macroptera
Madeira (Zino's) Petrel Madeirapetrell Pterodroma madeira
Magenta Petrel Magentapetrell Pterodroma magentae
Soft-plumaged Petrel Silkepetrell Pterodroma mollis
Kermadec Petrel Kermadecpetrell Pterodroma neglecta
Black-winged Petrel Gråkragepetrell Pterodroma nigripennis
Vanuatu Petrel Vanuatupetrell Pterodroma occulta
Galapagos Petrel Galapagospetrell Pterodroma phaeopygia
Pycroft's Petrel Maoripetrell Pterodroma pycrofti
Tahiti Petrel Brunhodepetrell Pterodroma rostrata
Hawaiian Petrel Hawaiipetrell Pterodroma sandwichensis
Providence Petrel Lordhowepetrell Pterodroma solandri
Murphy's Petrel Tuamotupetrell Pterodroma ultima

Zino’s Petrel, Pterodroma madeira

Zino’s Petrel, Pterodroma madeira
Photo: © F. Viveiros

Emergency conservation work pays off: Zino’s Petrel bounces back!
Europe, News Posts, Birdlife.org. Top Posts, Wed, Feb 15, 2012

Zino’s Petrel, Pterodroma madeira, was Europe’s rarest seabird even before a ravaging wild fire hit the
heart of Madeira’s central massif, where this globally endangered bird breeds.

The fire, in August 2010, had dire consequences: 25 young and 3 adults were found burnt to death, and of
the 13 young birds found alive, only one survived to fledge that year – the others were predated in their now
obvious nests on the barren mountain ledges.

Suddenly, the species’ population – which had been increasing steadily in recent years, thanks to efforts by
the Natural Park of Madeira (PNM) – was jeopardized.

The situation was grave indeed – the fire not only led to a near-complete breeding failure in 2010, but also exacerbated soil erosion, causing several nesting burrows to collapse.

As soon as the smouldering cinders permitted it, PNM developed an action plan to mitigate the consequences
of this natural disaster. A team of conservation wardens was deployed to place anti-erosion coconut mesh on
the breeding ledges to protect the soil in some of the most critical places.

Then, with financial and logistical support from SPEA/BirdLife in Portugal, the RSPB/BirdLife in the UK and BirdLife International, about 100 natural nests were restored, while 60 new artificial nests were built.
A protective cordon was also built around the known breeding areas, with cat traps and bait boxes.

When the surviving adult birds returned from wintering at sea in April 2011, to prospect for breeding, conservationists were expectant. As the summer progressed, the news from Madeira got better – proof once
again that adequate investment in conservation pays off. Monitoring of the breeding colony indicated that
45 nests were occupied – with eggs laid in 43 of them.

Although breeding success was lower than before the fire, with only 19 nestlings hatching, the species’ prospects looked more positive again. Moreover, fledgling success was good, with 16 out of the 19 young birds eventually flying out to sea in October.

PNM and SPEA are now more hopeful for the future – and will keep fighting the battle to save Europe’s rarest seabird species.

This work was funded by the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, Mark Constantine and many generous donations to BirdLife’s online and World Bird Club appeal. Zino’s Petrel has also benefitted from Save Our Species (SOS), a joint initiative of the Global Environment Facility, IUCN and the World Bank, which aims to ensure the long-term survival and well-being of threatened species and critical habitats for biodiversity conservation. These achievements would not have been possible without the funds provided by members and supporters of SPEA, the RSPB and BirdLife International.
downloaded February 15, 2012.


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