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Hornby’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma hornbyi is endemic to the Humboldt Current Region. Historically, little has been known about the location of the species’ breeding sites or the size of its population. For these reasons, this species has been classified as ‘Data Deficient’ by IUCN, and it is difficult to know whether the species is threatened, and if so, what conservation actions may be necessary. As part of the project ‘Golondrinas del Desierto’ a search for the colonies of this species began in November 2013. It was known that the species breeds in the Atacama Desert, because some mummified individuals had been found there, and fledglings attracted by lights whilst on their way to the sea were found in nearby coastal cities. In this paper, we describe the first breeding site discovered for this species. This breeding location is 75 km from the shoreline, at 1100 meters above sea level, in the centre of the Atacama Desert, also known as the ‘absolute desert’. However, there is strong anthropogenic pressure on this desert due to the development of mines and solar energy projects. To protect these birds, it is important to estimate the breeding population size of the colony, search for new colonies and assess the threats to each of them, and to evaluate how many fledglings are drawn off course by lights into cities and industrial sites and how many die there.
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Hornby's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma hornbyi is an ende -
mic species of the Humboldt Current Region, regularly
observed at distances between 30 and 500 km off the
southern coasts of Ecuador, Peru and northern Chile
(Murphy 1936, Spear & Ainley 2007). During the
southern spring, the species is concentrated off the
southern coast of Ecuador and northern Peru, and in
the autumn off the southern coast of Peru and northern
Chile (Spear & Ainley 2007).
The population has been estimated at between
1000 and 90,000 individuals (Brooke 2004, Birdlife
International 2016). However, Spear & Ainley (2007)
calculated the abundance of this species through tran-
sects on open sea, estimating populations of 637,200
individuals in the southern spring and 1,011,900 indi-
viduals in autumn. This uncertainty as to their popula-
tion size could be solved by locating their breeding
colonies and estimating their sizes (Carboneras &
Bonan 2017), although that estimation would not
include the non-breeding population. In any case,
locating the colonies is an important step to assess the
vulnerability of the species and to protect it if neces-
sary.
Hornby's Storm Petrel is one of the last species of
seabirds whose breeding sites remain unknown. This is
one of the main reasons why it has been classified as
‘Data Deficient’ on the IUCN Red List (Birdlife Inter -
national 2016). Therefore, finding and characterizing
Short notes
First breeding site record of Hornby’s Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma hornbyi in the Atacama Desert, Chile
Rodrigo Barros1,*, Fernando Medrano1,2,*, Rodrigo Silva1& Felipe de Groote1
Barros R., Medrano F., Silva R. & de Groote F. 2018. First breeding site record of
Hornby’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma hornbyi in the Atacama Desert, Chile.
Ardea 106: 203–207. doi:10.5253/arde.v106i2.a2
Hornby’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma hornbyi is endemic to the Humboldt
Current Region. Historically, little has been known about the location of the
species’ breeding sites or the size of its population. For these reasons, this
species has been classified as ‘Data Deficient’ by IUCN, and it is difficult to know
whether the species is threatened, and if so, what conservation actions may be
necessary. As part of the project ‘Golondrinas del Desierto’ a search for the
colonies of this species began in November 2013. It was known that the species
breeds in the Atacama Desert, because some mummified individuals had been
found there, and fledglings attracted by lights whilst on their way to the sea were
found in nearby coastal cities. In this paper, we describe the first breeding site
discovered for this species. This breeding location is 75 km from the shoreline,
at 1100 meters above sea level, in the centre of the Atacama Desert, also known
as the ‘absolute desert’. However, there is strong anthropogenic pressure on this
desert due to the development of mines and solar energy projects. To protect
these birds, it is important to estimate the breeding population size of the colony,
search for new colonies and assess the threats to each of them, and to evaluate
how many fledglings are drawn off course by lights into cities and industrial sites
and how many die there.
Key words: Hornby’s Storm Petrel, Ringed Storm Petrel, data deficient, seabird,
petrel
1Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC); 2Instituto de
Ecología y Biodiversidad. Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas. Facultad de
Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile;
*corresponding authors (fernandomedranomartinez@gmail.com,
barrilo@gmail.com)
ARDEA 106(2), 2018
their reproductive colonies is a priority to enable an
adequate assessment of their conservation status
(Drucker & Jaramillo 2013).
A dead adult and juvenile were found in a cavity in
1894 in Taltal, in the Antofagasta region (Philippi
1895); a mummified specimen was discovered in 1923
in a nitrate mine near the Santa Luisa Office, about 50
km from the coast at 1600 meters above sea level,
inland of Taltal (Stresemann 1924). Mummies were
also found in nitrate deposits in Pampa del Toco, in the
interior of Tocopilla, Antofagasta region, and in the Loa
river basin, on the border between the regions of
Tarapacá and Antofagasta (Wetzel 1925). These discov-
eries served as the basis for the early hypothesis that
the species breeds in the Atacama Desert (Hellmayr
1932, Murphy 1936, Goodall et al. 1951).
This idea has been reinforced by the discovery of
adults and fledglings attracted to lights in desert areas
of southern Peru: Huarmey, Lima, Lunahuana, Arequipa,
Moquegua, Ite and Tacna (Koepcke 1964, Drucker &
Jaramillo 2013, Murillo et al. 2013, eBird 2017,
Jhonson Vizcarra pers. obs.), and of northern Chile:
Arica, Iquique, Tocopilla, Michilla, Mejillones, Anto -
fagasta, Baquedano, Sierra Gorda and La Negra
(Brooke 2000, Brooke 2004, Gómez 2012, eBird 2017,
and pers. obs. by Ronny Peredo, Vinko Malinarich,
Verónica González, Bárbara Olmedo, and Silvia
Hernández). Also, there are some records at high alti-
tudes in Cordillera Blanca, department of Ancash, Peru:
one at 2225 m a.s.l. in Caraz, another at 3800 m a.s.l.
in the Jangas district (Drucker & Jaramillo 2013,
Murillo et al. 2013) and at 3150 m a.s.l. in Huaraz
(eBird 2017, checklist S13767880), which suggests
that there may also be breeding sites at high altitudes.
Brooke (2000, 2004) assumed that the nesting
period is between March and July, since most of the
204
Caraz
Jangas
Huaraz
Lunahuaná
Arequipa
Chile
Chile
Peru
Bolivia
Brazil
Ecuador
Guyana
Trinidad and Tobago
Venezuela
Colombia
Panama
Nicaragua
Paraguay
Argantina
Uruguay
500 km
locations with mumified birds
locations with fledglings
breeding colony found in this study
Moquegua
Tacna
Sierra Gorda
La Negra
Baquedano
Loa river
Oficina Santa Luisa
Inland of Taltal
Pampa del
Indio muerto
Pampa Toco
80°50'W 78°0'W 75°10'W 72°20'W 69°30'W 66°40'W
7°50'S10°40'S13°30'S16°20'S19°10'S22°0'S24°50'S27°40'S
Huarmey
Ite
Arica
Iquique
Tocopilla
Michilla
Mejillones
Antofagasta
Lima
N
Figure 1. Map of inland records of Hornby’s Storm Petrel in Chile and Peru, with the location of the first breeding site found in this
study.
Short notes
fledglings attracted by lights are found between June
and July. However, Spear & Ainley (2007) reported a
female with an enlarged follicle in late November,
suggesting that egg laying could start in December. The
latter is consistent with the analysis of wing moult in
adults, which suggests a reproductive season between
January and June (Howell 2012).
With the objective of taking the first step towards
increasing the knowledge of the breeding ecology of
this bird, needed to assess the conservation status of
the species, we organised field trips in the Atacama
Desert, searching for breeding locations of the Hornby’s
Storm Petrel.
Methods
Between 2013 and 2017, a team of volunteers from
Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile
(ROC) surveyed 780 linear km of the Atacama Desert
in northern Chile, mainly searching for breeding sites of
Markham’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma markhami
(Schmitt et al. 2016). This process allowed us to create
a clear search image that laid the foundations for the
discovery of the breeding location that we report here,
since both species breed in similar cavities (but
Hornby’s Storm Petrel breeds in gypsum cavities, while
Markham’s Storm Petrel breeds in salt-made cavities).
In December 2016, we surveyed the area of Pampa
de Indio Muerto (26.204°S, 69.919°W), 20 km north of
the city of Diego de Almagro in the Atacama Region,
where we found natural shallow cavities with petrel
odour and white and grey feathers inside. Although all
the cavities were natural, sometimes they showed signs
of active digging by petrels, who probably enhance the
cavities to make them suitable for breeding. When we
analysed the collected feathers (a wing feather and
some body feathers), they coincided in size, colour and
shape with a mummified specimen found earlier.
Between 1 and 3 April 2017, a team of four people
visited the Pampa de Indio Muerto again, surveying an
area of approximately 64 ha, 25 cavities were found
with the same odour, some with remains of feathers
inside, confirming the site as a breeding location of
petrels (Figure 1). During the two nights that the team
remained at the site, no vocalizations of petrels were
heard. To verify which species was breeding, 50 × 50
cm mist nets were installed in the mouth of some cavi-
ties for two nights (four nets the first night and 10 nets
the second night).
Results and Discussion
On the second night of mist netting at potential nests
(2 April 2017), an adult specimen of Hornby’s Storm
Petrel was captured leaving the burrow at 6:00 am,
which confirmed the first nest ever found for this
species (Figures 2A and 2B). The breeding location is
situated at 1100 m a.s.l. and 75 km in a straight line
from the coastline, located in what is known as the
absolute desert’ (Luebert & Pliscoff 2006). The area
consists of an extensive pampa formed by a hillock of
soil substrate, crossed by dry runoff streams (Figure
2C). The cavities were situated in low-slope hills since
the flat areas are occasionally washed by landslides.
The cavities were located in outcrops of gypsum, where
there are natural cavities of unknown depths. The
surveyed area is a minor part of a large area with relief
and homogeneous substrate, so the breeding area could
be much larger.
Following the discovery of this breeding location,
potential threats were identified, such as development
of mining and solar energy projects in the Atacama
Desert, which could directly affect areas with nests, and
incidental effects of artificial light on fledglings. These
threats could be present both in the vicinity of the
breeding location and on their flight routes to the sea.
This discovery will help orient future search efforts
which should focus on locating and characterizing new
breeding locations of Hornby’s Storm Petrel, as well as
increasing knowledge of the species’ natural history,
reproductive biology, population size and potential
threats. For locating new breeding sites, it would be
possible to use miniaturized radio telemetry, as was
used by Rayner et al. (2015) to search for New Zealand
Storm Petrels Fregetta maoriana (which are smaller
than Hornby’s Storm Petrels; an advantage in using
these devices). To attract the birds in order to catch
them on land, a combination of lights and call playback
could be used (Ismar et al. 2015), although this would
first require the recording of a Hornby’s Storm Petrel’s
call. Also, efforts to assess the colony size are needed,
since we surveyed only 25 nests in two days, but the
breeding site is probably more extensive. For this
purpose, transect counts can be used, as has been done
for Markham’s Storm Petrel (Rodrigo Barros, unpubl.
data). Another priority is assessing how many fledg-
lings are drawn off course by lights into cities and
industrial sites, and how many die there, to evaluate if
measures should be taken to prevent this. The re-evalu-
ation of the species’ conservation category based on
adequate information (both in Chile as elsewhere), the
effective protection of colonies and making an inven-
tory of potential threats are fundamental steps for the
conservation of the species, objectives that should be
our goal in the short term.
205
ARDEA 106(2), 2018
206
References
BirdLife International 2016. Hydrobates hornbyi. The IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22698567A93690126.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-
3.RLTS.T22698567A93690126.en (accessed 31 October
2017)
Brooke M. 2000. Report on a project supported by a BOU
research grant. Ibis 142: 348–349.
Brooke M. 2004. Albatrosses and petrels across the World.
Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, and New York, USA.
Carboneras C. & Bonan A. 2017. Northern Storm-petrels
(Hydrobatidae). In: del Hoyo J., Elliott A., Sargatal J.,
Christie D.A. & de Juana E. (eds) Handbook of the birds of
the world alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
www.hbw.com/node/52195
AB
C
Figure 2. (A) Hornby’s Storm Petrel captured using mist nets. (B) Cavity where the bird was caught. (C) Habitat where the breeding
colony of Hornby’s Storm Petrel is located (Pampa de Indio Muerto, Atacama Region, Chile, April 2017).
We are grateful to Jhonson Vizcarra, Ronny Peredo, Vinko
Malinarich (SAG Tarapacá), Verónica González, Bárbara
Olmedo and Silvia Hernández (Fundación para la Susten -
tabilidad del Gaviotín Chico) for their databases with data on
rescued Storm Petrels in their study areas and to Ivo Tejeda for
assistance in the field and for technical support. Also, to Derek
Carne and Sarah Gilman for their help with the English transla-
tion. We thank the American Bird Conservancy, especially
Hannah Nevins and Brad Keitt, who granted and supported the
Desert Storm Petrels project. Finally, we are very grateful to
Michael Brooke, Tamar Lok and Stephanie Ismar, who signifi-
cantly improved this manuscript with their comments. This rese-
arch was conducted according the Chilean law, which regulates
the scientific capture of birds, under the permission N°
3035/2017.
Short notes 207
Drucker J. & Jaramillo A. 2013. Ringed Storm-Petrel (Oceano -
droma hornbyi), version 1.0. In: Schulenberg T.S. (ed.)
Neotropical birds online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca,
NY, USA. doi.org/10.2173/nb.rispet1.01
eBird 2017. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and
abundance. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.
www.ebird.org
Gómez G. 2012. Relación entre la presencia de la golondrina de
mar de collar, Oceanodroma hornbyi (Procellariiformes;
Hydrobatidae), iluminación artificial y fase lunar, en el
norte de Chile, región de Antofagasta. Undergraduate
thesis, Universidad de Antofagasta, Antofagasta.
Goodall J.D., Johnson A.W. & Philippi R.A. 1951. Las aves de
Chile su conocimiento y sus costumbres. Tomo Segundo.
Platt Establecimientos Gráficos S.A., Buenos Aires.
Hellmayr C.E. 1932. The birds of Chile. Zoological Series,
Publication 308, Volume XIX, Field Museum of Natural
History, Chicago, IL.
Howell S.N.G. 2012. Petrels, albatrosses and storm-petrels of
North America. Princeton University Press, NJ.
Ismar S.M., Gaskin C.P., Fitzgerald N.B., Taylor G.A., Tennyson
A.J. & Rayner M.J. 2015. Evaluating on-land capture
methods for monitoring a recently rediscovered seabird, the
New Zealand Storm-petrel Fregetta maoriana. Marine Orni -
thology 43: 255–258.
Koepcke M. 1964. Las aves del departamento de Lima. Gráfica
Morsom, Lima, Perú.
Luebert, F. & Pliscoff P. 2006. Sinopsis bioclimática y vegeta-
cional de Chile. Editorial Universitaria, Santiago de Chile.
Murillo Y., Piana R.P. & Delgado-Alburqueque L. 2013. Rescate
de Golondrinas de la Tempestad de Collar (Oceanodroma
hornbyi) en la ciudad de Lima, Perú. Boletín UNOP 8:
55–64.
Murphy R.C. 1936. Oceanic birds of South America. Vol. 2.
MacMillan Company, New York, NY.
Rayner M.J., Gaskin C.P., Fitzgerald N.B., Baird K.A., Berg M.M.,
Boyle D., Joyce L., Landers T.J., Loh G.G., Maturin S.,
Perrimen L., Scofield R.P., Simm J., Southey I., Taylor G.A.,
Tennyson A.J., Robertson B.C., Young M., Walle R. & Ismar
S.M. 2015. Using miniaturized radiotelemetry to discover
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Storm Petrel Fregetta maoriana. Ibis 157: 754–766.
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Samenvatting
Het Gekraagd Stormvogeltje Oceanodroma hornbyi is een ende-
mische soort van het zeegebied van de Humboldtstroom langs
de westkust van Zuid-Amerika. Er is nagenoeg niets bekend
over de ligging van de broedplaatsen en de grootte van de popu-
latie, zoals ook blijkt uit de classificatie van de status van de
soort door IUCN (‘Data Deficient’). Het is onbekend of de soort
wordt bedreigd en als dat het geval is, welke beschermingsmaat-
regelen er nodig zouden zijn voor het behoud van de soort. Als
onderdeel van het project ‘Golondrinas del Desierto’ begon in
november 2013 in Chili een zoektocht naar kolonies van het
Gekraagd Stormvogeltje. Het was bekend dat deze in de
Atacama-woestijn broedt, omdat daar ooit gemummificeerde
vogels waren gevonden en er in nabijgelegen kustplaatsen
uitgevlogen jongen waren gevonden, die waren aangetrokken
door het kunstlicht toen ze op weg waren naar zee. In dit artikel
beschrijven we de ontdekking van de eerste broedplaats van de
soort. De broedlocatie ligt op 75 km van de kust, op 1100 meter
boven de zeespiegel, in het midden van de Atacama-woestijn
(de droogste plaats op Aarde). Er is echter een sterke antropo-
gene druk op deze woestijn als gevolg van mijnbouw- en zonne-
energieprojecten. Om de vogels te beschermen is het belangrijk
om de populatiegrootte van de kolonie te bepalen, nieuwe kolo-
nies trachten te vinden en de bedreigingen voor elk daarvan in
kaart te brengen. Ook moet onderzocht worden hoeveel jonge
vogels worden aangetrokken door kunstlicht van steden en
industrieterreinen en hoeveel vogels daardoor omkomen.
Corresponding editor: Tamar Lok
Received 22 January 2018; accepted 25 April 2018
... La golondrina de mar negra (Oceanodroma markhami) y la golondrina de mar de collar (Oceanodroma hornbyi) se encuentran entre las aves marinas menos conocidas en el mundo, por lo que su estado de conservación global es de "Datos Insuficientes" (Croxall et al. 2012, Birdlife International 2019a. Para ambas especies existe escasa información sobre sus sitios de reproducción y la mayoría de las colonias conocidas sólo fueron descubiertas recientemente (Jahncke 1994, Torres-Mura & Lemus 2013, Barros et al. 2018, 2019. En Chile, sus categorías de conservación sólo fueron evaluadas en 2018, clasificando a la golondrina de mar negra como "En Peligro" y a la golondrina de mar de collar como "Datos Insuficientes" (MMA 2018). ...
... Adicionalmente, Malinarich et al. (2018) encontraron un nido en el Salar del Carmen norte, región de Tarapacá, pero se requieren más antecedentes para evaluar si se trata de una colonia de reproducción o un nido aislado. Para la golondrina de mar de collar, solamente se ha descrito una colonia en el mundo, en la Pampa del Indio Muerto, región de Atacama, Chile (Fig. 1), pero no existe una estimación de su tamaño poblacional (Barros et al. 2018). Por otra parte, existía evidencia que apuntaba a la presencia de una colonia en las pampas adyacentes al norte (Malinarich et al. 2018) y al sur del cajón del río Loa (límite entre las regiones de Tarapacá y Antofagasta) (Biótica Consultores 2018). ...
... Debido a que el conocimiento sobre las colonias de ambas especies es reciente, y a que el acceso a éstas es difícil, la información sobre su historia natural es incompleta (e.g., Jahncke 1994, Cerpa et al. 2018, Malinarich et al. 2018, Barros et al. 2019) y la mayor parte de sus ecologías son aún desconocidas. Las amenazas sobre las colonias de golondrinas de mar incluyen intervenciones directas sobre el sustrato de nidificación y obstáculos en las rutas de vuelo hacia el mar, entre los que destaca el efecto de la contaminación lumínica (Barros et al. 2018(Barros et al. , 2019. Con el objetivo de aumentar el conocimiento de ambas especies y sus localidades reproductivas, en este trabajo (i) describimos nuevas localidades de reproducción para ambas especies, (ii) realizamos estimaciones poblacionales para algunas colonias, (iii) complementamos la información sobre la fenología de las especies, (iv) incorporamos nuevas observaciones de historia natural, y (v) actualizamos la información relativa a las amenazas a las colonias de golondrinas de mar en Chile. ...
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Full-text available
We present an overview of the global spatiotemporal distribution of avian biodiversity, changes in our knowledge of that biodiversity, and the extent to which it is imperilled. Birds are probably the most completely inventoried large taxonomic class of organisms, permitting a uniquely detailed understanding of how the Anthropocene has shaped their distributions and conservation status in space and time. We summarize the threats driving changes in bird species richness and abundance, highlighting the increasingly syner-gistic interactions between threats such as habitat loss, climate change, and overexploitation. Many metrics of avian biodiversity are exhibiting globally consistent negative trends, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List Index showing a steady deterioration in the conservation status of the global avifauna over the past three decades. We identify key measures to counter this loss of avian biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, which will necessitate increased consideration of the social context of bird conservation interventions in order to deliver positive transformative change for nature.
... Dado que en Chile se han encontrado nidos de O. hornbyi en grietas y costras en el desierto (Barros et al., 2018), de la misma manera que para O. markhami en Perú (Jahncke 1993(Jahncke , 1994García-Godos et al., 2012) y Chile (Barros et al., 2019;Torres-Mura & Lemus, 2013), estas zonas deben ser identificadas, monitoreadas y protegidas. La protección conferida a esas áreas debe incluir evitar los asentamientos humanos que provoquen contaminación lumínica que afecte a los juveniles cuando se independizan y salen rumbo al mar, provocando su caída en zonas costeras. ...
... Given that in Chile nests of O. hornbyi have been found in crevices and crusts in the desert (Barros et al., 2018), similarly as for O. markhami in Peru (Jahncke 1993(Jahncke , 1994García-Godos et al., 2012) and Chile (Barros et al., 2019;Torres-Mura & Lemus, 2013), these areas should be identified, monitored, and protected. Such areas should be protected by avoiding human settlements that cause light pollution affecting juveniles as they become independent and head out to sea, causing them to fall into coastal areas. ...
... En los últimos años, la Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile se ha enfocado en dilucidar los misterios del ciclo reproductivo y delimitar las amenazas que afectan, en tierras continentales áridas, a las golondrinas de mar de los géneros Oceanites y Oceanodroma (Medrano et al., 2019), para lo cual ha movilizado esfuerzos bajo los parámetros que ofrece la ciencia colaborativa y ciudadana. En particular, para el contexto de la Región de Atacama, la ecología, la historia natural y la problemática de conservación de la golondrina de mar de collar (Oceanodroma hornbyi), cuya única colonia conocida se encuentra en Diego de Almagro (Barros et al., 2018), es aún muy poco conocida por la opinión pública. ...
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En este artículo se presenta una experiencia de trabajo colaborativo en el área de las ciencias, asociada a la biodiversidad del desierto de Atacama, en particular la referida a las golondrinas de mar. Esta iniciativa fue realizada por tres docentes de diferentes asignaturas y establecimientos, durante el periodo de pandemia 2020-2021 en la ciudad de Copiapó, Chile. Se construyó una práctica reflexiva basada en cinco principios de desarrollo profesional en el área de ciencias, los cuales fueron remirados bajo la perspectiva de la autonomía docente y la pedagogía de la pregunta que propuso Paulo Freire. Se discuten las mejoras en el diseño de la enseñanza, la problematización, el desarrollo de lógicas dialógicas en el aula y el posicionamiento que cabe a el o la docente preocupado/a por la conservación de la biodiversidad, en un escenario global de profundización del extractivismo.
... Black-capped Petrels typically fly at sustained speeds of 15-49 km/h at sea (Jodice et al. 2015, Satgé et al. 2019 and above 50 km/h over land (Brown 2016) and may rapidly reach any location in Hispaniola. Other seabirds do nest far inland: recently, a nesting area of the Hornby's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma hornbyi has been discovered c.75 km from the coastline (Barros et al. 2018); Marbled murrelets Brachyramphus marmoratus may nest up to 90 km away from the coast (Hamer 1995); and inland colonies of Antarctic petrels Thalassoica antarctica can be located > 200 km from the nearest open water (van Franeker et al. 1999). However, radar surveys of the central mountain ranges on Hispaniola suggest that, although petrels may reach the areas, they do not breed there (Brown 2014). ...
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The Black-capped Petrel or Diablotin Pterodroma hasitata has a fragmented and declining population estimated at c.1,000 breeding pairs. On land, the species nests underground in steep ravines with dense understorey vegetation. The only confirmed breeding sites are located in the mountain ranges of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, where habitat loss and degradation are continuing threats. Other nesting populations may still remain undiscovered but, to locate them, laborious in situ nest searches must be conducted over expansive geographical areas. To focus nest-search efforts more efficiently, we analysed the environmental characteristics of Black-capped Petrel nesting habitat and modeled suitable habitat on Hispaniola using openly available environmental datasets. We used a univariate generalized linear model to compare the habitat characteristics of active Black-capped Petrel nests sites with those of potentially available sites (i.e. random pseudo-absences). Elevation, distance to coast, and the influence of tree cover and density emerged as important environmental variables. We then applied multivariate generalized linear models to these environmental variables that showed a significant relationship with petrel nesting activity. We used the top performing model of habitat suitability model to create maps of predicted suitability for Hispaniola. In addition to areas of known petrel activity, the model identified possible nesting areas for Black-capped Petrels in habitats not previously considered suitable. Based on model results, we estimated the total area of predicted suitable nesting habitat for Black-capped Petrels on Hispaniola and found that forest loss due to hurricanes, forest fires, and encroachment from agriculture had severely decreased availability of predicted suitable habitat between 2000 and 2018. Resumen
... From 2013-17, volunteers surveyed 780 linear km of the Atacama, mainly searching for breeding sites of Markham's Storm-Petrel O. markhami, a discovery that was written up in this magazine (Schmitt et al. 2016). In December 2016, in desert at Pampa de Indio Muerto, north of Diego del Amargo and 75km in a direct line from the sea, the team "found natural shallow cavities with petrel odour and white and grey feathers inside" (Barros et al. 2018). Returning in April 2017 and presumably following their nose, Barros's team found 25 cavities with the same smell and feathers -and on 2 April trapped an adult Ringed Storm-Petrel leaving a burrow at 06h00 . ...
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There is arguably no greater thrill for a birder, ornithologist, ecologist or conservationist than to discover something new. But what are the most jaw-dropping Neotropical discoveries since the Neotropical Bird Club was founded in 1994? Specifically, what are our ‘top 25’ (revelations) of the last 25 (years)?
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White-vented Storm-petrel (Oceanites gracilis) is one of the least known seabirds in the world and is listed as Data Deficient (DD) by IUCN. To date, only one breeding colony, with less than ten pairs, is known for Chungungo Islet in Chile. To understand the breeding habitat and the threats faced there, it is crucial to search for new colonies to conserve this species. We did field surveys of this species through the Atacama Desert searching for nests along c. 870 km of coastline from sea level to 1700 m.a.s.l. and we re-visited the breeding colony in the Chungungo Islet. For detection, we used endoscopic cameras and scent-trained dogs. We found two new breeding colonies in Pampa Hermosa and Pampa del Indio Muerto in the Atacama Desert, and additionally, we found two non-active breeding sites in Tocopilla and Sierra Miranda. Colonies were in different substrates, including crevices in saltpeter formations, gypsum, and rocks (only Chungungo Islet). The threats identified for each breeding sites include light pollution and habitat destruction by mining and energy projects. Further surveys are needed to estimate the population size and to assess the conservation status of this species.
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We provide a first assessment of various on-land capture methods for a procellarid seabird, the New Zealand Storm-Petrel Fregetta maoriana, which had been presumed extinct but for which a breeding site has just been discovered on Little Barrier Island. In the vicinity of an active breeding site, playback only, also involving a newly isolated call from in situ deployed sound-recording devices, could efficiently be employed for capture, while light attraction in combination with playback achieved comparable capture success further afield. We consider that these findings can be relevant for breeding ground searches and capture operations in other storm-petrel species, and more generally in seabirds that visit their breeding sites at night.
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Identifcation of breeding sites remains a critical step in species conservation, particularly in procellariiform seabirds whose threat status is of global concern. We designed and conducted an integrative radiotelemetry approach to uncover the breeding grounds of the critically endangered New Zealand Storm Petrel Fregetta maoriana (NZSP), a species considered extinct before its rediscovery in 2003. Solar-powered automated radio receivers and hand-held telemetry were used to detect the presence of birds on three island groups in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand. At least 11 NZSP captured and radiotagged at sea were detected at night near Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island with the detection of an incubating bird leading to the discovery of the first known breeding site for this species. In total, four NZSP breeding burrows were detected under mature forest canopy and three adult NZSP and two NZSP chicks ringed. Telemetry data indicated NZSP showed strong moonlight avoidance behaviour over the breeding site, had incubation shifts of approximately 5 days and a breeding season extending from February to June/July, a different season from other Procellariiformes in the region. Radiotelemetry, in combination with rigorously collected field data on species distribution, offers a valuable technique for locating breeding grounds of procellariiform seabirds and gaining insights into breeding biology while minimizing disturbance to sensitive species or damage to fragile habitat. Our study suggests an avenue for other breeding ground searches in one of the most threatened avian Orders, and highlights the general need for information on the location of breeding sites and understanding the breeding biology in data-deficient birds.
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Petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels are among the most beautiful yet least known of all the world's birds, living their lives at sea far from the sight of most people. Largely colored in shades of gray, black, and white, these enigmatic and fast-flying seabirds can be hard to differentiate, particularly from a moving boat. Useful worldwide, not just in North America, this photographic guide is based on unrivaled field experience and combines insightful text and hundreds of full-color images to help you identify these remarkable birds. The first book of its kind, this guide features an introduction that explains ocean habitats and the latest developments in taxonomy. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features such as flight manner, plumage variation related to age and molt, seasonal occurrence patterns, and migration routes. Species accounts are arranged into groups helpful for field identification, and an overview of unique identification challenges is provided for each group. The guide also includes distribution maps for regularly occurring species as well as a bibliography, glossary, and appendixes. The first state-of-the-art photographic guide to these enigmatic seabirds Includes hundreds of full-color photos throughout Features detailed species accounts that describe flight, plumage, distribution, and more Provides overviews of ocean habitats, taxonomy, and conservation Offers tips on how to observe and identify birds at sea.
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Residing in waters just west of the Americas, in a roughly triangular area from about 50°N to 50°S and out along the equator, are 26 distinct taxa of storm-petrels (Hydrobatidae), a diversity far greater for this group than in any equivalent stretch of the world ocean. We sought to understand how so many forms can co-occur within this very poorly known family. We describe the ranges, at-sea behavior, and marine habitat affinities of 22 (of the 26) distinct forms included within 5 (of 6) genera and 16 (of 20) species of storm-petrel, all of which occur in that portion of the Pacific Ocean that stretches from the California Current south through the Humboldt Current and out to 170°W along the equator. We base our analysis on data collected during 23 cruises conducted in the eastern Pacific during the period 19801995. We also provide, for the first time for most forms, information on the annual cycle, as well as abundance estimates based on at-sea censusing during both the breeding and nonbreeding periods. Such information is unknown for almost all populations of storm-petrels, unless their at-sea range has been thoroughly censused. We include the following storm-petrels in our analysis: Leachs (Oceanodroma leucorhoa; represented by a light-rumped form, O. l. leucorhoa, and several dark-rumped forms: O. l. socorroensis, O. l. cheimomnestes, and O. l. chapmani), Band-rumped (O. castro), Ashy (O. homochroa), Least (O. microsoma), Wedge-rumped (O. tethys; represented by two races: O. t. tethys and O. t. kelsalli), Black (O. melania), Markhams (O. markhami), Ringed (O. hornbyi), Wilsons (Oceanites oceanicus; represented by two races: O. o. oceanicus and O. o. chilensis), White-vented (Oceanites gracilis; represented by two races: O. g. gracilis and O. g. galapagoensis), White-bellied (Fregetta grallaria; represented by three races: F. g. grallaria, F. g. segethi, and F. g. titan), Black-bellied (F. tropica), White-throated (Nesofregetta fuliginosa), and Whitefaced (Pelagodroma marina; represented by two races: P. m. dulciae and P. m. maoriana). Information was gathered by strip censuses (400600 m wide), observations of storm-petrel behavior along cruise tracks, and collection of specimens. Within the entire study area, we made 9,308.1 h of observation and surveyed 111,029 km2 of ocean, including 61,131 km2 in boreal spring-austral autumn and 49,898 km2 in boreal autumn-austral spring. Surveys included 768.3 h within 1,000 km of the South American coast; >11,203.7 km2 of ocean was surveyed, 7,382.1 km2 in austral autumn and 3,821.6 km2 in austral spring. Surveys within 500 km of North America included 2,557.2 h over 12,473 km2 in boreal spring and 3,061.3 km2 in boreal autumn. We also collected specimens during numerous stops where oceanographic studies were being conducted by other researchers who were also aboard the ship. For the majority of taxa, our surveys covered the entire at-sea range of the taxon. We had complete coverage for the following storm-petrels: Ringed, White-vented, Markhams, O. t. segethi race of White-bellied, both races of Wedge-rumped, Galpagos race of Band-rumped (O. c. bangsi), races of dark-rumped Leachs (O. l. socorroensis, O. l. cheimomnestes, and O. l. chapmani), and Ashy. During boreal autumn, we also had nearly complete coverage for Black and Least storm-petrels, both of which vacate the Gulf of California after the breeding season. We also had nearly complete coverage of the Pacific range of the White-throated Storm-Petrel. Using generalized additive models, population estimation was quite satisfactory for these taxa. Our results indicate that most storm-petrel taxa in the study area have robust populations, this report presenting the first estimates ever for most of the taxa treated. On the other hand, meager populations are indicated for Ashy and White-throated storm-petrels, for two races of White-bellied Storm-petrel (F. g. grallaria and F. g. titan), and for Band-rumped Storm-Petrels in Hawaii. All appear to have populations of <10,000 birds, especially in the case of the newly rediscovered (present study) but apparently nearly extinct population of F. g. titan on Rapa Island. The eastern Pacific is oceanographically heterogeneous at the middle to large scale, and such heterogeneity with strong environmental gradients apparently contributes in a major way to the diversity of storm-petrels in the area. The occurrence patterns of all forms sorted along gradients, such as those for sea-surface temperature and salinity and thermocline depth and strength, all of which separate the major current systems and water masses in the region. Except for the three endemic storm-petrels of the Humboldt Current (White-vented, Ringed, and Markhams storm-petrels), species were further sorted at a smaller scale in accord with a habitat gradient from shelf to slope to pelagic waters. Gradients in ocean productivity correspond with, and are affected by, gradients in the above physical habitat features. Flight and foraging behavior also differentiated species ecologically. Finally, intense competition for nesting space is indicated for many taxa by clear evidence of "floating populations" (i.e., surpluses of breeding adults denied the chance to breed owing to lack of nesting space). In part, these surpluses are the result of intense competition for limited nesting space and are resolved by body size, with a size differential dictating what taxa can breed sympatrically (on the same island). At sea, especially in areas of high ocean productivity where habitats are more finely demarcated than elsewhere, storm-petrels sort by foraging habitat likely derived from trophic c ompetition that was far more intense during glacial periods. At that time, continental shelves were much narrower and, therefore, depth-defined foraging zones were more closely packed than at present or throughout the Holocene. Where species co-occur at sea, the two factors that explain co-occurrence among most storm-petrel species are foraging habitat and body size, with competition for food being resolved by the latter, which affects prey size, as well as by foraging behavior. Overall, the high degree of speciation among storm-petrels of the eastern Pacific is likely a product of relatively sparse nesting islands sprinkled among a confluence of distinct water types separated by intense environmental and productivity gradients.
Report on a project supported by a BOU research grant
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Relación entre la presencia de la golondrina de mar de collar
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