Monday, September 14, 2009

Another ‘Lost Bird’ found

Fiji Petrel Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi was known from just one specimen collected in 1855 on Gau Island, Fiji, and was lost for the next 130 years. Since 1984 there have been a handful of reports of “grounded” birds that had crashed onto village roofs on Gau. Until now there had been no confirmed sightings of this mysterious seabird at sea.

An expedition to find the Critically Endangered Fiji Petrel at sea, was conducted by a team of researchers recently. The expedition was partially financed by a grant from the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme and its official sponsor, the British Birdwatching Fair. The expedition has been successful, returning with stunning images and new information on one of the world’s least-known seabirds.

The search for the elusive petrel is described in a paper in the latest Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. Up to eight individuals were seen over eleven days in an area around 25 nautical miles south of Gau. The species’ flight, behaviour and detailed comparison to other species are also described for the first time.
Read the story here

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