Friday, 15 June 2012

Largest congregation of Critically Endangered Beck’s petrel ever recorded

Beck's petrel spotted off Papua New Guinea
June 2012. A BirdLife International survey in southern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, has encountered the largest single aggregation of Critically Endangered Beck's petrelPseudobulweria becki, ever recorded. Upwards of 100 birds were estimated to be present at one location, with a single count recording 58 birds. For a seabird species lost to science for 79 years until its rediscovery in 2007 these vital new data offer a glimmer of hope.
"There was huge excitement from everyone involved as the first bird banked past our small boat. That turned into amazement as we counted more and more across the horizon", said Jez Bird - the project leader from BirdLife International. "These findings give us momentum, and some important clues to take the conservation of Beck's Petrel forward."
Lost for 70 years
Until recently, Beck's Petrel was only known from two specimens: a female taken at sea east of New Ireland,Papua New Guinea in 1928, and a male taken in the Solomon Islands in 1929. Its rediscovery in July and August 2007, was made when an expedition encountered the species on seven days and at at-least four localities off New Ireland. Beck's Petrel is listed as Critically Endangered by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List because it is thought to have a global population of fewer than 250 mature individuals that is believed to be declining. The petrel was rediscovered by Hadoram Shirihai, who is the author of The Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife.

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