Pterodroma caribbaea


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pterodroma caribbaea
Species Authority: Carte, 1866
Common Name(s):
English Jamaican Petrel
Taxonomic Notes: Pterodroma hasitata (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into P. hasitata and P. caribbaea following Brooke (2004).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Shirihai, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Lascelles, B., Symes, A. & Wege, D.
This species was last collected in 1879, after a drastic decline in numbers through the 19th century, presumed to have resulted from the effects of introduced rats and mongooses. It was searched for without success during 1996-2000, but it cannot yet be presumed to be Extinct because nocturnal petrels are notoriously difficult to record, and it may conceivably occur on Dominica and Guadeloupe. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).

2012 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pterodroma caribbaea was a plentiful seabird up to the middle of the 19th century, but has suffered a drastic decline in numbers. The last confirmed record is of 22 birds collected in 1879. The only proven nesting was in the Blue and John Crow Mountains of eastern Jamaica, where it may conceivably survive. It may also have nested on Dominica and Guadeloupe (Douglas 2000). Several searches since the mid 1990s have so far failed to locate any birds.

Possibly extinct:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Martin (French part); Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), with the last confirmed records dating from 1879.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It nests in cliff burrows and holes under trees, above 1,000 m (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000). The courtship, mating and pre-laying period is October-December (when birds are most vocal), and young fledge by May (Douglas 2000). It visits nesting burrows nocturnally (Douglas 2000). Feeding is expected to be crepuscular and nocturnal in oceanic waters, matching the habits of the closely related Black-capped Petrel P. hasitata (Douglas 2000).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The presumed cause of this species's demise was predation by introduced rats (which took eggs) and mongooses (capable of taking incubating adults). Introduced pigs may also have been an important factor (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000). It was hunted for food until the middle of the 19th century (Douglas 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The Jamaica Petrel Research Group initiated searches for the species in 1996, and this effort continued until at least 2000 (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000), but these failed to find any birds (Tobias et al. 2006), while an at-sea search in November-December 2009 failed to locate the species (H. Shirihai in litt. 2009). A further search including at-sea chumming and an expedition into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica is planned (H. Shirihai in litt. 2009), but dependent on the necessary funding.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Search systematically above 1,000 m in the John Crow Mountains on Jamaica, coordinating searches at the beginning of the breeding season when the birds are most vocal (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000, Douglas 2000). Search on Dominica and Guadeloupe (Douglas 2000). Continue searches at sea. Photograph any dark Pterodroma petrels encountered in the Caribbean (Tobias et al. 2006).

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Pterodroma caribbaea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 September 2015.
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