|Scientific Name:||Pseudobulweria becki|
|Species Authority:||(Murphy, 1928)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Critically Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Collins, C., Pym, T., Shirihai, H. & Wilson, A.|
This species has recently been rediscovered, with confirmed records of at least 30 and 160 birds from expeditions in 2007 and 2008. It may have declined severely from depredation by introduced cats and rats on its breeding grounds (which are unknown but thought likely to be include New Ireland). However, the paucity of records is most likely because there have been relatively few searches at sea, plus petrels that are nocturnal at the nesting grounds are notoriously difficult to detect, and there are numerous possible breeding sites on isolated atolls and islands that require surveying. A very small number of mature individuals are currently known, all within a single subpopulation which is suspected to have declined, and it is consequently classified as Critically Endangered. It may however qualify for downlisting in the future if further surveys reveal it to be more numerous than is currently known.
|Range Description:||Until recently Pseudobulweria becki was only known from two specimens: a female taken at sea east of New Ireland and north of Buka, Papua New Guinea, on 6 January 1928, and a male taken north-east of Rendova, Solomon Islands, on 18 May 1929 (Murphy and Pennoyer 1952). Three birds probably of this species were seen off New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago in 2003 (H. Shirihai in litt. 2007, Shirihai 2008) and in July and August 2007 an expedition recorded the species on seven days and at at least four localities off New Ireland, with at least 30 recorded in a day and a maximum of 16 together, finally confirming the species's rediscovery (Shirihai 2008). Cape St George, at the southern end of the island, appeared the most favoured locality, where birds outnumbered Tahiti Petrel P. rostrata, recently fledged juveniles and moulting adults were seen close to land, and a freshly dead fledgling was found (Shirihai 2008). In 2008 at least 11 were seen off Western Bougainville and Eastern New Ireland in April (C. Collins in litt. 2008), and an expedition in July-August reported a minimum of 160 birds between New Britain and New Ireland (Shirihai 2008a). It seems likely that the species breeds in the montane forests of southern New Ireland such as those around Mt Gilaut and the Hans Meyer range (Shirihai 2008). Two were seen near Efate in the Vanuatu archipelago in February 2010 (P. Harrison in litt. 2010), while a possible record was seen and photographed from a boat crossing the Coral Sea east of Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2006 (A Wilson in litt. 2006), and due to the difficulty of reliable identification in the field a number of records of P. rostrata from the Solomons and Bismarck Archipelago (Coates and Swainson 1978, Coates 1985, Palliser 1987), may also refer to P. becki. The extent of its breeding range and at-sea distribution is still unknown.|
Native:Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands
Present - origin uncertain:American Samoa (American Samoa); Australia; Fiji; Micronesia, Federated States of; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Norfolk Island; Samoa; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The population is assumed to be very small, with the species only definitely known from two specimens taken in 1928 and 1929 until its rediscovery in 2007. However, estimates of at least 160 birds off New Ireland in 2008 suggest it may be more numerous than previously suspected. It is placed in the band 50-249 mature individuals here, equivalent to 75-374 individuals in total, rounded here to 70-400 individuals.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Like P. rostrata elsewhere in the Pacific, it probably nests on small islets and/or high mountains on larger islands. The recent records at sea off New Ireland suggest it may well breed in montane forest at the southern end of this island, around Mt Gilaut and the peaks further east and north, including the Hans Meyer range (Shirihai 2008). Although close to the type-locality, the Nuguria Islands seem unsuitable for burrow-nesting petrels (Shirihai 2008), while the 2007 expedition found few birds north of New Ireland and local people did not know of the species in the main island in the Feni group, the only island in this group with substantial montane forest (Shirihai 2008). Off New Ireland it rarely followed boats for long periods but appeared more tolerant of them than P. rostrata, approaching boats more closely and for longer periods (Shirihai 2008), although this should not be assumed to be a general characteristic or means of identifying the two species.|
|Major Threat(s):||This species is potentially threatened by predation from introduced cats and rats on its unknown breeding grounds.|
Conservation Actions Underway
A molecular study of P. becki and P. rostrata is underway (T. Pym in litt. 2008). Conservation Actions Proposed
Scrutinise and photograph all P. rostrata types seen within the region. Survey far-flung atolls and reefs north of New Ireland and the Solomons. Survey high-altitude forest on Bougainville.
Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.
Coates, B. J.; Swainson, G. W. 1978. Notes on the birds of Wuvulu island. Papua New Guinea Bird Society Newsletter 145: 8-10.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 June 2012).
Murphy, R. C.; Pennoyer, J. M. 1952. Larger petrels of the genus Pterodroma. American Museum Novitates 1580.
Palliser, T. 1987. Papua New Guinea.
Richards, A.; Rowland, R. 1995. List of birds recorded in Papua New Guinea during the period 16 October to 29 November 1992. Muruk 7(2): 75-95.
Shirihai, H. 2008. Tubenoses at the Bismarck Archipelago: Surveying at sea populations of the Beck’s Petrel; in search of the Fiji-like Petrel - Expedition # 3.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Pseudobulweria becki. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 May 2013.|
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