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Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
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This species qualifies as Endangered because it has an extremely small population breeding on six cliff ledges in the central mountain massif of Madeira. A fire at the breeding colony in 2010 decimated fledgling numbers, although the long-term effects on the population size and trend are as yet unknown. Should new studies reveal the population to be decreasing, the species's status would warrant revising.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Brooke, M. de L. 2004. Albatrosses and Petrels Across the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

33 cm. Medium-sized, grey and white gadfly petrel. Grey upperparts with dark cap and dark "M" across wings. White underparts except for indistinct pale grey half-collar across upper breast. Predominantly dark grey-brown underwing. Similar spp. Fea's Petrel P. feae is virtually identical, but slightly larger with longer, thicker bill and longer wings. Voice Wails and moans at colony. Silent at sea.

Distribution and population
Pterodroma madeira has an estimated breeding population of 65-80 pairs (Menezes et al. 2005), in the central mountain massif of Madeira, Portugal, though subfossil remains elsewhere in Madeira and on the neighbouring island of Porto Santo (Zino et al. 2001) suggest that it was formerly more widespread. Currently, birds are only known to breed on six inaccessible ledges - with 53 of the 63 nests surveyed during the 2006 breeding season found to be active - although ongoing surveys may yet reveal more breeding sites (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). A massive forest fire in August 2010 at the species's breeding colony killed several breeding adults and 65% of the year’s chicks. 25 young and 3 adults were found dead at the colony, and only 13 young fledglings were found alive in their underground chambers (P. Oliveira in litt. 2010). As well as the dead birds, the fire exacerbated soil erosion, with several nesting burrows having disappeared. Subsequently, as a result of the ground being barren, making food for predators scarce and the petrel chicks more vulnerable, of the 13 birds originally found alive, only one survived to fledging (BirdLife International 2012). In 2011, 45 nests were found to be occupied with eggs laid in 43 of them. A total of 19 nestlings hatched and 16 chicks fledged (BirdLife International 2012), however, the impact of the fires on the breeding population size is not yet known as the effects of the fire will likely be felt in subsequent years. Little is known about the species's range outside the breeding season.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 130-160 individuals, roughly equating to 90-110 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Prior to the 2010 fires, the breeding population was stable or increasing slightly (Barov and Derhé 2011); with recent increases in population estimates likely the result of increased survey effort (I. Ramírez in litt. 2005). It is too early to determine the effects of the 2010 fires on the long-term trend of the species. However, should new studies reveal the population to be decreasing, the species's status would need to be reassessed.

It breeds in burrows on well-vegetated ledges at c.1,600 m. Birds return to their breeding grounds in late March or early April. A single egg is laid mid-May to early June, and young fledge in late September or early October. Breeding success has apparently improved since the 1980s, with a total of 29 chicks fledged in 2004 (Menezes 2004). Its diet probably consists of small squid and fish.

Following the removal of all livestock from the breeding areas, the ecosystem had been recovering well prior to the 2010 fire, although breeding only occurs on ledges that were never accessible to grazing animals (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). The fire in 2010 (see Zino and Biscoito 2011) highlights the vulnerability of the species to such events, since it breeds on only six ledges at one location. As well as having a catastrophic impact on the survival of the year's fledglings and some adults, fires also increase soil erosion and make the habitat more barren, making the chicks more vulnerable to predation (P. Oliveira in litt. 2010). Currently, the main threats are predation of eggs and chicks by introduced black rats Rattus rattus and of nesting adults by feral cats Felis catus. The increasing number of visitors at night may also cause disturbance to breeding birds, although this is being carefully monitored by the relevant authorities (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). The sole remaining breeding site is threatened by the construction of a NATO radar station on the summit of Mt Areeiro which began in November 2009. Although an Environmental Impact Assessment has been conducted to minimise the threat to the species, is it still feared that the construction and presence of the station will have a negative impact (Barov and Derhé 2011). The species is also potentially threatened by climate change because it has a geographically bounded distribution: its altitudinal distribution falls entirely within 1,000 m of the highest mountain top within its range (1,861 m) (BirdLife International unpublished data). Shepherds formerly collected juveniles for food, and egg-collectors have raided nest-burrows in the past.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is protected under Portuguese law. The breeding sites have been designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU's Wild Birds Directive and lie within the Parque Natural da Madeira. A European action plan was published in 1996 and its implementation reviewed in 2010 (Barov and Derhé 2011). Successful predator control and research has been carried out since 1986 by the Freira Conservation Project and the Parque Natural da Madeira, which has led to increases in the productivity of this species (Zino et al. 2001, Carlile et al. 2003). This programme was expanded in 2001 with additional funding provided by a multidisciplinary European Union LIFE project, which also enabled the purchase of c.300 ha of land around the main breeding site (Menezes and Oliveira 2003, Unwin 2004). A project on the identification of marine IBAs in Portugal may allow the species to be studied at sea (I. Ramirez in litt. 2005). Over 2007-2010, dataloggers were attached to 14 breeding birds to determine the distribution of the birds at sea and seasonal changes in distribution from the breeding to non-breeding season (Zino et al. 2011). The Parque Natural da Madeira and SPEA have been monitoring the colony intensively since the 2010 fire and have developed an action plan for the breeding colony which includes immediate emergency measures to mitigate the consequences of the fire along with more long-term activities. As part of the emergency measures following the fires, anti-erosion coconut mesh was installed on the breeding ledges to protect the soil in some of the most critical places and c.100 natural nests were restored, while 60 new artificial nests were built. A protective cordon was also built around the known breeding areas, with cat traps and bait boxes (BirdLife International 2012, D. Menezes in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Investigate novel methods of cat predator control and continue control of rats. Exclude grazing stock from potential breeding areas. Continue research to determine the species's population status and distribution, such as searching for new breeding ledges. Monitor the known breeding population. Establish a management plan for the Parque Natural da Madeira. Control human access and disturbance to breeding sites. Assess the potential impact of the proposed radar station. Assess the impact of the 2010 fires on the species population size and trends.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Barov, B and Derhé, M. A. 2011. Madeira Laurel Pigeon Columba trocaz species action plan implementation review. In: Barov, B and Derhé, M. A. (eds), Review of The Implementation Of Species Action Plans for Threatened Birds in the European Union 2004-2010. Final report. BirdLife International For the European Commission.

Barov, B and Derhé, M. A. 2011. Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira species action plan implementation review. In: Barov, B and Derhé, M. A. (eds), Review of The Implementation of Species Action Plans for Threatened Birds in the European Union 2004-2010. Final report. BirdLife International For the European Commission.

BirdLife International. 2012. Emergency conservation work pays off: Zino’s Petrel bounces back! Available at: (Accessed: 10 May 2012).

Carlile, N.; Priddel, D.; Zino, F.; Natavidad, C.; Wingate, D. B. 2003. A review of four successful recovery programmes for threatened sub-tropical petrels. Marine Ornithology 31: 185-192.

Menezes, D. 2004. Relatório sobre a época reprodutora de 2004 da Freira da Madeira Pterodroma madeira.

Menezes, D., Oliveira,P., Ramírez, I. 2010. Pterodromas do arquipélago da Madeira. Duas espécies em recuperação. Serviço do Parque Natural da Madeira, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.

Menezes, D.; Oliveira, P. 2003. Conservação da Freira da Madeira, Pterodroma madeira, através da recuperação do seu habitat. In: Rodriguez, J. (ed.), Control de vertebrados invasores en Islas de Espana e Portugal, pp. 35-42. Consejeria del Médio Ambiente y Ordenación Territorial del Gobierno de Canárias.

Menezes, D.; Zino, F.; Oliveira, P.; Buckle, A. 2005. Conservation of Madeira’s Petrel Pterodroma madeira through restoration of its habitat.

Unwin, B. 2004. Zino's Petrel boost. Birding World 17: 396.

Zino, F. J. and Biscoito, M. 2011. Fires destroy breeding habitat of Zino's petrel. Oryx 45(1): 14.

Zino, F.; Heredia, B.; Biscoito, M. J. 1996. Action plan for Zino's Petrel (Pterodroma madeira). In: Heredia, B.; Rose, L.; Painter, M. (ed.), Globally threatened birds in Europe: action plans, pp. 33-39. Council of Europe and BirdLife International, Strasbourg, France.

Zino, F.; Oliveira, P.; King, S.; Buckle, A.; Biscoito, M.; Neves, H. C.; Vasconcelos, A. 2001. Conservation of Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira in the archipelago of Madeira. Oryx 35: 128-136.

Zino, F.; Phillips, R.; Biscoito, M. 2011. Zino's Petrel movements at sea - a preliminary analysis of datalogger results. Birding World 24(5): 216-219.

Further web sources of information
Action Plan

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Capper, D., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Peet, N., Pople, R.

Menezes, D., Oliveira, P., Ramírez, I., Ratcliffe, N.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pterodroma madeira. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Zino's petrel (Pterodroma madeira) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author Mathews, 1934
Population size 90-110 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 155,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment