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Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to have a moderately small range and almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criteria B2ab(iii,v) and D2. If this was found to be in decline or smaller than suspected, the species may qualify for uplisting to a higher threat category.

Taxonomic source(s)
Brooke, M. de L. 2004. Albatrosses and Petrels Across the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. 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.

Distribution and population
Bulweria fallax is a poorly known species of the north-west Indian Ocean, occurring widely offshore in the Arabian Sea and Gulfs of Aden and Oman, where it is often the commonest pelagic seabird (Porter et al. 1996), although there are no numerical estimates of total population size or trend. . It occurs commonly east of 58°E in the Arabian Sea as far as the Maldive Ridge, regularly east to southern India and Sri Lanka, and incidentally further east (Van den Berg et al. 1991). During the summer monsoon (May-September) it congregates off the Socotra archipelago (Yemen), where a breeding colony of at least c.50 pairs was recently discovered (Taleb 2002) and where c.3,000 pairs are now estimated to nest locally on mainland cliffs (Al Saghier et al. unpublished), and also off the Halaaniyaat islands (southern Oman), where it may nest (or on the Arabian mainland adjacent) (Gallagher 1985). Similar sea-cliffs within its range on the coast of Somalia deserve investigation for breeding colonies (PERSGA/GEF 2003).

Population justification
This is not a particularly rare bird at sea, and the total population runs into thousands, if not tens of thousands. Based on this judgement, the population is placed in the range 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Observations suggest that the population may be increasing.

It frequents open sea all-year-round, only approaching land during the breeding season, at dusk and after dark (Taleb 2002, PERSGA/GEF 2003). Its foraging areas are poorly known, but presumably related to highly productive areas of oceanic upwelling (PERSGA/GEF 2003). It flies low, taking food from the surface of sea, probably mainly plankton e.g. fish eggs, ctenophores and polychaete worms (PERSGA/GEF 2003).

Seabirds, including B. fallax, were formerly exploited for food and medicinal use (at a subsistence level [Al-Saghier et al. 2000]) on the Halaaniyaat islands (Gallagher 1985) and Socotra (Al-Saghier et al. 2000, Porter et al. in prep.), but this practice apparently no longer occurs due to the availability of cheap poultry and the danger of climbing the cliffs (Taleb 2002). Non-native predators (e.g. rats and cats) are probably a limiting factor (Al-Saghier et al. 2000), although their impact on the Socotran subpopulation may have stabilised long ago, given that Socotra has been inhabited for at least 2,000 years and these mammals are likely to have been present since antiquity. Marine oil-spills are no longer considered likely to be a serious threat (I. C. T. Nisbet in litt. 2010).

Conservation Actions Underway
No actions are currently known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Devise methods for the estimation of the population size. Design and implement regular surveys for population monitoring. Search for other breeding colonies on the coast of Somalia, as and when this is feasible. Enforce measures to prevent and mitigate oil spills. Investigate the impact of introduced predators.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Al-Saghier, O.; Alsuhaibany, A.; Symens, P. 2000. The status of breeding seabirds. Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity of Socotra Archipelago: Marine habitat, biodiversity and fisheries surveys and management; report of Phase II, pp. 97-104. Semnkerbergy Research Institute, Frankfurt.

Gallagher, M. 1985. Seabirds of the Kuria Muria Islands, Arabian Sea. Sea Swallow 34: 5-18.

Hirschfeld, E. 1992. Birding in the Gulf: Bahrain. Birding World: 275.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

PERSGA/GEF. 2003. Status of breeding seabirds in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. PERSGA, Jeddah.

Porter, R. F.; et al.. in prep.. Bird conservation on the Socotran archipelago.

Porter, R.F., Christensen, S. and Schiermacker-Hansen, P. 1996. Poyser, London, UK.

Taleb, N. M. A. 2002. The discovery of a breeding colony of Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax on Socotra, Yemen. Sandgrouse 24(2): 105-109.

van den Berg, A. B.; Smeenk, C.; Bosman, C. A. W.; Haase, B. J. M.; van der Niet, A. M.; Cadée, G. C. 1991. Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui, Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax and other seabirds in the northern Indian Ocean in June-July 1984 and 1985. Ardea 79(1): 1-14.

Further web sources of information
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
Anderson, O., Benstead, P., Calvert, R., Taylor, J. & Symes, A.

Nisbet, I.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Bulweria fallax. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author Jouanin, 1955
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8,090,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species