This species is listed as Vulnerable because improved knowledge indicates that, within its small population, the largest sub-population numbers fewer than 1,000 individuals, with the overall population suspected to be in decline owing to the effects of introduced species.
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.
Distribution and populationPterodroma brevipes
30cm. Small and variable black-capped gadfly petrel of the Cookilaria group. Forehead white merging into dark brownish-grey cap and sides of cheeks, upperparts grey. Underparts highly variable: pale morphs almost all white, intermediate morphs have dark collar across the chect, dark morphs have dark grey underparts except whitish chin and throat. Similar spp. Distinguished from other Cookilaria species by the broad dark leading margin to the underwing. Tail longer in relation to wing than in Gould's Petrel P. leucoptera. Voice Very similar to Gould's Petrel. Flight calls include a staccato ti-ti-ti, a low moan, a thick low purring call, and a cher-cher.
is presently known to breed only on Gau (Fiji)
, and possibly on Viti Levu, Kadavu, Ovalau, Vanuabalavu (Fiji), Tau (Western Samoa
), Raratonga (Cook Islands
), and South Vanuatu and Makira (Solomon Islands
) (J. Hobbs in litt.
2009). On Gau island, 165 birds were attracted to lights on four nights in April-May 1984 (Watling 1985). However, in recent surveys for this species at the historical breeding site of Ovalau (July 2004) none were seen (G. Dutson in litt.
2005). A more recent survey at Mt Washington (=Nabukulevu) on Kadavu recorded fewer than five, although the visit was outside the breeding season (S. Cranwell and J. Bird in litt)
. The species is a cryptic breeder, rarely seen from the coast, returning to land only after dark during the breeding season and often silent after pre-laying displays, so it may have been overlooked. The species may have been extirpated from Viti Levu and Vanua Levu through predation by introduced mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus
. However, on Viti Levu, petrels have been seen flying inland during the day, one freshly killed specimen was found in 1971 (Watling 1986), and birds heard in the interior may have been of this species. The one other Fijian island with a historical specimen record but no mongooses, Vanuabalavu (Watling 1986), has not been surveyed in recent years, nor have other islands such as Taveuni and Moala which may hold this species (Watling 1986, D. Watling in litt.
2000, G. Dutson in litt.
2005). There are a few at-sea records of this species from Fijian seas, with maximum recorded counts of eight birds (Jenkins 1986, D. Hobcroft in litt.
2005). Outside Fiji, there are historical breeding specimens from Vanuatu and Makira (Solomon Islands). A series of specimens from Vanuatu from 1859 to 1936 include breeding birds from the southern islands of Tanna and Aneityeum (=Anatom), and birds from Efate and at sea off Mere Lava (Banks Islands) (Bregulla 1992). The only recent records from Vanuatu are two off Efate on 11 March 1971 (Trodden in Bourne and Dixon 1975) and some at sea in 2004 (D. Hobcroft in litt.
2004). There have been no recent thorough surveys of the Vanuatu breeding islands but local people on Tanna reported that hole-nesting birds were very rare in 1998 (G. Dutson in litt.
2005). A visit to Tanna in July 2008 proved that the species still breeds in the mountains in the south-west of the island (S. Totterman pers. comm). The newly-described taxon P. b. magnificens
, presumed to breed on Vanua Lava and possibly Gaua in the Banks Islands, was found to be relatively abundant during an expedition in 2009, with 180 sighted at sea (Bretagnolle and Shirihai 2010). Extensive work with local communities on Makira revealed no knowledge of the species but nine were seen at sea between Makira and the Santa Cruz islands on 3 October 2004 (G. Dutson in litt.
2005). The species previously nested on Rarotonga (Cook Islands), but only a small relict population remained in 1990, which is now reported to have gone extinct (McCormack 1992, M. Imber in litt.
2006, E. Saul in litt.
2006). It may also breed on the Austral Islands (French Polynesia), Moorea and Tahiti, and Samoa, although there are no confirmed records (M. Rauzon in litt.
2005, M. Imber in litt.
2006). Reports from Tau in American Samoa may refer to the Herald Petrel P. heraldica
(Engbring and Ramsay 1989). It has been suggested that the birds found in the Solomon Islands and French Polynesia may be P. caledonica
rather than P. brevipes
(V. Bretagnolle in litt.
2005), although this is disputed (M. Imber in litt.
2006). Regardless of the taxonomic status of P. brevipes
, it is undoubtedly rare, and its population has recently been estimated at 1,000-10,000 individuals (G. Dutson in litt.
The non-breeding range is thought to be tropical Pacific between 10°N and 10°S as far as the Galapagos Islands. Rollo Beck collected 6 small dark Collared Petrel specimens on the Whitney South Sea Expedition in 1927. In December 2009 Vincent Bretagnolle and Hadoram Shirihai observed and photographed this small dark form, which is now described as P.b. magnificens (J. Hobbs in litt.
2009, Shirhai and Bretagnolle 2011).Population justification
Unpublished data from the Fiji IBA project (G. Dutson in litt. 2005) suggest that the global population numbers 1,000-10,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 670-6,700 mature individuals.Trend justification
There are insufficient data available to formally estimate the species's population trend, but it is suspected to be undergoing a slow to moderate decline owing to predation by introduced mammals. Ecology
It nests on Gau, Fiji, between 100 and 500 m, in burrows on steep, well-forested slopes (MacGillivray 1860, Watling 1986)
. Young have been found in the nest on Fiji from May to August (MacGillivray 1860, Watling 1986)
, although on Vanuatu small downy young were found in February (MacGillivray 1860, Brooke 2004)
. It is perhaps relatively sedentary, tending to remain close to the breeding islands, although some are recorded to have dispersed east between about 10o
N and 15o
S almost to the Galápagos (Brooke 2004)
. Its diet is little known, but is thought to consist chiefly of cephalopods and fish (MacGillivray 1860)
The main threat to the species is thought to be predation by introduced mammals, especially the mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus
(G. Dutson in litt.
, but also pigs, cats, dogs and rats. Habitat degradation by goats is also believed to be a problem. Local communities in the Banks Islands are reported to have heavily exploited petrels and especially shearwaters for many generations until the 19th century, but in recent years they have apparently only been infrequently harvested at most (Totterman 2009)
. On Tanna, small numbers of young birds have been killed as part of a ritual (V. Bretagnolle in litt.
. On Kadavu, agricultural encroachment into forested areas has increased, particularly around Nabukulevu. Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys during the breeding season to determine its status on all islands where it is known or suspected to have occurred. Clarify taxonomy. Assess breeding success and predation levels on Gau. Consider controlling introduced mammals.
Related state of the world's birds case studies
Bourne, W. R. P.; Dixon, T. J. 1975. Observations of seabirds 1970-1972. Sea Swallow 24: 65-88.
Bregulla, H. L. 1992. Birds of Vanuatu. Anthony Nelson, Oswestry, U.K.
Brooke, M. De L. 2004. Albatrosses and petrels across the world. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Engbring, J.; Ramsey, F. L. 1989. A 1986 survey of the forest birds of American Samoa. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pagopago.
Jenkins, J. A. F. 1986. The seabirds of Fiji. Australasian Seabird Group Newsletter 25: 1-70.
MacGillivray, J. 1860. Zoological notes from Aneitum, New Hebrides. Description of Procellaria torquata, a new species of petrel. The Zoologist 18: 7133-7144.
McCormack, G. 1992. An introduction to the biodiversity of Rarotonga.
Watling, G. 1986. Notes on the Collared Petrel Pterodroma (leucoptera) brevipes. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 106: 63-70.
Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
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Text account compilers
Anderson, O., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Mahood, S., Taylor, J. & Temple, H.
Bird, J., Bretagnolle, V., Cranwell, S., Dutson, G., Imber, M., Rauzon, M., Saul, E., Totterman, S. & Watling, D.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pterodroma brevipes. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 27/10/2016.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org 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
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