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 Pterodroma feae

This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.

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.

Taxonomic note
Pterodroma feae and P. deserta (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as P. feae following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

35 cm. Medium-sized grey and white gadfly petrel. Grey upperparts with dark cap and dark "M" across wings. White underparts with indistinct pale grey half collar across upper breast. Predominantly dark grey-brown underwing. Similar spp. Zino's Petrel P. madeira is virtually identical but has a narrower, shorter bill and shorter wings. Voice. On breeding grounds a range of wailing, cackling, ululating and hiccuping calls. Silent at sea.

Distribution and population
Pterodroma feae breeds on four islands of Cape Verde (P. f. feae), Fogo (minimum 80 pairs; Ratcliffe et al. 2000), Santo Antão (minimum 200 pairs; Ratcliffe et al. 2000), São Nicolau (c.30 pairs; Ratcliffe et al. 2000) and small numbers on Santiago. It also breeds on Bugio in the Desertas off Madeira, Portugal (P. f. deserta). An estimated 500-1,000 pairs breed in Cape Verde (Hazevoet 1995; Ratcliffe et al. 2000), although this must be regarded as an absolute minimum as further colonies probably exist on Fogo and Santa Antão and individuals have also been observed breeding in the central mountain range of Santiago island (Ratcliffe et al. 2000). Birds have been trapped on the Azores, but the existence of a breeding colony has never been confirmed (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). Based on surveys in 2006-2007, a further 120-150 pairs breed on Bugio (a lower figure than previous estimates of 150-180 from 2001), although  where the population appears stable (Ramirez 2008). The total population has been estimated at c.3,000 individuals (Brooke 2004). There is an ongoing review of the taxonomic status of the populations on Bugio and Cape Verde. If these populations are assigned species status, their threat status will need to be re-assessed. Birds may occur at considerable distances from the Cape Verde islands, even during the breeding season, with some birds moving south after breeding and others remaining in the region throughout the year (Hazevoet 1995).

The species breeds at 80-300 m, usually in burrows excavated in the soil, although recently nests were found in rock crevices in areas were soil is not present (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). Birds return to their breeding grounds in early June and juveniles fledge throughout December (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007.

Historically, the species and its breeding sites have been affected by habitat degradation caused by introduced goats, rabbits and mice (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). However, rabbits and mice have been controlled since 2006 (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007) and goats are reported to only rarely visit the plateau where the breeding sites are located on Bugio (Ramirez 2008). Predation and disturbance by Yellow-legged Gulls Larus cachinnans are potential threats on Bugio. On the Cape Verde islands, birds are predated by cats and rats, collected by people for food and medicinal purposes, and breeding sites are limited by overgrazing by goats (Barov and Derhé 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
A European action plan was published in 1996 (Zino et al. 1996) and its implementation reviewed in 2010 (Barov and Derhé 2011). A national park was established at Chã das Caldeiras on Fogo (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). The conservation of Pterodroma feae was incorporated into the park's agenda (Ratcliffe et al. 2000; D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007), but the park administration is having to deal with serious financial and operational problems (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). Since 2006, an eradication programme for rabbits and mice has been in force, and is ongoing. As a result, their effect on the most sensitive areas is already negligible. A contingency plan for accidental introductions of invasive species is being developed. A goat eradication programme is ongoing and not yet complete. The threat from L. cachinnans is being monitored (D. Menezes and P. Oliveira in litt. 2007). Natural vegetation has been replanted, anti-erosion blankets installed, wardening and monitoring conducted and artificial burrows installed on Bugio as part of a LIFE Nature project (Menezes 2007; Menezes et al. 2011). Geolocators were attached to some individuals from 2007 to investigate foraging ecology (Ramirez 2008).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct coordinated surveys to obtain an up-to-date estimate for the total breeding population. Continue annual surveys to monitor population trends. Study the at-sea distribution of the species. Complete control measures against goats. Continue control measures against rabbits and mice. Discourage off-take by people on the Cape Verde islands through awareness campaigns. Control cats and rats on the Cape Verde islands. Assess the impact of L. cachinnans through detailed research.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Barov, B. and Derhé, M. A. 2011. Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae 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.

Brooke, M. De L. 2004. Albatrosses and petrels across the world. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Hazevoet, C. J. 1995. The birds of the Cape Verde Islands. British Ornithologists' Union, Tring, U.K.

Menezes, D. 2007. Projecto LIFE: SOS Freira do Bugio. Pardela: 8.

Menezes, D., Oliveira, P. Ramirez, I. 2011. Menezes, D., Oliveira, P. Ramirez, I. (2011) Medidas Urgentes para a Recuperação da Freira do Bugio Pterodroma feae e do seu Habitat. Final Report. Serviço Parque Natural da Madeira/ Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SEO).

Ramirez, I. 2008. Thought you knew about Fea's Petrel? It's time to think again. Sea Change: 9.

Ratcliffe, N.; Zino, F. J.; Oliveira, P.; Vasconcelos, A.; Hazevoet, C. J.; Neves, H. C.; Monteiro, L. R.; Zino, E. A. 2000. The status and distribution of Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae in the Cape Verde Islands. Atlantic Seabirds 2(2): 73-86.

Shirihai, H.; Bretagnolle, V.; Zino, F. 2010. Identification of Fea's, Desertas and Zino's Petrels at sea. Birding World 23(6): 239-275.

Zino, F.; Heredia, B.; Biscoito, M. J. 1996. Action plan for Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma feae). In: Heredia, B.; Rose, L.; Painter, M. (ed.), Globally threatened birds in Europe: action plans, pp. 25-31. Council of Europe and BirdLife International, Strasbourg.

Further web sources of information
Action Plan

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

Text account compilers
Anderson, O., Capper, D., Derhé, M., O'Brien, A., Peet, N., Shutes, S., Taylor, J.

Menezes, D., Oliveira, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Pterodroma feae. Downloaded from on 06/07/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/07/2015.

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 - Fea’s petrel (Pterodroma feae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Not Recognised
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author (Salvadori, 1899)