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Jamaican Petrel Pterodroma caribbaea
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This species was last collected in 1879, after a drastic decline in numbers through the 19th century, presumed to have resulted from the effects of introduced rats and mongooses. It was searched for without success during 1996-2000, but it cannot yet be presumed to be Extinct because nocturnal petrels are notoriously difficult to record, and it may conceivably occur on Dominica and Guadeloupe. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).

Taxonomic source(s)
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.

Taxonomic note
Pterodroma hasitata (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into P. hasitata and P. caribbaea following Brooke (2004).

40 cm. Medium-sized, dark brown petrel. Structurally very similar to Black-capped Petrel P. hasitata. More or less uniform sooty brown apart from a cream-coloured uppertail. Black bill and feet.

Distribution and population
Pterodroma caribbaea was a plentiful seabird up to the middle of the 19th century, but has suffered a drastic decline in numbers. The last confirmed record is of 22 birds collected in 1879. The only proven nesting was in the Blue and John Crow Mountains of eastern Jamaica, where it may conceivably survive. It may also have nested on Dominica and Guadeloupe (Douglas 2000). Several searches since the mid 1990s have so far failed to locate any birds.

Population justification
Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), with the last confirmed records dating from 1879.

It nests in cliff burrows and holes under trees, above 1,000 m (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000). The courtship, mating and pre-laying period is October-December (when birds are most vocal), and young fledge by May (Douglas 2000). It visits nesting burrows nocturnally (Douglas 2000). Feeding is expected to be crepuscular and nocturnal in oceanic waters, matching the habits of the closely related Black-capped Petrel P. hasitata (Douglas 2000).

The presumed cause of this species's demise was predation by introduced rats (which took eggs) and mongooses (capable of taking incubating adults). Introduced pigs may also have been an important factor (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000). It was hunted for food until the middle of the 19th century (Douglas 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
The Jamaica Petrel Research Group initiated searches for the species in 1996, and this effort continued until at least 2000 (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000), but these failed to find any birds (Tobias et al. 2006), while an at-sea search in November-December 2009 failed to locate the species (H. Shirihai in litt. 2009). A further search including at-sea chumming and an expedition into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica is planned (H. Shirihai in litt. 2009), but dependent on the necessary funding.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Search systematically above 1,000 m in the John Crow Mountains on Jamaica, coordinating searches at the beginning of the breeding season when the birds are most vocal (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, 2000, Douglas 2000). Search on Dominica and Guadeloupe (Douglas 2000). Continue searches at sea. Photograph any dark Pterodroma petrels encountered in the Caribbean (Tobias et al. 2006). If searches discover the species, actions should be taken to ensure its survival including: predator eradication, habitat protection, environmental education and the cessation of hunting (del Hoyo et al. 2015).

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. and Sharpe, C.J. 2015. Jamaican Petrel (Pterodroma caribbaea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Douglas, L. 2000. Status of the Jamaican Petrel in the West Indies. In: Schreiber, E.A.; Lee, D.S. (ed.), Status and conservation of West Indian seabirds, pp. 19-24. Society for Caribbean Ornithology, Ruston, USA.

Imber, M. J. 1991. The Jamaican Petrel---dead or alive? Gosse Bird Club Broadsheet 57: 4-9.

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

Tobias, J. A.; Butchart, S. H. M.; Collar, N. J. 2006. Lost and found: a gap analysis for the Neotropical avifauna. Neotropical Birding: 4-22.

Further web sources of information
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 the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

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

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Lascelles, B., Symes, A., Wege, D. & Ashpole, J

Shirihai, H.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pterodroma caribbaea. 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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered - Possibly Extinct
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author Carte, 1866
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species