Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beck's Petrel Flies Back From Presumed Extinction

Date:
March 11, 2008
Source:
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Summary:
A bird not seen for almost 80 years has been discovered in the Pacific to the delight of conservationists. Only two records of Beck's petrel existed previously, from the late 1920s when ornithologist Rollo Beck collected two of the tube-nosed seabirds on his quest for museum specimens from the region.

Recently fledged juvenile Beck's Petrel Pseudobulweria becki, off Cape St George, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, August 2007.
Credit: Copyright Hadoram Shirihai

A bird not seen for almost 80 years has been discovered in the Pacific to the delight of conservationists.

Only two records of Beck’s petrel existed previously, from the late 1920s when ornithologist Rollo Beck collected two of the tube-nosed seabirds on his quest for museum specimens from the region.

The small tube-nosed seabird was first described by Rollo Beck, an ornithologist and collector of museum specimens. The petrel, which now bears his name, was previously only known from two specimens he collected in 1928 and 1929 during an expedition to the region.

Now, an expert on a ship in the Bismarck Archipelago, north-east of Papua New Guinea, has photographed more than 30 Beck’s petrels and his account is being published March 7 in the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. Young birds were amongst the group indicating that the birds have a breeding site close by.

Hadoram Shirihai, an ornithologist from Israel, led the two-week voyage last summer. He said: “I may have seen then in 2003 on a previous trip which made me eager to return. I wanted to know more about these amazing petrels and understand better how we can help them.

“This re-finding of Beck’s Petrel is exceptional news and congratulations to Hadoram Shirihai for his effort and energy in rediscovering this ‘lost’ petrel,” commented Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Species Programme Coordinator.

Confirming the existence of Beck’s Petrel was difficult because it is similar to Tahiti Petrel Pseudobulweria rostrata, few people have looked for it at sea, and it may be nocturnal at the breeding grounds. “There are numerous atolls and islands where it may breed”,said Dr Butchart. “However, the remaining population may be small.”

Hopes that the bird had not gone extinct were raised in Australia two years ago when tour guide Richard Baxter thought he had seen a Beck’s petrel in the Coral Sea off Queensland. Rare bird experts rejected this sighting because photos were not sufficiently clear. Hadoram Shirihai’s pictures of the species’ more recent appearance have left no doubt, however.

Identifying the dark, slender bird is complicated by its resemblance to another species, the Tahiti petrel.

And its protection could be hampered by several threats, including rats and cats at breeding grounds, which have yet to be found, and widespread logging and land clearance for palm oil plantations. Research last year revealed the extent of logging on New Britain, one of the islands making up Papua New Guinea.

Experts believe the Beck’s petrel may only visit nesting burrows at night, which will make its protection even more complex.

Dr Geoff Hilton, a senior biologist at the RSPB, said: “There are numerous atolls and islands in the region where the Beck’s petrel could be breeding and its remaining population may only be very small.

“Even so, the discovery of this ‘lost’ bird is fantastic news and we congratulate those who spent so much time and effort in finding it. It doesn’t get much better than finding a species that was long thought extinct. Now we must use this discovery as a new spur to try to save the bird.”

BirdLife International contributed materials used in this article.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "Beck's Petrel Flies Back From Presumed Extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080308223914.htm>.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. (2008, March 11). Beck's Petrel Flies Back From Presumed Extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080308223914.htm
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "Beck's Petrel Flies Back From Presumed Extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080308223914.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins