Tahiti Petrel in Costa Rica

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Sep 25, 2009, 10:50:09 AM9/25/09
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Hello everyone,

a three day trip in Costa Rican Pacific waters (out to about 290 km
offshore, 86º 47' W between 9º 30' and 7º 55' N ) produced five
definite sightings of Tahiti Petrel (Psuedobulweria rostrata) a few of
which we were able to photograph well. Visit the this link to see
photos from the trip:


This would be a new species for Costa Rica. Although it has been
reported by researchers working in the eastern Pacific and is included
by S.N.G.Howell and S.Webb in their Guide to the Birds of Mexico as
being a fairly common to common visitor to waters near Clipperton and
Revillagigedo Islands, the species is not included on the AOU's main
check-list to the birds of North America, apparently because
definitive evidence is lacking that would exclude the possibility of
Phoenix Petrel (Pterodroma alba). We plan to publish a note that will
hopefully permit the AOU to finally list this species (along the lines
of what recently happened with Swallow-tailed Gull.)

Scroll down through the entries at the link mentioned above to also
see an April trip report and photos for another 3 day pelagic sail off
the Pacific coast of Costa Rica that produced Christmas Shearwater and
a few other interesting sightings.

Congartulations to Tony and the others for their finding of the Fiji
Petrel. Tony, was this the last piece of the puzzle, so to speak, for
Hadoram to conclude his work on the Procellariidae guide for
A.C.Black? Is publication now immenent?

bye for now,

Jim Zook

Tony Pym

Sep 26, 2009, 11:33:54 AM9/26/09
to seabir...@googlegroups.com, ebi...@gmail.com

Hi Jim

Excellent records from the seas of Costa Rica! 


Tahiti Petrel ranges right across the Pacific, within the tropical belt, from off the Philippines to now Costa Rica. I like the photos of the Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel and the Christmas Shearwater also.


To answer your question, Hadoram is working on ‘Birds of the Western Palearctic: A Photographic Guide’ plus ‘Photographic Handbook of Birds of the World’. He has been asked to write a pocket-sized book (like his Whales, Dolphins and Seals) on seabirds…..and, then there’s ‘the Tubenoses project’ (this book’s title now to be ‘Albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters of the world: a handbook to their taxonomy, identification, ecology and conservation’).


So, he has four books ‘underway’ (with various other authors) plus something like ten scientific papers at the moment – these papers include ‘Taxonomy, variation and conservation of the complex of gadfly petrels (Pterodroma feae, madeira, deserta) from the north- east Atlantic’ and ‘A new study of evolution and systematics of the genus Pseudobulweria’ and ‘Evolution, taxonomy and identification of the various populations of the P. brevipes- leucoptera complex’. (Vincent Bretagnolle is the main author, others involved also). He is well underway on another paper regarding the Pterodroma feae/madeira complex also. This one, an extensive and major identification article.  


He is currently in South America working on the Photographic Handbook. This time he’s away from home for six months, moving between Brazil, Guyana and (I think next is) Colombia. He returns to seabirds in a big way, end of the year, working with Vincent in the South Pacific.


Many more seabird expeditions are in the planning stage, so the book does have a long way to go. I have seen some of the excellent artwork by John Cox, the photographs for the monograph are outstanding, and already the text content is superb; I would say ground-breaking on seabird knowledge.


Now the bad news – to pull this amount of information together, plus the artwork/layout to be approved, is still some years away – at least three, maybe four, but this is the price we shall have to pay to await this masterpiece on the procellariids.





> Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 07:50:09 -0700
> Subject: [Seabird-News:1107] Tahiti Petrel in Costa Rica
> From: ebi...@gmail.com
> To: seabir...@googlegroups.com

Gail Mackiernan

Sep 26, 2009, 5:43:36 PM9/26/09
to seabir...@googlegroups.com
Very interesting observations -- and as Tony said, also very good photos. We will be looking for some of these as we pass through CR waters next month on our San Diego-Valpo cruise. It will be interesting to compare birds in November vs. those in April and September.

Also much awaiting the book(s!) by Hadoram...

Gail Mackiernan

on 09/26/2009 11:33 AM, Tony Pym at tony...@hotmail.com wrote:

Hi Jim

Excellent records from the seas of Costa Rica!  

Tahiti Petrel ranges right across the Pacific, within the tropical belt, from off the Philippines to now Costa Rica. I like the photos of the Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel and the Christmas Shearwater also.



Sep 27, 2009, 9:12:29 AM9/27/09
to Seabird News
Nice photos! I've seen at least 21 Tahiti Petrels in Costa Rican
waters over the years, and they're not that uncommon in waters far off
the Central American coast, usually beyond 100 nmi. I agree with
Howell and Webb's assessment of the status of Tahiti Petrel in the
eastern tropical Pacific, and it does occur a lot farther east than
some popular guides suggest. Phoenix and Tahiti Petrels appear quite
different at sea, so the AOU's reluctance to include it is a bit odd.

happy seabirding,


Sep 28, 2009, 3:09:07 PM9/28/09
to Seabird News
Thanks to everyone for their comments. Interesting to hear that the
Tahiti Petrel is a regular out there off the Cental American coast.

Tony, thanks for filling us in on Hadoram's schedule. Sounds like he's
got his work cut out for him. The interim handbook should keep us
happy until the final masterpiece is ready. I'm sure it will be well
worth the wait. I've loved the quality of everything he's done so

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