FIJI PETREL} Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi
DESCRIPTION: The Fiji petrel is a small, all-dark gadfly petrel with a heavy bill. It is described as being 30 centimeters tall with dark chocolate-colored feathers, dark eyes and bill, and pale blue foot patches.
HABITAT: This seabird’s breeding habitat is believed to be on the island of Gau, Fiji. The island is of volcanic origin and is rugged. More than half the island, mostly the upland areas of the interior, consists of dense tropical rainforest.
RANGE: The species was first known from just one immature specimen collected in 1855 on Gau Island, Fiji, but between1984 and 2007 there were a total of 16 reports of grounded birds on Gau. The Fiji petrel is believed to be endemic to the island of Gau.
MIGRATION: Little information is available about the migration of this species. However, it is believed to disperse to pelagic waters far from the island.
BREEDING: The nesting grounds of the bird have never been located. No information exists about the breeding of the Fiji petrel.
LIFE CYCLE: Since little information about the bird exists, its life cycle is uncertain.
FEEDING: Nothing is known about the population’s foraging behavior.
THREATS: Because little is known about the ecology of the petrel, only educated guesses exist about threats to the species. Comparisons to other local petrel species lead researchers to believe that the Fiji petrel is threatened by predation by feral cats, rats, and pigs.
POPULATION TREND: The infrequency with which the petrel is sighted and the elusiveness of its nesting sights suggests that there must be few birds, with a current population size estimated at fewer than 50. The bird’s population is believed to be decreasing and the species is regarded as highly vulnerable to extinction.