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Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata
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This species is classified as Endangered because it has a very small, fragmented and declining breeding range and population. It has already been extirpated from some sites, and declines are likely to continue as a result of habitat loss and degradation, hunting and invasive predators.

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.
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, long-winged gadfly petrel. Brownish-black cap extending to eye, nape and towards upper breast where forms partial collar. White hindneck. Brownish-grey mantle and upperwing. White rump and uppertail-coverts. Dark brown tail. Entirely white underparts. White underwing with narrow black trailing edge, black tip, broad black edge between primaries and carpal joint. Band extends weakly towards centre of wing from joint. Black bill. Pink legs, and feet pink proximally, black distally. Similar spp. Bermuda Petrel P. cahow is smaller and usually lacks white hindneck and rump, but separation may sometimes be impossible. Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis is larger, darker and less contrasting above, lacks black edge to underwing and has slower wingbeats and less erratic flight.

Distribution and population
Pterodroma hasitata now breeds in Haiti and the Sierra de Baoruco region of the Dominican Republic. There are an estimated 1,000 breeding pairs (D. S. Lee in litt. 1998, Lee 2000), mostly in the Massifs de la Selle and de la Hotte, southern Haiti (Raffaele et al. 1998), but records at-sea suggest that the population is over 5,000 individuals (Brooke 2004). The area of suitable habitat in the Pic Macaya region of Massif de la Hotte is estimated to be 5 km2, with a similar area in La Visite, Massif de la Selle (the majority of colonies are found within a 10 km stretch spanning a 500 m elevational range on the north side of the ridge; two more colonies are located further to the east, span 5 km, again within a 500 m elevation range) (J. Gerwin in litt. 2006). Small numbers have been recently recorded on Dominica and in adjacent offshore waters, suggesting that it may still nest (Raffaele et al. 1998). In May 2007, a breeding female was found in the village of Trafalgar in the Padu region of Dominica (A. James in litt., 2010). It now seems likely that small numbers breed in Cuba based on observation in the Sierra Maestra region (a congregation of 40+ individuals in the vicinity of shoreline, vocalisations heard overhead by landbased observers, and evidence of birds moving inland) (D. Demarest in litt. 2006). It is believed extinct on Guadeloupe (to France) (where common in the 19th century) (Raffaele et al. 1998). Black-capped petrel may have bred on Martinique (to France) (Raffaele et al. 1998). Even during the breeding season it is highly pelagic, with breeding condition birds recorded off the North Carolina coast, USA (D. S. Lee in litt. 1998, Lee 2000). Birds disperse over the Caribbean and Atlantic from the north-east USA to north-east Brazil, with four records in European waters (Howell 2002), but the at-sea range has contracted in the north and west.

Population justification
Brooke (2004)

Trend justification
The population undoubtedly declined through the 19th and 20th centuries during which time breeding populations on Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique may have been entirely extirpated. This decline is thought to have continued during recent years but requires confirmation.

It nests (starting in December) colonially in cliff burrows, often within montane forest at 1,500-2,000 m, but up to 2,300 m in the Dominican Republic (Williams et al. 1996). Nesting birds commute large distances from breeding to foraging sites (Lee 2000). It is primarily nocturnal and crepuscular, feeding on fish, invertebrate swarms, fauna associated with Sargassum seaweed reefs (Lee 2000), and squid (Ottenwalder 1992a). It is attracted to localised upwellings, where the mixing of surface and deep oceanic waters produces nutrient-rich areas (Lee 2000).

Habitat destruction and hunting for food have caused this species's decline, and remain key threats in Haiti. Birds are also predated by introduced mammals. Urbanisation and concomitant increases in artificial lights may dazzle or disorientate birds into colliding with trees, wires and buildings (Ottenwalder 1992a). A telecommunications mast with stay wires erected in 1995 on Loma de Toro in Sierra de Bahoruco (the only known nesting locality in the Dominican Republic) poses a collision hazard (Keith et al. 2003). The proposed development of gas/oil fields off the coast of South Carolina, USA, could devastate this important feeding area (Lee 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
It breeds within national parks in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. On Guadeloupe, five surveys for the species have been conducted since the late 1980s (P. Feldmann and P. Villard in litt 1998). Efforts have been made to define the at-sea distribution off the USA (Lee 2000). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to accurately determine the status and distribution of the species and its habitat (Ottenwalder 1992a, Lee 2000). Halt human exploitation. Develop measures to remove introduced predators. Effectively protect the species and its nesting grounds. List the species in the USA under the Federal Endangered Species Act (Lee 2000).

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

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.

Howell, S. 2002. A Black-capped Petrel off the Bay of Biscay: the fourth record for the Western Palearctic. Birding World 15: 219-220.

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

Lee, D. S. 2000. Status and conservation priorities for Black-capped Petrel in the West Indies. In: Schreiber, E.A.; Lee, D.S. (ed.), Status and conservation of West Indian seabirds, pp. 11-18. Society for Caribbean Ornithology, Los Angeles.

Ottenwalder, J. A. 1992. Recovery plan for the conservation of the Black-capped Petrel in southern Haiti.

Raffaele, H.; Wiley, J.; Garrido, O.; Keith, A.; Raffaele, J. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London.

Williams, R. S. R.; Kirwan, G. M.; Bradshaw, C. G. 1996. The status of Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata in the Dominican Republic. Cotinga: 29-30.

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.

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
Anderson, O., Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Clay, R., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sullivan, B., Wege, D.

Demarest, D., Feldmann, P., Fernandez, E., Gerwin, J., Lee, D., Levesque, A., Villard, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pterodroma hasitata. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Black-capped petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author (Kuhl, 1820)
Population size 5000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 7,420,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species