Bermuda Petrel


Bermuda Petrel

Taxobox
name = Bermuda Petrel (Cahow)
status = EN | status_system = IUCN3.1
trend = up


image_width = 200px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Procellariiformes
familia = Procellariidae
genus = "Pterodroma"
species = "P. cahow"
binomial = "Pterodroma cahow"
binomial_authority = (Nichols & Mowbray, 1916)
The Bermuda Petrel, "Pterodroma cahow", is a gadfly petrel.

Commonly known in Bermuda as the Cahow, a name derived from its eerie cries, this nocturnal ground-nesting seabird is the national bird of Bermuda, and a symbol of hope for nature conservation. It was thought extinct for 330 years. Its dramatic rediscovery as a "Lazarus species", that is, a species found to be alive after being considered extinct for centuries, has inspired documentary filmmakers.

Initially superabundant throughout the archipelago, the Cahow is a slow breeder, but excellent flier, and spends its adult life on the open seas. At five years old it returns to its former nesting place and begins breeding, laying only one egg per season. Cahows mate for life.

The Cahows' eerie nocturnal cries stopped the early Spanish seafarers settling the Islands out of superstition, as they thought the Isles were inhabited by Devils. Instead they put ashore hogs as a living foodstore for passing ships, and so began the onslaught on the Cahow's existence. Following Bermuda's colonisation by the English, introduced species like rats, cats and dogs, and mass killings of the birds by early colonists decimated numbers. Despite being protected by one of the world's earliest conservation decrees, the Governor's proclamation "against the spoyle and havocke of the Cohowes," the birds were thought to have been driven to extinction since the 1620s.

In 1951, 18 surviving nesting pairs were found on rocky islets in Castle Harbour, and a program was set up by David B. Wingate to build concrete burrows and wooden bafflers for the nesting tunnels in order to keep out the slightly larger, competing 'Bermuda longtail', and to restore the nearby Nonsuch Island to be a future viable base for the species.

Enjoying legal protection, the species has started to make a good recovery, The main threat for the future is lack of suitable breeding habitat. Hurricane Fabian destroyed many nesting burrows in 2003, and recently the larger and ecologically-restored Nonsuch Island is being repopulated with chicks, their translocation timed so they will imprint on these surroundings. [http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2008/03/Bermuda_Petrel.html] This work is being undertaken by the present Bermuda Conservation Officer Jeremy Madeiros assisted by the Australian petrel specialist Nick Carlile. Nonetheless, the global population of this bird in 2005 was only about 250 individuals.

References

* Database entry includes justification for why this species is endangered

External links

*ARKive - [http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/birds/Pterodroma_cahow/ images and movies of the Bermuda petrel "(Pterodroma cahow)"]
* [http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3910&m=0 BirdLife Species Factsheet]
** [http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2005/09/cahow.html BirdLife: "Cahows bounce back as Bermudians build burrows"]
** [http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2004/07/cahow_translocation.html BirdLife: "New island home for Cahow chicks"]
** [http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2006/03/cahow.html BirdLife: "Cahow class of 2002 return to breed"]
** [http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2008/03/Bermuda_Petrel.html BirdLife: "Bermuda Petrel returns to Nonsuch Island (Bermuda) after 400 years"]
* [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/lhbcb:@field(DOCID+@lit(lhbcb0262adiv23)) Library of Congress early written records]
* [http://www.strangeark.com/bfr/archive/historical/New-Light-Cahow.pdf "NEW LIGHT ON THE CAHOW, PTERODROMA CAHOW" Report on the Cahow rediscovery in 1951]
* [http://www.rarebirdfilm.com Lucinda Spurling's documentary film website]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR5_CMTMac8 sample from Lucinda Spurling's film Rare Bird, on YouTube]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bermuda petrel — bermudinis audrašauklis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Pterodroma cahow angl. Bermuda petrel vok. Bermudasturmvogel, m rus. бермудский тайфунник, m pranc. pétrel des Bermudes, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – trumpasnapiai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • bermuda petrel — noun Usage: usually capitalized B : cahow * * * cahow. * * * Bermuda petrel same as ↑cahow • • • Main Entry: ↑Bermudian …   Useful english dictionary

  • Bermuda petrel — cahow. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bermuda — This article is about the British overseas territory. For other uses, see Bermuda (disambiguation). The Bermudas Somers Isles …   Wikipedia

  • petrel — /pe treuhl/, n. any of numerous tube nosed seabirds of the families Procellariidae, Hydrobatidae, and Pelecanoididae. Cf. storm petrel, diving petrel. [1670 80; earlier pitteral, of uncert. orig.; perh. altered by assoc. with St. Peter (who… …   Universalium

  • Petrel — This article is about the petrel seabirds. For other uses, see petrel (disambiguation). The flammable liquid is correctly spelt petrol.Petrels are tube nosed seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes. The common name does not indicate… …   Wikipedia

  • pétrel des Bermudes — bermudinis audrašauklis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Pterodroma cahow angl. Bermuda petrel vok. Bermudasturmvogel, m rus. бермудский тайфунник, m pranc. pétrel des Bermudes, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – trumpasnapiai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • Geography of Bermuda — Bermuda Nickname: The Island or The Rock Topographic map of Bermuda …   Wikipedia

  • List of birds of Bermuda — This is a list of the bird species recorded in Bermuda. The avifauna of Bermuda includes a total of 375 species, a remarkable number considering that the country is a mere 53.3km2. 10 of these have been introduced by humans; the Mallard also… …   Wikipedia

  • Flora and fauna in Bermuda — The flora and fauna of Bermuda forms part of a unique ecosystem thanks to Bermuda s isolation from the mainland of North America. There are a wide range of endemic species and the islands form a distinct ecoregion.Bermuda s wildlife is limited to …   Wikipedia