Bulletin of The British Ornithologists' Club 2010 130(4):286-301
47499910

A new taxon of Collared Petrel Pterodroma brevipes from the Banks Islands, Vanuatu

Vincent Bretagnolle, Hadoram Shirihai
Vincent
Bretagnolle
&
Hadoram
Shirihai
296
Bull.
B.O.C.
2010
130(4)
terns,
noddies,
boobies
and
shearwaters.
Most
such
large
mixed
seabird
concentrations
we
encountered
included
up
to
ten
P.
b.
magnificens.
For
example,
on
19
December
2009
the
largest
concentration
of
P.
b.
magnificens
(ten)
was
among
a
flock
of
c.150
Wedge-
tailed
Puffinns
pacificus
and
40
Audubon's
Shearwaters
P.
Iherminieri,
with
50
Sooty
Terns
Onychoprion
fuscatus,
many
tens
of
noddies
and
small
groups
of
Red-footed
Boobies
Sulci
sula.
The
same
day
we
estimated
that
at
least
every
flock
of
c.100
mixed
seabirds
contained
on
average
three
P.
b.
magnificens.
P.
b.
magnificens
locate
themselves
at
the
rear
of
such
flocks.
The
first
birds
to
find
fish
shoals
are
the
Sooty
Terns
and,
as
they
start
to
dive,
the
P.
Iherminieri
dive
below
the
surface,
before
the
P.
pacificus,
noddies
and
boobies
join
in,
forming
an
energetic
feeding
frenzy;
Fregata
also
attack
the
Sula.
Then,
as
the
flock
disperses
(or
follows
the
terns)
P.
b.
magnificens
clean
up
any
remaining
fish
scraps
and
/
or
squid
on
the
surface.
Local
fisherman
explained
that
a
seasonally
present
small
Bonito
(or
perhaps
Skipjack
Tuna
Katsuwonus
sp.)
which
is
a
very
aggressive
predator
of
other
fish
and
squid,
leaves
many
scraps
floating
on
the
surface
that
the
petrels
take.
P.
b.
magnificens
approach
the
flocks
most
characteristically,
in
very
low
flight
(often
between
the
waves
and
almost
storm
petrel-like)
most
like
Bulwer's
Petrels
Buhveria
bulwerii
when
patrolling
for
food
(i.e.
similar
technique,
height,
mode
and
approach,
and
overall
shape).
Their
dark
coloration
adds
significantly
to
the
Buhveria
impression.
Several
times
we
also
observed
P.
b.
magnificens
join
the
same
feeding
frenzy
as
Vanuatu
Petrels:
unlike
P.
b.
magnificens,
Vanuatu
Petrel
is
specialised
in
aerial
chasing
and
catching
flying
fish
and
squid,
which
escape
the
Pacific
Tuna.
Unlike
Vanuatu
Petrel,
P.
b.
Torres
Is
:The
Banks
Australia
i
Cabbage
W
Tree
Is
V
'South
Vanuatu
New
Caledonia
Society
Is
Cook
Is
Ureparapara
c
Tande
Mota
Lava
Vanua
Lava
Gaua
Mera
Lava
The
Banks
20
Km
Efate
50
Km
Erromango
Tanna
V
Aneityum
South
Vanuatu
Figure
14.
Map
showing
all
localities
cited
in
the
text;
at
left,
enlarged
map
of
the
Banks
Islands,
northern
Vanuatu,
where
the
pelagic
survey
in
December
2009
w
as
conducted
(sec
Appendix
2).
The
type
Locality
of
l\
/>.
magnificent
is
i
.30
nautical
miles
east
of
Mera
1
ava,
and
the
presumed
breeding
locality,
the
island
of
Vanua
I
ava
is
also
shown.