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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Marine birds > Bulwer's Petrel
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Bulwer's Petrel
Bulwer's Petrel - Bulweria bulwerii (Jardine & Selby 1828)
(Portuguese common name - Alma-negra)


Breeding
This bird arrives on our shores to nest at the end of March, and the first young appear at the end of June/early July. Birds leave the nesting sites from September, to return the following year.

Distribution and population size
Bulwer's Petrel is found worldwide, in the Pacific as well as the Atlantic Ocean. It is present throughout Macaronesia and on all the islands of the Madeiran Archipelago, with the largest North Atlantic colony on the Desertas Islands of Madeira. The Azores marks the northern-most limit of its distribution, but with only a single, small colony on Ilhéu da Vila (off Santa Maria).

Identification
In flight, Bulwer's Petrel can be identified by its uniform, dark brown colour; by the wide wingspan relative to its body SIZE; and by its pointed wings. At the nest it emits a characteristic ”ão...ão...ão”, reminiscent of a puppy.

Habitat
Bulwer's Petrel is a marine bird which breeds on small islands, islets and coastal cliffs. The nest may be built in cavities in rocks, holes in the soil or beneath large rocks.

Conservation
Threats


The main threats faced by this species relate to the degradation of its habitat: indirectly due to the presence of rats, cats and other introduced mammals; and direct destruction caused by earth movements during construction. These threats are felt most on Madeira, whereas in the principal colonies on Desertas Islands and the Selvagens competition for nesting sites with other species and predation by gulls are more apparent threats.

Conservation Status and Legal Instruments of Protection
This species has the conservation status of Vulnerable and dependent on management. It is listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive and Annex II of the Berne Convention. Some areas of its habitat are included in Annex I of the Habitats Directive.

Current state of knowledge in Portugal
There are studies of the breeding biology and the breeding season, together with population censuses. The principal breeding areas are on Madeira and the Azores. Data on the distribution at sea, during and outside the breeding season, are insignificant. The largest colonies (on the Desertas Islands) are little studied due the inaccessibility of the breeding sites.




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