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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 > White-faced Storm Petrel
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White-faced Storm Petrel
White-faced Storm Petrel – Pelagodroma marina
(Portuguese common name - Calcamar)


Breeding
The birds arrive to breed on the Selvagens (the only Portuguese breeding site) from mid-December, lay eggs during March, and the last chicks fledge in August (Campos & Granadeiro 1999). As with other marine birds, they lay only one egg and it is then several years before juvenile birds attempt to breed.

Distribution and population size
The Selvagens Islands mark the extreme north of the world distribution of this species. The subspecies endemic to Macaronesia, Pelagodroma m. hypoleuca, is found on the Selvagens and Canary Islands. The other subspecies, Pelagodroma m. eadesi, is found on Cape Verde.
On the archipelago of Madeira, this Petrel occurs on Selvagem Grande, Selvagem Pequena and Ilhéu de Fora. Its population is estimated at over 36,000 on Selvagem Grande (Campos & Granadeiro 1999) and 25,000 pairs (Oliveira 1999) on Selvagem Pequena. The current population appears to be stable.

Identification
In the waters of the archipelago of Madeira this bird cannot be confused with any other owing to its 'bouncing on the sea' flight. Its characteristic long feet and small body with a white face distinguish it from other petrels.

Habitat
The birds nest in sandy soils where they excavate deep nests.

Conservation
Threats
This bird, whilst not a target for human predation, is certainly affected by trampling of its breeding areas. The nests, dug in sandy soil, are very fragile and readily collapse suffocating the birds. One study on Selvagem Grande indicated that predation by mice contributed directly to 20% of breeding failures in this species (Campos & Granadeiro 1999). With the probable success of a local project to eradicate these predators, it is hoped that in the medium term there will be a marked increase in the population size.

Conservation status and legal instruments of protection
The White-faced Storm Petrel is listed in Annexe I of the Habitats directive and Annex II of the Berne Convention. Its breeding habitat is included in Annex I of the Habitat Directive. Its conservation status is Vulnerable and dependent on management, and its habitat is protected with the status of a Strict Reserve.

Current state of knowledge in Portugal
Current studies of this species include population censuses, nesting density, and breeding biology and ecology. There are no data on its distribution at sea through the year.




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