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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 > Zino's Petrel
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Zino's Petrel
Zino's Petrel - Pterodroma madeira (Mathews, 1934)
(Portuguese Common Name - Freira da Madeira)


Breeding
This bird arrives on Madeira to breed at the end of March/April, leaving the colony for the sea in September/October. Between October and March Zino's Petrel, as a pelagic seabird, is at sea in search of food.

Distribution and population size
Zino's Petrel is endemic to the island of Madeira, nesting exclusively in a few areas of the central mountainous massif of this island. The local (and worldwide) population is estimated at 40 pairs.

Identification
At sea, Zino's Petrel can be distinguished from other species that occur in Macaronesia, except Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae, by its flight (forming marked "V's"); by the marked contrast between its dark upper body and white lower body; and by the dark inside of the wing. It is practically impossible to distinguish it from Fea's Petrel, although it is slightly smaller and more delicate.

Habitat
Zino's Petrel excavates a nest in the soil, and so the availability of non-eroded areas with vegetation is vital to its survival. The colonies are located on almost inaccessible platforms on rocky cliffs in the mountainous centre of the Island of Madeira.

Conservation
Threats

Predation by introduced animals, namely cats and rats, was the principal reason for the decline, almost to extinction, of this species. The degradation of its breeding habitat, caused by erosion due to introduced herbivores (goats, sheep and rabbits), was another determining factor in the decline, and is still today one of the principal obstacles to its recovery. Egg and bird collection by collectors is another threat to take into account.

Conservation status and legal instruments of protection
Zino's Petrel is classified as Globally Threatened and is considered dependent on specific management measures. It is listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive and Annex II of the Berne Convention. Its habitat is listed in Annexe I of the Habitats Directive. In Portugal it is classified as Threatened.

Current state of knowledge in Portugal
There is information on breeding biology and reproductive success, and there are population censuses and biometric data. The breeding population is monitored and assessed annually and possible new breeding sites are visited regularly. There is no information on its distribution at sea.

Notes
This is one of the rarest marine birds in the world and the most threatened in Europe, to the point that it was considered extinct in the 1960's.




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