Monday 31 May 2010

Monteiro's Petrel

A recently described Azores endemic with a world population of 200 pairs. The majority breed on the off islands of Graciosa. During this visit they were relatively easy to find just a few miles off shore and were attracted to 'petrel liquer'. The deep forked tail and long wings give this bird a distinctive jizz and in high winds there is something almost 'bulweria' about it.

Monteiro's Petrel represents an example of sympatric speciation. It is isolated from it's closest relative, the Grant's Petrel, by time, not space. In the winter Grant's Petrels breed on the Azores and these are replaced in the spring and summer by breeding Monteiro's Petrels. They use the same burrows to breed in and during August, the first Grant's Petrels often occupy nests which still have Monteiro's growing up in.

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