IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

Distribution

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Range Description

Pterodroma leucoptera mainly breeds in Australia and New Caledonia (to France). There is also a small colony on Raivavae, Austral Islands, French Polynesia (V. Bretagnolle in litt. 1999, 2000). In Australia, leucoptera breeds on Cabbage Tree (0.3 km2) and adjacent Boondelbah (0.1 km2) Islands. It has also been recently found to breed on at least three sites on Broughton Island (1.3 km2) and Little Broughton Island (0.3 km2), 12 km northeast of Cabbage Tree (Carlile et al. in press). On Cabbage Tree, population estimates indicated a decline from 2,004 birds in 1970 to 1,157 in 1993 (Priddel and Carlile 1997b). However, conservation action undertaken since 1993 has seen the number of nesting pairs increase annually from fewer than 250 to c.1,025 in 2001, and numbers appear to be currently stable between 800-1000 pairs (Priddel and Carlile 2007, 2009). Following a translocation programme in 1999, approximately 50 pairs breed on Boondelbah (Priddel et al. 2006, D. Priddel in litt. 2012). In New Caledonia, three main breeding sites of caledonica of 1,000-2,000 pairs are known between Mts Dzumac and Poya, at 350-650 m (V. Bretagnolle in litt. 2007). Based on sightings at sea off New Caledonia, there may be c.1,000-10,000 pairs in total, although more colonies may lie undiscovered in isolated massifs on New Caledonia (Meeth and Meeth 1983, Bretagnolle and Thomas 1990, V. Bretagnolle in litt. 1999, 2000, Bretagnolle in Brooke 2004, V. Bretagnolle in litt. 2007). Petrels known historically from Vanuatu (possibly still extant) may be this species (V. Bretagnolle in litt. 1999, 2000), or an undescribed taxon (V. Bretagnolle in litt. 2007). Australian birds presumably disperse with New Caledonian birds to the Tasman Sea and the far east Pacific (Imber and Jenkins 1981, Meeth and Meeth 1983, Bretagnolle and Thomas 1990, Marchant and Higgins 1990). Three individuals have been sighted over the waters around Fiji (T. Pyn in litt. 2008), and four around the Windward Islands (Champeau 2010). There is also some evidence pointing to the presence of small colonies on Tahiti (Champeau 2010). Non-breeders forage in the Southern Ocean as far south as the Antarctic coast (D. Priddel in litt. 2012). Recent tracking studies have revealed that during the non-breeding season, both subspecies migrate across the Pacific, but use different migration routes and over-winter in different regions of the ocean; leucoptera in the central Pacific south of Hawaii, and caledonia in the Eastern Pacific west of Ecuador (D. Priddel in litt. 2012).

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Source: IUCN

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