DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThe species is known from Runion (to France), by subfossil remains on Rodrigues (Mauritius) and in 2002 a single roadkill specimen in Black Gorges National Park, Mauritius (Tatayah et al. 2011). The few records include four specimens collected in the 19th century, two birds found dead in the 1970s, and rare observations of birds in the waters south of Runion since 1964. Recently, four more individuals, two of which died, were found attracted to urban lights of Runion towns (Le Corre et al. 2002). Five breeding sites are known (9-10 pairs in total, including one loose colony with four pairs), all restricted to a small area which is unlikely to harbour more than c. 40 breeding burrows in total (V. Bretagnolle in litt. 1999, V. Bretagnolle in litt. 2005). Calls have been heard during the breeding season (austral summer) on cliffs at 1,000 m and fledglings have been caught in March (Tatayah et al. 2011). It is possible that they nest in montane parts of the Black River Gorges, as the habitat is similar to that of their suspected nesting areas on Runion (Tatayah et al. 2011). Data collected at sea during the period 1978-1995 suggested a population of c.1,000 individuals (Attie et al. 1997) with perhaps 45-400 pairs (Brooke 2004), although below 100 pairs is probably more likely (V. Bretagnolle in litt. 1999) and may only be a few dozen pairs (Tatayah et al. 2011). A recent survey of the known breeding area on Runion found ten fledglings, indicating that the species continues to breed successfully on the island (M. Riethmuller in litt. 2011).