IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

Distribution

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Range Description

Until recently Pseudobulweria becki was only known from two specimens: a female taken at sea east of New Ireland and north of Buka, Papua New Guinea, on 6 January 1928, and a male taken north-east of Rendova, Solomon Islands, on 18 May 1929 (Murphy and Pennoyer 1952). Three birds probably of this species were seen off New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago in 2003 (H. Shirihai in litt. 2007, Shirihai 2008) and in July and August 2007 an expedition recorded the species on seven days and at at least four localities off New Ireland, with at least 30 recorded in a day and a maximum of 16 together, finally confirming the species's rediscovery (Shirihai 2008). Cape St George, at the southern end of the island, appeared the most favoured locality, where birds outnumbered Tahiti Petrel P. rostrata, recently fledged juveniles and moulting adults were seen close to land, and a freshly dead fledgling was found (Shirihai 2008). In 2008 at least 11 were seen off Western Bougainville and Eastern New Ireland in April (C. Collins in litt. 2008), and an expedition in July-August reported 160 birds between New Britain and New Ireland (Shirihai 2008a), though this is the summed count for multiple days and made no attempt to avoid double-counting individuals so is interpreted as an optimistic count for the location (J. Bird in litt. 2012).

It seems likely that the species breeds in the montane forests of southern New Ireland, with the upper slopes of Mt. Agil (also known as Mt. Taron) and the rest of the Hans Meyer Range considered a likely colony location (Bird 2012), but other locations such as around Mt Gilaut further south are also possible breeding locations (Shirihai 2008). Two were seen near Efate in the Vanuatu archipelago in February 2010 (P. Harrison in litt. 2010), while a possible record was seen and photographed from a boat crossing the Coral Sea east of Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2006 (A. Wilson in litt. 2006), and due to the difficulty of reliable identification in the field a number of records of P. rostrata from the Solomons and Bismarck Archipelago (Coates and Swainson 1978, Coates 1985, Palliser 1987), may also refer to P. becki. The extent of its breeding range and at-sea distribution is still unknown.

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© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

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