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Range DescriptionPterodroma brevipes is presently known to breed only in Fiji on Gau, and possibly Viti Levu, Kadavu, Ovalau and Vanuabalavu. On Gau island, 165 birds were attracted to lights on four nights in April-May 198411. However, in recent surveys for this species at the historical breeding site of Ovalau (July 2004) none were seen4. A more recent survey at Mt Washington (=Nabukulevu) on Kadavu recorded fewer than five, although the visit was outside the breeding season20. The species is a cryptic breeder, rarely seen from the coast, returning to land only after dark during the breeding season and often silent after pre-laying displays, so it may have been overlooked. The species may have been extirpated from Viti Levu and Vanua Levu through predation by introduced mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus. However, on Viti Levu, petrels have been seen flying inland during the day, one freshly killed specimen was found in 19711, and birds heard in the interior may have been of this species. The one other Fijian island with a historical specimen record but no mongooses, Vanuabalavu1, has not been surveyed in recent years, nor have other islands such as Taveuni and Moala which may hold this species1,4,5. There are a few at-sea records of this species from Fijian seas, with maximum recorded counts of eight birds6,7. Outside Fiji, there are historical breeding specimens from Vanuatu and Makira (Solomon Islands). A series of specimens from Vanuatu from 1859 to 1936 include breeding birds from the southern islands of Tanna and Aneityeum (=Anatom), and birds from Efate and at sea off Mere Lava (Banks Islands)10. The only recent records from Vanuatu are two off Efate on 11 March 19718 and some at sea in 20049. There have been no recent thorough surveys of the Vanuatu breeding islands but local people on Tanna reported that hole-nesting birds were very rare in 19984. A visit to Tanna in July 2008 proved that the species still breeds in the mountains in the south-west of the island19. The newly-described taxon P. b. magnificens, presumed to breed on Vanua Lava and possibly Gaua in the Banks Islands, was found to be relatively abundant during an expedition in 2009, with 180 sighted at sea21. Extensive work with local communities on Makira revealed no knowledge of the species but nine were seen at sea between Makira and the Santa Cruz islands on 3 October 20044. The species previously nested on Rarotonga (Cook Islands), but only a small relict population remained in 1990, which is now reported to have gone extinct13,16,17. It may also breed on the Austral Islands (French Polynesia), Moorea and Tahiti, and Samoa, although there are no confirmed records12,16. Reports from Tau in American Samoa may refer to the Herald Petrel P. heraldica14. It has been suggested that the birds found in the Solomon Islands and French Polynesia may be P. caledonica rather than P. brevipes15, although this is disputed16. Regardless of the taxonomic status of P. brevipes, it is undoubtedly rare, and its population has recently been estimated at 1,000-10,000 individuals4.