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Murphy’s Petrel

MURPHY’S PETREL
Pétrel de Murphy - Photo Steve Cranwell

Pétrel de Murphy – Photo Steve Cranwell


APPEARANCE AND IDENTIFICATION

16 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. Fully anthracite grey petrel, with a pale grey throat. Its beak, strong and black, is characteristic of the Petrels: it is hooked at its end and surmounted by two horny tubes after which the nostrils open. The legs are flesh coloured except for their distal portion that are black. His flight is fast and strong. Frequently describes wide arcs. Its tail is pointed.

Order: Procellariiformes

Family: Procellariidae

Category: Seabirds


LOCATION

Nests (possibly or surely) in eastern Polynesia (Ducie, Henderson, Oeno Islands, Pitcairn), Rapa (Austral), the Tuamotu and South Gambier (Moruroa, Fangataufa, observed by the author on several islands of the Acteon Group). Only visits Tahiti and Moorea.


CHARACTERISTICS

It establishes its colonies on remote atolls and coral islands or volcanic islands and islets. On the atolls, it prefers the oceanic fringe where it can easily take off. It remains at sea outside the breeding season.

A characteristic “Hoo-hoo-hoo” in the colonies. Sings on the ground and in flight during day time.

To listen the Murphy’s Petrel:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Pterodroma-ultima

Cephalopods, fish and crustaceans.

It nests on the ground in natural cavities. Breeds in April (early parades) to November in the southern Tuamotu. The colonies are visited at day time. Male and female convent alternately. Incubation lasts 50 to 54 days. The young is raised for a hundred days.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.

Bibliography:
https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/442293
http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=32AC75A858BD346D
http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/petrel.de.murphy.html
http://ifrecor-doc.fr/items/show/1283
http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22698039
http://www.hbw.com/ibc/species/murphys-petrel-pterodroma-ultima
https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22698039/132621630

NAMES

Scientifique Name: Pterodroma ultima  Murphy, 1949

Polynesian Names:
Upo’a (Tubuai), e’upo (Rapa)

LOCATION
  • Austral
  • South Tuamotu and Gambier
  • Group Pitcairn (Ducie, Henderson, Oeno)

STATUS AND PROTECTION

This species has a restricted distribution. Its habitat is gradually invaded by predator species eating the eggs and the young individuals, introduced by Man. The rat eradication on Ducie where lives the largest colony of Murphy’s Petrel is hopeful to protect this species.

The species is listed in category A on the list of species protected by the territorial regulations of French Polynesia.
It is classified as « Near Threatened » (NT) on the IUCN Red List.