SPECIES: Pterodroma nigripennis — Black-winged Petrel
CLASSIFICATION: Vulnerable (NSW)
The Black-winged Petrel is one of 14 migratory seabirds that breeds in colonies on Lord Howe Island. Petrels are characterised by their hooked bill, which they use to grasp prey caught during shallow dives just below the water’s surface. The Black-winged Petrel is recognised by bold black markings underneath its wings and is known for the loud, high-pitched calls it makes. Nest colonies are often low bushes along cliff faces.
Fortunately for the Black-winged Petrel, feral cats and pigs have been eradicated from Lord Howe Island. The Petrel is now under threat by the Masked Owl – an introduced species – which predates on eggs and chicks of the Black-winged Petrel. There are no current population estimates – it could be as little as 100 pairs, or as many as 1,000 pairs of Black-winged Petrels still surviving and making the long journey each year, to Lord Howe Island to nest and breed.
FAME has committed to guard the paradise of Lord Howe Island and the species endemic to the Island, of which the Black-winged Petrel is but one. Our project, in conjuction with the Lord Howe Island Board and the NSW Government will help increase the number and breeding success of a range of woodhens and seabirds endemic to Lord Howe Island. For more info or to make a donation, visit the project page of our website.
Photo: Jack Shick