Juan Fernández Petrel, Pétrel De Juan Fernandez or Peterel De Las Juan Fernádez

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Petrels

The Juan Fernandez Petrel, Pétrel De Juan Fernandez, or Peterel De Las Juan Fernádez (Pterodroma externa) is a species of seabird in the Procellariidae family.

Previously, the Juan Fernández petrel was a sub-species of the white-necked petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis), which is found in the Tropical Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean.


Distribution / Range

The Juan Fernández petrel is endemic to one island in Chile, Isla Alejandro Selkirk.


Status

The breeding population was estimated at 1,000,000 pairs in 1985-86, and there may be up to 3-5 million birds globally.

It is threatened by predation from introduced species (cats and rats) and, to a lesser extent, habitat loss from introduced herbivores (goats). The World Conservation Union (IUCN) assessed this species as Vulnerable due to its endemic status and threats from introduced predators, and it is on BirdLife's Red-list.


Breeding / Nesting

Its breeding habitat is high elevation (750 m+) ridges, where it digs a 2-3 m tunnel to raise one chick per year. Females lay a single, white egg in mid-November and both birds in a pair will take turns incubating the egg for approx. 60 days.

The chick hatches in mid-February and is fed by both parents for approximately 90-100 days before fledging in May. The chick remains underground in the burrow until it has reached fledgling mass and is fully feathered.

Chicks are fed a diet consisting mainly of fish and squid that are brought up to the nest from sea level by the parents.

During the breeding season, the Juan Fernández petrel is found foraging in waters surrounding Isla Alejandro Selkirk and Isla Robinson Crusoe, as well as coastal Chile. The birds can be found in flocks with pink-footed shearwaters and other seabirds. During the non-breeding season, Juan Fernández petrels forage in the equatorial currents and counter currents, north to the Hawaiian Islands.

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