The Dominica government recently announced that a team of officials from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the organization Environmental Protection the Caribbean (EPIC) has been searching for the rare and endangered Diablotin bird (aka the Black-Capped Petrel or Pterodroma hasitata) on the island since the beginning of this year. The team’s objective is to determine whether the endangered bird is still nesting in Dominica. The black-capped petrel is one of the world’s most imperiled and least known seabirds. According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) blog, this species was thought to be extinct for most of the 20thcentury, “then was rediscovered in 1963 nesting high up in the mountains of southeastern Haiti. Since then, various expeditions have found diablotins nesting among the cliffs, boulders, and pine forests of four sites on the island of Hispaniola.” See link below to the Dominica government site. [Also see second ABC link for studies conducted in the US.]
Last found nesting in Dominica over 150 years ago, the Diablotin bird is the namesake of both Morne Diablotin and Morne Aux Diables. The decline in its numbers worldwide is attributed to overhunting by its predators, cats and rats; habitat loss and human harvesting. [. . .]
The Black-Capped Petrel or Diablotin bird is a nocturnal sea-bird which means it spends its days feeding at sea and nests in burrows three feet deep on the highest and steepest mountain peaks at night.
“Almost the entire population of birds feeds off the United States so they’ll fly up to a few thousand miles to feed and then come back to places like Dominica to nest. They require a pristine habitat which is why they’re not found on most in the Caribbean; they require very steep and undisturbed forest habitat. Dominica has that so the places where we’re looking and they places where they were historically are the highest areas,” says Adam Brown, Senior Biologist with Epic. [. . .]
[Photo above by Tazio Taveres: One of three Black-capped Petrels destined to carry a satellite tag for the first time in history. Source: https://abcbirds.wordpress.com/tag/birds-2/
To read more on petrel conservancy projects, see https://abcbirds.wordpress.com/tag/birds-2/