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Thread: 'New Caledonia Storm-petrel' vs New Zealand Storm-petrel

  1. #1

    'New Caledonia Storm-petrel' vs New Zealand Storm-petrel

    Dear SOSSA friends,

    I am reposting this from Birding-Aus via Birding-NZ.

    Nikolas

    > From: Philip Griffin

    >To: birding-nz <BIRDING-NZ@yahoogroups.com>; birding-aus <birding-aus@vicnet.net.au>
    >Sent: Friday, 17 May 2013 6:49 AM
    >Subject: [BIRDING-NZ] FWD: WEST PACIFIC SEABIRD EXPEDITIONS
    >
    >
    >Reposting here from Seabird News:
    >
    >
    >An eight-person expedition team, led by Peter Harrison, returned from seas
    >south of Noumea, New Caledonia, last week after six days of off-shore
    >seabird research. The team included Chris Gaskin, a leading figure in the
    >rediscovery and subsequent ongoing research of the New Zealand Storm-Petrel
    >whose breeding grounds he helped discover just a few weeks ago. The New
    >Caledonian expedition team carried out 16 chum-drops over the six-day
    >expedition period in waters ranging from 800 to 1685 metres deep. Included
    >in the species photographs at the chum slicks was the mysterious
    >storm-petrel originally unearthed during the recent West Pacific Odyssey
    >voyages by Chris Collins, et al, and generally referred to as the New
    >Caledonia Storm-Petrel.
    >
    >As yet not formally described, the unnamed storm-petrel was recorded on all
    >six days of the expedition, with 21 sightings in total. The chum-slicks
    >were deployed to entice the mysterious storm-petrel within range of the
    >same powerful air-powered, four-barrel net guns that had successfully
    >captured the recently discovered Pincoya Storm-Petrel *Oceanites pincoyae*,
    >in seas off Chile in 2011. The New Caledonia Storm-Petrel, however, proved
    >much more difficult to entice within range of the net guns than the Pincoya
    >Storm-Petrel. The guns were fired just twice over the six-day period, with
    >the net narrowly missing the intended target on both occasions.****
    >
    >In appearance, the mysterious storm-petrel resembles the New Zealand
    >Storm-Petrel but is larger, with proportionately longer wings and tail,
    >different flight and feeding habits. Observations over the six-day period
    >of the unnamed taxon suggest that it is a member of the *Frigata* genus and
    >probably closely related to the New Zealand Storm-Petrel which also has
    >prominently streaked underparts and white in the underwing.****
    >
    >The New Caledonia seabird expedition was preceded by a week-long expedition
    >by Harrison and his wife Shirley Metz to seas off the Solomon Islands where
    >several thousand images of the near mythical Heinroth’s Shearwater *Puffinus
    >heinrothi* were taken. Images from the Solomon Heinroth expedition and the
    >New Caledonia expedition can be viewed at the Seattle-based Zegrahm
    >Expeditions website(*http://www.zegrahm.com/blog*<http://www.zegrahm.com/blog>
    >)****
    >
    >Other species seen and photographed by Harrison during the past month in
    >the West Pacific include Vanuatu and Beck’s petrels; Magnificent, Collared
    >and Gould’s petrels; plus White-bellied Storm-Petrel.
    >
    >
    >Philip Griffin
    Last edited by nhaass; 23-05-2013 at 09:34 PM.

  2. #2
    I am now reposting Ian Southey's response:

    From: Ian Southey
    To:
    Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2013 6:19 AM
    Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] [BIRDING-NZ] FWD: WEST PACIFIC SEABIRD EXPEDITIONS


    These storm petrels are pretty interesting and look
    to me like they might be a match for this bird collected in the 1840s,
    http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/usexex/navigation/ScientificAtlases/enlarge_image_a.cfm?id=255 currently regarded as a colour morph of the Black-bellied Storm Petrel.

    Finding numbers of them in the
    same place is reminiscent of the New Zealand Storm Petrel so they could actually be a distinct species. Good find and thanks for sharing.

    Ian

  3. #3
    And here is my response:

    Hi Ian et al.,

    Congratulations! Yes, this is indeed very interesting and it would be very exciting if yet another storm-petrel taxon would be described. Let's hope that the next expedition will be successful at catching a few birds to obtain morphometric data and DNA samples.

    A few comments on the historic birds and some of the birds seen in Australian waters since 2010 (parts of the following text are copied and pasted from our discussions of the March 2010 Ulladulla and April 2010 Wollongong NZSPs. Both birds have been accepted by BARC, the Ulladulla bird with the caveat "Even though this record was accepted there is a real chance that this bird could be from an as yet unknown population or even a new taxon so should more information come to light in the future in this regard it may be necessary to re-open the case." Sic!):


    Some of the birds in Australia accepted as NZSPs by BARC (including the Ulladulla bird) did indeed show a different underwing pattern from 'classic' NZSPs resembling more that of a 'New Caledonia Storm-petrel'. We interpreted this as an unknown moult pattern of NZSP. Size was in most Australian cases difficult to judge (and there was quite some debate about the size). Jizz and behaviour, however, spoke in most cases against 'classic' BBSP or WBSP. Moreover, Stephenson et al. (2008) studied Black-bellied Storm-petrel skins in several museum collections and stated that 'no bird showed patterning remotely similar to the streaking seen in New Zealand Storm-petrel'. All Australian birds I have seen photographs of (including the two I have seen myself) did show an underpart pattern very similar to NZSP.

    Historic 'Striped Storm-petrels':
    "See STEPHENSON et al. (2008) for a fuller discussion of the taxonomic uncertainties that have confused the identity of five museum specimens that have been variably labelled as Thalassidroma lineata or Fregetta lineata or Pealea lineata. In summary, three of these specimens would appear to represent the type specimens of New Zealand Storm-petrel whilst the remaining two birds are a streaked White-bellied Storm-petrel collected off Huapu I. (Marquesas Is.) in 1922 and a streaked Black-bellied Storm-petrel collected from Upolu, Samoa in 1839. However, there is still considerable debate as to the true identity of the latter specimen but hopefully DNA analyses will help to solve this taxonomic riddle. Intriguingly, Murphy & Snyder (1952) note in their discussion of the 'Pealea phenomenon' (the development of variably streaked individuals in certain storm-petrel populations) is that Peale (1848) recorded T. lineata frequently in the torrid zone
    during the trip to Upolu and that natives on the island 'represented' that the bird bred high up in the mountains. However, there must be some doubt as to the identification of the birds Peale observed at sea and the gestured identifications made by the islanders due to the lack of quality binoculars or any cameras and problems in communication, respectively. Murphy and Snyder (1952) said as much by noting that 'both statements fit well with the distribution and habits of another petrel with which "Pealea" might readily be confused in the field, namely, Nesofregetta albigularis'."


    In conclusion, at this point I think that it is more likely that 'New Caledonia Storm-petrel' is either a funny moult stage of NZSP or - more excitingly - a distinct, yet undescribed species (rather than an undescribed form of BBSP). Hopefully, future research will give us an answer.



    COLLARED PETREL:
    I am surprised how far the white reached into the primary tips of the Collared Petrels and how similar the width of the black trailing edge was in Collared compared to Gould's Petrel. This makes these two field marks somewhere between very difficult to use and almost useless and could start the discussion again re the collared Gould's Petrels that frequently turn up in Australian waters.




    STEPHENSON, B.M., C.P. GASKIN, R. GRIFFITHS, K.A. BAIRD, R.L. PALMA & M.J. IMBER (2008):
    The New Zealand storm-petrel (Pealeornis maoriana Mathews, 1932): first live capture and species assessment of an
    enigmatic seabird. Notornis 55: 191-206.
    MURPHY, R.C. & J.P. SNYDER (1952): The "Pealea" phenomenon and other notes on storm petrels. American Museum Novitates 1506: 1-16.
    HOWELL, S.N.G. & C. COLLINS (2008). A possible New Zealand Storm-petrel off New Caledonia, southwest Pacific. Birding World 21: 207-209


    Cheers,

    Nikolas

  4. #4
    I forgot to mention "collared Gould's vs. Collared Petrel" in the title...

    Nikolas

  5. #5
    And here a few pictures (all by Raja):


    (1) Wollongong, Ulladulla and Hauraki NZSPs
    **http://www.adarman.com/Birds/Stormpetrels/Storm-petrels



    (2) collared (note the lower case 'c') Gould's Petrel Sydney 2010:
    **http://www.adarman.com/Birds/Petrels-Shearwaters/Goulds-Petrel/16226785_MCf4pS#!i=812226742&k=NsB32sS&lb=1&s=A



    (3) collared (note the lower case 'c') Gould's Petrel Sydney 2013:
    **http://www.adarman.com/Pelagics/New-South-Wales-Pelagics/2013-February-09-Sydney/27944290_xW68HX#!i=2358694275&k=vBf8mHw&lb=1&s=A


    Cheers,


    Nikolas

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