a1 Department of Environment and Climate Change, PO Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 2220, Australia.
a2 NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, Box 2041, Government Buildings, Suva, Fiji.
The ‘Critically Endangered’ Fiji Petrel Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi is believed to breed only on the island of Gau, Fiji, but its nesting grounds have yet to be located. Until a bird was captured in 1984, the species was known from only a single museum specimen (collected in 1855), one sighting on land (in 1965) and four unverified sightings at sea (1964–65). Local knowledge of the Fiji Petrel is restricted to a few lines of a traditional lullaby. In this paper we collate and review all records of the species, and examine all known attempts to locate nesting sites. Since 1985 there have been 15 reports of sightings on land and six at sea. Two additional specimens, both pre-breeding adults, have been obtained. Although our knowledge of this elusive species is slowly increasing, the timing of the breeding cycle remains uncertain, making the search for nesting sites particularly challenging. Known potential threats on Gau include predation by introduced cats, rats and pigs. We detail recent conservation efforts and prescribe some new initiatives, including the use of sniffer dogs. Locating the nesting grounds of the Fiji Petrel remains the prime conservation priority for this species.
(Received November 01 2007)
(Accepted March 19 2008)