A bird that was known only from two records from the 1920s has been discovered in the Pacific after a gap of 79 years. Sightings of the Critically Endangered Beck’s Petrel Pseudobulweria becki – published by the British Ornithologists’ Club – have finally proven the species is still in existence, and delighted conservationists.
A voyage into the Bismarck Archipelago, north-east of Papua New Guinea, successfully managed to photograph more than 30 of these elusive seabirds. This included sightings of fledged juveniles – suggesting recent breeding. A freshly dead young bird salvaged at sea also becomes only the third specimen in existence. “This re-finding of Beck’s Petrel is exceptional news and congratulations to Hadoram Shirihai [the finder] for his effort and energy in rediscovering this ‘lost’ petrel,” commented Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s Global Species Programme Coordinator.