Very little is known about this intriguing seabird.
Within the species, individuals may exhibit variations in plumage, with several different ‘morphs’ existing. This often makes identification and accurate population and distribution estimate hard to achieve. Indeed, the differences in plumage lead researchers to believe there were several subspecies of Nesofregetta fuliginosa. However, this theory has been discounted in light of more recent research. The hydrobatidae contains 23 species with 8 genera, with the Polynesian Storm-petrel being the sole member of its genus Nesofregetta. Like most storm-petrels, the Polynesian Storm-petrel spends most of its time out on the open ocean foraging for food on the surface of the water. The toes of the Polynesian Storm-petrel are unique to the species. They are flattened and fused by the skin of the web to form an almost inflexible paddle. The feet are then used to ‘patter’ rapidly across the surface of the ocean to catch prey. Introduced predators such as rats and cats have been the main threat to the Polynesian Storm-petrel, but also egg and chick predation by the introduced house mouse, and the loss of vegetation cover by rabbits.
- Order: Procellariiformes
- Family: Oceanitidae
- Population: 1,500-2,400
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 25cm
This species is found on the Pacific islands of Kiribati, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and offshore islands of Chile.
Habitat and Ecology
This species hunt on the open ocean for small fish, crustaceans and squid. They prefer rocky and sandy shores, burrowing in the sand, under vegetation or in cracks in the rock. They nest through the year, and loose colonies are formed during periods of breeding.