Letter

Published on 13 March 2014 in Letters

Harrop (2008) stated that `Bulwer’s Petrel [Bulweria bulwerii] is a monotypic species of tropical waters, which breeds on islands of the eastern North Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans between 10°S and 40°N (Onley & Scofield 2007). In the Atlantic it breeds on the Azores, Madeira, the Desertas, Great Salvage, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Most of those which breed in the Atlantic are believed to move south and west into the tropical Atlantic outside the breeding season’. In fact, it is quite a strong migrant, moving between 40°N and 40°S in the Atlantic (Bourne 1995), where it may also have bred on St Helena, at 16°S (Ashmole et al. 1999). It seems likely that most birds in the Indian Ocean are migrants from the Pacific, but an egg was found on Round Island, off Mauritius (20°S), in 1994 (Merton & Bell 2003). It breeds on the Marquesas at 9°S and bones have been found on Henderson Island at 24°S (Wragg 1995) in the central-south Pacific. This is hardly an entirely tropical distribution. In terms of the British claims, Bulwer’s Petrel is not a species that often occurs wrecked or on ships, so there are not many sources for imported specimens, especially in the days before refrigeration. Since John Gould seems to have been more interested in obtaining birds to figure than in where they came from, it is not surprising that there is little information about the supposed 1837 Yorkshire specimen, although it is not unusual for stray seabirds

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