Providence Petrels

The Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri) is a species that burrows in one location; isolated Lord Howe Island, some 800km from the Australian mainland in the Tasman Sea.

Of roughly pigeon like proportions (40cm), the bird was once also numerous on Norfolk Island (to Australia).

However, its population here was consumed by starving epicurean transportees, sent to Norfolk Island as way of punishment.

Nonetheless it numbers some 100,000 on Lord Howe.

Graceful and supple in flight, the Providence Petrel has a cumbersome propensity on the ground, making it vulnerable from attack by predators.

Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri)

Despite its reasonably copious strength of numbers, the Providence Petrel is deemed to be in a precarious disposition because its breeding is confined to two mountain tops and one tiny islet, and is therefore at great risk from a catastrophe.

Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri)

This species is classified as vulnerable. Main causes of death are predation by the endangered Lord Howe Rail and flooding of burrows. Other dangers include rat predation and drowning in longline fishing gear. The current population is estimated at 64,000.

The scientific name of this species was given in honour of the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander, Solander’s Petrel being an alternative common name.

Photo of author

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