A very rare sea bird is colonizing the Azores


It has already been confirmed that there is a new colony of the very rare black-and-white bird species on the island of Graciosa. The confirmation was made by the technicians of the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA).

It was this week that the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) confirmed the nesting of a rare bird in Europe, more precisely in the Ilhéu de Baixo nature reserve, near the coast of Graciosa island, in the Azores. The bird of scientific name Bulweria bulwerii, is commonly known by the name of dark-soul.

“This discovery confirms the suspicions of the existence of another colony of black soul in the Azores, which until now was only right on the island of Vila in Santa Maria, where 50 couples nest”, said Ricardo Ceia, a doctorate in biosciences and coordinator of SPEA Azores.

Taking into account its reduced area of distribution, the black-buzzard is classified as a species of bird “at risk” of extinction in the Vertebrates Red Book of Portugal. Thus, Ricardo Ceia also stressed that the presence of “such a small and restricted population” in Ilhéu de Baixo is “extremely important for its conservation, because if something happens to the population of Santa Maria, this colony in Graciosa will be the last hope for the species in the Azores”.

This species of bird is distributed in the northeastern Atlantic and nest in the archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira, Canaries and Cape Verde (Macaronesia).

Therefore, this colony will be the one that will be located more to the North.
This great discovery came as a surprise. In fact, it came when investigating another endangered species – the monroe’s foal (Hydrobates monteiroi), “the smallest seabird in the Azores and endemic to the archipelago,” according to the organization that promotes the Study and conservation of birds and their habitats in Portugal.

A total of 13 black-nests were identified. The population estimate is 20 breeding pairs, but the technicians only had this confirmation when they saw the small birds incubating their single egg (each pair only has one) in the four accessible nests – the remaining nests are not because this species ” Dig the nest deep into cracks and holes”.

By the end of July, hatching of eggs is expected, and between the end of September and the beginning of October, the young are expected to travel to the southern hemisphere, “returning to the colony at around three years”. Even though the visits to the Ilhéu de Baixo become regular from the age of three, the period of reproduction begins only at seven.

According to SPEA, this finding is part of the research developed by the organization in two projects resulting from the partnership between several entities in three archipelagos of the Macaronesia (Azores, Madeira and the Canaries), and in the Azores, in addition to SPEA, (DRAM) and the Regional Fund for Science and Technology (FRCT).