Juan Fernandez Petrel Pterodroma externa



Conservation Status

Globally, this species is classified as Vulnerable owing to its very small breeding range, in which it is susceptible to human impacts and stochastic events. In nesting sites these petrels are vulnerable to habitat disturbance by goats, this include habitat alteration through plant consumption and also, at times, direct collapses of burrows. The goat population was reduced by a Dutch hunting control program in the late 1990s through to 2003, but remains a problem in all breeding colonies. Feral cat predation is thought to be causing a population decline, with a preliminary estimate of 2-3% annual mortality from cat predation. Norway rats also prey on chicks although the incidence appears low and localized to certain habitat types. Dogs may also be causing a population decline. Flash flooding in 2002 caused severe localized habitat loss with an estimated 30,000 burrows destroyed. In 1995, a fire destroyed habitat at the edge of the principal colony and directly killed thousands of birds. Decreased lobster catches near Isla Robinson Crusoe are displacing fishers to Alejandro Selkirk, resulting in an increase in human disturbance on the breeding grounds. During the night there are some collisions of birds with the lights of the village on Alexander Selkirk (especially on misty nights). The village is inhabited from September to May, during the period of lobster exploitation. Conservation measures underway are: The Juan Fernández Islands were designated as a national park in 1935 (protected from 1967) and a biosphere reserve in 1977. The Chilean government began a habitat restoration program in 1997, and the islands have been nominated for World Heritage listing. Reserve rangers have been trained in fighting fires, but there is only one ranger on Alejandro Selkirk. Sheep were removed from Alejandro Selkirk in 1983. A Dutch funded goat eradication program was unsuccessful. Conservation measures proposed are: Establish population monitoring plots. Improve sustainable management of yellowfin tuna stocks. Eradicate introduced fauna (goats, cows, rats etc) from Alejandro Selkirk. Monitor effects of flash floods on colonies.

Effects of human activity on populations

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Recommended Citation

Juan Fernandez Petrel (Pterodroma externa), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: