Black-capped Petrel Working Group
The Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata), also known as the Diablotin, is one of the Caribbean’s most fascinating seabirds, and one of its most threatened. Spending most of its life at sea, this species comes to land only to breed, nesting in burrows or crevices which they visit only in cover of darkness. Almost wiped out by overhunting, the species only persists in remote mountain areas of a few Caribbean nations.
It is perhaps unsurprising that this bird has long been enigmatic and poorly-understood. Even the basics of its range and life history remained shrouded in mystery: where do they nest? how many are there? what threatens their survival now?
Recently, through the pioneering use of new techniques like radar observation and old-fashioned field work, great strides have been made in understanding this bird. Nesting sites have been located on Hispaniola and individual nests have been located and studied. On the island of Dominica, a breeding population was confirmed for the first time in over 150 years. And the Black-capped Petrel was recently featured in ZiNG Magazine, LIAT Airlines in-flight magazine.
It is a truly fascinating time to study the Black-capped Petrel. This Working Group is currently using multiple methods to learn more about the nesting sites and nesting behavior of this species. This information will be used to guide conservation plans and help ensure the survival of this remarkable seabird.
Click here to join the Diablotin Yahoo Group to receive or share messages with a community of people interested in Pterodroma hasitata conservation.
Black-capped Petrel Resources
Conservation Action Plan for the Black-capped Petrel (pdf). English Version, January 2012.
Plan de Acción para la Conservación del Diablotín (pdf). En español. Enero 2012.
Working Group Notes
Update sent out on YahooGroups, June 2016.
Presentation on advances in science and conservation given at the World Seabird Conference, October 2015.
Update sent out on YahooGroups, October 2015.
Update sent out on YahooGroups, June 2014
Update sent out on YahooGroups, January 2014
Notes from a December 2012 webinar focused on plans for 2013
Update sent out on YahooGroups, August 2012
Updates from Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds meeting, Freeport – July 2011
Notes from Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds meeting, Antigua – July 2009
Notes from Hatteras meeting, North Carolina – June 2009
The monograph “Diablotin Pterodroma hasitata: a biography of the endangered Black-capped Petrel. Marine Ornithology Vol 41 (special issue ISSN 1018-3337): S3-S43 by T. Simons, D. S. Lee and J. C. Haney” is now available at no cost online at http://www.marineornithology.org.
Red Data Book profile for Black-capped Petrel by Collar, N.J., Gonzaga, L.P., Krabbe, N., Madroño Nieto, A., Naranjo, L.G., Parker, T.A. & Wege, D.C. in Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. 1992 Cambridge, UK: International Council for Bird Preservation.
Link to Black-capped Petrel – BirdLife Species Factsheet at Birdlife Datazone
French-language profile assembled by Abdel Abellard
Status of and Conservation Priorities for Black-capped Petrels in the West Indies by David S. Lee in Schreiber and Lee 2000, Society of Caribbean Ornithology, Special Publication No. 1 [Available in hard-copy, contact Jim Wiley
90-day Finding for Petition to List under the US Endangered Species Act. June 12, 2012. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing the black-capped petrel may be warranted.
Recent Field Investigations (Generally Unpublished)
Shown in reverse chronological order. Documents produced before 2000 are generally not presented here. Readers are encouraged to search and access published works (e.g., in journals) on-line. Open-access publication sites include BioOne, Directory of Open Access Journals and JSTOR.).
Diablotin Conservation Expedition: Haiti 2016. March 2016. Report prepared by Adam Brown.
Acoustic monitoring of diablotin activity on Hispaniola: Final Report for 2014 Pilot Project. November 2014. Report prepared by Matthew McKown.
Black-capped Petrels project. September 2014. Interim Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Submitted by American Bird Conservancy.
Radar Surveys for Black-capped Petrels on Hispaniola: January – March 2014. Report prepared by Adam Brown.
Acoustic monitoring of diablotin activity on Hispaniola: Pilot data and potential next steps. January 2014. Report prepared by Matthew McKown.
Tracking the Devil: Radar Surveys for Black-capped Petrels. Presentation by Adam Brown, given July 2013 at the Regional Meeting of the Society for the Conservationa and Study of Caribbean Birds, Grenada. Written report by EPIC, March 2013.
Monitoring Breeding Black-capped Petrels at Morne Vincent, Haiti and Loma del toro, Dominican Republic. Presentation by Esteban Garrido, Ernst Rupp, Adam Brown, James E. Goetz, given July 2013 at the Regional Meeting of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, Grenada. Written report by Grupo Jaragua, May 2013.
Black-capped Petrels and Communication Towers. Poster by Adam Brown, Ernst Rupp, Anderson Jean and Holly Freifeld, given July 2013 at the Regional Meeting of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, Grenada.
Plans/goals for Hispaniola field work for the coming breeding season (2013)
of the Black-capped Petrel (pdf) and Images showing the landscape relevant to Black-capped Petrel conservation. Powerpoints prepared by Ernst Rupp/Esteban Garrido and James Goetz, respectively, for December 2012 webinar. See also Working Group Notes.
Summary of Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) Nesting Activity during the 2011/2012 Nesting Season at Loma del Toro and Morne Vincent, Hispaniola. 2012. Report prepared by Ernst Rupp, Esteban Garrido, and George Wallace.
Toward an Improved Conservation Strategy for Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) in La Visite National Park, Haiti. 2012. Timyan, J. C, J. E. Goetz, J. C. Martinez–Sánchez (2012) Unpublished report for Canadian Wildlife Service and BirdLife International. Report focuses on recent and current development activities (and their successes or otherwise) within La Visite National Park. The focus was on Bicknell’s Thrush habitat but the results are directly relevant to BCPE.
Interim report describing field work in Hispaniola during the 2011-2012 breeding season by Jessica Hardesty, American Bird Conservancy and Ernst Rupp, Grupo Jaragua, April 2012. See also the ABC/EPIC Press Release describing use of thermal imaging readers and portable radar systems to complement traditional field work.
New discoveries of the Endangered Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) in Massif de la Selle, Haiti by Anderson Jean, Joel Timyan and Enold Louis-Jean, Société Audubon Haïti, describing results of a November 2011 field expedition. See also BirdLife news story on this topic.
2011:First Ever Chick Photos (Grupo Jaragua site, which links to Cornell Press Release and to YouTube video). See also the related Presentation made by Grupo Jaragua at the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds 2011 regional meeting.
Interim Report on Black-capped Petrel: Field Research on Hispaniola, 2008-2009 by Jim Goetz, Conservation Science Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 30 April 2009. Informal report on field research in Hispaniola in 2008 and 2009.
Ornithological Field Investigations In Macaya Biosphere Reserve, Haiti, 2-10 February 2006 [VINS Technical Report 06-04], Christopher C. Rimmer, Juan Klavins, John A. Gerwin, James E. Goetz, and Eladio M. Fernandez (Chap 5. from Simons et al. 2006 compendium prepared for USFWS)
Ornithological Field Investigations In La Visite National Park, Haiti, 26 January – 1 February 2005 by Christopher C. Rimmer, Esteban Garrido Gomez, and Jorge Luis Brocca, in collaboration with Société Audubon Haïti, November, 2005 (Chap 4. from Simons et al. 2006 compendium prepared for USFWS)
Conservation status of Black-capped Petrels (Pterodroma hasitata): colony surveys at Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic, January 2002 by Theodore R. Simons, Jaime Collazo, David Lee, and John Gerwin, December 2002 (Chap 3. from Simons et al. 2006 compendium prepared for USFWS)
Press Release: EPIC finds one of the world’s most rare seabirds active on Dominica. July 28, 2015. Details released in a presentation at the 20th International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean.
Radar Surveys for the Endangered Black-capped Petrel on Dominica, West Indies. Submitted April 2015. Report by Adam Brown.
Black-capped Petrels in Dominica and Elsewhere, a narrative made up of 2010 emails clarifying sightings on or near Dominica.
Searches for Seabird Breeding Colonies in the Lesser Antilles by N. Collier, A.C. Brown, and M. Hester. 2003. El Piterre 15(3). pages 110-116
Results of Search for Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) in Dominica: Report for 2000-2001 by Brown, A.C., and N.S. Collier. 2001. EPIC report No.1. Unpublished report to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, Forestry and Wildlife Division; Roseau, Dominica.
Recent Sightings of Black-capped Petrels, by Theodore R. Simons, John Gerwin, Jaime Collazo, and Rebecca A. Hylton, 31 December 2006 (Chap 6. from Simons et al. 2006 compendium prepared for USFWS)
Report on surveys in Cuba (Las Brujas inlet and Suecia Peak), January 2006, by Freddy Rodriquez, BIOECO.
The Atlantic Seabird Tracking website provides background and maps for the petrel tracking project. Results are being formally released as Jodice et al. in the journal Endangered Species Research.
Behind the Scenes: First-ever Black-capped Petrel Satellite Tracking. June 2014. American Bird Conservancy Blog.
Capturing Black‐capped Petrels at Sea: Report from the August 2012 Expeditions. Prepared by George E Wallace to document the first attempt to capture Black-capped Petrels at Sea. Image of Floating Mist-net created for the expedition.
Treatment and rehabilitation of a Black-Capped Petrel stranded in Destin, Florida . A write-up with photos of a bird treated in the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge rehabilitation center, September to November, 2011.
Black-capped Petrels in Dominica and Elsewhere, a narrative made up of 2010 emails includes references to 2010 and much older at-sea sightings in the Caribbean.
The Jamaica Petrel Pelagic Expedition. A pelagic expedition off Jamaica, and off the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica, November-December 2009.
Recent Sightings of Black-capped Petrels, by Theodore R. Simons, John Gerwin, Jaime Collazo, and Rebecca A. Hylton, 31 December 2006 (Chap 6. from Simons et al. 2006 compendium prepared for USFWS). Contact Brian Patteson trip reports from seabird trips off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Occurrence and abundance of tubenoses Procellariiformes) at Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles, 2001–2004 by Anthony Levesque and Pierre Yésou in North American Birds, Vol. 59, No. 4, 2005.
Observations of pelagic seabirds wintering at sea in the southeastern Caribbean. William L. Murphy. 2001. Pp. 104-110 in Studies in Trinidad and Tobago Ornithology Honouring Richard ffrench (F. E. Hayes and S. A. Temple, eds.). Dept. Life Sci., Univ. West Indies, St. Augustine, Occ. Pap. 11.
Related Conservation Plans
Stewardship Plan for the National Parks and Natural Areas of Haiti by Woods, Charles A.; Sergile, Florence E.; Ottenwalder, Jose Alberto. 1992. University of Florida. Florida State Museum. USAID. Mission to Haiti (Sponsor). [355 p.]. Summary in French (16,617 KB)
Final Report of the Macaya Biosphere Reserve Project by Sergile, Florence E., Woods, Charles A., Paryski, Paul E. 1992. Florida Museum of Natural History USAID. Mission to Haiti [149 p.] Summary in French (11,174 KB)
USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) offers numerous other USAID publications for download.
Plan D’Action pour l’Environnement. Juin 1999. Ministere de l’environnment. Republique d’Haiti.
Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund for the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot: The Caribbean Islands Ecosystem Profile and the Additional Resources for Post Earthquake Environmental Support to Haiti report.
Black-capped Petrel chick photo by J. Volquez.