Zino's Petrel (Pterodroma madeira)


Also known as Madeira Petrel or Freira

Generally thought to be closely related to Fea's Petrel, however recent molecular anaylsis may challange this belief.


Separation at sea from Fea's Petrel remains controversial.

Where and When

Breeding is restricted to the central massif of Madeira, an mid-Atlantic island south-west of Portugal. Entire population estimated at 250 to 400 birds, with only 20 to 30 known breeding pairs. The species is therefore listed as Critically Endangered. Breeders return to nesting grounds in late March or early April, constructing burrows on fairly inaccessible ledges. The female lays a single egg, which hatches in late July and early August. The chick fledges in late September or early October.

Was probably more widespread on Madeira in the past but has declined because of predation by rats, cats and humans as well as through degradation of its nesting habitat. Zino's Petrel has been the subject of many conservation projects, including the Freira Conservation Project (started in 1986), involving reducing predation by rodents and cats and wardening; LIFE funded activities in the National Park between 1994 and 1996. The breeding site was designated a Special Protected Area under the European Union's Wild Birds Directive. The species is classified by IUCN as Endangered and listed on Annex I of the European Union's Wild Birds Directive, and Appendix II of the Bern Convention, and is protected by Portuguese law.

Photographs on the web



Zino. P.A. and Zino, F. (1986) Contribution to the study of the petrels of the Pterodroma in the archipelago of Madeira. Biol. Mus. Mun. Funchal. 38: p141-165.

Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson
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