Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Carolina
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Carolina Project

Assessing Nesting Status of Black-capped Petrels Following Acute Disturbance Events

March 2022 - December 2023


Participating Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Unit

The Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata (known regionally as Diablotin) is a medium-size gadfly petrel endemic to the Caribbean. The species has a declining population and is considered Endangered throughout its range. The species is currently proposed by FWS as Threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Population estimates based on at-sea observations range from 2,000 to 4,000 individuals, with a fragmented breeding population estimated at 500 to 1,000 pairs. Currently, the only confirmed breeding areas are located on the island of Hispaniola. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2018) predicted that the two major breeding areas on Hispaniola are likely to face extirpation by 2070 and, if no additional nest sites are found, this would represent a potential loss of up to 85-95% of the currently known breeding population. We will assess the nesting status of Black-capped Petrels following acute predation and fire events, and evaluate the deployment of artificial burrows as a recovery technique. Such an assessment of resiliency is consistent with objectives of the 2018 SSA developed for the species.