WatchList Species Account for Black-capped Petrel
(Pterodroma hasitata)


Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species


Black-capped Petrel. Photo: Glen Tepke
Photo: Glen Tepke

With an estimated population at less than 2,000 individuals, the Black-capped Petrel breeds only in the West Indies. Its only significant breeding population is in southeastern Haiti (Massif de la Selle and Massif de la Hotte) but a few pairs breed in the mountains of the Dominican Republic (Sierra de Baoruco) and possibly on Dominica, where it has been seen both off the coast and inland. The sites in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are in national parks. Breeding has been suspected but not confirmed for Cuba. The bird was once common on Guadaloupe but was extirpated there in the 19th Century; it apparently also existed on Martinique.


Primarily nocturnal and crepuscular, it nests in burrows or crevices in cliffs in montane forest at an elevation of 1,500-2,300 m, calling actively while approaching the nest. It ranges large distances between foraging and nesting sites, and breeding-condition birds have been recorded off the coast of North Carolina. During nonbreeding it also is found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, off southeastern North America and northeastern South America.


Habitat destruction through continued deforestation, hunting the bird for food at its breeding sites, and introduced mammalian predators are the main threats to its existence.