Scientists in search of rare bird in Dominica

The Diablotin was last sighted in Dominica in 1862
The last confirmed breeding of the Diablotin in Dominica was 1862

A team of scientists from Grupo Jaragua, in the Dominican Republic, is in Dominica, to search for the endangered and rare Black-capped Petrel, locally known as the Diablotin.

The last confirmed breeding of the Diablotin in Dominica was 1862 and it was widely believed it no longer existed on the island.

But in 2015, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), confirmed the birds’ nesting on the island. Although there are no confirmed nesting in Dominica, radar technology supported by detected vocalizations indicated the birds flying between the sea and potential nest areas in the island’s highest peaks. The birds are expected to be on land for the breeding season.

At a press conference on Friday morning, Vice President of the Ocean and Islands Division of the American Bird Conservancy, Dr. George Wallace, highlighted the importance of the project, as he stated only about 5,000 birds of that species remain.

“The Black-capped Petrel is a species of concern globally because it is considered endangered. It has a population of probably only about 5,000 individuals, and we know very little about it and that makes it very difficult to figure out what may be threatening the bird, and what we can do to overcome those threats,” he explained.

He stated that the team from the Dominican Republic was chosen “because they have the richest experience on the ground of looking for these birds and the only known nests of these birds have been discovered by this team.”

Wallace noted that although there have been no confirmed nesting of the bird in Dominica since 1862, he believes that their habitat and nocturnal visits to their breeding areas make them challenging to find.

“The discovery by the Division of Forestry and EPICof birds here in Dominica that they discovered using radar, was tremendously exciting. And we knew that an important follow-up from that radar work would be to try to get a team on the ground and start looking for the birds themselves and see if we can confirm nesting… because there hasn’t been a confirmed nesting of the Black-capped Petrol since 1862,” he articulated. “I think it’s entirely possible that the birds have been here the whole time, they’ve just been in very remote areas, and— because of their habits— extremely difficult to detect.”

He urged Dominican authorities to assume responsibility for the conservation of the endangered species of birds.

According to the leader of the Dominican team, Ernst Rupp, an active nest of Black-capped Petrels were discovered for the first time in Hispaniola in 2011. About 50 nests, he said, were found in the Dominican Republic over a period of 5 years, while 36 were found in Haiti in 3 days.

Wallace (left) and Rupp are part of a team of scientists searching for the bird
Wallace (left) and Rupp are part of a team of scientists searching for the bird

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20 Comments

  1. John Paul
    April 18, 2016

    Well let me tell You a Story ,A few years ago I found myself climbing Morne Diablotin very often . I met Dr Peter Evans who is a world renowned Conservationist who was employed by the Government to do some estimates of our Bird populations.We spoke about the Diablotin Bird and I asked Him if He could mimic it’s call.To my surprise He seemed scared and said that He could but He would not!
    My curiosity got the better of me and I asked why not.
    He then went on to explain to me that the last time He did that He had an accident with His Land Rover.LOL it seemed this esteemed Scientist had become a believer in a local superstition!

  2. Concerned
    April 18, 2016

    The first time I read about this bird was in the book “burnable” by Marie-Ellen John. Interesting because it mentioned that the mountain Diablotin got its name from the bird diablotin and not a devilish name as some would have us believe.

    I’m sure that many of us did not know that there was a bird by that name but this is good information and shows the importance of an island’s history.

    Great stuff.

  3. Observer
    April 17, 2016

    Well sah, free speech is a hell of a thing eh; ignorance is quite another!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. April 16, 2016

    she is a cutie. don’t endanger her.

  5. real deal
    April 16, 2016

    It was fish now is birds. Hmmm

  6. Face the Facts
    April 15, 2016

    It is a cute, beautiful bird. It looks like it is minding its business without a care in the world. :lol:
    It would make a good pet. Except, for noise purpose, can it be tamed not to sing too much, too often and loud? :lol: On the other hand, it could be a welcoming sound.
    How could birds in the forest be prevented from becoming extinct?
    Good luck guys. Have an enjoyable and safe stay.

  7. forreal
    April 15, 2016

    people people,could you all imagine what these people would think of us should they read the unintelligent comments that you all have written,when you all will stop making people feel ashamed at our level of reasoning,awa man :(

    • Cowboy
      April 15, 2016

      Agree fully. The D/CA education system must be slipping. I don’t remember being so uninformed or “dotish” growing up in DA

      • Me
        April 18, 2016

        All children have free tablets now, so they do not have to read books anymore. The Govt. must have decided that was too difficult.

  8. Truth be told
    April 15, 2016

    Great to hear. Wishing the team much success. Let’s hope you find the bird

  9. Backstreet coffee
    April 15, 2016

    The bird heard of all the sott that going on in the country so he come and check for himself. Even the bird will not stay there for long because the others birds will think he sott to .

    • Heartfelt
      April 15, 2016

      Lol. A little humour.

  10. i am dominica...are you?
    April 15, 2016

    hmmm strange..anyway why are they looking for this bird whose last breeding was confirmed in 1862? this sounds real fishy. these people searching for a bird?people go missing all the time and nobody comes to help to look. all of a sudden they are searching for a bird who as far as they are concerned was here over 150 years ago?nah not buying y’alls story.

  11. Jean Simpson
    April 15, 2016

    That story contains much contradiction. “But in 2015, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), confirmed the birds’ nesting on the island. Although there are no confirmed nesting in Dominica, radar technology supported by detected vocalizations indicated the birds flying between the sea and potential nest areas in the island’s highest peaks. The birds are expected to be on land for the breeding season”. Somebody should explain. Where the reports of the findings? Where can they be found? Is this “positive” story one that is meant to keep the funds flowing into the coffers of the researchers? Dominica open your eyes.

  12. hmmmm how they know is since 1800 the bird breed???? but what I hearing there na best allu say allu come and look for potential land to buy with your passport under the CBI Programme

  13. nonsense
    April 15, 2016

    This doesnt make any sense. An Endangered Bird. 50 nests in 5 years in Diablotin. 36 nests in 3 days in Haiti.
    What is the true nature of their time here. Also since when have we been monitoring breeding of bird species and how is that achieved with accuracy?

    • April 15, 2016

      50 NESTS IN 5 YEARS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. READ FIRST.

  14. meh
    April 15, 2016

    I don’t trust any of these foreign scientist or medical folk conducting any studies of any kind in my country -_-

    • out of south city
      April 15, 2016

      I agree. You never know what these people are up to.

      UNAPOLOGETIC

    • Shaka Zulu
      April 16, 2016

      Just like the African did not trust scientists that come help them with Ebola. Some people really lost somewhere in the evolution from apes to man. Some apes are even more advanced.

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