First record of Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) for Morocco

By | 18 November 2017

During one of his marine surveys off the Moroccan coast, Andy Williams photographed a Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) flying c. 30 km off Agadir on 23 March 2013. However, he ignored the photo and it wasn’t until last summer when the bird was identified.

The ‘WP reports’ (Ławicki & van den Berg 2017) in the last issue of the Dutch Birding mentioned the bird: “A recently discovered photograph of Black-capped Petrel… off Agadir…concerned the first for Morocco.”

This is indeed the first record for Morocco, and according to Tarsiger.com it’s the first record also for mainland Africa and the 8th for Western Palearctic (WP). With only 9 records to date (see Tarsiger.com), the species remains one of the rarest visitors to the WP.

The species is polymorphic (distinct populations) with black-faced and white or light-faced morphs are well known and studied. An intermediate morph is also known (but less understood), and the Moroccan bird is apparently from this morph.

See Neotropical Birds Online (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) for information about the species, and this blog about variation in plumage (well illustrated with several photos).

Un Pétrel diablotin photographié environ 30 km au large d’Agadir le 23 mars 2013 par Andy Williams. C’est la première mention pour le Maroc et l’Afrique continentale et la 8ème pour le Paléarctique occidental.

Andy Williams thanks ScillyPelagics for ID assistance, and we think both for this nice addition to the Moroccan birds list.

Black-capped Petrel / Pétrel diablotin (Pterodroma hasitata) c. 30 km off Agadir, 23 March 2013 (Andy Williams)

Black-capped Petrel / Pétrel diablotin (Pterodroma hasitata), c. 30 km off Agadir, 23 March 2013 (Andy Williams).

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