Wednesday, February 20, 2013

[Ornithology • 2013] Oceanites pincoyae | Pincoya Storm-Petrel | Golondrina de mar Pincoya • A new storm-petrel species (Procellariiformes: Hydrobatidae) from the Puerto Montt and Chacao channel area, Chile

Pincoya Storm-Petrel  | Oceanites pincoyae

We describe a new species of storm-petrel, Oceanites pincoyae (Pincoya Storm-Petrel), from the Puerto Montt and Chacao channel area, Chile. The description is based on 1 specimen collected at sea in Seno Reloncavi on 19 February 2011 and 11 other individuals that were caught, examined, and released. The new taxon’s foraging ecology and behavioral habits are unique among the southern Oceanitinae, including “mouse-runs” and repeated diving beneath the surface to retrieve food items. Its distinctive appearance includes bold white ulnar bars, extensive white panels to the underwing, and white to the lower belly and vent. Among species of Oceanites, it is unique in showing white outer vanes to the outer two pairs of rectrices. It further differs from all other storm-petrels in having a distinctive juvenile plumage. Morphometrically it is distinct from Oceanites gracilis gracilis (Elliot’s Storm-Petrel) and smaller than O. oceananicus chilensis (the Fuegian form of Wilson’s Storm-Petrel), having a shorter tarsus 
and longer middle toe. There also appear to be differences in the timing of breeding and molt between the new taxon and both O. o. chilensis and O. g. gracilis. We estimate the population size of the new species as ~3,000 individuals.

Key words: Chile, Chiloe Island, Hydrobatidae, Oceanites pincoyae, new species, Puerto Montt.

Identification features and at-sea distribution of
the Pincoya Storm Petrel | Oceanites pincoyae).
(Images by P. Harrison)

Oceanites pincoyae, sp. nov.
Pincoya Storm-Petrel
Golondrina de mar Pincoya (Spanish)

Etymology.— The specific epithet is derived from Pincoya, from Chilotan mythology. She is the spirit of the Chilotan Sea, good and helpful to fishermen, and comes to the aid of shipwrecked Chiloe Islanders. It is hoped that by naming the new species after a local Chilean entity, the residents of the area will be encouraged to adopt the storm-petrel as a symbol for the conservation of their marine environment.

Population and distribution.— Despite our incomplete knowledge of the breeding distribution of both O. g. gracilis and O. o. chilensis, neither taxon is known to breed within 800–1,000 km of Puerto Montt, and there appear to be significant differences in egg-laying dates and molt timings of those two taxa and O. pincoyae. So far, O. pincoyae has been seen only in the sheltered waters of the Chiloe region. It appears to occupy a central breeding location between the northerly O. g. gracilis and the southerly O. o. chilensis. It seems unlikely that such a boldly marked bird as O. pincoyae could escape detection for so long unless it had a restricted and somewhat sedentary range away from shipping routes and such accessible and often-visited areas as Punta Arenas, Iquique, Valparaiso, Mejillones, and Arica (day-long seabirding pelagic trips are regularly undertaken from the latter three locations). The observation of S. Imberti (pers. comm.) and the midwinter visit to Seno Reloncavi by P.H. and M.S. suggest that O. pincoyae does not move north into the greater Humboldt Current region after breeding but remains as an inshore resident within the extensive shallow bays of the Chilean fjord system. We tentatively suggest, therefore, that O. pincoyae is a geographically

Una Nueva Especie de Petrel de Tormenta de Chile
Resumen.— Describimos una nueva especie de petrel, Oceanites pincoyae, del área de Puerto Montt y el canal de Chacao, Chile. La descripción se basa en un espécimen coleccionado en el mar en Seno Reloncavi el 19 de febrero de 2011, y en 11 individuos adicionales que fueron capturados, examinados y liberados. La ecología de forrajeo y los hábitos de comportamiento del nuevo taxón son únicos entre los demás Oceanitinae del sur, incluyendo “carreras de ratón” y buceos repetidos por debajo de la superficie para obtener el alimento. Su apariencia única incluye barras cubitales gruesas y blancas, parches blancos extensos por debajo del ala, y vientre bajo y cloaca blancos. Entre las especies de Oceanites, es único en mostrar el vexilo exterior blanco en las dos parejas exteriores de rectrices. Además se diferencia de otros petreles por tener un plumaje juvenil distinto. Morfométricamente se diferencia de Oceanites gracilis gracilis por tener el tarso más corto y el dedo medio más largo, y es más pequeño que Oceanites oceananicus chilensis. También parece haber diferencias en el momento de reproducción y muda entre el nuevo taxón y O. o. chilensis y O. g. gracilis. Estimamos un tamaño poblacional de la nueva especie de unos 3000 individuos.

Peter Harrison, Michel Sallaberry, Chris P Gaskin, Karen A Baird, Alvaro Jamarillo, Shirley Maria Metz, Mark Pearman, Michael O'Keeffe, Jim Dowdall, Seamus Enright, Kieran Fahy, Jeff Gilligan and Gerard Lillie. 2013. A new storm-petrel species from Chile. The Auk. 130 (1): 180-191.

The Pincoya Storm Petrel dances out into reality! | Alvaro's Adventures