American Birding Podcast



ABA Adds Zino’s Petrel, #982

On 16 September 1995, Brian Patteson photographed a Pterodroma petrel off Hatteras, North Carolina. At the time Pterodroma taxonomy and identification were in their infancy. The identity of the bird remained unresolved for 17 years, until Steve Howell, in his 2012 book Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America, identified the bird as a Zino’s Petrel.

Shortly after Howell’s (2012) book was published, the North Carolina Bird Records Committee (NCBRC) reviewed the record of Zino’s Petrel and rejected the identification in a split vote.

Zino's Petrel, off Hatteras, NC, Sep. 1995 - photo by Brian Patteson, used with permission

Zino’s Petrel, off Hatteras, NC, Sep. 1995 – photo by Brian Patteson, used with permission

Earlier this year, in their book, North Atlantic Seabirds: Pterodroma Petrels, Bob Flood and Ashley Fisher agreed with Howell’s determination, also calling the bird a Zino’s Petrel.

Because two well-received books by seabird experts identified the petrel as a Zino’s Petrel—a potential first for the ABA Area—the ABA Checklist Committee (CLC) decided to review the record in November 2013.

The CLC communicated extensively with the chair of the NCBRC and alerted the committee that the CLC was voting on the record despite the previous “no” vote in 2012. Over the past several weeks, recent publications on the identification of Fea’s and Zino’s petrels were shared with the NCBRC, which revoted on the record in November 2013 and unanimously agreed to accept it as a Zino’s Petrel.

Subsequently, the decision by the CLC was finalized and all eight members voted to accept the identification adding Zino’s Petrel to the ABA Checklist. As a result, both committees are now in agreement.

Zino’s Petrel becomes the 982nd species on the Checklist.