Wednesday, June 02, 2004

White-bellied Storm-Petrel Sighted off North Carolina

From North Carolina offshore waters comes this unconfirmed sighting of a White-bellied Storm-Petrel (Fregatta grallaria). If confirmed, this would constitute the first record of this species in North America. Heretofore, this species claim to a place in the North American avifauna has rested solely on a specimen (now lost) taken in the mid-1800's in the harbor at St. Marks, Florida. Absent a specimen, there has long been uncertain about the identity of the purported 19th century occurrence of this species (Check-list of North American birds, 1998:687-688). The White-bellied Storm-Petrel inhabits the southern oceans (i.e., South Atlantic and South Pacific).

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