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Rare Brazilian seabird spotted off coast

A seabird native to an island off the coast of Brazil was recently spotted off the coast of Bermuda, flying with a group of cahows.

According to the Bermuda Audubon Society's winter newsletter, a small group taking part in bird-banding studies on Nonsuch Island last month travelled offshore to watch cahows and spotted an unusual sight.

Bob Flood wrote: “It was slightly larger than a Bermuda petrel, more rakish, greyish-brown rather than dark grey and the underwing pattern was different.

“We recognised it immediately as a Trindade petrel, which only breeds on Trindade Island off Brazil in the South Atlantic. It flew around the boat at close range for 15 minutes or so and was joined by six Bermuda petrels.”

Several photographers on board were able to capture the unusual sight, with one managing to picture both bird species in the same image.

The Trindade petrel is listed as vulnerable in the red list of endangered species.

While the birds are native to Trindade Island, which is about 7,000 kilometres south of Bermuda, the birds are regularly spotted in the Gulf Stream near the southern East Coast.

Meanwhile, another unusual visitor found itself in trouble on the Island. On November 15, members of the public found a masked booby at the Watford Bridge dock and took it to Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo.

Andrew Dobson wrote: “Although it took some fish, it seemed to have little interest in flying and feeding itself.”

He said the Caribbean bird's closest nesting site was Anguilla, about 1,500km south of Bermuda. The birds have historically been spotted about 15 times in the past 25 years, usually near Challenger Banks.

“Records of birds arriving on land are usually the sign of a bird in distress,” he said. “On December 1, it had regained sufficient strength to fly off from the Aquarium. It was then seen on the breakwater off the South Basin at Dockyard in the company of various gull species and black-bellied plovers.

“It takes regular feeding trips into the Great Sound and it will be interesting to see how long it remains in Bermuda.”

Vulnerable species: a Trindade petrel similar to this one was seen by a group involved in bird studies on Nonsuch Island (File photograph)

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Published December 23, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 22, 2015 at 11:47 pm)

Rare Brazilian seabird spotted off coast

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