A Bulwer’s petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) glides over the waves in Madeira (Source: rarebirdalert.co.uk)
In these days the sea conditions have not been the best to spot cetaceans at sea. However, birds can be easier targets and sometimes rarely seen species can appear over Azores waters. It is the case of the recently sighted Alma Negra, which in Portuguese means “black soul”, or Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) that Terra Azul crew spotted just off the shore of Vila Franca do Campo.
Bulwer’s petrels are strictly pelagic sea birds and only around 50 couples breed in the Azores, nesting on the Ilehu da Vila, Santa Maria Island (Bried & Burgeois 2005). Most of the known breeding colonies have been documented in Madeira archipelago. Unfortunately, the introduction of exotic predators, such as rats and cats, strongly reduced their population during the human colonization of the islands (Monteiro et al 1996).