Flood, R.L., Lima, R.F., Melo, M., Verbelen, P. & Wagstaff, W.H. (2019) What is known about the enigmatic Gulf of Guinea band-rumped storm petrels Hydrobates cf. castro? Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 139(2), 173-186. DOI:10.25226/bboc.v139i2.2019.a10.
We present what is known about the Gulf of Guinea band-rumped storm petrels Hydrobates cf. castro to identify priority areas for research and conservation. Addressed are: occurrence in the Gulf of Guinea, including museum specimens, at-sea records, observations on the islands, and potential breeding sites; seasonality, the timing of breeding inferred from condition of trapped birds and birds at sea in primary moult; morphology, including biometrics, structure, plumage aspect; aerial vocalisations at the suspected breeding grounds; and taxonomy. The first photographs and sonograms pertaining to this population to be published are also presented. The evidence indicates that this storm petrel is present in the Gulf of Guinea year-round. It almost certainly breeds on São Tomé during both the wet and long dry seasons, and breeding is probably protracted, possibly seasonal. Morphology indicates a degree of distinctiveness and aerial vocalisations suggest possible taxonomic affinities with Cape Verde Storm Petrel H. jabejabe. Our observations are provisional and further research is required. The three most pressing matters for future research are clarifying taxonomy, locating breeding colonies and identifying key threats.