First Bulwer’s petrel spotted in Kingdom

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Bulwer’s petrel found in Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary of Rattanakkiri province on Sunday. BirdLife International Cambodia

The first sighting of a Bulwer’s petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) in the Kingdom was recorded by a BirdLife International Cambodia team in Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri province on October 17.

Bou Vorsak, Birdlife International Cambodia programme manager, said on October 19 that the Bulwer’s petrel was a seabird usually seen far out in the open sea.

“We suspect that typhoon ‘Kompasu’, which is moving across southern China into northern Indochina, may have blown this individual offshore and sent it a long way inland.”

According to Vorsak, petrels are very rare in Southeast Asian waters and had only been recorded on a handful of occasions in the seas around mainland Southeast Asia. The seabird was known to breed on small islands in the East China Sea and the West Pacific, including several locations in southern Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.

He said the bird had flown into the house compound of a farmer named Phally Nak who later released it.

Sok Vichea, a biodiversity researcher, said on October 19 that the bird was a type that he had never studied before. But he confirmed that the animal could be migrating and was resting while looking for food.

“It may be migrating across continents and resting because it has flown so far. When the bird is tired it inevitably needs to rest first and sometimes find food in a lake. After a few days, it flies back to sea. It could fly from the South China Sea to the Gulf of Thailand,” he said.