Pycroft's Petrel for Australia?

Subject: Pycroft's Petrel for Australia?
From: Roger McNeill <>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 21:18:15 -0800 (PST)
Back in Oct a Jack Shick took a photo of a cookilara taken off Lord Howe on the 
way to Ball’s Pyramid.  At the time he thought it might have been a Gould’s.  I 
was sent a copy by a friend who thought it may be something else...I believe it 
to be a Pycroft’s.
While living in NZ I spent a fair bit of time trying to suss out the 
between Cook’s and Pycroft’s and this bird is a very strong candidate for the 
latter.  I have seen about a hundred Pycroft’s and many hundred Cooks and it 
all the indicative features that I am familiar with for Pycroft.  There are 
that say these two species can’t be separated at sea but I believe that there 
a bit of sliding scale with individuals on the far end being distinctive and 
too difficult to separate.
Because this would be a significant record for AU let me toss it into the 
forum for debate.  I am in no way an expert but a few mates and I came up with 
some rules of thumb that were good ways to separate the two.  Of these, the 
features which stand out to me are:
1.       Strong dark grey hood and distinct eye-line
2.       Deep, thick and distinct mark under the eye which is greater behind 
than in front of the eye
3.       Unbroken underwing carpal bar
4.       And most distinctive which I have never seen published anywhere is a 
slight extension of the central tail feathers on Pycroft’s vs Cooks.
I have asked Tom Tarrant to post this for me at the Australasian Bird Image 
Base.  Please find the image at the following link:

Roger McNeill
Samford Valley, SEQ 

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