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A Specimen of the Markham Petrel

Alexander Wetmore
Publication Information
1 (January-February)
From Field and Study

A Specimen of the Markham Petrel

Mr. Chas. Fagan, chief wireless operator On the SS. “Santa Elisa,” W. R. Grace and Co., has forwarded to the Biological Survey a petrel that proves to be the Markham Petrel, Oceanodroma markhami (Salvin). The bird was captured July 6, 1921, at sea off the coast of Peru at a point approximately thirty-five miles north of the port of Callao. Oceanodroma markhami, very close allied to tristrami, is distinguished from that bird by shorter tarsus, smaller foot, and somewhat more ashy tinge of the back and head. It differs from O. melania in more slender bill and in the grayish cast of the dorsal surface. Measurements of the present specimen are as follows: wing 175.5 mm.; tail 95 mm.; chord of exposed culmen 18 mm.; tarsus 23.3 mm.; middle toe with claw 23.5 mm.; outer toe with claw 22.5 mm.

The Markham Petrel was described by Salvin (Proc. Zool. Sot. London, 1883, p. 430) from a female specimen taken by Captain Markham in December, 1881, near the coast of Peru at lat. 19” 40’ S., long. 75” W. (given incorrectly in the Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., xxv, 1896, p. 354, as lat. 10” 40’ S.J.) A second specimen, also a female, was se cured in the same region at lat. 23” S., long. 73” W. Loomis (Proc. California Acad. Sci., 4th ser., II, pt. II, p. 174) records two taken by R. H. Beck, one on August 1, 1905, in,lat. 13” 28’ N., long. 108” 52’ W., and another September 1, 1905, near lat. 5” N., long. 87” W., about thirty miles south of Cocos Island. Captain R. Paefsler (Journ. Ornith., 1913, p. 49; 1914, p. 277) has published notes on the occurrence of this species on the west coast of South America but apparently merely from sight observation (no mention is made of specimens) so that his notes must be considered as open to doubt. The specimen secured by Mr. Fagan is of great interest as it is the first Markham Petrel that has come to the United States National Museum, and seems to constitute the fifth exa.mple of the species that has been recorded.

Alexander Wetmore

Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. Agriculture, November 21, 1921

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