Latin name: Pterodroma macroptera

Population: The Great winged Petrel has a large global population estimated to be at least 420,000 individuals.

Cites classified: Least Concern (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The Great winged Petrel breeds in the Southern Hemisphere between 30 and 50 degrees South with colonies on Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island, the Crozet Islands, the Prince Edward Islands, the Kerguelen Islands and on the coasts of southern Australia and northern New Zealand. It is a rare vagrant to the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, United States.

Wingspan: 97-102 cm

Length: 30-43 cm

Weight: 460-790 g

Mating/Breeding: The Great winged Petrel breed in scattered pairs or small colonies in self-excavated burrows. They lay one egg in late June-July that is incubated for 51-58 days. The chicks fledge in 108-128 days.

Eggs: White.

Hibernation: Africa, Australia and South America.

Hunting Habits: The Great winged Petrel feed mainly at night on squid, which they may track down by their luminescence.

Feed on: The Great winged Petrel feeds mostly on squid.

Threats: The Great winged Petrel are affected by the presence of cats, rats and pigs on some of the islands on which they breed.

Colour/Looks: The bird is completely dark brown except for a variable patch of white near the base of the bill, which is black.

Interesting Trivia:

  • Also known as Grey-faced Petrel
  • In New Zealand it is also known by its Māori name oi and as a muttonbird.
  • At the end of the breeding period, little penguins or one of the shearwater species often move into the burrows after the great-winged petrels have left.

More info:

  • Hadoram Shirihai, A complete guide to Antarctic wildlife (2002)
  • David McGonigal & Lynn Woodworth, Antarctica and the Arctic. The complete encyclopedia (2001)
  • Tony Soper, Antarctica. A guide to the wildlife (2000)