Latin name: Procellaria cinerea

Population: About 400,000 birds.

Cites classified: Near Threatened (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The Grey Petrel breeds on Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island, the Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands and in New Zealand on the Campbell Islands and Antipodes Islands. The Grey Petrel is found in Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands, French Southern Territories, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Saint Helena, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Uruguay. Its natural habitats are subantarctic shrubland and open seas.

Wingspan: 115-130 cm

Length: 50 cm

Weight: 0.76-1.52 kg

Mating/Breeding: The Grey Petrel start breeding in March/July in self-excavated burrows, on steep, well-vegetated slopes. It lays one egg, incubated for about 52-61 days. The chicks fledge after 102-120 days.

Eggs: White.

Hunting Habits: The Grey Petrel take their food by surface-seizing and pursuit-plunging.

Feed on: Cephalopods, fish and crustaceans.

Threats: The Grey Petrel are not seriously affected by commercial fishing, but have suffered high losses from predation. Introduced wekas on Macquarie Island probably extirpated them there, and in other places rats take many chicks.

Colour/Looks: The Grey petrel has a whitish underbody contrasting with ash-grey underwings. It has a dark cap and a light mantle that darkens towards the tail and towards the primary feathers on the wings.

Interesting Trivia:

  • Also known as Pediunker or Brown Petrel

More info:

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