Latin name: Pterodroma inexpectata

Population: About 1,500,000 birds.

Cites classified: Near Threatened (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The Mottled Petrel is highly pelagic, rarely approaching land, except to nest and rear young. The Mottled Petrel’s range south from about the Drake passage to Prydz Bay, Antarctica, and northward through the central part of the Pacific into the Bering Sea, concentrating in the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

Wingspan: 85 cm

Length: 34-35 cm

Weight: 315 g

Mating/Breeding: The Mottled Petrel start breeding in between 14 and 26 December in self-excavated burrows, on steep, well-vegetated slopes, cliffs and ledges. It lays one egg, incubated for about 48-53 days. The chicks fledge after 90-105 days.

Eggs: White.

Hunting Habits: The Mottled Petrel’s take their food by surface-plunging, surface-seizing and pursuit-plunging.

Feed on: Cephalopods, some fish and crustaceans.

Threats: The Mottled Petrel’s are vulnerable because they suffer from predation by introduced mammals and wekas.

Colour/Looks: The Mottled petrel is distinguishable from other Pterodroma species by its white underbody and tail, with a contrasting white belly. The tail, throat and chin are usually white, the rest of the lower body dark. The underwings are mostly white, with a dark line along the lower leading edge of the wing out to the white primaries. The upper body is grey and the face is white with various amounts of grey mottling.

More info:

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