Latin name: Procellaria aequinoctialis

Population: About 7,000,000 birds.

Cites classified: Vulnerable (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The White-chinned Petrel ranges around the Southern Ocean as far north as South Australia, Peru and Namibia, and breeds colonially on scattered islands; South Georgia, Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Auckland Island, Campbell Island and Antipodes Islands.

Wingspan: 134-147 cm

Length: 51-58 cm

Weight: 1.28-1.39 kg

Mating/Breeding: The White-chinned Petrel start breeding in November/December in self-excavated burrows, on well-vegetated slopes and level ground. It lays one egg, incubated for about 57-62 days. The chicks fledge after 87-106 days.

Eggs: White.

Hunting Habits: The White-chinned Petrel take their food by surface-seizing, deep-plunging (to 13 m) and pursuit-plunging.

Feed on: Cephalopods, fish and crustaceans. The White-chinned Petrel are confirmed ship-followers, taking galley waste, but especially enthusiastic for trawler offal.

Threats: The White-chinned Petrel are vulnerable because they suffer from predation by introduced mammals and wekas.

Colour/Looks: The plumage of both adults and juveniles is black-brown all over, while there is a variable area of white around the face and chin, not always easily seen in flight. The bill is pale, with a black ridge (culmen) and stocky foreparts. This is a heavily built petrel with broad wings.

Interesting Trivia:

  • Larger than the shearwaters, it has a strong flight, characterized by slow flapping and long glides, high over the waves.

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)