Gadfly Petrels

Petrels


Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata)The gadfly petrels are seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes.


Description

These medium to large petrels feed on food items picked from the ocean surface.

The short, sturdy bills of the Pterodroma species in this group, about 35 altogether, are adapted for soft prey taken at the surface; they have twisted intestines for digesting marine animals which have unusual biochemistries.

Their complex wing and face marking are probably for interspecific recognition.


Breeding / Nesting

These birds nest in colonies on islands and are pelagic when not breeding. One white egg is laid usually in a burrow or on open ground. They are nocturnal at the breeding colonies.


Great-winged Petrel or Grey-faced Petrel, Pterodroma macropteraSpecies in taxonomic order

The taxonomy of the gadfly petrels is being reformed at the moment. Several genera have been split off over time, as they are closer to the procellarine and Puffinus shearwaters.

Some subspecies have been raised to full species rank. The arrangement given here is traditional, but annotates the changes proposed by Austin (1998) and Bretagnolle et al. (1998). For the current taxonomy, see also Brooke (2004).

A Pleistocene fossil from Aldabra, Indian Ocean, was described as Pterodroma kurodai. Biogeographically, it could belong into any genus.

Bermuda Petrel, Pterodroma cahow

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